This is not up for debate…or is it?

Folks, if you feel like you “deserve” more in the game because you play more hours, have more achievement points, or killed some monster before anyone else…the short answer is NO, YOU DO NOT.

There is no debate. no argument. no rational viewpoint. no. no. NO!

There is only ONE thing that matters here…What do you pay each month for the game. We all have the exact same level of service with Blizzard and are essentially the SAME level playing field as paying customers. Let me provide an analogy here…

3 investors walk into a bank. Investor Bob has $50 million to invest in a brokerage account for this institution to actively manage. Investor Chuck has $100,000 for the same. And lastly Investor Dan has $1,000 he wants to put into a CD. They all are doing the same thing, they want the same eventual result. Give the bank their assets and allow them to grow off the bank’s decisions. The point here is obvious…Bob is going to get some serious attention…serious!attention! The service model the bank will follow will clearly provide more direct one on one service and attention to Bob. Dan is lucky he will get a lollipop at the end of the day…maybe free checks. They all are asking for the same thing, but are in fact PAYING the bank different amounts.

Now apply this to WoW, hell apply it to ANY MMO or game.
Player Bob says, “Hey I am in a World Top 10 ranked Guild! I have 142 mounts, 14,390 achievement points, 22 alts, 9 level 85s, I’ve completed full Heroic mode content before anyone on our server, and I play a minimum of 8 hours per day!”

Player Chuck says, “I play 3-4 days a week. About 3 hours each time. I have killed most of the bosses with my 10 man raid team. we went 2/8 heroics. I have a couple alts. 1 other 85. I am about to crack 9000 aps! So stoked. I have, I dunno…a bunch of mounts.”

Player Dan says, “I play like once a week. couple hours. I have a couple mounts…um, what are achievement points? I dont even have an 85.”

Now the thing here is Bob feels entitled to everything the game offers. He feels he gets more from the game, he is a more valuable customer of Blizzard and feels any changes made should benefit him and his kind, regardless of what it might do to Chuck or Dan’s quality of play.

I know the argument you want to make…Changes don’t matter to Dan, and Chuck will adapt! Its people like Bob who drive the game forward! Its Bob who is driving the bus! He is the reason the game is here! yadda yadda yadda. Here’s the problem folks. There are MORE of Dan & Chuck than Bob. Just throwing an estimate out there (this is not data, just a rough comparative number).

  • 10 million players. $15 a month from each of them = $150 million
  • Even if the Bob’s of the world make up 20% of the player base (and be honest do you truly think there are that many Dan’s???) = $30 million
  • 80% of the player base (the remainder) = $120 million

Now, its easy to say that Blizzard cares for all their players…but the reality is they have to adopt the standard business practice of 80/20. Appease the 80% of the player base and hope you don’t tick off the 20% too much!

So what brings this up? Well, a convo on Twitter between Jasyla & Matticus caught my eye. Essentially Jasyla asked “How hard would it be to have exclusive achievements? You can get the 10 man OR the 25 man achieves for killing bosses, but not both.” The impetus came from this post on “Its dangerous to go alone”  by @HamletEJ. Now I am not going to cover 10 vs 25 and all that…honestly he has a nice write up about some of the discussion going on with developers and its honestly very situational as to which is better. Some days its 25, other days its 10. I still personally miss the 40 man days of Vanilla…even for 40 man Alterac Valley (Oh how I miss thee AV). Jasyla’s point though locking out 10 vs 25 rewards so that its one or the other for you…that sparked my interest. I chimed in. A few others did as well including my Hunting pal HoneyTrap. Here’s the thing. You can’t. You can’t. You just can’t. And for the very reaosn from above. Yes, it ties together now…

You see one player can certainly do more in the game and earn Heroic Gear, or PvP rewards, or achievement points based on their dedication and commitment to mastering that particular game play, but you cannot close it off to a player based on something beyond their control like server population and availability of bodies for a 25 man. Nor can you dis allow those with abundance of viable players to not be able to attain something in an additional format when they choose to go 10 and not 25.

The best business model is to include as many as possible at one time. Cry foul that it waters down the product. Scream until you are blue in the face that its catering to the casuals. Decry the developer (in this case Blizz) and cancel your account declaring them dead to you if you must. The game will go on. Why? Because you are in the minority of their player base. Ghostcrawler pointed out something to the effect of: Because you and your friends feel X does not mean everyone feels X. That is the heart of my point here exactly. Blizzard is applying a business model to their decision making ultimately. When they discuss new directions, major changes to gameplay, major design changes, it is always about “What will the majority of the player base think about this? Will they benefit? Will their experience be better or worse?” It isn’t about just Bob….nor just Dan…or just Chuck. Its about Sally, James, Sanjeep, Brian, Christine, Donna, Mike, etc etc etc.

They cannot make it a CHOOSE THIS PATH OR THIS PATH and forever bar one door closed to you forever more based on your decision. That is BAD for business. Plain and simple. Why? Because that would actually hurt everyone.



2 thoughts on “This is not up for debate…or is it?

  1. Also the hard cores need to realize that their play time is cheaper than the play time of the casuals. If you only play a few times a week your play time will cost more per hour than that of the hard core folk. It would be nice for Blizzard to have more casuals that pay them good money to only play the game a few hours week. The server load would be a lot lighter.

    • While this point is technically true…I do not think Blizz truly cares if you play a lot or a little. Everyone gets the same “value” rating regardless and they simply weigh the benefit analysis based on total population. i.e. Does this benefit the 80% or the 20%…regardless of who is which category.

      Its not an argument of hardcore vs casual or anything in between. Its really about what is a good business model. WoW has had the highest sub rate of any MMO out there. And it has retained that top spot for quite some time. I think that whatever Blizz’s model is, it works.

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