Blizzard Plays Nicely With The Other Boys

By John Walker on May 16th, 2008 at 2:35 pm.

New screenshots please, Blizzard.

Blizzard appear to take a very approachable attitude toward rival MMOs. But then, I suppose if I were a 5000 foot mountain, I’d probably not make too big of a fuss about the surrounding hillocks spoiling my view. However, it’s nice that they don’t take the attitude of “DESTROY THEM! DESTROY THEM ALL!” In fact, they’re humble enough to concede that their reign will one day come to an end. Speaking to Eurogamer, producer J. Allen Brack explained that he doesn’t see Age of Conan or Warhammer Online as enemies.

“We don’t make games in a vacuum, we don’t just play World of Warcraft, I love online games, I play a lot of online games, and I’m really excited about those games coming out because I want to play them… I think there’s room for all three of those games to be successful.”

Co-lead designer, Jeff Kaplin, explains that Blizzard doesn’t think of WoW as invincible.

“I’m not a believer that WOW is untouchable and no one will ever beat it. There will be a game that comes out that’s great that players will prefer to play over WOW.”

This all comes up during Eurogamer’s discussion of the forthcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which Blizzard believe will be out before the end of the year.

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28 Comments »

  1. Kanakotka says:

    2 words. PR

  2. shcraa says:

    they need new stuff to copy

  3. cyrenic says:

    shcraa, you might be joking, but I think you hit the nail on the head. Blizzard usually makes good games by taking a good idea already out there then polishing the crap out of it. I don’t think Blizzard has any idea of what they’re doing now that they’re the MMO “innovators”. So they’ll just keep adding another 10 levels and more generic content each expansion till something better comes out.

  4. C4Cypher says:

    If it aint broke …

  5. Alex says:

    Yeah, this is just PR talk and, like you say, John, an easy thing to say when there’s absolutely no threat from anyone else, for the time being, at least.

    Saying that they know WoW is not untouchable in the long run just means they’re not completely insane, really.

  6. Ben Abraham says:

    If it aint broke …

    Then something’s wrong! =P

  7. The_B says:

    If it aint broke …

    Then something’s wrong! =P

    Or not enough people are complaining about it. ;)

  8. Zuffox says:

    While the public is being duped, Blizzard’s actually just spent $125 million on a laser cannon to take out Funcom HQ.

    Soon.

  9. Vexor says:

    I think AOC will have a pretty dedicated fanbase no smaller then LOTROs. What remains to be seen is how well their launch goes, along with how quickly they push out fixes/updates. That will ultimately make or break their long term userbase.

  10. Vinic says:

    Even if Blizzard took the position of “we kick ass, suck it”, I wouldn’t be too pissed, because it’s pretty well justified.

    Based off how Blizzard has been handling things for the past 15+ years, I believe the humbling comments.

  11. Kanakotka says:

    Well, seeing that AoC got it’s preorders sold out (At much a higher number than WoW, i hear.) this many days before release, i’m amused. It is coming at just about perfect time. (a month earlier would’ve hit the nail in the head. But then again, bug-free polished is better than a little earlier.) And it seems that even though many many many people love WoW, they’re looking for something else to do. At least for a while.

  12. yutt says:

    Jeff Kaplan

  13. Dave says:

    From a developer standpoint, the industry is pretty incestuous. Competing studios are where old friends work now, where future coworkers come from, where you might wind up working yourself… and they might make your personal favorite game anyway.

  14. chenghiz says:

    I don’t think Blizzard has any idea of what they’re doing now that they’re the MMO “innovators”.

    They aren’t the innovators just because they have the biggest market share – and thus they aren’t the innovators.

    As far as I can tell their strategy, and it’s a good one, is to continue to add the things that other MMOs offer into WoW. Look at the purported addition of siege warfare in WotLK much like AoC promises, look at ladder PvP much like Guild Wars and Fury feature, and a diku game that’s essentially superior to every other diku MMO.

    As long as they continue the trend and avoid bollocksing things up, they are pretty much in fat city. Other MMOs will innovate and they will polish, just as they have always done.

  15. eyemessiah says:

    Whats a diku?

  16. Lorc says:

    It’s a small Korean deer-pig.

    Ok fine, it was a very early MUD that basically defined the nature of the genre. It’s the dungeons and dragons of online crpgs.

  17. sigma83 says:

    Is I a blizz fanboi cause I is excited about expac?

  18. Kadayi says:

    they need new stuff to copy

    I agree with cyrenic, you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head there shcraa. There isn’t a great deal of innovation to WoW, in terms of building on what came before, it’s more that Blizzard have made it a much more accessible and polished experience. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that in itself (they’ve made MMOs truly mainstream). I think the problem is that unfortunately because of the unrivaled success of WoW and the depth of the team Blizzard can keep going on the project, it makes the challenge that much greater for anyone else hoping to enter the market place, and capture a profitable market share of the MMO audience. It’s like going head to head with East Enders in the TV ratings. There is a finite audience out there for these games.

    I certainly think there’s potential for development in the MMO market, but I don’t think it lies in following the existing MMO model, but instead taking a different direction. One of the big questions I think about with MMOs is, is it entirely necessary for there to be 10,000 other players on this server nowadays? If you created an MMO where each game server housed maybe only 100 players, how much different an experience could it be?

  19. mystic sika says:

    Blizzard used to be addicted to EQ.

    its no wonder they made wow lol.

  20. Dean says:

    Eventually Blizzard will lose the hardcore raiders and PvPers. The actual MMO players. People that came to WoW from DaoC or Everquest. They’ll move on. And Blizz will be left with 90% of it’s customer base.

    This keeps coming up in my WoW guild “Are you going to try WAR/Conan?” they ask. “No,” replies I, “I don’t play MMOs”.

  21. Sebmojo says:

    Why does everyone always have an air of delivering deep wisdom when they say ‘Blizzard! polisher! not innovator!@!’?

    It’s not even true if you discount the fact that delivering a polished, working, fun product counts as massively innovative in teh MMO space – there’s hundreds of innovations, big and small in Wow.

  22. sigma83 says:

    The streamlining of the quest system leaps out at me

  23. Kadayi says:

    It’s not even true if you discount the fact that delivering a polished, working, fun product counts as massively innovative in teh MMO space – there’s hundreds of innovations, big and small in Wow.

    Enhancing or streamlining an existing experience is not innovation. Innovation in gaming occurs where someone introduces an entirely new aspect, that impacts upon everything else. Wii controller, that’s innovation. Gravity Gun in Half-Life 2, that’s innovation. Making a better quest delivery system is certainly helpful, but isn’t innovation.

  24. sigma83 says:

    Yeah I’d agree with that. WoW is still pretty good though :P

  25. grumpy says:

    Whats a diku?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIKU
    :)
    However, a DIKU MUD is a MUD made by students at DIKU. ;)

  26. Kommissar Nicko says:

    It’s not even true if you discount the fact that delivering a polished, working, fun product counts as massively innovative in teh MMO space – there’s hundreds of innovations, big and small in Wow.

    You see, is a joke! MMOs are boring fellows! WoW makes them funtimes for all, and is innovative for it!

  27. Paul Barnett says:

    I know its popular to side with darkness, and my natural state is quite dark, however on the topic of Blizzard I have some personal experience so I thought I wold share.

    I have been invited to Blizzard a few times, been treated well, spoken at length to Blizz people and generally been welcomed with a good heart and friendship. Sure they are in business, but you know what, very few people walk the same path as them, so their attitude to fellow MMO devs from my experience has been very good. Jeff Kaplan also went out of his way to send my boy some really nice WOW swag for his birthday.

    Now it may all be a cunning trick, but if it is, its a long running and nice trick.

    Paul Barnett

  28. Graham says:

    Hey Paul Barnett, any chance of one of those beta keys to Warhammer Online (if you come through I’ll record myself skipping around gayly singing the “I’ve got a golden ticket” song from Willy Wonka)? My own attempt at key grabbing has thus far failed, as has my GW HQ connection (most disappointing considering how long he’s been working for them). If you’re reading here and posting I figure, although cheeky, it can’t hurt to ask.