Blizzcon is usually a somewhat exciting time of the year because one of the better game developers out there usually announces something interesting. This year, Blizzard decided to throw a wrench in the whole concept and say some things that have me worried and others that I think are completely stupid. Let’s take these one at a time.
StarCraft 2 is going to be a trilogy… okay, I can accept that as cool and all because who wouldn’t like the idea of a lot of StarCraft content? Here’s the downside… “Each campaign is treated as a fully fleshed out game, with each title ending the same way.” That sounds ludicrous! Splitting the campaigns into three and then charging for multiple expansions so that you can play the other campaigns just to have them all end the same way doesn’t make any sense at all. According to Blizzard, “The change will allow for more characters, more missions, and more complete experiences overall.” [Source] So on one hand there’s a lot of content… on the other hand it’s just an excuse to charge you 3x the price. Dumb.
Diablo 3 is going to mark the end of an era. Blizzard is more than likely going to charge for DLC (Downloadable Content) in Diablo 3. “We are going to monetize features so that we get to make them,” said Wilson. “We kind of have to.” [Source] Basically, there won’t be modding in Diablo 3. Instead, Blizzard will make the content and charge you for it. If it’s supplemental stuff then I won’t be so bothered by it, but if it’s anything pertaining to expanding the story then I’ll be really bothered by it unless they release it in an expansion.
Graev has been calling this for years now and both of us still think it’s a possibility. Blizzard has already stated that they’re moving the way of DLC instead of modding in their games. The next step is a subscription plan for Bnet. Although Jay Wilson said that they don’t have a “great desire” to charge for the B.net service, part of me know it won’t be long before we see a “Battle.net Premium plan!” where you pay a certain subscription for all the DLC. It’ll be a masked means of charging for Bnet under the guise of DLC – everyone’s favorite scam. If Hellgate london offered a life-time package then you know Blizzard is going to do it. But honestly, the company practically prints their own money. Why the need to capitalize more is beyond me.
Not all of the Blizzcon stuff has been garbage though.
The Wizzard announcement for D3 looks fantastic. Looks like the class will have a lot of neat spells and abilities. After the trailer I think I’m now leaning towards playing one because of the neat shield they had and the splitting themselves into multiple forms. I have a feeling every class revealed will appeal to me though.
The ability to attach runes to abilities (the Rune Skill system) thus altering how they work sounds nothing short of revolutionary. If this can translate into mmorpgs then we’re going to see a fantastic level of customization. The example of attaching a rune of striking to a teleport ability and having it turn into an offense skill sounds really cool. Where Blizzard is able to take this in D3 will say a lot for the future market diversification for the system. Hopefully it will work flawlessly.