MoooOOOooo Milk that cash cow! Milk it!

More of the same from Blizzcon.

“When asked to expand upon a button found by sifting through the Lich King beta’s data files named “Paid Character Customization,” Brack initially hesitated to give any answer at all. Several questions later, he went back to the matter, saying that he could, in fact, confirm that World of Warcraft would eventually have some form of paid character customization, though they themselves hadn’t yet worked out any details.” [Source]

It’s the people who pay for this stuff, the people who eat it up and love adding fairy wings, space helmets, or ninja masks to their characters that drive this micro transaction market.  I loathe it.   Almost as much as I loathe….

StarCraft 2’s Trilogy being stretched out over several YEARS.

Blizzard’s Vice President of Game Design Rob Pardo wants us to think about Starcraft 2‘s two followups, containing the Zerg and Protoss single player campaigns, as expansion packs, so does that mean they won’t contain as much gameplay as the Terran-based initial game? Plus, you’ll have to wait at least whole year between “expansions.” Said Pardo, “With any luck, it would be like a year for each successive one, but that’s going to be a target date, that’s not a promise.” [Source]

Translation: We are Blizzard.  When we say a year, we mean 2.  When we say “with any luck”, we mean no chance in hell.  We see the potential to stretch this game’s shelf-life for nearly half a decade in the west and we’re going to take it.

The worst part about it all?  Their games are always awesome and I’m going to buy it anyway.  Well played Blizzard… well played.

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  • It still annoys me that I have to pay to transfer a character between servers. It costs blizzard nothing to transfer characters between servers how is it they can get away with charging $20 for it? Oh that’s right.. because we let them.

    Lets look at some of these charges:

    * Charge for the game
    * Charge to play the game
    * Charge for each expansion
    * Charge to transfer characters (per character)
    * Charge to transfer characters between accounts (per character)
    * Charge for name changes
    * Charge for power levelling (recruit a ‘friend’) then charge again for account transfer
    * And now charge for character modifications

    Honestly… I’m happy to pay a monthly fee. I can deal with paying for expansions. All that other stuff though is just too much.

  • Why does Blizzard need to worry about the shelf life of Starcraft 2 or any of its games? It’s like you said; they make kick ass games. It has been 10 years since Diablo 2 was realeased, and it’s still played plus the original Starcraft is still popular. I won’t even menton WoW.

    This has just been a few days of disapointment from Blizzard. DLC, while not always bad, is kind of a bummer, and now at least a year wait between the Starcraft 2 expansion-esque products. Oh well, I like you will still buy these games because Blizzard has its act together.

  • I won’t be buying it.

    I like Blizzard’s games about as much as I like the next game on the shelf. They’re okay. They used to be better. I have plenty of other games to play.

  • Blizzard is looking to nickle and dime its customers. Banks take this approach towards their customers. Blizzard is getting greedy just as the banks did. We all know what happened to the banks.

    I predict the Blizzard credit card next. Earn in game items with your reward points.:D Perfect fit imo. Another fine way to gouge the customer.

    I would respect Blizzard if they would just come out and say that they don’t think of their customers as people, but rather sheeple. Coral us up Blizzard, take our wool. Yippy ki yay.

  • In other news, Blizzard has partnered with McDonalds in order to allow their customers to say “ba da ba ba baa… I’m lovin’ it” with reference to World of Warcraft. I kid.

  • Their plan for SC2 makes me pretty sad. With the original Starcraft I just had to play through the first two campaigns to reach the one I really wanted (Protoss). Now though, I’ll have to wait 2-4 years? Wtf?

    I’m interested in a new, solid, fun RTS, and hoped SC2 would be it . . . but I’m not interested in paying for a game multiple times just to equal the options available to me in the first version of the game.

    I too am surprised they don’t have a Blizzard credit card yet. Just 24.99% APR for accounts in good standing! 1% discount applied for World of Warcraft and Bnet Premium Plus subscribers!*

    *Discount only applies if card is not used for purchases and full balance is paid off at the end of each month.

  • Well, you know, they aren’t the electric company. They make video games. In other words, if you loathe it, don’t go for it.

    But we all go for it because they make great games.

    They can’t stretch a shelf life if it has none. They can’t make people wait, or make people want to play or not to play.

    And “sheeple’….really? My god some of you are acting like you are being forced to play the damn games, or somehow being ripped off for your massive 15 bucks a month.

    “Getting as greedy as the banks did?”

    Oh my god.

    Beau

  • Where have people gotten this idea that you’ll have to buy three games (the three SC2 episodes) to get the content from one old game (starcraft) ?

    My predictions:

    Each campaign will have more content on its own than the original Starcraft did. By releasing episodes of the game Blizzard will be allowed to continue to develop the game, balancing, tweaking and releasing new minor content patches very similar to how they have with WoW.

    Just like with D3 pay content I say bring it on.

  • From what I’ve read, it sounds like each game in the 3-part series will have the same multiplayer and simply different single-player (co-op?) campaigns. They’ll surely learn, polish, and re-balance between the first and third release, but patching will make all games even in multiplayer.

    It’s the competitive multiplayer aspect from which Starcraft gained its fame, right? If that part of the game is going to be the same in all three, how many gamers could they really expect to purchase the whole series?

    It depends on what they charge. If they make the 2nd and 3rd games in the series (in whatever order you happen to purchase them) cost no more than expansion packs, in some sort of retroactive package deal, then all three parts will sell like hotcakes. But I don’t see all three selling to many other than the most hardcore Starcraft fans if they charge full price ($40-50) for each.

    I think Blizzard is basically making a baker’s dozen and charging for the 13th donut. When they finish the first in the series, the other two games are mostly finished as well. They can sell the other two parts of the “Starcraft II” series for less than full price and still come out profitable because the production didn’t cost much.

    Thankfully, I didn’t play the original Starcraft, so I only plan on buying Starcraft II: Volume I (or whatever it’s going to be called).

  • Technically it does cost money to move a character from one servr to another. Mainly in the form of man hours. Those programmers get paid alot of money. I would say it probably takes about 15-30 min to properly transfer a character. This includes deleteing the old character and making sure everything is done right.

  • Keen,

    I have the urge to note how your style have deteriorated lately into a Blizzard bashing satire fest. I feel this post is biased, tasteless, and oversees important factors.

    You should consider these factors when thinking about the situation:

    First of all, you make it sound like Blizzard is started to act like EA. But remind me, Keen, when was the last time that Blizzard made shitty games and asked us to pay for a one time download? When was the last time that Blizzard gave bad customer service, etc.

    When you want first class games, with first class service, you should be prepared to pay for it. Its very comparable to almost anything in real life. Resturaunts, Airlines, etc.

    Second of all, Blizzard IS a business. They are in this for money, and when they make extra features that are NOT industry standard (Character transfer, Character account transfer, character customization), they expect to be paid for the time they take to do them. The rest of the package is just industry standard.

    Thirdly, Blizzard isn’t the first one to make separate campgains for a core game, and I don’t recall heavy bashing of any previous company that did it. Valve is doing it (half life 2), Warhammer 40k rts (forgot the company name) is doing it, the Disciples series did it. People didn’t complain, they loved it and wanted MORE. Give us quality content and we will pay for it. Or would you rather play an 8 hour long single player game and go “Damn that wasn’t long enough, this game sucks.”?

    If you really want to bash something, leave Blizz out of it. Go bash EA if you want :p

  • True! They do charge a lot for a lot of things, and a lot of it retarded for the average player. But, having character transfers and namechanges cost money, makes it less abusable. Imagine the ninja madness if you could change names, and transfer without paying for it. It would also make goldsellers and powerlevelers lives a lot easier.

    “have the urge to note how your style have deteriorated lately into a Blizzard bashing satire fest”

    Now heres the thing Keen 😀 Are you missing good ol’ Blizz? You haven’t written that much about WAR lately. Are you considering Wrath? Without getting too psychoanalytical, bashing Blizz is telling me you might not be completely happy with WAR, but you’re pounding at Blizz instead of WAR because you kinda already made your choice. And of course, because Blizz are moneywhores.

    Starcraft easy solution: Buy the first game and pirate nr 2 and 3. Its only for the single player anyway. And complaining about it taking alot of time is really complaining about the massive amount of tender love and care that goes into those games.

    Finaly, about the everlasting argument that Blizzard are so rich they might as well give away their games for free, you know thats not how it works. I am glad Blizzard hauls in the cash to make more great games. 50 bucks is not much for a great game, compared to how much fun you get out of it. And the monthly fee? Thats a couple of beers or 3 a month, and really doesnt compare to the cost of any other hobby I can think of in terms of cost.

    Oops. That turned out to be more than 1 cent ^^

  • The whole point of starcraft was that there were 3 different races to choose from, ith 3 very different play styles, yet all were very well balanced. This meant that you could have PvP that was fun, fair and competitive.

    For the first year, the game will be, what, Terran vs Terran the whole time? That’s going to be fair and balanced all right, but it will get stale really quickly.

    Fail (unless they’re releasing all 3 races for PvP even though there’s only 1 PvE campaign, in which case win, but I doubt it)

  • Well since WoW’s population is probably 50% asian by now the micro-transactions are just another step to make it a generic korean WoW-clone – funny because it used to be WoW, not anymore.

  • From what i understand , yes blizzard is getting more and more commercial and trying to milk everything they could from their products. in this regard keen’s observation is on the money. No need to pyscho-analyze keen’s mind lol, just read the last part of keen’s post.. he’d still buy it anyway.

  • I find it boggling that anyone could be so in love with Blizzard that they are defending this BS. And if you really think Keen is some Blizzard hating curmudgeon, try reading the last few lines of the post. This time with your brain turned on.

  • Seems to be a good business model for such mature IPs. This late in the game they should have reached about every customer that they are going to reach. Reaching into thier exisitng customers pockets by offering additional entirely optional features just makes the most sense.

    Bash on Blizz all you want but they only got to where they are by making great games and knowing how to capitalize on them.

  • if youre looking for the next big rts, dawn of war 2 is coming very soon. it has some excellent features as well, coop story mode ftw.

  • First off K&G has a right to be mad. It’s like looking forward to a Cadillac, but they tell you their going to sell you each tire seperately over a period of 4 years.

    Blizzard is trying to nickel and dime us, and yes they are a business, and yes they are trying to make money. What happened to customer loyalty? What happened to giving something back to your customer?

    The main reason I’m mad is I gotta wait a fricking long time to zerg rush you mofo’s.

  • A few people can understand. A few people can’t read. A few people couldn’t understand even if they could read. Such is the way of the internet. Disagreeing is totally fine – I welcome it. Disagreement has been the foundation of many good discussions. However, before you disagree make sure you’ve read the post and understand it. Also make sure you’ve taken your meds. 😉

    *edit* Oh, and to those who think my writing has “degraded” to this… read my archives. Been there, done that! I never shy away from speaking my mind when I think something sucks.

  • Old Model:

    Company makes game, releases game moves on to new game.

    New Model:

    Company makes episode 1 of game, releases episode 1. Company makes episode 2 of game, grows on episode 1 and they release episode 2. Company rinses and repeats evolving a giant, awesome game over time.