Plz learn the art of not listening

The art of not listening made Blizzard not just the most successful mmo developer, but sustained-stability mmo-developer, and wall-separation-design-spread there will ever be. Blizzard’s problems started when Activision decided they would break Blizzard’s rules about not listening, and start listening to the top 13% (the “elitist” players); following this, Blizzard felt it had a free hand to replicate the same culture in their company, where now the opinion of only the top 5-7% of their workforce would matter; it was the Trump era too so the top “anything” was to some degree much “freer” in feeling that entitlement. This mean they would immediately do away with the following:

(ironically the uncensured data that was eventually released showed that these were the most successful things Blizzard had created)

  1. they would reduce the emphasis of Jaina, pirates, Murlocs, humor, towns like Boralus, water, scenic locales, anything relaxing in nature, anything with a rich storyline, and reduce dungeons like Freehold.

This circulated among the elitist players and was the only material from which Blizzard would be allowed to make Shadowlands, with the rest of the staff being fired immediately.

It was found out later that, in fact, it had cost them a difference of about 7 million subscriptions from what they would have had on JUST:

  1. the continuation of Boralus or towns like Boralus

  2. the doubling of pirates and adding more pirate ships and scenic locales

  3. making Jaina the only heroine, and tributing the entire next expansion to her; continuing the award-winning “Daughter of the Sea” storyline, and even prequelling and sequelling it in the same expansion

  4. the supposedly most hated island adventures pvp thing had the sealed reviews released, reception, and favorability statistics, and happened to be the best thing every created

  5. another voice like N’Zoth

  6. numerous dungeons like Freehold and even a sequel-type dungeon of it

  7. increased dwarves

  8. increased goblins and another instance or sequel, or continuation of the goblin dungeon

Of course, by the time all this was found out, they had become far too invested in their destruction, in more ways than one…

Lesson: Have a development team that never listens and a hotfixer that fixes quietly upon investigation, with minimal impact possible.

ABOVE ALL, emphasize RIGID stability and availability of the dopamine mechanics of ur game and preserve them as though they are sacred. That means no long patches, no frequent patches, no overreactions to whose staff blew up and killed a town or who has a set of void armor hanging out of their as*, and u by definition, WILL succeed. If not, well, good luck.

But if u know WHERE ur numbers came from (WoW Pacific and Pirates Steam), then this is the minimum they will need, and them having only 14k or so left on the WoW side shows it very loudly. Thanks.

Wow Senior System Designer here reporting in for feedback on this topic.

There are some very accurate parts of this (namely that you focus on the gameplay-player hook) and other parts that are nonsense.

Here is how it really boils down.

Social dynamics and dependicies are the most important aspect of any mmo. If you focus on guild/clans/etc needing players, and players needing them you will have a successful game. Currently, there is little emphasis on this, and should be among the chief priorities (probably based around really fleshing out cities, and improving forts potential for guild-recognition and benefits).

Now we come to the accurate parts of the post which is around those “dophamine” related moments. There are a few of these in place, but they are “mild” to what they could be.

I’d like to really draw an important point here between wow and other games similar to it like guild wars 2, and so on. There is a massive difference between the games and their input-to-player interaction. One has gcds (wow) and other games like gw2 were founded on “no gcd” concepts. This choice was a death-dealing move for games like gw2 (among the lack of quality and social focus).

Luckly, This is largely in place with New world. In fact, while some class balance could improve this, its probably 80-90% of where it should be and is doing really well. In general i feel like this is one of the things new world did correctly. A few more buttons would be nice to help move this into a better position (say 5 per a weapon), but its ok for now.

Coming back to the point of social dynamics, the zones really need to have a lot of effort and work pushed into them for social-recognition. I made a post that talks about reworking the way towns are classified (from hamlet to city) and basing that around how many people actively house themselves in a specific settlement. This value should dictate the level / tier of a settlement (ie hamlet or city), and that level should dictate what can be crafted there, and how much the taxes are (automated).

The result of this would be that highly populated cities will have high taxes, and potential for crafting the best gear, but requires lots of carefully planned management of resources(especially gold) to progress and keep a city at that level. This would effectively turn a city, and a zone into a company city/zone and that has unmeasurable amounts of social purpose and dyamics (and potential for political drama). I’d make that management esentually punish the owning clan/guild by downgrading the city for not paying its costs for upkeep which are paid by very limited resource generation (taxes, etc)

If i was doing design in new world, i would focus the game around this as its foundation, and then look at ways to bring pve/pvp interaction into that system.


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