Bioware is known for excellent storytelling, and Mass Effect 3 does NOT disappoint. At it’s core the Mass Effect trilogy is all about heroism, family, and adventure. While other RPGs have made the promise of a “branching story line” based on player decision, none have come close to the level of complexity that the the Mass Effect franchise actually achieves. By now you’ve heard how it works, as the player progresses through the narrative he/she is forced to make a number of difficult game-changing decisions. I would venture to say that almost everyone that has played Mass Effect has had a slightly different experience, and that’s just incredible.
Have you ever been in a relationship where the target of your affection doesn’t quite love you as much as you love them? While You treat them with total respect and devotion, they seem mysteriously distant and preoccupied. Well Blizzard, I think we should see other people.
I try and keep my reviews and commentary incredibly positive. The internet already has millions of trolls, so I do my best to keep my own “trolling” to a bare minimum. My grandfather always used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.” And for the most part, I listened. Blizzard is an incredible company, but in recent years some of their business practices have really upset me. To give readers a bit of perspective, I’ve been playing Blizzard games since The Lost Vikings and don’t really have any intention of giving up on such a groundbreaking company…. Truth be told however, I’m a bit disappointed in them. Here is why.
1) No Presence at Conventions: A few years back Blizzard decided that they were no longer going to attend conventions such as PAX, San Diego Comic Con, or E3. While I understand their reasoning, Blizzard is simply denying some of their biggest fans an opportunity to meet them and embrace what they’ve created. It’s like listening to a band your whole life only to hear that they’ve decided to never go on tour ever again… bummer. Most studios attend conventions to promote a new product, but due to the success of WOW, Blizzard no longer has to. To be frank, Blizzard’s “shy” demeanor with their fans and press is a bit off-putting.
2) The Starcraft 2 Debacle: Splitting Starcraft 2 into three separate games was an interesting design decision; but was it a decision born out of greed? After such an incredibly long development cycle, SC2 debuted to great fanfare and critical acclaim. The game was a lot of fun, but critics and fans alike both agreed that the story felt incomplete. After all, SC2: Wings of Liberty was only 33% of the story. Charging $40.00 each for the Zerg and Protoss campaigns meant that the total retail price for SC2 would be over $150.00 (with tax)… Is any game worth that much?
3) It’s Done When We Say It’s Done: Blizzard has become notorious for taking their sweet time with games. I understand that Blizzard are masters of what they do, but times have changed and fans have come to expect a bit more honesty from their developers. Other than Valve, what other studio could get away saying “Game X will come out…when we say it’s done.” I don’t think Blizzard has ever fully utilized the power of their fans and their community. Which leads me to my next point…
4) Feeding Addiction: I was lucky enough to be a World of Warcraft beta tester and had an active account until early 2011. In my early WOW days I even ran a guild that had over 200 members from all over the world. Why then, after 1000s of hours of
dedication gaming did I feel as though Blizzard was creating features designed to keep me playing for all the wrong reasons. A number of recent reports on the addictive qualities of video games point out that many of WOW’s design decisions were made with addiction, not fun, in mind. Foul.
5) Canceling Blizzcon: I simply don’t get it. While I’ve never attended a single Blizzcon, I do know people that consider it to be one of the best conventions around. Since Blizzard doesn’t attend other conventions anymore, its alarming that they would opt to cut off all avenues of face to face interaction with their community. While their motivation for cancellation is noble (to finish StarCraft 2, Diablo II, Titan, and WOW: Mists of Panderia), it’s not as if they don’t have the money, manpower, or time to pull off the convention. After all, Blizzard never mentioned when their games were coming out anyway, so who cares if they’re a few weeks later than expected?
So that’s it Blizzard, I think we should see other people.