Not So Massively: The Blizzard I loved is dead

    
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This week’s Not So Massively column was supposed to be a wishlist of things I want from an announcement of Diablo IV. When I pitched that article, I was so excited to delve into all the fun possibilities for this game, which is rumored to be announced at BlizzCon in a few weeks.

Then stuff happened.

There’s no point in recapping. We all know what went down in the world of Blizzard Entertainment last week. It’s set the gaming world on fire and even been covered by many mainstream news outlets.

I’m also not here to rehash the debate over whether Blizzard was right or wrong. Most of us agree it was wrong, and those who don’t won’t be convinced by me. I’ll say only that its effort to “fix” things by reducing the penalties on Blitzchung and the casters is a pathetic attempt to deflect negative criticism by making only a token effort toward change.

No, I’m here to mourn.

Before I go any further, I want to explain what Blizzard games have meant to me. I’m more than just a fan. Blizzard and its worlds have been a pillar of my life almost for as long as I can remember.

Warcraft: Orcs and Humans came out when I was four years old. Some of my earliest memories are of playing it, or watching my father play it. I learned to train footmen before I learned to spell my own name.

Since then I’ve played virtually everything Blizzard has put out (the first Diablo being the only exception). In elementary school, I rushed home every day to play StarCraft. When Warcraft III was released, it blew me away like no other game before or since. I own the Warcraft movie on DVD. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to Blizzard tie-in books, some of them autographed copies I won in an official fan fiction contest. A Nova Terra action figure is sitting on my desk next to me as I write this.

That barely scratches the surface of what Blizzard means to me. Being on the spectrum, I know my interests are a fundamental part of my identity, far more so than they would be for the average person. All my friends know me as “the Blood Elf” guy. If I could make myself Protoss, I would.

That’s not to say that I’ve always been a blind worshipper of Blizzard. Far from it. If you followed my personal blog back before I worked here, you’ll remember no end of rants on Blizzard’s mistakes. I hate that World of Warcraft is a subscription game, I hate that Arcturus’ story got such a weak ending in Heart of the Swarm, I hate Pathfinder achievements, I hate that Overwatch is all PvP and no story…

But for all my griping, in my heart I still loved Blizzard. There’s a vibrance and a bombast to its worlds and its stories that no one else can match. Its games always felt like home to me.

More than that, I always believed this was a company that, deep down, had its heart in the right place. The bean counters may let greed take the wheel from time to time, but I firmly believed that there was still more good than bad within Blizzard.

Chris Metzen has always been a personal hero of mine. Have you ever seen him talk about the games he makes? He is 12-year-old boy trapped in the body of a grown man, and I mean that in all of the very best ways possible. He’s nothing but childlike joy and pure idealism.

There’s Christie Golden to consider, too. She’s only been an official employee of Blizzard for a year or two, but she’s worked with the studio to produce tie-in fiction for about 20 years now. I’m Facebook friends with her, and I even hired her to do some writing coaching for me a few years back, and I can assure you she’s one of the sweetest and most fundamentally decent people you’ll ever meet.

And beyond all that, there’s the games themselves. Say what you will about Blizzard’s writing, but it’s always had clear messages. Warcraft III was about former enemies learning to forgive and work together. Legion‘s Suramar was about rehabilitating addicts by treating them with empathy and humanity. There’s always been an underlying theme of embracing the best within ourselves to fight back the darkness.

In particular, the theme of fighting to overthrow tyrannical governments has come up again and again. Suramar, Mists of Pandaria, Battle for Azeroth… The face of StarCraft is Jim Raynor, a character who spent most of the franchise fighting for freedom against oppressive regimes.

And now Blizzard has actively aided and abetted oppression by a real world dictatorship. When one of its players spoke up in favor of democracy, Blizzard helped silence his voice, at a time when democracy is under fire all over the world – all to protect business interests in mainland China, a country that makes up only a tiny fraction of its global revenue. It’s wrong, and it’s cowardly, and it goes against everything Blizzard is supposed to stand for.

Blizzard had an opportunity to make things right. If it had apologized and rolled back the bans, I would have been willing to forgive. I don’t want to be angry at it. I don’t want to write columns like this. I want to love that studio as I always have. But instead it just made a token effort at softening the punishment while doubling down on Blitzchung’s having been in the wrong by speaking up for basic human rights.

So I, a lifelong Blizzard fanatic, now feel like I must join the calls to boycott Blizzard for the sake of my own conscience.

I always knew that there were bad elements in Blizzard along with the good. I’ve seen it be greedy and make bad decisions. But I always believed that wasn’t representative of the true spirit of the company. I always believed there was a core of goodness in its corporate culture.

What’s changed is now I realize it’s the other way around. I know there’s still good in Blizzard. We’ve seen it from the employee protests. I see it in people like Christie Golden. But now I see it’s become the minority. The corruption isn’t something peripheral; the rot goes to the core.

My plan right now is to continue playing the Blizzard games I have, but I’ll not give it any more of my money. I know I could do more, but that’s enough to assuage my guilty conscience, and it would be pretty heartbreaking to abandon the worlds it’s created entirely.

I admit it does help I’d been slowly moving away from Blizzard anyway. Since Chris Metzen left — and arguably even before then — I’ve seen a shift away from games that are about stories and world-building and more towards what will make a fast buck. It already felt as if the company was moving away from building the kind of games I initially fell in love with.

Moreover, many of Blizzard’s franchises have, in my view, reached natural conclusions anyway. Legacy of the Void wrapped up the story of the StarCraft franchise pretty conclusively, and I don’t really see the need to continue. Legion felt like a natural ending for the Warcraft franchise, and with Metzen’s departure, it’s been easy for me to rationalize anything that comes after as little more than glorified fan fiction.

Diablo hurts, though. That story is definitely not finished, and I was really hungry for more. But my need for closure on that one story is not worth compromising my principles for.

I am not generally in favor of hating on developers. When there’s a major controversy, I’m usually more likely to defend developers from the mob. I think most firestorms like this are overblown. Lockboxes, free to play, DRM… I don’t really care. Indeed, I think making such a big deal out of relatively minor issues like that makes it a lot harder for developers to take us seriously when we do speak out about more serious issues.

The gaming community has become the boy who cried wolf, and now that there’s an actual wolf at the door, I worry Blizzard will find it all too easy to write this situation off as just the latest trend in a community addicted to outrage.
The gaming community has become the boy who cried wolf, and now that there’s an actual wolf at the door, I worry Blizzard will find it all too easy to write this situation off as just the latest trend in a community addicted to outrage.

I am also not someone who generally believes in taking a stand when it comes to what games I play or support. I feel it’s self-defeating. I may be angry with Funcom for how it’s treated The Secret World, but I still want to play Moons of Madness. Refusing to play one game I like because the company didn’t fully support another game I like just feels like cutting off my nose to spite my face.

But this isn’t just another controversy of the week, and it’s not just another questionable decision by a developer. Censorship of voices like Blitzchung’s is how authoritarians maintain their power, and Blizzard actively and knowingly helped them to do it. This is now about far more than gaming. It’s an admittedly small but symbolically significant battlefield in the global fight to preserve liberty. And we all need to stand up and make our voices heard.

Because, in the immortal words of one James Eugene Raynor, “Some things are just worth fighting for.”

The world of online gaming is changing. As the gray area between single-player and MMO becomes ever wider, Massively OP’s Tyler Edwards delves into this new and expanding frontier biweekly in Not So Massively, our column on battle royales, OARPGs, looter-shooters, and other multiplayer online titles that aren’t quite MMORPGs.

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butterpanda888
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butterpanda888

I’m gonna be honest, I’m still gonna play Blizzard games. While I don’t like what happened, and I am against censorship, I play games to escape the troubles of the world and enjoy a bit of fantasy. If you play games to get involved with the politics of corporations, then that’s fine. You do you. But Blizzard didn’t kill anybody, they didn’t drown any puppies, they didn’t commit any atrocities. They tried to appease one audience and the other audience got pissed off. But you know what? Blizzard is a company. Companies try and make money. And I honestly don’t think they “sold their souls.” I think they effed up. And seeing as Blizzard is run by humans and not a money-grabbing AI, that is allowed to happen. Did Blizzard overreact with the punishment? I’d say so. But I’d also say Blitzchung did break their policy. “Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute.” He said something controversial, and while I agree with Blitzchung, I can’t help but say yeah he effed up too. You wanna spread your message fine, but every action has consequences and while I believe his consequences were extreme, Blizzard isn’t solely in the wrong. Now what they should have done is given him a warning, and if they were to ban him for a time I’d say a week at most. But you know what, I love World of Warcraft. It is in my top 5 MMO. I don’t play it much anymore, but Overwatch is awesome and does have a very diverse cast of characters. The Blizzard I love isn’t dead it just effed up, which in this case should not be a reason to right it off entirely. There is a whole thread on reddit called tifu which stands for today I f****d up. That page is proof that humans eff up. And while Blizzard is a big name in gaming and attracts lots of attention, it is still run by humans who still eff up. And you know what? If they announce a WoW expansion or Diablo 4 at Blizzcon I will purchase those games the moment I can. Hell if they announce a new expansion for WoW coming next year, I will re-up my sub the moment it is announced. I consider myself an activist, and people may read this and say that’s BS but they don’t know me and they don’t know my story. As I said earlier, I play games to escape the hardships of reality and WoW is a fun escape for me. I might not even be here today if not for WoW. That said I’m not a loyalist, I just have the ability to forgive and move on. I’m Buddhist and as Buddha said “Holding on to anger is like holding onto a hot coal:only you will get burned.”

TL;DR: Blizz effed up, but everyone is freaking out, and I think you should either forgive or leave open the possibility of forgiveness. Protest if you will but don’t let anger blind you. If you love WoW, Diablo, Overwatch, Hearthstone, HotS, Starcraft, etc. then don’t let a little negativity ruin something that means a lot for you.

Alyn
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Alyn

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elenie

Thank you for this article (and to MOP for all the coverage on this).

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Steven Williams

Continuing to support/defend Blizzard right now only really works if you have tunnel vision. Or give yourself tunnel vision.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Or loving their games and not caring about political shitstorm

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Steven Williams

Yeah. Tunnel vision.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Isnt your perspective a tunnel vision also? I mean you’re focused on just one thing about Blizzard atm

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Steven Williams

I’m not ignoring the positive things. Classic was a big success. I love Overwatch’s amazing diverse cast. The cutscenes in WoW’s newest expansion were amazing to watch my friend experience. The new races look pretty great. What Blizzard did just recently is unforgivable.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Unforgivable for you. Easily forgivable for others. People have different priorities in life

And many people are not ignoring what happened also. Its just not THAT important for them to throw away their fun in Blizzard games

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Steven Williams

You’re right. Acknowledging it, not caring about it, and defending it/decrying the push-back against it/repeatedly bemoaning about how much you don’t care about it in the comments section of an article lambasting the company about the thing that happened is way worse than just having tunnel vision.

Then again, what am I doing? I gotta go to bed. Have a good night.

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Oleg Chebeneev

And from my perspective you overcriticize Blizzard and treat it like they did something terribly evil while they didnt really.

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Anton Mochalin

Honestly I just don’t undestand why you call what Blizzard did “unforgivable”. The company was put into that position where regardless of what they do someone would dislike it (and why do you think your opinion that Hong Kong protesters are good should be more important for Blizzard than the opinion of half of China supporting their government which BTW only asks from Hong Kong to extradite Chinese citizens when they break Chinese law) and they were put into that position against their will and how could you predict when organizing the tournament that someone would decide to make a political PR scandal out of it? A lot of people here say the tournament winner was punished too hard but I guess on some Chinese forums people say he should be banned from Hearthstone forever – again I guess you think your opinion is right and theirs is wrong but the whole idea of politics is that there are different conflicting interests, positions and opinions so why should Blizzard pick a side in that? If game companies begin competing on political stances instead of competing on the quality and fun in their games we would have worse games from totally politically correct companies fighting global warming by only operating their servers for one hour a day and the tournament streams would consist of players expressing their political views and the public voting for them to determine the winner.

AshaneF
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AshaneF

When you say why should Blizzard take a side, that’s exactly what the author is implying as well.

Blizzard could have simply let the player say what they wanted. Not made a comment either way, and *none of this* would have blown up. Maybe next time a pro chinese player wins and comments on it the other way. Who knows.

What Blizzard did do was pick a political side. They picked a side of a inherently evil goverment, that has brainwashed its citizens, murdered them in numbers uncountable, and done unspeakably evil things to those who it deems unworthy.

The very act of telling a independent player they were WRONG to comment is taking a side, period.

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GreatOogly

I’d call it indolence and self-indulgence, personally. Morality isn’t a requirement, and the freedom of speech applies both ways. People are free to only care for themselves and put their fingers in their ears rather do actual research on any topic to understand this this is bigger than Blizzard, and just why this is in international incident to begin with. Then depending on the side of the gate and circumstances, form their opinions.

In some cases, some are required to by their doctors due to their blood pressure or old age.

Maybe someone already did their time in past and just want to retire and do what they enjoy doing; already sacrificed enough in their life and they just don’t want to do it anymore.

But that doesn’t mean that quote “The only thing necessary for the victory of Evil is for Good Men to do nothing.”

If you’re a good person and you stand up, then good on you.

The U.S. has just made a stand with a Unanimous house vote — that is every single Democrat and Republican voted yes — condemning the human rights violations of China, their violations of their commitments and pledges when they had Hong Kong returned to them that allowed for special trade agreements and a host of other things. Including but not limited to these same Republicans and Democrats condemning companies such as the NBA and Blizzard, as well China’s president saying that he will break the bones and crush the bodies of all dissidents to dust. Which is par for the course as they use U.S. technology to force a social credit system and surveillance whereby everyone is always tracked and requires a facial scan to go on the internet, with everything needing approval. To say nothing of people disappearing into the night, people of religion being sent to camps for “reeducation” and insurmountable claims of torture. As well as the declaration of President for Life, which sparked outrage from the Chinese College students and youth many years ago.

“Look at the Chinese Forums at what they say.”

When I see that, I am just reminded that everything is so restricted and enforced — any dissidents are deleted and re-educated. If you post a lot praising the government, then you are given social credit score, which means you are able to live a better life. Over time, it becomes a self-fulfilling system of brain wash.

It that light, I can’t help but wonder how the person in question even remembers the passwords to their computer, much less where keys are located. But hey, maybe they just think they know what’s up. Perhaps they’re aware of it and just want to speak rhetorically. May facial recognition software to get on a computer would be a big help. But I’d guess that programs that remind people of their passwords are the key here.

Perhaps their fanboyism is just blinding them to logic — though the same could be said with patriotism or a believer of human rights letting their emotions in.

But either way, one would have a valid point in needing to hate a lot of companies and not just Blizzard or the others that were brought into this. Would be hypocritical otherwise. They stood with a dictatorship that performed the above. It’s in the eye of the beholder if that is evil or not. Though money is the root of it, I hear.

Let’s not forget that many of our every day products come from China, as well. Or have moved all around the world for finishes. Despite most of their technology and IPs being stolen.

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Anton Mochalin

It’s very easy to be one of “good people” and stand for Hong Kong in MassivelyOP comments section. Let me tell you this – as someone who was fined by a court a month ago for taking part in a street riot against an authoritarian regime manipulatung an election I don’t see anything relevant to real fight for freedom and human rights in what you say and in this whole discussion in general. The discussion isn’t useless however because we get acquainted with different points of view on what’s considered important by public opinion and learn to express and explain our views. But there’s nothing “ethical” in particular in all this discussion and in what that winner guy did. He’s just a young guy who tested the borders of what’s allowed and we’re just talking. Nothing bad but nothing good as well, just life going on.

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GreatOogly

In this discussion? No. In fact, I gave reasons as to why one wouldn’t want and upheld that people have a right to express their own viewpoints. Though with things regarding Blizzard, it is a moral stance if one decides to no longer partake in anything that company takes. Not one where you risk your life, but one the common person can do. With the the noise about protests at Blizzcon, and an international organization proclaiming they are going to make an example of them, one could find themselves on a very complicated side.

On the one hand, Blizzard does deserve a lot of the flak they’re getting. On the other, being the enemy of Senators whereby they’re unanimously against you, in addition to international organizations being against you, is a bit much. In that light it’s good to say they’re being made into more of a villain than they are. Boycotts, for sure, are called for by many. But being a part of an international incident isn’t great.

Though if you take a look at the future outcome:

If the protests fail, then that is that. Companies know there will be no ramifications. The very future of these things will be decided. At that point only governments getting involved could make a difference.

It is literally morals and human rights versus what could be someone’s favorite game developer. It sucks for Blizzard, but that’s the reality of the situation. To pick one, you have what might be the future of human rights on your hands. To pick the other, you have Diablo IV and Blizzcon.

Which is a significant choice for an average person. Do they sacrifice what they love for the greater good or not? Perhaps even join the Blizzcon protest as their part, but still play games. A bit hypocritical, but still may fit their moral compass.

As someone that got in trouble for taking a stand, you may well have done your part. It is tiresome, sometimes, to do what many would consider to be the right thing. Indeed, it certainly means more if you risked something by doing it.

Aside from that, I apologized if I ranted and or became a little impassioned and said anything that may have offended you or questioned your moral stance, having been someone who stood up when it counts.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

I feel more or less the same. Can’t remember the exact order but I think my first Blizz game was Rock ‘n Roll Racing, then Lost Vikings, but missed the first two WC, playing only Diablo and SC, until WC3 came out. Since then I’ve played all of their games (chased a copy of the first two WC too), and my next purchase would be the WC3 remake… until this happened.

I wasn’t upset with D3 auction house. I wasn’t upset with Cataclysm and other expacs. I wasn’t upset with Overwatch lootboxes. I wasn’t upset with Immortal (I was even planning playing it on commute). Now this… this is way beyond messed up and I can’t support them anymore.

Luckily we live in a time of many indies making great games everywhere, so we don’t need to support a AAA studio anymore if we don’t want to. We can just ignore a game, and focus on all the others. It’s not like we have the time to play all of them anyway, so I’ll always pick the ethical choice when available.

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Anthony Clark

The Blizzard of old is dead. Gone. This began when it was bought by Vivendi. Then when Activision got it things got worse. The old guard has long left. You can tell how it’s new people by their new products not being what they use to. That’s why WoW Classic was needed. It’s why private servers existed. Not to avoid paying, but to be able to play something that was good once again.

The WoW storyline has gone off into nothing now. A grand chance for a three faction system like the glory days of DAoC, and they let it pass them by to return to the constant old war.

The days of my youth have passed. So have the glory days of Blizzard I fear.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Blizzard will be dead for me when they stop making great games and ruin existing great games. I honestly couldnt care less about recent events. China is their big customer so OF COURSE they wanna try to please them, nothing surprising about it.

Also people will forget and noone will talk about this whole “issue” in few months.

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Anton Mochalin

The West cannot do anything with China so it attacks Blizzard and the like forgetting that Blizzard’s games are actually a part of the West’s soft power over China – and that soft power is what makes us hope Chinese will choose a more liberal regime someday.

Yangers
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Yangers

Chinese will choose a more liberal regime someday.

Good luck with that.

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Bruno Brito

The West cannot do anything with China so it attacks Blizzard and the like forgetting that Blizzard’s games are actually a part of the West’s soft power over China – and that soft power is what makes us hope Chinese will choose a more liberal regime someday.

This naive notion of yours is actually pretty cute.

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Anton Mochalin

Without clarification what you said looks like just a personal attack motivated by lack of valid arguments. So could you please clarify what’s wrong with what I said?

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GreatOogly

I’ll respond for him:

To put it simply:

China “appropriates” most of its technology and IP. The Blizzard World Themepark in China was not endorsed by them and it wasn’t even ran by them. Intellectual property is copied code by code — or entire videos are taken — edited to fit their viewpoints (nowadays) and then redistributed.

The only way for companies to get any money from them is to partner with an approved Chinese partner for the purposes of selling it. At that point and for all intents and purposes, China owns the IP in their sphere of influence. They then use it to censor everything that needs censoring and implement propaganda if necessary.

They have recently passed a few base laws that try and protect intellectual property theft after decades of doing it and profiting from it. But it is still a far cry from what is considered appropriate, and if companies dissent in any way, they could potentially find themselves banned, while their possession could still theoretically be used without them getting any money.

This is in combination with their social credit system and technology from the U.S. to implement facial scans before you’re allowed to access your phone or internet (to be implemented in 2020). The social credit system being that if you say good things on their internet about the government, and you always agree with the Government, then your score will rise and your way of life could improved. There is also the issue of people disappearing into the night, and people of religious belief being re-educated in camps to fit in with their values. Which China threatened people who spoke out against such — just as their President threatened that any dissidents will have their bones broken and bodies crushed to dust.

Add to this, the deletion of any post that isn’t approved, and you only see positive things about government and their handling of situations like Hong Kong. Which leads itself to the citizenry brainwashing themselves. We were actually warned about this by Chinese University Students years ago when China’s president made himself President for life and there were mass protests that people just ignored until those students just disappeared.

It’s so bad that there are even Chinese representatives on U.S. soil and in U.S. companies dictating what they can and cannot say or do in videos or movies (such as Hollywood). Therefore, companies ignore huge human rights red flags for a quick buck, which wasn’t a problem until companies like the NBA and Blizzard were put into a position to make a choice. Which made it a huge international incident whereby recently every single Democrat and Republican unanimously condemned violations in Honk Kong that were a part of a deal to give them special trading rights, as well as express disappointment in the NBA and Activision Blizzard.

When you have every single Democrat and Republican working together, then you know the issue is serious.

Absolutely no power is had — neither soft or otherwise — as China has it all and they’ll just take what IPs and technology they want, and implement propaganda in each piece while taking out anything that could “influence” it to civil rights.

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Anton Mochalin

Hmm but Blizzard is still doing that out of commercial interest and doesn’t give any intellectual property except its own to Chinese and at least expects (or already gets) some return on investment in China operations. And by soft power I surely didn’t mean putting “pro-freedom” propaganda in games – it’s just quite possible that China at some moment hits the limit of growth and/or its population gets enough income and free time to be interested in civil rights etc and as they know from playing Blizzard games or watching Disney movies that Western people aren’t exactly people with dog heads eating children for breakfast maybe some of them will turn to Western tradition in social sciences and political practices for some ideas on how to improve their society. I live under authoritarian regime so believe me videogames are really a part of soft power which makes Western values more accessible for non-Westerners – not because they promote/embody those values but simply they’re part of the same culture. And every single authoritarian/totalitarian regime in the world has to deal in one or another way with that power.

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GreatOogly

To put it like that, it’s a good hope to have. Though that would be a hope for their future leaders, as their masses are systematically being led to believe things (including the dissension is not allowed). Plus entertainment is indeed good to have when oppressed, even if it is altered to suit a regime.

But seems like it won’t happen before 2050 as they have economic plans up until then that are set in stone. Which is why they are so angry when someone imposes tarrifs or has trade wars with them.

If anything, the fact that entertainment comes from the west may help curtail hostilities. As goods from foreign places are in high demand and may cause civil unrest if they’re denied.

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Anton Mochalin

But seems like it won’t happen before 2050 as they have economic plans up until them that are set in stone.

Economic growth is already slowing down in China because they’ve almost lost their main competitive advantage – cheap labor. So they maybe have plans but in fact even upcoming world economy recession can hit them quite hard. Their financial system is quite unstable and this isn’t noticed much because their government basically pumps money into it. But this is done at the expense of their population which for now doesn’t protest but this can change during world recession resulting in a sharp drop in their growth and their middle class getting their life strategies ruined. And re. entertainment – people in Soviet Union were getting acquainted with the Western culture through the rock-n-roll bands like The Beatles and such many of which were ironically quite leftist and/or experimenting with Eastern cultural influences like yoga and Zen etc. The content isn’t important, breaking ideological stereotypes about the world is. One day you win in Chinese tournament and the next day you go to world tournament and you go to uncensored internet in the hotel and google Tiananmen Square someone in a bar mentioned to you.

Yangers
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Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

I honestly couldnt care less about recent events.

The millions dead, or sent to re-education camps, probably say fuck you.

And I’m not excusing my french.

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Oleg Chebeneev

By recent events I meant Blizzard’s ban of caster for whatever reasons. Also what dead millions ure talking about and how exactly Blizzard is to blame for that?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

“China is their big customer”

The Asia-Pacific region makes up 12% of Blizzard’s revenues, with China being only a fraction of that. We’re their big customer, actually. How many times y’all gonna parrot China’s talking points without even looking it up?

Dantos
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Dantos

Right now yes, but China is the largest opportunity for growth for many western companies of all walks. The western market is tapped out in terms of rapid growth until a new technological revolution akin to the internet comes around.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

This was absolutely still true about 5 years ago. Not so much atm.

Dantos
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Dantos

As far as production and export yes, but consumer spending is still higher than the world average which is driving most of these decisions by US companies, nevermind the tech sectors that are being subsidized by the chinese government, especially in the biotech field which american companies are selling goods to.

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Bruno Brito

What China is, is POTENTIAL. Except that Blizzard failed every single time to get a foothold there.

We’re not talking about China as a potential overall, we’re talking about BLIZZARD. And for them, it’s 10% tops.

What i’m sure it happened is: Activision been breathing on Blizzard’s neck for a while now, because of how underperforming their games have been. Some suit moron thought that this would get them in trouble with Chinese politics, and they took the more drastic approach so they could appease the China Overlords, and keep their games rolling there without losing that potential profit.

Except, again, Blizzard failed again and again to get a foothold there. It’s clear that Activision wants to mainly insert itself into Mobile ( it’s huge in the east, and them buying the King guy says quite a lot ), and yet, they fail, because they can’t follow the Mobile trend for shit.

So, this is literally Blizzard being boycotted because their detachment with their own playerbase put them into this shitty crossroads. And they double down, because they honestly think that fulfilling a eastern good-company ruleset will make China open their palace doors for them, and they pretend they didn’t had to gut their games to fill within China standards of appearance and politics.

All for 10% profit and the promise that MAYBE, against all their history, they can make more than that.

For fucks sake. Enough already.

Dantos
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Dantos

Shareholders want growth, they want alot of it. If there is no growth, there is no reason to own the stock and people begin to sell and the stock devalues. China is the largest potential place for significant growth, perhaps the last place outside of a true world-changing innovation. China is a mandate from the shareholders, the ones who really call the shots.

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Anton Mochalin

For fucks sake. Enough already.

Enough of what?

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Greaterdivinity

That’s Activision-Blizzard revenue, no? Because Activision is going to skew that heavily given how few of their games release there.

I imagine it’s much higher for Blizzard (I’d guess around double that, closer to 25%) so the financial calculus for them is a bit different.

Though, this isn’t just about “now” as they have to consider stock value. It’s also about the future and the potential for more growth in the market, especially with Diablo: Immortal being developed there, and while losing access to the market might not hit super hard NOW, it would very likely tank their stock value as investors panic.

I hate needing to consider the stock-market voodoo when thinking about stuff like this -_-

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Utakata

My bet this will not be forgotten until it’s fully walked back. And even then, it will not be forgotten there after.

You know, there are even likely many who still remember the RealID fiasco…you know, Blizz’s other big blunder? I am sure you haven’t forgotten that either, unless you have been living under a rock. To which I admit, I’ve mostly forgotten all the trolling apologists then who parroted, “People will forget and noone will talk about this whole ‘issue’ in few months.” Noone really remembers them anymore…

…but getting back to your first “point”. I don’t really care that you couldn’t really “care” less. As I am sure there are many who wish people didn’t care about this, including Blizz’s upper management. /shrug

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Anton Mochalin

Hmm I’ve never heard about RealID… Could it be that “people” have really forgot about that or that “fiasco” wasn’t really relevant to anything? Does it really matter now? Has it diminished WoW Classic sales? Retail WoW maybe? Why that guy on last Blizzcon asking about Diablo Immortal didn’t ask about RealID instead? Because you know creating a mobile game in Diablo franchise seems less scandalous/frustrating that anything deserving the word “fiasco” (will now go and google that RealID thing, maybe it’s even fun, never heard about it, glad you mentioned)

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

People STILL hold a grudge against Funcom for a less-than-stellar launch of Anarchy Online a decade ago.

Gamers are nothing if not tenacious with long memories.

butterpanda888
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butterpanda888

I firmly believe that gamers as a whole are NEVER happy. It saddens me, because I’m an optimist and I love the gaming community.

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Steven Williams

I always really enjoy reading your opinions on this site. But at a certain point, feigning ignorance for “recent events” comes off as just ignorant. We can’t ignore the company’s relation with China and by proxy, the industry’s relationship to China. This isn’t just a guy getting banned.

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hooby _

It’s not that one event. Blizzard changed gradually.

Old Blizzard was free of corporate greed and happy to invest in long term player satisfaction, even if that meant foregoing short term financial gain.

The massive growth WoW caused changed them. Being sold multiple times changed them. Dissolving Blizzard North changed them. Merging with Activision changed them.

Now they are as cut-throat corporate as all those others out there. That didn’t happen over night.

But they still have many loyal fans who turn a blind eye to most of this. It takes a really huge mess to open peoples eyes.

MrEllis
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MrEllis

But, money. Lots of money.

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Ilias Tasios

There was no need for a merge with activision, their games always had extremely high sales but they decided they wanted more money !

They lost their identity and now they produce generic products.

I would prefer them to stay an indie studio with the old bunch of people behind blizzard like chris metzen.

Gems : Warcraft series & wow, diablo 1+2, starcraft 1+2

Mediocre: diablo 3 after the expansion , all the latest wow expansion after burning crusade, starcraft 2 expansions, Hearthstone

Trash :HoS , Overwatch.

If the trend continues i don t see them produce any more quality products with the spark blizzard was known for simply because almost no one from the old days work there anymore.

” You think you do but you don t ” ……