Bloomberg takes a look at the growing presence of ‘Blizzard 2.0’

    
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Dreamy.

By this point everyone has had time to read and analyze that lengthy piece on IGN about Blizzard as a company in turmoil, wracked by changes in leadership and corporate culture over time. But what about the growing force of developers who have left? A new piece on Bloomberg takes a look at what is is referring to as “Blizzard 2.0,” the slew of studios made up of former developers for the company who have elected to form new studios following their departures.

The piece paints these teams as being formed of people wanting to make the games that Blizzard is no longer willing to make, characterizing both the company and its corporate overlords as being uninterested in games that are simply successful rather than being ongoing monetization streams. Of course, the piece is also quick to temper any potential expectations by noting that it is unlikely this coalition of developers will ultimately be as successful as the original venture; nevertheless, it’s an interesting look at the early stages of a post-Blizzard career for several prominent names from the company.

Source: Bloomberg; thanks to jwillo for the tip!
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Adam Russell

“..uninterested in games that are simply successful rather than being ongoing monetization streams.”

This is confusing. How can a game be successful if it isnt making money? Wildly popular with the people that love free stuff? Or is “ongoing monetization streams” a euphemism for something other that simply turning a profit?

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

Wildly Popular Game: Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. The only ongoing monetization it has is rereleases and official merch. Same with every main series Pokemon Game, most Nintendo Games, a chunk of non-MMO Final Fantasy games, and more.

“Ongoing monetization streams” would be subscriptions and cash shops, the latter of which often feels like it slowly turns a game into a digital casino where the chips can’t even be turned in for cash, you’re just paying sometimes hundreds of dollars for pixels that disappear when the game turns off the lights.

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David Goodman

I think i’ll hold off my impressions until I see a product from them. While it is far from the biggest problem plaguing the AAA game scene (and Blizzard in particular), there’s a lot of issues with venerating specific developers in a company. No one developer does everything (indies excluded, obviously), and it downplays all the great work that they’ve done when everyone piles praise on specific individuals.

Look, any good anthill needs worker drones. (not intended as an insult, bear with me.) You need people who can IMPLEMENT the vision of the creative head. When I hear that companies are being created that are FULL of Named Individuals, my first thought is that it’s going to be a trainwreck because too many different Creative Visions are going to clash.

Lighthope
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Lighthope

Wasn’t Wildstar made by Blizzard 2.0? How did that turn out?

Blizzard may not be making an MMO that people enjoy playing anymore, but it seems some of these “2.0” developers are living in a past that people also don’t enjoy playing anymore.

FF14 seems to have found at least some middle ground, even understanding and working into their formula that people will quit for a time.

I don’t know the solution. Maybe there isn’t one anymore. Maybe the days of 12 million subscribers are over.

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Bruno Brito

Most of Wildstar issues were marketing, not development. While the game was marketed and yes, it focused a bit too much on the hardcore raiders, the lateral systems of that game were great. Questing was good, combat was passable, PvP was fun, housing was really good. The 2 weak spots i remember from WS were crafting and paths.

But it was MARKETED terribly and never overcame it.

Lighthope
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Lighthope

I don’t know. I recall a lot of people trying it and abandoning it. The marketing was toward the hardcore raiders, but that was because the game was toward the hardcore raiders. That’s not a marketing issue. That’s a development issue.

Sure, once they realized that the hardcores really were the 1-percenters they opened up the game to more casual play, but by then the damage was done and the ship was already underwater.

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Bruno Brito

I don’t know. I recall a lot of people trying it and abandoning it. The marketing was toward the hardcore raiders, but that was because the game was toward the hardcore raiders. That’s not a marketing issue. That’s a development issue.

That’s the point: It wasn’t. Wildstar shipped with lateral systems for casual. Crafting was passable, questing was easy, soloing also was, it had housing, it had catch-up systems.

But it had the PERCEPTION it was hardcore because it was marketed to the wrong crowd. Wildstar’s issues were perception issues, but the only hard thing about Wildstar was attuning and the heroic grind for raiding. Other than that, the entire game was accessible.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

Think there’s a typo in there, as the game was very much not marketed to hardcores but general gamers. Once it became apparent that all the crafting, exploring, and other secondary systems were, um, secondary and not the primary way one could play the game, we were basically left with something aking to WoW 2.0 (I still leave that crown to Rift, which had really cool ability mechanics).

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Aaron Weddle

the marketing was bad.. but not the reason i will give them a pass for the questing housing and Story But the combat system was passing stupid and looking at Ludacris i didn’t like it in guild wars 2 I didn’t want it in WS. an MMO should have hot bars and abilities to use. not like ESO with combat requiring aiming the only game that’s really worked for me on in dungeons and dragons online and the only reasons it’s worked is Because you can turn it OFF.

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Bruno Brito

only game that’s really worked for me on in dungeons and dragons online and the only reasons it’s worked is Because you can turn it OFF.

Ok, and why do i care about what works for you? Not even what i’m talking about.

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Dankey Kang

WildStar’s marketing was actually really good. I remember watching all those little mini-movies and getting so hyped for the game. Everything seemed so awesome, 40v40 battlegrounds (just like AV), raids and dungeons with crazy mechanics, wacky and wild characters in some crazy space-cowboy setting on an alien planet. At the time it seemed like nothing could go wrong.

The problem was the difficulty and inaccessibility. MMOs had evolved to be games where every player is welcome and catered for, and where most content is accessible for all. WildStar however put most of its eggs in the hardcore basket and grossly overestimated the audience it would attract. The game made you jump through hoops to do anything at endgame and the developers scoffed at the idea of making easy mode dungeons for new players. Turns out while people said they wanted Hardcore, they actually didn’t.

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Bruno Brito

WildStar’s marketing was actually really good. I remember watching all those little mini-movies and getting so hyped for the game. Everything seemed so awesome, 40v40 battlegrounds (just like AV), raids and dungeons with crazy mechanics, wacky and wild characters in some crazy space-cowboy setting on an alien planet. At the time it seemed like nothing could go wrong.

The ‘early’ marketing was great. The dev and marketing team starting to cater to hardcore wasn’t. It was clear from the early marketing that they had a different direction, to be more open ended and general with game design.

The problem was the difficulty and inaccessibility. MMOs had evolved to be games where every player is welcome and catered for, and where most content is accessible for all. WildStar however put most of its eggs in the hardcore basket and grossly overestimated the audience it would attract. The game made you jump through hoops to do anything at endgame and the developers scoffed at the idea of making easy mode dungeons for new players. Turns out while people said they wanted Hardcore, they actually didn’t.

Which if i recall correctly happened after launch because the execs were misguided. Wildstar had all the apparatus to support casual experiences to a T. The issue was that it was trying to attract the wrong crowd thinking it would bring the WoW pie. It didn’t.

Be as it may, Wildstar is proof that most devs aren’t “creativeless” anymore, they’re just hamstrung by bad decisionmaking. Which is the case at Blizzard too, with a small lead-dev team taking bad decisions. I’m sure that most free-devs now will be able to expand themselves once more.

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Dug From The Earth

Blizzard 2.0 (ie the teams made up of ex-blizz folks) only matters if they can actually put out fun, quality games.

So far its too early to tell, and too dangerous to hope

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Arktouros

I’ve never really been that personally attached to specific developers and time has only reinforced that viewpoint. What I’m attached to is products and how well those products are supported and even then pretty loosely. If they make a good game I’m interested in I’ll play it. That goes for “dead” Blizzard or “new” Blizzard or any variations in between.

There will always be more video games and more developers making them. Oh wow Witcher 3, CDPR can do no wrong. Oh no Cyberpunk, CDPR you are the devil and you have made a living hell. Nothing is really all that irreplaceable.

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Dankey Kang

Making a great game is like baking a nice cake, you need all the right ingredients. You can’t just take a few seasoned developers and expect them to capture lightning in a bottle once more, recent history has shown us time and time again. (Carbine, Ion Storm, Boss Key etc.. etc..)

Time to just face it, Blizzard is gone and it’s not coming back. The future belongs to those with the drive and creativity to innovate.

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SmiteDoctor

Really you need talented young Devs with vision. The most recent wasn’t young per say but he had worked his way up through Bethesda from Game Tester in the 90s to working on Oblivion in QA, to badgering Todd constantly about making ESO, to the point Todd caved and gave a novice director with vision; granted he stumbled but his team hit Lightening in a Bottle with One Tamriel.

I think these old school Devs while having a wealth of Wisdom are basically just working on 2.0 versions of their original ideas such as Camelot Unchained, or what ever they’re calling Vanguard 2 Electric Boogaloo.

Hell Kern was a nobody when he started working on WoW, he just knew he liked EQ and tried to take WC3 make it an EQ Clone while adding Quests to hide the grind (that was revolutionary at the time).

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Dankey Kang

Camelot unchained is one of those games that I feel is in massive danger of being outdated before it’s even released. Kind of a shame because if we had a high quality RvR game 12 years ago, it could have been huge, but nothing is gonna drag the PvP masses away from Fortnite/LoL/CS:GO nowdays.

I feel like the next big MMO needs to be a community driven one. Something like Valheim, but with thousands of players on a world and where player creativity is what fuels the growth of the game instead of 100 developers in an office somewhere. A game where player content is sanctioned and introduced into the game officially (like TF2 maps were). This way they could basically have players create the weapons/armour/dungeons/enemies and the game world would evolve in the way the players want it to.

Leo
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Leo

I see that with movies. Fans will be like ‘oh it has this director, so it will be great’ when making something this big takes many things and people coming together. Marvel’s Avengers is a game that had some talented and proven studios behind it but most people don’t even remember that that game exists.

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Aaron Weddle

there is a fundamental lack of originality in game design A creativity crisis fueled by terrified executives clinging to the past like rats to the debris of a sinking ship

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SmiteDoctor

,

blizzcon2022.jpg
Lighthope
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Lighthope

My uncle did that box art. There’s my Lame Claim To Fame. (With apologies to Weird Al Yankovic.)

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Bryan Correll

Well, the box art is, by far, the best thing about the game.

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Bruno Brito

by noting that it is unlikely this coalition of developers will ultimately be as successful as the original venture

Good.

Too much success made Blizzard stale, sterile and full of contempt. Let’s go back to niche budgets and new ideas.

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SmiteDoctor

It’s a shame, I hope Diablo 4 turns out fine at least.

If not I’m sure Crate will make a decent Grimdawn 2 in another 5 years.

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_a4

I played through Grim Dawn and it was very forgettable, both in terms of gameplay, visuals and story. I think it was in 2020 when I played through it and the last content did not even conclude the story, even if it’s now finished, I won’t bother coming back to that game, because at the end I was hoping that I will not be playing it much longer.

And Diablo 4 will be mediocre at best, which put it alongside Diablo 3 – it may see playing and some success, but it won’t be what real Diablo players want. The fact that it won’t have offline single player mode is a massive kick in the nuts.