Thursday was a day like no other I can remember for quite some time, because by the end of it, I was ready to quit Warcraft for good. Ironically my mindset had nothing at all to do with the way I’d been personally treated, despite the fact that mansplaining was, by late in the evening, at almost unprecedented levels. My anger was incandescent and surprisingly directed at a series of responses to a blog post from Ion Hazzikostas where, in not so many words, he admitted that the whole ‘AP earning/grinding is unfair’ argument was, amazingly, exactly that. I’ve read that blog now a number of times and the word ‘mistake’ appears once, whilst at absolutely no point do the words ‘sorry’ or ‘apologise’ get used at all. This is a document that might accept culpability for a design flaw, but it extends no sympathy or understanding to the large number of people who didn’t just take the time to point this out, but were told they were seeing a problem that simply did not exist.


Of course, in corporate culture America, an admission of guilt is just asking for a lawsuit. Forget that you mucked stuff up and caused loads of people grief, because if you admit as much it is undoubtedly inevitable that someone’s going to sue you, and then… I had this discussion with some Twitter friends yesterday, and it pretty much broke my heart even further. The future now, such as it stands, is that NOBODY will ever be prepared to admit they’re wrong because of the financial implications of doing so. Forget how much good could be generated by admitting failure, because all that is really considered as significant or important is what turns up in your financial three month end.

My guilt that I was one of those who’d belittled this suggestion that AP was borked was one reason I felt awful on Thursday night, but that was nothing compared to the disbelief that a blog had been decided to announce the issue. The COMPANY isn’t happy at how it worked out? This will be the same group of people who watched a not unsubstantive number players complain about potential issues for weeks before many major Warcraft Mythic Guilds (full of Company unpaid play testers) imploded. They’re not happy now because they’ve realised that by producing this grind, it’s forced players to find the fastest way to negate it… honestly, this is a surprise to you? Have you been so fixated on one issue that you’ve failed to grasp that without high end progress, NOBODY moves forward? 

I wrote my article on the destruction of Hardcore Raiding on Wednesday because I could see a reckoning coming well before the Devs chose to act. What now stuns and saddens me is that knowing all this, nobody thought to say sorry out loud for what had happened. Sure, you can read this blog one if you so desire, but I’d rather hear the words from the mouths of the people concerned.


The biggest single problem, without exception when I was a Raiding GM, was people being able to admit they’d made mistakes. It was never about blaming individuals, and I made sure I went to great lengths to explain on numerous occasions that the only reason you ask people to understand blame is so they can learn to accept the fact that it’s a normal part of any learning process. It goes back to the point made in the first Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ movie: we fall, so we can learn to pick ourselves up again. Except, in Warcraft, many players never fall or fail. It is a place where arrogance, perfection and an almost conditioned ability to blame anyone but themselves is what drives the motivation of far too many individuals. I have to feel, after watching 12 years of dudes designing this game, that maybe if there were more empathetic individuals at the senior design level, someone wouldn’t have a problem apologising when the Company fucks up. It’s no longer a weakness to show your fallibility, but a strength. Otherwise, you end up looking like that Orange Twat in the White house.


I know it means little or nothing, but I’d like to apologise to anyone I’ve belittled or upset with my stance on this in the past couple of weeks. I’m also truly sorry that I allowed myself not to see the bigger picture. Despite the protestations of some that this acknowledgement and change will somehow cheapen the entire experience? It doesn’t really do that much of anything at all, except stop players from thinking that all you need to cap out a weapon is 1000+ Maw of Souls runs. Sure, it will reduce gaps for the high end raiders, but as was pointed out to me yesterday, it means little or nothing as a casual player. This is, at least in a certain light, a concession and quite possibly an admission of culpability. However, it remains a long way from what it ought to be.

I’d expected a great deal better from the new Lead of the Warcraft Development team.

4 thoughts on “The Last Time

  1. In my eyes it has always been there. Not just at the company level, but through the entire player base. Years ago I made a choice to say something and at the time and under the circumstances I thought it was right. Looking back even as soon as 6 months later, I saw the problem. But by then there was nothing that could be done.

    Honestly? The only reason it even got a blue post at all is because of who it impacted. We all have done it. Seeing comments that something is broken, replies of it’s not broken, people are the problem. And yes they are. Not only in the game but those outside designing, or making choices.

    Years ago Honda made the Del Sol. One of the colors was a horrible green. Marketing and research said it would be a hot seller. Dealers could not move them. So the answer, you can only order so many red ones, for a specific proportion of green. Sell them at a loss. We don’t care. We have to much inventory. In gaming they are designing and planning years ahead. No one told the top raiders to max out AP. That was their choice based on seeing a 0.5% increase or more. Going into Legion I saw all of the planned out courses to max your weapon.

    I don’t know where I am really going with this except to say we all are at fault at one point or another. I have apologized to a few folks that had advised me not to do something. I was wrong, but I had let the opinions of others sway my choice. The problem is what ended up possibly hurting a few, may have helped even more. We cannot go back in time with the knowledge we have today. All we can do is try to do better in the future.


  2. I will be honest, I was a bit hesitant to comment about this as I am not currently playing and I used to get mightily pissed off about people complaining about the game that are not currently playing. I do think this is more of a communication and moral issue rather than a gameplay one though, so I am going to break my own rule and talk about it.

    I was very disappointed when this blog post came out the other night UK time, for two reasons. It is very poor to have a sub-set of our player base take on the job of lab rats, if you are not sure if something is going to work or not, then it should be solved in-house by your QA team. If you have any doubts, it should not go live, end of story.

    This really has been one of the poorest design decisions I have seen since I started playing in 2005. You said when people got to 54 points you could see there was a problem. Did you not think when certain people were flying through the 30s and 40s, that something may have been wrong here, come on you have all the data. This should have been hotfixed way before it was. The idea in Legion was to cut out the power disparity in PVE and PVP, so really 10% stronger for some raiders is just abject negligence.

    So we know it went wrong and you identified why it went wrong and you are belatedly fixing it, that is very good, although no sight of an apology. I am sure we will get the usual “we clearly got it wrong,” on this weeks live stream. There has been too much of that in the last couple of years. How about an addendum to the blog post with a real apology, yes I know it looks bad to investors when companies admit mistakes. I thoroughly understand your number one priority is to your shareholders, guess what, though without customers you have no company.

    I am extremely disappointed with Ion Hazzikostas, I really thought he was a significant upgrade over Tom Chilton as Game Director. Let us face the facts here, Tom was a terrible communicator and hardly ever interacted with the player base, whereas Ion is a fantastic orator. The problem is though Ion on this occasion is forgetting he is a Game Director and the players see straight through the bullshit. Personal advice from me Ion take your lawyers’ hat off and stop reporting like a member of the Blizzard Legal Team. You are not going to be sued for saying sorry to your customers.

    If you want to go back into your previous profession as a lawyer, I heard they are in pretty high demand in the USA at the moment. As it stands especially after this blog post, I would rather have Jeremy Feasel or Paul Kubit as Game Director, well from the people working on the WoW team currently. However, I would love to see either of my favourite game developers come back to WoW and they would be either Jeff Kaplan or Greg Street, not holding my breath though on that one.

    Finishing off, I am so disappointed with Ion, especially knowing he came from a hardcore progression raiding background with the Elitist Jerks Guild.

    <a href=”https://mods.curse.com/news/world-of-warcraft/2914-interview-with-the-guild-leader-of-elitist-jerks” target=”_blank>Curse Interview with Ion Hazzikostas GM of Elitist Jerks 2008</>

    Come on Ion D- you can do so much better, you are a very smart guy so I am sure you know this. If your hands are tied with what you can say, do what GC did and find a better employer :-(


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