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I have, on many occasions in the past, looked disparagingly at those who claim to be part of the Blizzard ‘family’ who, when content is released that they do not like, take it as a personal affront. Many people have unfollowed me or stopped reading my blogs over the years because of just this: can I not just have an opinion? Why is it necessary to be critical of decisions that have nothing to do with me?

Why can’t you just shut up and let people enjoy stuff?

Robert’s spot on, of course. This is where we are now: just ignore the stuff that doesn’t matter to you and focus on the things that give you joy. Marie Kondo was correct, until someone weaponised her ethos and started using it to sell merchandise. There are greater truths hidden behind the bounds of simplicity that other people quite rightly ignore. Some days, I wish I was one of them, but if I’m honest, they don’t last very long.

My life now, by my own choice, is to have an opinion. I won’t ram it down your throat, but there will be blog posts, and tweets and quite possibly in time poetry and video about it. This is the life I willingly now choose to embrace, because there is something fundamentally wrong, in my eyes, happening around me daily. As the world chooses insularity, votes itself out of unions and back to nationalism, it is inevitable.

Doing nothing just makes it easier for the bad guys to win.

So, what has all of this got to do with a video game, I hear you ask? It’s a metaphor, I suppose, for how people choose to ignore the shortcomings in their own lives. I had a conversation with someone yesterday who feels trapped in their life right now, mostly because of long-term devotion to a Warcraft Guild they’re unwilling to separate from. Some of it, by their own admission, is Fear Of Missing Out.

Except right now their health is suffering. All they have as a social life is gaming, and that’s precluding even basic exercise that could really help not only make them feel better, but begin to cure their own physical issues. I can’t tell them this to their face because if I do, I’ll be accused of being one of those people whose opinion is not wanted or needed. They can be what they want, and that’s fine. Yes, indeed it is.

Other people’s opinions aren’t the problem here.

I’ve not played Warcraft 3. I can have, therefore, no solid opinion on it. That’s how this works with games, and TV shows, and movies. However, an increasing number of sensible, rational people who have played it are telling me there are many issues, across gameplay, accessibility, who owns your custom made content and even how cinematics are presented. These people are not ‘those people’ on the internet with an axe to grind or a click count to maintain. They’re decent, smart people.

When something is wrong, you don’t just ignore it and hope whiny opponents go away. You don’t just leave it to someone else to solve. The ‘problem’ with Blizzard, such as it stands, is that from a distance it is very easy to see why W3 is the way it is. Outsourced to third parties for cost reduction, decisions made through project management at distance, lacking a polish in both PR and content that was the mark of a Blizzard product.

You’re going to make me get the Venn diagram out again aren’t you?

VENNN

The truth is they remastered an old game, but not as well as many wanted. It didn’t need the level of polish or detail the existing IP’s did, so they gave it to someone else to do and they’ve done less than a stellar job. Complaints are justified if the product is not as initially described, or does not work. That’s how business works: if a brand new backpack has a hole in it due to faulty stitching, you have the right to ask for a replacement or your money back. It’s not rocket science.

The reality for the Blizzard community is that these kind of things aren’t personal attacks on the sanctity of their ‘family.’ It is just business now, pure and simple, and if you’re going to lay off hundreds of people because you need to appease shareholders, you’re not going to give an old game that’s having a makeover the level of love Reddit users will demand. The scales balance both ways, and always have.

Yes, you can genuinely complain about this. Whether you should is moot, if it’s something you feel is not fit for use, there are ways and means to deal with that. What it has exposed this week however are some far bigger issues over fealty and commitment that won’t ever go away. I’m prepared to live a lifestyle, but NEVER to the detriment of my own health in order to make a point.

If it is what makes you happy, then that is really all that ever matters.

2 thoughts on “Send in the Clones

  1. Having stopped playing WoW and given up Twitter for the time being, I had zero knowledge of the outrage. I can’t say I am surprised at all by this reaction. This just seems par for the course with the the player base. I think the Blizzard community needs a lesson in Sunk Cost Fallacy.

  2. I dunno. Netflix tell us it’s fine to watch just two minutes of a product before having an opinion on it.

    I can say I felt FOMO tugging on me even before I had a name for it. At the same time I’m rather certain I could defend my opinions and decisions independently from it.

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