MMO-Champion - Blizzard Q4 2011 Conference Call, Mists of Pandaria Talent System, Warcraft Art
Diablo 3 - Patch 10 Not This Week, Conference Call, Senior Game Producer Leaves, Blue Posts

Activision Blizzard Q4 2011 Conference Call
The Q4 2011 Earnings call will take place on February 9, at 1:30 PM PST, which brings us an update on subscriber numbers for the final quarter of 2011. Keep in mind last call informed us of a 800,000 subscribers loss, but this time around the Annual Pass and Patch 4.3 may soften the blow.

The week of the call also may bring us information on upcoming releases, if there will be any announcement expect it before the call takes place. During the previous call they wanted to remind investors that there is normally an increase in subscriptions around December, with previous quarters showing the following losses:





Mists of Pandaria Talent System
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
So my question is, with only 6 'tiers' of talents after MoP, what is happening to all the other talents that are currently in game? Are they going to be skills you learn from your class trainer, either active or passive? Or removed from the game completely?

A little of both. To better explain, let's divide the current talents into five categories: 1) mandatory, 2) very cool, but not mandatory, 3) sort of cool, 4) boring, and 5) useless.

We're going to give you all of the "mandatory" talents to your class spec, and you'll learn those talents at certain levels like you do with core class spells. Players who skip over what we consider mandatory talents today -- like Raging Blow or Hot Streak -- are unintentionally (or maybe even intentionally) gimping themselves, and that's not what we want to have happen. We want players to be able to experience the full power of their class, so we're going to award certain talents straight-out.

The second category of talents -- the cool, but not mandatory ones -- are really the heart of the new talent system (they're the talents you'll probably be choosing from in each of new six tiers). You may be glad you have talent A, but talent B and talent C are also compelling options, and it should ideally be an interesting choice about which one you take and when.

The third category of talents are still pretty cool, but they just aren't at the same level as other talents. These talents make good glyphs. For example, an early version of the warrior tree had Rude Interruption as a talent, but we feel it's too situational to compete with the other talents, so we'll likely make it a glyph.

The next category are boring talents -- the kind that reduce cooldowns or increase damage on some abilities. In most cases, we're just baking talents these right into the spells themselves. While there were occasionally situations where you got to decide which of these talents to take, the answers often relied on complex math problems that some other player ended up solving for most of us.

Finally, the current trees (despite our best efforts) still have some bad talents. They're the talents you almost inevtiably end up with when you have a talent tree with X rows and Y columns that you need to populate. In the end, not a lot of players end up taking these talents, so we'll just cut them. We don't think they'll be missed, but if turns out that players wind up actually missing some of the Cataclysm talents in the Mist of Pandaria design, then we've probably made a mistake somewhere. Ideally, you won't miss a thing and will have more fun picking talents that cater to your play style (or, at the very least, the current situation.)

New Warcraft Art
The World of Warcraft: Classes and Cataclysm Art galleries have been updated with five new pieces of Warcraft artwork.

This article was originally published in forum thread: Blizzard Q4 2011 Conference Call, Mists of Pandaria Talent System, Warcraft Art started by chaud View original post
Comments 195 Comments
  1. Byniri's Avatar
    I don't understand why people are so obsessed with Sub numbers.


    Unless you work for blizz, you shouldn't care about the sub numbers
  1. Shambulanced's Avatar
    I know that in-game implementation is complicated by art style and texture-mapping etc...

    But dayum, that concept art looks waaaay better than the implementation in most cases. Makes me kinda sad.
  1. Znuff's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Byniri View Post
    I don't understand why people are so obsessed with Sub numbers.
    Unless you work for blizz, you shouldn't care about the sub numbers
    Guess they need some sort of "proof" that the "game is dying" or something like that.

    Even if WoW loses half it's subscribers, I can bet that it's still the game with the most subscribers.
  1. Chickat's Avatar
    Dat art <3. I think the numbers will raise or fall by 100k
  1. Publius's Avatar
    Ugh. Blizz, please stop railroading everything we do in the game. Like, honestly. If someone wants to gimp their playstyle, or play around with weird specs, let 'em. Yours is not to reason why Blizz. Just stop hand-holding your playerbase, and I promise you, they'll learn to walk just fine.
  1. FeliciaMarie's Avatar
    i could care less about sub numbers. i'm not playing because of that lol
  1. Kaleredar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    Ugh. Blizz, please stop railroading everything we do in the game. Like, honestly. If someone wants to gimp their playstyle, or play around with weird specs, let 'em. Yours is not to reason why Blizz. Just stop hand-holding your playerbase, and I promise you, they'll learn to walk just fine.
    You mean, they'll learn to google elitistjerks.com, right?
  1. Spalding's Avatar
    They're going to continue to lose more subs each quarter, it's evident.
  1. dokilar's Avatar
    dragon souls been out for what 2 months? they might have an increase in sub numbers from people who re-subbed wanting to see the ending to this expansion. i would predict it wont be anything higher than a 300k swing either way.

    doesnt matter to me honestly, sub numbers dont mean shit to me when it comes to a game i enjoy. people have been predicting swtors downfall for awhile now and it may be possible that their subs numbers are low, but i enjoy the game and ill continue to play it until its not fun anymore. which is something all WoW players should do, if youre still having fun screw whatever is posted on the forums about "the game dying" and continue playing what gives you satisfaction.

    someone from bioware already stated that swtor would be profitable with only 500k subs, i can imagine any other mmo is in the same boat. wow aint going nowhere
  1. Shambulanced's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FeliciaMarie View Post
    i could care less about sub numbers. i'm not playing because of that lol
    Exactly. It's still way more subs than any other MMO out there.
  1. ComputerNerd's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    Ugh. Blizz, please stop railroading everything we do in the game. Like, honestly. If someone wants to gimp their playstyle, or play around with weird specs, let 'em. Yours is not to reason why Blizz. Just stop hand-holding your playerbase, and I promise you, they'll learn to walk just fine.
    Because the playerbase will simply tell any player making the "wrong" decision to L2P and go visit EJ.
    Players will be expected to use the optimum build, and to be honest how many players anymore know why those builds are as they are, rather than just following them.
    This just cuts out the pointless bit before it, where everyone with a brain simply has the same as anyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Byniri View Post
    I don't understand why people are so obsessed with Sub numbers.


    Unless you work for blizz, you shouldn't care about the sub numbers
    Because stupid players who have personal reasons for leaving are simply unable to admit as such, and will use any excuse including numbers they have no understanding of, and including in some cases personal attacks launched at blizzard staff members.
  1. Envojus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Byniri View Post
    I don't understand why people are so obsessed with Sub numbers.


    Unless you work for blizz, you shouldn't care about the sub numbers

    You are wrong. Sorry to sound arrogant, but this is not my opinion. This is a fact. Why? Let's explain it in easy words.


    Blizzard is a company. The main thing which drives a company is not profit, it is maximizing profit.

    WoW's sudden drop in subscription numbers directly impact the companies financial situation.

    WoW's subscription numbers can be influenced in a lot of ways. It can range from the added competition in the MMO Market (SW:TOR for example), customer dissatisfaction (Game Design for example) or just natural causes (EVERY product has the same life cycle. Once it reaches it's peak, it will drop slowly). Mind you, there are far more factors.

    Blizzard can address this in a variety of ways. Like for example investing more money into marketing, which is highly illogical at this stage. If Blizzard thinks the main reason of people canceling their subscriptions due to customer dissatisfaction with their product, they may have to rethink their game design philosophy (something you have experienced recently). However, it can become much worse. With a dropping budget, Blizzard may address to the ever-dropping budget in a variety ways, from sacking employees (Less GM's, Less Artists and etc.) to just restricting the content created (Less money to spend means less work on raids, instances and etc.)

    HOWEVER, an opposite thing may happen. Even though they generate less revenue, Blizzard may invest more money into producing higher-quality content, which may return their old customers and attract new ones.

    In conclusion, Blizzards financial situation DOES impact you, either you like it or not.
  1. Agrias2x's Avatar
    Would be cool if they added more cool models for boots and gloves like in those artworks instead of more pets.
  1. Znuff's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    Ugh. Blizz, please stop railroading everything we do in the game. Like, honestly. If someone wants to gimp their playstyle, or play around with weird specs, let 'em. Yours is not to reason why Blizz. Just stop hand-holding your playerbase, and I promise you, they'll learn to walk just fine.
    You're failing to understand the reasoning for that.

    I'll give you an example.

    I play a Shadow Priest. My REQUIRED talent build is 8/0/31. With 2 spare points.

    Those 2 spare points don't change my gameplay at all. There's no fun in the talent system for my spec. I either finish up Mental Agility (reduces spell cost), pick up a bit of Inner Sanctum (reduces spell damage taken), go nuts on Phantasm (removes all moving imparing effects when I use Fade), pick up Psychic Horror (a fear and disarm) and do something else with the extra point, pick up Paralysys (a stun when my Mind Blast crits), or Improved Power Word: Shield.

    I'd love to be able to get Silence, but I can't, because I have to spend 3 points for it, which I don't have.
  1. omgjohnny's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Envojus View Post
    You are wrong. Sorry to sound arrogant, but this is not my opinion. This is a fact. Why? Let's explain it in easy words.


    Blizzard is a company. The main thing which drives a company is not profit, it is maximizing profit.

    WoW's sudden drop in subscription numbers directly impact the companies financial situation.

    WoW's subscription numbers can be influenced in a lot of ways. It can range from the added competition in the MMO Market (SW:TOR for example), customer dissatisfaction (Game Design for example) or just natural causes (EVERY product has the same life cycle. Once it reaches it's peak, it will drop slowly). Mind you, there are far more factors.

    Blizzard can address this in a variety of ways. Like for example investing more money into marketing, which is highly illogical at this stage. If Blizzard thinks the main reason of people canceling their subscriptions due to customer dissatisfaction with their product, they may have to rethink their game design philosophy (something you have experienced recently). However, it can become much worse. With a dropping budget, Blizzard may address to the ever-dropping budget in a variety ways, from sacking employees (Less GM's, Less Artists and etc.) to just restricting the content created (Less money to spend means less work on raids, instances and etc.)

    HOWEVER, an opposite thing may happen. Even though they generate less revenue, Blizzard may invest more money into producing higher-quality content, which may return their old customers and attract new ones.

    In conclusion, Blizzards financial situation DOES impact you, either you like it or not.

    Bingo, we have a winner!

    Thank god there are still some people with sense posting on MMOC
  1. Heywoods's Avatar
    That concept art for the druid Tier 3 is fantastic. Really makes me wish they had the graphics budget to make the engravings and such in-game. I never knew those coils on my shoulders were supposed to be dragons as they looked like snakes.
  1. The Last DJ's Avatar
    Oh god subscription numbers. Tinfoil hats! Get your tinfoil hats here! Won't be able to tell the irrational doomcryers from the fanboys without yer hat! Get 'em while they're shiny, get 'em while they're not all crinkly and mangled! Hats! Tinfoil hats!
  1. Azgraal's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerNerd View Post
    Because the playerbase will simply tell any player making the "wrong" decision to L2P and go visit EJ.
    Players will be expected to use the optimum build, and to be honest how many players anymore know why those builds are as they are, rather than just following them.
    This just cuts out the pointless bit before it, where everyone with a brain simply has the same as anyone else.


    Because stupid players who have personal reasons for leaving are simply unable to admit as such, and will use any excuse including numbers they have no understanding of, and including in some cases personal attacks launched at blizzard staff members.
    Even though i follow those optimal builds myself, i always try to understand the reason for why was each talent chosen. Either way, you're still right.
  1. TimeTravel's Avatar
    I read a article in one of our local gaming magazines, I will try see if it was posted online.

    It basically said raiders used to have respect for other raiders who achieved certain goals in wow but now there is no respect for hardcore players in the game anymore. They also mention that the smarter/professional players enjoy eve for intellectual stimulation and wow is stimulation for the masses, anything from street sweepers, drug abusers as they don't need to have there wits about them to achieve something in the game.

    It was basically saying if your dumb you will enjoy wow.
  1. Zmike's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Envojus View Post
    However, it can become much worse. With a dropping budget, Blizzard may address to the ever-dropping budget in a variety ways, from sacking employees (Less GM's, Less Artists and etc.) to just restricting the content created (Less money to spend means less work on raids, instances and etc.)
    This person hit the nail on the head.

    It's pretty obvious Blizzard is lessening content and attempting to push out expansions faster to maxamize profits before the product becomes obsolete.

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