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Blizzard Q1 2015 Earnings Call - Developer Interview
Ion Hazzikostas talked to GamesBeat about the recently announced loss of 2.9 million subscribers, Patch 6.2, and Warlords of Draenor.

Subscriber Numbers
  • The team was excited to see the number of subscribers increase with Warlords release, confirming they had selected the right idea and setting for the expansion.
  • Their goal is to make a fun and engaging experience and not chase subscriber numbers, as they are confident that the numbers will follow in the wake of that.
  • WoW released at the right time and has been a very adaptable game, which has helped to sustain it over the years. Other MMOs provide inspiration on how to make the game better.
  • The loss in subscribers is partially due to the cyclical nature of the game.
  • Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way.
  • There was a large spike in subscribers for Warlords so they knew there was going to be a "bit of a dip" after that.
  • The WoW Token hasn't had a drastic impact on the number of subscribers.

Dungeons
  • The new dungeons in Warlords were great, but there was no incentive to keep running them after the start of the expansion.
  • Previous expansions had something like Valor Points to keep players coming back for more dungeons.
  • It felt silly to run the same content over and over even as your character got stronger, which is why the dungeon rewards were removed, but they went too far in Warlords.
  • Group dungeons are one of the greatest strengths in the MMO genre and it is a shame that there hasn't been more of a reason to do them recently.

New Content and Patch 6.2
  • Patch 6.2 is one of the largest content patches ever released.
  • Patch 6.2 adds Timewalking and Mythic dungeons, making group dungeon content relevant again.
  • Patch 6.2 iterates on existing systems, polishes things, and adds some new content.
  • Massive class overhauls aren't as likely to appear in content patches anymore, as returning players come back to find that their class has changed once again.
  • The amount of content added in a patch is a balance between satisfying the hardcore players that go though content very quickly and the players that go at a slower pace.
  • The team also has to make progress on future projects that are important while still working on upcoming content patches.
  • Certain types of changes are reserved for expansions rather than patches to keep complexity in check.

Accessibility
  • Accessibility is a core value of the game and has helped WoW grow and sustain itself.
  • Classes are more complex now than they used to be back in the day. Destro Warlocks in Burning Crusade raids would literally keep up one debuff and press Shadowbolt really hard and fast to beat everyone else. The game hasn't been "dumbed down" from that.
  • Changes have been made to trim excess and keep things focused, but there is still a very high skill cap.
  • Both more casual raiders (Normal difficulty) and hardcore raiders (Mythic difficulty) can now see the entire story. This wasn't possible in older expansions like the Burning Crusade.
  • Accessibility means allowing players that have been playing for a long time to continue to enjoy the game, even if it is at a different level of commitment as their life changes. Many players started out as students and are now professionals with families.

Raids
  • More people are doing organized raiding than ever before thanks to some of the conveniences that have been added recently.
  • It would be nice if Mythic could scale with the raid size, but the team isn't sure that level of tuning is possible.
  • Making specific mechanics and encounters for Mythic difficulty is possible now because of the fixed raid size, but if the raid had to scale down to 10 players that would no longer be possible.

Social
  • The social aspect of the game is very important to the overall experience.
  • The convenience features added over the years have made the game slightly less social.
  • Sitting in town for an hour trying to find a tank in trade chat to go and do a dungeon was inconvenient, but it allowed you to make stronger social bonds.
  • The Group Finder is an attempt to try and create environments where you can still meet new people without spending an extremely long time forming groups.

Misc
  • The group finder is getting lots of use for PvE and PvP content.
  • Garrisons give players reason to log in for a short time when they wouldn't have had any reason to log beofre. It doesn't really take away from raiding, PvP, or other longer playtime activities.


Raid Testing Schedule - May 15 - 18
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We are hoping to have PTR login/access issues resolved by tomorrow, and are adjusting our planned testing accordingly.

From tomorrow through Monday, we will continue our Hellfire Citadel raid testing, including both Heroic and Mythic raid testing. As is always the case with PTR raid testing, it is quite possible that there will be technical or gameplay issues that disrupt our plans. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Remember that Heroic difficulty scales for any group size between 10 and 30 players, so feel free to assemble and bring a group of any size within that range. Mythic difficulty requires a fixed 20 players. Our general plan is to test every encounter on Heroic difficulty first, and then test sections of the raid on Normal and Raid Finder, alongside targeted Mythic tests.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below on all PTR servers.

Thursday, May 14

CANCELED

Friday, May 15
  • Socrethar the Eternal - Heroic Hellfire Citadel - 11:30 PDT (14:30 EDT, 20:30 CEST)
  • Archimonde - Heroic Hellfire Citadel - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)

After Heroic raid testing concludes on Friday, we will open the Bastion of Shadows Raid Finder wing, including Iskar, Socrethar, and Tyrant Velhari, over the weekend.

Monday, May 18
  • Shadow-Lord Iskar - Mythic Hellfire Citadel - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Hellfire High Council - Mythic Hellfire Citadel - 15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a PTR environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

PTR Account Issue
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We are aware of an issue affecting multiple users' PTR accounts and are actively looking into a fix. We will do our best to keep you informed of any status updates, and will let you know if the raid testing schedule needs to be adjusted or pushed back. Thank you for you patience while we investigate into this matter.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Character / Items
On PTR says new glad mounts are account wide, I'm guessing this is a tooltip error?
Correct. They are not account wide. (holinka)

Garrisons
PTR: Is the mission awarding +50 follow ilvl reward ("Blizzard Convention") a 1 time only mission or can it be repeated?
Repeatable. (Muffinus)

What is the best garrison building? (Muffinus)

HeroesNexus - Hero Builds
Our friends over at HeroesNexus have added Hero Builds to the site! Create, find, and rank builds for your favorite heroes to help improve your gameplay or other the gameplay of other players.



OpenRaid - Transmog Competition With Michele Morrow
Our friends over at OpenRaid are having a transmog competition with Michele Morrow as a guest judge!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Interview, Raid Testing Changes, Blue Tweets, Heroes Builds, Transmog Contest started by chaud View original post
Comments 266 Comments
  1. aeuhe4yxzhds's Avatar
    The team was excited to see the number of subscribers increase with Warlords release, confirming they had selected the right idea and setting for the expansion.
    Wonder what they feel like now, hehe
  1. mmoc32fbbf5879's Avatar
    Being here all these years, i can say i have seen this line quite a lot.

    "Patch X.Y is one of the largest content patches ever released."
  1. mmoc59b5827c7e's Avatar
    Why giving interviews if your intend is to say nothing? Blizzard hasnt had an idea of designing games since MoP and didnt get one yet.
  1. Reyzzz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UcanDoSht View Post
    Why giving interviews if your intend is to say nothing? Blizzard hasnt had an idea of designing games since MoP and didnt get one yet.
    Obviously the fault is in the interviewer asking stupid questions. Kappa
  1. Wargz's Avatar
    Garrisons give players reason to log in for a short time when they wouldn't have had any reason to log beofre. It doesn't really take away from raiding, PvP, or other longer playtime activities.
    Ah yeah very "cool" stuff for SOLO game
  1. mmoced3a8de52c's Avatar
    The only thing that interested me if that If you read the full interview you get the impression that they messed up with Dungeons in WoD. If they are saying that at least we might get some dungeon rewards going forward be in Apexies, rep or in the next expansion a valor type thing again.
  1. Jamie71's Avatar
    The loss in subscribers is partially due to the cyclical nature of the game.

    Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way.

    wow nice way to justify 2.9 million sub loss, whatever bli$$ nobody is buying that lame ass excuse, a bit like your new store mount
  1. Keosen's Avatar
    The interview is showing the difference from the the average MMO poster and a professional.

    Key points that never were mentioned and seems very logical regarding the sub loss.
    - Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way
    - Many players started out as students and are now professionals with families.
  1. Tatakau's Avatar
    Hilarious post all the way through.
  1. Grimalkin of Old's Avatar
    I wonder, does he believe half the nonsense he said in this interview?
  1. Grevie's Avatar
    Blizzard knows a big chunck of subscribers are going to be happy with this no sense interview,
    alot of nothing, Blizzard just make $ that every game site, and wow fansite, publish and make
    a BIG DEAL about this no sense interview... Blizzard is on the move.

    Someone wrote:

    "Patch X.Y is one of the largest content patches ever released." -Good Guy Blizzard.

    From The Bliizard Book "How to HYPE a Fanb__".
  1. mmoca1f309ca84's Avatar
    THAT answers and the conclusions made...
    One thing is sure if there career ends at blizzard this guys can directly go and make career in politics. Blizzard ist the best "academy" to educate politicans.
  1. Lionor's Avatar
    10/10 Would read again.
  1. Gilian's Avatar
    Useless interviews are useless. They are only trying to save face.

    The loss in subscribers is partially due to the cyclical nature of the game.

    Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way.
    Partially, to some extent...
    Pretending they have some sort of control over it or it was intended by saying they don't want to prevent players from leaving if they want (what?!).

    Good luck getting players, who left in a blink of the eye in masses for a reason, to come back to do rehashed content, more garrison missions and boring LFR. Even if they come back they will leave again in no time because the content doesn't last.

    The social aspect of the game is very important to the overall experience.
    The convenience features added over the years have made the game slightly less social.
    This also made me chuckle.
  1. Backjauer's Avatar
    The team was excited to see the number of subscribers increase with Warlords release, confirming they had selected the right idea and setting for the expansion.
    Their goal is to make a fun and engaging experience and not chase subscriber numbers, as they are confident that the numbers will follow in the wake of that.
    WoW released at the right time and has been a very adaptable game, which has helped to sustain it over the years. Other MMOs provide inspiration on how to make the game better.
    The loss in subscribers is partially due to the cyclical nature of the game.
    Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way.
    There was a large spike in subscribers for Warlords so they knew there was going to be a "bit of a dip" after that.
    Yeah, keep telling yourself. Sidestep around the problem that the "sandbox" model just doesn't work, that there isn't much in the way compelling non-instanced content. You reach 100 and the world becomes almost redundant.
  1. Kryos's Avatar
    September 2010:
    "The next major content patch is coming, and it’s looking to be our biggest patch yet!"

    It was the pre-patch for the release of Cataclysm.
  1. Aurora's Avatar
    The parts that stand out for me

    • I'm glad they acknowledge the problems with dungeons. I'd like to see badges back or an equivalent reward, I really miss having a reason to do 5 mans.
    • "Classes are more complex now - cherry picked example from tbc". This is the kind of thing that annoys me and feels really disrespectful to the audience. Anyone who has played the game for that long knows on balance rotations and ability choice are much fewer and simpler now.
    • Like their assessment of Garrisons, it's been getting a lot of undue hate but I really think the problem is a lack of things to do outside the garrison rather than the garrison itself which has proved useful and a good design idea.
    • The "people don't play WoW all year anymore" part and the weaker social environment sort of tie in with one another so I'm disappointed to hear they're "ok" with this style of play which in my view will weaken the game world for people who do want to play consistently for months or years as the game world will be filled with tourists looking for quick rewards and a quicker exit.
  1. jk1895's Avatar
    How they sugarcoat the loss of 2.9M subscribers! *FACEPALM*
  1. Nirty999's Avatar
    "Patch 6.2 is one of the largest content patches ever released."
    LOL 10/10.... wait that was not a joke?
  1. Murderdoll's Avatar
    If they attribute huge subscriber increase with hard work and good concepts why can't they draw the same parallel with subscriber losses?

    never has the sub loss been so substantial just after an expansion. Yes the numbers drop half a million or so. They don't drop an entire expansions worth of numbers in months.

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