So at midnight, November 13, 2008 I was standing in line at Wal-muerto (it’s the Wal of the Dead), huddled with all my fellow geeks. I had arrived an hour early because I knew that would guarantee me a Collector’s Edition, and the ire of my guildmaster at the time who was freaking out about the dragons. I still never understood that, he played because of dragons, of which there hadn’t been one since Onyxia. Prior to all of this, the game had been an absolute blast and was inhabited by the old school MMO/gamer community that understood “shit is s’poseda be hard” and not everyone would walk away a winner.
I bought the game, went home all excited, installed it while trolling my GM, completed the first quest, found an inn, and went to bed. It took me a week to hit my first 80 because, well, I work and 10 levels at 3 hours a night was quite a commitment. I don’t take time off for video games, I take time off for sunny places that serve drinks with umbrellas. Or places that have snow capped mountains and craps tables, and I bring my own drink umbrellas to those.
Now, 6 years later, we see that same number come up again. I’m thinking it was a Freudian nod to their most successful release in the history of the franchise, Blizz loves to pay homage.
As I said in my last entry, Warcraft is all social marketing nowadays, and the people who had the access were glued to their screens watching the announcement party for the release date. Yes, a big party for the announcement of the release date. It was advertised in the launcher, a countdown clock was all over MMOC and other fan sites… all to hear the announcement and watch the cinematic for the expansion of a 10 year old game. I think that means the franchise is going to go on for a while longer.
Just a note for those concerned about the longevity – Blizzard expected maybe 1 million subscribers when Warcraft originally launched. Don’t believe it? Check out how many original servers they had at launch. Prior to November 2004, Blizzard was not the behemoth that World of Warcraft built. Blizzard was known for making RTS games, and their subsidiary Blizzard North handled Diablo. Today they have an enormous marketing budget and cash flow thanks to the little engine that took the best parts of the MMO industry and improved on them.
I’ll tell you how you’ll know it’s dead: When they no longer make expansions and merely deliver patch events. See other MMOs out there for a guide.
It’s still interesting. I play because it is a giant puzzle, and I like puzzles. I’ve been playing Diablo 3 like a fiend since March 25, and that’s only because someone somewhere buried their foot in the ass of the development team and made it something of quality and something resembling the best franchise Blizzard has.
What is the first thing I’m doing November 13? Getting a good night’s rest, I have work in the morning. I still haven’t bought the expansion, and I’ll probably make that decision in November.
Have a fantastic Fall people! Thanks for stopping in.