BlizzCon '09: The Future of Battle.net

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BlizzCon '09: The Future of Battle.net

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What's the deal with Blizzard's fancy new version of its Battle.net online multiplayer service? Blizzard offered a look into the future of Battle.net at BlizzCon today.

There's quite a bit to digest about the new Battle.net, but the bottom line is that Blizzard is taking what is an extremely outdated service and bringing it up to date in a world that's full of social networking, community-oriented gaming and all that "let's be friends online" jazz. Blizzard executive VP of game design Rob Pardo namedropped names of everyone from Facebook to Xbox Live to Plants vs. Zombies to Google Talk, and the influences are clear in the features.

First off, how this all relates to the thing you kids really want to know about: StarCraft II. The service will launch with the game, and as Pardo says, the two are "extremely connected." Your Battle.net account covers all your Blizzard games, tracking achievements and info across multiple games. For SC2, the game's interface is designed to look like an online service, with multiple panels ("widgets") that bring to mind the old Battle.net multiplayer interface meets the World of Warcraft launcher. You've got campaign and the different modes, but also a friends list and a feed of Blizzard and StarCraft news.

"Even before you play your first game you're already connected to the online community," Pardo said. "We really feel like we're in an online world."

Battle.net will maintain a profile for your StarCraft account, which is a bit like a WoW Armory page. It tracks your achievements, match history and more. Speaking of achievements, there are some concrete rewards for unlocking them - you unlock user icons to use on your Battle.net account, but more interestingly you get Decals, which are little icons and designs which will appear in-game on your SC2 units and give a real touch of customization to your Battle.net play.

As much as people love superficial stuff like decorations and user icons, Battle.net's about playing the damn games, and this new iteration brings quite a few new features for both competitive and casual players. The Ladder system has been totally overhauled so that it caters to players of all stripes. Now the Ladder is divided into seven different leagues (from "Practice" to "Pro") and within each league you're grouped into a division of 100 people that Battle.net's magic machines guarantee will be on your level of play. "Everyone has a chance to win your division," Pardo said, and if you do happen to win, you'll advance to an inter-division tournament to really prove your mettle and "win the league."

For casual casuals (as opposed to "serious casuals"), there are other multiplayer options, like the Practice League, which will offer slowed-down gameplay and maps designed to prevent you from getting completely steamrolled by advanced techniques.

Of course when you're getting steamrolled it's a bit easier to swallow when it's by someone you'll never have to face the shame of confronting in real-life, but if you're the kind of guy who likes to mix your real with your online life, Battle.net is pretty much made for you. Blizzard's planning a system called "Battle.net Real ID," which structures your online social life around your real world one. If you add someone to your friends list using Real ID (they have to verify you're actually friends, you can't just e-stalk them after a click), Battle.net will group them at the top of your friends list.

You can register Real ID friends by actual human names, rather than having to remember who WORGENWARRIOR1 is in one game and who he is another. That's something I'd love to see in Xbox Live. Real ID friends can publish "Toasts" or "broadcasts," which sound a lot like Facebook status updates. This makes it so you can do things like play SC2 while having a message up that says you'd like to play WoW later, so you're not jumping around private messaging people or sending them texts just to tell them what you'd like to do.

Of course there are other features of the type you expect from any online social network service these days: an IM-style chat system that lets you group chats (and should alleviate some headaches when you're juggling a million different whispers), a Party function that lets you create Xbox Live-style parties with groups of friends and more.

Those things will launch when Battle.net comes out with StarCraft II...whenever it comes out. What comes after that should prove to be one of the most interesting things about Battle.net: the StarCraft II Marketplace, which Blizzard says will "a vibrant ecosystem of user-generated content, including multiplayer maps, single-player scenarios, challenges, themes, and more."

Maps will come in free and premium varieties. Premium maps, Pardo said, will be maps that add a "layer of professional content" and - here's the sweet part - will not only be publishable (like regular user-made maps) but sellable. Yes, if you design that really perfect SC2 map, you can actually make money off it. Blizzard cited examples like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat, saying that they envision amateur designers using "StarCraft II like an engine."

The details are a bit sketchy - Pardo said that a game like Defense of the Ancients would go for free, which leaves it a bit up in the air what would constitute the "layer of professional content" that would define a premium map. Hopefully we'll learn more as BlizzCon '09 continues.

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So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

So they're giving us XBL in SC2 but no LAN? lame!

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

hansari:

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

There will be premium maps on the community that you can buy. The service will still be 100% free to use.

The funny thing to me is that almost everyone who reads it, myself included, is doing so because they want to see some kind of local play feature unveiled and will be disappointed when it isn't.

hansari:

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

Well if you had to pay for the service Sc2 wouldn't sell half of the copies, cause it's going to require B.Net 2.0. The service is free but there will be special community maps that you have to buy.(Which kinda ruins the spirit of user made content. But hooray for the map makers)

Either way, there's little that this service can do what other 3 programs on the PC can't do...and all those 3 have LAN.

Hmm... the idea of map makers and modders getting money for their work sounds pretty damn interesting.

*Sigh*

So, here's what I've been able to gather.

It's Steam, and Facebook, which is awesome, BUT, you have to either pay money for decent maps, or stick with shitty ones.

CantFaketheFunk:

hansari:

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

There will be premium maps on the community that you can buy. The service will still be 100% free to use.

I didn't mean to say the maps were all going to cost money (just to clear up my end of things), but it seems really elitist to separate maps into two tiers. I mean sure Valve throws in community maps with some of their updates for TF2, meaning they considered those really good maps, but ultimately they're still free for everyone to use. Here, not so much. I personally don't think it's a good idea but maybe it'll work out better than one expects

And yes, the money angle for creators is interesting, but IIRC (and I can be way off-base with this), the community mappers who got their stuff included in TF2 updates got money in exchange for Valve distributing them. I'm not entirely sure on the particulars but I do know the guys who made the Swamp Pack that came out recently got paid. I'm guessing here it would be more widespread so maybe i'm being a bit too quick to judge the idea.

I bet "professional" "premium" maps will be the ones that are used in serious tournaments, and competitive 1v1 games. That is, of course, assuming that this game isn't garbage for competitive 1v1, which it probably won't be but a lot of people think MBS (Multiple-building select) will apparently RUIN the game, lol.

Really though, it's gonna be like "Oh you can play on lost temple for free but 80% of the world plays Python now, and you have to pay for it if you want to compete on that level of play."

AceDiamond:

CantFaketheFunk:

hansari:

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

There will be premium maps on the community that you can buy. The service will still be 100% free to use.

I didn't mean to say the maps were all going to cost money (just to clear up my end of things), but it seems really elitist to separate maps into two tiers. I mean sure Valve throws in community maps with some of their updates for TF2, meaning they considered those really good maps, but ultimately they're still free for everyone to use. Here, not so much. I personally don't think it's a good idea but maybe it'll work out better than one expects

And yes, the money angle for creators is interesting, but IIRC (and I can be way off-base with this), the community mappers who got their stuff included in TF2 updates got money in exchange for Valve distributing them. I'm not entirely sure on the particulars but I do know the guys who made the Swamp Pack that came out recently got paid. I'm guessing here it would be more widespread so maybe i'm being a bit too quick to judge the idea.

But VALVe pays those maps and releases to the communtiy for free. It costed VALVe but not the fans. Here it costs the fans but not Blizzard.(Unless they decide to buy too.)

VALVe's plan is much better for us(the costumers), while Blizzard is better to the mapmaker.

oliveira8:

AceDiamond:

CantFaketheFunk:

hansari:

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

There will be premium maps on the community that you can buy. The service will still be 100% free to use.

I didn't mean to say the maps were all going to cost money (just to clear up my end of things), but it seems really elitist to separate maps into two tiers. I mean sure Valve throws in community maps with some of their updates for TF2, meaning they considered those really good maps, but ultimately they're still free for everyone to use. Here, not so much. I personally don't think it's a good idea but maybe it'll work out better than one expects

And yes, the money angle for creators is interesting, but IIRC (and I can be way off-base with this), the community mappers who got their stuff included in TF2 updates got money in exchange for Valve distributing them. I'm not entirely sure on the particulars but I do know the guys who made the Swamp Pack that came out recently got paid. I'm guessing here it would be more widespread so maybe i'm being a bit too quick to judge the idea.

But VALVe pays those maps and releases to the communtiy for free. It costed VALVe but not the fans. Here it costs the fans but not Blizzard.(Unless they decide to buy too.)

VALVe's plan is much better for us(the costumers), while Blizzard is better to the mapmaker.

The explanation, as I understood it, was that Blizzard noticed that all of the WC3 custom maps (well, almost all) used existing art and models, because amateur map makers couldn't afford to hire professional model makers and arts. Their hope is that by having these funds go to the mapmakers, they'd be able to produce genuinely high-quality and unique work.

CantFaketheFunk:

oliveira8:

AceDiamond:

CantFaketheFunk:

hansari:

AceDiamond:

oliveira8:
So it's Steam with some fancy add-ons? This is why we won't have LAN in SC2 or D3? Bah...

Please.

It's Steam with fancy addons and maps you'll have to pay money to use. :P

Are we actually gonna have to pay money for this though? The article is way too big. I just wanna know if I'm gonna have to pay for service. Thats a deal breaker for me...

There will be premium maps on the community that you can buy. The service will still be 100% free to use.

I didn't mean to say the maps were all going to cost money (just to clear up my end of things), but it seems really elitist to separate maps into two tiers. I mean sure Valve throws in community maps with some of their updates for TF2, meaning they considered those really good maps, but ultimately they're still free for everyone to use. Here, not so much. I personally don't think it's a good idea but maybe it'll work out better than one expects

And yes, the money angle for creators is interesting, but IIRC (and I can be way off-base with this), the community mappers who got their stuff included in TF2 updates got money in exchange for Valve distributing them. I'm not entirely sure on the particulars but I do know the guys who made the Swamp Pack that came out recently got paid. I'm guessing here it would be more widespread so maybe i'm being a bit too quick to judge the idea.

But VALVe pays those maps and releases to the communtiy for free. It costed VALVe but not the fans. Here it costs the fans but not Blizzard.(Unless they decide to buy too.)

VALVe's plan is much better for us(the costumers), while Blizzard is better to the mapmaker.

The explanation, as I understood it, was that Blizzard noticed that all of the WC3 custom maps (well, almost all) used existing art and models, because amateur map makers couldn't afford to hire professional model makers and arts. Their hope is that by having these funds go to the mapmakers, they'd be able to produce genuinely high-quality and unique work.

Thats what I got from it. Like I said. VALVe plan on communtiy maps favors more the costumers, while Blizzard supports more the mapmakers.

VALVe sees the maps the communtiy plays more, brings them in,(gives some touches) and opens to everyone by making them official.

Blizzard gives the tools to the mapmaker to create something "great" and if the communtiy wants buys from the mapmaker directly.(Talk about cheap ways of DLC. Let others do it for you.)

As a costumer I prefer VALVe way, if I made maps I would team up with Blizzard.

Hey remember when custom maps were free?

Good times man, good times.

Blizzard can go fuck themselves.

And I don't say that lightly either. They have gone from a very consumer-oriented developer to a money-grubbing developer who will go to any lengths in order to scrap every dollar they can out of their userbase. Gee, who does that remind us of....

image

Fredrick2003:
Hey remember when custom maps were free?

Good times man, good times.

They still will be, for the most part. I don't understand a backlash against what is - as I understand it - essentially just a method for the best mapmakers to see some return and some capital to continue delivering the best custom maps that they can.

CantFaketheFunk:

Fredrick2003:
Hey remember when custom maps were free?

Good times man, good times.

They still will be, for the most part. I don't understand a backlash against what is - as I understand it - essentially just a method for the best mapmakers to see some return and some capital to continue delivering the best custom maps that they can.

Because they made good custom maps without the financial incentive as well. Basically what this is going to do is cluster all the good custom maps into the payment method and force people to buy maps if they want decent ones.

"You want good custom maps? Screw you, pay us more money."

Man, people have such a messed up relationship with money. If you'd understand economics just a little bit better, you would understand that the maps that would earn a 7 value on scale of 10, will now be able to produce maps of 9 or 10 out of 10 points. The maps that earn a 6 or 7, (which is the highest value produced under the old economic model) will have a hard time competing with these better 9 or 10 maps and will have to be free to see effective distribution.

In short, for a few bucks more you get counterstrike equivalent value on top of your purchased half life. Oh noes!

Joeshie:

CantFaketheFunk:

Fredrick2003:
Hey remember when custom maps were free?

Good times man, good times.

They still will be, for the most part. I don't understand a backlash against what is - as I understand it - essentially just a method for the best mapmakers to see some return and some capital to continue delivering the best custom maps that they can.

Because they made good custom maps without the financial incentive as well. Basically what this is going to do is cluster all the good custom maps into the payment method and force people to buy maps if they want decent ones.

"You want good custom maps? Screw you, pay us more money."

And while we're at it, I'M AFRAID OF NICKLES!

Makes no sense? Irrational? Yeah, just about as much as that statement was. Stop failboying over everything.

CantFaketheFunk:

They still will be, for the most part. I don't understand a backlash against what is - as I understand it - essentially just a method for the best mapmakers to see some return and some capital to continue delivering the best custom maps that they can.

There has been a bit of an unreasonable backlash, but there is a reason to be opposed to the sale of custom maps.

First though, to clarify: it seems to me that the MAPMAKERS are the ones that will decide whether or not to sell their maps, in a system vaguely similar to XNA: you make a map, then if you want to sell it, you offer it up to Blizzard for judging on whether or not it's worth putting a price on at all. If it's not, you can post it for free. Odds are that there will be a big part of the mapmaking community that will refuse to price their maps regardless of how excellent they are though, because they're not into map-making to make money: they're there because they enjoy showing off their skills.

The core reason to be opposed to this has already been said:

Valiance:

Really though, it's gonna be like "Oh you can play on lost temple for free but 80% of the world plays Python now, and you have to pay for it if you want to compete on that level of play."

The other issue is map compatibility: what if you want to play with a buddy on a sweet custom map that you bought? Tough beans, because he didn't buy it for himself.

I don't really see a HUGE problem with this though. This will give more people incentive to try mapmaking, and as long as there are strict quality controls on which maps are allowed to sell, things should be okay.

Focusing on the other things: this, as stated above, seems to be an amalgamation of Facebook and Steam. Not that it's a bad thing per se, but it was sort of to be expected. This hasn't shown us anything terrifically revolutionary to compensate for the loss of LAN: though some of the features are new and exciting, seeing the deviation of Blizzard from one of their core practices is disappointing.

I AM pleased to note the Decals being tied to Achievements though. That was an idea me and my friends talked about a while back: having Achievements on the 360 unlock certain pieces of gear for your avatar.

CantFaketheFunk:

Fredrick2003:
Hey remember when custom maps were free?

Good times man, good times.

They still will be, for the most part. I don't understand a backlash against what is - as I understand it - essentially just a method for the best mapmakers to see some return and some capital to continue delivering the best custom maps that they can.

The backlash simply comes from people that are still pissed about the loss of LAN and will bitch at anything remotely linked to Blizzard. I like the idea because, well, money will go where money is due, in the pockets of the talented people that makes pro level maps and mods.

I don't get why people are bitching over the loss of LAN. In my 800+ hours of playing the original SC online, I never once used LAN. If I ever wanted to play a friend of mine, we just used our own private channel and grouped from there. Its not like it was that hard. People will find any reason to bitch these days.

Capo Taco:
Man, people have such a messed up relationship with money. If you'd understand economics just a little bit better, you would understand that the maps that would earn a 7 value on scale of 10, will now be able to produce maps of 9 or 10 out of 10 points. The maps that earn a 6 or 7, (which is the highest value produced under the old economic model) will have a hard time competing with these better 9 or 10 maps and will have to be free to see effective distribution.

In short, for a few bucks more you get counterstrike equivalent value on top of your purchased half life. Oh noes!

Theres this thing going on called economic crisis, which makes alot of people think twice before suppporting their hobbies. Before spending money on hobbies theres more important stuff, like food, house bills, clothing, work/school, probably a family and other important stuff.
So it's no wonder people will backlash when they need to pay for something that used to be free or stuff suddenly becomes more expensive. Even if the quality is better.

Joeshie:
Blizzard can go fuck themselves.

And I don't say that lightly either. They have gone from a very consumer-oriented developer to a money-grubbing developer who will go to any lengths in order to scrap every dollar they can out of their userbase. Gee, who does that remind us of....

image

I agree, and just out of curiosity who is the guy in the picture?

Actually in general I feel like the gaming industry has dropped most of it's idealism about making good games and become almost completely about raking in the dough... I suspect that's why games are so short these days and yet so much more expensive than they used to be.

Joeshie:

Because they made good custom maps without the financial incentive as well. Basically what this is going to do is cluster all the good custom maps into the payment method and force people to buy maps if they want decent ones.

"You want good custom maps? Screw you, pay us more money."

You pay the mapmakers the money, Blizzard won't earn cash on community made maps, the community will earn cash with community maps.

O and it's not Blizzard who's screwed up, it's Activision who barged in and started acting like like the old EA but a thousand times worse. The whole bitching about Brütal Legend was just áwfull.

bushwhacker2k:

Joeshie:
Blizzard can go fuck themselves.

And I don't say that lightly either. They have gone from a very consumer-oriented developer to a money-grubbing developer who will go to any lengths in order to scrap every dollar they can out of their userbase. Gee, who does that remind us of....

image

I agree, and just out of curiosity who is the guy in the picture?

Actually in general I feel like the gaming industry has dropped most of it's idealism about making good games and become almost completely about raking in the dough... I suspect that's why games are so short these days and yet so much more expensive than they used to be.

It's Bob Kotick the CEO of Activision. The source of all Evil. He eats babies and kittens for breakfast.

bushwhacker2k:

Joeshie:
Blizzard can go fuck themselves.

And I don't say that lightly either. They have gone from a very consumer-oriented developer to a money-grubbing developer who will go to any lengths in order to scrap every dollar they can out of their userbase. Gee, who does that remind us of....

I agree, and just out of curiosity who is the guy in the picture?

Actually in general I feel like the gaming industry has dropped most of it's idealism about making good games and become almost completely about raking in the dough... I suspect that's why games are so short these days and yet so much more expensive than they used to be.

That's Robert "Bobby" Kotick, CEO of Activision and board member of Activision Blizzard if I've got my grammar rules right.

He used to be CEO of 4Kids Entertainment as well before moving to Activision. Yeah, he helped contribute to the abomination that is the 4Kids English anime releases.

Edit: Fuckin' ninja'd. I'll get you back for this. I have an entire fleet of pirates at my disposal.

it's Activision who barged in

Activision didn't 'barge in'. They entered into a merge with Blizzard instigated by Vivendi Games, a subdivision of Vivendi SA.

I need to know if there will be an option for LAN connectivity, because Korean pro gamers will definitely need that. It could still go through battle.net verification, but there would have to be an actual LAN connection because if it goes through a server, there would be anywhere between 10 and 50ms of latency, which would simply be unacceptable to professional e-sports.

Keane Ng:
The details are a bit sketchy - Pardo said that a game like Defense of the Ancients would go for free, which leaves it a bit up in the air what would constitute the "layer of professional content" that would define a premium map.

I think probably the reason that DotA will be free is because the community would kill Blizzard if it wasn't. I suspect new maps and games of DotA's quality will not be free. Either that or Blizzard have unreasonably high expectations of what the community will make and they don't actually consider DotA to be "professional" enough, which would bode pretty well for the quality of Blizzard's maps, but also show that they've had a complete break with reality.

On the topic of whether this is the work of Devil Kotick and thus a thing of unrelenting evil, I would say probably not. Although I would still point out that removing LAN is doing them no favours; if Battle.net is as great as they seem to be indicating people will use it anyway even if LAN is an option. Removing it just creates a feeling of anger and betrayal from fans, which we've already seen, without any real benefit to Battle.net. I guess premium maps could split the online community, but I suspect that there will be too few people producing maps of sellable quality and too few people willing to pay for them to really do that. I think the maps that really sell will be things like DotA that actually provide a completely different way of playing.

A few things that I am curious whether they said anything about though, that maybe Keane or anyone else who knows might be able to answer. How much will the premium content be priced at? Will Blizzard get a cut of the money? And will it definetly be the content's creator who has control over whether their creation is free or premium? I suspect the answers will provide more of an idea of Activision's insidious influence on Blizzard.

matrix3509:
I don't get why people are bitching over the loss of LAN. In my 800+ hours of playing the original SC online, I never once used LAN. If I ever wanted to play a friend of mine, we just used our own private channel and grouped from there. Its not like it was that hard. People will find any reason to bitch these days.

Remember when Blizzard used to be eminently consumer-based, and the original StarCraft allowed you to make "spawn copies" off one disc? That meant if you were LANing it up with seven other buddies, they could all install a copy just for LAN and TCP/IP use off a single disc. So with one disc, all eight of your can get together and play StarCraft. It was a great advertisement for the product because once your friends saw how awesome StarCraft was, they'd all go out and purchase their own copies.

Yeah. Blizzard has changed.

Also, a lot of us still enjoy LANing, and don't like the idea of six or eight guys all leeching off a taxed wireless connection to get terrible online play when we could be, oh I don't know, ON A LOCAL AREA NETWORK.

Assassinator:

Joeshie:

Because they made good custom maps without the financial incentive as well. Basically what this is going to do is cluster all the good custom maps into the payment method and force people to buy maps if they want decent ones.

"You want good custom maps? Screw you, pay us more money."

You pay the mapmakers the money, Blizzard won't earn cash on community made maps, the community will earn cash with community maps.

O and it's not Blizzard who's screwed up, it's Activision who barged in and started acting like like the old EA but a thousand times worse. The whole bitching about Brütal Legend was just áwfull.

And Blizzard isn't getting a slice of the pie when amateur designers offer their maps up for purchase on Bnet? That is difficult to believe. If amateur designers get cash off the Blizzard Marketplace without Blizzard taking a cut, I'll believe it. If not, then it's pretty clear that they regret not cashing in on things like DotA. At any given time there are more DotA games going on in WC3 then there are actual WC3 games, and it's by a huge margin. By taxing map purchases like this it means that consumers buying a game solely for a single awesome custom map isn't enough (I know five people who bought WC3 just for DotA), they need people to buy the game AND map.

Releasing a steady flow of annual expansions for WoW and charging 30 bucks for the other two SC2 campaigns means I'm more skeptical about their motives than I was five years ago. Their PR speak is ridiculously deflective, not to mention their EULAs are shady. The WoW EULA says Blizzard has the right to suspend or cancel your account if you do anything that "goes against the spirit of the game." What kind of vague statute is that? Basically it means "if you piss us off." They wholeheartedly support multiboxing in WoW because "players should be able to do what they want with their accounts." Translation: "Multiboxing means one person is buying eight copies of WoW, eight copies of BC, eight copies of WotLK and soon eight copies of Cataclysm. On top of that, it means one guy is also paying for eight account subscriptions. I love lighting my Cuban cigars with Ben Franklin's face." Yet if you try to sell your account, it is no longer yours to do with whatever you see fit, but it's "against the spirit of the game." Of course it's against the "spirit of the game." It means that you sold your account for a bunch of money and Blizzard didn't see a dime of it. You got a fully rigged out character with the game and all it's expansions, and all you're paying Blizz is the subscription fee. If they got you as a WoW virgin it means you have to buy the game, all the expansions and pay multiple fees to get your character that powerful.

They're not much better than EA. Even Valve seems to have fallen from grace quietly -- they aren't totally there yet, but I can see how tempting it is for them. Obsidian is the only developer I love with all my heart now.

Amnestic:

bushwhacker2k:

Joeshie:
Blizzard can go fuck themselves.

And I don't say that lightly either. They have gone from a very consumer-oriented developer to a money-grubbing developer who will go to any lengths in order to scrap every dollar they can out of their userbase. Gee, who does that remind us of....

I agree, and just out of curiosity who is the guy in the picture?

Actually in general I feel like the gaming industry has dropped most of it's idealism about making good games and become almost completely about raking in the dough... I suspect that's why games are so short these days and yet so much more expensive than they used to be.

That's Robert "Bobby" Kotick, CEO of Activision and board member of Activision Blizzard if I've got my grammar rules right.

He used to be CEO of 4Kids Entertainment as well before moving to Activision. Yeah, he helped contribute to the abomination that is the 4Kids English anime releases.

Edit: Fuckin' ninja'd. I'll get you back for this. I have an entire fleet of pirates at my disposal.

it's Activision who barged in

Activision didn't 'barge in'. They entered into a merge with Blizzard instigated by Vivendi Games, a subdivision of Vivendi SA.

Oh my god, I didn't know about this... are you telling me the source of all evil(4Kids) and Lucifer(Activision Blizzard) have joined forces!?!?!?!

oliveira8:

Capo Taco:
Man, people have such a messed up relationship with money. If you'd understand economics just a little bit better, you would understand that the maps that would earn a 7 value on scale of 10, will now be able to produce maps of 9 or 10 out of 10 points. The maps that earn a 6 or 7, (which is the highest value produced under the old economic model) will have a hard time competing with these better 9 or 10 maps and will have to be free to see effective distribution.

In short, for a few bucks more you get counterstrike equivalent value on top of your purchased half life. Oh noes!

Theres this thing going on called economic crisis, which makes alot of people think twice before suppporting their hobbies. Before spending money on hobbies theres more important stuff, like food, house bills, clothing, work/school, probably a family and other important stuff.
So it's no wonder people will backlash when they need to pay for something that used to be free or stuff suddenly becomes more expensive. Even if the quality is better.

I live on €5 a day. I know there is a crisis.

I know that paying for custom maps doesn't sound good. I can sympathize when money is tight. Admittedly, I don't have children to support, so that makes it easier. However, starcraft 2 custom maps were never free. They never existed. Warcraft 3 custom maps and starcraft custom maps still exist and continue to be free. I've actually restarted playing starcraft 1. That was amazing value for the €50 euros I paid for it. No wait, that was guilders, because starcraft is a game from 1998, so I paid 50 guilders for it (which is about €25, yay euro conversion inflation).
If I compare that purchase to my other video game purchases it simply annihilates the competition. Even when I factor in that I lost the CD key and purchased a second copy of starcraft.
It is no wonder starcraft is one of the top selling computer games of all time.

When they make it possible to sell starcraft 2 ums maps, they're giving us something, not taking something away. They're giving players the right to sell maps, whereas such a thing is otherwise prohibited. Players don't have to sell maps. And you may or may not disagree with my economic theory, but I can assure you it is well grounded. When something that was forced to be free, suddenly is opened up for the market, about the same quality maps will continue to be free whereas higher quality maps will be available for purchase.

The only reasons to disagree with this decision is if you think that it will have a different result or if you are unable to compress your own spending habits.

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