Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Open Sunday Thread

As every Sunday, I'm leaving the floor to you for discussion, suggestions, or questions.
I saw an interesting comment on Gevlon's blog yesterday. The poster described the primary purpose of a guild as "to keep people who can't move out of the fire out of your raids". That was quite surprising to me, as I see guilds as primarily social things, with raids (and any other activities) being a means to achieve that aim, rather than being an objective in themselves.

What does everybody else think? What are guilds for?
On Friday, Blizzard quietly posted formal design and distribution guidelines for add-ons.
This is causing some hubub on the official forums, in the "UI and Macros" section. Some authors of large add-ons are reporting that the clause to "don't ask for donations in-game" will force them to stop development on their add-on. Other people are pointing out that policy is probably partly the fault of Carbonite, which has a "ad-supported" version that would show advertisements in-game.

I'll be interested to see if what comes of this in the coming week. One reaction: the author of Outfitter has withdrawn his add-on in protest of the Blizzard guidelines.

You do not have to look far. I will re-post my comment:

Blizzard opened Pandora’s box with all this UI modding and addon stuff themselves.
Sure, they got great ideas for their UI through the modder community. COSMOS UI was largely incorporated into their UI by default. Sneaky…
Play WoW without Addons/Mods - and you are maybe not screwed, but definitely at a disadvantage, often a severe disadvantage. Just think about the many Battleground group joiner addons, mods that are close to bots and so on.
IMO: MMORPGs should offer their customers tons of ways to customize appearance. Maybe even to add their own “skins”. But definitely not allow them extra abilities, shortcuts and other major modifications.
"One reaction: the author of Outfitter has withdrawn his add-on in protest of the Blizzard guidelines."
Not because Blizzard are offering similar functionality via the official UI in 3.1 then?
I wondered how this new policy relates to whatever UI upgrade Blizzard is said to be planning. So I went to their official notice and read it, looking for clarity. The statement is right under a big fat Domino's Pizza ad. Blizzard says no add-on in-game advertising but gains revenue from advertising in their official pages? Is that any different? Or is this hypocrisy on Blizzard's part? How long before they have in-game advertising? I would imagine it is a possibility. My own opinion is that Blizzard's owners are sucking every last dime out of the game they can find to keep the parent company afloat. It won't be long before in-game advertising dollars look quite appealing.

WOW's basic UI is not very functional. Why are they cracking down on addon makers that improve the game and contribute to a vibrant game community? Do they just want all that revenue for themselves? Why shouldn't addon makers be paid for their time and effort, especially for very large pieces of code that provide a great deal of functionality and have to be tweeked and updated? Have there been addons whose function was absorbed into Blizzard's UI? If Blizzard continues to do this, will they be sued? Code is copyrightable, you know. Sooner or later the author of the original function is going to sue Blizzard if this is what is happening.

Blizzard has the right to make sure addons don't do bad things to their game. But how far can they control what extra software players use? Can Microsoft tell PC owners they can only use Internet Explorer, not Firefox? How far does this analogy go?

The more I think about this, the more I am positive Longasc is right. Blizzard just opened a Pandora's box and all sorts of nasty little things flew out....
Is this RSS feed broken for anybody else? Mine hasn't updated since "Naxx loot table?"

Not sure if this is broken on my end or yours Tobold.
"Blizzard says no add-on in-game advertising but gains revenue from advertising in their official pages? Is that any different? Or is this hypocrisy on Blizzard's part?"

It's not hypocrisy. WoW is Blizzard's property. Other parties are not allowed to profit from it unless they enter into an agreement with Blizzard that says as much, like the company that makes the boardgame, or the CCG, or the t-shirts and other knick-knacks.

Just go and mod Half-Life and try to sell it without Valve's permission and without Valve getting a piece of every sale. They will be all over you.

Modders should not be asking for money in the game. That is opening up a real Pandora's box with everyone and his brother soliciting for money in game for various reasons. We don't want that when we play WoW. In fact, Blizzard is not telling modders to not ask for donations: "such requests should be limited to the add-on website or distribution site and should not appear in the game." They are simply saying, don't ask in the game and don't charge as a requirement for download.

It's all perfectly reasonable and correct. We don't want people soliciting cash from us in the game.
Thank goodness this will kill Questhelper. Now all the idiots that can't be bothered to read quest text and use their brains will have that much more trouble playing and might even quit. Woot!
No, Questhelper will live on, but Carbonite will be left in the gutter, a broken husk of a once "great" addon.

My RSS feed works perfect
As I posted at Brokentoys:

I’m with Longasc on this one. The whole WoW Add-On concept is an abomination. UI customization is nice when it is tantamount to skinning. But the level of functionality added by Add-Ons is nearly required to be at all competitive in PvP and PvE.

My wife has been trying to convince me to play WoW again, and one of the biggest barriers is this: “Ugh, if we play WoW again, first thing I have to do is spend 10 hours researching, installing, and experimenting with UI mods to figure out which ones are still being updated and still provide all the core functionality I was used to.”

Then every major patch you have 2-4 days of torturous hell as Add-Ons slowly get fixed. In the meantime, its like playing a different game.

Blizzard should have done a better job with their core UI, and add-ons should be little more than skinning options. They should have listened to player input for feature additions rather than just farming that out to voluneers. This is part of my #1 biggest problem with Blizzard and WoW: they greedily hoard all their money and invest VERY LITTLE back into the game.

A few months ago they admitted to only spending $200 million on WoW since its release… on everything… right down to janitors and electricity. That’s a disgrace. They practically make that every month.
Has anyone else noticed a WoW slowdown? It seems like not as many people are playing. If you log in on a Tuesday night right when raids reset then it is busy, but the rest of the week seems pretty empty. I've also noticed that in the past 2 or 3 weeks my auctions haven't been selling as fast. It feels like it's alot harder to get a pug going most nights as well.

Are people sick of WoW since they have "beaten" it now? Do you think they are waiting for 3.1 and this is just a good time to take a break? Any thoughts on what is going on?
I'd like to see a post about different kinds of "videogame gameplay" in the mmorpg genre. I'm not talking exactly about gameplay but it's close. I'll explain:
In most games you can play a fighter, focused on combat gameplay; a thief, focused on stealth gameplay; a mage, focused on magic, a Merchant or a Diplomat, focused on social gameplay; a crafter, focused on crafting gameplay...
Those are the five kinds of "gameplay" that I've found. Actually, in most mmorpg, these actions have the same real gameplay: pushing bottons. But let's put that aside. What kinds of gameplay you'd think could be added in a mmorpg?
I can think of racing gameplay, like horse races or something like that. What'd you think?
Are people leaving WoW to try out Runes of Magic? I played RoM Saturday and it seemed like there were a lot of WoW tourists in the game. As a percentage of the total WoW player base, it wouldn't be a huge number, but Andrew's question has me wondering.
What about glyphs? Can Blizzard still implement glyphs that enhance a spec further? For example glyphs which can make a healer more offensive, defensive, support-oriented and etc. Tanks can choose between being better at avoidance, mitigation or threat.
Is this RSS feed broken for anybody else? Mine hasn't updated since "Naxx loot table?" Not sure if this is broken on my end or yours Tobold.

Yours. I checked it with Google reader and this post was on it.
I unsubscribed and resubscribed and all seems well know. Not sure what caused the funkiness.


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