Will BioWare Be To Blizzard What Blizzard Was To SOE?
Ah BioWare, thee who can do no wrong, how I love you so. Come hither and perch upon the pedastol before me so you might bask in my admiration.
Sound familiar? Turn the clock back 7 years and that might have been SOE I was talking about. Everquest was at it’s peak with it’s highest number of subscribers ever (just shy of 500k) and some hugely hyped Star Wars based MMO was right on the verge of release. But then something happened. Over the next few years SOE made a handful of bad decisions (most notably the NGE for SWG) and suddenly all faith in them was lost. Justly or not, SOE had turned from the Kings of the MMO genre to the butt of every harsh remark about screwing over the fan base and selling out their morals. $OE was their new name and woe was them.
2005. Enter Blizzard, the new kids on the MMO block. They had polished leather shoes, gelled back hair, a packed lunch from their mums and a great reputation for producing awesome high quality single player game. These guys were ready to kick ass, recite Pi to 17 decimal places and launch the most successful MMO the industry had ever seen. They trampled SOE into the ground in the process, condemning Everquest, SWG and EQ2 into a overshadowed, second class oblivion. Blizzard changed everything and shook the very foundations of the gaming community, turning MMOs from being the equivalent of the foreign film market into the Holywood summer blockbuster.
Skip back to modern day now and where are we? Blizzard aren’t looking as fresh and sharp as they once did. They seem to be making slews of unpopular decisions, one after the after. High priced “added value extras” for WOW, RealID, increasing the price of Starcraft 2 and releasing it in three parts. Justly or not, it’s probably only a matter of time now before we hear the cries of their new nickname ‘Bli$$ard’ around the web.
Does this mean BioWare is going to be the White Knight of the current MMO industry? I’m betting it does. Gamers are fickle creatures with a strong (perhaps inflated) sense of right and wrong and can easily heap praise onto developers as fast as they can condemn them. And so in turn, does this mean we’ll see history repeat itself and witness BioWare do to Blizzard what Blizzard did to SOE? I guess only time will tell…
P.S. Personally I don’t really have any massive moral issues with either Blizzard or SOE. I enjoy Blizzard game’s a lot and, in fact, I actually also admire SOE greatly for the work they put into EQ2 and how they swooped in to save to Vanguard from never even seeing release. It does go to show though how easily the gaming community can create, and maintain, a negative reputation for a company that slips up.