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Garrett Fuller: BlizzCon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Garrett Fuller on November 05, 2018 | Columns | Comments

BlizzCon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Blizzcon has come and gone now for 2018 and while we are usually celebrating the awesomeness that is Blizzard, this year turned out a bit different. While some of the announcements still came as a huge surprise and welcome cheers of support by fans, Blizzard fell prey to some of the sad new rhetoric that surround our culture, as well as their own clandestine development messaging. We’ll call it the Immortal Blizzcon that no one will forget. If you have ever been to a show, you will know why.

The Good

Warcraft III: Reforged

Warcraft Reforged premiered at the show and this title is a much needed update to one of the best RTS games on the planet. Internally last year at Blizzcon we learned that the staff at Blizzard were still huge active fans of the game and often hosted matches. Bringing the new graphics and design to a very strong set of mechanics was a pure win for both fans and Blizzard alike. The big questions like will it be available on console or more importantly mobile, but right now mobile is a four letter word for Blizzard.

World of Warcraft: Classic

J. Allen Brack led the audience on a hysterical narrative last year regarding Vanilla ice cream. Now, it seems like fans will be getting their classic WoW in 2019 and the team is doing everything they can to keep with the classic mentality behind the game. As WoW players from day one, we will all be joining up to tackle some of our favorite zones here at MMORPG. This announcement was a solid update to the premiere of the title last year.

Starcraft 2 Winner!

Joona “Serral” Sotala won the Starcraft 2 Championship series at Blizzcon. While this may not seem like nothing new, there has to be a winner each year. This marks the first time ever that a European player has won the tournament. Beating out Kim "Stats" Dae Yeob in the Finals. My best comparison of this victory is like beating the U.S.A in Basketball, it never happens. Gratz to Serral and all the players for an epic tournament.

The Bad

Diablo Immortal and the Fans

Let’s cut right to the chase. The fan reaction to Diablo Immortal was suprising to everyone…or was it. Blizzard had made a few mistakes along the way leading up to Blizzcon and unfortunately did themselves no favors at all when they went after negative Reddit posts. A few months back, Diablo Community Manager Brandy Camel announced that there were multiple Diablo titles in the works. This fueled the fan speculation that Diablo 4 was on the docket for Blizzcon. Fans are passionate, and passion can go in either direction very… very quickly. When Diablo Immortal was announced, fans were not impressed. When the Diablo Immortal panel began, Wyatt Chang was now up against an angry mob. He did not help the situation by firing back at fans with his “don’t you have phones?” comments. From there Blizzard made several mistakes in trying to limit the messaging around the title and the fans’ anger at Blizzcon. Here we are days later, and it has gone from bad to worse. Being at many Blizzcons over the years, none of us can remember Boo’s actually being directed at an announcement (maybe by the Horde yelling at the Alliance, but that is okay). If anything this huge error in Blizzard’s judgement of the fans and marketing strategy needs to be corrected and fast. Unsure how Blizzard will right the ship, usually they do. It might help adding in some new classes to the game and announcing whatever other projects they have in the hopper, just saying…

The Ugly

The Fallout (no pun intended) is that Blizzard needs to take a serious look at the game industry right now. Studios and fans are moving in a much faster direction. Companies are delivering on announcements and stepping away from teasers. They are working more closely with fans than ever. Blizzard missing the mark and failing to understand their fans rapid passion will go on for weeks. There will be lessons learned and hopefully Blizzard and NetEase can figure it out. Huge questions have followed now with the game being called a re-skin of Champions of Light (a NetEase Game), and accusations of censoring the Reddit posts.

For now, we have Blizzcon 2019 to look forward too.

Garrett Fuller Garrett Fuller Editorials
Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997. He originally joined as a writer in 2005. In 2007 Garrett went on to handle Industry Relations for Then, in July 2009, Garrett happily rejoined his old team at as the site's News Manager. Garrett lives in Hillsborough, NJ with his wife, son and daughter.

His column appears here every Wednesday.