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Garrett Fuller: Blizzard: A Recovery Story

By Garrett Fuller on December 17, 2018 | Editorials | Comments

Blizzard: A Recovery Story

If you were to tell me this summer that Fallout 76, Diablo, and Steam’s Artifact announcements would go over like a lead balloon I would tell you that you are crazy. However, that is the reality in games this holiday season. Three of the biggest game companies with fans that far exceed the word devoted are now facing a harsh reality, they finally pissed off their fans. For this first article we will focus on Blizzard and how they might recover from the first ever disastrous BlizzCon on record.

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This meme has been going around about what is happening in the video game world. Have you seen it?

Admitting You Were Wrong

We messed up, you trusted us, and we let you down. Those are sometimes hard words for a major billion dollar company to get out the door, but it has to happen. Blizzard are coming off a very rough BlizzCon and now Activision Blizzard stock is at a new low for the year losing a ton of value. This past weekend they even cancelled all esports surrounding Heroes of the Storm. The game will still be supported, but any official Blizzard esports models are now gone, much to the disappointment to countless pros and players who have sunk time and money into the game. It just ended that quickly.

Blizzard needs to do what any close friend would do when they let someone down and make a huge holiday apology to their fans. World of Warcraft missed the mark with their expansion despite great sales, it has fallen in numbers faster than other expansions. Hearthstone is losing ground to Magic The Gathering Arena, and Diablo: Immortal will forever be known as “Don’t you have phones?”

It is time to huddle up in Irvine and get a messaging plan out that shapes 2019 as the best Blizzard year ever. That has to start with a big we are sorry for 2018.

Remind Fans Who You Are

To be fair, Blizzard almost never makes mistakes. Every title they have delivered over the years has been a hit on amazing levels. Sure they had bumps in the road, but overall, there is a reason they are successful. Time to go back to what makes them great, great games. Whatever projects they have working in back corners of the rooms of their fortress, I mean campus, and they need to form some serious messages around their work. Have a solid plan for 2019 that is not BlizzCon. Make announcements all over, bring fans back, get your top speakers out there and get moving.

Make whatever changes you have to in World of Warcraft to bring players in on a new patch. Announce the plan in a fun video and get people back in the game. For Diablo, well, you just need to say it and get it over with. There were enough rumors out there that D4 is coming, time to pull the curtain back and let’s hope the wizard is more than people expect. D4 should be a surprise and something great for fans to rally behind.

Finally, it might be time to get away from things like Overwatch League. Yes, I said it. Despite its popularity, the price tags are crazy high and rumors have plagued the organization now for the entire fall. Blizzard needs to stop being a sports company and start being a game company again.

Highlight Your Victories

Warcraft: Reforged looks fantastic and was well received at BlizzCon. Stick to that message! Better yet, build on it. Set up a massaging campaign that will take a new audience into the game. Show old fans what they are going to enjoy and enhance the positive.

Overwatch is still doing well; new information should come out for the new year. The holiday skins are fun and exciting, especially Junkrat Krampus, so go deeper into the characters with some more messages for players.

Finally, Blizzard is not going anywhere. The game company has so much to offer fans and this year may just have been a bad spot for our favorite games. In the end we do want them to come back in a huge way. We want change and advancement, but for now they have a few things to iron out.

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

His column appears here every Wednesday.
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