BlizzCons and such

We now have confirmation that the world truly will not end in December 2012. How, you ask? Because Blizzard has told us that BlizzCon 2013 is going to happen.

This morning, it was made official that there will be no BlizzCon in 2012, predictably giving a lot of people room to complain. After five years in a row, why this year? Why not have such an amazing experience? Bashiok gave us a very good reply, which in essence said: “Well, we’re kinda busy.”

Now remember, there actually was no BlizzCon in 2006 after the first one in 2005. At the time, it was understandable as it was shortly before Burning Crusade was being launched, and there weren’t really any big announcements at the time. Since then, the conventions in 2008 and 2010 could be seen as a bit lackluster since there was no new game announcements at either. In my opinion, that is one of the reasons why they decided to forego this year.

Plus, as Bashiok said, they are busy. This year we have the possibility to see THREE games being released. We know that Diablo III is coming sometime in the early part of the year, and it’s very likely that Mists of Pandaria and Heart of the Swarm will be released later on (the current thoughts are late summer or early fall for Mists and late fall or early winter for Swarm). Because of all the things that are involved, Blizzard can only stretch their resources so thin.

Not only do they have to organize the convention in the first place, but actually setting up, running it, and taking it down takes much more time and effort than the two days that BlizzCon occurs. I’m sure that they have people devoted to events like this, but there will definitely be volunteers from other departments. Every person taken away from their desk is one more project that will take longer to complete.

In the end, I’m definitely disappointed. Once again, like every year since we went to BlizzCon 2008, my wife and I have been looking at our finances and seeing if it was possible to make it out this year. With it not happening this year, we will definitely be trying to make it out next year. After a year off, I can’t imagine how big of a party that it will be.

Meanwhile, there are other events that go on. PAX Prime and East, Nerdtacular, Dragon*Con, and a whole lot more that I don’t know about or have forgotten. Nerds shall unite and party!

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Timing is Everything

Time… there’s never enough time.  There can also be too much time.  Days can drag on for some people, while for others it goes by in a flash.  Timing the markets to buy and sell stocks is a common occurance, and many people can make or lose a whole lot of money if it’s done right or wrong.  Trying to set out content in an ongoing online game that has been around for over six years is a big gamble no matter what the outcome is.  Some people blaze through content so fast that it’s outdated shortly after it’s released, while others take a lot longer to catch up.

Recently, Blizzard announced that they were going to delay the release of the Firelands raid that was originally going to be included in patch 4.1, which is currently on the public test realms.  At first when there was no mention of a raid, people were confused since it was said that there would be one in the Firelands (announced back at BlizzCon).  This was even more confusing as through the usual datamining of content, a new model of Ragnaros was found along with other items and abilities.  It was said that the reason behind this is for the pacing of content.

New Ragnaros Model
From MMO-Champion

On a post in the official forums, Community Manager Bashiok said that they had learned from a previous mistake from Wrath of the Lich King, which was the time between Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader.  Our guild can attest to this, as we had progressed up to Vezax (second last boss) before ToC was released, and didn’t down him until afterwards.  The gear that we received from the new raid helped, but that’s not the way that it’s supposed to work – you progress within the raid tier that you’re in, not from gear from better raid tiers.

Back in Vanilla, there were many patches with smaller sizes that added things gradually over time.  In Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, there were fewer patches with more content within them.  In Cataclysm, we’ve been seeing a lot of updates through hotfixes and a couple small patches so far.  If we go back to smaller, more frequent patches, I don’t see that as being a bad thing.  There might not be a raid with each new patch, but if we have other things with them I can’t see it being a bad thing.

For example, if we have the odd-numbered patches have 5-man instances in them and the even-numbered patches have raids, then have the expansion go up to patch 4.6 instead of 4.3, is that so bad?  The biggest thing is timing.  If Blizzard can put the patches out in a decent amount of time, this won’t be a problem.  As long as there aren’t huge spaces between patches, I believe the player base will remain happy.

I’m quite glad that we’re being given (from what I’ve seen) two great 5-man dungeons in the meantime, along with the other changes being made… but please don’t make us wait too long.