Great expectations – getting the most out of Blizzcon announcements

Blizzcon is this weekend, and the hype train is speeding along. I, like most fellow WoW players, are hanging out for any news about Legion. I’m pretty sure the one question everyone wants to have answered is “when will Legion be released?”. It’s a fair question – people are excited about the game and they want to play it. But then we start getting in to people wanting to hear what is going to happen with their class or their spec or all manner of very specific information, which is all well and good, but this is where the problems begin. Expectations about what is going to be presented during Blizzcon tend to get out of hand. It was true for the Legion announcement, and any other presentation Blizzard has done in the past. People hype themselves up so much that it almost doesn’t matter what Blizzard says – expectations are so high that they are never going to be met. Blizzard make announcements about things coming up, and while a lot of people are excited with the news, others get angry that their specific question didn’t get answered or talked about. The way people get angry and the way people behave towards Blizzard and other players is far too negative and offensive, and it has to stop. One of the easiest ways to stop this behaviour is to keep it real – remember what Blizzcon is for and set your expectations accordingly.

Blizzard doesn’t owe you anything

I can’t stress this enough. There is a very toxic mentality that exists in the community that makes people believe that because they pay for a product, they “own” the people who make it, or have expectations of the people who develop the product that are outside of what the product is for. WRONG. Blizzard doesn’t work for us – they develop a product that we purchase and use. It’s the same as purchasing a pair of jeans – you purchase then, wear them, enjoy the, and potentially buy another pair when a new design comes out. Just because you bought the pair of jeans doesn’t mean you “own” the designers of the jeans or the machinists who sew them together or the store in which you purchased them from. The jeans are a product for you to purchase and use. You shouldn’t expect to be involved in every step of the jeans’ creation. You may get a behind the scenes look at how your jeans were produced, or you might even get a sneak peak at a new design coming out in the future, but you are lucky if you do.

It’s the same with Blizzard and their announcements. As consumers of Blizzard games, we are not entitled to anything more than what Blizzard chooses to share with us. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day people need to remember that Blizzcon is a marketing exercise. It’s to promote their games, the things they’re developing and to sell some stuff. It isn’t actually about telling you everything you want to hear – that stuff will come later. Blizzcon is the fuel that keeps the hype train running. It’s designed to show off products.

What works best from a marketing perspective is to show the content that is going to be relevant to the most people. And that means hearing about new zones, levelling experiences, story, raids, dungeons, new classes, how the new pvp system is going to work etc. It doesn’t include things like going in to finite detail about how restoration shamans are going to change in the next expansion to be the most kick ass healers in game (*ahem*!) – or any other class for that matter (other than Demon Hunters, because they are new). If you expect to hear loads of specific information about how your class is going to change in Legion, then you’re probably going to be very disappointed.

Keep your expectations realistic

It’s hard because we’re all so excited and we want to know what’s coming. It’s like waiting for Christmas – you know you’re going to get some awesome presents, but having to wait to open them is a killer! Blizzard hypes us up, and we hype each other up, and all we’re doing is setting ourselves up for heartbreak.

So here are a couple of reminders about what to expect from Blizzcon:

There is a limited amount of time to speak- not everything will be covered

I’ve touched on this above, but it is worth reiterating. Because there is a limited amount of time to present, the most important content to the whole audience is going to be presented. This means that you might not hear anything about your class at all. Keep in mind, though, that your class is being worked on, and there will be information about it in other spaces, such as on the WoW forums or future interviews that are better suited to sharing this information. Blizzcon isn’t always the best place to talk about class changes, especially when they’re not set in stone. So please don’t expect to hear a lot about them (if anything).

Not everything shown will make it in to the final version of the game

This happens every year – things will be announced that don’t end up making it in to the final version of the game (e.g. ability to have your garrison wherever you want).

Having said this, the way Blizzard have been keeping Legion information close to their chest indicates to me that what they do share publicly is more likely to make it in to the live game. They have learned their lessons about showing content that doesn’t end up happening – they have seen the wrath, and they want to avoid it.

Still, for the sake of keeping expectations at realistic levels, don’t expect everything shown to make it in to the game.

Don’t make any rash decisions based on what’s presented.

This links in to the above point about not all content making it in to the game. I think it’s safe to say that there will be at least a bit of discussion about the new pvp system that’s due to come out with Legion. What would be very dangerous would be if, upon hearing the pvp changes and not liking them, a person decided to quit pvp entirely and delete their toons, only to have some of the pvp changes reverted. It might sound drastic, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to think someone would delete a toon over game changes, given how many people made rash decisions because of the flying situation.

Wait to see what gets released, then make a decision.

Don’t expect a release date to be announced

This one makes me sad, too, but I think it’s safer for all of our hearts if we just acknowledge that it is highly unlikely that we will get a Legion announcement date this weekend. The game isn’t in public beta yet, so there is still a lot of testing that needs to be done before they can release. So don’t hold you breath for this one (as much as we would like it!)

Keep an open mind

Some announcements might have you scratching your head – others you might immediately think “well that’s going to be crap”. Stop. Take a breath and look again. Is what’s happening directed at you? Or is it for a different type of player to yourself? Some changes might sound drastic (e.g. bringing back valor upgrades) but in reality, may only end up impacting a handful of people that may not actually be you.

Even if the change is directed at you, it’s not all doom and gloom. Unless you’ve had a chance to play out the change – to see it in action – you’re making uneducated assumptions, and that doesn’t help anyone. Keep an open mind, give it a chance and if you’re still unhappy, explain why.

Be kind

If you don’t hear what you want to hear during Blizzcon, it’s ok to be disappointed, and it’s ok to express that disappointment. It’s not ok to take that as an opportunity to rant and rave that Blizzard are useless/ out of touch with players / don’t know what they’re doing / are assholes etc. If you walk away from Blizzcon saying “all of that was shit” then I would like to kindly ask you to leave the community.

There is a vast difference between commenting on announcements in a constructive manner (that may not always be positive) and standing on a soapbox announcing everything is shit because you say it is. Let’s make this a positive experience and try to see how what’s announced benefits the game as a whole.

The latest Extended Maintenance podcast touches on a lot of this, as well as other community based discussion that is definitely worth a listen.

Have fun!

I don’t want this post to be seen as negative – I just want people to keep their expectations at a reasonable level for Blizzcon to avoid disappointment. And I want people to be kinder to each other.

Those of you who are going to Blizzcon, have an AMAZING time!

One response to “Great expectations – getting the most out of Blizzcon announcements”

  1. The cranky pants are on! | cinder says Avatar

    […] nothing else, I implore you to read my last post about keeping expectations in check, and I suggest you add “don’t believe it until Blizzard formally says it” to the […]


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