Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kudos to Blizzard for honesty

Via MMO-Champion I saw this Blizzard "blue post" on pugging in 3.3:
Just a couple of observations from our point of view:

1) Players who don't pug dramatically underestimate the number of people who do.
2) Players often assume every realm has the same dynamics that their realm has.

Pugging is something an awful lot of players do and our (frankly inadequate) tool didn't facilitate that experience very well. The new tool is pretty fast and simple. If you enjoy pugging (or don't enjoy it but do it anyway) the new tool should let you spend less time organizing and more time killing (or wiping).

If pugging isn't your thing, that's cool. We're not trying to push you into it... unless you really like pugs (by which I mean the pooch). The tool will also benefit premades.
Emphasis is mine. It is refreshing to see that Blizzard is well aware that their LFG tools, in spite of several iterations, are still "frankly inadequate". And I do believe that the patch 3.3 approach of making pickup groups more common by A) making them easier to find, and B) rewarding people for pugging is the right one.

It is said that Blizzard's "A team" moved away from World of Warcraft to create the next-gen MMO, and left the "B team" behind to take care of WoW. Usually people use these designations to indicate that the people now working on WoW are less qualified than the people who built WoW originally. But to me it appears that at least in the field of social competencies the "B team" is way ahead of the "A team". It would be ironic if patch 3.3 made WoW blossom into a far more cooperative game, and the next-gen Blizzard MMO would turn out to be another massively soloplayer online RPG.

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