Yes, I realise that most of you think that I have gone mental, (or more mental), but the fact remains that this is a perfectly understandable move by Blizzard with WoW in the current state that it is. In case you’ve missed the news, Blizzard has come out with a future feature where players will be able to bring in ReadID friends from different servers into the same heroic dungeon group that they are in. Oh yes, and it’s a premium service that will cost you an extra. Of course this has set off a chain of anguish throughout the blogging and forum world, with fists being shaken and thunder rumbling from the mountain tops. The common argument against this new plan is that it will punish, (ie make them pay more), the very players who care enough and are actually able to make friends in WoW. As Spinks says;
“… Since people who actually form their own groups are likely to be the more social players anyway, Blizzard effectively will be going the opposite way from Valve and charging the people who most want and are able to build social networks for their friends …”
Now this is a noble sentiment, but the problem with it is that it fails to take into account the actual state of the WoW community at present. If I were to say that the WoW community is, oh I don’t know, … a toxic waste-pit, or bereft of any redeeming features, or even non existent, I don’t think that I would find many players who would stand up and defend it against my remarks. Blizzard knows this. It knows that it has created a horrible two headed green monster. But part of keeping that green monster going, (because it makes them lots of cash), is keeping the LFG tool going so the monster can continue to get its instant gaming gratification. So it can’t put in a standard feature that would remove many of the good players from the great unwashed.
But Blizzard knows that the better players are leaving in droves, and even though comparatively those numbers are small, it still cares enough about that money to want to do something. But this has to be a feature for players that really, and I mean really want it, for it to work. Which means segregation. And the only way to segregate in this way is cash. The great unwashed are not going to pay for a premium account. But the old school gamers who want their game back are not going to get it without some sacrifice. Which means stumping up the cash.
There is the other bugbear in the room, which is Real ID lurking in the background. Well, if this is what it takes, then so be it. Honestly everyone, what more do you want? The community cannot be rebuilt with the state of the current player base. The only option is segregation, and the only way to effectively do it is to stick a price tag on it. Hopefully the price won’t be too high.