Let’s be blunt: Blizzard hasn’t had a lot of great PR over the last few years. It seems like every year brings a new fumble in the community or something else for the fans to rally against – suspending Hearthstone players for voicing support for Hong Kong, questioning if everyone has phones at the reveal of Diablo Immortal, releasing their worst title with Warcraft III: Reforged, and the list continues.
And it’s easy to focus on the bad, isn’t it? It’s intense, it seems less complicated, and sometimes it’s even fun to be angry! But it’s absolutely vital to highlight the good when it pops up, and Blizzard deserves a lot of highlighting for what they’ve been up to.
When you have millions of players, some will feel unheard and a unanimous decision is impossible, but World of Warcraft fans have become jaded by the implementation of features they don’t like. One of the leading offenders of this is the titanforging/warforging mechanic, which randomly upgrades gear on an RNG basis, making it so that players might have to grind the same endgame content over and over just to get a decent roll.
It’s no secret that the majority of the player base hates this mechanic, and has for multiple expansions. Blizzard has heard these complaints and are listening: titanforging and warforging will be absent from Shadowlands.
That’s far from the only opinion they’ve heard. Recently, the developers implemented a double-experience buff for retail players to help with social distancing. This doubled all experience gains from all sources, making leveling a new character significantly quicker and easier, but it was set to end this weekend. Listening to the outcries of their player base, Blizzard agreed to extend the buff.
Even more than that, they extended the buff much longer than anyone expected, with it now lasting until the pre-Expansion patch of Shadowlands. They’re going so far as to add in an additional buff that will allow players to earn double reputation for select factions as well, making Allied Races much easier to unlock.
These three examples are, well, only three examples! There are plenty of other instances of Blizzard listening to their player base, and it’s absolutely fantastic to see. After years of feeling discarded, fans are feeling heard instead, and are thanking Blizzard for listening.
As time moves on, there will likely be more snags, because that’s just how game development goes: it’s complicated, and keeping millions of people happy is always going to be difficult. But if Blizzard keeps up their recent streak of listening to their players, there’s going to be a lot of good ahead as well.