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The QueueFeb 7, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Giant Steps

One gigantic step at a time… Right, Diblo?


MY BROTHER ASKED ME:

So what’s up with Blizzard Watch? You’ve been alluding to a few things on Twitter and I know you’ve been doing a lot of work on things lately.

Yup! Some stuff is up.

I wanted to do a post about it, but I’m not ready — mainly because I’m collecting some data and working to make it into a way that’s more … consumable than a lot of statistics and business jargon. When I do post, I’m hoping to lay out a five-year plan for the site, which will be, well, interesting to see how people react. I have a strong suspicion that many are going to react positively, however, if the overwhelming reaction is negative (to the point that there is little upside of continuing down the path, and the data shows this), then we’d have to pivot. But I want to avoid that kind of dance at all cost.

Sound cryptic? Cool cool.

No one has anything to worry about. We’ve passed our four-year anniversary (we didn’t want to make a big deal of it, next year we will though); and the way that we’ve passed that milestone is by being smart and adaptable. We know there’s a recession on the way, that means we need to shift around things to prepare for that so we can withstand it just fine like WoW Insider withstood the Great Recession. We’re making these changes and plans now though, on our own terms, and not terms that are dictated by the market.

Before anyone jumps here — no one has, is, or will be getting kicked off staff, etc etc… There’s no fighting, malcontent, or whatever other word people want to gin up. Liz is still firing Mitch every day, and Mitch is still trying to rename the site Mitch Watch. Life is good.


MYTHRIAK ASKED:

Q4tBWdevs: Can we get rid of Disqus?

Probably not.

Reason being are a few things.

First, our time could be spent better elsewhere; this is a sad but true tradeoff. Replacing a comment system isn’t an easy task, especially if we want to preserve old comments somehow.

Second, they all suck.

Third, for the ones that don’t suck, we’d need to spend money. Right now my business focus is spending money on content — I’ve reduced costs in just about every other area so I can squeeze even more content. There’s a clear line here too in the revenue against posts, so when we do one, we get more of the other … sometimes business is that simple.

Now with all that said, if there is a better solution that’s out there I am entirely willing to entertain it, even let it go into limited tests. But it would have to be … really good for us to switch “just because Disqus has problems.”

If I were to do everything over though, I’d likely go with my own system. I am very annoyed with the lack of flexibility in these. I wanna do badges, for instance, but can’t without paying a ton.

 


KAELCHUS ASKED:

Q4tQ: Presuming we don’t get a level squish or system change, do you think the max level in the nexpac will be 125 or 130?

As much as I hate to say it, it’s going to be 130. Enough designers have come out and said they didn’t like the 5-levle increments, that it didn’t have the same feeling of making your character more powerful, so they’re going with 10 it seems (for now).

I do have a problem overall with where WoW is headed here. They’re going to need to not only squish the item levels at some point, but squish the levels too. 120 or 130 is meaningless. As we get into the 150s, it’s going to be even more meaningless.

Think in reverse here too. How _insane_ is it going to feel to hit 110 and go “gah, okay another 40 levels to go!” one day in the not too distant future? That’s not going to feel very good.

The downside to a level crunch is that it’s going to cause all kinds of fit throwing by the community at large. But I don’t see a way around it at this point. Levels need to mean something (and please do not go to a champion-point based system like SWTOR or ESO); and even now the difference between level 75 and 105 doesn’t stand for much. It only means you’ve got a ways to go.


SPOONYBARDOL ASKED:

One of the recent Dev Interviews raised the possibility of allowing us to make all 50 of our possible characters on the same server.

If this comes to pass, do you think Blizzard should reduce the cost of server transfers? Maybe a time-limited discount? Or a free transfer or five for everyone who might have otherwise rolled a character on their preferred server if not for the limitation?

They’ve hung this carrot out before — and nothing has yet come of it. I wouldn’t hold my breath for this.

Assuming it does come to pass, I could see Blizzard offering some sort of consolidation package where they’ll transfer all your alts to one server. That would be nice, although I do wonder the feasibility of it given the restrictions on transfers (gold, AH, mailbox, etc…).

End of the day though I wouldn’t expect that fee to go down. It’s a money maker for them.

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