Friday, March 22, 2013

Really Blizzard?

Full disclosure, I am a Blizzard fan boy.  Played just about everything they came out with, was a WoW addict for years, and if I am honest with myself I mostly stopped playing because I stopped liking the style of game rather then any fault of theirs.  I've slaughtered Zerg, offed Diablo, and led both the Horde and the Alliance to victory.  So, when I heard tell of a new product being announced at Pax East, I got all excited.

What do we get?  An online card game.
Now, it's free to play, so it's pretty much guaranteed I'll check it out.  I am a fan boy.  Looks fairly standard, you got your cards, your decks, looks like a special ability depending on what hero you chose.  To give them credit you can earn new packs of cards instead of only being able to purchase them which is a nice touch, but hardly unique in a free to play.  Facebook is bloated with the corpses of games that parceled out small touches of premium content to devoted players.  You never did as well as people willing to spend their money on the game, and I personally have no issue with that, but it's not always as much of a draw as some devs seem to think.  It's a tricky thing to balance, too stingy and you risk not getting people hooked, too loose and no one wants to pony up the cash.

Now, speaking as a former CCG addict there's a good possibility of money to be made here.  When I was younger and stupider I had a nasty Magic the Gathering habit, and it spilled over into other CCG's.  It's a fun concept, but it's been done so many different ways at this point, both on and off line, that I'm not sure there's a lot they can bring to the table, even with Blizzard's legendary ability to combine all the best ideas others have tried into something that rises above all other games.

Is it really too early to say how it will do?  Yup.  Sure is.  Bliz has surprised me before, and I hope they can do it again.  I do, however, find myself wondering if this is one of those things that will do gangbusters over in Asia but just limp along over here.  There's also a small part of me that, truth be told, wants this to sputter out quickly.  This really feels more like a Facebook game to me then anything else, and the fact that they're planning an IPad version doesn't help with that a bit.  I'm used to epic, world shattering games from them, and at first glance this feels like it wouldn't even qualify as an aftershock.

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