Ahh, QQ. A staple of the WoW community, the foundation of this blog, and something every one of us likes to delve in from time to time.
Sure, there are some who QQ because they legitimately hate the game but don’t quit for some reason and go do something that’s actually fun (my theory is that they enjoy being miserable), but most of us genuinely love the game.
We only QQ when a change that we don’t like, or otherwise don’t agree with, is applied to the game.
Or, more specifically, our ideal of the game.
As a company, Blizzard has always held itself to the standard of utter perfection. They are not a company willing to go forward with “good enough”, anything less than “best game in the history of everything” just isn’t good enough for them.
I hear you scoff. I hear you already typing in your counter-argument. That’s some impressive multi-tasking there, by the way.
Stop typing for a second, and let’s look at the facts here.
Starcraft was hugely successful. Sporting three completely unique and balanced races (a feat thought impossible), brilliant story-telling and ridiculously well crafted characters. I can’t be the only one who got all misty-eyed when Fenix died, to say nothing of the perpetual stiffie I have for Kerrigan. Baby, I’d let you infest me any day.
It was a very good game, but not perfect. Yes, it was very balanced, but not perfectly so. Comparing the up-to-date PC version with the N64 version reveals the differences rather starkly. To be brief, Zerg are so horrifically overpowered on the N64 it’s not even funny (4 pool I win durr hurrrrr).
But “very good” wasn’t good enough. So patch 1.08 (this is the humassive patch that basically fixed every single balance issue) was released, and was Blizzard’s way of saying “we want this game to be the best ever”. I mean, there were still patches coming out in 2005. That’s dedication.
Who keeps releasing patches to their game a decade after it first game out? And no “well, it’s still such a popular game” is not good comeback, that just reinforces my point.
Consider the games Blizzard didn’t release, Starcraft: Ghost and Warcraft Adventures.
Those two games are guaranteed best sellers. Even if they were merely average, they would easily earn millions, with at least a million copies of each game selling on release day.
Both games are, amazingly, essentially finished. Somewhere at Blizzard, the effectively completed games sit somewhere in a vault, abandoned for merely being “good”.
Ghost ended up being put on hold indefinitely, though there are still plans to maybe get it out someday. Warcraft Adventures, by comparison, is dead and gone.
Diablo, yes, the original Diablo, still makes it into top 20 best seller lists, to say nothing of the immense popularity the Warcraft games enjoy. WoW, of course, possesses over 11 million active subscribers, and likely tens of millions of people who used to play.
The trick is, Blizzard doesn’t actually have a higher rate of success than other game studios. Instead, what Blizzard does is axe the games that won’t meet their standards of utter perfection.
To quote Rob Pardo:
we’ve cancelled a lot of projects… We’re just willing to cancel the products that fail. That’s important to our brand. We’re willing to bite the bullet and write off those expenses.
Such a philosophy is not an easy one to hold.
The biggest problem, of course, is that us, the player base, begin to share that philosophy.
Blizzard says “nothing short of perfect is good enough”, and we hold them to that.
Blizzard wants the perfect game, so we point out every single thing wrong with them.
The source of QQ is not our anger, not our rage or frustration, but from Blizzards own ideals.
They hold themselves to a standard of perfection, and we do too. Thus, whenever anything less than perfection is attained, we feel cheated somehow. We were promised something, and received something less.
You need look no further than patch 3.1s promise to revitalize fire PvP, and the outrage and frustration that followed when that promise wasn’t fulfilled.
We wouldn’t complain nearly as much if Blizzard went with “good enough”, or even “meh”.