Welcome to another Jaggy’s Corner where I write my thoughts about various video gaming topics. Each week I find topics that I either want to rant about or praise. Today… Well, today is going to be interesting… I just have to ask something. What were you guys expecting?
You might be asking whatever do I mean?
Before I go on, this was not a topic I was going to discuss simply because it has already been talked about. I don’t feel like there is a lot to add (which I’ll get into). Yet, some of my regular followers wanted my thoughts on Warcraft III: Reforged and I gotta ask, why? Because frankly, I don’t care all that much…
Let me explain. Blizzard was a company that I held on a pedestal. It was the company responsible for Warcraft I and II, which I played a lot of. Sadly, I missed out on Warcraft III because my life was in chaos, but also because I didn’t have a good enough computer to run it. I had also played Diablo I and II for many years. In fact, these games were perfect for my family to play together. Time had passed from Diablo days to the launch of World of Warcraft when I had re-entered the Blizzard sphere. I became heavily invested in the game for 6.5 years and had quit before Mists of Pandaria. Sometime closer to the end of my career in WoW, I decided to learn the Starcraft ways. It was my introduction to Twitch, but over time, my perspective of the company altered. What I want from a video game now hasn’t been provided by Blizzard in a long time. My investment in everything Blizzard turned to ash after some experiences during my WoW career, the terrible decisions made in Diablo III with its real-world auction house, and Overwatch’s launch. From those three experiences, my apathy had solidified itself. So, this post might put things into perspective when I repeat my question of what were you guys expecting when it came to the launch of Warcraft III: Reforged?
Here’s what I’m thinking about. Much of last year brought Activision/Blizzard many controversies like, “You all have phones right?” to revoking a professional Hearthstone players’ winnings in a tournament to the #firebobbykotick hashtag. (These events are listed in no particular order.) The company that once was held in such high regard has clearly plummeted for many different reasons. I’m not going to presume that I know what happened, because the reality is that I have no idea.
The whole Warcraft III: Reforged issue and uproar, to be completely honest, makes me chuckle. Not because of what has happened, but because I’m sure that some of the people included in the group speaking out about Reforged, is made up of the same people who swore up and down that they were boycotting Blizzard. You see, sometimes people can see the trainwreck before it happens. I knew that a large chunk of people that touted boycotting the company were not going to follow through. Why? Because gamers tend to have short memories OR they have a lot of faith in a company. But, that said, the complaints surrounding the launch of Reforged are not completely unfounded. There are issues., in fact, there are a bunch of issues.
So here’s what happened, in brief:
- Blizzard revealed an announcement trailer for Reforged that does not compare to the graphics quality delivered
- Features from the original Warcraft III have not been added to the game
- A plethora of bugs, game crashes, and assets not loading properly have plagued the launch
- Connecting to custom maps or accessing the campaign mode has had several issues
- Original Warcraft III servers and Reforged servers have been merged together – causing legacy players to update to a buggy and broken game
- Players are angry about a new strict policy that claims creative credit over any custom games created within the Blizzard editor. Presumably, this is to combat the issues that spawned from DOTA becoming a full-fledged game that began as a Blizzard mod.
I get it. People look at this batch of issues like Reforged came out too early and that Blizzard lied to their users. And maybe there is a case for them, but maybe the community decided to go overboard on a subpar launch. In fact, the community is so upset about these issues that players went to Metacritic for the purpose of giving the game a low score. The score was so low that it prompted a couple of Forbes contributors to write about review bombing. (Those two articles here and here.) Yikes.
Here’s the thing: I never played the original Warcraft III and I definitely didn’t pick up Reforged. (In fact, since Destiny 2 moved to Steam, I think I’ve loaded up Battle.net once.) What does that mean? Basically, it means that while I have some general thoughts about the subject and the community, I don’t have a ton to say that would add any benefit. Many things have already been said. I don’t need to jump on the bandwagon like the other sites. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about it. I have three things to say:
- I believe that Blizzard did a disservice by not managing the community’s expectations. Because, at the end of the day, some of the missing features like the in-game tournaments will likely be added later on. The same can be said for the bug fixes. See, the gaming community loves to say things about games, praising them for fixing their issues in post patches, so why would Reforged be any different? Is it because Blizzard is supposed to be a fabled unicorn that is flawless? Is it because gamers now expect video games to launch in absolutely perfect condition? No. The reality is, those have nothing to do with the issue at hand. I speculate that many people want to pick on Blizzard because of Activision. I suspect that the community will always expect perfection from every video game company, even though the concept is impossible. However, development companies are not flawless and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held accountable. That also doesn’t mean that games deserve to be review bombed. News flash peeps: The game has a full story and everything. It’s not a shell of a game, it’s a full game – once it works. When the bugs are gone and some of the things added back into it, the game will likely be fine. As for false advertising? That complaint might have merit. However, it’s hard to say, and I’m not a lawyer.
- My second point is that I’m upset with the Blizzard community. Yes, the game has issues, but then, what game doesn’t? People made Reforged seem like it was worse than games like No Man’s Sky (At launch. They’ve completely changed things and drastically increased their rating) or Anthem (which they’ve said will be completely relaunched – hopefully under a different name.) Would I compare Reforged to either game that were colossal failures in my mind? God no. Not even close. Not ever. And I’m not the only one that thinks this way either, since many game reviewers rated Reforged at 60 to 70 out of 100 in many of the reviews. If I were reviewing the game, I would be inclined to give it a similar rating because while it might not be a masterpiece, and certainly has a number of issues, the game has a story, custom maps, an editor, and a conglomerated server system (although, this has issues that need fixing immediately) Yet, even though there are some great things updated, people are upset. In my opinion, I think the most valid complaints have to do with game stability (ie servers not crashing, being able to play the campaign, etc…) – which are big issues that need fixing. However, users going out of their way to drop the game’s rating. Personally, don’t think what I’ve read is enough to warrant that kind of drastic reaction. But again, I haven’t played either version so I have no idea if I would be as upset as the current player base.
- My third opinion is about the issue surrounding a GM who told a player that they ‘have to get another computer to play Reforged’. I will say that the user in question received the correct response. I’m not saying that because I’m heartless, I’m saying that because I read the transcript between this user and several different Blizzard employees. In short, the person purchased Warcraft III from an unverified third party, not through Blizzard. Upon reading the transcript it is clear that the GM’s collectively tried to solve the issues amicably and were met with threats of legal action with no explanation regarding the technical issues received. Since they couldn’t troubleshoot effectively, they instead responded kindly. Frankly, it’s not Blizzard’s issue if a computer isn’t up to minimum specifications. Does Microsoft ask its users if their computers can handle new OS updates? No! Anyways, yeah, it’s frustrating that the person can’t play the game right now, but threatening legal action from a game purchased over 15 years ago is a ridiculous notion. Furthermore, the fact that Reddit jumped all over the one GM’s response without context was downright ignorant. Stop trying to make people look bad by reading out of context.
Now, I know that some of you are going to be upset about my thoughts on the matter, and that’s fine. But, I feel as though Blizzard will fix many of the issues (I mean, they can’t afford NOT to at this point…) As far as I’m aware, Blizzard has already agreed to refund the game for a short time, so those of you that feel like a disservice has been done, I suggest you get a refund.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, there was a time when I would have been hyped up about Reforged. And I might have been one of those voices angry addressing the issues surrounding the game, but times have changed and so have I. This is not my fight. Besides, there are other game companies and games that have done more egregious things that I am more likely to rant about.
Hopefully, readers of this post will realize that they should be more mindful about their game purchases and claims before going full NA. Know what I mean?
Until next time.