Does Blizzard secretly hate WoW Classic?

I’ve long harbored a deep suspicion that Blizzard actually resents WoW Classic. As much as a corporation can be ascribed an anthropomorphic quality like that. I don’t have any solid proof, mind you, but some days I really wonder about this.

It’s not as if Blizzard was eager to get the WoW Classic train chugging along to begin with. We all remember the sheer hubris and arrogance of “You think you do, but you don’t” from the studio when asked about the demand for a legacy server. And while I’m quite sure that Blizz loves the bank vaults of money that it got for Classic to date, it’s come at a cost to the studio’s pride.

Again, if one can ascribe qualities to a company.

The studio didn’t want to do Classic initially, but clear demand for it pressured it to do that anyway, and now that it’s successful, it’s a constant reminder of how wrong Blizzard was in this area. So with every phase and the rollout of Burning Crusade Classic, I can imagine it’s being done with gritted teeth and deep-rooted annoyance in some quarters.

Then there’s the observation that Blizzard doesn’t really want to spend all that much time communicating with players about Classic. We got a spurt of this at BlizzCon — when the three devs weren’t aimlessly reminiscing about their own past game sessions — but it’s infrequent at best. The latter half of WoW Classic’s initial run was met with near-silence from Blizzard entirely other than the studio confirming phase release dates.

What I’m saying is that Blizzard doesn’t seem excited to talk about Classic or engage with the Classic community, other than to get players’ money from it. And if my imagination can be so daring, I would say that this is due to how embarrassing it is to have so much enthusiasm about this product compared to the sheer wall of apathy that WoW players have with retail these days. There’s Stuff To Do, of course, but it hasn’t captured the excitement that an expansion from 2007 has. That’s really got to burn.

So I wonder. I wonder if Blizzard hates Classic and resents it for doing so well. This is, after all, not a studio that’s used to humbling itself and coming down off of its perch as the infallible gaming pope.

3 thoughts on “Does Blizzard secretly hate WoW Classic?

  1. I would really, really like to see the internal memo at Blizzard telling employees not to talk about WiW Classic!!!

    “The first rule of WoW Classic is: we do not talk about WoW Classic.”

  2. Yeah, no. No one at Blizzard hates WoW Classic. It’s been a great success for us and we’re super happy with how much it has resonated with players. Believe it or not, most game developers are not grudge-holding a-holes. 😉

  3. I wonder how WoW Classic affects the relationship between Activision and Blizzard? Or how much that relationship affects it? Big corporate culture differences persist for an amazingly long time – I’m sure that still isn’t entirely smooth in all areas and in all executive’s minds. I think it’s possible that there are those who love and and those who hate Classic within the company but that anyone with strong feelings about it is not in a position to act on those feelings. Policy decisions come from above. Far above. It’s been decades since this was more or less a developer-run company. Remember the four spunky rebels that left Atari to start Activision? Cute story, and a true story, but no longer relevant in any way.

    Consider this – the decision to do WoW Classic didn’t happen until it was approved by Daniel Alegre, Armin Zerza, Chris Walther, Tony Petitti, J. Allen Brack, and Bobby Kotick. I don’t have any insight into the balance of power internal to the corporation, I’m just applying common sense and personal knowledge of how corps work to their publicly released org chart. So it is probable that some of those individuals have more power than others and very possible that people not on the public org chart have more influence over such things than some that are shown.

    For WoW Classic to be born, those corporate officers and probably other key stakeholders had to be convinced that allocating resources to develop, release, operate, and support WoW Classic would be profitable for the shareholders and would not harm their brands. Note that there really isn’t anything about gaming in this post – that is no accident, it’s almost irrelevant in this context. If any of those people care about gaming or play games, it’s pretty much a coincidence (unless there is a policy in place requiring it, which would surprise me greatly).

    So no, the game devs (and designers and artist and sound artists and producers and scenario designers and database maintainers and all the rest) do not hate or resent WoW Classic. This should be obvious – it’s just a job. 🙂 This is not to say that some individuals are not happier or more resentful than others, or that they don’t have strongly held opinions. It is just that those sorts of emotions really don’t play into corporate strategy, and decisions such as “Do WoW Classic” or “Don’t Do WoW Classic” flow down from a much higher layer of the organization.

    Thought exercise: So what kind of power DO the lower level software people, artists, GMs and such have, given that they have no real input into corporate strategy? I’ll save my encounter with GM corruption for another post. Or maybe it’s time to start my own blog finally. Never done that, but I seem to be writing ever more as I get older, so maybe?

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