ten year commemorative pen NOT mightier than

…these swords! Blizzard skipped the pens for their employee five, ten and fifteen year commemorative awards. See for yourself:

http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/b20/sword-and-shield.html

epic loot!

better late than mediocre

“A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

In classic Blizzard tradition, the ship date much anticipated sequel “Diablo 3” will be pushed back until early next year, costing them a holiday release. This isn’t news to many fans though, who are used to waiting. In twenty years of genre dominance, I don’t think they have released a major title on time. Or too soon, as it were.

Here is a link to the original Diablo 3 teaser trailer, posted 2 years ago..

Diablo 3 Teaser on YouTube

Few game companies could afford to consistently miss release dates, or delay games for as long as Blizzard has delayed some of it’s titles. At a glance, it would seem that they risk releasing a game that is graphically or technically inferior to competing titles developed to leading edge standards in less time. Yet this has yet to make much of a difference, given that Blizzard titles are comparably “graphics-light” stood next to other eye-popping graphics-heavy competition.  Compare the graphics in the initial release of World of Warcraft next to a number of competing MMO titles that were out about the same time. Starwars Galaxies, Anarchy Online, Asheron’s Call 2 and EverQuest 2 were all very glossy, high end graphics productions. World of Warcraft was cartoony by comparison,  but demanded far less in terms of system requirements and as franchises go; left the competition in the dust.

It later closed the gap in terms of high end graphics support, while still allowing players like me with average hardware to enjoy the game with the extra eye-candy turned off.

Blizzard’s 180 degree turn

Blizzard recently announced it would partner with Paypal to support buying virtual assets with real world currency from other players in the upcoming “Diablo III” in-game auction house.

Read the press release here:

http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/news/?d=2011-9#140956

This is a crisp 180 degree turn for Blizzard, who has invested much effort to combat the unauthorized sale of gold, items, characters and accounts in “World of Warcraft”.

Not dissimilar to buying premium content in single player titles like “Farmville” or numerous other successful mobile titles, this will allow players the option of purchasing in-game items they might otherwise not have the time or inclination to earn themselves. It also ups the potential for reward for any player who does acquire very rare in-game content.

Fans are grumbling, but sale of gold and items in World of Warcraft persisted despite ongoing efforts by Blizzard to put a stop to it. Dedicated gold-selling players became increasingly clever, giving rise to various sophisticated tactics used to gain access to other players accounts with intent to sell the virtual belongings for easily transferable gold, which would be sold for real world currency. Such tactics included phishing scams in email or on web sites to trick players to give away their passwords, to much more aggressive malware keylogging viruses such as the one found to have infected a computer aboard the International Space Station. (see following ZDnet article).

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/malware-detected-at-the-international-space-station/1806

Blizzard’s surprise change of policy towards buying gold and items may be a gamble worth taking; by giving malicious gold-sellers legitimate competition.

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