Because it’s Friday

Playing WoW lately has reminded me of Blizzard’s development cycles and how they churn out patches very quickly.

Put down the crack pipe.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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21 Responses to Because it’s Friday

  1. spinks says:

    They’ve actually been pushing out the balancing tweaks quite fast this expansion (I mean for example, in comparison with LOTRO who may feed out the content more quickly but will let class imbalances and buggy instances stick around for months.)

  2. Mordiceius says:

    To be honest, compared to many games Blizzard does put out patches often. Especially so when compared to free to play games (although that is more apples and oranges).

    Warhammer online has now been out for a year and a half. How many major content patches have they put out? Oh. One. Land of the Dead. You could argue whether the reformatted city sieges was a major content patch or not but to be honest, I do not really consider it so. It was more fixing a broken system than adding new content to the game.

    • SynCaine says:

      WAR’s issue is that they always have something to fix, rather than getting time to actually add new stuff. I mean first it was overcrowded servers, then underpopulated servers, then broken keep mechanics, then the AOE/Disable issue, then broken end-game mechanics, then it was fixing the dungeons and the PQs, then it was removing Forts, etc.

      The fixes are nice, but if they had shipped with all those systems already working (a tall task of course, but still), all of last year could have been spent on adding NEW stuff (like a third faction…)

      WoW is not much different really; how long have they been ‘fixing’ PvP, and I don’t mean the wintergrasp failure. How many failed PvP reward systems has WoW been through, how many tweaks to the different BG like AV? I mean even WotLK featured recycled stuff like Nax rather than new content.

      Bottom line though: when you make 500m in PROFIT, you should be outpacing everyone else in terms of NEW content by miles, not debatably being one of the slowest studios in the genre.

    • Bill Gorman says:

      Warhammer’s not really a good comparison IMO. It’s effectively in maintenance mode. It’s pretty clear that there will be only minimal investment in it going forward.

    • shadowwar says:

      Clueless man is clueless.

      Addition of Knights/Blackguards.
      Addition of Choppa/Slayers.
      Addition of ramps to keeps.
      Addition of LotD.
      Addition of scenario currency/weapon system.
      Total revamp of city sieges.
      A total of 18 “big” patches for everything from balancing/content/server improvements.

      All of these have been done since launch. You might argue that the four added classes should have been there at launch, which is a fair argument with some merit (but no more valid than a movie’s edited scenes belong in the film).

      Still, as a PvP-focused game, it shares some base principles with sandbox games, in that much of the content is player generated. The main thing Mythic SHOULD be doing is making the game as fun, fair, and smooth as possible.

      • SynCaine says:

        Now compare your list to this:

        Now factor in dev/budget size, and can you see how what Mythic as actually added to WAR can be viewed as a bit lacking?

        Continually ‘fixing’ the servers so they don’t crash when PvP breaks out is tough to count as an ‘addition’ IMO. I mean look, I wish WAR the best, I would love to return to it with my fiance and have a casual PvP game to play as a side dish to DF, but as someone who left after LotD came out, can you in any way sell me on the game now based on what Mythic as added/improved?

        • shadowwar says:

          I agree it’s not an “addition” however, the discussion is a patch cycle. Correcting game content, tweaking the balance are what should happening. Developer created content is what themeparks are all about. WAR is a bit different in that it’s a mix of the themepark/sandbox games (like I said).

          As for what I could sell you on to get you to come back. What did you not like about the game when you left?

          I don’t recall the more salient details. But as a general pitch: the game is better. Stability, balance, and options. The city is still lacking, but changes are coming that are improving on that dramatically. The various currency systems dramatically improved upon the progression of a character in the game, and the paring away of excess scenarios really has increased their frequency. I get the most fun in the game from scenarios, and dable in the lakes as a side thing from time to time. If you want to do the massive ORvR thing, you’re probably going to be disappointed. If you want to play PvP casually, you can do so now. Be warned though, casual friendly is NOT solo friendly, and if you’re fiancee can’t face the prospect of being smashed into the ground for a whole evening, then it may not be a game for her.

        • SynCaine says:

          I played all the scenarios into the ground tbh, and the oRvR is what I was hoping WAR would eventually get right. That it’s still not fixed is somewhat making my point; they have so much else to clean up and tweak that they have STILL not fixed the key selling point of their product, not to mention have yet to add anything to really stand out or bring people like me back.

        • shadowwar says:

          True, if ORvR is what you want out of it, what you’re going to be faced with is going with the zerg, forming small-group bomb squads of destruction to wipe the enemy zerg, OR go solo and try to gank stragglers. For me, the first is dull (RvDoor sucks), but the other two are fun, viable options. I know most of what they have planned for the city changes (sercre infoz!) and I like it a lot a lot, but not sure what it will do for ORvR as a whole.

          I really do wish a third realm was in game, or something to help divert the zerg. As it currently exists, ORvR is all about who is running with the bigger numbers for the most part. Enough people will eventually wash over anything.

      • Mordiceius says:

        Four classes that were cut from the base game and added back later do not count as “new content”.

        What about the other four racial cities that still aren’t in the game a year and a half later?

        Revamping things that are broken is not “new content”.

        The only thing that is really new content is LotD.

      • Hudson says:

        oh please Shadowwar, the game sucks get over it

  3. bonedead says:

    But it tastes so goooooood!

  4. Draynore says:

    Technically, if you include the 3 expansions as patches, then Blizzard has put out, since WoW went live, a little over 8 patches a year.

    If you take out the 3 purchasable expansions, then slightly under 8. Now I’m sure that the argument that adding in more of the same isn’t a content patch like (Oh look another dungeon of goblins that look like the last goblins but blue skinned!) but technically, 8 patches a year is a healthy dose of patches.

    • SynCaine says:

      WoW has been out close to 5.5 years now (Nov 2004 release), and according to this:

      There have been 20 patches. 20/5.5 != 8…

      Also note that the first 7 patches are all 2004-2005 patches (and IMO the ones with the most actual content, scan the 2.x+ ones and they look like mini-patches compared to the 1.x ones). So after it’s first full year, WoW has had a grand total of 13 major patches since the start of 2006. An amazing 2.9 patches per year average. Or in other words, it takes around $150m of PROFIT for Blizzard to add a single major patch to WoW.

      Like I said, time to put down the crack pipe.

      • Mordiceius says:

        At the same time, I sort of do not want them to be putting out a new content patch every 3-4 months. I like the cycle they have now of a big content patch about every 6 months.

        If you move the cycle down to 3 months, most your playerbase is not even going to finish all the content before a new patch comes out. Not only that, but with the 6 month cycle it gives me time to go play other games if I run out of content or burn out. I remember back when WoW was the only game I played because it was so time consuming. I don’t want that anymore. :-P

        • SynCaine says:

          Yea having enough content to stick with one MMO would be a terrible choice to have, and how nice of Blizzard to help everyone out and only update once every six months.

          Really man?

        • Bhagpuss says:

          Wouldn’t sticking with one MMO that kept adding content faster than you could use it up would be like reading one book that kept adding chapters faster than you could read?

          Would that actually be enjoyable long-term?

  5. Draynore says:

    The website you linked (WoW’s own patch list) had a total of 59 patches listed. There were 20 categories, which mostly contained 3 patches per (with a few that were over and under). Over the 6 years of WoW, that leaves almost 10 patches a year. Now of those 59 patches, 14 were pure bug fixes to the patch previous, leaving 45 patches over 6 years, averaging 7.5 per year, or if you add in BC and WotLK, then slightly under 8. These aren’t all major content patches (though there are more than 20 major content patches among them) but they are additional content. I do agree, they came much more quickly in the beginning than they do now, and I haven’t personally played WoW since BC, so I’m not sure if the new content is worthwhile at all. I’m just pointing out that content is getting added semi-regularly, that those of us not playing the game don’t really see.

    I have included a wall of text listing the patches on WoW’s site.

    3.3.3, 3.3.2, 3.3.0, 3.2.2, 3.2.0, 3.1.3, 3.1.2, 3.1.1, 3.1.0, 3.0.9, 3.0.8, 3.0.3, 3.0.2, 2.4.3, 2.4.2, 2.4.1, 2.4.0, 2.3.3, 2.3.2, 2.3.0, 2.2.3, 2.2.2, 2.2.0, 2.1.3, 2.1.2, 2.1.1, 2.1.0, 2.0.12, 2.0.10, 2.0.8, 2.0.7, 2.0.6, 2.0.5, 2.0.3, “Before the Storm”, 1.12.1, 1.12.0, 1.11.2, 1.11.1, 1.11.0, 1.10.2, 1.10.1, 1.10.0, 1.9.4, 1.9.3, 1.9.2, 1.9.1, 1.9.0, 1.8.0, 1.7.1, 1.7.0, 1.6.1, 1.6.0, 1.5.0, 1.4.2, 1.4.1, 1.4.0, 1.3.1, 1.2.0

    • Memmio says:

      Builds 1.X.0 are major content patches.
      Builds 1.X.X are *minor* content patches and/or a large number of fixes to existing systems.

      Burning Crusade was patch 2.0.
      WotLK was patch 3.0.

      If you go by that assessment, WoW has had 20 *major* content patches (including both expansions) in 5.5 years, with over half of them coming in the first 1 1/2 years of its life cycle.

      For reference, City of Heroes (in roughly the same time frame) has release 17 *major* content patches with a fraction (about 1/6) of the budget and development team size. When you factor in the amount of resources World of Warcraft has, by comparison, they should have released somewhere closer to *102* major content patches.

  6. Ben says:

    there’s also the possibility that WoW just doesn’t require the same number of patches as other games? Because for what it provides its players it does _very_ well at providing, straight out-of-the-box.

    Having more patches earlier in its life just suggests that when released, there was more to fix, which is natural. If Darkfall sticks around for 5 years let’s see how much there is left to patch then.

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