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Author Topic: What happened to Blizzard?  (Read 9291 times)

Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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What happened to Blizzard?
« on: February 01, 2020, 11:06:18 pm »
I'm not a huge fan of RTS games, but I liked WC2. I have skipped WC3, because of its early 3d graphics, so I had high hopes for the WC3 remaster, especially after the really good looking demo. And now it came out...

Just WTF?!!! Have Blizzard caught that Coronavirus at the infamous Honk Kong show, and it killed the whole team? Because it there is not other excuse to fail that badly. It must have been aliens kidnapping all programmers and artists, together with that early demo.

WC3 Reforged is just a badly reskinned Warcraft 3 mod, on the same engine, with just a bit higher poly models (closer to SC2). They haven't bothered even to rescale the UI for widescreen resolution. What was their SC2 team doing this whole time, after SC2 got released?

I cant believe AAA company can fsckup that badly and just kill their single goldmaking franchise. How can such mismanagement be even possible in theory? Is that the Westwood story repeating all again? What are they thinking?

Online Yankes

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2020, 02:05:32 am »
Probably biggest mistake is treating that any thing that Blizz doing as THE Blizzard. Right now it have pass 4,700 employees (by wiki).
Probably is too big to maintain same quality everywhere. And it very possible that most of they most skilled programmers never ever touch this WC3R mess.

Funny will be if mobile Diablo will be in long run better than WC3R :D

Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2020, 11:03:13 am »
Probably biggest mistake is treating that any thing that Blizz doing as THE Blizzard. Right now it have pass 4,700 employees (by wiki).
Probably is too big to maintain same quality everywhere. And it very possible that most of they most skilled programmers never ever touch this WC3R mess.

Funny will be if mobile Diablo will be in long run better than WC3R :D
Large number of employees means you can handle large projects, or have several smaller project, and there are more talents. So there is just no excuse they botched the remake that badly. And you must have a skilled team lead on any project. Compare with Square-Enix: they first outsourced FF7 remake to some inexperienced company, but looking at the results, scrapped it and decided to do it properly, instead of damaging the franchise.

And it wasn't that a hard or expensive of a project to start with: just update the graphics engine to run in HD, redesign GUI for it and port it to smartphones and consoles. Compared to the massive FF7 remake, which totally overhauled everything. I.e. two skilled programmers and a several QA people could have handled the technical parts of it.

It required some special talent to mismanage such an easy project, when everything was already in place. And then management just approved releasing it. Is that some case of industrial sabotage?


Online Yankes

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2020, 02:36:03 pm »
But WC3R is not that bad, it big meh but not crap that current score should suggest. This is perfect storm of bad decisions. Each on it own would not cause this uproar. This score is not quality of this remaster but number of people who lost fath in Blizzard, probably this is one rare case where critics score is more accurate than user ones, it cant be 0.6/10 or something because it still have most of WC3 inside and this was great game.

Best lesson form this should be that you should not preorder games (that TB said years ago) and do not get hyped.


Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2020, 06:46:24 pm »
But WC3R is not that bad, it big meh but not crap that current score should suggest. This is perfect storm of bad decisions. Each on it own would not cause this uproar. This score is not quality of this remaster but number of people who lost fath in Blizzard, probably this is one rare case where critics score is more accurate than user ones, it cant be 0.6/10 or something because it still have most of WC3 inside and this was great game.

Best lesson form this should be that you should not preorder games (that TB said years ago) and do not get hyped.
It is worse than the original. They removed features and botched some existing features. It also runs much slower than the original, and crashes, while original Blizzard games were recognized for being very stable (I never had a single WC3, SC or Diablo 2 crash). Even graphics at some parts became worse, despite being of higher resolution. I.e. people doing it either didn't care, had no direction or had no idea what they were doing.

Here a guy complains they botched tilesets, which are now just some blurry mess of textures (the video is age restricted for some crazy reason):
« Last Edit: February 02, 2020, 06:48:30 pm by Nikita_Sadkov »

Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2020, 10:13:31 pm »
Also, if you look at their original demo footage, they had some totally different version of the engine running with actually HD user interface, and different more crisp looking tilesets. What they actually released uses the same WC3 engine, with a lot of stuff, like water waves, being out of place, and the water itself using some crazy looking quickly put together shader.


Offline Rubber Cannonball

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2020, 01:03:51 am »
Large number of employees means you can handle large projects, or have several smaller project, and there are more talents. So there is just no excuse they botched the remake that badly. And you must have a skilled team lead on any project.

Having worked at a large company, I can provide some insight.  Most employees at large companies are too far removed from the final product.  Their job performance isn't graded by how good or bad the company's products are.  For instance in a big company there are teams of people whose task it is to cut costs.  Ideally they are supposed to do this without impacting quality.  But in reality they are only graded on how much cost did they remove.  Someone else will be graded on quality.  On big complex projects, it is really hard for upper management to tell how well the project is going.  However it is easy to tell if a project is behind schedule or over budget.  Thus all the pressure on the project lead is hit the dates and keep costs down.  If the project lead sees the coming trainwreck, he hits the dates and cuts the costs and takes another open position in the company or elsewhere before project launch.  He then blames the guy who took his old position when anyone complains about the crappy product the company just launched.

Sad but more true than most people realize.  This is why sometimes the small companies can beat the big ones despite having far fewer resources.

Offline kevL

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2020, 01:17:51 am »
tangentially related:

Quote
I think the programmers who wrote the toolset ought to have had a person or small committee that was exclusively responsible for daily code review

everyone passes in their code for the day and this person or group refactors it into something straightforwardly sensible. Then dishes it back out before the next day’s coding shenanigans …

Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2020, 01:47:03 pm »
Most employees at large companies are too far removed from the final product.  Their job performance isn't graded by how good or bad the company's products are.
That is solved by giving part of wages in company's shares, which cannot be sold immediately (i.e. futures). Now suddenly every employee is incentivized in the long term success of the company. IIRC, original Blizzard did exactly that.

Anyway, I hope fans could fix all the issues and make it closer to the original demo. Given that all the tools are there, including crowdfunding.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 01:52:06 pm by Nikita_Sadkov »

Offline Rubber Cannonball

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2020, 10:23:36 pm »
Blizzard just isn't the company it used to be.  I remember the big stink raised after Diablo 3 came out.  D2 was such a great game and people were expecting everything D2 was plus much more.  Turns out the division Blizzard North that created the Diablo series wasn't around for D3.  Read the wikipedia article on Blizzard North for another reason why big companies fail.

Or TLDR: When morale drops, the best employees tend to leave first.

There are plenty of examples of this in this industry going all the way back to Atari.  By the late 70's several years before ET: the Extra-Terrestrial disaster, some of their talent had already left, and ironically for this discussion, founded Activision.  The Activision games in the early 80's were generally much better than the competing Atari games of the time even though they needed the Atari 2600 console to play.

Online Yankes

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2020, 12:59:26 am »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T37a8y5SRz8

He mention rumor that it is even not Blizzard "product" but outsourced one.

Offline The Reaver of Darkness

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2020, 02:16:11 am »
Blizzard just isn't the company it used to be.

Blizzard has been doing this crap almost since they became big. World of Warcraft's sad decline involving one blatant mistake after another for more than five expansions, pooling their money into the blatant League of Legends rip-off Heroes of the Storm, letting their popularity sink so low that they had to bank on a cheap card game to bring themselves back from the brink of oblivion, doing almost everything in their power to ruin Diablo 3. They've done plenty of things so right it's mind-boggling, and then ruined it by doing plenty of things so wrong it's mind-boggling.

Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2020, 05:27:27 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T37a8y5SRz8

He mention rumor that it is even not Blizzard "product" but outsourced one.
Blizzard of the old also outsourced that Warcraft Adventure game to the infamous Russian studio, which did CDI Zelda games before. When quality turned out to be subpar (although it was much better these CDI Zeldas), Blizzard just scrapped the almost completed project to avoid damaging the franchise. Then Blizzard also scrapped Starcraft based The Ghost adventure for the same reasons. And that was much poorer Blizzard, with no money to waste.

Offline Nikita_Sadkov

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2020, 08:14:39 pm »
Ok. Blizzard has patched some of the issues and enabled refunds. Unfortunately the reboot of the franchise has fallen short, and could follow Command & Conquer's fate. And that is not because of outsourcing, but because their core team didn't care. As I understand the only thing that was outsourced were these nice detailed character models, which ended up being unused, due to the lack of the promised ingame cinematics, while remastered unit portraits got botched angles, so all portraits are looking improperly. For some stupid reason they re-recorded voices, and these came out of much worse than in the original. And original Blizzard voices talents were just common company employees. It is like everything was done by people without any enthusiasm or love for the game, and the new team included no people from the original team, who could have pointed out the mistakes.

Even fans made better "remastered" cutscenes:

Offline Rubber Cannonball

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Re: What happened to Blizzard?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2020, 10:57:27 pm »
Even fans made better "remastered" cutscenes:

Well that's good news, since according to the EULA anything the fans do belongs to Blizzard.   If the fans get busy maybe they'll have the game fixed in a few years...   ;)  ...  :'(

Sorry, sometimes when things are so bad, the only thing left is humor.