As a Blizzard fan I’m always looking forward to new game content that might help spice things up for the players. Many games companies out there do this to differing levels of success at various times throughout the year, like at Christmas for example, but all too often it’s hit and miss if they get it right. However, Blizzard always seems to get it right.
The recent Call of Duty WW2 ‘Winter Siege’ event is a good example of missing the mark. For years CoD has suffered from a drop in support from many fans with releases that tried to be too clever in it’s intent. While for the first few days Infinite Warfare proved entertaining, the thrill of things like wall running soon wore off. The game needed to back to its roots and rediscover the fun factor that made it a success – Modern Warfare Remastered is a great example of this. Modern Warfare still has a special place in the hearts of all CoD players and you’ll find more videos online of this being played than the other iterations of the game.
Now…what does a company like Blizzard do that makes them more of a success in themed events and keeping its player base happy?
Blizzard has a great track record of frequent updates and events paced over a year. Their Halloween events in games like Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch have been fantastic fun to take part in and you get some amazing rewards if you persevere with them. Themed skins like a mad scientist version of Junkrat (Overwatch – Halloween) and Jaina Proudmore (Heroes of the Storm/World of Warcraft – Winter Veil) are just the tip of the iceberg of the sort of content you get with these games and the various events.
Along with the items like new themed skins you also get a slew of things like emojis, sprays, banners and mounts, even a unique character portrait or mount. All of these can be won by either levelling up your heroes and gaining loot crates to open, or by doing things like completing a set number of games during the time period of the event. There are various ways of gaining these rewards, and yes you can purchase crates via the in-game stores, but the big difference between these games and many others is that it’s very easy to do this without parting from your hard earned cash.
In Heroes of the Storm for example once you reach a benchmark of something like player level 200 you gain some gems (another form of in-game currency) that you can use to obtain that sweet looking skin you’ve had your eye on since Blizzard released an ‘In development’ video a few weeks back, giving you an enticing look at things soon to be released into the game. And to be fair you do get some decent cosmetics in other games like CoD, but these games have really become an issue in recent times with the whole loot box controversy towards the end of last year which really shook the game industry to its core.
Another big issue with many triple-A titles is the dreaded season pass. Do you get it on pre-release so you don’t miss out on those precious few days of early access and not miss out on the fun with your friends, or do you wait till it’s on sale sometime? Season passes can be a real divider amongst gamers and you can read any number of articles and comment sections on videos for evidence on this.
But here’s the thing about a company like Blizzard – you do NOT need a season pass. All the content within the game is open to all at the same time. There will be many players out there like me who play this game every day and have resources at the ready for an item that catches our eye, and some won’t be in the same position to do this as they don’t play as often, but again…IT’S AVAILABLE TO ALL! They aren’t breaking our arms or our wallets to get these items, it’s all down to our personal choice. Blizzard release frequent videos showing us what’s in the development pipeline, and any new characters get a weeks test on the public test realms (test servers) prior to release, sort of like a ‘try before you buy’ so to speak. Then if you don’t like the upcoming hero you’ve wasted nothing but several games. You don’t need to worry about grabbing it the following week and wasting your resources without knowing what the hero will be like.
No doubt people will say I’m a Blizzard fanboy – to that I say yes, I am, and I’m happy to admit it. I’mcard-carryinging fan of games like Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm. I have played CoD in the past, had fun on occasions, but that time period of fun got shorter and shorter with each release. The events provided in Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm are frequently spaced through the course of a year and never overwhelm the player base with the issue of making things a must have item that you think will make you a better player. It’s all in the name of fun with these guys.
If anyone reading this has never tried a game Heroes of the Storm then do yourself a favour and try it – it’s free to play. Yep, you will get slaughtered for your first games, but then the bug bites you and you will want to play just one more game to incase you get that item or hero skin you’ve been after. And if anyone does think they want to try the game out let me know – I’d be only too happy to team up with you when possible and have a few games with you and show you the ropes.