Tuesday, October 6, 2009

World of Warcraft and Web 2.0

I have one last thing to mention about The Instance #164. Scott and Randy covered some of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft Web 2.0 community outreach efforts. I’m still a little unclear about the definition, but I think podcasting, Twitter and YouTube count as Web 2.0. According to the hosts, those efforts are pretty weak. They wrote an open letter to Blizzard asking for some more support for producing BlizzCast podcasts. They mentioned that the World of Warcraft Twitter account is becoming a joke. “Let me hear your battlecry,” anyone? And while they have hopes for the new Blizzard page on YouTube, they wonder if the page will become stale over time.

Randy said that if Blizzard would come out with a podcast every 15 days that would be industry leading. Not really. Sony Online Entertainment has a three year-old podcast co-hosted by former Community Manager and current EverQuest 2 Executive Producer Alan “Brenlo” Crosby and Aimee Rekoske that already comes out about every two weeks. Now, the problem with having a regular podcast is what to do when there is no news. At the SOE Fan Faire this summer that was one of the issues brought up on the podcast panel. The SOE podcast has an advantage over BlizzCast; they cover many games so usually have something to talk about. And when they do have a problem, they fall back to mini-casts that follow the adventures of the SOE server hamsters. Maybe once Blizzard comes out with a second MMO and the new StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 they will have enough content for a really good podcast.

I don’t know about Twitter since I’ve never gotten into the concept, but YouTube? I love CCP’s page on YouTube. Besides showing trailers for Eve expansions, CCP has all the matches from Alliance Tournament 7 posted plus the Eve TV commentary and Dominion previews. And over the next couple of days CCP is scheduled to post videos from some of the events from their “Party at the Top of the World” held last weekend. If Blizzard did something like that, the site would be everything Scott and Randy are hoping for. And if Blizzard were to corral the creative genius already creating great videos on YouTube into contributing content, the page would be awesome.

I think I’m going to go out on a limb about Blizzard’s internet community outreach efforts. I look at their efforts like I do SOE’s efforts with Station Cash inside EverQuest and EverQuest 2. EQ and EQ2 were guinea pigs for working out the bugs so Station Cash could be used in the company’s new games like Free Realms. I don’t think Blizzard is really focusing on their player base in World of Warcraft. Instead, I think they are working on plans for attracting players to their new games and the loyal WoW fan base will server as the beta testers.

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