Post-Interview, and Diablo 3
The interview went… more or less okay.
For the curious, my interview in Chicago was for the JET Program; basically applying to teach English in Japan for a year (or more). I spent a semester in Japan during college, I want to go back, and we will all have to wait to see how it shakes out because results aren’t announced until April. If selected, I’d be in Japan by August. If not, it will be business as usual. In fact, considering this blog (and commenting on other blogs) is my only outlet for gaming discussion, it’d be business as usual anyway.
…okay, maybe business as usual. Let’s jump off that bridge when we come to it.
In other news, in catching up on Diablo 3 blue posts, I wanted to highlight two things:
In the near future, we’ll be implementing several changes to the posting limits and fees related to the beta version of the Diablo III auction house. Here’s a quick summary of what’s in store:
- Listing fee is being removed.
- Transaction fee is being increased to 1.25 Beta Bucks.
- Minimum listing price is being raised to 1.50 Beta Bucks.
- You will be limited to 10 active auctions per auction house.
With the removal of the listing fee, players will no longer need to worry about whether they’re going to run out of free listings for the week. In addition, introducing a limit on the number of active auctions means players won’t feel as though they should be trying to sell everything they find, potentially flooding the auction house with unwanted items. Under this new system, players will only pay an auction house fee if and when an item actually sells. This has the main advantage of allowing players to try to sell their items risk-free. In addition, because the transaction fee is already baked into the price when an item is listed (as part of the minimum listing price), it’s no longer possible to be in a situation where you don’t have enough Battle.net Balance to list an item, forcing you to have to charge up your Balance just to attempt a sale. We think this will be a much cleaner process for selling items and will ultimately lead to a better experience when using the currency-based auction house. (source)
What I am finding curious is A) such fairly radical RMAH changes are being iterated on so late in development, and B) how there is now an effective floor price of (presumably) $1.50 for any given item, and C) holy shit, an 83% Blizzard cut of the profits on said floor prices. Even if you sell things at $5 or $10 a pop, that’s still 25% and 12.5% respectively.
I am beginning to wonder if these margins won’t start creating a space for the gray markets to move in – if you broker a “10 items for $10” outside the game, the customer saves $5 and the seller gets $7.50 more than they would have. Perhaps Blizzard doesn’t feel like people would bother with small sales? Easy typically trumps cheap, so who knows.
The other bit was this… unfortunate analogy by
On a more serious note, I too worry that we won’t be able to meet the expectations people have built up for themselves. Part of my job is managing people’s expectations, so… eh… stop it. Stop thinking about how awesome this game could be. Just imagine it’s a new M. Night Shyamalan movie. Sure Sixth Sense was amazing and Unbreakable had it’s moments, but this right here is the sequel to The Village … or The Happening … or Signs … or any of the movies besides the two I first mentioned. So just like, lower those expectations, but still definitely buy the game please, and everything will be just fine. K? (source)
Now, there is certainly a tongue-in-cheek context to the quote and the thread it was responding to. Is Blizzard seriously trying to lower expectations as they scramble with radical 11th hour changes? I guess we will know for sure when it releases.
What is unfortunate is that I use Sixth Sense as a go-to example of why developer/director/artist worship is a bad idea. You see, Sixth Sense was a brilliant, brilliant film. It was also, based on the movies that proceeded it, a complete fluke. There simply is no reason to believe that a beloved whatever will continue creating quality content. I read bloggers casually throwing out “We will have to wait on Titan to move the genre forward” and arch an eyebrow. What makes you think Blizzard even knows why WoW was so popular? There isn’t some secret formula for quality gaming, and even if there were, what worked in 2004 doesn’t work the same in 2012.
Just ask Nintendo and the company that sold me Chess on my flip-phone for $5.99 how mobile gaming is treating them these days. Oh how things change.