Blizzard Entertainment is often criticized by a handful of fans. Usually the same group that is never satisfied with anything. Those who say that Blizzard likes to milk or cash on things and speculate and blame Activision. As a Fansite member who has been reporting news to the community for seven years, I can finally tell you a few things that might change your view.
If anything, things have changed for the better in the past recent years. I have never seen Blizzard so active with fansites since the release of World of Warcraft. I keep in contact with the CMs many times each month, and they reply my questions. Blizzard approves all the interview requests and provide exclusive screenshots more often. Have anyone wondered how do so many fansites get to go to Blizzcon and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals to bring you content and exclusive interviews with new info about the recently announced games?
Blizzard Entertainment cares a lot for their fansites and are truly kind with them. For example, I attended Blizzcon 2008 and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals 2008 (Paris) last year. This year I attended the Starcraft II Single Player press invitation and Blizzcon 2009.
Did you wonder at all how I manage to cover the expenses? All Blizzard. Flight, Hotel, Taxi, Breakfast, and other extras. They didn’t cover all those expenses just for me. Over 30 Fansites were invited in those four events within the last 12 months.
All so that fans learn new info about the games from other fans such as me, Maticus, Flux and Leord, and as a reward of sorts for all the work each loyal and dedicated fansite does to keep fans informed.
However, this cover of expenses is only done for only one member per fansite. We arrive two days before Blizzcon to attend on Thursday the Fansites Summit held at the Blizzard Entertaiment campus by the Theater Room.
In there we get to see the latest build of Starcraft II and Diablo III gameplay in a wall-sized screen before fans get to play that at Blizzcon giving us a heads up to write about that night. We coordinate and synchronize what all fansites will have access to from Blizzard.
Blizzard will spear-head social integration and quick mass information not only with Twitter, but through Battle.net 2.0. As you can see in our 15 screenshots of Battle.net 2.0 features, the Social/Friends List feature is awesome, and will help guilds and clans communicate more efficiently.
Blizzard will provide all their registered fansites a new circular icon designed by them to distinguish our fansites’s front page:
Official Starcraft II Fan Site
Official Diablo III Fan Site
Official World of Warcraft Fan Site
Official Warcraft Fan Site
The one that intrigued all fansite members present at the Blizzard Entertainment’s Theater Room was the ... Official Battle.net Fan Site. Bashiok nor Karune gave an explanation of what this new icon means. What could justify the creation of a Official Battle.net Fan Site rather than a game-specific Fan Site? To be honest everyone is befuddled.
Does Blizzard still have more juice to share with fans about Battle.net? More features and secrets to be unearthed? I can only say we are very-VERY excited. Now I am understanding why Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty won’t ship on 2009.
Starcraft II is ready to ship in time. It is Battle.net 2.0 what is delaying the release of Starcraft II, because the game is meant to ship with Battle.net 2.0. With what little I have said here, and the hint of an Official Battle.net Fan Site Program—I am convinced the wait will be worth it. And if Fansites are excited, you guys should be too.
Nethaera (WoW CM), Bashiok (Diablo III CM) and Karune (Starcraft II CM) directed the Fansites Summit and encouraged all fansite representatives attending the event to contact them to ask questions, and to submit Q&As from our own communities for developers on a one-on-one basis.
We were told that not only will developers of each game interact with fans in live Q&As over Twitter, but that fansites will also have the opportunity to interact with the developers privately through Live Press Q&As.
To those minorities (coughs, trolls) bashing Blizzard Entertainment and accusing it of milking the franchises, I am sorry to say: “You are wrong”. We are paying for quality products. In my interview with Chris Metzen back on July 20, 2009 during the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Single Player Press Invitation, he confirms why Starcraft II is sold as three separate episodes.
They have been working on stories for Starcraft II for nearly a decade. It came down to a point that it was hard to cram all the lore and stories into a single product without discarding stuff. The decision to span the game into three episodes happened far before Activision and VUGames merged into Activision Blizzard.
“The trick to StarCraft II now being in these three installments is that there was a lot to play with in the first place. We had 10 years worth of expectations and stories we wanted to chase and arcs of these characters that we wanted to explore”—said Metzen. “So we came packing with a lot of ideas, and the idea of separating each of these chapters into their own boxed product essentially allows us to really round out each race