Monday, March 8, 2010

Mastery System, or "No, I Didn't Actually Read What It Does"

The mastery system is a thing that Blizzard is implementing in Cataclysm. There are lots of details for the theorycrafters to drool over (and I'll leave the reading of them to those guys), but an odd thought struck me:

I like how Blizzard is willing to keep trying new things and uses WoW players as guinea pigs.

I've said (once, in a very obscure post) that other games take tried-and-true systems from successful games and end up stagnating because they refuse to be truly innovative. This is because innovation carries a huge risk of failure and companies aren't likely to invest in a business model that doesn't have a good track record.

Blizzard, on the other hand, doesn't put a choke hold on WoW's game mechanics just because they might screw up whatever it is people like about the game. Instead, they add new things and test stuff out and keep pushing forward and learn from their mistakes.

Yeah, there are systems in WoW that players don't like. But there are plenty of things Blizz has put in that we do, and they at least make an effort at fixing what we hate about the things we hate.

So while other companies are talking about how WoW is popular because gamers like to kill each other in world combat (*gag*), Blizzard is testing all their innovative ideas (battlegrounds, arenas, glyphs, mastery) on their target audience and getting real feedback as to what systems work and what could work if they tweaked it and what doesn't work at all.

Blizzard's willingness to experiment and push forward is what I believe will keep them ahead in the long run.


  1. Innovation = win. To be fair, Blizzard has royally screwed up the lore for the warcraft universe, but I still enjoy WoW.

    They're good at what they do.

  2. I agree with what you are saying. Blizzard makes a concerted effort to attempt new things. They even admit (sometimes much later) if something did not work out for them.

    My main wish is that they would do a little more testing before implenting the changes live. I think the outcry you hear often from players could be prevented with a little extra effort on their part.

    I do think their cutting down the expansion to only five levels is a good thing if they use the resources to truly implement these new features and have all the major bugs worked out.

  3. Weird I posted about how the mastery system will stagnate the game.
    imo pigeonholding players with certain speccs is not innovative, it is saying to Disc priests: If you want to lol-smite or direct heal, you are doing it wrong.
    Matery-stats will lock players in (at least this is my fear) what you can and cannot do in a specc, and not allow innovative and creative uses of classes to prosper.


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