One of the mysteries as I grew up was the lack of interest the grown-ups showed for their birthdays. The older they got, the less presents did they get, and the more reluctant were they to even acknowledge the event. And I could never figure out why. Who doesn’t like to get presents and cake?
Companies on the other hand tend to make a big fuss about their birthday these days, and it usually grows the elder they get. While they normally don’t expect gifts and congratulations from their customers, it’s a natural opportunity to come up with a PR event.
Blizzard is no exception from this. The last couple of years, they’ve handed out things such as free combat pets to anyone logging in during a period around the “birthday” of WoW. For the five-year WoW and 15 year Warcraft anniversary they went far bigger. Among other things there were a lot of competitions, and that huge mosaic image consisting of photos that fans all over the world had sent to them. For my own part I appreciated the video interviews made with high profile members of the staff for this occasion.
This might be the reason why I can sense a bit of disappointment in the reactions to the announcement of the upcoming six year anniversary on November 23. There won’t be any cute pet gift this time. If you want that sugar sweet moonkin hatchling, you’d better be prepared to open your wallet. All you get is a “feat of strength” if you log in at some point between November 30 and December 14.
This is a mind boggling for two reasons:
- In what way is logging into a game a feat, something that is worthwhile noticing in your records to remember afterwards and show off to the world?
- If you assume that it IS worth recognizing, why isn’t it about logging in on the actual birthday, November 23? Why do you get this feat of strength if you log in three weeks afterwards?
It’s not that I’m against celebrating this birthday. I think it’s a great opportunity to do something “extra”. And I don’t complain about the lack of pets. I can’t help it, but I find it hard to value a pet that I get in the mail for doing nothing more than logging in as high as I value a pet that I’ve had to work for to get. My current count on pets is at 94, so I have a great menagerie as it is.
But this “feat of strength” looks honestly a little bit pointless to me. Does it even make the most dedicated achievement hunters any happier? After all it won’t award you any points. And the bragging worth of it is minimal.
So what could they have done instead if they wanted to celebrate their birthday in style?
If I could wish anything I wanted, I’d love to see some Blizzard employees come online on our realm. What if the GM:s could appear and either arrange something in the game (I’ve heard that this kind of events exist in other games) or at least participate somehow. What if you could run into them in a battleground or a PUG group?
And if this is just too much to ask for, due to the proportion how many GM:s and realms there are, they could have settled for something smaller. How about a silly little one-day event on the lines of the Pirate Day?
Or what about doing something outside of game, such as putting up a nice behind-the-scenes video about Blizzcon from the perspective of the staff or a brand new in-depth interview with one of their more entertaining developers or artists on their website? That would definitely feel more like a treat than this ridiculous “feat of strength”.
Come to think of it: maybe there's a reason for them to tune down the celebrations as the years pass, just like my parents did. After all, is it really only a merit for a game to grow older?