Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blizzard Entertainment Closes, Cites Inability to 'Do Anything Right' [SATIRE]

It's safe to say that both critics and fans alike were shocked Thursday morning when they woke to the news that Blizzard Entertainment, a video game publisher and developer headquartered in Irvine, California, announced they were shutting down operations effective immediately. A short press release accompanied the announcement, indicating Blizzard had accepted responsibility for its "inability to do much of anything right" throughout the life of the World of Warcraft franchise.

On the eve before the announcement, the industry giant released a wave of much-coveted Alpha invites for the upcoming fifth expansion to its cornerstone franchise, titled World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, which was slated for release in Q4 of this year.

"With Warlords, we were trying to hit that 'sweet spot' so many players talk about," said a company spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous. "Some think it was in Vanilla WoW, others the Burning Crusade expansion, even Wrath of the Lich King (Warcraft's second expansion). Our goal was to meld those sweet spots into one to provide the best experience imaginable for every single player."

Unfortunately, that doesn't look possible anymore. Changes to the content and gameplay were meant to give the new expansion a feel that appealed to the hardcore, casual and ground mount-loving players all at once, but from the outside, players only saw a drought in news and silence on Blizzard's end regarding their new content---amidst other criticisms.

"Of course," the spokesperson replied when asked if some of the criticism levied at Blizzard over the past nine months was warranted.

"The Pardo/Browder comments about diversity come to mind, but this has been going on since Vanilla. Players just seem to hate our games," said the spokesperson. "For example, they'll complain about not having certain content. Give them the content Tuesday, and they're furious with you because you could've given them the content on Monday.

"Last year, we replaced our entire [gameplay and story] team with an assortment of players with differing preferences on how to approach the game. We figured their complete lack of exposure to game design would be a strength, but that turned out to be a disaster," said the spokesperson, adding, "You just can't win."

Complaints littering social media and the official forums Wednesday night after the invites went out included: players complaining about not getting Alpha access; players complaining about players who did get access; players complaining about the type of people they believe were given access; players complaining that the Alpha was obviously ready weeks ago and should have been released sooner; players complaining the Alpha isn't anywhere near ready to be released to the public; players claiming Horde bias because the Alpha doesn't feature the Alliance starting experience; players complaining about the fact the Horde even exists at all; players complaining this was an obvious move to draw attention away from Carbine Studios, who had just released their much-anticipated MMO Wildstar.

"We've seen the majority of those complaints consistently during the past ten years, but I think the Carbine one was really the last straw for a lot of people around here," said the spokesperson. "We do [releases] like this all the time. All the time."

The spokesperson referenced the hundreds of Blizzard employees around the globe and confirmed that game developers Carbine Studios and Riot Games will be absorbing 95% of the workforce, essentially everyone but the Executive team.

"Those guys all own an island in the South Pacific," said the spokesperson, referencing CEO Mark Morhaime, Creative Director Chris Metzen and others. "They're treating this as an opportunity."

With the closure, Blizzard announced the cancellation of Blizzcon, its annual-ish celebration of their games and community, which was scheduled for November of this year. Executives are currently in talks with Disney and director Michael Bay over selling the rights to the Warcraft movie, now slated for a late-2014 release. In addition, development on all of their titles, including Warlords of Draenor and the secret Titan project, have ceased. They've decided to release the full Warlords of Draenor Alpha client to the public as-is, but stressed it will not be supported.

"The icon for a sack of herbs is a friggin' boot, and there's a fourteen-foot-tall Hulk Hogan wandering Frostfire Ridge," said the spokesperson, not hiding their bitterness. "Have fun with that."

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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