Friday, August 01, 2008

Blizzard plans cross game achievement system

There's a story coming from Kotaku about Blizzard announcing a cross game achievement system for it's upcoming titles. I usually don't get a lot of MMO news from that site, but they seemed to have found a gem this time. If Blizzard really is trying to follow in the footsteps of Xbox Live then we can see why there was a recent push to add achievements to World of Warcraft. It's been a breadwinner for Microsoft and has often been credited with encouraging players to try different games for the Xbox. Of course as the writer of the article mentions, some of these games sucked and only sold well because of easy achievement points.

I don't think we need to worry about Blizzard ever making a crappy game and trying to use achievements to boost it's sales. Instead I see this as an opportunity for the company to encourage fans to try different game genres. I've played MMO and RTS games for quite some time, but I have little experience with click to play titles like Diablo. I'm sure there's even some gamers out there who are only familiar with one of the games from Blizzard's repertoire. The formation of a large community for all of Blizzard's fans should definitely increase cross pollination between their different game offerings.

I'm surprised I didn't see this coming from a mile away especially with the planned upgrade of in the works. It makes sense that if Blizzard is adding voice over IP functionality to the system then they might want to add a couple other tricks. I'm not sure how integrated everything will be, but I bet there will be some cross game chat/vent functionality. I mean if SOE can accomplish it then I'm sure Blizzard won't have any problems with the technology. I also see something similar to the WoW armory being used to look up other player's achievements. It'll be interesting to see if the top arena teams are the same people who stomp me in the 3v3 maps in Starcraft.

The real potential of this idea is that it could evolve into a common portal for any future MMOs that Blizzard is working on. I really want a company to be able to compete with SOE's all-access pass and this could be the first step. Blizzard may not have the library of MMOs that other publishing studios have, but they do have high quality. If they just had two popular MMOs then they could easily raise enough interest for an all access-pass. Having their non-MMO titles like Starcraft and Diablo share achievements is just added icing on the cake.

The real goal though would be for the idea of an all-access pass and to gain acceptance in the MMO market. Hopefully, once Blizzard implemented one then other companies would copy them. I'm looking at you Turbine and NCSoft!! You guys have no reason why you shouldn't have one already. After all if the subscription model wants to stay competitive with all the new micro-transaction games coming out then it needs to do something.


DT said...

It's good to see there are experienced gamers out there that realize the importance of traditional subscription based game dipping their toes in the microtransaction waters. You're completely more free to play titles start making their way into the marketplace, subscription based games are going to have to do something to keep up with the trend. Thanks for this post, and your opinion on it! :)