Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blizzard is anti-marketing Diablo 3. Why?

Is there a reason not to like hype? In what may arguably be the most anticipated game of the year, Blizzard Entertainment's community manager who goes by the name Bashiok on the Diablo 3 forums said, "I too worry that we won't be able to meet the expectations people have built up for themselves. Part of my job is managing people's expectations, so... eh... stop it.  Stop thinking about how awesome this game could be. Just imagine it's a new M. Night Shyamalan movie. Sure Sixth Sense was amazing and Unbreakable had its moments, but this right here is the sequel to The Village ... or The Happening ... or Signs ... or any of the movies besides the two I first mentioned. So just like, lower those expectations, but still definitely buy the game please, and everything will be just fine. K?"

Do you think this is weird? Whacko? That the guy has gone insane?

Why would anyone tell their audience to lower expectations?

All I can say is that I have always loved games by Blizzard and the thing that appeals to me so much about the Diablo world is that it is so incredibly dark. Cindy Borgne probably said it best when she reviewed my upcoming book and said that it was a "dark urban fantasy."  It was like she had this x-ray vision into the kind of things I like to read and pulled it out in one sentence.

The Diablo world is a no holds barred dark fantasy almost (but not quite) without hope. It's a sword and sorcery but with an epic storyline. Demons are everywhere doing terrible things. It has great blood and destruction animations. The kind that make the hairs on your arms stand on end. And when certain sounds play over your speakers, you actually feel scared. And no matter who you play, your character always looks incredibly hot.

I remember playing the first one and kicking down the door to a room filled with corpses of townsfolk that had been flayed by a demon called the Butcher. He uttered "FRESH MEAT!" and chased after me with a cleaver. I was totally not expecting it and he was really hard to defeat.

Diablo 3 comes out sometime between April thru June depending on the rumors. For me, it can't be soon enough.

My question to you is, are you going to play? And do you think that there is ever a time that hype is bad? Please watch the trailer below. It's pretty amazing for a video game and is the opening cinematic sequence.

30 comments:

  1. My other half is desperate for this to be released. He wants me to play, but I'm not sure about it. I've only ever played MMOs before.

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  2. Sarah, like you I had only played MMO's before. But a buddy of mine bought me a copy of Diablo 2 for this past Christmas. While I thought it was silly buying a 12 year old game, many of the exciting parts of MMO play are found here - customization, collection, loot galore, and yes, epic story. It's a testament that a 12 year old game is still incredibly fun even now, and it makes this Diablo neophyte even more excited for this new installment.

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  3. I am a Final Fantasy / Sims and Diablo player and am looking forward to the new version. I probably won't get any writing done when it comes out!

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  4. Hmm... I've never played Diablo before. Now I'm intrigued.

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  5. Are you kidding? Been waiting over twelve years for this game!!

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  6. I loved the original but for some reason I just couldn't get into the second one. I know that's blasphemous but I blame Deckard Cain. I'm sure if I had given it more time I would have liked it but I just moved on and never went back.

    I know people are anxiously awaiting this game and these comments along with the multiple delays has to give a bit of worry that Blizzard will pull a "Ghost" and cancel it. That won't happen as they've already taken money from WoW players for the game but it does sound like they might not exactly be thrilled with the end product. I don't care either way as I will be playing the real game of the year - Mass Effect 3. (#biowarefanboy)

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  7. I have NO clue what you're talking about. I don't know if that says more about my age or gender. Clue me.

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  8. That trailer is amazing. Personally, I will always prefer under-hype to over-hype. Now if only they would put this out on x-box.

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  9. So the last one came out 12 years ago? No wonder they're trying to dampen expectations. They only need to look at The Phantom Menace or the last Duke Nukem game for examples of how that can work out. So maybe they're aware of the history. Good for them.

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  10. Keeping user expectations low was a common theme among managers when I did software development. But we were in-house, doing development for other departments. I dunno. I think if you're selling something (book or software) and you don't think it's good enough, maybe it's time to do some revisions. Awesome that he was honest though.

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  11. Expectations are a bitch sometimes.

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  12. What a strange marketing strategy. I wonder if it will work.

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  13. Yep, I have to agree with Grumpy. Too much hype can kill anything. When expectations are so high that they can't possibly be met, it doesn't matter how good something is because it's not as good as expectations. It sounds like a smart move on their part.

    And, no, I won't be playing. The next video game I play will be to go back to Dragon Age and try to finish that.

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  14. i've never been a Diablo fan, so i'm sure i'll be missing this one as well, at least for the foreseeable future. But yeah, i also love Blizzard, and no, i don't understand why he's asking the fans to temper their enthusiasm. i mean, unless he knows it's bad or something. And if he does, then fricking pull the release date and fix it.

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  15. I'm not a gamer, so I can't speak to Diablo 3. Hype is kinda fun, but if what you're hyping doesn't live up to those expectations, it can also kill long term sales.

    By the way, I thought Signs was a pretty good movie. The Village was horrible, as I figured out the twist at the halfway mark.

    M. Night really ticked me off when he blasphemed The Avatar (Last Airbender). White-washing gone mad.

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  16. Never really played Diablo much. But I loved the old Warcraft and Warcraft II games. Ah, great memories. Unless I find myself suddenly awash with tons of time and no responsibilities then I doubt I'll be playing this one.

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  17. It is quite weird that he would say something like that. Can't say I've played the games, but they look fascinating.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  18. I've never played Diablo. I'll have to look into it.

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  19. I guess the marketing is trying some reverse psychology...

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  20. I'm still waiting for Zork IV.

    Ha! Retro-joke.

    I don't really play videogames other than "Plants Vs. Zombies," which is dark in its own way. But I do like the meta-marketing concept here wherein you appear to be commenting on a marketing strategy for a hotly-anticipated videogame that will surely be the focus of much googling, while sub rosa including a link to a review of your own upcoming book, which you then subtly compare to that hotly anticipated game.

    I bow to your genius, Jedi Master of Marketing. Whereas my ads are crass and visible and in-your-face capitalism, your ads are sly and surreptitious.

    Also: I think a better thing to do would be to create high expectations and then live up to them. There's this guy I know who wrote a sci-fi novel about parallel worlds and he invented metals and stuff for it. He's really upping the ante on what people are expecting to see from that book, but I'm pretty sure it'll be worth it when it comes out.

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  21. I just asked my son about Diablo 3. He said he never played a Diablo game. He does like Skyrim though.

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  22. My brother is a huge Blizzard fan. He was complaining about the buzz about Diablo 3 just the other day. I was going to get it for him for his birthday, but now I'm not so sure.

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  23. You know, I wish I was a gamer, cuz they look so awesome...but I'm totally not (don't have the talent for it, LOL!).

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  24. Is it a first person shooter? If so, will have to put it on Husband Unit's 2012 Christmas list.

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  25. Just think Mike, Slipstream the video game. :D

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  26. What beautiful artwork. And I swear one of these days I'm gonna start playing video games, and not just with friends when I'm at their houses.

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  27. I totally get why they'd want lowered expectations. Then if the game sells really well, they can call it a win. Sometimes there's no way something can live up to crazy expectations.

    And no, I'm not a gamer. I can see myself getting so absorbed that that's all I'd do. It's best if I stay away.

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  28. I had nightmares from the final boss' laugh on Diablo II expansion pack.


    But with games...yes you can build expectations up too high...but I am so going to squirm like a little kid when that thing comes out and hoard my paychecks to buy a copy.

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  29. I am too old and too slow for these game, but I am sure both my boys are up to date and must be waiting.
    Yeah, Shyamalan did a great job when he wrote sixth sense. My kids told me the story of the other one and it did not have the same effect.

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  30. What a hell name! i'll will try this game to kill Diablo's

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