Give a critic an inch, he’ll write a play.
Blizzard Watch — A Review
I don’t know whether to call this a critique, editorial, review or rant. Blizzard Watch is my “go to” website for information on World of Warcraft. I feel that for the past three months that they’ve been failing me.
Let’s take a look and see if it can be fixed.
A Little History
I first started following WoW Insider (Blizzard Watch before the name change) back during early Wrath of the Lich King. The writers were excited! Information and experiences were shared on a daily basis. The writers were high-end raiders and so then were our mentors, leaders and their voices shaped our opinions in the game.
I have followed WoW Insider/Blizzard Watch almost every day for almost eight years. I’m not alone, this is a very active busy site. I’m still following.
AOL dropped WoW Insider and Alex gathered the writers and created Blizzard Watch. This was just as Warlords of Draenor was beginning (if memory serves). The followers responded with big guns and the site was born! It was exciting to see our favorite writers and leaders continue to do their fine work.
Alex, Mr. Rossi and Anne are the three Big Guns who do the heavy lifting and as the site has expanded, they now cover the other Blizzard products: this is great. Alex believes (rightly so) that if they are going to publish writers that they are going to be paid.
The framework, I can’t specifically describe. The Queue is daily and some writers offer pieces weekly and some offer twice a month. I think that this framework is too rigid, which I’ll get to soon.
A Very Rough Start
Even though there was an out-pouring of love from the readers, the Big Three went on record as not liking Warlords of Draenor. Anne in particular ripped end game content, stated she’d not be raiding and there was the Dragon Age fiasco. As gamers, they can say these things: as politicians, they can not.
I wonder, given the volume of traffic at Blizzard Watch if the Big Three have shaped the negative response to Warlords of Draenor. With great power comes great responsibility. Never dismiss the power, voice, words or attitude of a leader: I wonder, I really do. My friends who do not pay attention to BW, Wowhead, Dev Twitter etc: they love this expansion.
Life is politics. It would be naïve to think that there is no power. Our wonderful writers are not politicians and it is there that they fail and they need to grow up: fast. Mr. Rossi appears to be the only honest writer and player of the Big Three.
I learned this lesson as an artist. I could stamp my foot and say that I only wanted to my Art — but I was young. Being an artist is being an educator, promotor and politician; just listen to Bob Dylan or Andy Warhol talk about their work.
There is very little room for fun and whimsy on the Blizzard Watch site. If, say, the hunter writer posts his material twice a week; he is bound on some level to make a post that covers a broad and wide topic that is very general. He is unlikely to post a quick little find or fun idea or tricky macro for a specific fight. AND, no other writer can mention anything Hunter for fear of poaching on their grounds.
Mr. Rossi is the best of the best. I can’t describe when, in the Queue, he mentions doing the weekly bonus event. He is playing! He isn’t hard-core end game mythic raiding and he doesn’t have to be. Anne and Alex reject what defines most players, the raid scene. You see it in the questions answered for the Queue.
If Blizzard Watch is not meeting the needs of raiders, their comment sections get reduced to fan-driven Transmog Tuesday, burger recipes and old images. The raiders won’t turn to Blizzard Watch and that cripples the site as an information delivery system as they also won’t offer what they know.
How To Fix Blizzard Watch
It might be too late.
Still, they can try. I would put Anne out to pasture and let her post her Lore articles twice a month; she is of no value to listeners and readers who are active in the game. Triple Mr. Rossi’s salary, he is so incredibly solid as a writer and human being.
They need to get raiders who will write. They need to feature podcasts, bloggers and players who are out in the world still working. They need writers who want to fly, get the Legendary Ring and raid with it, who are farming rares and battle pets — every day.
Their stance on PvP needs to change. Ignoring it on the reasons they state is weak. They could simply have a “My pvp action bar set-up and macros” — no, Alex, it’s not obvious nor stupid to do this.
They need to love and play the game. The class writers are all done raiding and taking a break (as they should be), sadly we never got their best experiences.
Can Legion Save Blizzard Watch?
The terrific writers at BW need to learn to be politicians and teachers. They need to recognize their power as a big site and get answers from Blizzard when we want it.
Blizzard Watch is still my daily visit, if not several times. I recognize that they are not meeting my needs nor are they winning my respect as a player: even though they did in the past. I hope that there is room for whimsy and fun.