This kind of thing was all over the place yesterday, so I’ll just point you to the Massively article and launch my own take on the matter. The basic premise is that other developers are pushing out news yesterday in particular and probably over the next couple of days as well to counter the explosion of interest in Rift with today’s opening of headstart and the upcoming launch on Tuesday. In particular:
- Blizzard pushes out the first load of 4.1 patch info.
- Funcom announces the upcoming launch of a pair of full-loot, free-for-all PvP servers for Age of Conan.
- Warhammer’s account management page sees the “Cancel Subscription” button mysteriously disappear.
- Mortal Online launches a 14-day trial.
Granted that this all makes 2/24 a busier news day than most. And the WoW news is bigger by far than the other stuff, so I’ll focus on that first.
Does anyone seriously think that Blizzard’s announcement of the return of Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman, two old raids being retuned for five level 85s, constitutes news that stands a chance of deflecting interest in a new and very shiny game about to be released, and about which interest is surging? Does anyone seriously think that any significant number of WoW players read the news today and thought to themselves, “Well gee, I was going to check out Rift, but since two old raids are coming back as five-mans in a couple of months, I’ll just stick with WoW instead?” Does anyone seriously believe that anyone at Blizzard actually thought this?
As someone who’s elected to go back to WoW instead of hopping into Rift at launch, that’s just fucking preposterous.
Sure, the people in charge of pushing news out to the public are struggling to keep their own properties atop the news cycle. But that’s true all the time, not just when a competitor is launching and therefore is going to occupy that position anyway. The smart thing to do would be to wait until the flow of news is at a low ebb, especially for a low-visibility title like Age of Conan, for which news of almost any magnitude is going to be inevitably swamped by the flood of New Shiny items anyway. Much less for Mortal Online, a game that almost nobody cares about or is playing, and which even at launch came and went like a fart in a hurricane.
Minor news regarding WoW, or significant news regarding minor titles with which Rift is not really competing, is just not going to compete with a big release infosurge. To think that it is would be ludicrous, and therefore the idea that such is being done as part of a calculated effort on the part of Blizzard, Funcom or Star Vault is a de facto accusation of stupidity.
The Mythic item is kind of a different story, as Rift is very threatening to WAR’s already extremely tenuous position. But Mythic says it was just a glitch and I’ve always found that, as the saying goes, “never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by ineptitude.” And ineptitude is pretty much Mythic’s modus operandi.