Blizzard has finally responded to the massive consumer revolt against Warcraft III: Reforged. In a long and detailed post on their official forums. Blizzard Community Manager Kaivax breaks down what went wrong with Reforged, and the steps they’re going to take to address current issues.
However the statement didn’t really address the prominent fan concerns, but rather danced around them.
Let’s dig into this statement, Kaivax begins his post indicating that Blizzard has been monitoring the feedback they’ve received since the launch of Warcraft III: Reforged and then apologizes for the poor experience.
“We’ve been following the discussions the past couple days and want to thank you for your feedback as well as your support. First off, we want to say we’re sorry to those of you who didn’t have the experience you wanted, and we’d like to share our plans for what’s coming next.”
Kaivax then notes they did take care of a server-load issue hours after the game launched.
“There were a few hours during launch day where we experienced server-load issues that impacted players’ ability to jump right in, but we were able to resolve those later in the day. Separate from that, we’ve seen community feedback about different aspects of Reforged that we wanted to take some time to address.”
However, before he got into the meat of the real complaints Kaivax explains how excited Blizzard is about Reforged III and that they are committed to a long term support plan for the game.
“Before we go on: the team is excited that Warcraft III: Reforged is finally upon us and we’re fully committed to supporting the game for a long time to come. The next few patches and updates we’ll discuss below are just part of our ongoing plans. This game is an integral part of the Blizzard DNA, with a team that loves Warcraft III, and we’re looking forward to pouring our hearts into Reforged and the Warcraft III community for the long term.”
The first issue Kaivax addresses are the visuals in the game specifically when selecting Classic Mode. The community manager indicates it was a bug causing the colors and shading to look different from the original Warcraft III. In order to fix this problem they will be dropping a large patch later in the week to fix it along with other issues with audio, animations, and the UI.
“One of the concerns with Reforged that we’ve seen are the visuals when selecting Classic Mode. We’ve identified the bug causing the colors and shading to look different from the original Warcraft III, and we’re testing a fix that will be incorporated in a larger patch addressing this issue and others. We expect to release that late this week. The patch will also address many other known issues, such as fixing some portrait animations and audio bugs, implementing some UI fixes, and more. Please keep an eye out for the patch notes for a detailed list of all the bug fixes.”
Kaivax then notes they plan on addressing the issue that the clans and leaderboards were removed from the game. He indicates they will be added to Warcraft III: Reforged in a subsequent patch.
“Another area of concern we’re seeing is regarding online features such as leaderboards and clans, which applies to all Warcraft III players, including those who haven’t purchased Reforged. At BlizzCon we talked a lot about how the team is actively working on standing up the back-end to ensure a smooth transition to this new MMR system, much like we did with StarCraft: Remastered. As with Remastered, these and other features will be included in a major patch for Reforged, which will also address the issue for players of the original game. We’ll share release plans as work progresses in the coming weeks—please be assured that the team is hard at work on standing these features up.”
Kaivax continues explaining that tournaments and the Reign of Chaos ruleset were removed in order streamline support for the game.
“There are some individual concerns we’ve seen that we’re not currently planning to address and we wanted to give the community a heads-up. As of Version 1.30 of the original game, we saw very low usage of tournaments and of the Reign of Chaos ruleset, so we removed both in mid-2019 (in Version 1.31). Eliminating the maintenance for underused elements has helped us streamline our overall support of the game and focus on areas impacting the most players. That said, we do anticipate that players who prefer Reign of Chaos will find custom games with similar rulesets, which we hope will help satisfy that concern.”
The community manager then addresses the in-game cut scenes.
“Related to that, as we talked about last year at BlizzCon, we did not want the in-game cutscenes to steer too far from the original game. We went a little deeper into the thought process behind that at the show, but the main takeaway is that the campaigns tell one of the classic stories in Warcraft history, and we want to preserve the true spirit of Warcraft III and allow players to relive these unforgettable moments as they were (albeit rebuilt with new animations and the higher fidelity art).”
In conclusion, Kaivax admits this update does not address all the concerns the community has raised.
“We know this update doesn’t address all questions, but we’re committed to the development and support of this game. We hope you’ll keep an eye out for this week’s patch and future updates and let us know what you think as we continue fine-tuning things. Until then, thank you as always for your support and passion for Warcraft III. We appreciate all your feedback and will continue to keep the Warcraft III community updated on everything we’re working on.”
Kaivax is certainly right that the update does not address all the concerns and it certainly doesn’t address the issue that Blizzard shipped a broken and incomplete game.
Players made it clear they were unimpressed by Kaivax’s post with many simply calling it “damage control.”
One user, Espada, breaks down Blizzard’s post in a clear way that shows the studio was more concerned with saving face than addressing player concerns or apologizing for selling a product under false pretenses:
Other users also roasted Blizzard on the thread for their tone deaf response:
This isn’t the first non-apology from the company in recent months. Blizzard President J. Allen Brack issued a non-apology following the company’s disastrous handling of the Blitzchung incident, which saw them ban the Hearthstone winner for supporting Hong Kong.
That doesn’t even include the company being caught lying about their World of Warcraft Prize Pools during that same Blizzcon. Throughout 2019 Blizzard has been caught in misstep after misstep. It seems that 2020 won’t be that different.
What do you make of Blizzard’s response? Do you find it satisfactory? Or do you think it’s just deflection and PR spin?