What Blizzard Can Learn From April Fools' Day
As a journalist, I hate April Fools' Day and have to check the timestamp of any post before I even think of sourcing for news. As a World of Warcraft player, though, I get one heck of a kick out of it, mainly because so much effort is put into it by Blizzard and members of the community. Its the one day in the year when inventiveness is put to the test and the playerbase collectively /lols.
Blizzard always pulls the stops out for jokes for each of its three IPs. In previous years there were the transforming units, the tin foil hat, the Pandaren pizza the list goes on and each year the company manages to push the boundaries of the awesome jest. This year, Diablo III fans were treated to the Horadric Cube iPhone app while StarCraft II players rejoiced as the franchise made its jump to the Xbox 360 and the Kinect.
The worst thing about April Fools are those jokes that are so close to plausibility. Blizzard teased us with a Microsoft Office-style dungeon assistant called Crabby and a new dungeon in deepest Duskwood which featured a new darkness technology. You know those are never going to happen. They even did a hilarious set of patch notes for 4.1.11, which is not only date-specific but also perfectly timed to match the occasion. That said, I need to register an official complaint about Druids becoming vehicles. Oi Blizzard: No!
Then I saw MMO Champions latest prank - one of several during the day - about two sets of wings that would soon be coming to the Blizzard store and Wowheads Delicia Fay jibe. Both where too close to the truth, a tad too real to be fake. Indeed, I wanted both to be real so much. When I saw the wings, my first thought was Aion and That is so awesome. Wheres my credit card? I actually had to check the date. The same went for Wowhead, it was just that little bit too close to plausibility to make you wonder, to make you wish it was true. This is the kind of prank I dont like, it makes hope - and triple check the date.
This is the kind of thing I wish wasnt a joke.
As for Wowhead, this is one time when I hope Blizzard listens and learns. After all, Felicia Day is the latest geek icon and a girl gamer too. Blizzard has been known to add in NPCs from the community in the past, like Breannie from Warcraft Pets. The ability to dye your clothes a different colour, thats something Ive been wanting for years. I love the look of a lot of the armor in WoW - especially the Druid and Mage stuff - but dislike the colour. Id love to be able to change it, to tweak it so my character isnt dressed in exactly the game garb as every other Druid or Mage on the server.
So, Blizzard. Wings would be cool, as would achievements but more geeky pop culture references and the ability to colour our clothes, that would be even better. Some of the best things in the world - like the Tauntaun sleeping bag - began as jokes but eventually turned into reality. So, Blizzard, if you really want to make a few fans day, give us wings, dyes and Delicia Fay and make them more than just the communitys idea of an amusing joke.