Lies, damned lies, and forum posts

You may recall recently, a "blue" from "Blizzard" posted that he or she "had hopes" that "we" (warlocks) would be able to "run a quest" to "get green fire". And there was much rejoicing.  Still, when someone that officially represents "Blizzard" uses words like "we hope to", it usually means that expectations should be set low.

After all, one must reason, an organization that can’t deliver on an ADVERTISED feature is very unlikely to deliver something that is described with such weasel-wording.

No doubt you see what comes next.

So we’ve obtained some additional insight about what exactly lies behind the use of the word “hope” in regard to our efforts to achieve green fire for warlocks.

"We’ve had our asses handed to us by Management for blurting out something that was totally unfounded, had no commitments, no timelines, no actual design in place, and no resources assigned to it – at all."

It’s fun to see the CM crowd portraying the Blizzard communications array as some sort of quest-like construct that they have to go through hoops to get anything out of, and occasionally getting the exactly wrong thing out.

Essentially, we want this updated information out so that we can better manage expectations, especially as the announcement created such a flurry of excitement.

"Please put the torches and pitchforks away.  Also please stop talking about this."

Unfortunately, dear warlocks, those of you who retained a modicum of skepticism were right to, as it would seem that the chance of green fire for warlocks is even less as likely as the wording of the original information indicated.

"How many times does this have to happen until you just don’t believe us anymore?"

Since spell effects are not as simple to change around as — for example — druid forms are, we need some additional technology implemented in order to allow the use of red or green fire to be a player choice and not a permanent change that is put in place for all warlocks.

"Based on conversations overheard in the break room, we figured this was just an artwork change, and thought, ‘how hard could it be?‘ Turns out, there’s actual work to be done." 

Also, technology aside, we want to do the introduction of something like green fire in the right way. Implementing it in “a quest” doesn’t really explain our stance here. We want something as substantial as this change to be an epic accomplishment for you.

"Nobody actually talked to the designers before blurting this out. And the designers had something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in mind."

So though we have definitely heard your thoughts on the matter, and we’ve explained what we want to do from our side, green fire will not be available with the launch of Mists of Pandaria. And we haven’t a timeframe to commit to, or communicate about, at this stage.

"Nobody’s even working on this."

It is with regret that we were unable to clarify these details more when we first mentioned our intent — “our hope” — and we wish we hadn’t caused such excitement and raised expectations for those that didn’t instantly take the news with an “I’ll believe it when I see it” pinch of salt.

"Seriously, if you saw how pissed the boss was, you’d understand: we REALLY wish we’d kept it to ourselves."

It seems, as many of us said at the time here and on Twitter and fansites, the proof of the (green fire) pudding really was in the eating.

"We will not be deterred from abusing every metaphor we can get our hands on."


Had this been handled properly on Day One, when the whole "Fel energy is actually green" thing started up (late Vanilla or early BC?), it would have been a simple artwork change and a few minor mea culpas. Instead, a series of flimsy excuses were used until it’s now blown up into a sort of Kabuki theatre dance between the CMs and the designers and the coders. Now, it’s got quests, options, and complications. And that’s before its implementation has even been formally designed.

It was actually easier, turns out, to add a new spell or two (Chaos Bold, Fel Flame) that used green fire than it was to suck it up and take responsibility for a lore inconsistency.

Pride goeth before the fail ((Speaking of abusing metaphors.)).

A simple suggestion: being straight about this sort of thing from the start will always work out the best. Blaming lore for one’s mistakes is going to come back and bite you in the ass. Trying to make the Warlock fire color a lore issue has just complicated matters so badly that at this point, three different departments within the WoW live team can’t figure out what the hell to say.  Now you have some CMs that have been reprimanded by management for attempting to give someone else something to look forward to.  We have the nugget of a design for a programming project to change something that could have been fixed with artwork.

And we have a forum full of confused and angry warlocks. I won’t mince words, here – that’s never pretty.

Not that it’s likely, but before hinting at giving Paladins anything they’ve been asking for, Blizz might consider the lesson of the Fel fire in future.


Posted on April 2, 2012, in Blizzard, Class warfare, Game mechanics, Warlock. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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