Three years after the disastrous launch of Warcraft 3: Reforged, Activision Blizzard is asking fans if they would be willing to return to the game if they put in some effort. Keep in mind, this is regarding the reforged version of the game, which still holds a bottom three user score on Metacritic.
The third time might be the charm for Warcraft 3 after Blizzard completely butchered the release of the Reforged version of the game back in January 2020.
Despite promising upgraded graphics, a new user interface, revamped cutscenes, and a bunch of new features to create a fine balance between a new game and a dose of nostalgia, Blizzard delivered a sub-par remake. Three years and virtually zero updates later, the developer is emailing the player base if they would return to the game for a soft relaunch.
Instead of asking the player base generic questions about their satisfaction, Blizzard’s email survey focused on what features were missing and would bring players back. Offering them voting options varying from very unappealing to very appealing should give them solid feedback on how the community feels. Teasing players who were willing to subscribe to that survey email list with global custom games, art updates, a complete UI/UX overhaul, storage size reduction, and other features that were promised with the 2020 release, is a smart but dangerous tactic.
Bringing back some of the original game’s charm should do wonders for player satisfaction, but a successful relaunch must address the issues that the Reforged version brought. The improved graphics were vastly offset by the performance issues the game suffered, on top of the promised features that were missing. After letting the game rot for a while, Blizzard added ranked play, leaderboards, player profiles, and most recently custom campaigns. But even those are not serviced properly, leading up to nearly 30 000 negative reviews on Metacritic.
Knowing how dedicated and passionate WoW fans are about their franchise, the slightest bit of attention from Blizzard is enough to make them feel excited. The results of the survey probably won't be published but we’ll know by Blizzard's actions moving forward.
The studio probably has its hands full with the troubling Microsoft deal, but recent reports suggest it is also preparing a Call of Duty game for Nintendo’s platform. Whatever happens next, Blizzard will always have the World of Warcraft expansions to fall back on.