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Blizzard on Release Dates

Blizzard: ‘Who Knows’ When Diablo III Will Ship? on Techland has a bit from Rob Pardo on recent indications that Diablo III is a ways off. "We always announce all of our games too early," says the Blizzard executive video president, who admits this clarity has not helped them remedy the situation: "We realize that and go, ‘You know what? Next time we’re not going to do that.’ And then we always fail at that. But I’d rather fail at that than fail at making the game great. I think it’s safe to say that, yeah, (Diablo III) is not going to be out next year."

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48. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 30, 2009, 16:11 Undocumented Alien
 
I typically oversee design and installation of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC's) (including the software programming) and DCS process control systems and their accompanying equipment like pumps, motors, valves etc., though I have managed maintenance and repair projects as well.

Wow, we may know each other, this is the field I am in (PLC, HMI, DCS) and it's a small community.
 
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47. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 27, 2009, 15:46 Flatline
 
I don't see it as poor management skills, more as a different design philosophy. Blizzard games are known for their gameplay, which is achieved through their iterative process. Blizzard stops the iterative process of improvement when they are happy with their progress. In order to make this iterative development suit your model of management, it would be stopped before this point, conceivably compromising quality. This quality is essentially Blizzard's strongest asset, which contributes to Blizz's longevity and popularity (ie. E-Sports).

So you're saying that Blizzard's success is that it's devs play the game to death before they releases it. Hell of a design philosophy there.

Also, you're commenting on Blizzard of the past, especially with the E-Sports quip. SC2 seems to be designed specifically to discourage such venues in how it handles multiplayer.
 
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46. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 27, 2009, 15:40 Flatline
 
And really, there are very few design teams that can get away with what Blizzard's teams can get away with. God help these people if they ever have to work at a job where time management, short-term goal accomplishments, and revenue-dependent timeliness actually matter.

We can see what happens when they split off and create a company called Flagship.
 
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45. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 25, 2009, 19:39 Prez
 
I came back to refute your lie, and stayed i the hope I could continue to get under your skin. It obviously worked and I am very satisfied. Go on then, sad little internet man. Carry your bitterness and scorn with you. Buh bye! Pleased  
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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44. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 25, 2009, 17:23 Yifes
 
You can pretend that you are having a good time, but I know I got under your skin - your petty insults prove as much.

You must be pretty blind if you miss the fact that I'm mocking you. Let me quote yourself again:

LMAO. I'm moving up in the world! Before I was just arrogant. Keep talking - I'm enjoying watching you make an ass out of yourself over this.

And speaking of getting under skins, this is the third time that you've mentioned how it's a waste of time for you, that you want to stop (Prez: "This is a complete and utter waste of time. I'm gone."); But you keeep. on. coming. back. If my words didn't get under your skin then why do you keep returning? Is it a lack of will and resolve? You're like a walking example of hypocrisy.

And thanks for confirming that you have no intention of ever addressing my points, because you can't. It's pretty obvious since you have weaseled yourself out of saying anything relevant in your last four post, and done nothing but try to salvage your wounded pride. You've now used the "it's simply my opinion" line which is the last ditch defense of those who cannot support their position with reason.

But thank you for showing me that you cling to the absolute infallibility of your position like a fanatic clings to religion. There's plenty of you out there, the creationists, the conspiracy theorists, the birthers, and that's fine with me. You have convinced me that you are a waste of time, and now I'm going to do what you were too weak to do: show you how to end this conversation.

I'm gone.
This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 17:27.
 
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43. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 25, 2009, 15:08 Prez
 
You can pretend that you are having a good time, but I know I got under your skin - your petty insults prove as much. And I did it simply by having an opinion that you don't like and sticking by it. That pleases me.

As for your points, whether or not they have merit at this point is utterly irrelevant. YOU are a waste of time, so they will remain unaddressed. But feel free to keep blathering on about "You said this!" "You said that!"

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 15:12.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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42. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 25, 2009, 08:14 Yifes
 
No, but don't let that stop you from erroneously interpolating that from what I've said.

No, you said:

" Good project management is often crucial for the fiscal viability of the project and the company overall. Because Blizzard can basically print money, they are afforded the luxury of basically not having any project management to speak of."

So:

1. Fiscal viability of project depends on good management
2. Blizzard can print money and afford to have bad management.

Blizzard's projects have been viable since 1994 with the release of Warcraft. So they either have
1. Good management, or
2. they can print money since 1994, letting them afford bad management on all their projects. or
3. Blizzard has bad management, but not enough money to compensate for said bad management, but somehow has miraculously put out one amazing game after another.

Which one are you saying? Lets see you weasel away from answering this one by avoiding the point and bringing up unsupported argument that I'm twisting your words without ever providing a clarification to what you actually mean. At least I give you the courtesy of clarifying my points to you when you misunderstand what I'm saying.

Keep talking - I'm enjoying watching you make an ass out of yourself over this.

Don't worry, I've been enjoying watching you, a small business manager of PLC projects, make an ass of yourself by thinking that you know how to manage better than people who have built a multibillion dollar company from scratch, even though you know nothing about the inner workings of the company! You're not in the same league, you're not even playing the same sport as Blizzard. But keep believing in your own superiority; It's your sheer arrogance that keeps this so entertaining !

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 13:20.
 
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41. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 25, 2009, 01:37 Prez
 
The point is still the same: Blizzard has put out 11 great products up to and including vanilla WOW, before WOW started making money. Are you saying they all got away with shitty management for all 11 projects, because Blizz was "printing money" since 1994?

No, but don't let that stop you from erroneously interpolating that from what I've said. I'm amazed at what you've interpolated so far out what I've written. Keep going - pretty soon you'll be having this argument by yourself based on what you'd imagine I would say. Why not since you've been arguing an imaginary point the whole time. If it isn't deliberate misrepresentation then it can only be the worst case of reading comprehension this side of the inner web. Your pick.

You're arrogant and a hypocrite.

LMAO. I'm moving up in the world! Before I was just arrogant. Keep talking - I'm enjoying watching you make an ass out of yourself over this.

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 01:41.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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40. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 25, 2009, 00:21 Yifes
 
My apologies for that misquote. It was unintentional. Way to flip out on that one, saying i'm deliberately misrepresenting you and what not. You should read the stuff you write: "Fine. I'm arrogant because I believe good management is superior to bad management." Nice summary of what I wrote. You're arrogant and a hypocrite.

I have edited my post to reflect the changes:

" Good project management is often crucial for the fiscal viability of the project and the company overall. Because Blizzard can basically print money, they are afforded the luxury of basically not having any project management to speak of."

The point is still the same: Blizzard has put out 11 great products up to and including vanilla WOW, before WOW started making money. Are you saying they all got away with shitty management for all 11 projects, because Blizz was "printing money" since 1994?

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 01:19.
 
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39. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 23:59 Prez
 
Calling me arrogant and being so willfully dense as to refuse to actually comprehend my point is one thing, but I won't just sit by and let you lie about what I said. Here is the actual statement.

That it doesn't matter that Blizzard's project management sucks ass because they are sitting on a mountain of cash thanks to WoW doesn't change the fact that (Blizzard's business processes and management skills) are terrible.

What you claim I said is a bald-face lie and a deliberate misrepresentation. Just because I'm no longer going to waste my time with someone who likes to grossly misrepresent another's stance to make them look as bad as possible so you can "win" (congratulations on winning by the way - you da man...), doesn't mean you are free to lie about what was said. That you (wrongly, par for the course for you) believe that I'm arrogant makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever, but cut the crap.

EDIT: Note I put the "they" from the above quote in proper context so as to prevent you from again deliberately misrepresenting the point.
This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 00:04.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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38. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 23:19 Yifes
 
Fine. I'm arrogant because I believe good management is superior to bad management.

I said you're arrogant because you have absolute faith in the self righteousness of your mainstream ideology, excluding all others as flawed and inferior. You have shown that you know nothing about Blizzard's management beyond the fact that they do not have deadlines. You assert that: " Good project management is often crucial for the fiscal viability of the project and the company overall. Because Blizzard can basically print money, they are afforded the luxury of basically not having any project management to speak of." , even though every single one of Blizzard's games came out before WOW started making money.Finally, that you would twist my words into such a retarded paraphrase, is, in retrospect, quite commensurate with your arrogance.

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 00:43.
 
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37. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 23:13 Prez
 
Fine. I'm arrogant because I believe good management is superior to bad management.

Actually, you shot yourself in the foot with this one.

I'm sure you think I did. Of what you believe to be the case and what is actually the case are 2 very different things.

This is a complete and utter waste of time. I'm gone.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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36. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 22:38 Yifes
 
Disagree. Completely. Their ideology is absolutely inferior to the more mainstream one I uphold.

This attitude is the reason why I called you arrogant. Blizzard didn't start with infinite money, so your assertion that this ideology depends on money is not correct. I never said that your ideology isn't mainstream. I merely challenged your assumption that it is the ONLY way of doing business.

Also, your assumption that "when it's done" = inefficient and lazy development is unsupported, since you do not know the work ethics around the Blizzard offices.

Poor management skills get you Daikatana and DNF, not Starcraft.

Incorrect correlation yet again. I know the most gifted engineer where I work - she can learn any software, any control system, and be programming at maximum efficiency at an astonishing rate. But she can't manage a lemonade stand. These are COMPLETELY different skill sets.

Actually, you shot yourself in the foot with this one. And your example was quite irrelevant. 3D realms and Ion Storm's management problems are well documented and well known. This is not some assumption based on outside perception, but actual employee testimonial. They both had plenty of cash, and poured way more money down the drain than Blizz have spent on their games. Your assumption that Blizzard can overcome poor management by throwing cash at is unsupported.
 
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35. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 22:22 Prez
 
I don't see it as poor management skills, more as a different design philosophy.

Disagree. Completely. Their ideology is absolutely inferior to the more mainstream one I uphold. You keep claiming that this is my ideology alone, whereas simply by reading design docs and designer testimonials from a myriad of different successful companies, it can easily be ascertained that it is the majority one, while Blizzard's is in the minute minority. The "philosophy" of properly-managed projects is superior to Blizzard's because the money may not always be there, and timeliness and professionalism may one day matter again. Atari was once sitting on a pile of cash too. Imagine if Blizzard actually had to start worrying about the bottom line again. Unlikely to say the least any time soon, sure, but not impossible.

I currently work for a small company that was making more money than it knew what to do with at the turn of the century. They had horrible cash control and so many instances of unchecked waste that it is too embarrassing for management to even think about now. Once things took a rapid turn down the proverbial crapper, suddenly all of the waste and inefficiency was a huge deal and they spent years cutting it all out. We damn-near folded. It isn't hard to understand how much better and easier it would have been on us had we been trying to operate at maximum efficiency all of the time, so it would not have been such a foreign concept at the time we needed it desperately. I don't care how much money you are making - improving your business processes can only help the bottom line.

Poor management skills get you Daikatana and DNF, not Starcraft.

Incorrect correlation yet again. I know the most gifted engineer where I work - she can learn any software, any control system, and be programming at maximum efficiency at an astonishing rate in a minute amount of time. But she can't manage a lemonade stand. These are COMPLETELY different skill sets.

This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 22:30.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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34. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 22:13 Yifes
 
Really, in the end, I just feel that you need to have worked for Blizzard, or at least witness their management and understand their corporate culture before you can criticize them for being "terrible". I don't see how, as a manager yourself, you can so freely insult another company's management simply because they have the privileged of adopting a "when it's done" attitude and make it work.

Like I said, poor management skills get you Daikatana and DNF, not Starcraft.
 
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33. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 22:03 Yifes
 
Blizzard is the extreme rare case where it isn't, but his doesn't change the fact that they have poor management skills, or at least poorer than such a highly regarded company ought to.

I don't see it as poor management skills, more as a different design philosophy. Blizzard games are known for their gameplay, which is achieved through their iterative process. Blizzard stops the iterative process of improvement when they are happy with their progress. In order to make this iterative development suit your model of management, it would be stopped before this point, conceivably compromising quality. This quality is essentially Blizzard's strongest asset, which contributes to Blizz's longevity and popularity (ie. E-Sports).

Blizzard has the money to implement their iterative project development to their desired conclusion, which is an alternative, not an inferior, ideology to the one that you advocate. My view that this is an alternative developmental process is supported by the fact that Blizz can, and have, met deadlines on expansion packs, once the core game and foundation have been laid down to their satisfaction.

Poor management skills get you Daikatana and DNF, not Starcraft.

This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 22:07.
 
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32. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 21:58 Prez
 
Sigh. Being successful does not suddenly make you have good management skills. They are completely separate concepts. You keep holding up the same old irrelevant fact - that Blizzard is successful - without hearing me.

I've worked at a job that had very successful projects that were timely and professionally completed that was not a successful business overall. It might help if you stop treating the 2 completely separate concepts as one and the same.

No matter how good Blizzard's games are, there are games out there that are equally good that were completed in a fraction of the time, on multiple consoles no less. Blizzard does not suddenly become the end all be all of game designers because after a 12-year hiatus between Starcraft 1 and 2, assuming it's out when I believe it will be in 2010, Starcraft 2 comes out and its great. Other companies have achieved equally successful results with far better project management. You apparently want me to give them a pass on poorly managed projects because they are still a faithful PC developer. Again separate concepts. Me being critical of their business practices, which need tons of improving, has nothing to do with whether I appreciate them or not.



This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 22:01.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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31. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 21:45 Yifes
 
I already responded to them

You you didn't. Here:

I'm not talking about average joe artist here. If Michael fucking Jackson told you "hey man - don't rush me - this is what works for me!" then you better fucking listen. Again, I'm guessing this is out of your realm of experience since you've never been that successful, or worked with anyone that successful. Even Activision won't touch Blizzard, but you somehow think you can.

That it doesn't matter that Blizzard's project management sucks ass because they are sitting on a mountain of cash thanks to WoW doesn't change the fact that they are terrible.

Blizzard didn't always have WOW, and they have always operated without solid deadlines and succeeded.

Look, I'm not saying that your approach is wrong. Yes "when it's done" can lead you to ruin. But it has also brought us Half life 2, Team fortress 2, and every fucking game Blizzard has made. But saying that your approach is the only right approach, and anyone who doesn't operate this way is, to quote you, "terrible" is just pure fucking arrogance.

And yes, I don't mind waiting if waiting guarantees that SCII is a hit, and allows Blizzard to continue with their peerless support for the PC. I rather have PC SCII in 15 years, than to have Blizzard compromise for simultaneous console release, like Valve, id, Epic, Bioware, and your own Ken Levine have done. In fact, I rather have no SCII than to have some shitty console port version.

My GOD, even Blizzard itself recognizes that they continually fail.

Fail at what? They admitted that they fail at not announcing games too early, which is what this Blues' article was about. So you're arguing that better management will allow them to make more timely announcements? That doesn't affect how they make games at all, only how they announce them.

This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 21:47.
 
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30. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 21:41 Prez
 
I already responded to them -

Ignored it? I got a good laugh at it. The expansions were to an already existing game. Brood War was a somewhat timely follow-up (by Blizzard standards anyway) for the same reason. The original WoW was delayed, delayed, and delayed some more, and still had absolutely epic problems in the beginning that took months to sort out.

I'm not talking about average joe artist here. If Michael fucking Jackson told you "hey man - don't rush me - this is what works for me!" then you better fucking listen. Again, I'm guessing this is out of your realm of experience since you've never been that successful, or worked with anyone that successful. Even Activision won't touch Blizzard, but you somehow think you can.

My GOD, even Blizzard itself recognizes that they continually fail.

"We always announce all of our games too early," says the Blizzard executive video president, who admits this clarity has not helped them remedy the situation: "We realize that and go, ‘You know what? Next time we’re not going to do that.’ And then we always fail at that.

He says he'd rather fail at that than making the game great, but my contention is if you are failing at anything, then your project can be managed better.

Activision is not touching Blizzard simply because they are a cash cow, and thus untouchable. But I bet there's more than one exec at Activision annoyed at Blizzard's unprofessionalism. Being successful is often dependent upon good product management; Blizzard is the extreme rare case where it isn't, but his doesn't change the fact that they have poor management skills, or at least poorer than such a highly regarded company ought to.


This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 21:47.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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29. Re: Blizzard on Release Dates Nov 24, 2009, 21:37 Yifes
 
Why in heaven's name would I debate with someone whose response to my observations is "Keep your mouth shut?" Again had you wanted a debate, you would have acted differently at the outset. Your purpose was clearly to demean, in which case debating is kind of pointless. Even so, I refuted your accusations more than I should have.

You also clearly are missing the distinction between recognizing insults and being offended by them. I am simply doing the former - I don't take offense to insults by anonymous people I have never met, but I also am not going to waste time on anything too terribly intellectual with them either.

"keep your mouth shut" wasn't the original response to your observation by the way, and wasn't directed at you. You're taking it out of context. And, again, your ability to recognize insult is perhaps a bit too sensitive, with the result of you perceiving all of my posts as direct attacks. Can you please let this insult thing go?

Anyways, yes, expansion packs are less creatively demanding since you are augmenting an existing game engine, mechanics that have already been tweaked, existing story line, existing art style, etc. Projects with less creativity and tweaking, and more about pushing out repeatable content naturally lend more to your way of managing projects. Blizzard spends enormous amounts of time to build solid foundations i guess.

Anyways, feel free to respond to my other points that you have so far ignored. You know, 3 posts below this.

This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 21:42.
 
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