So now Blizzcon ’08 is over. After reviewing information from the con on various sites, I’m somewhat troubled.

First, it would seem that Blizzard isn’t making enough money. I mentioned in Blizzcon: The Wizard, that they are looking to monetize Battlenet in some fashion. Now worldofwar.com has a post where Jay Allen Brack has said that “paid customization” is coming to WoW.

No details on that, just the bare fact. One would think that with 8 million+ subscribers, WoW brings in enough cash that they wouldn’t need “paid customization”.

And as mentioned in a comment on the “Wizard” post, Starcraft II will be released as three separate games, one each for the Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss. All are stand-alone, and supposedly will be full games. Reaction on the ‘net to this announcement so far has been mainly negative.

From all this, it would appear that Blizzard is out to squeeze every possible dime it can from its users. Yes, they can put all sorts of gloss and spin on these “features”, but it still comes down to gamers paying more.

Then there’s Diablo 3. As I mentioned somewhere here, they’ve put in a “health globe” system, where enemies drop the equivalent of a healing potion. While such potions are still in the game, presumably they work slower (or why have health globes?). This seems to me too much like the “run over a health pack” feature in the typical FPS.

Blizzard says this will keep players “in the action” so they won’t have to break off and buzz back to town for potions and/or healing. But then, they don’t like the idea of you zipping back to town in the first place.

That’s according to an interview with Jay Wilson over at planetdiablo.com. Yeah, he (or Blizzard, or both) isn’t happy about players who use Town Portal as an escape hatch. So they’re looking at ways to prevent that, although they graciously allow that going to town to sell stuff is okay.

But the one that put my back up, the one that could well cross this game off my list is: no attribute points. This again comes from Jay Wilson, this time in an interview over at diii.net.

When you level up, the game will assign the points automatically. You have no say in where they go. Wow, really takes a burden off our shoulders, huh? And boy, it sure is good to know that all of us playing the same class have exactly the same stats. Really keeps things fair all around. It’s a wonder they allow you to choose skills on your own.

These features are all forms of player constraint, and display an amazing arrogance on the part of the designers. They seem to be doing everything they can to force us into playing the game the way they want, and never mind any individual preferences or play style.

Don’t use potions; use our health globes, and hope the enemies drop enough to keep you going.

Don’t use Town Portal to get out of a bad situation; stay there, die, and use our autosave to come back – and take the penalty, too (they don’t have any, yet, but I’m sure they will).

Don’t bother about your character’s attributes; we know what’s best for everyone, and will determine what is incremented at level up time.

Y’know, just reading this over makes me feel like I’m in a straitjacket. Of course, the game is at least a year away, if not more. Some of this could change. I sure hope so, because taking away player choice and forcing everyone to play the same way is a very bad thing.

WoW Paid Customization on worldofwar.net

Jay Wilson about Town Portal on Planet Diablo

Jay Wilson about attribute points on diii.net