Blizzard's always been a bit of an awkward company in some respects. It is a gaming company developed by gamers and, more importantly, RUN by gamers. That can be a problem when you have to expand your business structure and the guys in charge graduated from Caltech with computer science degrees. Obviously they ended up hiring too eagerly, and it bit them in the bum. I'm not going to cry "corporate incompetence" here, because even companies with world famous business leaders in charge make this very same mistake, but it does display one of Blizzard's biggest criticisms - oftentimes the ambition of the developers outstrips what is actually feasible.
For example, riding the success of World of Warcraft
, they are hoping to release three major titles in one year. That is unheard of in the industry outside of the big dogs (Nintendo, Sony, EA...), and I suspect that it will not go well, and their ambitious corporate executives are squarely to blame for pushing this insane agenda. Diablo III
will be excellent, Mists of Pandaria adequate, and Heart of the Swarm an abysmal failure (or preferably, delayed to 2013). I base this wild speculation on what happened with the first StarCraft II
title, Sons of Liberty, which came off as excellent on scenario design but a step backwards on game mechanics (it is StarCraft
, but with better graphics. No real leaps or taking risks with the genre like they did with Heroes in War Craft 3
, no effort at any sort of innovation at all really) and with a sloppy campaign story that could have been good with more polish (A lot more. I don't want to derail the thread, but suffice it to say I found the campaign's story to be boring and flat, mostly because the "choose your own adventure" idea did not translate into a coherent and interesting story like previous Blizzard titles have always delivered). They also failed to deliver on promises of e-sport support (beyond a simple ladder), and custom maps at launch. But I digress...
To sum it all up, good company with a policy of quality over quantity has tried to switch gears to "quantity AND quality" and ran off the road. Here's to hoping they get back on track once the resources devoted to Diablo III
are liberated for other projects.