Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Conspiracy Theory & Current Tank State

Timing is Everything
As I'm waiting to gather and go through Activision Blizzard's Q2 financials I had a thought: Companies often like to meet or beat their quarterly expectations, right? Well of course they do, they live quarter to quarter, that's the demands of the marketplace. Interestingly the "optional portion of RealID was released late in the second quarter. The calculating decision that originated at the highest levels of ATVI management was to let the public know of their intentions to use RealID on the forums...at the beginning of the third quarter.

I think that they actually did expect some backlash to the RealID implementation on the forums and didn't want that news to be delivered in a time that could affect their second quarter performance. You see, CEO's answer to a board of directors, and no doubt the board didn't want to see a late Q2 drop in subscriptions, thus potentially hurting their chances of making Q2 estimates. When the Q2 actuals are released on 8/2/10, we'll most likely see that ATVI exceeded expectations, which will only help fuel stock prices.

By releasing this information at the very start of Q3, it gave ATVI plenty of time this quarter to make up any lost revenue from any anticipated subscription backlash. They may have said to the press that they didn't expect a fuss over the RealID on forums, but actions prove any such statements false, otherwise they would have had no objections to telling us about these plans when they first launched the "optional" RealID last patch. Oh yes, the plot thickens. They know they can withstand x% of account cancellations in Q3 and still meet or exceed expectations because of teh launch of SC II this quarter and WoW: Cataclysm in Q4. Stay tuned...

I don't do hardmodes, I consider myself a casual raider. I like it, but I really enjoy playing with all my toons of all levels. Too often I get trapped in a cycle where I feel I need to run my daily dungeon for my frost emblems, but this is getting extremely old. I mean, last night I ran the Occulus (Heroic) for the 69th time! I get it 4-5 times a week now. I've started to play with my other toons a lot more lately as a result, and my guild often wonders where I am. Thanks to RealID I can hide from everyone...as I refuse to use it.

Focused gameplay isn't for me. I would never say it's a bad thing, I'm only saying it's not my cup of kool-aid. A few months ago I was 100% into raiding, gearing up, becoming more powerful. Now, so close to the stat and gear reset, I just don't care as much anymore about that. It's all good, though, a balanced game for me means a more relaxed mind and happier kids (they hate it when I go all out raiding and daily dungeons, they always say that I forgot how to have fun - my kids, more than anything, help keep me balanced and having fun in this game; without them I know I'd burnout too quickly).

The State of Tanks
The other night I was, you guessed it, queued up for my daily frost emblem run (hoorah!). The group was assembled and we zoned in. Then the tank teleported out. The group sat there for some minutes until someone asked the tank in party chat when he was planning to come? No response. Evidently the tank had a date with some low level zones that he needed to farm. Curious to this behavior I sent a very polite tell to the tank asking how much longer he'd be. His response:

Tank: "Why did you pick your @#$% class?"

Me: "???"

Tank: "Why did you choose your @#$# race?"

Me: ...

Tank: "Why are you so @#$@#$ stupid?"


I tried to vote kick but it told me I had to wait 24 minutes. What!?!?! I've never vote kicked anyone, why do I have to wait so long? Lucky for me someone else didn't have to wait, we initiated a vote kick and picked up a new one. The tank pulled the first two then ran on. Problem: There was a patrol right on our heels that everyone, except the tank, noticed. It killed two people at the back of the pack, finally garnering the attention of the tank. After turning and helping us down the patrol the tank spoke up:

Tank: "No wonder the last tank quit this group, you guys suck."


Group: "??? - Rough night for tanks"

So, according to that small scientific experiment, it can be said that 2 out of 3 tanks are utter jerks. Self-absorbed, small-minded, immature jerks. That's right, I said scientific. Because we all know that 3 samples is all you need to prove a theory. :)

The state of tanks is good right now, unless your unlucky and the tank is a jerk, then the state of tanks in this game is left wanting.

Let's see if we can deduce over the next month or so if my conspiracy theory is any good. I, for obvious reasons, suspect it is. We...shall...see.


LarĂ­sa said...

More conspiracies!
I'm really looking forward to see what you can make out of the Q2 report. I'm staying tuned!

About the jerkishness of tanks... Yeah. I guess there's a very thin thread between having good self confidence and some sort authority, natural leadership, having a sick skin - which is needed in that role - and to be a complete jerk.

I've dabbled a little myself into tanking but I think I wasn't jerkish or at least thick skinned enough, so currently that is put on ice. :(

Gronthe said...

@ Larisa: To be fair, in my guild, all the tanks are so amazingly good, thougtful, patient, and fair that I have to chalk up the jerkiness of tanks in pugs to sheer luck.

It's just a guess now, but I think ATVI will see huge sales of the Cataclysm box, so much so that their 4.2B expected is surely to be easily surpassed, but also have a higher than normal amount of deferred revenue.

Deferred Revenue (in simple terms) = Let's say you pay, in November, for a 6-month subscription. Cost = approx $75. ATVI can only recognize 1/6 of that as revenue in November, the rest to be deferred to future periods. In Dec they can recognize another 1/6 (2/6 total) and so on and so forth.

I think they may be expecting to sell medium to long-term subscriptions, which will serve to offset the actual "earned" revenue. Otherwise their earnings expectations for all of 2010 is woefully understated. I can't believe I have to wait another 2+ weeks!