Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Public Relations 101

Ask any politician or public relations professional, and they will tell you damage control is done on Fridays. If circumstances are forcing you to drop bad or embarrassing news on your audience, you do it on a Friday. Always on a Friday. The Friday of a holiday weekend is even more preferable. See, people don't usually watch the news on Fridays, or the weekends for that matter, so the hope is that by the time people come back from their weekends things will have moved on. Maybe other news will eclipse the bad news, or people will be more interested in talking about the new movie they saw, etc.

Blizzard announced the death of flying on, wait for it, a Friday. A Friday that began a holiday weekend in the US. Personally, I'm not that upset about the flying decision. I feel like it is a decision that has been settled at Blizz HQ for a while, and they have been putting off making the announcement because they feared the blowback. The way they used common damage control tactics such as the timing reinforces this point.

I don't bring this up to criticize Blizzard in any way. They pay PR people to do exactly this kind of thing, and there is nothing wrong with it. I bring it up to show that Blizzard knew a long time ago how this decision would be received by their customers. They knew that when they eventually had to tell us that flying was gone, it would be a shit show. Because, contrary to what you have read over the weekend, they do in fact listen to us. The merits of flying or no flying aside, I keep reading that Blizzard is out of touch, doesn't listen to the players, and has no idea how to make a good game anymore. They do listen. They knew how much Twitter rage, I quit manifestos, and personal attacks they were about to endure by announcing the removal of flying because they are aware of the WoW player base. Just because they didn't do what you asked does not mean they didn't listen to you. They listened to you enough to know to announce bad news on a Friday like the pros that they are.

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