订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

《魔兽世界》推出怀旧版,玩家热情高涨

David Z. Morris 2019年09月02日

《魔兽世界:经典版》引发的兴奋程度令许多观察者感到惊讶。对游戏的需求很快超出了服务器的承载能力。

一星期前正式开放的在线视频游戏《魔兽世界:经典版》(World of Warcraft Classic)引发的兴奋程度令许多观察者感到惊讶。对游戏的需求很快超出了服务器的承载能力,很多希望体验的玩家都要等待数个小时才能够进入这个兽人与龙的多人游戏世界。

这样的盛况对任何游戏而言都是了不起的成就,不过这次尤其令人惊讶,因为《魔兽世界:经典版》本质上只是重新发布的一款拥有15年历史的老游戏,角色模型粗糙,而游戏玩法也被很多人认为已经过时。

为什么有这么多的人想要体验这款游戏,目前尚不清楚。不过游戏界常用的评判尺度——在Twitch等流媒体服务平台上观看这款游戏直播的人数——表明它引发了巨大的兴趣。

目前,《魔兽世界》(包括经典版和现行版)在流媒体网站Twitch的所有游戏中排名第一,观众人数是最近人气火爆的《堡垒之夜》(Fortnite)的大约三倍。在《魔兽世界:经典版》上线的上周一,同时观看《魔兽世界》的观众人数最高超过了110万人,而该游戏近期的同时观看人数大约只有5万人。

《魔兽世界:经典版》的开发商暴雪娱乐(Blizzard Entertainment)是动视暴雪(Activision Blizzard)的旗下公司之一。他们正在谨慎地开放更多服务器以满足需求。不过公司的反应表明他们认为目前的狂热只是暂时的。

由于《魔兽世界》是一个共享网络世界,玩家必须登录服务器才能够开始游戏。上周三下午,即使许多玩家还在上班,几组服务器的排队等待时间已经达到了两个小时以上。

早在开发商暴雪于2017年宣布重新推出《魔兽世界:经典版》之前很久,公司就已经开始酝酿它的诞生了。

这款游戏最初于2004年面世,是当时最大的多人在线角色扮演游戏。截至2017年,它已经为动视暴雪带来了超过90亿美元的收入。

随着时间的推移,游戏也在发展。例如,暴雪给这个虚拟世界扩大了区域,增加了角色,改变了一些游戏玩法和其他机制。

对于这些调整的批评最终促使暴雪宣布推出《魔兽世界:经典版》,它多少让游戏回归了最初的版本。目前的“零售版”《魔兽世界》将继续运营下去。

尽管暴雪可以增加新的服务器来缓解排队时间过长的问题,但公司表示他们的动作会放慢一点。某位社区代表于上周二在游戏论坛中表示,暴雪正在稳步增加新的服务器,但会等到每片“区域”都装满了再开辟新的。

按照代表的说法,这是“因为我们希望确保每片区域都能长期维持健康的人数”。这表明暴雪预计大部分玩家会在短时间游戏后放弃它。

暴雪的担忧很有道理。尽管有部分玩家长期抱怨暴雪的调整让现行的《魔兽世界》变得太简单,但相比之下《魔兽世界:经典版》带来的挑战和需要的游戏时间恐怕会让玩家惊讶。

比起现有的版本,《魔兽世界:经典版》的挑战包括提高角色能力的“升级”过程会漫长得多。与其他玩家组成团队攻克游戏中困难区域的难度也更高。

因此,尽管《魔兽世界:经典版》的上线对动视暴雪而言明显是一大利好,但也存在玩家迅速感到沮丧并抛弃它的风险。Argus Research的乔·邦纳表示:“(我)同意管理层的看法,《魔兽世界:经典版》带来了正利润。但秋季需要一些游戏大作来填补空白。”

动视暴雪可以推出一两款轰动的新游戏。除《魔兽世界》外,公司的另外两款重要游戏《炉石传说》(Hearthstone)和《守望先锋》(Overwatch)的订阅数和其他指标在最近几个季度里都有所下滑。

疲软的表现也让动视暴雪的股价表现低迷。去年11月,公司的股价从83美元以上跌至40多美元,并一直维持至今。不过如果怀旧之情能够持续,《魔兽世界:经典版》成为黑马,暴雪的未来可能会更加光明。(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正

Since its debut a week ago, online video game World of Warcraft Classic has generated a level of excitement that surprised many observers. Demand to play the game has far outpaced server capacity, leaving would-be players waiting hours to enter its multi-player world of orcs and dragons.

This would be remarkable for any game, but it’s particularly striking because WoW Classic is essentially the re-release of a 15-year-old title—complete with rough-edged character models and, arguably, outdated gameplay.

How many people are trying to play the game is unclear. But a commonly used yardstick in gaming — the number of people watching players broadcasting their experiences with a game on streaming services like Twitch—shows huge interest.

Currently, World of Warcraft (including both Classic and the current game) is the top overall game on streaming site Twitch, with around three times the viewers of more recent craze Fortnite. On last Monday, the launch day for WoW Classic, the number of simultaneous viewers of World of Warcraft peaked at over 1.1 million, compared to the game’s recent average simultaneous viewership of around 50,000.

WoW Classic’s developer, Blizzard Entertainment—a unit of Activision Blizzard–is cautiously deploying more servers to accommodate demand. But the company has signaled it believes the current buzz is temporary.

Because WoW is a shared online world, players must log in to a server to play. On last Wednesday afternoon, even with many players likely still at work, several servers showed wait times of two hours or more.

The dynamics behind the rollout of WoW Classic have been brewing since well before developer Blizzard announced the relaunch in 2017.

The original game, which premiered in 2004, was the biggest multiplayer online role-playing game of its time. By 2017, it had generated more than $9 billion in revenue for Activision Blizzard.

Over time, the game evolved. For example, Blizzard added regions and characters to the virtual world while changing some of the gameplay and other mechanics.

Criticism about the tweaks eventually pushed Blizzard to announce WoW Classic, which returns the game, more or less, to the original. The current “retail” version of World of Warcraft will continue uninterrupted.

Although it could add new servers to fix the long wait time, Blizzard has said that it would instead move slowly. A community representative wrote in the game’s forums on last Tuesday said that Blizzard is steadily adding new servers, but that it is waiting for each “realm” to fill up before opening a new one.

That, according to the representative, is “because we want to make sure that each and every realm has a healthy population in the long term.” The implication is that Blizzard anticipates significant numbers of players to abandon the game after playing it for a short while.

There’s good reason for the concern. Though a vocal segment of players has long complained that Blizzard’s changes to the current version of World of Warcraft made it too easy, the contrasting challenge and time demands of WoW Classic may surprise players.

That challenge in WoW Classic includes a much slower process of “leveling” to make characters more powerful, compared to the current version of the game. It’s also more difficult to form groups with other players to tackle tougher areas in the game.

So while WoW Classic’s launch is clearly a positive for Activision Blizzard, the risk is that players quickly become frustrated with it and therefore ditch it for something else. “[I] probably agree with management that WoW Classic is a marginal positive,” said Joe Bonner of Argus Research. “Something to fill in the gap until the big titles hit later in the fall.”

Activision Blizzard could use a new hit game or two. Subscriptions and other metrics for Hearthstone and Overwatch, its main games other than World of Warcraft, have declined in recent quarters.

That weakness has depressed Activision Blizzard’s shares. In November, they slumped from above $83 to the upper $40s, where they remain today. But if nostalgia keeps its hold and WoW Classic becomes a sleeper hit, the future may be brighter.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏