Do you remember July 2002? A multitude of Warcraft fans rushed to the stores to buy up boxes of the sequel. We played it after school, we played it in internet cafes, we played it, we played it... and we don't play it anymore. Why?
Blizzard, creators of Warcraft, is a company whose history is inextricably linked to the notion of sheepishness. For a good two eras in the history of video games, the Californians were the strongest ram in the herd. They were followed by other developers, dreaming of repeating their great successes.
Look, after Warcraft, the fashion for RTSs began, and it lasted a good few years. You may not remember it anymore, but games like War Wind or War Diary proved that the phenomenon of Warcraft cloning existed.
This is what War Diary looked like, one of the Warcraft clones - Why Blizzard still hasn't made Warcraft 4? - documentary - 2020-10-21
This is what War Diary, one of the Warcraft clones, looked like
The same can be said about Diablo, which single-handedly created a genre of games known and liked until today (at the moment 27 thousand people play Path of Exile on Steam). Anyway, Diablo is one of Blizzard's old brands, which lives on. Hack'n'slashes are generally good.
The best example of how Blizzard pulled the whole industry behind them was World of Warcraft. How many WoW fakes and conquerors have we seen over the years? At least dozens. Some of them have already capitulated, and WoW continues to make money.
The old sheeple no longer have the strength to lead?
Times change though, years go by. When was the last time Blizzard created something that was truly original and became an inspiration to others? Overwatch stood with both feet on the foundation laid by Team Fortress, Hearthstone woke up the card trend but was simply a digital, simplified Magic: The Gathering, and Heroes of the Storm is a demonstration of how the former alpha male, the leader of the pack, follows the path trodden by a younger, vigorous individual.
In recent years, Blizzard has been busy with WoW add-ons, an Overwatch sequel, a Diablo sequel, remasters and a mobile game for the Chinese market. I'm not denying, these will probably be profitable and appreciated by gamers ventures. However, it is clear that the industry legend has put on his warm slippers.
And what about those RTSs?
Iron Harvest is one of the few new RTSs on the market.
The question is, with Blizzard focused on cutting coupons, why not (finally) spend a few bucks and give fans Warcraft 4? Imagine we're a man with an Excel, sitting in an office building in Irvine, California. What data would we look for to decide the profitability of such an investment?
Surely we'd start looking at how recent games in this genre have fared. Probably their gaze would fall on Iron Harvest, because it's the first classic RTS in a long time that isn't a remaster of some classic. Let's take a look - Steam Spy says it's managed to sell around 140,000 copies. Of course, the game is also on Epic. Sure, this result isn't bad for the game, but is it a positive sign for Blizzard? Not likely.
Also, about 450,000 units of Homeworld Deserts of Kharak, which had the backing of a well-liked brand, doesn't sound promising. So how about... well, where to look for classic RTSs whose successes could be explored?
The Polish Ancestors Legacy could also be considered in these categories. The game has 385 thousand owners on Steam, but we know that not all of them actually bought it. There was a key giveaway on our portal, there was a free weekend on Steam, which disturbs the statistics on Steam Spy. These are not the results Blizzard is hoping for.
10 years of StarCraft 2... and that's enough
RTSs seem to be dying. Games of this type are simply not released in the mainstream and even StarCraft 2, which tried to defend itself, finally succumbed. A few days ago we wrote that Blizzard is reducing support for this production, which was previously not comparable to, for example, Hearthstone. There is no secret with this. It's the MOBS, which grew directly out of the mods for Warcraft 3 that took over the market. In my humble opinion, directing a single hero proved to be more accessible and at the same time more rewarding than building bases and attacking other people's workers. In esports, duels of champions under the Nexus are also more spectacular than the seemingly chaotic clashes of a dozen troops controlled by superhumanly fast Koreans
Or maybe the renaissance of RTS?
Well, okay, no big and new RTSs are being released. It's as if no one has anything new and interesting to say in the subject anymore. But are we sure that players don't want them? Well, the matter is not so simple. There is, for example, They Are Billions, which on Steam has found well over a million buyers. Fact, it's not a classic RTS, but rather a mix with tower defense.
Excellent results are also recorded by refreshed versions of Age of Empires. "Two" in HD version reached almost four million players. Fact, it took her a few years, the game was sold even for 14.39 PLN, but the result is not bad.
A similar sales result scored Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. On Steam the game has almost 1.3 million players. Not bad, although let's remember that EA doesn't sell this game at full price. Already on the way there was a 25 percent promotion and it was possible to buy this remaster for 52.42 PLN.
There's also Company of Heroes 2, which I like less than the first one, but which regularly attracts thousands of players.
These numbers show that there are still people interested in this kind of game. You can even make money on RTS. In fact, we can be sure that such a brand as Warcraft, and not a remaster, but a sequel, would be a hit, which the genre has not seen for years.