Sunday, June 16, 2013

World of Warcraft vs MTGO: the Client

Yesterday I wondered why Wizards of the Coast needs to build (totally from scratches) and deploy a new version of Magic Online every 5 years. A software is not like an hardware (read: PlayStation, Xbox) that needs to be completely redesigned every 5 years to keep up with the market. A software can be updated every week (even without a downtime) using Continuos Integration.

Blizzard developed one client (the famous World of Warcraft) in 2004, and continuosly updated it, patched it, added new lands, fixed the rules and so on so forth. I am sure that the World of Warcraft client running today on our PCs does not share any single line of code with the first client of  2004. Still, Blizzard never imposed an abrupt transiction to the user base.


  1. My guess is that they get bids for the software, and choose the cheapest without having anyone who really knows software dev reviewing things.

    It is pretty pathetic to have a client that is so poorly done for a digital product that they have had for over 10 years now. They are surely losing a lot of money by mismanaging things both on developement/maintenance costs and loss of potential player base.

    Oh and if only Blizzards could be in charge of the MTGO client :) I remember playing the original warcraft games on computers less powerfull than my current cell phone. They are a gaming company that have really stood the test of time and keep getting it right!

  2. Wotc outsourced v1 and v2 to an external company. The result was so bad. v2.5 was developed by wotc and it was a bit better, but it was a sinking ship, so they developed v3 in short time - when v3 came out, it was very bugged and badly designed due to the short time frame.

    But NOW they have the time to THINK and design a good client, a client that will stay for decades!