The big risk of April Fools

I used to work for a big engineering company where the managers (and IT section in particular) were really keen on corporate April Fools jokes.

I remember the year they fooled us that after extensive user feedback they’d decided to chuck Lotus Notes in favour of a wiki. I remember the year of the corporate pet suggestions (one per group), I remember the year where we were informed that one of the big tedious projects would be retooled in a more modern programming language …

And for some reason senior management could never fathom, April 1st was very bad for employee morale. This was because the ‘mock’ suggestions were always very popular (who wouldn’t want a pet cat for their group?) and then of course came the moment of truth when it was revealed to be an April Fool. So we knew they could think of cool and fun ideas (and knew how much everyone hated Lotus Notes), it’s just that usually they weren’t.

This is also true of game companies April Fool jokes. I’m sure there have been lots of times in the past where I’ve seen one and thought, “If they had any sense, they really would implement that!”

This year, Blizzard introduced Crabby, the cute Dungeon Helper pet. I wonder if I was the only person who thought – you know, that’s not such a bad idea? I am sure I’ve played single player games where the tutorial was given via a companion. And is it really dafter to expect players to learn the strategies by reading unofficial websites than offering an in game version?

Oh I know, the actual idea is that you’ll learn the encounter by doing it blind with a group of friends. I suspect the skills to do this are getting rarer in WoW because of the dungeon finder and the immense pressure that random groups put on players to already be familiar with the instances.

Maybe Crabby would be a better option.

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8 thoughts on “The big risk of April Fools

  1. My MMO tweetstream was full of incredibly unfunny, incredibly obvious April Fool’s Day stories.

    For instance, it wasn’t believable for a second that The Secret World was going high fantasy, or that Wizard 101 wasn’t releasing a pet rock for players, or that City of Heroes hadn’t run out of XP. It’d be preferable if devs didn’t get suckered in, thinking they had to be ‘funny’ on a day when everyone tries to be ‘funny’.

  2. Well Crabby was also giving advice on their forums today and taking up half the page. With advice reminding posters that we are all human and to be nice to each other, I thought maybe it was serious.

      • He’s suggesting challenge is pointless, and considering many raids are time-locked, I’d agree. Just open up a field of loot pinatas, slap on a time limit, and go nuts.

        If anything that would be a lot more fun. Raid encounters are stupid lists of things not to do. Giving players a zone to go nuts in would probably be more fun.

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