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.

Surviving April Fools Day

In the interests of allowing people to make total tits of themselves, I won’t post up links to any of the bloggy April Fools I’ve found so far until this afternoon. Feel free to suggest good April Fool links in comments.

(Big admission, I was going to write an April Fool about some big game company apologising for not including EU participants in something or other, because we know that never happens. But Bioware actually did that yesterday.)

Until then:

Guardian reports on Gordon Brown’s new electoral campaign

The Brown team has been buoyed by focus group results suggesting that an outbreak of physical fighting during the campaign, preferably involving bloodshed and broken limbs, could re-engage an electorate increasingly apathetic about politics.

In other election related news, BMW debuts its new Political Roundel Attachment Tag (PRAT) technology. They have some pictures of it on the homepage. (Thanks, Twoo.)

Kotaku is linking gaming related April Fools as they find them here.

Google introduces a new Animal Translator, bridging the gap between species.

A few more April Fools

Tobold reports that we’ll soon be able to play WoW on Facebook

And We Fly Spitfires has news of paid class changes in the works

TAGN reports on all the official Blizzard April Fools

Tanking Tips has news about a new legendary shield in WoW (about time too!)

Kill Ten Rats offers the one off chance to send ten dead rats to your favourite developer

Troll Racials are Overpowered has seen the light! He’s starting a new incarnation as a gnome paladin. has had a change in direction to become Mass Effect Insider (or Leer at Taylor Lautner Insider?) (note: I will laugh if the Twilight stuff sends their hits through the roof.)

More from Bioware: They’ve announced a new 9th class for SWTOR, the Sarlacc Enforcer introduced new premium member services (Thanks, Wilhelm2451)

And props to Andrew Doull who totally had me fooled with his series of posts about Dwarf Fortress 2

As he says himself:

The typical reaction to falling for a hoax is outrage. I want you to put aside that emotion as much as you are capable of and celebrate another – imagination. If you fell for my story, it is because the seeds I planted fell on the cherished soil of fertile and optimistic dreamworld. This should be something you should be proud of. You have the capability to rise above the mundane and cynical, escape the clay around your boots and float away on boundless escapism. You are a gamer.

Blizzard Owns the April Fools Gags

All been keeping an eye out for cool April Fools gags on annual “Don’t Believe What You Read On The Internet Day”?

Blizzard, as usual, have put a lot of work into entertaining the masses (aka us) with their April Fools. I think they have a nice balance here of fun ideas that aren’t SO good that everyone would be pining for the rest of the year.

Blizzard EU: P1mp My Mount – Yeah I want a shoulder mounted sub machine gun for my nether ray too!

Blizzard US: Check out the new Dance Battle System. And check out the ads on that page also (I don’t blame them, it’s gonna get a zillion hits).

And thanks to The Ancient Gaming Noob for the heads up on the Starcraft II and Diablo III April Fools.

Diablo III: Archivist Class. It has an ability called Shush! There’s even an animation showing it in action … *pines for D3 some more*

Starcraft II: I can’t get through to this one but you’re welcome to try here.

And as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve run the US WoW forums through a roleplaying parser. Which they really should keep since it makes everything way more amusing. Here’s a random example (of someone asking about Malygos phase 1):