A few weeks or so back, AOL made the decision to shutter Joystiq, which was a large website that had several popular websites under its umbrella, such as Massively the general MMO news website, and of course WoW Insider.
WI was a website I visited several times a day, usually first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The writers there were a great bunch, and even articles on classes I had no interest in playing (sorry rogues) were worth reading. However last year the writing was on the wall when WI were forced to shutter their Class Columns, which were one of the main draws for me to the site. AOL cut the budget available to WI and they had to effectively fire all the authors responsible for these columns, leaving a core group of writers such as Matthew Rossi, Anne Stickney, Olivia Grace, Alex Ziebart and so on.
Despite the closure of what was a large part of the site, readers kept visiting, and the community that had built up around the site remained strong, with each and any article usually attracting hundreds of comments, particularly their daily Q&A column, The Queue.
So AOL, classy as ever, revealed that they were closing Joystiq, and by extension firing all the WI & Massively staff in a TechCrunch article before actually telling their employees directly. Yeah, really classy there AOL. Rumours were flying around for days beforehand however, so when the news finally did drop, the writers at WI made plans to move on after the closure of WI, only a few days afterwards.
Alex Ziebart made the decision to go down the Patreon based crowd-funding route, as WI had thousands of readers, most of whom were passionate about the site and its continued existence. And thus Blizzard Watch was born from the ashes of WoW Insider.
And I of course contributed (and will still do, as it’s a monthly sub more or less) as Patreon #24, before the Patreon campaign had even been officially launched 🙂
If you were a regular reader of WI, and you’re now a regular reader of BW (which, as its name would suggest, is aiming to cover all the Blizzard games, not just WoW), I’d urge you to help out. Even $1 a month will help out in some way, as the writers there deserve our continued support and patreonage 😉