Training Your Players to Whine

Developers have learned that it is easier to loosen up than to tighten up. If you implement something too good or strong and then weaken it, players will cry “NERF!” forever. Therefore, developers implement things a bit weak or with rewards a bit low then dial it up. That way, you get thanks for new content followed by accolades for giving the players a gift, as opposed to complaints about how the FOTM is too overpowered followed by complaints about how they nerf everything.

At first, this is a good idea. Then players realize that, if they do not complain about things, they will be implemented as-is. The developers are not even trying to implement things balanced: they are intentionally shooting low, just in case they are wrong about what “low” is. Silence is consent, and the developers are tweaking until the “underpowered” whines balance the “overpowered” whines.

Then we can add reverse psychology: if players are strategically whining, don’t respond to low levels of whining. Players then escalate, in an inflationary spiral. Pity the next game that gets these pre-conditioned players.

Is there an actual attempt to get things right as-implemented, or are we intentionally dialing up risk and down reward (“we’ll balance it in the next patch”)? Is your current game doing that right, or are you stuck in re-balancing disco every patch?

: Zubon

One thought on “Training Your Players to Whine”

  1. Arenanet tends to balance things a lot more often in guild wars than most games. There is an obvious intent to keep the game completely balanced, unfortunately this results in heavy “NERF!” whining.

Comments are closed.