The other side of the coin…

Yes, I have a fondness of ranting and raving about the things in the game industry that irritate me, or that I find to be ridiculous. I have become a bit jaded over the years and pretty cynical. I realized this morning that maybe I have been a little unfair and complained about only part of the problem.

Do gamers have a share in the blame for the problems in the game industry?

Seriously though…does our fascination with pretty graphics and our complaints when a game doesn’t look spectacular cause developers to put more effort into making them look good, but less into making games fun?

What about hackers and exploiters in MMORPGs? What effect, if any, do these guys have? Would it be fair to say that some nerfing in MMOs is because of the abuse of exploits?

What about farming? I’d say that this is mostly the fault of developers for enabling this as a mechanic, but do games lose their fun factor when -players- camp the spawns and farm items? How many times has a large guild “claimed” a spawn and told you or your friends to take a hike? What about people selling these items over the net? Do gamers just encourage the cycle by buying?

Botters are something else I personally find annoying…sure, part of the problem is the stupid treadmilling gameplay we all have to deal with, but then again, don’t botters detract from a game for the rest of us? Have you ever tried talking to a botter? Or been spammed and attacked by one?

How about gamer behavior on forums? Flames, trolling, spamming, ignorance, stupidity, horrible spelling and grammer, etc. etc. Does this tend to make new players avoid a game because of how the community acts on the forums? Have you ever looked to the forums of a game before deciding to play it? Have you decided against it if it looked like the game was loaded with jerks, or if the game itself was continually berated and attacked by the most vocal gamers?

How about in-game harassment?

I think I could make a much longer list, but I would like to see what you think. What do gamers do that ruins games…for you, or for the industry in general. Feel free to make some anecdotal examples of your own experiences. Maybe make some suggestions on how to solve or minimize these problems.

Make a gamer happy and do something nice for a random person in the next MMORPG you log in to.


5 thoughts on “The other side of the coin…”

  1. How about gamers rewarding activity they claim to hate? Notably, pre-order games that are known to be very buggy, needed three more months of beta, etc.

  2. Cheaters in general. I’m inclined to think that it says something about their real-life personalities, cuz I just don’t get cheating in a game. It’s a G-A-M-E. By cheating I mean botting and stealing mostly. Lately I’ve noticed an immerging trend on the AHs. Someone lists in gold, a price that is almost identical to the predominate listings in silver. So instead of 99s they list 99g. If someone is grabbing several stacks they might grab the 99g by mistake. I’ve started doing screens of the players names and am going to begin posting them. Sure – buyer beware but they are clearly trying to rob people. I would be pissed if I’d grabbed a stack of silk for 99g instead of 99s!

    Farmers I can get over. I can usually tell when its a farmer/bot. If they are horde they are dead, if I can make it so. :-) They wouldn’t have a market if so called legit players didn’t buy their gold so that’s on us. But blantant stealing is something that bothers me more – this includes item ninjas.

  3. I think this has a two part answer. Firstly, individual issues such as the above AH example and most of the unpopular mechanics listed by Nicodemus, land squarely on the developers’ workbench. While it may be tempting to point fingers at each individual exploiter or other miscreant, they are really only pushing the button as it were on existing problems. The player might be able to stop himself, but the developer can remove the issue. Think of a developer as a surgeon who has created his own beast and the players as the body of said monster. The developer is the one with the tools to fix problems as the body shows them to exist. That being said, it would also behoove the body to try and heal itself, which brings me to the second part.

    Gamers themselves, as well as community leaders (GLs, GMs, CMs, vet gamers etc.) may have little control over the creation of the beast, but they are the dictators of its demeanor. Their’s is the ability to determine how the body will react to the various problems it will inevitably face. In the best cases, they become self-regulatory: developing, within the community, ways to pinpoint and ostracize those who would push the buttons; learning how best to illuminate the problems for the doctors; and generally fomenting a feeling within their community that they are there to work together and with the developers to better the beast. In such a community there is a feeling that each individual action is a part of a greater whole that makes the game worth playing, which does more than anything to keep players both interested and attentive.
    In the worst cases the body is not a body at all, but a collection of cells each fighting for its own sense of belonging and achievement. In these cases there is little to no real sense of community, but rather a sense of a vast and uncensored mass. Here noise reigns supreme and while there are always a few intelligent players screaming in the dark, they have no effect on the community because there is no feeling of group to appeal to. Here we see a body divided, tearing itself apart. No doctor can be expected to fix such a self-destructive entity, and so the developers of these games find themselves lost in the sea of their playerbase. Whether trying to appease them or continuing with the operations in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding, they face a futile struggle which will never find a lasting solution.

    Of course most games fall in between these examples, but you can see how the players and the developers both have distinct responsabilities when it comes to creating a game worth playing. As a last note I would say that the main division between the two scenarios is how the players approach the game. In order for the better beast to emerge, the majority of the players must identify themselves as members of the community, as parts of a whole, rather than as individuals within a community looking for their share. It seems a small divide, but from what I have seen, it is the difference between a lively and enjoyable MMO and a painfully dieing one.

  4. Everyone falls victim to a scammer, a griefer, a ninja or just a really incompetent group member causing a wipe or two sooner or later. If that happens too often, guess what? The only people who kinda matter to you in the game are your real-life mates or some players you happen to know a bit better. Everyone else? Ignore them, or, if you want revenge, start harassing them in the same way you’ve been harassed before – and on the way, give birth to the next generations of a**holes…

    Almost all MMOs I’ve ever played had this problem – and you can’t really get rid of it. It’s particulary bad in WoW – but then again, it’s the biggest game out there, so there are potentially more griefers – and to be honest, when I hit sixty? Oh dear. Can’t really tell how much low-level Horde players I ganked. Then again, I can’t really tell how often I’ve been on the recieving end…

    I only play MMOs if some mates of mine are playing aswell. Then you know that at least some guys out there are on your side.

  5. The main attraction of any MMO game is the ability to assume whatever personality you desire. I don’t mean role play and pretend to be an Elven Knight and use the words “Thou” and “Ye” all the time. I am talking about gamers being able to allow parts of their personality greater dominance online. Scamers, Griefers, Spammers, and Gankers don’t see their actions having any effect in the real world so they don’t feel the preassure to restrain themselves. This allows good and bad behavior online but of course the bad is what sees the most exposure in forums and blogs. Developers have to realize that polarized bad and good behavior is to be expected in any world where identity is hidden.

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