Quote of the Day

Yeeno Fernbottom reacts to another blog post on the acidic reaction to Cataclysm:

More to the point, what really mystifies me about some MMO commentators is that once they decide they don’t like a game, they can’t seem to get past it. They act like a jilted lover, or the victim of a war crime. For ever after whenever a particular MMO is mentioned they can’t help but pipe up about how “sucky” it is. If the MMO that burned them happens to be something popular like LoTRO or WoW, they may even concoct all sorts of bizarre explanations as to why a game that “obviously sucks” can be entertaining to so many players. Usually it boils down to something along the lines of “I simply have much better taste/ am a much better gamer than the mentally deficient masses that inhabit that shallow carnival ride.” So endearing, not at all arrogant…

This is a point that is so core, in my opinion, to being a well-rounded blogger. There are so many people playing all the games you ignore or don’t like. Must be a reason, hmmm? Another reason to make comments in first person rather than making a statement for everybody.


17 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Excellent observation and this phenomenon can be witnessed over at Wolfshead’s blog. Here he lines out how by making the game accessible; “Blizzard’s policy has been to keep expanding the outer edges of its famous donut philosophy with marginal players of lesser skill and lesser time availability in order to get more profits. The result is a flattened pancake instead of a donut.”

    Damn all you people of lesser skill and lesser time availability!

    The irony is that his stated mission for his blog is to champion the casual gamer. Orly?

    He’s not alone, this is just the most recent example I’ve come across. The venom is really strong and he reveals what he thinks of WoW players; “The players through no fault of their own have become virtual slackers addicted to a steady drip feed of rewards. Shooting fish in a barrel would require too much skill for today’s average WoW player.”

  2. Wolfshead’s rant could have been written in January 2009, about Wrath of the Lich King. Apart from the complaints that Worgen and Goblins look silly, and about the dungeon finder (a late Wrath innovation), there’s nothing new here.

    He even trotted out the tired old shark-jumping metaphor, which is so September 10.

  3. The whole “it’s you and not the game” thing would work if the game itself did not change. (I don’t read wolfhead, so this is more general) Convince me WoW 2011 is WoW 2004, and I’ll admit it’s me and not WoW/Blizzard. Until then, rather than a valid argument, it’s an easy out for current fans to deflect criticism of their binky.

  4. If WoW 2011 were the same as WoW 2004 you’d be on your blog complaining how WoW sucks because it has not changed in so much time.

    The problem is that you are like Gevlon: you use games to feel better than the others, and the new direction of MMO does not allow this as easily as the old ones did. So you whine/complain/blog, instead of doing what a sane person would do: turn the page and move on.

    1. I’m not really certain that’s the case. It’s just as possible to be “elite” in WoW 2011 as it was in WoW 2004. The number of guilds downing hard modes or dominating rated BGs is still a tiny portion of the player base.

      The issue I hear from people who play WoW (I stopped in mid-Wrath just because I was done with that style of game) is that while they can still distinguish themselves, it’s frustrating and unsatisfying to do so. For example, in Arena, you can still win your way to the top 5% of players and clearly be “elite”, but the matches you’re playing are almost universally frustrating rather than fun. Or more specifically in Cata, they’re just sort of unsatisfying. You don’t really feel good if you win, or bad if you lose.

      That might simply be boredom talking, of course. But I think there have been a lot of overarching changes in WoW’s design philosophy, and over time it has slowly traded character and personality for convenience and accessibility.

      It’s sort of like trying to argue that Star Wars didn’t change with the prequels, but the fans grew up. Which, yeah, is true; but damned if the original trilogy didn’t have a ton of personality the prequels are lacking.

  5. There’s a valid point there, especially with regard to the MMO community, but “It’s not the game: it’s you” is too clear cut – I’d go with “It mightn’t be the game: it might be you.”

    The success of an enterprise doesn’t confer any merit to it, according to the commentator’s views & values – and commentary would be meaninglessly hollow if the commentator pretended it did, even with the best of intentions.

    For instance; films like Little Fockers (which I cannot even type without wincing -_-) & Wild Hogs are of outrageously low quality to many commentators with a love of cinema, yet they’re commercially successful.
    Now heaping scorn or insults upon the people who do watch those movies would be pointless & ill-mannered, but pretending to see merit in the films themselves would be just as empty.

    So I guess my ideal would be that commentators stuck to critiquing the games rather than the players, taking the time to analyze their own complaints – even if they ultimately do in fact point to the product being trash, at least they’ll be able to express how & why. ^_^

  6. Thanks for the bump! Hyperbole and sweeping generalizations ftw I suppose, it’s been a while since I posted something that gotten so much response. Anjin’s original post that I was bouncing off of really touched a nerve, that’s about as ranty as I get.

    @Vulturion: excellent points, I don’t disagree. There are certainly extreme cases, such as Anarchy Online during it’s first month (or WoW in it’s first week for that matter, they didn’t give away two weeks of free game time just for giggles) where it’s certainly the game that is problematic in the average game-customer relationship to any reasonable observer.

    My main point was that, whether your gripes are legit or not, at some point you need to move on or you’ve moved past what I consider reasonable discourse into either unhealthy obsession or trolling for attention. That reveals more about you than it does about the game (or movie, or whatever) you are bashing.

    It reminds me of the episode of Spaced where the main character got fired from his job because he couldn’t let go of how badly the Phantom Menace sucked. Funny and hyperbolic for sure, but not a bad analogy for how some commentators act.

  7. If you’re a blogger who doesn’t like WoW, not talking about WoW is kind of like not drinking at a wine tasting. WoW’s popularity ensures that it gets talked about… A LOT.

    The flipside of this is people who can’t stop talking about WoW in effusive tones, particularly people who introduce what WoW does or doesn’t do in to design discussions; with the lovely (often unwritten) assumption that WoW’s popularity make it’s design choices the best. It’s to be expected, though; if people didn’t think they had something important to say, they wouldn’t be blogging or commenting in the first place, really.

  8. @Vulturion: the problem is that people take MMO way too seriously, treating them as an alternate world where to invest time/money/life/ideas/whatever, forgetting that it’s arbitrary code drawing pixels and designed with an explicit idea in mind: entertain a maximum of people (titles from big companies in particular).

    The reason why a movie can be a commercial success while being bashed by critics is (again) because it’s two population with completely different expectations: critics live in their little world, the mass of people doesn’t give a damn and just want to have fun 90 minutes. Something aimed at one population will not by default satisfy the other (at times it may happen, usually it doesn’t).

    (And I agree that commentators should do what you suggest)

    @Psychochild: WoW’s popularity make its design choices the best for CREATING A POPULAR GAME. That’s all.

      1. It’s also debatable if WoW’s design is responsible for it being a popular game. As I’ve said many times now, I think the Blizzard and Warcraft names/brands were more important to the game’s popularity than the design, at least initially.

  9. I feel compelled to add that writing good criticism is really F&^#ing hard.

    You need to embrace and admit your own inescapably subjective opinions (or more importantly, perspective), while still trying to use your insight and critical faculties to reach some basic, objective truths about the object you’re criticizing. I think too many people see it in black and white; either criticism must be wholly objective, or wholly a matter of taste.

    In truth, we don’t need to like what is good, nor is something good simply because we like it. Similarly, it’s totally cool to like something that’s bad.

    The problems arise when people get uncomfortable, because they don’t want to admit they might like something that’s “bad” – because there is a stigma that liking something “bad” means you’re unintelligent or some such BS. That taste is somehow a matter of morality or personal value – we must be “people of good taste”. Now this person needs to argue that what they like is actually good, and rail against the “intellectual” critics who are arrogant enough to state that something popular is “bad”.

    In short, I don’t think any blogger should feel limited to only making first-person statements – “I like, I enjoy, I dislike” – but the line to walk between that sort of statement and ones like “is good, is bad, is for noobs” is very fine indeed.

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