There’s been quite a bit of navel gazing at Legion this week, for various reasons. With less than two months to release, I’ve seen a lot of posturing and manoeuvring on what’s wrong with a game that isn’t even out yet, but which has been tested by a very small and select bunch of players since the beginning of the year. Since the disaster area that is Draenor? Nobody’s backwards in coming forwards with their concerns, and they’re so wide reaching and varied that it’s beginning to look like the game’s already doomed, before it is even out. When your problem isn’t the game but the way that the people who make it present themselves? It becomes apparent that I have become part of the problem.
Then there’s all the other bloggers, Podcasters, You Tubers and the thousands of Sock Puppet Twitter users. All of us who decide to try and make a name for ourselves, make cash or views or simply notoriety on the back of a game that has become its own cottage industry for criticism. Suddenly, you’re entitled to an opinion and need to wave it at anyone who listens, often under the auspices of ‘make this better’ Your communication is awful, Blizzard. Your ideas suck monkeyballs. Nobody cares about X/Y/Z and frankly, you’re not catering to the things that really matter… to me. With the advent of social media as a marketing tool, individual opinion has become the stick to beat us all, plus extra bonus points for how far you can wield it to disable as many people as possible.
When you start dragging individuals and their select opinions into the equation, there’s a problem. It all gets personal. It takes a very special type of individual to be able to dispassionately and objectively criticise motivation and not those doing so. The way social media works? It is almost impossible to do this without somebody taking offence. You really have to be very good indeed at words and objectivity not to allow some measure of personal bias slip into the equation. I didn’t watch Brian Holinka live yesterday as he did his PvP Dev presentation, but I’d imagine the Twitch Chat won’t have been pretty. I might be wrong of course, perhaps everyone is hailing him as a decent and honest bloke… but knowing the Internet? This is a bigger problem. People don’t default to kind. Friendship is a dirty word if you feel people are abusing both you and it.
The world can become a fucking ugly place if you decide someone is wrong.
Saying your piece ought to be enough, but often it isn’t. Resentment festers, starts to affect other areas of your life, unrelated to the game. I’ve watched this happen now in far too many people, for whom the effects of their ‘devotion’ to this game is no different to that of a hardcore football fan or dedicated genre lover. You can’t tell someone else that they’re addicted, that’s something you have to realise for yourself, and often it isn’t that serious to begin with. However, when people consciously use these rants and ‘criticisms’ as a way to draw attention not only to what they think is wrong with the game/people who make it/Universe but themselves to boot? There ought to be some measure of consequence. If it keeps happening and Warcraft continues to evolve yet you remain the same? Where does the long term problem actually lie?
Is it the game that’s broken, or is it you?
Those who calculate their posts and feelings are lucky, clever people. I can’t do either: I write about whatever comes into my head on any given day, more often than most at present, just because my capacity to organise is well below par. However, when this game fucks me off, my first thought is always ‘well, is it just me?’ It helps to have a lot of distance between Irvine and Essex for starters, that I’m not wrapped up in the clamour for progress or in the need to keep people happy by not upsetting Clique W or Team B. That’s why I hold on so tightly to the space where I live, that there is no need to wave a particular flag. I’m just looking at this from the point of view of someone who loves this game and who is getting really hacked off trying to sell it as bad and wrong until they’ve actually fucking played it live.
A vast amount of criticism has been heard and addressed. Communication from the Dev Team is now far better than it has been, and comes with a level of professionalism that has been lacking for many, many months. The loss of staff from the CM team has actually improved the communication setup and not disabled it. This Expansion is not simply being produced to pander to a small and (often) vocally obnoxious section of static player base, but in an attempt to allow hundreds of thousands of new players a chance to enter Azeroth for the first time, and therefore needs to maintain relevance for as wide a demographic of players as possible. As a result, I firmly believe that Legion will give lots of players a great many wonderful things to do, if they’d just check their cynicism in before they begin.
I’m never, ever going to be perfect, and because I choose to stand here and say my piece, I’m as much to blame for the current malaise as anybody else. But really, seriously guys, how about we stop kicking these guys on the ground and actually let them fight first? Give them a chance to present this as it should be done, from August 30th onwards, and maybe AFTER THAT pass judgement? Oh yeah, I told you a while back that if you complain enough, stuff changes. Well, it does, but it won’t now. When disability issues and motion sickness cause issues because of camera distances? That’s likely not to be a done issue, but may not happen until after launch. However, wanting your Blood BoP or your Flying when you ding 110?
If the next two months is going to be filled with people who feel this is the best time to give Legion grief? I have to say, I don’t think they’re thinking of anybody but themselves when they do. You should be EXCITED and HAPPY that there’s actual new content coming! Your mates are all going to come back and you can play again until the point when everybody gets bored and wanders off again and your issues with the title resurface, because you didn’t actually deal with them to begin with. It is only a game, after all, and I can’t believe how many times I say this, but nobody makes you do this but yourself.
If you want to stop playing, that’s not a bad thing.