Thursday was a day like no other I can remember for quite some time, because by the end of it, I was ready to quit Warcraft for good. Ironically my mindset had nothing at all to do with the way I’d been personally treated, despite the fact that mansplaining was, by late in the evening, at almost unprecedented levels. My anger was incandescent and surprisingly directed at a series of responses to a blog post from Ion Hazzikostas where, in not so many words, he admitted that the whole ‘AP earning/grinding is unfair’ argument was, amazingly, exactly that. I’ve read that blog now a number of times and the word ‘mistake’ appears once, whilst at absolutely no point do the words ‘sorry’ or ‘apologise’ get used at all. This is a document that might accept culpability for a design flaw, but it extends no sympathy or understanding to the large number of people who didn’t just take the time to point this out, but were told they were seeing a problem that simply did not exist.
Of course, in corporate culture America, an admission of guilt is just asking for a lawsuit. Forget that you mucked stuff up and caused loads of people grief, because if you admit as much it is undoubtedly inevitable that someone’s going to sue you, and then… I had this discussion with some Twitter friends yesterday, and it pretty much broke my heart even further. The future now, such as it stands, is that NOBODY will ever be prepared to admit they’re wrong because of the financial implications of doing so. Forget how much good could be generated by admitting failure, because all that is really considered as significant or important is what turns up in your financial three month end.
My guilt that I was one of those who’d belittled this suggestion that AP was borked was one reason I felt awful on Thursday night, but that was nothing compared to the disbelief that a blog had been decided to announce the issue. The COMPANY isn’t happy at how it worked out? This will be the same group of people who watched a not unsubstantive number players complain about potential issues for weeks before many major Warcraft Mythic Guilds (full of Company unpaid play testers) imploded. They’re not happy now because they’ve realised that by producing this grind, it’s forced players to find the fastest way to negate it… honestly, this is a surprise to you? Have you been so fixated on one issue that you’ve failed to grasp that without high end progress, NOBODY moves forward?
I wrote my article on the destruction of Hardcore Raiding on Wednesday because I could see a reckoning coming well before the Devs chose to act. What now stuns and saddens me is that knowing all this, nobody thought to say sorry out loud for what had happened. Sure, you can read this blog one if you so desire, but I’d rather hear the words from the mouths of the people concerned.
The biggest single problem, without exception when I was a Raiding GM, was people being able to admit they’d made mistakes. It was never about blaming individuals, and I made sure I went to great lengths to explain on numerous occasions that the only reason you ask people to understand blame is so they can learn to accept the fact that it’s a normal part of any learning process. It goes back to the point made in the first Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ movie: we fall, so we can learn to pick ourselves up again. Except, in Warcraft, many players never fall or fail. It is a place where arrogance, perfection and an almost conditioned ability to blame anyone but themselves is what drives the motivation of far too many individuals. I have to feel, after watching 12 years of dudes designing this game, that maybe if there were more empathetic individuals at the senior design level, someone wouldn’t have a problem apologising when the Company fucks up. It’s no longer a weakness to show your fallibility, but a strength. Otherwise, you end up looking like that Orange Twat in the White house.
I know it means little or nothing, but I’d like to apologise to anyone I’ve belittled or upset with my stance on this in the past couple of weeks. I’m also truly sorry that I allowed myself not to see the bigger picture. Despite the protestations of some that this acknowledgement and change will somehow cheapen the entire experience? It doesn’t really do that much of anything at all, except stop players from thinking that all you need to cap out a weapon is 1000+ Maw of Souls runs. Sure, it will reduce gaps for the high end raiders, but as was pointed out to me yesterday, it means little or nothing as a casual player. This is, at least in a certain light, a concession and quite possibly an admission of culpability. However, it remains a long way from what it ought to be.
I’d expected a great deal better from the new Lead of the Warcraft Development team.