I don’t read Warcraft news sites any more, except once a week for the feature I do on Monday. It’s a conscious decision, mostly due to the fact that I like my game unspoilt now as much as possible. This morning, this was the first thing I saw accessing MMO Champion. I went and read the Forum thread that accompanied it, and honestly, it made me want to break things. Not because of what the game has presented this week for me as a player to ingest as content, but how players react when they feel they’ve been slighted.
People remain the biggest single problem ActiBlizz can never hotfix or remove.
I’ve lost count of the times it’s been players and not game play that have almost driven me away from Azeroth. I’ve written countless posts, gone on numerous tirades across multiple podcasts, but the people who cause these issues are incapable of seeing their own faults. I watch the online tirades, time and again, from those whose interest in this game extends to assuaging their own desires and nothing more. There is no means of removing such selfishness either because, at any point, even the most serene and compassionate of individuals have the capacity to become ‘that player.’ There is no way of predicting how or when it will happen either. There are so many complex factors at play, the prediction of Stupid is impossible to accurately anticipate. The final straw this week was when someone I have for many years greatly respected as a writer complained it wasn’t fair the Horde didn’t get an equivalent quest line on the Broken Shore. That’s what happens sometimes in the process of narrative fiction. You don’t get the closure required with characters that matter most to you.
The difference now, that wears people down over time, is the means by which dissatisfaction is communicated. The fact that many players will now simply complain for the sake of publicity is well documented too, and many are very clever in their timings or use of other media to press home their points. For me, trying hard not to let the rest of the world ‘s indignation go unheard, this week has simply cemented in my mind a number of inescapable truths. Although there are clearly those who are manipulating circumstance for their own ends, many are often unaware of their own stupidity. As long as they get what they want to be happy? There’s no problem, but the moment that changes? A tirade of abuse, which is instantly forgotten the moment the bad thing goes away. I see this happen in many places too, where social media gives a unique opportunity to watch people react in real time and reveal that sometimes, even the smartest person needs to stop and think before pressing ‘Tweet.’
I’ve made many mistakes in my time here, and I don’t regret any of them, in fact each one has been its own unique learning experience. It has made me realise how much some people depend on Azeroth too, and that is a dependence I grasp only too well. It is important that the content of your game is satisfying, after all. However, if you are so narrow-minded as be unable to grasp why certain stories are told in particular ways? I think it is high time to take a step back and reassess your priorities. Not everything is an intended sleight, or produced to upset your individual sensibilities, yet it continues to happen with almost predictable regularity. In this case, most undoubtedly, the ‘problem’ is not how designers chose to tell this story.
The bigger issue is how certain players choose to react to decisions they do not like.