This whole Twitter Poll thing’s going rather well, so much so that I’ve even made a graphic for use on Social media and here. Thursday’s subject matter was never meant to be controversial, but perhaps unsurprisingly it ended up that way:
The reason for this question was on the back of my ‘no I’m not taking part in 7.3’ discussion earlier in the week. It was not, as someone decided to accuse me via email, a thinly veiled attempt to diss those people running a specific third party data-mining site, my dislike of which has never been denied. No, I wasn’t attacking anybody specifically, just as been the case at every single point in the past that I’ve been told that’s exactly what I am doing. If you’d like to send e-mail from my website form that includes a valid return address next time? I’ll be happy to discuss this at length. Your choice.
Spoilers have always been contentious, you just need to look at any part of the Internet discussing TV shows, movies or even books to understand how much anger they can provoke. The key, most of the time, isn’t that they exist at all, but what happens when you know information before anybody else in your Facebook group or Twitter feed…
Yeah, some players always wanna be FIRST. I get that, by looking at the You Tube videos that proclaim glitches and the best ways to farm that nobody else has suggested. Its why, if you find an exploit, it is normally smart to keep your mouth firmly shut and make the most of it until somebody else gets caught. Except, for some people, being first is now big business, and that dictates critical acceptance from a lot of other players. After all, without spoilers, raid teams wouldn’t know how to kill bosses as fast as they now do. Without a group who don’t care what they know, only that they do it before anyone else, a vital part of this game would simply grind to a halt.
Then there is your ability to retain the amount of information packed into the current UI. It is why Northrend continues to be attractive as a grinding destination: I don’t need a guide to tell me where everything is. I just remember. Every time a new Expansion arrives, the amount of data required to be retained rises, and my ability to do so falls. Yes, it is getting old, but it also the inability to do everything that’s thrown at me from Launch. Ironically, this is when the dataminers make their biggest killing: because it is impossible to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of twelve years worth of content, everybody will need a Guide eventually, like it or not.
This point came out of left field, but is really salient when you consider many players don’t blindly just purchase everything Actiblizz releases, without thought. If you’re looking for a way to dictate whether cash is well spent or not… well yes, spoiling yourself could have a considerable amount of merit. When you’re talking a lot of money to buy the game’s expansion, and maybe buy a couple of character boosts to catch up with friends… it makes sense. That’s a delicate balancing act to achieve though, because if you know someone dies (for instance) will you really want to play to that point without the surprise?
This however is the overwhelming response when I speak to other players. The fact the poll is as close as it is says two things to me: firstly, we need a bigger sample size. After that? I provided a vital third option. If this had been a simple yes/no deal, I suspect we would have seen a wider variance regardless of sample size. Giving people an option to state they have no preference puts the entire spoilers argument in perspective: maybe the bigger point is just to enjoy what you have regardless.
Warcraft is no longer just about the IP: it is a massive merchandising machine, surrounded by a ring of fan-created ‘service’ industries. Streamers, data miners, add-on producers, artists, cosplayers… and the list goes on. Hundreds, thousands of people now rely on this game for their income. Without being spoilt, how would there be Overwatch cosplays of characters nobody knew existed until they were announced? How could ActiBlizz effectively market their changes or orchestrate their marketing and promotional materials without the assistance of the cottage industries that now exist?
Like it or not, it is impossible to separate one from the other. It is therefore up to individuals to create an environment around themselves in which they dictate what is seen, heard and read. No, you’ll never avoid spoilers for good, but you’ll be surprised what can be ignored with judicious use of social media filtering. In the end, if you don’t want to be spoilt? Don’t go on the Internet.
Hang on, where did everybody go?