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Are Gamers really that bad?

13. March, 2012Tags: MMO Blog

“Gamers are the worst ****ing people,” a quote from Phil Fish, the latest outspoken developer to hit the industry in recent weeks. His sentiments are understandable; after being asked what he thought of Japanese developers, Fish simply said “your games suck.” The internet thought otherwise and let him know that they wouldn’t just be ignoring his game, oh no, they’d be pirating it and enjoying it in full without paying a penny in return. That’s pretty insulting in my mind: not just disagreeing with this man’s opinion, but using that opinion as an excuse to go ahead and use for free something which (they say) they’d have otherwise paid for.

Are Gamers Really That Bad? by



Are Gamers really all that bad?

“Gamers are the worst ****ing people.” It’s something that I’ve been thinking about this week. Are gamers really all that bad? Frankly, I think he might be right. Watching as people post horrible, self-entitled rants on Metacritic because they don’t get the From Ashes… DLC for Mass Effect 3 for free, not only insulting the developers but posting major twists into their reviews so that even people interested in playing the game as it is can’t fully enjoy it. Mass Effect 3 has been the centre of a lot of controversy over the last month or so, and gamers have reacted badly to it. Members of the staff involved in the game have been victims of hate campaigns, had their work and private life ran into the dirt by what we can only hope are teenagers on the internet.

MMO players miss most of the drama

As MMO players, we manage to miss the vast majority of this drama. There are few games in this genre that can compete with the AAA status of the Mass Effect world, so we don’t tend to get such large groups angry customers. It happens though and I suggest you keep the lights on if you intend to check out the World of Warcraft forums – the horrors of that place will keep you up for days. Gamers as a whole each know what the perfect game would be, we all have ideas about “if you take everything about Skyrim and then add in time travel, everyone would buy it,” but we don’t have the ability to pull it off. We get frustrated when talented developers can’t pull it off either, but we’re more offended by their general inability to do it, rather than their specific reasons.

And it’s that sort of knee-jerk reaction that makes us all look bad. Harsh, quick judgements without any real thought behind them. It’s fine to be offended by something, it’s fine to feel that certain things are “ruining” the industry, but it’s important to remember that there are good ways and bad ways of getting those opinions across and the bad ways are never going to have the result you hope they’ll have. No company will ignore good advice or suggestions from their customers, but at the same time that company doesn’t want its staff abused or its methods second-guessed and criticized by people who aren’t in a position to fully evaluate. People’s disappointment tends to stem from misunderstanding, whether it’s misunderstanding why a something is delivered in a certain way or misunderstanding why a series has changed so much over the years.

Why isn’t Mass Effect 3 hundreds of hours long, without DLC or online passes, without limitations on your choices or actions or without a single character not being in-depth and interesting? If you seriously ask anything similar to this, you’re part of the problem and you need to understand the way that games are made, how expensive they are and why some things just aren’t possible on current tech. It’s easy for a developer to say “this is the game that I want to make,” but office politics, financial backing and changing tastes are going to alter that game each and every step of the way. Demanding quality is important; demanding what YOU want over what the majority wants is different.

People who hate free-to-play

There are people, for instance, who hate free-to-play. I mean, they HATE free-to-play. They think it’s leading to a drop in quality for the industry and that there are far too many free MMOs popping up and doing the same thing as every other free-to-play MMO. While I was playing Castle Empires last week, a user went into the chat box and had a rather specific request: “it’s the Chinese,” they said. “They come into free-to-play games and use bots so that they can look good. Why not just ban the Chinese and charge a fee so that people don’t mess around when they’re playing?” At least a couple of people agreed with him, both on banning Chinese people and on charging a fee to stop whippersnappers getting into games without needing their parent’s credit card.

The question is: what’s wrong with choice? Gamers seem to hate the idea of people enjoying things that aren’t exactly what they’re enjoying. You only have to check out Reddit to see just how far people will go to rally against things like Call of Duty, which they see as some sort of blight on the gaming world. Because one thing is popular, developers they’d previously respected start to try and jump onto the bandwagon and soon there aren’t any AAA titles coming out that don’t fit into a certain class. This isn’t entirely true, not if you do a little research into what you’re playing, but it doesn’t stop people saying it.

WoW the biggest victim

World of Warcraft is perhaps the biggest victim of this in the MMO world. Along comes the first mega-popular MMO and suddenly every game is like World of Warcraft. Is that a bad thing? Is it bad that there’s a lot of different worlds to explore, different characters to create? Is it bad that, if I don’t want to pay for the full World of Warcraft experience, there’s another developer around the corner willing to cater to exactly what I want? And because they’re doing that, I’m more likely to give them my hard-earned money as well, so it works out great for everybody. It seems that gamers don’t want a free, open market.

Another example of these quick reactions comes directly from Azeroth, actually, and can be viewed along with the reaction that came from the announcement of Mists of Pandaria. How many long-time WoW fans complained that the characters were too kiddy, too Disney to make it into their favourite game, all the time not realizing that the characters had existed from long before Blizzard started work on an MMO. Instead of thinking, instead of listening to what the developers were saying, they complained and threatened to stop supporting the game. It’s moments like this that bring us back to that original question.

Are Gamers really bad?

Are Gamers really all that bad? Of course they’re not, we’re not all going to agree all of the time and, like movie-goers or people who enjoy books, we’re not all going to like the same things. More than those other forms of entertainment though, the vocal minority is rather more vocal when it comes to the gaming community – they know what they want and they’re going to scream until they get it.

They make us all look bad, they make us look like immature children and given the mainstream media’s opinion of our hobby, this is a thing that we can’t allow to continue. If you have a problem with the way something is handled - if the subscription is too expensive, if the expansion is taking too long – you need to make your point by not continuing to pay. That doesn’t mean pirating, but completely backing out of the game entirely.

Only then will you get your message across. As it happens, you’re arguing that you’re not self-entitled children at the same time as acting like self-entitled children, and there’s only so long you can act like that before it backfires and developers stop listening altogether.

© 2012 -

written by M.Growcott

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