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Reader Comments (26)

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 5:24PM Taawa said

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Excellent post! What you're describing could be considered group-think. I can see the phenomenon taking place in the Jumpgate Evolution forums, where the self-appointed hardcore players are poisoning the pond. That nasty, small number of people who've taken over the forums could ruin the game's chances of building a community and market. Darkfall's community is the main reason I will probably never pick up that game.

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 5:50PM (Unverified) said

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Ideally, (potential) players recognize that only a percentage of a game's community is represented on that game's forums. With large player bases (such as with WoW), that percentage may be incredibly small and you might never run into that sort of person while actually playing the game. Making judgment calls about an MMO you feel like playing based solely on the attitude of its forum-goers will rarely lead you to making an informed choice. Personally, I don't give much consideration to official forums most of the time. That being said, I understand the point that's being made.

Forums are there (I would hope) to foster a sense of community among players, and they can be wonderful resources if they're well-moderated. Being a forum moderator is surely hard work, but some communities are too large to moderate well. I would think that the degeneration of a forum community to only a concentrated, vitriolic mass of fanatics - and I'll admit that I've yet to see things get that bad: most forums have a few helpful souls lurking about - has so much to do with Internet anonymity. When you can voice any opinion you please to almost any person within the community whatsoever, and when repercussions for acting that way might not be consistent or even exist, it almost feels as though a company is *inviting* extremists to put a stranglehold on a forum.

I wonder if companies should just *not use forums*? Game wikis are generally where game information is concentrated (with community effort, granted), and most games seem to offer ways to get your feedback to staff without using a forum. What exactly do they offer?

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 6:08PM archipelagos said

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Very nicely written article. What you have described is a pretty big problem throughout the MMO community and beyond; there are threads that I will simply not touch with a barge-pole because I know that the 'fanbois' will verbally eviscerate all and every dissenting opinion. Fandoms such as Star Wars, Final Fantasy, Aion (to name a few) are incredibly bad for this - especially Star Wars.

On top of the 'verbal firewall' turning potential customers away it can also have a detrimental effect on game development. I have seen design choices on more than one occasion being swayed not by the most articulate and logical points but by the one who bangs his drum the loudest. It's like a war drum that whips a portion of the community into a rabid frothing crowd that collectively bay and howl for what they want, irrespective of all other concerns.

Can it be resolved to any great degree? I don't think so. The only thing that we can hope for is that the developers in charge are able to look past the verbal zombies following their abusive necromancer lord and focus on the positive and thoughtful contributions from the quieter number amidst the fray.

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 7:08PM BaronJuJu said

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"What you have described is a pretty big problem throughout the MMO community and beyond; there are threads that I will simply not touch with a barge-pole because I know that the 'fanbois' will verbally eviscerate all and every dissenting opinion. Fandoms such as Star Wars, Final Fantasy, Aion (to name a few) are incredibly bad for this - especially Star Wars."

I agree and have seen it on both ends, not only the 'fanbois' but the 'haters' as well. Both sides have there 'extremist' elements that completely destroy any meaningful discussions or communities with there rabid defense or absolutely loathing of the game in question. As stated above, Star Wars is a good example. Unfortunately there is not much a company can do.
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Posted: Dec 25th 2009 1:51PM (Unverified) said

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Sod that i want to be entertained, grab a can of petrol and fan those flames, i dont play darkfall and have no intention too but i read syncaines blog. Why to be entertained so burn baby burn.

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 6:33PM (Unverified) said

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Spot on. Anyone think they listened?

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 6:42PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Nah. But hey, I'm not writing for them. :)
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Posted: Dec 24th 2009 7:13PM (Unverified) said

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Woooahh! Silent Sally Speaks.





Anyways. I agree.
But I think this is something that applies to society as a whole. People are quick to treat other's like crap if they disagree. People who agree with them make them feel more secure, etc, and people who go against the common opinion are always abused even after they're proven right.

Though to be honest, if the consequence is reduced subscription numbers, then I wonder whether or not that's EXACTLY what they want. To remove all people from the community who disagree with them. Whether or not that hurts the game, it helps their ego, so they do it.

There are also some people who just respond to posturing. So if you appear to be strong enough, they'll back down. It's idiotic, and makes them seem more like animals than people, but it can work sometimes. Yell back, I suppose is what I'm saying. Backing down is a bad thing. If someone tries to push you out, push back. It might backfire and escalate the fight, but who knows. At least, I think, you'll feel better about yourself having stood up for what you believe.

Another problem is the fact that people don't talk, like you said. They silently watch. People will say the forums are full of idiots, etc, but they refuse to participate in the forums to quell the idiocy. They just avoid it instead of dealing with it.

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 9:36PM (Unverified) said

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It sucks that you had to pick on Darkfall on this one, although im sure syncaine was being a total douch bag.

It is in my experience that there are assholes everywhere, games like darkfall tend to draw more than normal. There are just as mnay if not substantially more in games like WoW mainly because they have higher populations. There are exceptions in every case i play darkfall for other reasons. I dont gank people for fun or steal and only kill blues in self defense of me or my clan mates. The darkfall community seems so bad because thats what the game entails. The game is centered around a harsh environment so it invites harsh personalities.

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 10:23PM cray said

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Thanks for writing this article, I hope Massively continues to investigate this area of MMOs as I feel that the majority of games are fun to play if people respect the spirit in which the game intends. We need to encourage and reward good behavior, It has to be in the forefront of multiplayer gameplay. Winning doesn't make bad behavior okay, this has to be known and instilled in newer generation of gamers. The age of cheaters has got to stop, otherwise games are no longer going to be about fun, but merely a virtual cage for bullies and cheaters.

Posted: Dec 24th 2009 10:34PM (Unverified) said

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I was frustrated too by the exchange between Tobold and Syncaine as I generally like the writing of both and these sorts of petty clashes tend to emphasize the worst of both of them. It reminds me of the TV feud between Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann. While I find O'Reilly (and to a greater extent Glenn Beck) deeply repugnant and at time, I would argue, is so extreme and pernicious as to constitute hate speech, the feud that erupted between O'Reilly and Olbermann on their respective programs did nothing constructive. Each has made a career preaching to their ideological choirs, painting a picture of the world that is remarkable for its binary nature. Trouble is the world, no less than MMO players, doesn't cleave neatly into two opposite poles. Even though my game of choice is WoW with its raiding end game, I find no need to defend my preference beyond trying to motivate for others who might not share it what exactly I find appealing about the game. Here's hoping the holidays will inspire a period of civility at least in the MMO blogging sphere.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 10:22AM Suplyndmnd said

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I totally agree with what you said. By the way, WoW sux fanboi. epic lulz and etc. J00r game is care bear and you are a child for plaing such a kid gamez.

(just kidding)

It's good that you defend your points for the game though. That is something I had to repeatedly do for FFXI (and still do actually) when people said it was boring or had an insanely clumsy interface (which, granted, it does). I point out that it has a stupendously steep learning curve but if given time provides a lot of rich and rewarding experiences. WoW, i played for a couple months but just wasn't for me. I still play it time to time to break up the monotony of playing a single game for so long but just doesn't have anything FOR ME to hold me past a couple weeks at a time.
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Posted: Dec 25th 2009 3:01AM Tjad said

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"""Every time Syncaine pounds his chest and screams "I HAVE A MAN CRUSH ON TASOS FLAMBOURAS," it reinforces the beliefs of everyone who agrees with him."""

So wait you just wrote a long post about how trolling and arguing is bad mmmkay and in it you implied that Syncaine and everyone that enjoys playing Darkfall is gay?

Are you are serious person?

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 9:06AM Holgranth said

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If you have read syncain's blog you'd find thats really not an inaccurate statement.
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Posted: Dec 25th 2009 9:50AM Cendres said

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Yeah I just changed my Final Fantasy 14 forum of choice yesterday because of this problem right here. Every new idea, suggestion that is not unanimously approved by the core members get put down with some exceptions. :/ And people take themselves and every topic so seriously. Being serious is awesome, but in frivolous fun threads it's a party pooper!!

But when it comes to enjoying a game sometimes it's best to just ignore the blogs and overall community and concentrate on what you actually like, the game itself. I swear I think I was happier mmo gaming before I started hanging out in forums. But then again I would have missed all the cool responses and cool people out there too. :D

Baronjuju said: "I agree and have seen it on both ends, not only the 'fanbois' but the 'haters' as well. " lol Just had a discussion on the Aion article, I'm pretty sure I passed as an Aion fan girl, truth is I criticize the game all the time too. In the Aion forums I've been called a hater and a fanboi... I think what Sera said is really the most important thing about these online exchanges, actually read and listen to what people are saying.
But you are right, blindness in one form or another does no one any good at all.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 10:16AM Suplyndmnd said

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Very well written article as always. It is sad that people do this to the game they love and in doing so, kill their game. No one wants to go to a game where they feel they are going to be attacked and abused verbally. I used to frequent mmorpg.com boards in Final Fantasy XI and always tried to encourage constructive criticism's if they had some about XI and any other game.

The fact is not every game is going to be for every person. I liked XI because of the style that it had. Slow, rich in story and aggravating as hell most times. But that was something that appealed to me because when I got an insane mission done or a certain piece of armor I felt like I had REALLY accomplished something. But at the same time I like Guild Wars in its very simplistic nature. Aion on the other hand was a grind like XI but didn't catch me.

I think if people would take a step back they would realize that no game is perfect and certainly no game is going to be as fun for others as it is for them. I mean, we have hundreds of MMO's out there for a reason.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 11:38AM ktastic said

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Spot on. I don't visit forums at all anymore, I just hang out on the wikis as one of the ~silent people~ described above. Focusing on the game instead of having to constantly deal with the immature or THIS IS VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS part of the community has done loads for my enjoyment.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 12:11PM Marz said

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My MMO style martial arts are greater than your weak MMO style. Prepare to defend yourself!!

(Good points, Local chat can make or break a game as well as the forums. Some games you just have to get into a guild as fast as possible because of the chat that goes on.)

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 12:52PM Ergonomic Cat said

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Adam: Mancrush is actually a phrase that is unrelated to sexuality. It also has no real negative connotations except a suggestion of fanboyism.

For instance, I have a mancrush on Ryan Reynolds. That means, to me, that if I were to be someone else, Ryan Reynolds would certainly be a choice.

Topic: I don't visit official forums for most any game I play. I used to read WoW forums, until I'd get so pissed at the game I would be annoyed with myself for playing it.

Then I'd play it and go "Oh, hey, I like this game!"

EVE, Fallen Earth, DDO and SWG (ironically) are the only forums I can think of that didn't make me hate playing the game. I've found it much more efficient to find a group of people I like, then hope they like the same games. I've been lucky to find a big guild that's cross-platform, so I can usually find at least some people that are interested.

The DDO forums suffer from a fair amount of balkanizing (Evasion tanks vs HP tanks vs AC tanks, for instance), but typically everyone keeps the fact that we're all here to play a game in mind. However, I stay the hell away from anything that is F2P vs VIP or Noob vs Vet related. Those make me hate everyone on both sides.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 6:44PM Tjad said

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This article -reeks- of hypocrisy to me.

It offends me because in trying to -correct- Syncaine's behaviour Seraphina uses even worse examples of trolling and flaming.

In her own words-

"No, the first thing you need to do to someone who makes a valid point is make a disparaging reference towards their mother and then slam your face into the keyboard to prove how much of a man you are."

This is after she has linked this "minor kerfluffle" to the Birther movement via the link under "flame the first person".

Message is apparently Syncaine and people that play Darkfall are like Birthers?

After this Seraphina "pulls out her psychology degree" and then calls Syncaines comments "insane". That's a pretty serious diagnosis Doctor, you sure about that?

Next paragraph "MAN CRUSH". Ok so mancrush when used on yourself isn't a perjorative. When used -against- someone else as it is by Seraphina here, it very clearly is gay baiting.

Oh look more gay baiting - "big man hug" and "circle-jerk". Still don't think Seraphina is using the sexual version of mancrush?

Seraphina... this isn't a capital case against you but dont pretend to be taking the high road here.

So moving on- Seraphina is linking this all to "forum" behaviour.

Btw- For those looking on Syncaine isn't the king of Darkfall. He doesn't control the forums or even post there that I've noticed. I've not even seen much mention of his blog on the forums beyond one "spotlight" article early on.

But nonetheless here we are in this article with our "extreme" opinions that we all share together on the "severe joke" of "Forumfall".

Forumfall is what Darkfallers call it not because we all sit around and talk about how bad WoW/Aion is (there is almost zero mention of those two games). We call it that because yes...its a PVP game... and yes we troll each other -mostly- in the guild forums. Every game with PVP has lots of wait for it... PVP players trolling each other. Oh dear.

The rest of the Darkfall forums are people asking what the best elemental school for AOE's is, crying about some percieved nerf or any of the many other things that most of us read regularly in ANY mmo forum.

BTW the crying is MUCH less than it is in YOUR game because ....there are no classes. But thats a game design thing like Syncaine talks about in his blog most of the time.

So Seraphina doesn't like Forumfall...ok. What does she say about people that play Darkfall?

"I know that I didn't have a bad time in Darkfall, but I'm not going back because the majority of the people who play it scare me."

So the "majority" of people that play Darkfall eat babies or something? Get a grip. We like to PVP because in the words of Lum "Hardcore players tend to be attracted to player vs. player as a game style, because it's one of the "endgame" play styles in MMORPGs and attractive to players who are bored with AI opponents."

Seraphina your Failure Post is Fail. You deride Syncaine for trolling/flaming but your post is much more extreme in its trolling and flaming but adds a level of painful hypocrisy. You flame him and you flame anyone that reads his weblog, agrees with him about sandbox vs themepark games, plays Darkfall and posts in the Darkfall forums?

In closing all of you into the drama should maybe go look at Syncaines blogs comments and see what Lum says about Syncaine -

"- I really need to add this blog to my Google Reader feed."


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