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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 1:12PM J Brad Hicks said

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Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln who said of a play he didn't like, "If this is the sort of thing you like, you'll like it"?

MMO journalism is a bear to do well, because not all MMOs are aimed at the same audience, and it's not always obvious from what a reviewer says what their actual tastes are. If someone really loves harsh consequences PvP, and they say that game X is great and don't get around to mentioning that it has harsh consequences PvP, that's a problem. If, on the other hand, someone hates harsh consequences PvP, reviews a game with harsh consequences PvP, and says that the game is awful while making excuses for why he or she doesn't like it without bringing up their pre-existing prejudice against harsh consequences PvP, they're doing the audience just as much of a disservice.

I bring up harsh consequences PvP just because it's the oldest argument in MMOs. The same thing could be said just as easily about fantasy versus sci-fi, or theme park dark ride versus player-driven sandbox, or instanced versus open world, or solo-friendly versus forced teaming, or stats-driven versus equipment-driven, or transparent game mechanics versus opaque, or whether more effort should go into art and music or more effort should go into flawless game mechanics, or consensual PvP versus open PvP, or predictable grind versus surprise changes in game mechanics, or any of a half dozen or more other design choices that people can have strong preferences about.

So yes, as it relates to games journalism, I'd like to see someone say things like, "game X is high fantasy, which I'm a sucker for," or "I don't like game X, but I may not be giving it a fair chance because I don't like high fantasy and it's game X," or even better "game X is high fantasy, which I usually like, but not this time" or "I don't normally like high fantasy, but I like game X." Or substitute in, for "high fantasy," either side of the many design choices above.

And yeah, Tobold is definitely right. For every single one of those design choices, there are at least a couple of hundred noisy people, and for some of them tens of thousands, for whom it's not a matter of taste, it's an article of their personal religion. Some people like a game with a single combat mechanic that they can grind away at (for example) and can accept that other people want more variety than that. Some people need variety, but can understand why others would prefer more predictability in their game play. But there are also people for whom grind isn't just a matter of taste, it's evil pure and simple from beyond the 8th dimension, kill it, kill it, kill it with fire. These people are tiresome.

But sometimes they do have a point, because of thrice-cursed "network effects," the fact that some services increase in returned value the more people use them. If you hate fantasy, hate consensual PvP, hate gear-driven, hate solo-friendly, and you want lots of other people to play with? Right now you're hating life; the MMO that made those decisions is the one that everybody plays right now, "because that's where all my friends are." Having to play a game you hate just because that's the one your friends all want you to play is a bitter pill to swallow, so it's not just tribal loyalty to their own brand preferences that makes some of the losers in those arguments so bitter.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 1:38PM (Unverified) said

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You hear people who play EVE Online and Guild Wars go on and on how World of Warcraft sucks. Yet, I play both EVE Online and Guild Wars, and have played World of Warcraft in the past (and recently thanks to the seven day offer). I know just how much fun World of Warcraft can be, and that it doesn't suck as much as the average EVE Online or Guild Wars player appears to think. Then again, it also didn't live up to the image created by WoW players; it's fun, but too much of a grind for me and ultimately boring once you reach the end-game content.

Outsiders think of EVE Online as an impenetrable game where grieving is encouraged, and of Guild Wars as yet another WoW-clone. Those assumptions are, again, not completely true, but then again players who like either (or, like me, both) games might make them look like more fun than they actually are when they tell about them. I know for one my brother absolutely hates MMORPGs, or anything with a lengthy grind for that matter (he considers the weapon drop system in Team Fortress 2 to be a great addition, but it shouldn't go any further than that).

In the end, it just depends on what kind of games you like. I perfectly understand why people play WoW, it's just that the game doesn't have the same kind of attraction to me, which is why I hadn't played in over a year when the seven day offer came around. The other way around I also understand why people do not play Guild Wars and EVE Online, even though I love both games. It just depends on what kind of games you like.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 1:44PM (Unverified) said

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To let someone else influence your opinion of what you like and then bring you to thier side is a human trait. A weak trait at that, if you enjoy doing something weather it's playing video games or otherwise then no amount of external interferance should make you stop doing so. This is simply a mind set, those that are stong enough won't be concerned with what other do or say about thier preferencem, and the weak will band together because they are not strong enough to make thier own decisions.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 3:23PM (Unverified) said

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That's all well and good. Irrational, sure. But I'd be careful with that line of thinking. If we all agree to agree, or worse, agree to disagree on everything, then nothing will change. We'll all remain in our own little worlds, forgetting the rest of the world around us, believing we are right, and all the while the world allows us to believe that we are perfectly right in believing the way we do, even if the facts prove otherwise.

It's a balance is all I'm saying. Sure, some irrational abuse occurs, but the opposite can be just as bad. Bland acceptance is a sickness as well.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 5:13PM (Unverified) said

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I dunno, sounds like the " Same ol' " to me.

I use to let that junk get to me, but after awhile it got down right rediculous and I said to myself "This is the way it is for me, that's just how I roll ".

I'm always catching slack about the enjoyment I get from fishing games... And I'm always trying to explain why it's fun for me, but most folks simply aren't willing to appreciate that particular point of view. So I really don't have much of a choice but to overlook the negative comments. It got so bad at one point, I simply wouldn't let anyone respond to my posts.

Now I just say my peace and move on.





Posted: Jan 18th 2010 6:52PM mszv said

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While people have their own opinions, they are influenced by friends -- we are social beings.

What I think the article was getting it -- it's not as if people are saying "not a game for me", but "why would anyone like that"?

I figure, for most of the games around -- there is a core group of people playing and enjoying them. Why would I bash them, if they aren't the game for me?

On people saying they don't like the current crop of games because they aren't what they want, and they are bitter about it -- I admit, I think that's kind of funny. Welcome to popular culture. I experience that sort of thing all the time. Games are popular endeavors where, if I'm not mistaken, 100,000 player is sometimes considered a small number. You have to make your peace with popular culture. Sometimes it suits your tastes, sometimes it doesn't. That, or lobby for online MMO games that can be made in a way so that 1000 - 10000 people can play and enjoy them. When that happens, I think we'll get the variety many of us want.

To give an example -- many of the games out there have avatar looks not to my taste -- too overly muscular for men, way to busty and skimpy clothing for women. Not all games are like that but too many of them are, for my taste. I'd also like more to do in a game than combat, but most of the MMORPGs I like are based on combat. So, if I want to play the game, I have to accept that. Now solo player options, easier level progressiong and always conscentual PvP, also light death penalties -- right up my alley, so that's a part of the popular culture of games I like a lot!

It seems to me that if you like a game, even if all your friends are playing, maybe you should not play it, and do other things with your friends. I see no reason to play a game I don't enjoy -- but perhaps if all your friends are playing, you might feel compelled to play too.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 8:06AM (Unverified) said

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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 7:27PM cray said

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I think journalist need to remind it's readers that one game isn't better than the other, but rather offers something different. Just because one game might have simpler crafting than others, doesn't make it bad. Saying it's bad is subjective, because there are people out there who like simpler crafting and deem that as good.

The key is to point out the differences without being judgmental and remind readers that the review is neither an indictment or endorsement. The latter being the most important and really what defines a fair review.

I like Guild Wars, I don't condemn Warcraft, but I'll easily defend the former if unfairly attacked.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 7:34PM Luk said

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Did anyone realize that this is the first time a day went by without any post about STO?

To comment on the actual article: No drama makes for boring reading.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 8:42AM Valdamar said

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I'll defend MMOs I've played and liked if others attack them unfairly, and I'll criticise the flaws in other MMOs I've played especially if people blindly evangelise them, but I really hate the binary tribal doctrine on the Internet that if you like one thing you must hate all its rivals.

Honestly all this MMO tribalism isn't much different to what has happened with every generation of consoles (Atari VCS vs Intellivision, Sega vs Nintendo, Sony vs Microsoft), and what happened with computers in the 8bit generation (C64 vs ZX Spectrum), 16bit generation (Atari ST vs Amiga) and even now (PC vs Mac, Linux vs Windows, etc) - in schoolyards, magazines and now the Internet.

It's old news and it's getting boring. Anyone who lets this kind of tribalism affect them is either weak-willed or they're just a drama queen who likes stirring up controversy. Make your own decision and play what you enjoy.

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