WoW.com has a post this morning titled, “How the WoW Community is about to push the self destruct button.” It’s interesting reading. Interesting in the sense that it is very, very stupid. How stupid? Well, think of a stupid person and then roll them into a giant ball of stupidity and then roll that ball down a steep hill towards a town called Stupid and make the lot of them explode in the worlds biggest stupid explosion.
That’s how stupid this post by WoW insider is.
The premise of the post is that there is now too much trolling on the official Blizzard forums against their hero and knight in shining armor, Ghostcrawler. For those of you who may not know who Ghostcrawler is, he works for Blizzard. He posts a lot on the class design forum. He does this not because he likes or cares about us but because it helps him to do his job as a game designer. WoW.com is now all upset at this so called trolling. You can tell that they are upset due to their posting of a thread titled, “How the WoW community is about to push the self destruct button.” It’s as if 20% of coke customers were upset and vocal about coke changing the flavor of their product and a third party who loved coke warned that if these people continued with their complaints then coke might stop responding to them.
Lets go through the wow.com post and have a look at some interesting bits. The writer, Adam Holisky, starts off with saying that this post is going to be meta in some regards. Meta in its level of stupidity maybe, but I digress. They then say that they’ve written this article in the hopes that it might calm the waters. Jesus, I’d hate to see how they would attempt to put out a fire. Throw burning oil onto it maybe. He goes on:
” … Ghostcrawler and in the past a few people like him, post on the role forums daily in an effort to establish a dialogue with the community over some, but not all, game design principals…”
This is misleading in the sense of what Blizzards motive is in having employees like Ghostcrawler post. People seem to forget that Blizzard is part of a large multi-national company. They are interested in profit. They do not care about their players. They want you to play their game. They will do anything they can to make players play their game and continue with their subscriptions. They know that a core percentage of players, the hard-core gamers, the ones who have been with WoW since the beginning are unhappy with the games increasingly casual direction. They want to keep these gamers in WoW for two reasons – their subscription fees and for the fact that these players are the ones who will always play video games. Blizzard is working on their next big MMO. They want these players. They will need these players. The forum is the carrot on the stick for these players. Blizzard has established a “dialogue with the community” entirely for their own benefit. They’re not doing it because they like and care about us. They’re doing it so that they get feedback which they can use to keep us in the game and to shut us up by letting us be heard. They are not about to close it down.
” … However, a minority of the players, which have recently developed a very loud voice, are not pleased with the direction and development of the game; especially those that have been around the entire time the past five years. While this vocal minority have many legitimate issues, some which truly do deserve to be addressed, they risk having not only themselves but the entire system of direct designer interaction shut down over their inappropriate and abusive tactics… “
This is bullshit. See reasoning above.
“… The attacks are inappropriate and a complete distraction from the real questions and concerns the community needs to have addressed…”
The real questions that the community needs to have addressed have been ignored, brushed over or put off for some time now. I think that it’s prefectly reasonable for the community to be getting a little impatient.
Now we get to the bit which WoW.com calls, “Solving the Problem.” The first part is:
The community needs to do a few things, and these things need to happen soon.
” … First, the inappropriate commentary needs to either be shot down en masse, or it just needs to be ignored…”
I see. Ignored by whom exactly? Because Blizzard has been ignoring us on a number of issues for quite a while now. But even more incredible, wow.com’s solution for so called “trolling” is for everybody else to … troll them. Brillant.
“… Secondly, the community as a whole needs to understand that it doesn’t have a solid grasp on class balance and general game design. The topics are infinitely complex, often times requiring high level education to understand completely; especially in such a huge system like WoW…”
This, I think, is the most stupid part of their whole article. So what wow.com is saying is that the solution to this problem is to understand that we don’t know anything about the game. Apparently we all need “high level education.” Damn, I wish that I had finished grade school instead of going to work in those coal mines …
The wow community has to be the most informed, interested, up to date and intelligent video game community on the internet. One look at elitist jerks is enough to tell you that. MMO Champion seems to be plugged in to Blizzards own database from what I can understand, not to mention the myriad of excellent bloggers who happen to know what they are talking about. Shall I add the fact that only a few days ago when Hunger for Blood was nerfed, Ghostcrawler himself, the guy that wow.com says knows more than all of us about everything said:
” … To the community’s credit, some players predicted these issues might become a problem. We appreciate the feedback as always, even if we don’t always immediately make changes suggested by the community…”
The wow.com article goes on to say:
” … The community is not entitled to run the game. The fact that we all have a unique and valuable opportunity to engage in discussion about its direction is not a blank check to demand change…”
Actually, yes we do. Blizzard created this situation themselves the first time that the community demanded a change and they rolled over and did it for them. If you create a precedent then you have to live with it. The article then demands that Blizzard set up some roving police style forum moderators to allow Ghostcrawler to get back to posting about more important stuff. Because, and this is the best bit:
” … While it’s obvious that trollish parts of the community value participating in internet yelling matches, the majority of the community does not care to hear it. We bring this issue up and to the forefront on popular WoW media because it’s imperative for the health of the community that this vocal minority does not control or continue to influence the quiet majority…”
You morons. The quiet majority don’t even know that the forums exist, let alone sites like wow.com. The quiet majority do not care about these issues. They will just play the game until something else takes their fancy. They are kept in the game with gimmicks like panda pets. Blizzard uses the forums to keep the vocal minority in the game. The forum is a marketing tool. It is a device and it is serving its purpose. The majority of the community does not hear these internet arguements because they are not even watching. Does this mean that I agree with everything written in the forums? Does this mean that I think that all the forum posters are intelligent rational people?
No fucking way. There are some loopy cats in that place.
But even Ghostcrawler acknowledges in the thread that started this whole mess off that:
” … I’m not here for customer service. Look to a different forum for that. Getting information from the community helps me to do my job. I am here mostly selfishly. If you don’t have somewhat thick skin and can’t get into a debate on class issues, this probably isn’t a good forum for you. If you want, you can spend time in your class forums. I’ll never bother you there. Those are for players to share information with other players…”
You have to have a thick skin in that forum. And that goes for him too, I would say. And it seems from this comment that Ghostcrawler relies on the community in order to do his job properly. This, the same community that wow.com thinks should be quiet because game design is far above our poorly educated heads.
I have to wonder at wow.com’s motive for posting this article. Either they are complete morons, which is entirely possible, or AOL is hoping to sell it off to someone else and wants to see a short term spike in internet use so it can up its price. If this article does only one thing it will confirm that wow.com has nothing to do with Blizzard as Blizzard would never publish this sort of rambling fanboy nonsense. And that is what this opinion piece is, fanboy nonsense. Holisky seems to feel that we all should feel gratefull that the almighty Blizzard is demeaning itself to even listen to us poor mortals. He can’t stand the thought that somebody could rock his precious apple-cart and send it tumbling to the ground. It’s not enough that we have to pay money for a game that is constantly changing in ways that a good many people are dis-satisfied with. No, we have to feel grateful and be humble in their presence as well. We have to be grateful that Ghostcrawler even listens to us.
The problem is that Ghostcrawler is an okay community manager coupled with a mediocre game designer. He gets lost on the fine details and seems to be unable to see the big picture even when it is pointed out to him. It seems that you need to bash him over the head with a big stick for him to notice something, and even then he gets it wrong. Oh sure, he can come up with witty remarks, but is that his job? The endless class tinkering is just painful to watch. It seems like the WoW design team don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not planning things out, they’re reacting to problems. You don’t problem solve by reacting to problems, you problem solve by identifying problems before they materialise. Players playing death knights seem to be particularly aggrieved this patch, but the mistake was not the nerf. The mistake was creating a hero class in the first place. What were the design team thinking? That this would lead to balanced play? Couple that with arenas and you have big problems. The forums have always been a scary place populated by sad pathetic souls, but all this tinkering has caused the level of noise to rise because they have so much material to complain about. To blame the rising noise level on “trolls” is missing the point. Why is the noise level rising? Because the live design team is second rate and it is starting to show. Couple that with fact that with so many tinkering changes Blizzard has decided to tell the general population to “Check the forums” instead of posting changes in the start-up menu and you have a potential big problem heading your way. The ironic thing is that the vast majority of players do not check the forums or any other online resource, but with the continual stream of little fixes, not checking these resources and still understanding what is going on is getting to be impossible. I remember a period a few months ago when it seemed that every time you logged on your talent points had been reset to zero. I actually went into a raid once unaware that I didn’t have any talent points assigned.
I read every one of the pages in that 25 page thread on the Blzzard forum. It was a slog, but I needed to do it in order to be informed before posting this. What seems to be happening is that the term “troll” has been taken out of context. An internet troll is someone who deliberately takes an opposing point of view not in order to stimulate discussion but to stir up conflict and get attention. But now it seems that anyone who takes an opposing point of view seems to be labelled a troll. Just look at the comments on that wow.com article that I linked. Almost every single post critising Holisky’s article has been downgraded and faded out, no matter how well written or insightful. And in that 25 page thread on the Blizzard forum there are very few troll posts. There are however, a great many that are insightful, well written and yet take an opposing point of view.
Blizzard has been paying lip service to their core fan base for a number of years now. A high number of players that I know have left the game due to dis-satisfaction with game direction and design. They loved the game but could not put up with the myriad of issues anymore. That is their free choice, if you don’t like the game leave. But the class role forums are the last place for players who are desperate to be heard and if Blizzard does nothing to at least acknowledge their issues then I wonder in the long run who in fact will be pushing that self destruct button.