Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, October 3, 2014

QOTD: Schadenfreude

It's one thing to deeply oppose a game's design, but if you take delight in watching major MMOs flounder, you don't really deserve this genre at all.
~~Brianna Royce, Massively (emphasis in original) 
I have seen this phenomenon over and over. Someone who doesn't like a game gloats over bad news regarding said game. It goes beyond simple a "I told you so" and becomes a perverted schadenfreude.

I say this not as a current subscriber to WildStar, but as a human being: Wishing for and then gloating over someone's failures (whether real or perceived), is the worst sort of immaturity. Especially since most of the armchair game designers could never even hope to get their pet ideas off the ground, much less have any sort of commercial success.
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  1. 99% of me agrees with you. The 1% of me that disagrees does so only on the basis that successes can often change things dramatically. I would root for World of Warcraft to fail knowing what I do now.

    But, there's a pretty big gap between rooting for failure in that way and doing it just to be a troll/asshole/etc.

    1. It's a big question what WoW has done to build or ruin the MMO. Without WoW, there is no guarantee MMOs would even be that big a thing today. On the other hand, it created a "lightning in a bottle" scenario that big-money publishers have been trying to duplicate ever since.

      If WoW had only garnered about as much success as EQ or EQ2, few would be complaining that it had spoiled anything. But we wouldn't have many of the other games that are available today, or the titles would represent very different games. So do we condemn Blizzard because they hit on a formula for broad appeal? Or do we criticise the the other pigeons for trying to copy the formula?

  2. I'm pretty live and let live on the whole gaming front. I'll play what I like, you play what you like, and I don't care how well or how poorly any game that I'm not currently playing is doing. I just hope that if it's a game that I plan to eventually play that it does well enough for me to have fun when I do get in on it. . . . .

    1. If WildStar shutters, I will be mildly inconvenienced, but I will move on to something else—perhaps sooner than I would otherwise. More likely, Carbine will try F2P/B2P for a while at least, perhaps with a retooling of the game in one or more ways.

  3. I'm a little more in agreement with the following paragraphs:

    " "[G]ame studios play a role in this gross polarization, and WildStar was no different. Their deep contempt and hostility for any player not considered "hardcore" in their eyes was glaring. They did not hide their snotty, stuck-up attitude. The issue isn't that they attempted to create a niche product; the issue is in how they chose to market it. They inserted a radical divide on the playerbase by clinging to fictional notions of hardcore merit. Not surprisingly, lots of people took issue with their condescension. And when Carbine failed spectacularly at fulfilling their basic commitments that they boasted about for so long, folks had something to say back."

    And he's right. People can't help but snicker at a braggart when he trips and falls on his face. Gamers like to see wisdom and humility from game developers, not hubris. If they can't get that, apparently they'll settle for a fiery trainwreck and fan the flames in comment sections across the interwebs."


    The marketing for Wildstar pitched toward this supposed 'hardcore' audience. The developers hyped it up and went for that audience.

    Many people gently and less gently suggested that this 'hardcore' audience isn't united in what they want, isn't sizeable enough to solely sustain a community especially if encouraged by the game's design to be toxic and exclusive and divisive, and consumes content like locusts and just as quickly drops a game... aka doesn't pay the bills.

    There was little to no acknowledgement of this before, so you'll excuse me if I personally indulge in a little schadenfreude watching them backtrack and eat their words. I don't need to see them crash and burn, but I -am- deeply amused to see what and who they'll try to cater for to sustain them now.

    My gut feel? The group of casuals that forms the housing cohort has a lot of potential to keep them going. Feed them plenty of new decorations, add to crafting professions regularly and the fun minigames of their node harvesting, pets and mounts, tweak down difficulty of dungeons and raids to a level that this group finds doable, and bang, stable subscription fee from some very sociable communities.

    Less bullet hell ridiculousness requiring 40+ regulars being super pro, and Wildstar will do just fine.

    1. From the beginning, WildStar was being developed by people with two different, perhaps competing visions for the game: folks who wanted vanilla WoW, turned up to 11; and folks who wanted WildStar to be the WoW that never happened. I remember seeing stuff about the devs catering to the "hardcore," but I also saw a lot of stuff that caters to the casual player. Finding the balance is the key. And they may not be there yet.

      However, the departure of Frost has not been portrayed by him or Carbine as anything other than a new opportunity he couldn't pass up. If a major VP left my company for a better opportunity, no one would think the company is foundering. And wishing people ill is not justified, whether you disagree with their design decisions or they've acted arrogantly about their ideas. A little snickering may be excusable human nature, hoping someone "dies in a fire" is something far more sinister.