Friday, July 18, 2014

Can a Community Kill a Game?

As anyone that reads here might know I started playing wildstar a few weeks ago.  I do not spend a great deal of time on it so I am moving rather slowly and I am also testing all the classes and paths by playing a few characters at once.  Either way, I've finally got my footing in the game and understand the basics of how the game is played.  Now is the time I start to look up information on how to get better.

I always jump right into a game and figure things out on my own before I go looking online for "help".  It is just the way I like to play games.  I am sure there are many like me out there and there are many that never look for help or look for help before they even start.  We all play or own ways but this question is not about how we play but the communities we play in.

The only thing I looked up before starting was the server forums.  I looked for which PvE servers had a lot of activity and then looked for which side was recruiting the most for raiding, which is where my intentions would be to head if I stick with the game.  After that I never went back to the forums... until now.

As I said I was liking the game but after reading some of the threads on the forums I can't help but think if I have wasted my time already.  The community is horrible, just as bad as warcrafts.  Everyone on the forum calling other people bad, saying their options are wrong and not in a polite way which would encourage conversation but in an insulting way, saying that they are "better" than others or that this is wrong or that is wrong or this class is OP or that class is OP.  You know, the basic bullshit we have all, sadly, become way to used to seeing on the forums.

Now I am not the type of person to let others sway me, at least not that easily, but I could not help but feel that my desire to play, my desire to become more involved in the community, my desire to get to max level and start to raid has been greatly reduced after seeing all this.  If this is what the game is like at 50 is it really something I want to be a part of?

I had not reached what some would call the point of no return where I am completely caught up in the game so I will play no matter what, so seeing that this is what the community is like does have some sway with me.  Being I had not made the decision that I will most defiantly keep playing seeing that, at least the most vocal, people at the top level are this horrible makes me wonder if it is worth it to keeping going.

Then I think of all the people, the new players, the ones that come to the forums for the game I do play and am staying with, the one I have reached that point of no return with, warcraft, and think, are they seeing the same thing when they decide to look things up and coming to the same conclusion that I have about wildstar, that maybe it is just not worth the effort if these are the people I will have to deal with.

Community is a huge part of the game even for a person like myself that would prefer to do things solo.  I might be anti social for the most part but if I want to raid I have to find people to raid with which means, against my better judgement, I have to "friend" people.  I have to become part of the community, at least in the most minimal way just to continue to play the game and I really do not want to play with any of these people.

These people are not my people.  They do not have the same agenda I do when playing, they do not have the same moral base I have in the way I treat others, they are just not the type of people I would ever want to associate with in the real world so why would I ever do so in the virtual one.  If anything I expect people to be better in the virtual world.  People have flaws, they all do, but online you can fake it.  If you curse like a sailor on shore leave you can bite your tongue in game.  If you are a racist you can just think of everyone as characters and not race.  No matter what your personal flaws or shortcomings are you can be a better person online.  So why is everyone a worse person?

I am not saying that just complaining about things in the game is a bad thing, hell no, I complain all the time.  As I have said before I complain because I like the game.  If I did not care about the game I would not care if they were removing my favorite spells.  But if I like the game and want to keep playing it you can be damn well sure I am going to complain if they remove something.

So I do not have a problem with people complaining.  I do not see anything wrong with people that say they believe this should be some other way, or that should be different.  They like the game and they are voicing their opinions on what they believe will make it a better game.  No matter if  I agree with it or not I respect that they, like me, care enough about the game to complain about the things that bother them in the hopes that maybe someone will listen and maybe a change will be made that will make the game better.

It is the community that is so venom filled, so mean spirited, so "I am better than you" oriented, the people that just have to watch the world burn that are what I am talking about.  Like if I were to make a tread saying I hate RNG and wish there were more loot options where you can earn your gear instead of having to count on luck to get it an appropriate response would be that the person either agrees or disagrees or is somewhere in the middle but not with bad communities.  With bad communities you get responses like "you are just a baddie that wants gear given to them" instead of maybe starting a conversation on why they believe that RNG is "earning" gear.  They just attack.

After reading a few threads I am left wondering if I should really ever log in again.  Maybe if a few of my friends start playing and I have people to play with I might but the game has already started to lose me and not because of anything the game has done, but because of the community has.

And then it got me to thinking that is exactly what part of the problem with warcraft is and why they are losing subscriptions like crazy.  The community.  Warcraft was always losing subs left and right, even when they were at their high point late BC and through wrath they were losing subs left and right.  The thing was they were picking up more new ones than they were losing.

Now, with more options out there for the gamer, newer and more shiny or flashy games, people might come to the forums and see that community and think, this is what the game is like, well I might as well go try this other game that has better graphics, or is newer, or does not have a subscription cost.

Maybe it is that toxic community that is scaring a lot of people away, just like one peek at the wildstar forums has me questioning myself on if I wasted money on the game.  No one wants to play with people like that and while I know and you know they are just a minority, they are a very vocal and very damaging to the game minority.

Perhaps if I had visited the wildstar forums before I purchased the game I would have never purchased it at all because of the community there.  That makes me wonder, how many people heard of warcraft and its long and rich history and were thinking of picking up the game but decided to visit the forums before making a purchase and after their visit and seeing what the vocal minority is like they decided to just go get another game to satisfy their gaming needs.

Can that vocal minoriy really kill a game?  I think it can.

17 comments:

  1. while I know and you know they are just a minority
    They are?!? N'ah, don't think so. I thikn they are about 70% and under the age of 50. Young whippersnappers.

    "the rootinest and tootinest old curmudgeon, you'll meet"

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    1. It sure seems like it is 70% or more sometimes.

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  2. I only read the Reddit wildstar forums to be honest they have a pretty friendly community there.

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    1. The reddit forums are some of the best information places out there for the game, at least that I have found so far. Not many resources for the game just yet.

      Even the wikis out there like jabbithole are not all that helpful yet.

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  3. When I was involved in a good community and guild, I was subscribed to WOW for years, BC through mid-Cata. I had friends and a reason to log in, even if that reason was just to help someone else out. But time moves on, friends move on, work, family, etc…

    Since mid-Cata I’ve been subscribed for 3, maybe 4 months. Why…because the community is such a horrible cesspit. Maybe, I’m even part of the problem since I don’t communicate with anyone anymore. I don’t bother with the forums. I’ve even gone so far as to get an add-on to make my chat screen invisible, save for NPC speech, and have shut off all my in game chat channels all together. I don’t talk to anyone and even group content I just go solo.

    This is a direct result of people in game, just being plain mean. I like WoW, I enjoy playing the game and while you could make the argument that I should just grow a thicker skin, I don’t have too. I’ll just separate myself off from others, have my fun, then leave and go do something else.

    From a business perspective, my one subscription probably amounts to nothing. With that said though, how many other people limit themselves to the new content in the game and then leave because they just don’t feel like putting up with other people’s $#!t? Or don’t even sign up at all in the first place?

    Even forgetting about subscriptions, how does the community affect players in game? I am willing to bet there are a lot fewer tanks in game than there would be otherwise because of the community. I know I got tired of tanking pretty quick at the tail end of Wrath.

    Community in an online game is HUGE. These vocal “minorities” actively chase away what would be otherwise good players that would help the game grow and thrive. For the life of me, I don’t know why these game companies don’t clamp down on them

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    1. I too wonder why the moderators let people treat each other like crap like that. I little bit of a heavy hand to teach people this isn't the wild west where anything goes and the community will be a better place on the forums.

      Over all the people in wildstar have been awesome. The forums however give a much different impression.

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  4. I think that basing your assessment of a game's community on the forum-dwellers is a mistake. Maybe more people are like you than I thought (those who are veterans of other MMO's and look to the forums for actual, specific info rather than "wat's the best class to play lol") but I can't help but wonder why vets bother with the forums of new games at all given how they *know* what their home game's forums are like. And new (MMO) players might not even know that forums exist, let alone that they could be sources of help.

    IMO 95% of forum-dwellers are there either to stir up trouble or get entertainment from the trouble stirred up. From what I've read on various blogs (I don't play it myself) Wildstar's in-game community has been pretty decent so far except for the elitist "gold or gtfo" mindset of dungeons.

    Now, that could just be because raiding guilds are going to need 45+ people to be viable, so they are making efforts to actually attract people. Once they get a full roster, though? You'll probably start seeing those bad behaviours in-game a lot more. Give it 6 more months, and we'll see if those elitist pricks have managed to drive out most of the casual players.

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    1. I am not basing it on the forums. The people in the game have been pretty awesome so far, at least the ones I ran into. I have a lot of experience in gaming to know that the forums do not represent the community as a whole. I am talking about people who read the forums and do not know any better.

      The in game community has been amazing in almost every interaction I have had. That is one of the beautiful thing of being a new game. No one knows what they are doing so you are less likely to run across the elitist prick attitude that everyone should know everything the second they start the game. That is a HUGE problem in wow. People getting kicked from low level dungeons because they do not have herilooms on. It happens. What ever happened to people being new and treating everyone with the same respect. So wild star is new and does not really have that aspect in the game... yet.

      I tried to get into a "building" guild that advertised that they plan to raid and they were looking for 21+ players that are gamers either casual or hardcore that are willing to learn the game together.

      I said, I don't know if I am going to stick with the game but I am liking it so far and am looking for a guild to learn with. If I do hang around I have some experience being 14/14 heroic in wow so I think I could raid here as well.

      I waited, I waited, I waited, no response. So far I can not find a guild, at least not one that seems to my liking. Otherwise the people over all in the game seem helpful.

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  5. In an MMO I would go as far as stating "the community IS the game, what you pay for is just an medium to invoke interaction". Take a look at WoW from the single player perspective. Without other players - would you consider paying even the entrance fee? Would you pay a monthly subscription fee?

    That being said - even at WoW high times (I'd say until removal of the LFG channel) when the community in the game by and large worked, the forum always was a cesspool. But in my experience this is happening in every forum that is not strictly moderated and visited by a large group of people.

    So I'd rather be interested in your "ïn game" experiences. How's the community there?

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

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    1. Without others? I would still say wow is a good game solo. I would still buy it, I would still get to max level. I would still do lore master. I would still have a lot to do as a solo player not even using the match making system and only doing world pet battles.

      Now, would it keep me paying a subscription? Not very much longer after hitting max level. There is only so much the game can do on its own. It needs community to work.

      Now, as a solo player, a pure solo player. If I subjected myself to group content I would probably quit faster than if I just stayed in the world doing pet battles. The community in game is as bad as the one outside of game.

      As for wildstar, the community is game is amazing. I've stopped and helped people for no other reason but I saw them in trouble. They stopped to help me for the same reason. Lots of people grouping up, because you have to. Even normal mobs are shared tags, so enter a dungeon the same time as another person, not fighting for mobs, you work as a team, even if not grouped, to do some mass slaughter. When you say you do not know something they try to explain it.

      Over all the community is wonderful and a breath of fresh air and is absolutely nothing like the forums would indicate.

      However, that, I believe, is all because the game is new and no one knows anyone yet and is not that versed in playing the game. As time passes you will start to see more people with their "everyone should know that" attitude. So enjoy it while you can.

      With that said, there were many 3 person bosses that my first character waiting on a group, but later characters I just went in and soloed it, because I saw what its big moves were the first time and knew how to compensate. Didn't always work, sometimes I died, but yes, even the group stuff everyone says is hard, is hard but not too too hard. Just hard enough to make it worth making a group for buy not so hard that the groups will fail.

      That is an amazingly hard balance to pull off and I think they have done wonderful with it.

      If you have not tried it and are interested in doing so, I suggest giving it a try sooner than later while the community is all new. Once those jerks start making alts then you will see the trolls come out in the low level areas saying things like "lol noob, you didn't know that". I swear, anyone that talks like that in game should get an instant ban. It would make the community better.

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  6. Forums - there is nothing worse. If you want to kill your entire experience in a game, read the forums, participate in them and watch as your wish to play quickly disappears.

    I have never been on WoW forums and I enjoyed WoW immensly. For info on my class and whatever I want, forums are not a good place. It's usually specific class-cenetred blogs or forums where you can have everything from basic help to advanced theorycrafting.

    I have not been on the Wildstar forums and I have quite a lot of fun in it. I am just level 27 but I enjoy discovering things and crafting and housing. Of course I do read up on my class, on spec and stats and everything, but not on the forums.

    On TESO, I did the mistake of reading and being part of the forums. And that ruined everything. It made me sad, angry, annoyed and the only thing I kept thinking is - these people here on the forums are going to put this game into the grave. Rude, uncivilized, trolls, lacking any type of logic, attention whores, nay sayers, you name it.

    I have only more recently been on WoW forums because of my honey who for some reason did spend quite a lot of time there. And they are remarkably similar.

    I have come to this conclusion. Forums have an entire different breed of people. The ones that use specific words to offend like 'kiddies'; the ones that try to demolish someone's argument by using 'you clearly/obviously didn't / aren't / haven't' phrases, but not giving an actual argument. People trolling whatever they can from your armory, to your achievements, to your previous posts.

    But the worst part of forums are of one special type of person. The type that doesn't play the game much but lives on the forums. Is still level 17 or something but has thousand of posts. And the person comes there for one reason only - to disagree and to prove you wrong. They feel better but knowing that they proved they are a better person by 'coutering' your question / argument / request / whatever.

    I will give you one example. WoW forums. My honey asked a question - what is the point of a mechanic that has been since the beginning of a game. I will not go into details. Everyone sort of agreed it's useless and it's not flavour, it's an annoyance. But this forum person had to come and say - you don't understand the reasoning now, but in the long run you will see why it is good. To which my honey replied - 'in the long run? I have been playing since 2005 and I still don't see a point to it'. The thing is, this type of forum person is there to feel superior, logic is not important.

    Another example form WoW forums. Someone complains about bots and how you can see theya re bots bu their mechanical movements, their moving setting, them getting stuck in trees for hours. And then there has to be this one person who says - I get stuck in the trees for hours, that doesn't mean I'm a bot.

    Whatever you post or request, there will always be these people there telling you you are wrong to ask, you are wrong to request, you are just wrong. Whatever it is, you are wrong.

    And the sad part is - there are quite a few of these people on forums. Any forums.

    My advice - steer clear of forums. They will ruin everything.

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    1. Oh and I forgot one more type of forum people. The ones who say NO to everything.
      "Don't do THAT or it will destroy the game". No argument, no logic.

      And on non-WoW forums there's this other one
      "Don't do that or it will become like WoW and we don't want that". It's really quite funny. These people have no clue, understand nothing, they just want to hate and think saying "WoW has something" is a clear argument as to why something shouldn't be done.

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    2. I too have kept away from the warcraft forums. I think in my history I made two posts and both where to bump a recruitment thread. I never participated it. I am even against using it as a way to recruit. I mean, do I really want "those" people in my guild?

      I too am really enjoying wildstar. Hit 30 this weekend and leveling as really slowed to a crawl. Or so it seems because I am doing complete zones and all the quests. When I start a new zone and do like level quests it gets okay, otherwise leveling is fairly slow but the people in the game are great and nothing like those you see on the forums.

      I do have a question... how the hell does someone get caught in a tree for hours? No really. lol

      I see that one a lot, the don't do that or it will be like wow. For as much as I might complain about things, doing something to be like the #1 MMORPG in the world is actually a smart move, not a bad one. I might warn against a carbon copy of it, but using an idea that works is good for a game.

      Heck, if you try wildstar and take a look at warlords, you will realize that warlords IS wildstar.

      From a separate tradeskill bag to group quest mobs (rares in wow) that only give you something good the first time you kill them, to jumping puzzles, to so many other things. Warlords is copying wildstar because wildstar copied warcraft. Wildstar, which makes no attempts to hide it, takes ideas from wow and trys to make them better and now wow is taking them back from wildstar and trying to refine them even more.

      Copying games is how great games get made. Whoever says, don't do that it will be become like this other game, doesn't seem to understand that even if another game you might hate, there are some pretty awesome things worth taking from them.

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    3. dont forget the designers of Wildstar are pretty much the same ones who designed vanilla WoW.

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    4. A vast majority of them are, that is why it has a very wow feeling. There even was a quote from one of them that stated, paraphrasing, "we would like to make something like we did with warcraft except not repeat the same mistakes".

      This is why it has a similar feeling. It is very very grindy and boy oh boy do leveling professions means a lot of work. Have not done dungeons yet but from hearing those stories they are not something I would do unless I was on voice chat with the other 4 people. Even the low level ones.

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  7. related: Riot (Leaue of Legends developer) appears to be cracking down on toxic behavior more AND also naming and shaming those who complain about their bans.

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/07/riot-starts-getting-tough-on-toxic-players-with-instant-bans/
    --
    Regards,

    pot

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    1. I think that is a great idea. I have often said that if they released the names of the people that were banned for acting like assholes than it might scare some people away from mimicking them. Even if it stops only a few it would be a good thing. There needs to be consequences to their actions.

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