Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why are WoW players so defensive about their game?

Tobold bemoans the fact that fanboys are so quick to praise EVE or Darkfall or some other niche game while dismissing World of Warcraft and its millions of players.

This does happen and it is regrettable although perhaps understandable given human nature and fans' jealousy at the huge imbalance in popularity between WoW and their beloved niche game.

What is not so understandable is the touchy fanboyism that comes in the opposite direction. Why do players get so defensive when World of Warcraft is criticised? Why was there such an outpouring of hate towards Darkfall and its players from people who were not the game's target audience and who had no intention of ever playing the game?

World of Warcraft is the biggest, most popular, most polished mmorpg on the planet. It is a very good game. You don't need to feel guilty about playing it and you don't need to squash smaller niche games in order to justify your own WoW habit.

Be glad that there are niche games. Recognise that there is real innovation happening in some of these games. Recognise that some of them manage to achieve great things even if they don't manage to attract millions of player's


Tobold said...

In all fairness, there is a "and vice versa" in my phrase describing people praising EVE or Darkfall and dismissing WoW. I totally agree that this is something that works in both directions.

As you say, it is important that people look at the innovative bits that happen in niche games. What we get all too often is WoW players trying Darkfall, noticing that it isn't quite as polished as WoW, and dismissing it outright. And not just Darkfall, but also other highly original games like Puzzle Pirates or A Tale in the Desert. People basically blast these games for not having had the same huge development budget that WoW or WAR or SWTOR had/have.

mbp said...

I suppose having a smaller budget means you have to innovate. Small budget + WoW clone is not a recipe for success. Small budget + innovation just might get you a profitable niche.

By the way Tobold thank you for that succint analysis of why Gevlon's WoW economics would not work in the real world. Your comment about efficient and inefficient markets was spot on.

Thallian said...

My opinion is that pride leads to defensiveness. They are proud of WoW and therefore defend it fiercely. This precludes constructive debate sometimes though as you have noticed.

mbp said...

Perhaps its a function of the amount of time people put into mmos Thallian - We invest so much in our chosen game that any criticism of the game feels like personal criticism.

Tesh said...

Not just time, mbp, but money. Both impart a huge amount of "stickiness" for any long time MMO patron. It's easier to justify your expenditure when you build up the game in your own mind as being superior to any other way you could have spent that time and money. (No matter how delusional that may be.)

Anakh said...

When I was still playing World of Warcraft, I noticed this even within the game. More than once people would be discussing why the game didn't have some feature that they wanted. I would timidly point out that EQ2 or other games have that feature, if it is important to them. I was in no way criticizing WoW - I was playing it! But I got a storm of abuse about how EQ2 and other games were terrible, and how I shouldn't be mentioning other games there.

mbp said...

hi Tesh, Hi Anakh.

I have just had another thought - is it something to do with the "achiever mentality". I know that WoW caters heavily to achievers (in a Richard Bartle sense). Achievers are focused on "being the best" so the respond very negatively to anyone who suggests that their game is not the best?

Thallian said...

You could be right, it could have a lot to do with personal attachment

Anonymous said...

I'd echo Tesh's comment.

It's not that they are worse, it's that they need them to be worse in order to validate their own massive investment.