Archive for Entitlement

No Man’s Hype

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , , on August 28, 2016 by chemiclord

As a disclosure, I have not purchased or played No Man’s Sky, and have no intention to, either.  I suspect I’d lose a year of my life playing that game that I really need to spend doing other things.

It’s bad enough I’ve already poured 155 hours into Starbound.

But this isn’t a game review, nor would one be worthwhile at this point.  Depending on who you talk to, No Man’s Sky is either a pioneering attempt into a “universe” sized gaming experience, with easily $60 worth of exploration and discovery to do, or it’s a ham-fisted failure at both exploration and survival that was advertised as something completely different and a lie of an experience that should be punished for fraud.

No, I’m writing about the runaway hype train, and inevitable crash into the wall of disappointment, it became.  Bear with me, because there really isn’t any “good” guys here.  From developers to players, everyone bears their little sins in the flameout and rage this game has inspired.

Let’s start with Sean Murray and the crew at Hello Games.  Perhaps they’re new to the industry, and didn’t quite understand that when you say something in the pre-release period, it effectively becomes a promise.  “What we want to do” becomes “What we will do”, and by God will the fans let you know if they think you broke a “promise.”

Gamers as a rule don’t really understand iterative development, nor do they particularly care.  In some ways, they shouldn’t be expected to either.  There’s a reason why more and more experienced game developers aren’t saying anything until the project or feature is damn near finished, and Hello Games seemed to miss that memo down the line.

Whether that is fair or not, that’s the reality of the gamer population, and to press on up to four months before release with trailers that didn’t live up to the product was dooming your game to a very bitter reception.

On top of that, when Murray tried to walk some of the expectations back, it was in a very tepid and passive manner that gamers were nigh certain to ignore.  Most people don’t read the 10pt font correction of yesterday’s headline on page 19A of today’s paper, and very quiet attempts to correct the rails on the train (because you don’t want to scare off sales) only led to a bitter blowback that hurt future sales (and future titles) even more.

If you’re going to make a correction, it needs to be as firm and declarative as any of the prior hype, if not more so.  If you’re going to try and direct the train, you can’t be wishy-washy about it, because the fans will take the controls and drive it straight into a wall, then scream at you for months for letting them do it.

Which brings me to the fans, and their own culpability in the process.  Gamers can be some of the most fickle, entitled, and obnoxiously demanding people on the planet, and there was no greater example of this than with the hype of No Man’s Sky.  They demand “transparency” then get angry when said “transparency” tells them things they don’t want to hear.  Then get angrier when developers go silent because gamers demand “transparency.”

It helps to understand that gamers don’t really want transparency or a dialogue.  They don’t really just want to talk.  “Transparency” is a dog whistle for “I want to yell at the developers and threaten them because they ruined my fun.”

And even if you decide not to engage in the hype train, they’ll build that train and drive it themselves.  There is no small amount of conjecture (not just with No Man’s Sky, but with damn near any game that gets significant attention) that increasingly has nothing to do with any official or even unofficial statement… and guess who they blame when the final product doesn’t deliver on their runaway speculation?

Here’s a hint; it’s not themselves.

To players, I don’t know how to say this gently, but if you actually want a healthy dialogue, you as a whole need to learn how to dial it back.  Not everything is a promise.

You don’t improve gaming when you turn into a bitter mob ready to torch the Internet whole because you didn’t get everything you wanted.  You make it harder to get the sort of products you want because when you start sounding like a perpetually unsatisfied conglomerate of voices… eventually your targeted audience is going to hit the mute button, and stop talking entirely.

On Entitlement (Again)…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , on June 18, 2015 by chemiclord

It should come as no surprise that I cringe at the invocation of the word, “entitled.”  It also should come as no surprise that when it comes to fan entitlement pertaining to content decisions of the creator, that I will near always side with the content creators over the fans.

The word has come to have an extremely negative connotation, one that isn’t always deserved.

The term has emerged again most recently in Guild Wars 2 fandom (a game that I still play with some degree of frequency), pertaining to the impeding release of the games first expansion pack.  Many “veteran” fans are furious for a bevy of reasons, and in the spirit of total fairness, the fans aren’t entirely in the wrong.

The first complaint is that $50 is simply too high of a price tag for what has been presented.  I’m not in disagreement, in all honesty.  That’s something that can be rectified as more information pertaining to the expansion is released, but at the moment, it’s not enough for the “industry standard” price tag that has been slapped on it.  You’re asking for fans to fork over money sight unseen, and Arena.net hasn’t particularly given a compelling reason to do so yet.

Still others are angry that purchasing the base expansion doesn’t come with a free character slot, something that previous games under the Guild Wars umbrella has done in the past.  Again, I’m in agreement.  There needs to be a compelling reason to break from precedent, and Arena.net has offered pretty much nothing but silence.

Entitlement doesn’t always have to be a bad thing… and in these complaints, you are seeing the positive side of it.  Standing up for what you think is a fair price to you is something that should be applauded as sound customer thinking.  And if the protest actually stirs a change in the original plan, then it can only be a victory for customers everywhere.

But, unfortunately, I can’t completely side with the fans, because once again, we have the shitty, toxic element whose beef isn’t the price or the lack of bonus perks… but that purchase of the expansion will come with the base game at no extra cost for new players.  In summary, they aren’t angry because they feel cheated, they’re angry because they feel someone else is getting more than them.  If you’re a member of this group, let it be known you’re a terrible person who needs to be summarily ignored and your complaints dismissed without merit.