Sunday, January 16, 2011

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

A week or so ago, I got called arrogant and elitist for jokingly suggesting that people stop posting divisive threads on a forum. I chuckled. I've yet to venture officially onto the DCUO forums, deciding instead to lurk and read the madness as it develops. And develop it has. I wonder sometimes whether its my age, but I have never understood some of the practices that come about on these things. The levels of egocentrism and delusion that must exist in the minds of some of the posters is amazing.

I simply cannot fathom what would bring someone to waste their time posting with such passion and vitriol on subjects which anyone with two pence of common sense would know they are wasting their time contributing. Does WiggyBoggy276 really think that Sony Online Entertainment is going to completely redesign their game because he has a gripe with the way that the interface works? Do they really believe that anyone cares if they, singularly, threaten to 'leave' the game? Do they think that the best way to represent their customer service issues is on a forum where they type in l33t-speak and represent themselves as an image of the Mad Hatter?

Of course, these people have valid concerns... or do they? I mean the game is what it is, after all and whether you like it or not is the gamble the developers have taken. If you don't like it, you don't like it - thats always the case with any product. DCUO is a very different game from WoW. It has dispensed with some of the familiar tropes of MMOs and brought in some stuff from the console genre. In a world where games are readily disregarded as 'WoW Clones', this game is a very different consideration and some people could find that hard to handle.

Of course, there are also problems when it comes to expectation. A lot of people come to a game with very closed minds. Clamped down minds with deep set parameters that run from the way buttons should be pressed, the way the canon is represented and to some, the way that the game expands upon their favourite comparative game. So if the character generation isn't as intricate as CoX, the game is 'fail', if the powers cannot mimic every single power as represented in the comics, 'fail. If the game doesn't have exactly the right buttons in the right places ... fail.

I'm unsure what these ragers against the machine think they will achieve and I wonder whether they operate the same rules when it comes to other products? Do they contact the publisher of a book and demand that an aspect of character development is altered because they don't like it? Do they barrage their local supermarket with demands that the recipe on their pizza be changed, lest they cease buying pizza? Do they raise petitions for changes in the design of a new car, as they find the knobs in an inconvenient position?

And all this after less than a week. To quote a friend - People are weird!


Brendan Falconer said...

C'mon though, you can't really be that surprised. People react most strongly to change, especially change they regard as a negative.

DCU isn't WoW and isn't CoX, so the sky is falling in!! The game is a week young and adjustment is accompanied by all the yelling at the sun and shit-flinging the internet allows. It'll settle down over time... Well, to a degree.

As for why they bother? Simple human nature coupled with a forum to bitch, moan and complain. You ought to know this one well enough... If you give people an opportunity to voice their opinions, they will! If you give illiterate nyuck-nyucks an opportunity to sling shit, they will!

Vodkashok said...

Ah, you know me Bren? I'm a rosy-eyed optimist that hopes that eventually the world will gain some perspective on the madness that they see and just shut the **** up instead of bitching and moaning. I'm like the living embodiment of a Miss World speech...

Brendan Falconer said...

I saw a product review of DCUO on Amazon the other day, it was a 1-star review that amounted to nothing more than a bitch-fest re: the subscription fee and how it is madness to charge for a console game like that...

Clearly it was a new idea to the guy posting the review. He'd never (somehow!?) encountered the MMO subscription model before and it BLEEEW HIIIS MIIIND! The response, obviously, was negative.

DCUO seems to be very different to other MMO's, and I guess the collective video game audience doesn't quite know how to deal with it yet. Therefore: New = Bad = Bitching.