Tobold's Blog
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Building a virtual padded cell

With Aventurine now refusing to have their game re-reviewed, Darkfall fans declaring war on Eurogamer via YouTube, and the Eurogamer reviewer receiving death threats, neither side is coming out very well from this conflict. To most people it looks like a fight of unprofessional game reviewer vs. the looney fringe. You could call the Darkfall fans "passionate", but they do have a history of aggression against anyone daring to say anything critical about their game.

Of course that can be fun. A bit like one of those monkey with cymbals toys: You press the button, the monkey predictably starts making a lot of noise. You criticize Darkfall, the looney fringe is going rabid on your forum / comments section. But of course, just like the cymbal monkey, that gets old rather quickly.

So to contain the looney fringe, I have a proposal for all gaming blogs and sites: We build a virtual padded cell by not mentioning Darkfall again. Ever. Whatever outrageous act they might commit next to try to get our attention. We delete all Darkfall comments from this point on, and forget the game even exists. We remove all Darkfall blogs from our blogrolls and RSS feed readers, and let them rave in their virtual padded cell. Because once you stop giving them any attention, they can't hurt you any more. The problem will simply go away, and we aren't confronted with the unpleasant option of either saying dishonestly nice things about Darkfall, or living in fear of the looney fringe.
Can we do the same to Second Life so it stops getting covered in the news media every time some politician tries to connect with "the internet demographic" and gets hit with a penis-grenade?
This comment has been removed by the author.
wow, tobold. after around a year of being a regular reader, i finally want to smack you upside the head.

i'm not a darkfall player, and don't intend to be, but i think it's pretty clear you're about as unbiased on this issue as hockey is a women's sport. you're seriously going call for a moratorium on darkfall coverage because of a few fanboys being whipped up into a frenzy due to a review full of lies about a game they are loyal to? that's pretty absurd.

you clearly don't like darkfall. no big deal. you clearly don't like its fanbase in general. ok, fine. but then you're going to sit there and blindly defend what was obviously a reviewer's vitriol and falsehoods against a game he was too freaking stupid or lazy to learn and understand, who then lied through his teeth all the way through a review, a review he wrote with no other intention than to harm the game in question, simply because of his feelings. simply because he could. you're defending that, and then throwing all other fans of darkfall into the "looney fringe" category when they get angry and retialiate. simply because you can. do you feel better now?

i thought you we
ere better than that. i guess i was wrong.
On a forum it would be called "don't feed the trolls". It has nothing to do with what the trolls are for or against, but everything with defending a certain level of reason and style in the discussion.

You can't let people get away with using death threats and declarations of war on YouTube, no matter how unfair the game review was. But if it makes you feel better, I'm not covering Eurogamer on this blog either. :)
That approach usually backfires Tobold. Usually its the places that heavily moderate to encourage reason and style that stagnate the fastest.

Anyways, you need some proportion. Go read the Metal Gear Solid 4 review by Eurogamer, something which is far more controversial. They aren't nerd raging over a review that has factual errors and malice, they are raging over a game given an 8/10.
Whatever way I read this post Tobold it sounds to me like you are doing the exact opposite of what you claim to be doing. You are singling out Darkfall, a small niche game that the majority of gamers are unlikely to want to play and you are giving it special attention.


Apologies if I am extrapolating too much here Tobold but I further infer from the tone of your post that you dislike the game and you dislike the people who play it.

Again I ask why?

Why does Darkfall and the people who play it generate such antipathy among gamers who have no interest in that type of game in the first play? It makes no sense to me.
I think it's pretty fair to put up a "Don't feed the trolls" sign when a game reviewer who expressed his opinion on a game gets death threats.

I can't say exactly where the line is, but damn, I can say that crosses it. If you have ever EVER considered killing or threatening to kill someone for expressing an opinion about something as silly as a game, even if they insult it any and every way humanly possible, beyond all shreds of human decency, you are still in the wrong. It's time mommy and daddy stop letting you play games.

oh wait, I SEE WHUT U DID THEIR, by having me comment in this post i'm contributing to the opposite of what you propose.

Clever Tobold! You got me.
On something of a tangent - I'm never entirely convinced of the merits of a "professional" review. Certainly, a review which doesn't contain factual inaccuracies is good, but often "professional" seems to be taken to mean "attempting to be objective".

You can't be objective about art. It's just not possible. The greatest film critics in the world aren't objective about film, and the best game reviewers (I'm thinking Yahtzee here) are the most personal.

All a review can do is give a personal opinion. And I'd rather read an opinionated one than a muted, voiceless, faux-impartial attempt to avoid offending anyone.

It's more useful AND more entertaining.
Tobold isn't singling out Darkfall for special attention. He's showing that he's unwilling to let people who make death threats against people *in defence of a game* show what their outbursts get them; nothing at all.

I can honestly not believe that some people have such little self esteem that they will actually threaten to *kill* someone for criticising a game. What in the hell does that say about those people's social skills, and ability to live in what we call the real world? It shows that they are awfully deficient, and it's not the game of Darkfall that causes them to be like that. Darkfall is a game like any other, and since this is Tobold's blog, with Tobold's views, he can suggest whatever he wants.

I think some posters here might be making themselves the subject of Tobold's post. Remember, if you are a well adjusted individual who can understand and deal with criticism, that's fine. If you can't - well that's also fine. At the end of the day Tobold's views are fine to stay on his blog, and its up to the rest of you if you follow them.

As for me - well, I'm waiting to see if more people actually take the bait!
For shame Tobold. A post like this and you dont even mention "Darkfall" in the topic line for the feeders? heh...nice one :P
There are sick WoW gamers as well who send death threats to Blizzard because their class was nerfed. Will you ban WoW or any other game where this happens from your blog too?

I don't think any major MMO would be left to talk about. ;)
Well, Tobold would never, ever take a shot like this at WoW. No matter what it's fan base would do, TObold would never, EVER, stop talking about WoW.

As for Darkfall, I started playing it this weekend and yes: the reviewer lied through it's teeth. It's a hard and unforgiving game, it doesn't give you instant gratification as other games do. It has flaws but those aren't, for me at least, game breaking. I want to play a merciless PvP game where you have to rely in your clan in order to progress. I got it now.

My main game will still be carebearz WAR. But Darkfall has it's appeal and I'm glad I'm playing it.

And ironically, was precisely that review that made me buy it.

Hmmm?... I see yet another constipation theory.

Anyway Tobold, regards from the "looney fringe". Your QQ insults are music to my ears. ;)
Ah, Wyrm, so it was you who was making those death threats? ;)

Anyway, not talking about Darkfall is exactly what the Darkfall community has been asking for. I haven't played more than 9 hours of that game, so anything I would say would be considered unqualified by them. So what exactly would the Darkfall players want me to do when I'm not playing that game?
I agree. Lock this thread and never speak of any of it again. How is Free Realms going?
You must be mistaken, there is no game called Darkfall.

Now that's settled, let's talk about building a budget deck in Free Relms.
Or Tobold saw the huge spike of people that went to the Eurogamer to read the bad review and post on their forums, and he figures if he trashes Darkfall he will get them to nerd rage and bring more traffic to his website.
Seeing credible death threats in that Youtube self-parody war declaration video is a bit like seeing soft porn in Mass Effect.
While "don't feed the trolls" is a good strategy, I fear that you just gave them a banquet. If anything, this will have the exact opposite effect: The Darkfall fans will use this as proof that there is really a conspiracy, strengthening the Us vs Them mentality and Darkfall's reputation as the game for the hardcore.
Yes, because we don't want a niche game to succeed, do we. It's wow all the way, baby.
How did this even become about WoW? It's sad how some people use WoW as the boogieman, a complete nonsequitor to throw in and get people riled up.
What youtube video exactly are you refering to Tobold?
Professionalism isn't about objectivity ... it's about things like due diligence, for instance not throwing your hat in because you dislike the first couple of hours of a game.

If you really can't get past that then write an editorial about how hard the early game sucks, making it impossible for you to do a proper review.

In my opinion if you don't play at least ~40 hours in a MMORPG you can't do a professional review ... and even then you need to be honest and tell people you can't judge the end game without being part of a well run guild. For some MMORPGs putting this much time in will be a tortuous affair ... but if it was always fun it wouldn't be a profession.
Re: the original post:

This fanboy saga has pretty much killed all my interest in Darkfall.

It doesn't bode well for a game when its own developers encourage their fanbase to such extremes.
Carefull.. Syncaine will be round with the pitchforks and a mouthfull of 'wow tourist' quips to repeat ad nauseum if you continue this line of thought.
For people who don't want to talk about Darkfall, you sure talk a lot about Darkfall. In fact, you people talked about Darkfall a lot more in here than any upcoming games (Old Republic MMO, Star Trek, Champions Online, Aion...) or any already existing popular games (Runequest, Maple Story, Warhammer, Puzzle Pirates, Lotro...).

Now, why is that?

A bit jealous of its success, eh? You all wished a PVP-based game to die horribly in the first week that it was launched and now you're bitter that your expectations have been proven wrong?

I really don't get it. I don't play the game myself, but I've never seen this much hatred and vitriol against any other game in a long, long time.
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