Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 18, 2010
I don't like bananas

I don't like bananas. I do like apples, and I eat one every day.

This is post #3000 on my MMORPG blog, so why the heck am I talking about bananas? The statement above is a simple statement of preference, and you probably couldn't be any less interested in what my personal preferences for fruit are. No banana fan is going to turn up to try to show me the error of my ways, telling me how the magnesium in the banana is good for me. No fans of apples are going to agree with me, or start calling the banana fans "a bunch of monkeys". We all understand that different people like different fruit, and there is absolutely no reason to get all excited about that.

I don't like Star Trek Online. I do like World of Warcraft, and I play it every day.

This is obviously the same template of a simple statement of personal preference. It is equally true. But suddenly I get commenters trying to explain to me how wrong I am, that I just happened to miss the good parts of Star Trek Online, or any other game I don't like. And I even get people accusing me of being paid by Blizzard to promote their game [For the record: I am not paid by Blizzard, nor do I receive any form of freebies or other goodies from them. I got a press pass to a Blizzard convention in Europe from them. Once. Two years ago. Travel not included.]. So why is the same type of statement of preference suddenly leading to so much more emotional reactions? The answer is in social identity theory. It describes the, quote: "natural tendency to construct identities based on group membership. Part of who you are –and how you communicate that to others– is defined by what groups you belong to."

When you pick a fruit out of a fruit bowl, you don't feel you joined such a group. Picking a MMORPG however requires a somewhat higher degree of commitment. There is usually a higher cost involved. And if you want to get anywhere in that MMORPG, you need to commit a serious amount of time to that game. Thus we perceive this choice as more important than choosing a fruit, and it is important to us to believe that we made the "right choice". We effectively joined the club of those haven chosen the same game as us, and those who choose a different game are a different group, and it becomes "us" against "them".

Because having made the "right choice" is important to us, anyone having made a different choice is perceived as a threat. At the very least we feel a need to demonstrate that the other guy's choice was "wrong", because it was obviously "us" who choose the "best" game, and not "them". That gets considerably worse if the other guy is a prominent blogger. Look, Tobold is one of "them", writing about the "wrong" game, quick, let's launch some personal attacks against him, some slander to discredit him. If Tobold plays a game with millions of subscribers and says he likes it, then obviously he was bought to influence those millions of mindless sheep, those dumb lemmings going for the lowest common denominator, the McDonalds of MMORPGs. We need to strike fast and hard to make people see the errors of their ways, how "our" game is so far superior, because there can be only one! It couldn't possibly be that a company managed to design a game which is appealing to so many people, and that Tobold just happens to be one of those many, there must be some hidden agenda!

Me, I'm standing there with that apple in my hand, scratching my head, and thinking that all these attacks, all this excitement about which is the "best" game, the "right choice", is getting old, fast. I made a choice, based on my personal preferences. Not only does nobody else have any business in telling me that my choice was wrong, not any more than they can persuade me to eat bananas. But I don't even see why everybody else is getting so defensive. My personal preferences of MMORPG features have been discussed at length, so that for example I don't like excessive instancing and soloing, or I don't like PvP, shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Nor should it surprise anyone if my likes and dislikes for specific games are based on those personal preferences of this feature or another. What your "right choice" for a game is depends totally on your personal preferences, not on mine.

And I do not have an agenda in promoting one game or another on this blog. I don't make any money with this blog. I don't go begging to MMORPG companies for freebies, or offer them deals to promote their games. When companies send me stuff, I accept it, but publicly disclose what I got. That disclosure was policy on my blog since my first freebie, long before the FTC made this a rule. I simply play the games I like, then, having an analytical mind, playing makes me think, and then I blog my thoughts. It is as simple as that. I might sometimes make mistakes in my reasoning, just like anyone does. But my choice of game I play, based on my personal preferences, is certainly not an error. Believe me, after 5,000 hours in the game I would have noticed.

People who think they need to attack me for my personal choices and preferences, out of some outdated tribal thinking, make me sad. I'll stick to apples.
I love bananas; you're just an apple fanboi!!!

Seriously though, I absolutely agree with you Tobold, and I don't really understand the furore about people getting so agitated with games. I guess I am somewhat insulated from that though as I don't really blog (a couple of attempts to blog regularly failed!) so I don't see the comments that you do, but I have seen that people really do have a problem with people liking a game the likes of which has never been seen before in terms of subscribers and lasting appeal (to have a game that is still near the top of the charts 4 years after release is no mean feat).

Not sure why they make you sad though - just ignore them; maybe eventually they'll go away!
It is not only a matter of fruit and taste when it comes to lifetime subscribtions.

Lifetime subscribtion is an investment and I believe that RPGs will have better odds of making it with swords and magic. I believe there is a bigger crowd for that type of games.

Swords and magic or guns and spaceships is a matter of taste but the whole MMO part of MMORPGs needs a large player base to work. Saving money on a lifetime subscribtion to a space MMORPG even if I loved it seems unlikely or too much of a gamble to me.

It is my money and my choice even if anyone proves me wrong I will still be happy about that choice.
Whatever MMO game floats your boat is okay by me. But you actually prefer apples to bananas? That's just crazy talk. :P
Of course. People love to belong to one camp or another and irrationally abuse anyone who doesn't agree with them. It's why wars happen.

Unfortunately one can talk as much sense as one likes but they will never listen, especially when protected by the anonymity of the Internet.

Alll we can do is accept it. Or purposively provoke them.
But apple has obviously changed in and of itself since you first took a bite of it so many years ago. And the apple as well as the change of the apple has affected the your opinion on other fruits (I'm sure you know of the affect of eating certain foods more then others, whether it is from getting used to them or getting sick of them).

Of course people would also like you to fully justify your opinion on apple, including things you may not know. Like did you know bananas give you much more energy? I eat bananas for this reason even though much of the time I am nutural on their flavour. Like how the Dungeon Finder, while amazing now may be cause degeneration within the game, since what is the use of the open world now that this tool to team up with players who might as well be bots is much more effective at gaining both experience and loot?

If you make a blog, open to the public, then expect others to ask questions as to WHY. If you don't like people questioning you then stop blogging. This is the internet, you cannot give a rubbish opinion without expecting to recieve a rubbish opinion back.

Your analogy is pretty faulty to say the least, of course I'm sure you didn't create it so people could go in depth rather as a simple example. But both the analogy and the content matter of what it represents has much more depth.

I personally think that in many cases that a game itself or the flavour of tasting the game and getting used to it can be more powerful then getting payed directly by a company. So I personally never thought you were getting payed and if you were I wouldn't think it affected your judgement.

But I do PERSONALLY (based on my own opinion and what I have read lately, maybe I'm just missing all the complexity? Who knows, this is just my opinion) doubt whether you (still; I haven't read the majority of your old stuff, but I think I remember seeing a few good ones) have an 'analytical mind', I don't want you to cram what you THINK you are down my throat, you make blog posts (opinions, interesting aspects, etc) and I personally should make that judgement. Gratz you are having fun playing WoW as a MW2 mod lately (join with X amount of random players and goto Y Map... I mean Dungeon), that isn't a MMORPG (a la community) for me.
Tobold, I thought you took the blog of a certain Banana-lover off your blog-roll and stopped reading it, so why does it seem you are referring to him here? ;)

Just ignore him and his existence, the sole purpose of his blog seems to be to provoke and troll and bait Apple lovers into meaningless debates full of half-truths and lies about Apples, while giving Bananas much more credit than they deserve.

Blog about the fruit you like, blog about the ones you don't and ignore the trolls that try to draw you into meaningless flame wars. Trust me, by ignoring their existence you'll piss them off much more than any argument of yours ever could :)
Fair enough, but it's not a particualrly good analogy.

I love olives. I love goat's cheese and Stilton. I love ultra-dry Manzanilla sherries and rich, red Jumilla wines. I love bebop and Flamenco.

What all those things have in common are that when I first encountered them I really, really didn't like them at all. Everything I listed above was something I wasn't just disinterested in but actively disliked.

However, because I was able to observe that other people whose opinions and thoughts I respected were able not just to tolerate those things but to seek them out and enjoy them, I realised that just maybe there was more going on than I yet understood. Instead of writing all these things off as "not for me" I persisted.

Some things, like peanut butter, it turns out I just don't get on with no matter how many times I try. Often, though, appreciation comes through experience. It's called acquiring a taste. And once acquired, a taste is generally with you for good, and your life is richer because of it.

(I eat two bananas and an apple every day, by the way. It's entirely possible to like both!).
I think that's why I prefer not having an allegiance to any one game.

I can look at the positives and negatives of a game objectively, and when I tire of it, I can just let the subscription die and try something new.

Of course, that's my preference. I don't know what everyone else's is. :)
I would very much like to disagree with you Tobold and launch a vicious, below the belt attack. I'd love that...

But I guess I'll go on reading your blog as I have been faithfully for the last three years or so. And I'll go on playing WoW. Because it remains a really, really good game.

Keep up the good work :)

Tobold, I thought you took the blog of a certain Banana-lover off your blog-roll and stopped reading it, so why does it seem you are referring to him here?

I did. But then I did stumble upon a post on the "angry fruit" blog, where the Banana-lover's accusations of me being in the pocket of the apple industry were quoted. I know it's just a diversion tactic so people don't look too closely at the 20% off each banana sale he gets. But me ignoring him doesn't prevent his slander to spread over the internet, which isn't pleasant.

And of course that is just one example of a far more general trend. Just look at the comment above from Joshua, last paragraph, where he basically says that because he disagrees with my preferences and thoughts on the Dungeon Finder, he questions whether I have an analytical mind at all. A big classic of internet discourse: "I don't agree with the result of your reasoning, thus you must be too stupid to think".
I hope I didnt come across as attacking you at all, I did agree with you in my first comment, I beleive - with my other comments mainly directed at other responses.

I appreciate what you do here and, just incase, apologise if anything I said in particular was easily misconstrued.
You are so right about this Tobold and I do believe that people should respect each others tastes and everybody should be polite to each other.

Unfortunately there's the little detail about reality. And that was why the concept of moderation was introduced.
Canon vs Nikon, Ford vs Chevy, Apple vs PC, Horde vs Alliance.....

It always blows my mind too.
Apples contain too much sugar.
You are entitled to your own opinion in the privacy of your own home but once you choose to share that opinion with the rest of us in this popular blog then you take on the added responsibility of not spreading misinformation.

The simple fact of the matter is that bananas are better than apples so you are wrong. Bananas have four times the protein, three times the phosphorus, twice the carbohydrates and five times as much vitamin a and iron as apples. Plus bananas are yellow.
First off this is why I hate analogies. People are arguing why the analogy doesn't fit rather than the point you were trying to make.

Second is that if you say you don't like Bananas I'm not going to not try one because of your opinion. The same is not true for a video game. As you said yourself video games have a higher cost involved so I'm not as willing to try something new if I know other people didn't find it fun.
bananas are gross.

honeycrisp apples ftw.
What I don't understand, you give an opinion with the possibility to comment on the opinion, and you expect that we comment with agreeing?

or if we disagree we answer in the same way you would do?

we are not thy and thy are not we.
I stumbled on your blog mabye a month ago and very much enjoying it...

A few thoughts:

If they don't like your blog and your opinion, they can stop reading it.

I like both apples and bananas, but don't like papayas.

As for WoW.. why I play (quest, acheieve, and rep), and why my boyfriend plays (raid) and our sons play (PVP) are all for completely different reasons. I think this is why the appeal of the game is everreaching.. this is not to say we play other MMOs.

As for STO, which piques my interest.. regardless of what your opinion is.. I will go form my own, cause frankly, I never have listened to anyone, why start now? ;)
I think part of it is that readers give too much power to the blog. I m mean, I read your blog, I bet alot of other people do too. If you don't like a game, and you tell a lot of people about it, maybe they won't buy it, or stop playing it. It's not rational, but its how some people think.

You're definitely entitled to your opinion, but I suspect the fact that you have decided to share it with the world means that you want to do more than tell us your personal preference.

To use your analogy, rather than simply saying "I like apples", your posts are more a case of:

"I like to enjoy food- particularly fruit. Of the fruit available at the market today, I enjoy apples the most. I tried a banana the other day and couldn't help but consider why I didn't enjoy it as much as my usual diet of apples for the following reasons..."

Based on this kind of opener, why are you surprised when the reactions tend to be:

-"Spot on with the apples, Tobold!"

-"I disagree with your observation on apples - for starters..."

-"Have you tried pears? You might find them similar to apples..."

-"Bananas are awesome, Tobold! Here's what you're missing..."
or if we disagree we answer in the same way you would do?

we are not thy and thy are not we.

I certainly wouldn't answer the same way you do, Mafti, you have a very unique style of commenting. Nevertheless I do not delete your comments, in spite of you disagreeing with me and using a different style.

However there are certain rules of civilized discussion which are at least generally known, if not generally practiced. I insist that the discussion in the comment section remains within the boundaries of those rules of civilized discussion. The probably most important of those rules is to keep the discussion about subject being discussed, and not turn it personal and make it about the person offering his thoughts.

Tobold: "I like the new Dungeon Finder, because it allows me to meet new people"
Good comment: "I disagree, I find the Dungeon Finder leads to groups with too little social interaction."
Bad comment: "You idiot, you're just being paid by Blizzard to promote WoW".

The difference between the good comment and the bad comment is not only that the good version hurts me less; but also that it allows the discussion to go forward, because if you make a counter-argument on the subject, I can reply with what I think about your argument, other people can add their thoughts, and so on.

But what am I supposed to answer to comments that are about my person instead of about my arguments. Am I supposed to answer with "Fuck you, you moron"? Am I supposed to helplessly flail about, explaining how I have an IQ of 134 and do not receive any money from Blizzard? Neither of which gets the discussion anywhere, and after a short while my comment section looks like the official WoW message boards.

Thus the rules, frequently repeated and linked to in the Terms of Service, that you need to keep your discussion polite and refrain from personal attacks. Is that too much to ask?

(Note that this sort of posts about me, where the subject of discussion is *me*, gives you the opportunity to say what you think about me without digressing from the post subject.)
The only thing that I wish is that you would at least give other games a proper try. For a very long time it has been completely apparent that you are addicted to WoW and just don't want to play anything else. Thus every other game you try just isn't that good, because it is not WoW.

I'm sure it doesn't seem that way to you. You don't like game X, because it has Y and Z and to you that opinion seems completely valid. Yet there is always that underlying comparison with WoW and not really giving the new game even a chance based on its own merits. You want every game to be as fun and polished as WoW is today and won't even try them out properly if they fail to meet that high standard.

I know what you're thinking. We've all read your opinions on that subject too. About why should you try a game that is clearly inferior to WoW and how a game should tell you it's good in the first 5 minutes or it's not worth it etc etc. I do get that.

But the constant comparing with WoW and always coming back to 'But WoW is just so much better!!!' gets tiring. If you get tired of reading Syncaine's constant 'Darkfall is so much better!!!' mantra, then yours is the same about WoW. It's been going for a few years now. I wish you would just blog about WoW only and not even try new games, because you won't give them a proper try. Or just somehow try to tear yourself away from the WoW addiction thing and really try to valuate new games on their own without the constant comparison.
You are just a fruit tourist and ruin other MMOs. :P

I dont know why people must defend their games against nothing. Especially when it is just an opinion. I have played tons of WoW. I have played about 10 or so other MMOS. None of the other ones could keep my hooked for long. WoW did.

All of those subscribers cant be wrong. It is fun. It is easy. It can be a challenge at the upper end. A little bit of something for everyone is a lot better than a lot of something for nobody.
Based on this kind of opener, why are you surprised when the reactions tend to be:

-"Spot on with the apples, Tobold!"

-"I disagree with your observation on apples - for starters..."

-"Have you tried pears? You might find them similar to apples..."

-"Bananas are awesome, Tobold! Here's what you're missing..."

Actually what you describe there is the IDEAL situation I'm trying to achieve. That is exactly the sort of good comments I'm aiming for. If only the people on the internet were as polite as this!
I think this all comes down to one issue. People will ALWAYS make personal attacks on anyone who puts themselves forward in a public arena (even if that arena is perceived as being theirs i.e. your blog).

To encourage debate and community the blog needs to be less sensitive to such attacks.

To ensure a pure message and to ensure that (on this blog) no one attacks you full moderation of no comments.

The reality is, that people will attack you outside the blog no matter what. Also if you drop comments or increase moderation you will likely see a decrease in the numbers of people reading the blog. So it is lose lose. The blog then becomes less than what it is now (in terms of readership and dialogue) and less people will care.

So, yeah I will always support more open moderation. Maybe a similar system to 'digg' or something where the comments that people most dislike can be hidden?

You know, as someone who has tried alot of MMOs lately I can tell you why Tobold has stuck with WoW. (in coming opinion) It is better.

I've played WAR, MO Beta, AoC, EVE Trial, and WoW over the last 12 months. WoW is just more fun to me. I'm not going to talk about the production value either, because we know where each game has it's down falls.

The reason Tobold... and the MAJORITY of gamers keep coming back to WoW is because Blizzard is trying to make it fun for them, him, and myself.

If you can't see the difference between someone giving positive reviews of a game without being paid and someone who is getting paid then you are simply not paying attention.

This was a great article, though not directly about MMO's, describes the same situation.
What if the banana or apple is bruised or rotten. Should I buy it or wait and see if they can find me one that is not damaged.

STO is a good example of this. I belong to the "I want my money's worth" tribe
Has it occurred to anyone here that the reason fans of other games (fruits) become so defensive is because they themselves feel they are being attacked for not liking the "obviously superior" product(as evidenced by the fact that millions of people can't be wrong, etc.)?

Nobody appreciates being told in one way or another that they are crazy/have no taste/don't know what actual fun is.

This does not excuse dishonorable conduct and ad hominems, but even in this thread we have commenters stating that WoW is OBJECTIVELY better/more fun/etc. Well, I for one don't like it. I guess that makes me a dirty, crazy banana-lover for not seeing the light?
@Aurel I think Tobold is allowed to blog about whatever the heck he wants :) This is a blog, not a gaming magazine.
I've put a whole bunch of effort into exploring other games, with months spent playing EQ2, Vanguard & WAR & weeks on EVE & Conan.

On the beta boards of many upcoming games I've seen a similar phenomenon. This urge by some to define themselves as "superior" to WOW players. Any suggestion that WOW does *anything* better than gets shouted down in a blaze of personal insults. A favourite one seem to be that someone who prefers feature X in WOW is some kind of paid stooge of Blizzard. The sad thing is that these fanatics are the worst enemy of rival games - they are so obnoxious that they drive people who might be interested away.

If I were a community manager of an up & coming game, I'd make damn sure I banned them. They cost more customers than they gain, by a wide margin.

For example, I might have been interested in finding out what Darkfall was like, but the behaviour of its more vocal fans made me think that I'd hate the community even if the game itself had been fantastic. As a result, i didn't even bother trying it.
I am a little confused as well. The idea started out as being that preference of fruit is a personal preference and no one should care or comment on that choice. But later on in the post and comments, it seemed to become more about the manner of those comments.

I agree that a constructive discussion for and against a point of view makes for a good read and I think the vast majority of Tobold-readers can get behind that. I can't follow you from there to "You shouldn't even care what I like since it's a purely personal choice." Of course people will want to comment on a viewpoint with which they disagree. The responsibility lies with them to do so in an intelligent way, or risk being ignored.

I also submit that the only difference between a gaming blog and a gaming magazine is the business model. The content and objectives are the same.
The mechanisme you mentioned is common within psychology (and also in marketing 101..). We all seem to need some reassurance after we bought a product, preferably from an "objective" source (which of course doesnt exist), stating that indeed we made a wise choice (naturally!). With i-net and all the public fora, this behavior seems to have mutated in something more compulsive (and maybe unhealthy): rabid product-fandom.

Not just games but virtually any product. I recall a discussion site from the starting days of internet in which the CPU section was the most active, people debating the pros and cons of INTEL and AMD cpus (although plagued by flamewars this was actually very informative, since all participants were extremely knowledgeble. You had to, or you and your post were shot down immediately).

As i see it most of these posts/comments/flames come from young(er) people, who may base a significant portion of their identity on the products they use. The rest comes from professionals in order to create or destroy a buzz for their employer and those who just like the game of provoking and arguing (these people are usually smart, eloquent and witty).
Maybe Tobold needs more fiber than most, that's why he likes apples. I'm an apple guy, myself, unless it's a banana cream pie...then my loyalty changes quickly.

Everyone has the right to stand up for which game he/she likes, but to put somebody else down for their choice of game is immature and laughable. Laugh, Tobold, laugh your way to enjoyment in a game you like to play!
I'm sorry, but you are wrong - or a super-casual gamer who shouldn't be writing about mmos if you still believe Wow is good. This is coming from someone who used to love Wow.

You have to understand that occasionally they are RIGHT, and your method of simply dismissing them by saying that "oh they're just following social identity theory and forming a group and attacking those who disagrre" is a way or dismissing them, and allowing your own point of view to stay put.

Besides, what the hell is wrong with pointing out why you like or dislike something? Maybe they'll change your mind. Cruel attacks are wrong, obviously, but dismissing something as meaningless disagreement simply because it's not the same opinion as you have is just as childish in my mind.

How is Tobold wrong? How can he be wrong for liking WoW? Isn't that his opinion? Aren't we reading HIS blog because we want to hear what HIS opinion is?

It's funny, your post is exactly what Tobold is writing about. You automatically assume Tobold is some how inferior to you because he likes a MMO you don't.

You even tried to insult him by calling him super casual and telling him he shouldn't be writing about MMOs.

If you don't like what he has to say, don't read it. If you disagree with him explain so in a logical and coherent manner. Simply saying You're wrong just further proves the point he is making.
Here's the crux of it. You have strong MMO opinions. I think sometimes you conceptualize yourself as an open-minded neutral observer, but it's really not the case. There are things you like, and things you don't, and things you hate. And that's fine. But not everyone is going to agree with you. So the solution is either to moderate your opinions (which makes for a pretty bland blog) or not to worry about the complaints so much.

Also, if you're moderating all the "bad replies" out, then no one else ever sees them. And when you write posts like this one complaining about people's negative opinions, and all the viewers see are the "go get 'em Tobold!" and the "I respectfully disagree" replies -- we're left to wonder what the complaint is about in the first place. Maybe just stop feeding the trolls?
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