Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
 
A living contradiction

Wolfshead proclaims that he has found a revolutionary new game which is far more intelligent and superior to dumbed down World of Warcraft: Zynga's Farmville/Frontierville. When not so long ago he was complaining about the Zyngafication of the MMO industry. How much did Zynga pay the man?
Comments:
Reading comprehension required when Wolfshead said:

"As someone who is hesitant to get on board the bandwagon du jour, I have been naturally suspicious of social games. But after extensive experience immersing myself in social games like Frontierville and others, I have come to realize that some of these games allow for personal ownership, creativity and expression — all which are dimensions that are sorely absent in most MMOs."

A blogger's well thought out change in attitude required your sensationalist diatribe?
 
It's almost as if he dislikes one aspect and likes another!!! If you grab the pitchforks, I'll start lighting torches!
 
I think WolfShead has hit the nail on the head to a certain extent and his article is well thought out.

It has been a very long time since I have felt any ownership of my wow characters or that the feeling that I have a stake in the game with their development.

Can anyone honestly say WoW is anything but a random dungeon and daily 'yawn' quest game anymore?

Yeah there is an expansion, but nothing to excite me, it is still the same rinse cycle. Level for a month or two... watch raiders get game content in patches... closer the next expansion a token 5 man dungeon... then argue with over-geared idiots wanting to skip dungeon content for get their emblem fix.

I'm happy to leave my alts in limbo as I really don't give one about them anymore.

Where is the personal ownership, creativity and expression?

There isn't any.
 
Wolfshead wants player housing in WoW and he would ally with the devil himself if it would advance his cause.

Go back and look at his list of questions he would like to see asked of Blizz at BlizzCon. Right up front, player housing.

This despite the fact that Blizzard has made their view pretty clear. Blizz does not want its player base invisible in their little homes, it wants vibrant, populated cities. That is why the auction houses are still in the old capital cities, so when new players show up, the game isn't completely dead with everybody in Dalaran. Compare this EQII, where cities often feel completely empty unless there is some special event going on. Players are in their homes, their guild halls, trade skill instances, or out in the field. There is little to draw people out to create any sort of city life.

Now, maybe you don't care about a vibrant city and you would prefer to have a little space of your own. That is great. But that is just not in Blizzard's vision of WoW, which they have clearly explained, and I don't see an ongoing series of derisive or over the top sarcastic posts really changing that.
 
I think he just hates the WoW devs so much for not doing housing that he's jumping on Farmville just to make a point.
 
Since he is not as onesided as you thought (big surprise), he now is contradicting himself?

He's rather contradicting your opinion about him. Which he has actually done before; a lot.
 
What was your motivation for posting this Tobold? I don't see the purpose. Payback for criticism from Wolfshead?
 
Wolfshead basically wants to flame mainstream MMOs with a particular emphasis on WOW. He complains about the lack of all kinds of features in WOW that he wouldn't enjoy if they did put them in - otherwise he would go and play games that have those features and quit whining about how WOW does what most people want instead of what he claims to (but does not actually) want.

Personal ownership, creativity and expression are absolutely a part of WOW. You can customize your class, race, gear, spec, look, pets, mounts and other things. Soon you will even be able to customize your dances, which Wolfshead makes fun of despite the fact that it is exactly the sort of thing he claims to be wanting! His problem is that WOW doesn't allow him to have a house, and the reasons for WOW not having player housing are both numerous and compelling.

Note that WOW isn't perfect and there are plenty of things Blizzard could do to improve it. The things Wolfshead whines about are not those things however, and Tobold is bang on in mocking him.
 
Ravious said "A blogger's well thought out change in attitude required your sensationalist diatribe?"

I could subscribe to that opinion if Wolfshead's piece didn't devolve into his standard rant about wanting housing in WoW.

He makes it clear that Zynga is just a hammer with which to hit Blizz over the head. Then he pulls out the ancient quotes from Blizz and ignores more recent statements on the subject.

He wants his house in Azeroth dammit!

So yes, reading comprehension is required, but you also have to persist to the end of his post and have a bit of context to boot.

This is not a blogger's well thought out change in attitude but a simple retrenchment of his ongoing view on player housing.
 
I can't be bothered reading Wolfshead's shit, but from a couple of paragraphs and skimming the subheadings, it did remind me of something I've been saying for a while: if someone builds a good sandbox MMO with a city-building (rather than conquering) endgame - a sandbox more like Sim City than Lord of the Flies - they will have an absolute smash hit on their hands.
 
Having "creativity and expression" in a game doesn't stop if from being god awful.

Farmville/etc prove that.
 
@tagn: if by 'vibrant cities' you mean racial slurring hiding behind keyboard troglodytes, then Blizzard has hit their design goal! :)

Last time I was in IF there were 23 straight lines of [anal] jokes. Blizzard needs to create insulation faster than mature adults can hit 'unsubscribe'.

(yes, that stereotype is far too common in cities. May be a minority, but an awful vocal one).
 
Tobold you monstrous tabloid journalist! How dare you point out the obvious flaws and indeed hypocrisy that plagues most of the people who hate "themeparks"! Curse you!

On a lighter note: I quite like Wolfshead, because he at least makes the occasional good point. His crusade for housing in a game he apparently hates is baffling, but, then again, most critics of Blizzard are. Oh well.
 
EQ2 cities only feel "completely empty" on low population servers. On high population servers the cities are reasonably busy.

One aspect of EQ2 often missed by people who don't play it regularly is that there is a major incentive to visit other people's houses; buying directly from the Sales displays in a person's house saves up to 40% in brokerage fees. Even though the hosuing is instanced you have to travel through the non-instanced city to get to the house door, adding a good deal of through-traffic.

Personally, housing is now a must-have for me in MMOs. Without it the entire experience seems adrift. The addition of housing to WoW, however, would not entice me to go back to Azeroth.
 
I'm always amused when comments suggest that if Blizzard did some certain thing then it would have a hit on their hands...as if WoW wasn't already a hit and on the verge of being shut down.
 
@ Sky

Woot dances, sign me back up right now!

Personal ownership, creativity and expression are absolutely a part of WOW. You can customize your class, race, gear, spec, look, pets, mounts and other things.

What you list is pretty much generic in every MMO.

Some MMO's break that mould and go a whole hog further.

Lotro housing does not destroy the game, or centres of population. In fact it adds a level to the game in terms of trophies, extra storage and allowing friends to access that storage if you wish.

Creating a sense of investment and ownership of a fictional character.

I believe the ability to create ownership and investment goes hand in hand with the RPG elements.

I now call WoW a MMOAPG... 'A' being 'Arcade'. It will not change from being a rush to max-level and play end level arcade games with other players who are as generic in origin and look as you.
 
I'm always amused when comments suggest that if Blizzard did some certain thing then it would have a hit on their hands...as if WoW wasn't already a hit and on the verge of being shut down.
It's a textbook example of the Moving the Goalposts fallacy. If WoW can't be seen as a failure in the MMO genre, then it should be compared to virtual worlds and Facebook games.

Nevertheless, I think that his core point is sound. The desire to be unique is a very powerful force to harness; It's comparable to loss aversion, envy-based cash shops and enforced viral marketing.
 
Ask anyone what they think about player housing. I'm sure the answer will be positive. So, why doesn't it get implemented?

The reason why player-housing is not in WoW is because in reality that's not "what players want". I bet that other priorities (e.g. raid content, class balance) are more important to them. Blizzard has undoubtably did their market research. By doing a cost/benefit analysis, player housing is much lower down the scale.

Thus, it doesn't get implemented.
 
Why so hard on Wolfshead? He just thinks that WoW lacks any sort of ownership or personal space, which seems like a justifiable position. No need to go all syncaine on him, maybe consider laying off him a bit.
 
I do not believe this can logically be considered a direct contradiction, it is merely the natural progression of a singular line of thought if you read some of his earlier posts. A well written progression at that.
 
Why so hard? Because he is taking such an extreme position: He says Farmville is better than WoW, because at least Farmville has housing. That is complete bullshit, because obviously Farmville is lacking everything else that a MMORPG needs.

I'm in no way opposed to any reasonable argument that World of Warcraft could be improved by adding housing to it. But that argument should rather propose a practical solution (Housing how exactly? Instanced? Open world?) than making completely ridiculous and general judgements like "WoW is worse than Farmville".

The man has to decide whether he loves or hates World of Warcraft. On the one side he is writing a constant stream of invectives against WoW and its players, on the other side he complains that he didn't get invited to the Cataclysm beta, or about some minor missing feature. I actually prefer Syncaine in that respect: Syncaine hates WoW, so he simply doesn't play it. No contradiction there.
 
The man has to decide whether he loves or hates World of Warcraft. On the one side he is writing a constant stream of invectives against WoW and its players, on the other side he complains that he didn't get invited to the Cataclysm beta, or about some minor missing feature. I actually prefer Syncaine in that respect: Syncaine hates WoW, so he simply doesn't play it. No contradiction there.

Tobold, I sometimes hate your blog. You have strong opinions that you often do not want to discuss in a constructivve manner. You do injustice to people like Wolfshead. You often do not understand the best written comments on your own blog. (I am not even talking about mine :).

Then again I do read your blog. I do enjoy it. You have a nice style. You often taggle interesting topics. You have a handful of intelligent commenters and you are read by a lot of people.

Sometimes there a good things and bad things about something. Wolfshead acknowledges what Blizzard has achieved. He even congratulates them often. He thinks that the well deserved success estabilishes a special responsibility when it comes to innovation in the MMO industry.

He critizises hard and he praises decidedly.

In German that is known as the art of "Einerseits. Andererseits".
(Translation: "On the one hand, .. on the other hand")

Farmville is not better then WoW, but it is better in some aspects. Like number of players or player housing.

His argument about player housing is worth consideration. And it is the first time I read it in the bloggosphere. He is one of the few bloggers who do not rehashing what others wrote all the time, but has his own ideas that are often very worth reading.

But you need to be able to understand his "Einerseits. Andererseits".
 
And if Wolfshead has the right to express his opinions in extremes about WoW, then why are you coming here to tell me that I don't have the right to express my opinion about Wolfshead in harsh words? Why would I be under any obligation to express my opinion in moderate and balanced terms if Wolfshead is not?
 
Player housing in Farmville? ZOMG - sign me up, what kind of raids they got?
 
@Nils: Wolfsheads arguments for playerhousing are far from new. He wrote a similar post in the beginning of 2009, which I wrote a reply to where I concluded that it's a "nice to have" thing rather than a must to me. I'm currently pondering upon wheter to write a post addressing this issue again or not. I sometimes fear that we're just repeating ourselves as bloggers in patterns that eventually become pretty much predictable. We know how certain bloggers will write about a current issue before tehy've even gotten started. The same procedure, the same dance, over and over again.
 
"And if Wolfshead has the right to express his opinions in extremes about WoW, then why are you coming here to tell me that I don't have the right to express my opinion about Wolfshead in harsh words?"

Here we go again, with Tobold thinking that people are saying what he should write instead of reading oppinions :)

On the other hand, writing something harsh about a thing and writing something harsh about a person are very different... things. When it gets personal, it gets stupid. Did he wrote about you, Tobold?
 
Did he wrote about you, Tobold?

You did. So did most of the other commentors. Basically you are using different standards for how I should behave, and how Wolfshead and you are allowed to behave. That is fundamentally unfair. The day you all stop saying unkind things about me, I'll stop saying unkind things about other bloggers. Promised!

On the other hand, writing something harsh about a thing and writing something harsh about a person are very different... things.

I'm attacking Wolfshead's OPINION that Farmville is better than WoW, by pointing out how he said the opposite not so long ago, and on the basis that you can't reduce a vast and complex game like WoW to a single issue like housing, and then point to one game which ONLY has housing, but is missing all the rest of the gameplay of a MMORPG. I'm more than willing to call that opinion stupid, but I didn't call Wolfshead stupid.
 
Actually Wolfshead did write about Tobold as consequence to that small post. It is in one of his comments and it is not nice, either. I certainly do not support that.

There are too much unreflected emotions here, unfortunately.
 
"That is fundamentally unfair."

Why, Tobold, we expect higher standards of behavior from you, that's why! :)

Anyway, why does it matter if he says things like that? Why waste time and cause discussions over something obvious as that? Why write about anyone's opinions? They're not in a position where they can make a difference. They're not CEO of Secretary of State. Let them be with their wrong and contradictory posts. Anyone who has played the two games can see it's wrong and anyone who didn't will figure it out as soon as they play.
 
The need of talking about each other comes from the need of the minions to get attention. If you just write about things and philosophies no one will care. If you write about other everyone will applaud and participate. It's the minion way. It's the social way.
 
First: It's not Friday, L2Blog.

Second: Farmville is better than WoW; it has more players. All WoW fans know that more players always means better game. Come on now, millions and millions can't possibly be wrong!

Third: Hero classes are up next, then player housing! Don't you people read the recent (2003) dev statements?
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I'm attacking Wolfshead's OPINION that Farmville is better than WoW

If you were attacking the opinion, then why the sarcasm of him being paid by Zynga? That part is clearly personal attack rather than attacking an opinion.

Also, if we're talking about which game is better, then we need to define first about the definition of better. Is it better quality or quantity or what? Quality is difficult to measure because different people have different criteria, but quantity-wise (number of players) it's fairly safe to say that Zynga games actually have the upper hand compared to WoW.
 
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