Tobold's Blog
Monday, September 13, 2010
Comforting Larísa

Larísa is somewhat worried about the generation gap between veteran players and people who started playing MMORPGs somewhat later. She sees many veteran players full of nostalgia for the old days saying that the games are now much worse, and feels like an outsider in that company. She says, "What good does it make me, a fairly new player, to hear that the game I love is complete rubbish and that it was much better a few years ago?" and compares it to having missed a party. Well, Larísa, I have good news for you: There never was anything to miss. You are currently living the party the veterans had years ago, and objectively spoken it is you who got the better deal.

The fundamental problem here is that those complaining veterans suffer from one of the oldest fallacies ever: Externalization. People change, but they don't realize they have changed, and attribute their changed experience with the world to the world around them having changed. One relatively well-known example is very old people, whose taste buds have deteriorated over the decades, swearing that "sugar was sweeter when I was young". No, it wasn't, it just tasted sweeter to that person when his taste buds were still in better shape.

The same is true for MMORPGs. When you first enter into the world of MMORPGs, you experience a world of wonder, of surprise, of excitement. Some years later the wonder has gone, our heads instead having been filled with theorycrafting and optimization strategies. That is universal, and does not depend when you started playing these games.

The very complaints of the veterans give you an insight that it is them who changed for the worse, not the games around them. If we would believe them, we would have to assume that EVERY game company, and EVERY developer working on MMORPGs has been busy for the last decade with nothing but making all games WORSE. How could that possibly be true? Even if you'd believe this or that company making deliberately bad games for a quick buck, it is impossible that ALL game companies entered into a huge conspiracy to make games worse. There are always people, who either because they identified making good games as a source of reliable income, or because they just love good games, will strive to make games better, not worse.

That the whiney veteran's brigade isn't completely honest is also evident by the fact that while they will always tell you that the old games are much better than the new games, you will always find them playing the new games, not the old ones. Wolfhead's latest rant? He is upset that he didn't get a Cataclysm beta invite. For somebody who will assure you that World of Warcraft is utter shit, and every single expansion made it worse, he sure is eager to get into the next one.

The truth is that games like Ultima Online or Everquest were rather horrible games measured by the standards of today. What happened in the last decade was a continuous improvement of MMORPGs, and anyone who started later is fortunate to have missed the horrors those games inflicted regularly on their players. But the improvement of MMORPGs is a slow process, and many flaws of lets say Everquest, like static spawns, are still present in games of 2010. So players burn out faster from MMORPGs than the games improve.

It is likely that in a few years you yourself will look back in nostalgia on whatever your first experiences with World of Warcraft were, and feel that the WoW you are playing then doesn't live up to the sense of adventure you had in the early days. But just like with a medieval castle that people look at today with a sense of romance and adventure, but which was in fact a drafty, cold, and pretty lousy place to live in, there is no truth in nostalgia. Games today ARE better than they were before, because of developers who just love games, and companies investing many millions of dollars into making games better. It is us who are getting older, and more cynic with experience, who lost our sense of wonder, and blame the games for that.
I agree, in part. But as has been said many, many times before: bigger does *not* always equal better.

Catering for a bigger audience makes sense for game publishers. It doesn't necessarily make for a better game for all players. Possibly not even for Larísa.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not crowing for change to any one game or to the genre. I'm just saying that some of the complaints you here are more than just old people wishing they hadn't already been there.
Wolfshead's very latest rant actually goes even a step further in the "everything-was-better-back-in-time" perspective that he puts on things. If he is representative for the older MMO player generation, I honestly don't know what to say. My ideas about building bridges are probably futile at least in some cases.

Like you I believe in progression, I believe that the game companies aren't per definition evil because they're actually trying to make games that more than a handfew of people want to play.

I can't help thinking of the equivalent debate when it comes to art, literature, theatre where some critics sincerely think that something that appeals to many people simply CAN'T be any good. And where I beg to differ. Of course some stuff intended for the mass market is crap. But take for instance "The name of the rose" by Eco, which is an astonishing well written book and yet a popular mega hit detective novel. I think it's possible to aim wide and yet maintain quality.
I'm not sure I agree here.

There's a significant difference in the attitudes of the rest of the playerbase between playing WoW when it was launched and playing WoW now. Back then, it was shiny and new for virtually everyone, and we were all exploring together. Nowadays, a significant section of the playerbase knows just about everything there is to know about the game.

That manifests itself in scorn for new players ("WTF, noob, u dont know wat tank is?"), spoilers and general lack of places to share the experience of being new. I've seen people start playing in the last six months, and I've been playing since a month after launch, and I'd much rather have my experience than theirs.
I havent played Vanilla, I am also a TBC baby... altho a very late one (started playing about when Sunwell was released)

When I think about vanilla content only 1 word comes to mind: Trash.

How could you raid back then with the sheer amount of boring trash mobs all over? its awful... I was doing some Stratholme runs to maybe get the baron's mount and I was utterly disgusted by the instance: 20 million trash mobs all linked together so 1 miss-pull could spell whipe for the entire group.
Great article Tobold. I am honest enough to admit after 5 years I had outgrown WoW and cancelled my account this year. I was also turning into a "grumpy old veteran" and had to check myself.

WoW is still as brilliant as ever and for a new player can be an exhilarating experience. It is still one of the best designed MMO's on the market and the whole user experience is very smooth. I do miss the old nostalgic days of vanilla WoW but that is simply because WoW was my first MMO.

Am playing Star Trek Online now and have the whole new exciting user experience again. :)
Wolfhead's just looking at current mmos with rose-tinted classes coated with a thick cream of nostalgia.
20 million trash mobs all linked together so 1 miss-pull could spell whipe for the entire group.

Or, your perspective could be that instances back then required crowd control, cooperative pulls, off tanking..ect. to manage large crowd pulls. Wiping was something that happened more than occasionally and dying and running back was an accepted part of the game where people didnt leave the group because the risks and troubles were worth dealing with due to the rewards.

Veteran WoW players havent changed, the game changed around them to an extent that they were removed from the indoctrination that they received when they first started playing. The same with your comments about coming into WoW around the TBC timeframe and your perception of the game as it existed then.

This is all about perspective. I prefer the old style strategic pulls of Vanilla WoW, whereas someone else might actually enjoy the mind numbing dps fests we now see. The person that considers one or both of us wrong is the problem, whether it be a newby -or- veteran player.
Have you ever actually heard anyone say ""sugar was sweeter when I was young" ?

Even if you have it's a poor analogy. We aren't looking at physical sensations here but at aesthetics. It's relatively simple to separate out the shock of the new from the comparative quality of the experience. It's something any student learns in their first term at university.

While it's true to say that you will never recreate the exact experience you had on logging in to your first ever MMORPG, when people compare new games with older ones they are generally not referring to the loss of the "gosh! wow!" effect of seeing a virtual environment for the very first time.

Veterans complaining that MMOs have deteriorated in quality tend to be comparing their experiences now to their experiences of playing earlier games over a course of several years. Taking Everquest as an example, the Golden Age is generally agreed to be from launch in March 1999 until the Luclin expansion of December 2001, a period of two and a half years. I didn't play WoW at the time, but I believe Vanilla WoW would have lasted for a similar period.

What many veterans are bemoaning isn't the loss of their youth or their faculties. It's the change in aesthetics and game mechanics. In every MMO I have played, these complaints have been common and vociferous at the time the changes were being made. It's not nostalgia, it's a fundemental disagreement between a significant proportion of the playerbase and the majority of game designers over what constitutes good game design.

The argument that "you will always find them playing the new games, not the old ones" is specious. In the first place, the old games no longer exist in the form to which the Veterans refer. I still play Everquest. I made a new character on the new server, Trakanon, last night. To list the ways in which beginning a new character in EQ has changed since 1999 would take me the rest of the day. These are changes to the game mechanics, not changes in my perception.

To tell a newcomer to MMOs that "There never was anything to miss" is like leaning on a fence with your child, looking at an out-of-town business park of featurelss, prefabricated storage units and offices and telling her "when I was your age that used to be a wood where my friends and I played outlaws in the treehouse we built. But never mind, you haven't missed anything. You wouldn't have liked it anyway".

Then you should be happy with the upcoming wow expansion then. Judging from the blogs and various fan sites, Cata seems to downplay AoE, requires you to use all available crowd control in order to keep the tank alive and reduce the use of the healer's mana (See Cynical brit's run of Grim batol, lovely stuff)

That said, i think you can cue players brought up on the "gather 10 mobs then aoe them down" school to start talking about the good old days of mass aoe when they can't do it anymore.Something along the lines of nothing being epic anymore. (Geez, in FFXI we had 5 people beating on ONE mob!. And it wasn't even a good looking mob. It was either a rabbit, or a bird, or a PLANT)

Whilst i'm looking for a return to days when CC is actually utilised, I fear the idea of pugging then.
I despise the the irrational hatred of the new even more than I despise the irrational hatred of "chemicals".
Some classes have excellent CC, some have good CC and some have no CC, or CC that is niche/undesirable in Dungeon runs (fears).

Either you homogenise CC or you accept that PUGs will always opt for the best CC class.
no I disagree. The first year or so there were new places to discover always new things to find now its all mapped out in thottbot or someother online site the moment it goes live. For explorer types the game broke long ago.

That and the player base was far more excited and having fun. Now they are driven and jealous.

The game has more things to do and lots of things have been fixed but the player base is the problem now.
Okrane S said:
I was utterly disgusted by the [Stratholme] instance: 20 million trash mobs all linked together so 1 miss-pull could spell whipe for the entire group.

You write as if you thought that was a bad thing.
I was thinking that too!!
Of course defining what is better is not very easy. What one likes another doesn't and just because something sells better or appeals to more people doesn't make it superior in quality. More people listen to Lady Gaga than Pachelbel.

But yeah, UO and EQ were primitive at best.
Ahhh nostalgia. I got hit with it last weekend unpacking some boxes with books in them. Found a 3 ring binder with all my EQ maps. It got packed you see because SOE finally put maps in the game. Originally there were no maps to be had. They had whole sites that archived zones and what mobs were where. I think many, MANY things have improved in MMO's since the early days. What I miss most (at least in wow) is the camaraderie. Back in EQ I knew a huge percentage of the population on the server. The message board for my server (Luclin) was always a place to go chat, get in line for server kill lists (something I don't miss for a minute), trash talk each other and tell every one how horrible that other guild was for pulling a dragon down on your raid as it was preparing to engage said boss. Most of what I miss is the socialization. Most of what I don't miss are the horrible mechanics (or lack there of).

I think there are things worth being nostalgic for but I think it's possible to also lose (with time) sight of how horrible things were. Much like looking into a fantasy game and wishing you were there but not realizing that lack of running water would make most of said fantasy cities stink like a pig farm.
Ahhh nostalgia. I got hit with it last weekend unpacking some boxes with books in them. Found a 3 ring binder with all my EQ maps. It got packed you see because SOE finally put maps in the game. Originally there were no maps to be had. They had whole sites that archived zones and what mobs were where. I think many, MANY things have improved in MMO's since the early days. What I miss most (at least in wow) is the camaraderie. Back in EQ I knew a huge percentage of the population on the server. The message board for my server (Luclin) was always a place to go chat, get in line for server kill lists (something I don't miss for a minute), trash talk each other and tell every one how horrible that other guild was for pulling a dragon down on your raid as it was preparing to engage said boss. Most of what I miss is the socialization. Most of what I don't miss are the horrible mechanics (or lack there of).
I think those of sufficient intelligence can realize that nostalgia is a part of what colors our memories, but can also recognize things that made us more dear to previous games. Immersion is one... WoW is becoming less and less immersive, and more and more convenient. This isn't necessarily a bad thing overall, but I know a few people that like things a little more difficult, and sometimes the things that are harder are the things that really help you get into the world.

I dont think you can always discount what veteran players are saying about newer games and chalk it up to the original experience. I have very fond memories of Ultima Online, EverQuest, Shadowbane, Star Wars Galaxies (pre NGE), and Dark Age of Camelot. I would figure that the 'newness' you are describing would not last through all of those games... at least the way you are describing it. I do like a lot of things about WoW, but there are certainly things I do not like. I do not think it is a bad game, I just hope that they would take steps to make the game more immersive.
Of course even a game like Everquest changed over the last decade. But wouldn't you say that EQ 2010 resembles EQ 2000 more than WoW 2010 resembles EQ 2000? Thus if people would really prefer EQ 2000 to WoW 2010, they still would play EQ 2010 as the closest possible substitute, and not rant about not having received a Cataclysm beta invite.

Bigger does not always equal worse.

There is no doubt that today's game target a wider audience than the games of a decade ago. And to do that they had to make certain compromises. But frankly, a compromise which makes a game accessible to a much larger audience is strictly better than a narrow design which only satisfies the oldtimers.

The notion that today's game have been designed stupid to appeal to stupid people is not only completely false, it is also rather insulting. And the people who derive their self-worth out of having been leet in a video game 10 years ago, and complain that they aren't all that leet any more, are really in no position to judge others here.
Tobold: I dont think that in all cases something targeted to a larger audience is necessarily better than one that has a narrow design. In a similar vein, lets use movies as they are also a form of entertainment. While there are movies out there that are good and targeted to a large audience, often times the movies that are critically acclaimed are played to a much smaller audience. Perhaps they were developed by an independent film studio, perhaps the director did not want to make sacrifices for the sake of appealing to the general public and stayed true to the story he wanted to tell.

While this analogy isn't perfect, I think that you can equate part of game design to be similar. Games are more and more nowadays becoming mainstream as a source of entertainment, and perhaps one day will be even looked at as an art in and of itself. This might be a little off topic, but I wanted to throw in a little bit of a counterpoint there. I definitely agree with some of what you are saying, but I do not always think you look at the whole picture of things.
But is a critically acclaimed film or book *better* than one that is not? It is pretty easy to make a film or book which specifically is designed to appeal to the narrow group that is critics. Why would that be any better than targeting any other narrow group, or targeting a wider group?
But there is a reason that MMOs are different than movies in that regard, although this could change if they eventually become as mainstream.

While an indie film can cater to a "small" audience and focus on critical acclaim, this is not the case for an MMO.

In this day and age, the "indie" films have their own multimillion dollar film festivals and such, and are an industry unto themselves. Some even are picked up for mass-distribution.

But MMOs are very different. To really be successful they require a *massive" customer base. Not only do they need to pull in initial buyers, but they need to have a broad enough appeal to draw in thousands of customers and *keep* them interested. The revenue stream requires constant investment to maintain servers, develop content, etc.

This makes MMOs far different a medium than movies, and difficult to equate in this way.

For many players, I believe part of what makes any given MMO "good" or even "fun" is having a *massive* number of fellows players. Thus mass-market appeal is a necessity.
While I agree with everything in your post, you left out something that even you are often guilty of. Many people build a definition of what something is supposed to be, and deviation from that definition is getting it "wrong."

A phrase you have used before is "not what I want in an MMORPG." What does that mean? This random collection of letters changes they amount of fun you can extract from exactly the same gameplay? If it wasn't called an MMORPG you would have had more fun?

You aren't the only one doing this. Cryptic is fighting tooth and nail to make sure no one calls their new Neverwinter online game an MMORPG, because they know people like you will criticize it based on those letters, not the game itself.
Since you did this twice, I just have to point this out:

Sugar is "sweeter", not "sweater". I don't want my sugar to taste like wool or salty water :)
unfortunately you present a very black-and white view of things, just like the post you quoted does. veterans do very rarely complain about everything in wow, neither do they claim it's shit. there's layer and layers an MMO is made of and while a lot has changed for the better, some things have also changed for the worse. If you cannot admit that then it's you having a blind spot. i like to look at the quality of all the aspects in gamedesign, rather than debating quantities - so its irrelevant to list all the good stuff. you also seem to mix up 'a good game' with a 'popular game', obviously from game developers point of view they're one and the same because of the financial aspect - however, i'd expect a more insightful judgement of things from a gamer when he looks at the genre critically.
Actually, Syl, veterans do complain...and in places where they have a like-minded audience that won't challenge them on an intellectual level, they reign supreme, simply because "you weren't there, man" is actually fairly hard to dispute if the counter-argument isn't listened to.

Even upcoming MMOs are contatnly tainted by their memories and irrational hatred of WoW. TOR's forums, etc etc are all full of people, loud and clear, hating on WoW for whatever reason.

Particularly annoying, however, is the argument that something that's popular isn't good. Starbucks make damn nice cheesecakes. McDonalds make a damn nice meal, for the price and convenience. Blizzard make a damn nice MMO. Thing is, people will disagree with me, and it's all relative. I listen to what would be considered partially "indie" music in the UK; it doesn't have super chart performances, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Similarly, I don't think everything on the charts is bad either. In fact, it's good to the majority who buy it.

From a purely democratic viewpoint, anything that's popular is good, for one stand-out reason, two good ones or an amalgamation of different reasons. But the fact is, if majority rules, then popular=good.
Sugar is "sweeter", not "sweater".


veterans do very rarely complain about everything in wow, neither do they claim it's shit

Yes, they do.
A lot of you are arguing your opinions as if they are facts.

I preferred vanilla WoW to TBC and WoTLK. At the same time, I won't try to argue that vanilla is somehow "better", just because I preferred it.

Vanilla WoW was a smaller game, for a much smaller audience. It had to change, in order to appease the larger audience that came to the game as it became more popular and mainstream. This "game" is still a business that earns shareholders money.

Nostalgia is usually a liar. Now, I don't mean that whatever you are nostalgic over wasn't any good and what you have now is wonderful and perfect...only that nostalgia usually masks all the flaws of the original, while hiding the good things about the new.

Your personal experience with something is your ONLY experience with something. Feel free to prefer one version over another. But trying to say that something is/was OBJECTIVELY better just because YOU liked it better doesn't make it so.
Saying that some things were better in the past, while others clearly arent, doesnt equal nostalgia. sorry but nope. if every wow critique is nostalgia, then by the same logic all those that disagree with it are fanboys.
the fact is, many people that play and like wow are still able to point out what they liked better in the past without disqualifying all about the game the way it is now. it's silly this is even up for debate. every critique is feedback that can be put to good use by someone willing to listen.
if it's "all or nothing to you" then I find further discussion not only boring but pointless.

what I said was that veterans don't complain about 'everything in wow'. if that was the case then i'd actually ask why this person is still playing the game, if he does. if he doesn't, putting him in the same group as active veterans is hardly valid.

I see, your article is basically just a comment on that article then and wolfshead = all veterans.
in that case there's no point in me discussing this further, is there. :)
@Syl: but they do. There are so many people who say "I hate everything about WoW, I want to quit. I just sit in Dalaran all day." I'd ask why they still play the game, but the answer is that without an MMO it's an awful lot of time to fill without the surprising amount of social contact you get through it (I'm having trouble filling in my time now that no MMOs are being played.)
@Syl: but they do. There are so many people who say "I hate everything about WoW, I want to quit. I just sit in Dalaran all day." I'd ask why they still play the game, but the answer is that without an MMO it's an awful lot of time to fill without the surprising amount of social contact you get through it (I'm having trouble filling in my time now that no MMOs are being played.)
@Syl: I linked ONE example post out of hundreds out there. And over the years I got thousands of comments on this blog saying WoW is dumb shit. The post here is about another blogger experiencing exactly the same thing. So I don't think you have any ground to state that this isn't happening.

Lots of people manage to criticize WoW in an intelligent manner. Hell, my blog is full of posts where I complain about various aspects of WoW. But the general "WoW is a dumb game for dumb players" or "WoW is like McDonalds / Zynga / Whatever" attack has nothing to do with intelligent discussion.

Thought experiment: You put WoW from 2010 into a time machine and transport in back into the year 2000. Which game would all these bitter veterans have played, EQ or WoW?
I agree with what you're saying there. If someone feels that wow is nothing but a waste of his time, then i do not understand why he still plays it. or rather, I understand he plays it mostly for a lack of alternatives, but that isn't really blizzard's fault.
what I have an issue with is that I can't criticize certain aspects of WoW anymore without being tossed into the same 'blind wow nostalgia' pot by some people.

what i fail to see is how wolfsheads EQ post is nothing but a destructive rant - or why many wow players (not necessarily yourself) get so defensive when 'their game' is being taken apart? sure he's mostly looking at the negative sides, that's usually what you do when you criticize and look to improve (and there's a whole list of how things could be improved there). so is there really not a single valid point of critique in his article that you would dismiss it so entirely?

as for the time experiment: obviously people would play wow, but then i'm not sure what this proves. there's a lot of reasons why the majority would go for wow if they had the choice; that doesnt mean its close to perfect and you'd have the same 'veteran debates' anyway. also: how many players do you think currently stick to wow only because of a lack of half-decent alternatives? I'd wager its a lot of them. so if 'wow became EQ' in your analogy, what would that say about wow?
Whilst I agree with you in the most part... Currently WoW is, IMHO, no better than the end of vanilla WoW.

WoW is a shallow version of original self, dumbed down numerous times to cater for the masses.
I think, in a sense, that the generation gap is between what players are looking for.

MMORPG veterans played for the world and the community. Newer players (let's say those who first came in during WoW's TBC) play for the game. The problem is, the design philosophies are fundamentally incompatible -- what sounds like fun to the "world" crowd sounds boring to the "game" crowd and vice-versa.

Now, I never played EQ and frankly thought my two very good friends who did play were INSANE. It just didn't sound like fun. But they did talk me into playing WoW at launch, and I played until about six months before the launch of WotLK and then came back for about six months once the expansion came back. So I guess I'm more of a middle ground -- not so much interested in the golden age of EQ, but in the "old" WoW.

But I am thoroughly uninterested in returning for Cataclysm. It's not that I think vanilla was "better" than today's WoW, but it was a very different game, with a different playerbase that had different wants and needs. I will say that it was a better game -- for me. I have no interest in warping out of Dalaran to run a dungeon with people I don't know and will never see again, getting back on the never-ending gear treadmill, playing battlegrounds with people I don't know and will never see again, racking up achievement points, etc. I didn't enjoy WoW for the "game" aspects of running dungeons and getting loot -- that was just what I did along the way. It wasn't the point of how I played, if that makes sense.

I have never had as good of a time I had in WoW as I did in vanilla, but I also know that era is never coming back. For one, the people who made up the community back then don't play anymore. And we're far outnumbered anyway by people who are more interested in the game aspect of an MMORPG than in the world aspect of it. And there's absolutely nothing wrong that; we just have different interests.

I do think WoW has become a better game in its "game" aspects. But, for me, I just don't find those aspects to be particularly interesting in and of themselves because that wasn't what I played WoW for. Is some of it nostalgia? Sure -- there were parts of the vanilla game I despised (resist gear fights, raid gear's power in pvp are a couple that come to mind). But I am sad for what's lost, although I had a good run in WoW. In the end, I can't complain about that.
I am flabbergasted at some of these comments. To perceive yourself as a critic thinker or trying to understand this situation and not accept valid points and ideas from the opposite point of view is confusing. I'm speaking of the comments in this thread. I enjoy simple games too and I understand why people like them and play them. But to accept them as the pinnacle of the gaming experience is certainly not a possibility for all of us. So we push and prod or we hope for something more.

@ Tobold you really see mind-numbing click and win or pay and win games as something this generation will hold to some immeasurable standard, as some of us do now with the current state of games? How shallow and basic will the next generations games become that the current generation of gamers will find them too shallow or too basic, when they reach the same stage in their gaming life that people like Wolf are at now and they are looking back on these games with their own set of rose colored lenses?

If there is little challenge then there is little point, and that's what blogs like Wolf's are about.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to revisit this topic in half a year's time. For better or for worse, Blizzard clearly want to move WoW back to where it was previously, away from the AoE clickfests that we have gotten used to recently.
@ Tobold you really see mind-numbing click and win or pay and win games as something this generation will hold to some immeasurable standard, as some of us do now with the current state of games?

Certainly not. Which is why I say that if Wolfshead says "WoW = Farmville", he is talking shit, which has no base in reality. How do you write a moderate response to something so outrageously false?

So why this discussion? Because Larisa's post shows clearly how this extreme negativity of those burned-out veterans flat out lying hurts new players and the game. If you were to publicly spread that sort of extreme falsehoods about lets say Ford cars, you'd quickly find yourself sued for libel. Game companies other than Evony rarely do that, due to the bad publicity. So the MMO blogosphere has to police itself, and keep its more extreme members from talking out of their collective asses.
Because Larisa's post shows clearly how this extreme negativity of those burned-out veterans flat out lying hurts new players and the game.


I just have to ask - But who are you referring to when you say "burned out veterans flat out lying"?

Are you implying that Wolfshead is somehow lying about something in his post?
@Oscar: Yes, I consider the "Blizzard = Zynga, WoW = Farmville" comments of Wolfshead a lie. Detailed explanation of my point in the post I just wrote.
All I can say in reply, Tobold, is that I consider the "Oscar = Chris" comment a flat out lie :P
That is all right with the only exception that game companies are not making games better. Most of the time they tend to create game that will be more appealing to a large group of people and to do that they produce tasteless games, where the characters and events tend to be as generic as possible. Other approach would create a niche game, and that is exactly what needs to be avoided. Back in the days the games were made by geeks who wanted to show the world their ideas. Right now the geeks are just the drones creating content, and guys who do not really play games make all the decisions and their priority is to sell, not to make it good. What is most important are slogans, trailers and all the stuff that would make players bielieve that the game may be good enough to buy, rather the the actual game being good.

Sure, I play them. I like some of them a lot, but most of the games nowadays is unpolished material - god ideas undeveloped and packed with sugar graphics and a marketing campaign in one year of development.

One other post got was about MafiaII - that is a good game with a polished story and gameplay. There was nothing boring or unnecessary for me in that game, every little detail was there for a reason and that was great.

Force Unleashed on the other hand had a nice story, but was uttlerly boring and generated a lot of unnecessary repetition. Also, even though an incredible engine was create to shoe the player astonishing force effects, the player wasn't given half the control over the character as in i.e. Jedi Knight Dark Forces.

Games look better and better and sell to more and more players and that is wha the evolution of games is about. They do not necessary get any better in the meantime, as there are some directions that the companies are not going any further because it's a lot of cash to pay for the developer's hours at work and minimal effect on game sales. And the veterans I bieleve had the expectation, that while the visuals and the marketing of games develops, the process of refining a game from a brilliant idea will also improve. Which hardly ever is true.
Doesn't everyone have a right to their opinion about a movie, game, etc without people making it about themselves? That is what I feel you and Larisa have done here. You have personalized someone's opinion about something you enjoy. If someone came up to me tomorrow and said knitting is for idiots, I'd know to avoid this person and keep on knitting.

So, you are more concerned about the newer players? How many newbie players do you think look at these blogs? Seriously? And I mean REALLY NEW to WoW and MMO's!? How many of them do you believe even THINK to look for a blog site or another online site for info on WoW or another game? People who are extremely new to MMO's likely don't think of the massive amount of blogs related to it. It's highly likely that only a veteran MMO player would even find Wolf's blog. Hell, even I didn't know he existed until you and Larisa wrote about him.

I know a veteran player who constantly says WoW is easier. He has played since it's release, so I'd say he knows what he's talking about. He doesn't know your blog exists or any others outside of Rohan's. With that, he doesn't say he hates the game now. He has about 8 max level toons and has even more he is leveling. He loves how easy it is to level now because it means he can make more higher level mules to sell stuff on the AH with. Wolf does not alone constitue the entire vet community.
@Barrista: I actually think I said something along those lines in my post.

That the bitterness and negativism pouring out from some of the veteran blogs have reached a level where you'd better avoid them and try to stick to your own player generation where you might find players who still think WoW is pretty awesome - for all it's flaws. Just to protect yourself and your enjoyment of the game.

However I find this perspective a little bit saddening. I still have the vision of an openminded community where players are ready to listen to what new perspectives others might bring to the table, without showering them in bitterness and contempt.

I honestly don't understand your bashing at Tobold. He's an island of sanity in a sea of very strong opinion. Always reasoning, always open for an intelligent discussion. Surely, Tobold has his favorite topics an angles that he brings up every now and then. But I think it's unfair to accuse him for being overly sensitive. Really.
Looking through the last comments I have to agree with Barrista. the concept of 'self-responsibility' doesn't seem to exist in this debate - so negative views on a game 'hurts' and spoils the fun for exactly? first of all you aren't forced to read negative articles if they shatter your world so completely.

and maybe i'm just especially mature (I doubt it somehow), but wow has been bashed for years and I still wouldn't give a damn about that if I happened to enjoy it. so what's the fuss about? are others responsible for your fun now and how you deal with people of different opinions? no they're not. I think we can assume that we're dealing with grown-ups in control of their emotions - not gullible children that need erm.. PROTECTION from 'extreme views'. sorry if that sounds harsh to you, but thats exactly how it comes across.
why would you even care about something that is 'all in the past' as a new player enjoying wow?

the problem and the responsibility lies with you, not the critical voices. you chose how to handle critique or whether you even pay it any heed.
and Tobold's comment on 'policing extreme blogs' is frankly appaling - lets hand them all a muzzle?
I can't believe I read that.

luckily it's not true that the majority of players behaves like children: they can deal with critique just fine, even if they disagree with it. or god forbid they can find different views interesting.

wow this topic made me painfully aware once more on how censorship works.
I had a discussion-by-mail with Tobold about this blog post yesterday.

I made most of it public on my blog. Especially the people who disagree might find it interesting.
I wasn't bashing tolbold. I guess if I don't agree his or your points then its bashing. If I have the ability to be an adult and decide what I do and don't like regardless of others opinions it is bashing?

This is open minded debate? Name calling when you don't agree with someone? Really? I never said anything bad about tolbold or even you.
I'm sure Tobold isn't so sensitive himself, but he chose to build up his entire argument on singling out players that might be (in this case referring to you,I'm not sure thats what you wanted with your post). he said himself that the too extreme and negative views should be moderated because they 'hurt' you and ruin your fun without any mention for your self-responsibility. oddly enough, these very sensitive reactions seem rather rare and not a norm among players either, which qualifies them as 'extremes' in return. most wow gamers do not mind the critique to such an extent and they certainly don't take it personally. maybe because it isnt personal.

so, i'm sorry to say, while this blog might usually aim to present more balanced views and I've been reading it for a long time, he tried to make his point via emotional manipulation.

it's like a teacher in school pointing at the crying child, telling all the others that they're bullies. bursting into tears is a form of manipulation and shutting other people up. it can be a sign of hurt, but is also often used as a tool by the insecure. if the teacher truly wanted to help the crying kid, he would show him a way to deal with the 'bullies' more efficiently, rather than trying to 'protect him' from the way of the world. he would teach him how to deal with critique and people disagreeing with him, because thats whats gonna happen to you for the rest of your life.

i think you get my point: BOTH parties share some responsibility. to make those that criticize wow look like bullies, is not just wrong but insulting.

it's the main issue I have with both your articles, that you take very little care to differ between whoever it is you call 'the negative, destructive veterans' looking to spoil everyone's fun (not that u were ever forced to believe them), and veterans that have tried to explain hard and long what they'd like back and why, in a game they still play and want to play. improvements that could benefit everybody, without having anything to do with either blind nostalgia or exclusiveness, but game design and immersion. stating that certain game features are being trivialized or 'dumbed' down in a game, doesn't equal calling players dumb or that you wouldn't like to have them around. yet you cling to that notion and that tells me something about you, rather than them.

to dismiss valid points as threatening 'nostalgia blabber' is offensive in a debate. its also sad that you keep perceiving all the critiques as an opposing faction when really, most of us are on the same side.
@Syl, one of the arguments of the nostalgic crowd is that "In Everquest the community was better". But what made that community better? It was the fact that there weren't already people back then who already had 10,000 hours of MMORPG experience and pissed all over the achievements of the new players, telling them how dumb the game they were playing is.

Do you really agree with Wolfshead when he says that Blizzard is equal to Zynga, and World of Warcraft is as easy as Farmville?

I'd never go as far as that. I've been rather specific about the points I believe are worse and that I'd like to see fixed or balanced differently. I'd never say WoW is a bad game, I see the good parts as much as where it's lacking or I wouldn't play it (or intend to play cata). I would also never blame the community in wow for these changes: nor claim people are dumb. i'm not sure you read my replies because ive stated that before.

critique of the game isnt critique of its players - it's not they're fault how blizzard choses to design a game. personally I dont see the community in wow as a core issue. i've always been able to find good and fun players in the MMOs I've played.
I would agree about Everquest because that game evolved with DAOC and WoW being pretty much direct and more developed descendents.

But I wouldn't agree about Ultima Online of which I am still, Gods help me, a subscriber. While I have no nostalgia at all for the full PVP disaster it was at launch, the fully developed sandbox style world with so many different options has never really been copied and therefore never improved upon.
It's just nostalgia, IMO. People have a tendency to "edit" their recollections (sometimes subconsciously) to fit their argument or point of view. We strip away the things that are inconvenient to the point we are making, and we embellish the things we want to remember.

Thus, a person who wants to impress you about how bad games are now, will not remember all of the bad things about games in the past, only the good (and he will make those seem much better than they really were). Or if they want to impress you about how much better *they* are, they will tell you about how bad they had it in the past, when you had to complete quests barefoot in the snow and uphill both ways.

As Tobold pointed out, the simplest way to see through the argument about how "bad" games are today, is to note that many more people play them, and that even the ones who criticize those games mercilessly are unable to pull themselves away. "Game companies value success over quality" they say, which begs the question-- what guarantees success, if not quality?
For whatever this is worth, properly speaking "externalization" is not a fallacy, but rather a concept of psychology. The fallacy you are looking for is called "nostalgia". Otherwise, I think your comments are spot on.
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