Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
I quit posts

Overly Positive is discussing the value of "I quit!" posts, quote: "about people who quit games and why they feel the need to publicly post about them". He ends up dissecting the value of such posts for a community manager, which is interesting. But I'd like to discuss another aspect of those posts. Why do people write "I quit" posts, and what is their value for other players?

Take me for example. I am constantly mentioning on my blog what games I started to play, and what I games I quit. The reason I do that is that this gives my readers important information about what posts to expect from my blog. When I stopped playing World of Warcraft, I posted a lot less about World of Warcraft, so the information that I quit had some predictive value for my readers.

Somebody posting "I quit" on a game forum is likewise sending out a signal: If he was a regular poster on that forum and considered himself part of the community on that forum, an "I quit" post serves as announcement that he'll be quitting that community. You could say it is the polite thing to do, instead of just disappearing without a trace. There is even more value to such posts on guild forums. It is obviously good to know if one of your raiders quits the game. And then there are guilds that span different games, so the discussion of what somebody didn't like in one game might lead to the guild finding a better home in a different game.

What "I quit" posts can't do is change the game. It is not because some player describes in detail what he hates about a game that will cause some developer to read that post and change the game accordingly. No matter whether it is a popular blog, or the leader of a big guild who quits, no player's influence is big enough to produce actual change. It isn't as if developer's aren't listening at all, but if anything they look at much bigger trends:  A million players quitting WoW and stating "I hate daily quests" on their exit interview might possibly change something, a single player posting "I quit because I hate daily quests" on whatever blog or forum isn't going to achieve that, however forceful or clever his arguments are.

One good reason to ignore "I quit" posts is that what a player states are his reasons to quit is often not the real reason. Players rarely know the real reason why they quit. A lot of people quit games for the simple reason that they played them too long, and got bored. But what they are likely to post is about the straw that broke the camel's back. That is quite often something rather minor, while the fundamental reason for quitting goes unmentioned. Ultimately we quit games because we stop having fun, and there is no change of a single feature which could serve as an easy fix for that.

Blizzard ignores quit posts because quitters almost always come back, sooner or later. Be it a new patch, a scroll of resurrection, a 10-free-days tempting coupon, ...

Blizzard marketing is amazing. You know what really killed my interest in that company and its games? Jay Wilson and the way he/they managed Diablo III's launch.
A million players quitting WoW and stating "I hate daily quests" on their exit interview might possibly change something, a single player posting "I quit because I hate daily quests" on whatever blog or forum isn't going to achieve that, however forceful or clever his arguments are.


Yes, this.

I dislike the wankery of posting "I quit!" in public forums, because in the end it becomes all about the poster. Trying to influence real change on a company by posting "I quit!" never works. (Unless that poster is on the company's board of trustees, that is.)
IMO people quit because THEY change, not the activities they pursue. And we tend to have poor awareness of our own changes. Expecting a game to change with us seems a little self serving. Few "I quit" posts (Larissa at Pink Pigtail Inn a noted exception) give much consideration to that possibility.
"Expecting a game to change with us seems a little self serving."

What if a player is representative of the population or part of an overall trend? For example, as players move to different stages of life, they might have different amounts of available time, so it would be smart for a company to try to match its product to them, thereby keeping its customers.
"I quit" posts can be of value. I recently read why some folk were leaving Planetside 2 and their posts highlighted issues that then deterred me from playing.

In effect they saved me from finding out the hard way. So I benefited from this process.

So like any other subjective, opinion based article, there is scope for edification as well as the opposite.
There's a weird expectation that MMO's are supposed to be basically lifetime entertainment.

If the game gets its hooks in you'll put up with a lot. When you get tired of it everything starts feeling annoying. WoW today is basically superior in every conceivable way to Vanilla, from the graphics to the gameplay. Good luck convincing the burnouts of that, though.

Of course the burnouts insight that the WoW isn't really a good game is more true than the adoration of WoW's thralls. But good luck convincing the thralls of that.
If you think Blizzard ignores "I quit" posts, then quite frankly, you are out of your mind. Blizzard embraces "I quit" posts; it's why WoW is still so successful in a sea of dying themeparks. EVE and CCP are another example of embracing " I quit" posts; it's why the game has had constant growth over the last decade. It's the little MMO that could, to be honest.

As for the posts themselves, they absolutely have value. The catch is that they really only have value to the company publishing the game. Folks like us need to make our own decisions based on our experience with the game at hand, rather than reading bitter, sometimes angry posts from people giving it up; the same goes for the inevitable chorus of "you're wrong" replies from those with a need to defend the game.
I quit posts on official forums are aimed at getting a reaction from your audience.

Sincere quitters know that there are better ways to show the devs how you feel about the game.
"WoW today is basically superior in every conceivable way to Vanilla".

What about the challenge level in the early game? Are there difficult quests now? Areas with outdoor elites? If not, WoW today is inferior in at least one, not just conceivable, but quite obvious way.

Not everyone will care about this, and for many it will be an improvement. But from other peoples' equally valid perspective, it makes the game inferior in this respect to vanilla.

I amj certain it is not the only way, either.
Was there a lot of challenge?

I remember having a hard time my first time through. It wasn't hard the second time. I do remember having to endlessly kill pigs, which apparently had some sort of horrible liver disease, since most of them didn't have them. Leveling was only challenging if you did it the wrong way, but you will only do it the wrong way once. Leveling was tedious, like a long plane flight. It was only challenging the first time out because you didn't know where anything was. Leveling in WoW now is a halfway enjoyable experience, with a mix of fun and well designed quests. So I'll stand by my claim. For myself, I know I would have had a lot more fun leveling in today's WoW than Vanilla.

You can't expect the same game to remain challenging for years. If an experienced raider with 5 max level characters has a hard time leveling, that means its basically impossible for a new guy.
I didn't say levelling was hard. I said some quests were hard.
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