OTC – Good is Good enough Edition: Massive Opportunities, the TGEN Tribunal and Why I’m not playing WoW anymore

otc

OTC is a multi-topic category on mmogypsy.com

By now everyone’s heard of the layoffs by AOL which will affect MMO community news hubs such as WoW Insider and Massively who have since been able to open up. Massively is to close its doors by February 3rd 2015 – that’s two days from now. The news of these shutdowns came with a peculiar, not to say unnerving timing for me personally, the type of uncanny jinx-sensation when you’ve just said or thought something that comes to pass shortly after. Only 2 weeks ago while recording the next Battle Bards session, did I bring up the topic of the future of MMOs and how that may affect places like Massively with Syp on skype: were there any worries on their front as to what may happen with the genre and by extension, the website? But Syp was all positive and cheerful – the genre might be going places but as far as Massively is/was concerned, the page has only ever known growth. For those that only care about numbers, Massively is doing better than ever. Too bad good ain’t good enough for multi-billion companies like AOL – because reasons- (insert generic corporate speech).

I’m sad to see Massively close its doors like that. I’m sorry for its staff that poured all their love, time and enthusiasm into keeping it running. I wasn’t the closest follower of Massively at times but it constitutes one of only few constants in the MMO community, graciously linking back to bloggers like myself. I would visit to read Eliot Lefebvre’s strong opinion posts and of course Sypster’s Jukebox Heroes or Perfect Ten. I always marveled at how Syp could juggle his Massively “job” with Biobreak, several podcasts, his real life job and a family – but such are the workings of a labor of love. My jaw dropped when he told me his monthly quota was 90 posts, which makes Syp the real superman as far as I’m concerned.

When one door closes, another opens. Sometimes life’s endings and goodbyes are just a great new opportunity we cannot yet perceive. What Massively doesn’t lack is a following and talented writers; I am more than positive they will be able to recover and build something new from here, with help of the community.

Introducing the TGEN Tribunal

Our network of gaming and MMO-related podcasts has just launched the first episode of the TGEN Tribunal, a quarterly exchange between different co-hosts from all eight shows. In this first episode we are discussing our individual experiences getting into podcasting, from the more technical aspects to general advice for podcasting newcomers. I happily consider myself a complete amateur in this field but it’s fascinating to hear others talk about the future of this particular medium. Speaking of which, this is the first show I’ve been the producer for, so if there’s something wrong with the editing or sound quality, you know whom you can blame (but hey, I think it’s good enough!).

tgentribunal

Why I’m not playing WoW anymore

My recent FFXIV:ARR shares on the blog and twitter may have given away that my sudden, unexpected WoW-comeback of last November was somewhat short-lived. I had immense fun re-discovering Azeroth for a while, getting in touch with new old zones, my holy priest and the Garrison but after a few run-ins with the more toxic sides of its community, I have quickly realized why I’m over this MMO. Hell is other people and WoW is singular in amassing a crowd of elitist jerks, overbearing endgame achievers and forum kids ever since 2004. Even if you’re doing your best and focus on yourself only, someone is going to unload their frantic achieverdom on you sooner or later, trampling all the roses.

I’ve said it before – I am over this. And I feel ancient when met with the endgame crazy of raiders (in LFG too) and min-maxers. The hardcore vs. casual debate is alive and well in WoW and listening to some of the conversations or reading yet another condescending list of tips or srs rules written by a young person with lots of time on their hands and no notion of good is good enough, I find myself utterly disenchanted with the World of Warcraft and how it holds no escape. Maybe worse, there is that humbling self-awareness, never depicted with greater accuracy than in this recent Dark Legacy comic #471: A Decade of Love and Hate.

blrules

srs WoW players in LFG.

It is the horrors of full circle I am feeling whenever I venture too close to Azeroth’s deafening underbelly. We can have our rationalized “fun vs. satisfaction” and playstyle debates all day long on our blogs – it won’t change the fact that there was a time when I too made other players (and guild mates probably) miserable in WoW for wanting to play the game differently or not being as good or good enough according to an arbitrary measure, through an overbearing raiding queen attitude and caring for progress and riches over people. I know this and for that I am sorry.

This is not a message for those who are still in WoW striving for glory irrespective of cost; by all means, knock yourself out. You have your own path to follow and maybe it will lead you to a similar place, maybe not. But I am not that person anymore, I am glad that I’m not. Friendships are precious and fragile – many people are worth knowing and caring for outside our immediate realm of ambition. So long WoW, you have nothing left to teach me.

14 comments

  1. I didn’t notice anything off with the editing of the podcast, so good job!

    I really like this sentence: “Even if you’re doing your best and focus on yourself only, someone is going to unload their frantic achieverdom on you sooner or later, trampling all the roses.” Sounds quite similar to how I felt when my last stint with WoW ended

    1. Thanks! =)
      And oh dear yes, your old post resonates with me a lot! I also like how you point out that your standards have increased since leaving WoW which could be a topic of its own.

  2. Every time I feel I’m tempted to go back to WoW, I remember how much it felt like I was swimming against the tide, trying to keep the Horde from turning Honor Hold into their personal gankers paradise, because of the swarm of Hordies from A-52 (US). And the frustration of not having much of a chance at a BG victory outside of AV or IoC.

    So yeah, I understand. $15/month to smash my head against a wall isn’t a lot of fun.

    I’m probably going to write something on Massively/W:I for Tuesday.

    1. If you went back today, you’d find everything about the game accelerated by x10 and a community that simply abides by that. It is impossible to remain unaffected, even if you tried.

  3. At its heart, WoW is an achievement-focused game. The Achiever mindset is to get recognition from others for their achievements, which fuels the “raider vs. causal” debate to no end. Raiders don’t like casuals getting easy achievement, but casuals don’t want to surrender their lives to the game to achieve. And, of course, the line between raider and casual isn’t exactly well-defined.

    FFXIV is an achiever-focused game as well, but it’s a lot younger and doesn’t have the entrenched parties. Eventually I figure it will; there’s already scraps over how “easy” stuff is in discussion forums like Reddit. But, for now, it scratches that itch without being too crammed full of elitists. :)

    1. Indeed – the beauty of newer MMOs is that it will take them a long, looong time to become like WoW, if even that. WoW is a combination of so many things and its popularity is one contributor to the way things are right now; the similarities to a real-world economy situation (in terms of the replaceability of the individual or people as resources) are remarkably big. I do not play MMOs to emulate the kind of rat race I am trying to get away from IRL where the achiever type is valued before all else.

  4. I wouldn’t even go as far as “good is good enough”. In the context of hobbies and entertainment, taken from the point of view of the consumer rather than the producer, “good enough is good enough”.

    If being “bad” on an objective scale (assuming an objective scale could be devised) is sufficient to provide a player with the entertainment value he or she requires to feel the time spent playing has been enjoyable and worthwhile then being “bad” is good enough for that player. Of course, in a co-operative setting like raid and group content it then remains the prerogative of other players to rule that a “bad” player isn’t “good enough” to be worth a place on the team. All choices have consequences.

    When it comes to voluntarily-organized team leisure activities like grouping or raiding in MMOs then either each discrete operation will need to find its own level. The mechanics of the game can impose a minimum level (item level, character level, flags etc) but player consensus can raise that bar. If a player’s personal choices mean that they are over the bar by the standards of the game but still beneath it by the communally-held standards of teams he or she tries to join then that player has the choice of either raising (or altering) their game or finding a team that more closely aligns with their preferences.

    If the latter turns out to be too difficult or seems impossible then I guess the conclusion must be that that content in that game is not appropriate for that player. Whether that’s the fault of the community the player, the game designers or not a fault at all is what tends to cause the arguments.

    1. The fact that different players should join the guild or social group that suits them is one thing – I don’t disagree with that. Unfortunately it’s not nearly as simple most of the time, because players on both ends tend to overlap and intrude on one another. There is a common complaint among ‘good players’ that they have to carry slackers that shouldn’t be in their groups in the first place – however, there is also the (very common) situation of the big fish in small ponds that just love to dwell there and complain and condescend, because that’s the only place they get to be among the best. WoW is a paradise of big fish in small ponds that refuse to seek out the really competitive guilds and will instead harass people in LFG or on forums with their rush and push mentality. This is pretty much what got me to quit, it’s impossible to avoid really.

  5. Oh heavens, yes. World of Warcraft has some odd.. oddd people. I kind of feel like I’ve “completed the game” as far as WoW is concerned. I reached level 100, got my garrison into a decent state. I got the two mounts I love most and obtained over 600 pets. So I’m kinda like.. well.. there’s nothing else I reeeally want to do so will I go back? Who knows. Probably. Not for a long time, though.

    1. WoW does have a problem with idiots, more so than other games. I can compare it to my experiences in Rift or GW2 or LOTRO or FFXIV or Wildstar and while all of them have some funny people. it’s nowhere near the rampant volatility that’s so easily encountered in WoW. Some say it’s because the game is full of kids but am not even sure that’s true. /shrug

      1. Sadly, the largest population of volatility isn’t usually teenage boys but grown men who you’d really like to hope should know better..

      2. If WoW is full of kids, then who is floating these kids $15/month? Oh wait, probably the same people giving them their cell phones…

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