Monday, August 13, 2012

Hate for The Old Republic

There is a new world event launching in the Old Republic sometime soon, something to do with the Chevin. As I missed the Rakghoul event during my boycott, I'm quite looking forward to seeing this one. So I popped over to Massively to check out their information, and the comments quite honestly shocked me. You'd think that people would be encouraging more companies to follow Bioware's lead in having regular world events.

Like Shintar, I don't really understand the sheer vitriol directed at this game. Personally, I rather like The Old Republic. It does have its flaws, and I can understand people who chose to drop their subscription, but I don't really see anything in the game that deserves this continuing hate.

It's like the level of hate reserved for a really nasty divorce, or a cheating spouse. To me, the venom reeks of "betrayal", and that seems excessive for a video game. I wonder if a lot of the haters were really invested in the game before it came out, maybe to the point of burning their bridges in their previous game. Then when The Old Republic turned out to be human after all, they turned on it.

Another possibility is that the haters think that the MMO audience is zero-sum. That every subscriber for one game must be stolen from another game. Thus by attacking an MMO that has both a significant number of players, and yet seems weak, they can bleed off players to boost their game of choice. In particular, the Guild Wars 2 boosters seem to exhibit a lot of this behavior.

Ironically, the people now in love with Guild Wars 2 seem to falling into the same trap. If Guild Wars 2 proves mortal, unable to stay atop the pedestal, will history repeat itself?


  1. The "feel" of feedback on GW2 seems to be that it will be mortal, although a great game unto itself and a good distraction and change for folks who like to switch around in MMOs.
    Like you said, the haters will find whatever they dislike and not appreciate what it is unto itself. SWToR is/was a reasonable game. For how I play (rarely and lowbie) the free model is a boon and I look forward to the change. Any game which adds regular content needs to be supported and praised - otherwise what message are the consumers sending? I can't hate it anymore than I can hate any other game, as when it ceases to be fun I do something else which is fun. They are what they are, and nothing is perfect.
    Nice post Rohan.

  2. I think SW:TOR is quite simply an awful dud, and I am shocked by the sheer vitriol directed at it. I can't even imagine how mind-boggling it must be for someone who rather likes the game.

    I don't understand why people can't just check it out, say to themselves, "well, that was a bad implementation of a bad idea", uninstall, and ignore. Like I did.

  3. There are plenty of haters, like Syncaine, who were never invested in SWTOR. It isn't that.

    Some people just like to take their PvP to whole new metalevels of fucking stupid.

    1. The thing with Syncaine is that it's got naught to do with TOR or WoW or any other MMO in that vein; he dislikes the subgenre as a whole and hates on all games in it pretty equally.

      Having played TOR, I do think he makes valid points on the design. EA took what should have been a massive singleplayer RPG and shoehorned it into a WoW clone skin.

      With that said, this happens every time a new MMO gets ready to launch. The hypemobile winds up and the last big thing gets slammed. EQ to FFXI to DAOC to SWG to WoW to Conan and Darkfall and SWTOR. And now SWTOR finds itself in the hotseat, lambasted for grossly underperforming expectations. The wheel turns, MMOs come and go, neither the end or the beginning, but it is a beginning. Apologies to Jordan.

  4. You invoke a lover's relationship metaphor, which for me calls to mind the old "Hell hath no fury" quote, but since nobody I personally know actually reads any poetry, I never assume anyone knows the real quote:

    "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned."

    I think what most people assume about the quote, is "Don't piss off women", but it's not that simple. The context clearly is a relationship where there is first a deep, unconditional personal investment, then a feeling of complete betrayal. (Slap in the face, anyone?)

    I don't play TOR, so I can't really judge, but from what I hear, it's a great game. I think, though, and this is just conjecture from hearsay, that people set up TOR to be the real WoW-killer, the next BIG THING, the epic fulfillment of the need for a real Star Wars MMO (Galaxies sucked!).

    So yeah, I think super high, unrealistic expectations are a major contributor to the rage.

  5. Kalven is on the beeline to the spot this is on. (I REALLY should stop frankensteining disjoint metaphors.)

    I think one of the main reasons for the hate is the extremely inflated expectations. SW:TOR was praised as the second coming of MMOs. It also was in development for way too long; long development cycles like that lead to ever-increasing expectations that a game cannot reasonably fulfill. It's a vicious cycle of overexpectation that you can never catch up to and that piles up the longer you take.

    Some people expected so many unreasonable things and projected all their hopes onto the game. When it came out and it was... just a game (and arguably not even that good a game, but that doesn't even matter), the hope and praise turned into despair and hate.

    Then, of course, there were the people who said right from the beginning that they expected no more than an average game, and now feel smug about it, which infuriates the other group even more when the two clash.

  6. My interpretation is that a lot of people (some bloggers included) have completely lost perspective on the fact that an MMO is a game. You like it, you play it and have fun, who cares about the rest. You don't like it, you alt-f4 uninstall and forget about it.
    Instead, these games end up treated as a replacement for reality and self-gratification machines, which results in the whole (for example) "my game requires more skill" / "the games I don't play require no skill", which is just another way to play to feel superior. This is also the part of the population which hates any change in the game, hates anything which makes newcomers reach their level faster and which will go to great lengths to rationalize and justify why the left a game for another. This is the group which also includes all the rage-quitters who delete all their characters and go on endless forum whining posts when the game does not end up being as they imagined it to be, and it does not provide them with the same feedback/sensation they had on their first MMO (something which is clearly impossible to obtain...)

    And, to be 100% honest, the only feeling I have for them is pity.

  7. And it's compounded by the rabidity of the GW2 zealots, who've been derailing every discussion of every other MMO on practically every gaming community for at least the last year. They're completely toxic, and they make me want to ignore GW2 purely on principle.

  8. Yeah, Massively is one of the sites I've learned to avoid due to this (at least their comment section).

  9. One time I asked my co-workers if there is this level of hatred within other hobbies and they quickly pointed me to a cross-stitch forum where little old ladies were at each other's throats about which techniques and patterns were right and which ones were wrong. There was name-calling and some pretty ugly language being used.

    My point is that every hobby has its most passionate and vocal fans, but with MMOs, things haven't been turning out so great lately. It's understandable that so many fans are angry, but the most important thing to note here is that the ones who are content are not commenting at Massively, they're playing the game. This, in itself, is the reason that comment sections and forums are so covered in filth.

    It's not the website's fault that people are angry with the genre, and quite honestly, I sometimes wish everyone could see the comments we *don't* allow on the site. There are some truly disturbed people out there.

  10. There are plenty of haters, like Syncaine, who were never invested in SWTOR.

    Syncaine is invested in SWTOR though, both because it isn't EVE and he hates everything that isn't EVE, and because he was predicting it to fail from the beginning and is now pleased with himself (and would be unhappy if it had succeeded).

  11. Some members of my WoW raiding guild quit intending to raid in SWTOR - a couple nicely, and a few with a bit of bridge burning thrown in. The nice ones sheepishly snuck back in 3 months after launch, and the others have been wandering back in at random like nothing ever happened in the first place. I agree with you that that experience might be causing some of the vitriol.

  12. The unreasoning fury of people in the MMO field reminds me more of a relationship gone bad than anything else.

    Or perhaps people pissing on something because they can. They have to take crap at school and at work, and if there's something around for them to take their anger out on, that person or thing gets all the crap unloaded on them. Couple that with the "anonymity" of the internet, and you get train wrecks like this.

    Frankly, I'm surprised there haven't been more physical fights over this.

    I'll freely admit that some of my own posts over the past few months have been inspired by the neverending supply of "yay yay rah rah" I've been seeing on the buildup to both GW2 and Mists. People aren't looking at things with a balanced and critical eye, and they're setting themselves up for disappointment. But even then, I don't believe in vitriol like this crap, because eventually it all comes back to you.

  13. Sadly, sometimes it seems spewing vitriol is something people do, especially on the Internet. While I do not really care for SWtOR, it feels very similar to hate directed to WoW (which I have had fun since I started and still like, especially raiding).

  14. I literally will not play Guild Wars 2 because of the way some of rabid fans treated SWTOR and SWTOR players. Heck, I don't even play SWTOR anymore and it's still annoying.

    As Spinks implied earlier, people should keep PvP to the games and not between the players.

  15. I don't understand the hate either. I found it to be very fun on a single playthru. I didnt really care for end game at the time, so decided not to play it. I will still come back when it goes F2P.

  16. Vitriol isn't the exclusive domain of MMO players. Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Google, Xbox vs. Nintendo vs. Playstation (all vs. PC), conservatism vs. liberalism, religion vs. atheism, and so on.

    Effectively, a lot of people have difficulties differentiating their opinion from their feeling of self-worth. They take it personally when they're made to feel their opinion may be wrong, because they've taken that opinion and somehow made it a core part of their persona, at least in their own mind. They're very invested in their own opinion. Hence why people are so defensive when their opinions are challenged. Note this isn't a new phenomenon, but the Internet provides a platform where anybody can speak up, rather than a select few like old school media such as books or newspapers.

  17. I think Talarian has the right idea; it appears to me that MMO's have become a little like professional sports teams, with their respective players acting the role of fans. Perusing /v/ and /r/gaming you'd think people's lives were on the line. There seems to be a pervasive "Stop liking things that I don't like!" mentality on a lot of video game forums/blogs where the goal seems to be to ruin another's enjoyment simply because you dislike the game. It began as an attempt to deflate the obnoxious fanboy/girls but nowadays if someone even mentions interest it becomes "the internet's" job to kill that interest (sounds a little like Goonswarms motto "Not ruining THE game, ruining YOUR game."). I personally played TOR...enjoyed it for a few weeks but it never grabbed me. Yet I don't begrudge the game or want to drag everyone else I encountered away with me. In the case of TOR going F2P, I think (some of) the original purchasers are feeling shortchanged and the haters are feeling vindicated.

  18. Hate and Vitriol are directed at objects everyday that a passerby would not consider worth expending time on --- its a direct result of the marketing strategy employed in our society by every entertainment product to hook you into an experience by playing directly to your emotions. Every MMO producers wants you to be a rabid fan -- they want you hooked, appealing to your emotions is the way to do it. Little wonder then that when the experience doesn't fulfill the expectations that the emotions then turn negative. As a cynical veteran of MMO's I turn a jaundiced eye on the hype of all these games but those who are new to it don't have that experience that tells them to invest emotions carefully and set realistic expectations accordingly.

  19. I feel like hating these days has become the "in" thing to do. And so has acting like an ass. Maybe it's one of those "in the old days..." kinda things, but I really do feel like people I ran into when MMOs first came out were generally nicer. Perhaps, more accurately, most people acted more politely while treading then unknown territory called MMO gaming. Now, it's more like "Hey! It's the internet! I can say whatever I want and act however I feel like! Damn the other people and their feelings!"

  20. I don't think it's general behavior. Stories dealing with other MMOs like Rift or The Secret World don't exhibit anywhere close to the same level of spite.

  21. RIFT and The Secret World also don't seem to be relevant to the rabid demographic, ie: in a position to threaten or be threatened by another game.

  22. SWTOR hate unites:

    1) People that hate EA for various reasons

    2) People that feel betrayed by Bioware for various reasons

    3) People that hate themepark MMOs

    4) People that love WoW and feared a challenger

    5) People that at some point played Star Wars Galaxies and therefore feel that it should be around forever

    6) People who had high hopes and were disappointed by the game.

    7) General internet cynicists that like to see things crash and burn, so that they can shout "FAIL!" and argue over who called it first.

  23. Even worse, this has turned into Schadenfreude is downright atrocious. When a game fails in any capacity, this means loss of jobs and investor money and I don't know which normal person would wish that for another human being. Or does Greater Internet Dickwad Theory now include this phenomenon too?

    Unfortunately, GW2 will meet the same fate. It won't matter if it's the second coming of ((insert someone's beloved MMO here)) or a complete fail--or, more probably, something in between--people will exhibit the same behaviour. I can already see it amongst some posters on my favourite blogs: a strong dislike for the whole game waiting to turn into hate just because GW2 doesn't include ((insert random MMO RPG feature here)) or even because people think that vocal minority of the game's fans somehow represents the whole playerbase. It's beyond sad.

  24. Should read: "Even worse, this has turned into Schadenfreude and is downright atrocious." Grrr typos!

  25. I see this sort of thing coming for Mists, too.

    Really. Have you read some of the hype machine posts? Dating back to when Mists was announced, it seems that some sites, such as WoW Insider, have really gone off the deep end in the "best game evah" hype about Mists, and any potential naysayers have been shouted down. Trolls are one thing, but legitimate concerns too?

    You'd think that people would have learned from the Cata experience, but I guess not.

  26. I never understood the hate, towards SWTOR or WoW or any other game. I don't think any MMO can live up to the hype anymore. Even games that try not to hype themselves up too much are hyped by the fans as 'wow killers', and these fans are disappointed because the games don't have 7 years worth of content in at the start.

    Really, I'm currently playing two MMOs at once (SWTOR and WoW), and having fun questing in both. I fully plan to buy GW2, since it looks fun, without having to stop playing either other game because it's got no subscription fee.

    So, especially with SWTOR going F2P soon, why shouldn't I play all three games?

  27. GW2, like D3, I pay once and then play forever.

    SWTOR, WoW, TSW, TERA are different beasts. They require a sub.

  28. As a person who played WOW from vanilla (granted not too long prior to BC) through Cataclysm, then Beta'd TOR, I like both. I am more heavily invested in WOW though, the lore, the play, the community.

    I think a lot of people who would never have played an MMO, tried TOR and they hate the MMO, not so much the game. They just didn't have any idea what they were getting into, it was STAR WARS--MUST PLAY.

    Star Wars IP is probably too big of bite to take as your first MMO. TOR is good, it could end up being great. Hell it could follow the same path as WOW, got better with expansions and releases. (of course folks will argue when WOW reached it's greatest point on this or that expansion)