My Love/Hate Relationship with the PC Gamer Podcast
May 30, 2006 13:18:00

(negativity ahead)

PC Gamer Magazine is clearly one of the premier PC Gaming magazines, websites, and podcasts to be found. They have been around for a long time and have earned a solid reputation in the industry. As MMO Gamers, we find ourselves lumped in with the rest of the PC Gamers and many of us play other PC games outside of MMOs at least occasionally which makes PC Gamer a great resource to keep us on top of the medium without having to wade through too many XBox and Playstation articles.

As you know, VirginWorlds, both the website(s) and the podcast, are focused strictly on Massively Multiplayer Game materials. The resources used to keep up on that material are numerous and diverse. Some of them are not focused strictly on MMOs. Gaming Steve, CGW, and PC Gamer are prime examples. PC Gamer has always been a good source. I browse the magazine, avoid the website and listen to the podcast religiously, but it might start sliding down my list.

And the reason is this. They don't know much at all about MMOs and yet they insist on discussing them and providing opinions clearly based on zero first-hand experience. Just recently they played a call from a 5-year veteran of Ultima Online. The caller was concerned about the lack of danger and dramatic tension within the gaming experience of modern MMO games. The answer given by the PC Gamer podcast team?

"Try a PvP server in World of Warcraft."

(Let me know when you're done laughing.)

First, one would have to assume that the player had probably tried WoW, hence his conclusion regarding modern MMOs.

Second, the caller was given no other suggestions. While the caller may generally be right about the current state of MMOs, it would have been reasonable to suggest Lineage II, Shadowbane, RF Online and Eve Online as potential alternatives. EQ2's PvP is relatively strong by all accounts and would be a reasonable suggestion. Darkfall and Warhammer Online (the cover story from PC Gamer a few months ago) would have been great suggestions for games to watch in the future. Instead the podcast team mentioned WoW PvP and returned to talking about X-Com.

Third, this is not an isolated incident.

Fourth, all podcasters and publications make mistakes. I'm sure I make plenty, but there's a reasonable margin for error we all should try not to exceed. If we expect to exceed it, claim ignorance and proceed with caution.

Ironically, PC Gamer recently called a reporter from a non-gaming publication and took her to task for reporting on a gaming industry event in a rather uninformed and disrespectful way. While, I agreed wholeheartedly with their approach and feelings on the article in question (the details of the event and publication in question escape me), I believe PC Gamer's Podcast treatment of MMOs is eerily similar to the coverage they attacked in this situation.

I have enjoyed the PC Gamer podcast enormously over the past year and truly respect the individuals featured on the podcast. I have learned plenty about PC Gaming and Podcasting by listening each week, but every time MMOs come up, it is like nails on a chalkboard.

My plea to PC Gamer's podcast team: "Get an MMO expert on your show or just stop talking about them. MMOs are becoming an increasingly important part of PC Gamer's content, and you must realize that unlike this week's new FPS or RTS, it will take a bit longer to become familiar with the content. It is your responsibility as a respected gaming publication to take that requirement seriously."

Submitted by Brent on May 30, 2006 13:18:00 CST (comments: 2)


'pc gamer' by Bman
Submitted on 2006-05-30 10:13:23 CST
Crap, I haven't even *played* UO and I know that its PVP (back in the old days, anyhow) is nothing at all like WoW.

But hey, WoW is like, really popular, so that's *always* the right answer, right? Right?

IIRC, the reporter whose case they got on was from some San Francisco magazine. She went to a game awards show and was ranting about how nerdy and stupid it was and how she didn't recognize any of the people who were getting awards. I forget who exactly they were, but they were names you'd pretty much recognize immediately if you follow games at all. (Like Will Wright or Warren Spector.)

They also called some reporter elsewhere (Canada maybe? I forget exactly.) a few months prior to that, over a front page newspaper story about a videogame being found in a car that some teenagers had crashed while street racing.

The PC Gamer podcast in general doesn't really seem to do a stellar job answering listener questions; more than once I've been sitting there wanting to yell at my MP3 player because they're not giving the person asking very good info. Maybe they just get mixed up from having to play so many games.

It's not that the show is awful or not worth listening to, but there's a reason I don't really recommend the corporate (IGN, Gamespot, PC Gamer, etc.) game podcasts to people.

'the right answer' by Heartless
Submitted on 2006-06-01 23:45:56 CST
Answer should of been...

Try EVE Online where your corporation has spent half a year building up a nice little station in 0.0 security space only to have an invasion force from the most hardcore alliance in game show up on your back door. All players... all player created content. Dramatic and dangerous.

You don't simply screw around with 6 months of someone's life and hope to walk away with it untouched.

'PVP' by
Submitted on 2006-06-26 08:49:43 CST
I too am a log time listener of the PCGP and I too was abashed to here the way they off-handedly dismissed this particular question. I think that Jeremy has made it all the way into the end game in WOW and would probably have the most to say about MMOs. It was my impression that DJ, who suggested playing PVP in WOW 1) didn't particularly care for MMOs and 2) only made it through to maybe his teens in WOW (could be wrong here). Anyway, the point is that given their stature in the gaming review arena you would think they would be a bit more cautious and/or informed before answering in such a flippant maner.

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