Celebrating Asshats
Mar 28, 2007 17:40:22

Here's the story as it sits today. Darren over at the Common Sense Gamer posted a fruit bowl full of MMO commentaries. Toward the end he decided to express his concern regarding our beloved MMOs moving to gaming consoles such as the XBox 360 or the PS3. Darren isn't saying that MMOs don't belong on console, but he is worried about taking our favorite genre of games and pushing it into the hands of "asshats and battlenet kiddies". Darren doesn't want those entities in "his games." Ok, process that for a second while I move on to the first response I've seen to that comment.

Stormgaard over on Se7en Samurai is a bit irritated with Darren's assessment. He thinks Darren is being sarcastic. (Which he probably isn't.) He also thinks everyone deserves to play MMO games, intelligence and maturity levels notwithstanding.

There's some strong statements here that are sure to rile up the natives on the comment threads of those two sites. I'm fast, so at this time, no one has started slinging mud yet. I can't resist. I won't sling mud, but I will break it down and see if I can find a sane middle ground that shows where we're really headed here.

1. MMOs are going to the consoles.
There is no stopping this. Most of the new massive titles announced lately are planning for an XBox deployment in addition to the PC deployment. In some cases, like Marvel Universe, it seems that the PC title is the additional platform rather than the other way around. We had better get used to this, lady [sic] and gentlemen. It has happened with every other game genre. Why would this new(er) one be any different? The day NICs were added to consoles was the day this deal was sealed. Multi-player sports games and shooters are just the warm-up round for a glut of console based persistent worlds. Has everyone forgotten that FFXI and EverQuest Online adventures have successfully been running on consoles for a long long time? Like it or not, this case is closed.

2. Even asshats deserve to play.
Not only do they deserve to play, they WILL play. Here is what is good (yes I said it) about that. Back when FPS games were a PC-only phenomenon there were plenty of asshats playing those. Plenty. I'd say there were 4 asshats for every reasonable person and that asshat ratio would tend to turn normally reasonable people into asshats during the course of play. Asshats can't be insulted or deterred no matter what. That is part of what makes them an asshat, therefore the only way to beat 'em was to join 'em. Spend enough hours surrounded by cussing racist gank-happy morons and you will become a cussing racist gank-happy moron. When HALO succeeded in bringing FPS games to consoles that asshat ratio skyrocketed due the accessibility of FPS games. No surprises here.

Now for the good part of this. MMOs are currently ruled by a largely non-asshat population. MMOs are not particularly conducive to asshat behavior. Raid cooperation, tight group dynamics and patience are required virtues in MMO titles. The asshats that come to play must conform. If they do not, they will either have to leave (because they're not able to have 'fun') or they must learn to comply with the requirements an MMO puts on its community. I'm not talking about language filters and GM ban-hammers. I'm talking about community influence. If a professional baseball team hires an overweight uncoordinated nudist with poor eyesight, you can bet that he'll be cut from the team in rapid fashion if he does not get into shape, discover clothing and get contact lenses. Likewise, MMO players have to meet some minimum un-asshat-ish requirements if they wish to participate in the game beyond the earliest levels. MMOs may in fact act as a rehabilitation tool for asshat gamers.

3. There will be a few asshats in our games,but mostly we will not be in their's.
This one is easy to flip around isn't it? The point here is that the expansion of MMO titles to diverse settings, levels of depth, and hardware platforms is going to result in many different kinds of games with completely different audiences. MTV's Laguna Beach has 600,000 accounts created, an 85% female player base and a median age of 20. (Yes it does sound like heaven doesn't it?) Those 600,000 player have never heard of Vanguard and 95% of them won't care if they did. It isn't the right game for them. Why do guys like me and Darren prefer Vanguard over WoW over Laguna Beach over Habbo Hotel? There are many reasons that I could list, but a low level of asshattery is surely one of them. (Then again, that Laguna Beach sounds aaaawesome.)

The Point: We have no problem here
Ok, there is a little problem and that is that the lines are a bit blurry. Just as there are 55-year-old men playing Laguna Beach there are also prepubescent 13-year-olds with a Ventrillo server playing Eve Online. Just like that thing called real life, we will not like everyone around us. I don't really like the people at Sam's Club as much as I do the people at the Pottery Barn, but I still go to Sam's Club sometimes. This is why so many people have strong feelings about WoW. It straddles the border between two demographics like a bow-legged cowboy. Lots of former EverQuesters and lots of Battlenet junkies. Mix them together and you're bound to have some pissed off people.

For the record, I'm not supporting or dissing Stormgaard or Darren here. Mostly I agree with them both, though I also think they both missed the real point to be made: We have no problem here.

Submitted by Brent on Mar 28, 2007 17:40:22 CST (comments: 8)


Comments:


'hehe' by darrenl
Submitted on 2007-03-28 18:41:14 CST
I honestly didn't think I'd think anything of the post when I started ranting...and its nothing I haven't said before I think.

Buuut, you and Storm are right, this is a good thing for the MMO genre for sure...it'll open it up to more gamers. This is good. Stormy may be right that I may have been too hard on that type of MMO player. I guess as I get older, I'm finding less patience for them.

....we have no problem here...we have no problem here (I'll keep saying that to myself)...we haaaave no problem here.

:)



'Excelsior!' by 7Stormgaard
Submitted on 2007-03-28 21:34:14 CST
Right off the bat I want to say I did make my original post with some hesitation. I visit at least 60 or so sites daily (religiously) to provide content for Se7en Samurai - and I will honestly say that of all the MMORPG Blogs (true blogs, not Virgin Worlds which is a combo news/blog site - mad props to brent) - that Common Sense Gamer and Tobold are the two best out there. Both Darren and Toby post often, and almost everything they post is worth a read. They find the right balance between prolificacy and quality.

But also that is one of the crosses I bear (so to speak). My site has a "Common Man" theme. In fact I changed the title of my original post from "Common Sense Gamer... Not So Common Sense?" to "Common Sense Gamer... Not So Common?" - because that's closer to the point I was trying to make. Darren IS a Common Sense Gamer. His posts are very lucid, rational, and down to Earth - he's just not as much of a Hick as I am. All in all it was good to get some crossfire. Sometimes it can feel too much like you're working in a vacuum.

Excellent post here BTW Brent. I learned a lot by reading it and laughed my ass off in the process.

Keep fighting the good fight!

- Storm



'Wow...' by darrenl
Submitted on 2007-03-28 23:00:27 CST
Thanks very much for the complement Storm...I really don't know what to say, which is odd...

Like I said before, I have no problems with people disagreeing with me and posting on their own site or mine...actually, I kinda like it. Having my views challenged is the only way that I get better with the whole blogging thing.

D



'I better grow a thick skin!' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-03-29 01:45:03 CST
MMO's are brilliant and unique in their own way BECAUSE of that self-policing that Brent speaks of. That's definitely part of the reason why I embrace MMO gaming so much, I enjoy the aspect of community and sociology that takes place within virtual worlds. I too don't like "kiddies" and "asshats" playing my game, but I remember when I was a kiddie and an asshat in the MMO world. I'm just happy that people helped me out and showed me the ropes - so that now I can be a mouthy opinionated gamer who needs to learn to think before she types =)


'I likey the new layout Cuppycake' by 7Stormgaard
Submitted on 2007-03-29 06:18:17 CST
Speaking of which I need to add you to my blogroll.


'Thanks!' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-03-29 13:52:35 CST
Thanks, the new layout is mucho snazzier I think ;)

Awww blogroll love



'That's all very interesting..' by tdous
Submitted on 2007-04-02 01:59:19 CST
..but I, for one, am just glad to see use made of the word "asshattery", clearly one of the finest linguistic feats of our modern connected world, and certainly one of my favourite words. :)


'Thank you!' by Leonai
Submitted on 2007-04-04 18:07:39 CST
The constant whining and incomplete thoughts weighed in with the consistent restating of the same thing over and over again blog after blog regarding how MMOs are going to go down the toilet due to the console invasion ... and then your blog.

Thank you for thinking clearly and not letting the mob of complacency force your hand into restating the same melodramatic cry to the heavens and gods of the MMO world.

Oh, and the line, "If a professional baseball team hires an overweight uncoordinated nudist with poor eyesight, you can bet that he'll be cut from the team in rapid fashion if he does not get into shape, discover clothing and get contact lenses." should be printed out and framed in something shiny and bold. I'm sure my coworkers were wondering why I just randomly busted up laughing at work.




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