This post by Psynister caught my eye today. In it he talks about the state of his blog and his gaming. He has the following to say about playing SWOTR:
No matter how much you might enjoy playing the game, if you’re active in
social networks where a large number of players are present or if
you’re active in the bloggosphere then you’re constantly surrounded by
negativity towards the game. Even when you’re having a blast playing it,
there’s so much negativity surrounding it that it’s almost hard to
still enjoy it. You almost have to escape into the game to get away from
all the negativity being directed at it. It’s a bit ridiculous,
This touched a nerve with me as it's a subject that I've been meaning to write about for a few days: the woes of being a SWTOR fan. (First world problems, I know.) People like to moan about the many ways in which the game supposedly fails, but really, the only thing that's actually inhibiting my fun every now and then are generally people who don't even play the game.
I have to admit that this is something that WoW never prepared me for. Sure, you can find plenty of people who like to moan about WoW too, but for every negative voice like that there are plenty more positive ones, and more importantly, it doesn't really matter. Blizzard is pretty much beyond criticism these days. People will write thousands of ranty words about all the things the company supposedly does wrong, and then admit in the same breath that they bought WoW's annual pass and have been playing Diablo 3 non-stop for the past two months. Actions speak louder than words, and nothing can even remotely threaten WoW's status these days considering that even the people who claim to not like it keep coming back for more (not to mention the millions of people that do genuinely love it).
SWTOR plays in a very different league here. It's still quite a big game, but it's not unreasonable to suspect that EA might have expected it to perform better than it currently does. The game will have to work hard to both keep attracting new players and retain current ones, and people bashing it left and right is not going to help with that.
This is where some smart arse usually chimes in that nobody cares what some dude says on the internet, but put enough dudes together and it will affect public opinion. Don't tell me that you've never become curious about something that lots of people praised or were turned off trying something that a lot of people declared a waste of time. So people continuously bashing SWTOR affects me negatively because it contributes to actually putting the continued existence of the game in its current state at risk (Psynister has a few words to say about that as well).
I'm also continuously baffled by how much hatred people have for a game that they didn't even play for very long. I've always had at least a bit of sympathy for WoW curmudgeons because most of the time their bitterness is based on the fact that the game has changed over the years. If they liked it one way, played for years, and Blizzard took that away from them... well, they really did lose something in a way. Even if I don't agree with the particulars, I can at least see how that would make someone grumpy. Many of the TOR haters on the other hand openly admit that they only played for a couple of days/levels... and yet still seethe with more hatred for the game than even the most evil Sith Lord, even though they realised that it wasn't what they wanted almost from the start. Why they can't just move on to something else I don't know.
Then of course we have the ones who always sound very intellectual somehow and know exactly why the game sucks without even having touched it. They tend to remind me of my dear old mother when she says that internet people aren't real, and there's about as much point in arguing the point. I actually stop myself from commenting on certain blogs nowadays purely because if I mention SWTOR in any positive context at all I know that I'll just have my intelligence questioned by the author or other commenters there.
Maybe it's my own fault for hanging out in the wrong circles. I did "come over" from a mostly WoW-centric blogosphere after all. I suppose I need to search harder to find more blogs that are TOR-positive, focus on reading those and it will all be better.
Unfortunately from what I've seen, even some fan sites aren't unaffected by all the negativity, starting off many an article with lines like...
"I still love TOR but..." [insert countless reasons why this is bound to only be a temporary state]
Can you imagine many happy conversations that start with telling someone that you "still love them but..."? Me neither.
Or how about:
"We can all agree that TOR has many problems..."
Yes, because the first thing that always comes to my mind when I want to talk about something I love are the many ways in which it sucks! It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.
This isn't meant to be a jab at fan sites. I wouldn't be surprised if I had started a post myself that way, somewhere, at some point. Neither is it supposed to mean that we shouldn't criticise the game as fans.
However, I think that we should focus on the things we enjoy, and just say what we have to say without sounding like we're constantly apologising for liking the game (or even for not liking certain aspects of the game), as if we expect nasty anti-TOR trolls to jump out of the woodwork even in the comment section of a tiny fan blog. We can't change minds that have already been made up, but we can try to be a good example for those who might not know much about the game and show them the many ways in which it rocks.
(And yes, I realise there is a certain irony in writing an angry rant about how people should be more positive. Normal and more positive business will resume shortly.)