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And with one bound, Pherian was free…

The last week has been ridiculous in every sense of the word.

In some places you’ll find too much honesty, the understanding that some are literally falling over themselves to tell you EXACTLY what they think and feel, craving your indulgence and desperate to provoke a reaction. Many have no filters: shouting, ranting even threatening in the vain belief that this will somehow gain more attention to their cause. And then there are those who deliberately don’t participate at all, consciously shutting themselves away, not caring about anything except their own survival. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. This behaviour just smacks of self-obsession in all its forms.

Except those big noises get progressively smaller the more people you include in your sample. And when you step back and look at seven million players of the Warcraft community, you can barely hear that noise at all. It almost doesn’t exist. This week for the majority of the player-base has been like most others except Blizzard decided to try and bury another piece of potentially contentious decision making over a Holiday weekend. I wrote an overview of ‘that process’ for MMO Games on Wednesday and, just to give you an idea of how much the larger community of Gamers cared about the whole shebang? Two comments. When you take an argument outside of the place you’re having it and show it to the world for what it is? You’ll end up wondering what in Velen’s name the problem was to begin with.

Beautiful, but largely irrelevant. IT’S A METAPHOR.

I did get a relevant comment though, and it’s worth repeating:

The person writing this article is one of the most closed minded WoW community members in history. Everyone who disagrees with her is a crybaby or doesn’t understand. She basically spends her time posting and podcasting as if she’s an actual WoW dev and not a game player. Her perspective is like so many of those reporters you find in the NFL who will never be critical of the NFL itself in fear of losing favor.

Well, there you have it. For the record, person who wrote this who I muted on Twitter a while back after you took issue with my taste in music (as I recall) I would love to believe that even a part of this were correct, but sadly you are actually deluding yourself in many regards, most importantly over the issue of ‘losing favor.’ For me to be able to do that I’d actually need to own it to begin with, and then have a notion of significance towards its loss. I think I’ve been doing critical for a while now, and I’m pretty certain it won’t matter. Those twenty questions I posed on Wednesday? I don’t reasonably expect Blizzard to have even read them. I know how this ‘game’ works, and if I want to have a chance at getting a question into a Blizzard Q&A (which I’ve managed in the past) I’d have to deliberately word it in such a way as to make it attractive to be picked. I could do that, but this time I won’t. Because I don’t reasonably believe that this is the point of this entire exercise.

I know full well why this entire process has been stage managed, from that first VentureBeat article all the way now to the Q&A where someone on my Blogroll quite accurately suggests Mr Hazzikostas will be ‘fielding softballs’ This is PR in action, and although this deep into the Community it may have been met with howls and derision, when you move away from the centre it’s all part of the dance. Politicians do it, major corporations do it, you just make your contentious decisions in different ways and move on. Some people clearly never do, as we have discussed in the past, but for everyone else it’s just another day at the office.

Lights on, nobody home.

I don’t want to be in fear when I write, that if I say something out of turn I’ll tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing. That’s not how you communicate well, or with passion. You don’t dance to the tune everyone else plays. You realise that, at some point, the party will be over and you’ll need to move on. Yes, you will occasionally need to write that concession, Mr Ziegler, but you do your damnedest never to use it. Have it in your back pocket, be ready to admit defeat, but NEVER at the expense of trying to make the point. The further away from the centre of an argument you travel, the easier it becomes to be objective. I’m a very long way from the bright centre of the Universe that is Blizzcon or the Irvine Campus. In that regard, I think my position suits me just fine.

It’s been a week now, vocal minority. I’m really sorry, but unless Blizzard have a hat to pull out from this rabbit, I’ll be amazed if their position on flying alters any time soon. The PR and Marketing people have been spoken to over that launcher image by now I’m sure. They’ll still keep designing mounts to buy with wings because they can. The choice of how you deal with that is now yours alone to dictate.

For everyone else? It’s just business as usual.

9 thoughts on “Getting Away With It

  1. You keep referring to a 'vocal minority', which implies the silent majority don't agree with the position. We don't know what the silent majority feel about the issue.

    The fact is that a huge portion of the vocal playerbase have come out strongly against the removal of flying. And it is their posts that are being up-voted on the official forums. Those that are talking about it, are overwhelmingly talking against it.

    You cant assume that just because the whole playerbase hasn't been polled on the issue that they support blizzard in this, just as we can't assume they don't.

    What we do know about the playerbase: 3 million of them have unsubscribed from the game since Warlords launched.

  2. +10 points for making me think of Toby Ziegler and bringing a smile to my face this morning. One of my all time favorite characters ever.

  3. I would suggest that your shortage of replies is for the three reasons.
    1. You violated the 1000 word rule.
    2. There not many comments on any MMO-games posts.
    3. An essay on the use of social media which then diverges into a criticism of Blizzard before switching targets and attacking ranters and abusers doesn't really have a core topic on which to comment, unless the commentator is trying to start a fight.

    @Anonymous
    Alt doesn't argue that the vocal social media minority should be ignored. To write the mmo-games article
    “What is clear… Is that the 'vocal minority' on social media don't represent the majority of the static player-base when it comes to contentious decisions in the majority of instances except perhaps this one.”

    The article also posts to the official US thread and talks about how it is pulling a wide range of “ordinary” players.

    It is an article in favour of a creative discussion between devs and players on all topics, especially flying.

  4. You genuinely believe your article comment numbers are a true barometer for the player sentiment about the issue of flying? That because your article didn't get many comments, obviously it isn't a big deal. That is a better indicator than Blizzard's own forums. This is your personal belief?

    Arrogant doesn't really come close to describing that mindset.

    Is it possible that people have put the posting into the official forums where Blizzard have said they are reading all input than an article on a website that their player base may never have even heard of?

    If we're going to turn personal experience in to wide generalisations, well then I'll tell you that I posted just once on the megathreads. I then went and cancelled my sub, and right now they let you chat with a GM when you cancel your sub. The GM asks lots of questions to get a clear idea of why yo're cancelling and what feedback you have for changes/improvements in the game. I spoke to Blizzard directly, I didn't come and post on your article I'd never even seen before you linked it. It is just possible most people did that as well.

    I also didn't insult them, swear at them or make threats. I just gave them my opinion, which is just as valid as yours, and thanked them for their time. I expect that feedback will be collated into a larger file for the devs to go through, I doubt they'll even know my name. I'm cool with that, I just wanted Blizzard to get my feedback. Your article didn't even make it onto my personal radar.

  5. Yes, they lost 3 million subs. They also gained 3 million when Draenor came out. So… they lost the spike. I'm not sure where the “there are a thousand more options than their used to be when WoW came out and many people play an expansion and leave” part doesn't seem to sink in with some people. It's not proof for your case to leave the game. I'm not saying that some of those 3 million didn't have complaints – I'm saying you can't use the whole 3 million as a valid argument over your own issues with Draenor. Which are legitimate. Everyone's *opinion* about the game is legitimate. Warcraft is going to go through many permutations – much like, oh, let's say: U2.. Right? You love Joshua Tree, but Zooropa? Really didn't sit with you all that well. Or maybe it's the other way around (I've actually met a few people who only like their newer stuff). It's just how these things go. You support what they do with paying for it, or not paying for it. That's all you can do. What you can't do is say that the loss of a spike proves your point. No. You may find many opinions similar to yours, but many aren't for they left.

    We all love this game and are passionate about it. So, we react when things happen to our little “world” that we don't like. Just keep in mind, again, that everyone has their own varied reasons for going or staying and it's all going to be ok.

  6. Nah, you don't have me blocked. I have you muted so that I don't see your random tweets show up, but once in a while I check in on you to see if you've changed.

    Your pedestal is still as high as ever.

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