The Weaponization of QQ
Posted by Azuriel
The end goal of all QQ is for a game (etc) you enjoy to be fixed or changed for the better.
If you look at something like the WoW forums, or any game forums really, you will see dozens and dozens of impassioned arguments as to why the author is quitting. I seem to recall there being an actual study that demonstrated that the vocal complainers spend the most money on a given game, far in excess of the average; considering I cannot find said link though, let us assume the opposite for now. Why tell tens of thousands of anonymous readers that you are unhappy with the game? Why not just shrug and uninstall?
The ideal scenario in an “I quit” post is for you to continue playing a game you enjoy (in most respects), and for other people to quit. It is like “voting with your wallet,” using other peoples’ wallets. As strategies go, it never seemed too effective, although obviously it is effective enough that moderators tend to shut it down pretty quickly. Besides, the only audience you can reach by posting on forums are the people who read the forums, so any damage is pretty limited.
Oh, the times they are a-changin’.
I do not know whether Modern Warfare 3 was the first Metacritic salvo in a post-Weaponized QQ landscape, but it has become increasingly obvious that it will not stand (or fall) alone.
Now, obviously, there is nothing inherently wrong with a game receiving universal critical acclaim by professional gaming journalists, while being panned by uncouth Philistines. Or vice versa! But if you dig a little deeper, an incredibly large portion of the negative reviews for those three games (and who knows how many others) stem from issues not necessarily connected to the game itself – complaints about the state of the game industry, or the existence of Day 1 DLC/multiplayer, or people who wanted a sandbox instead of a themepark.
Maybe those things are connected to the game. Maybe you do enjoy MW3 less knowing how much was copy-pasted from MW2. Maybe people have wildly differing views on what constitutes a “review.”
What I do know is that, going forward, we can expect more of this:
That right there is the present scoring of Mass Effect 3 for the Xbox 360 on Amazon. The PC version has less reviews, but it too is 2/5 stars.
What ever you think about the ending, and how much ever it may have soured the entire experience in your mind… is the game really 2/5? Were all of the emotions you felt during the journey not worth it? I am not entirely sure I want a philosophical debate about the nature of objective experience (or the nonexistence thereof); I just want everyone to know that this is our future.
Believe me, I am the first in line to say that customers have the right to question the creative decisions of designers/writers. However… is this what we want? Do we want developers worried that any reasonably controversial aspect of their work will lead to highly visible backlash? Does that actually encourage higher quality games, or simply encourage safer games? Or are the collateral effects of public catharsis simply their problem?
I used to believe the latter. Now… I’m not so sure.