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Class Warfare

Things are getting ugly out there in the MMO blogging realm. Very ugly. I am referring to Syncaine’s “Twit” series of posts. And while the implicit embrace of Gevlon’s M&S generalizations is one thing, this new pernicious brand of thinking is being focused on the one group of people that has nothing at all to do with the “twitification” of the hobby. In so demonizing them, one simultaneously give a free pass to the people actually responsible and reinforce all the stereotypes gamers have all endured for decades.

Syncaine actually started out being reasonable. He identified the problem with the (baited) Twit generation in my MMO post:

But what about those of us with more than a 5 minute attention span? What about those who found the older level of challenge just right? We spend money too, and tend to spend it for longer periods of time when given the chance. Are there countless millions of us like there are Farmville players? No. But we are out there, in the hundreds of thousands at least.

Specifically, there are less of you, ergo you are a vanishingly tiny niche not worth catering to, at least with AAA titles. That is capitalism working as intended. Syncaine does have a point insofar as the MMO mold can only be morphed so far while still retaining the things that make it an MMO, at least by any given definition of MMO. Where things go completely off the rails is when he stages a Tea Party-esque rally of entitled bourgeois to attack the players, instead of the game.

And sadly the twit-generation is not just young kids, but ADD (clinical or not) riddled ‘adults’ that have become so entitles, so expectant, that anything beyond instant gratification is not good enough. (source)

McDonalds makes its money not from starving people without options, but from twits who are too lazy or plan life too poorly to have time for a real meal. (source)

You want to know the difference between you and the entitled, unwashed masses you decry as killing your genre? Not a single goddamn thing. Whine, whine, whine. “I want challenge! I want games built just for meeeeeeee.” You and everyone else.

I have said for ages that there is nothing at all selfish about wanting content designed for your skill level. At the end of the day, that is what everyone wants. And it’s not just about skill level because that implies everyone looks for challenge. They don’t. There are people in WoW who log on, fish for an hour, and log out. That sort of thing is relaxing to them. Judging them based on that is indistinguishable from judging them based on what kind of music they listen to, how much money they make, or you know, the fact that they play videogames to begin with.

I get it. I understand you had this game/genre that seemed to be based entirely around your needs and desires, and now it seems to be slipping away. That’s life. More importantly, that’s business. Blizzard et tal are the ones who decided that they would rather chase casual dollars instead of your small wad of sweaty money. Stop blaming the players who have nothing to do with game design decisions, and blame those that do. Or, you know, don’t blame anyone because game companies exist to make money. And chances are good that the economics team of the billion-dollar game companies like Blizzard have already graphed out exactly how much your high regard is worth, and found it wanting.

Harder games are not some higher, purer form of magic. They are simply different tastes. And if none are being made, or the ones that exist are being “dumbed down,” you may want to start up your utopian commune because the Invisible Hand is flipping you off. That, or you could demonstrate some of that delayed gratification skills you accuse others of lacking and simply wait for some game company to come along and cater to your more refined palette.