Love, Mom

I apologize for the minimal linking that goes on in this post. I do, however, give credit to the blogs. As for some of the other facts listed, you can easily find them yourselves. I cannot, since I am at work (shh!)







A strange-but-true concept came to me today while reading one of my favorite blogs. A game developer is much like a parent, the community their child. (1)A bad parent gives their child everything he or she asks for, as soon as they ask for it, leaving them spoiled, selfish, demanding and unappreciative. (2)Ignore them completely, and you have a whole new set of problems on your hands. They may run away, /wrist, etc. (3)However, a careful balance will yield optimal results. (4)Of course there is always that one snot-nose pee-pants brat that will be that way no matter how you raise them. Some parents beat their children for no, or unjust reasons (c’mon, sometimes the kid deserves a beating). You get the idea.

The child in example 1 is a direct reference to PlanetSide (Henceforth Child-1 or “PlanetSide”)
The child in example 2 is a reference to Star Wars Galaxies (Child-2 or “SWG”)
Example 3 is our beloved WAR as it stands now, though this is yet an infant.
Example 4, you guessed it. Forum trolls (“Bads”, “Idiots”, “Snot-Nose Pee-Pants Brats”, ” Y!!!!! “)

The abusive parent is a loose reference to many MMOs, where the developers punish the community for offering their constructive ideas on forums.

Proud mom of the WAR community, Mark Jacobs, shall henceforth and in future posts be referred to as Mother-Hen, Mommy, etc.

If you have either not played these games, or are not much of a forum-going type, allow me to explain…

1, The Spineless

PlanetSide. A “MMO-FPS”. Great in concept. Large open battlefields with planes, tanks, fortresses, towers, guns of every type, strategic placement. 3 factions. You name it, Planet-Side had it.
However, PlanetSide had a major downfall. Want to get a sneak peak at the next set of Patch Notes? Yo-ho, yo-ho, its a-forum-reading we go! You could LITERALLY find exactly what the changes were going to be by what the players (children) would complain about. Much like a child, it didn’t take long for them to realize that enough temper-tantrum snot-bubbling complaints would get them anything they wanted.

Don’t like how powerful that gun is? Think your tank doesn’t do enough damage? Flop on your bed, kick your feet and flick your boogers on the wall… BLAM! That gun is a pea-shooter and your tank is chopping players down like a knife through warm butter.

Ultimately, it got out of hand. The child wouldn’t take a shower, do his homework, and would flop on the floor at the store, taking off clothing and screaming bloody-murder. People had LISTS of an ORDER of things they would complain about, and they would literally post these lists and move down the list. One. By. One. And the forums would be swamped with it until the next patch. Next!

You, the developer, the parent, know best. The developer should listen to the community, but not EVERYTHING is to be taken to heart.

2, The Control Freak

Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). A game that many of us thought had the potential to be the best game ever designed. It has been years since the game took a dive off the deep end with the CU Patch. The reasons for their massive failure from a game with so much great potential is still discussed today.

They had the problem of Parent-2. Ignore your population as a whole. There were  more than a few posts that you can find for yourself where the producers made posts and assumptions about ‘what the community wants’In the end, they failed to deliver on all counts. In fact, their commentary about the community preference was often met with a flood of “That is NOT what we want” on their forums. The game took a terrific plunge when the head producer (who had confessed to being a frequent WoW player), decided that in order to compete with the new power that was World of Warcraft, they would mimic. After all “Nobody wants to be the moisture farmer.”

Then came the forced-grouping and combat revamps. No more moisture farmer (which, surveys have shown, is EXACTLY what people wanted to be). The list of roughly 30 professions was condensed into 9 ‘classes’. The complex crafting system simplified, etc. I will not go into further detail. Completely and totally took what players stated they liked, and crushed it into what they thought was ‘best’. Listen to your community, but have the wisdom to sift through and shrug off the temper tantrums.

End result: Child runs away from home, finds new home. Begin mass exodus.

In other news, the developer who’s name was tied to the string of horrific patches, recently killed himself. Call me heartless, but I got a chuckle when his brother was reported as saying that it was nothing to do with SWG.

3, The Ideal

Though not yet at its maturity, our beloved Warhammer is well cared for by Mother-Hen (Mark Jacobs). Mommy listens to the children, taking into careful consideration how they feel, what they want, like and dislike. Never too hasty to give the children what they’re asking for. Nor is mom too hasty to make a decision that could adversely affect the children. Of course, we have Snot-nose Pee-pants (see: forum troll, “Y!!!!” (Thanks for the awesome example of forum trolls at KTR)), who will throw a fit no matter how much or little is given, but hey, what can you do? I do believe that the fact that there is no ‘official forum’ helps a great deal with the snot-bubbles and temper-tantrums. Den-Mother gives us what we need, and has the wisdom to see through the things we do not need. And if we want something bad enough, the answer is not to storm around publicly making a fool of yourself. The answer is to give reasons WHY you want it. Why should you get that? Make your case, and if your reason is well-structured and necessary, they will admit as much. You would think that people would eventually come to realize and accept that they DO NOT KNOW BEST… Unfortunately, that is not the case (I love that entry).

She (he) will not come-a-running every time you cry, and will not bend to your every whim, but that isn’t whats best, now is it?!

This inevitably leads us to: Mark Jacobs or Mother Theresa?


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