Aug 212013

This morning DDO’s Producer Glin (@producerglin) shared a very interesting article from on twitter entitled “Plague of game dev harassment erodes industry, spurs support groups“.

Last week I posted about how I was not overly excited about Update 19 due to several problems in my opinion, and yesterday, I posted about how I was “not happy” with the whole here is a +20 LR heart of Wood so that you can fix your character broken by the new enhancement system, specifically characters that were now getting free class feats, that could only be selected if you Lesser Reincarnated.

While reading the article Glin shared, I couldn’t help but take its message to heart and turn a critical eye to what I said over the last week and how I said it. First off, I definitely did not make any kind of death threats to either Producer Glin, his family or any of the Turbine Development team. I’m at least sane and rationale enough to know that 1) this is just a game, if I don’t like what they are working to provide me for entertainment, I’m free to leave, no skin of their back. 2) they are people and more importantly gamers who are trying to make a game that they can be proud of and want people to play. Second, yes I was critical and said some things in haste that could be taken the wrong way and in such a way that someone might think it was directed directly at them. While it was my intention to be critical, I did not necessarily mean to direct it at any one person in particular. I had taken to twitter to vent some frustration and bug report some things before going back to official bug report some things to see if others had some of the same issues. Hindsight is always 20/20, and I probably should not have directed the tweets at anyone.

So that being said, I want to publicly say, in no uncertain terms, “Thank you Turbine and the DDO Team for making a fun game! Your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.” If I (I cannot begin to speak for anyone else within the player’s community) ever seem upset (or maybe even angry), annoyed, or otherwise displeased, it’s because I care. It’s because I like your game. It’s because I have met many of the DDO Team, and I like them. But mostly, it’s because while I like your game, I also have my own set of personal expectations or standards that I hold you all to in my mind. I want your game and hard work to be a success, because I think it is fun and I want others to have fun playing the game just like I do. (note: everyone has fun in different ways, but the important thing is we all have fun playing the game). I’ve said in the past, and perhaps it may have been a bit too harsh, that sometimes it seems like the DDO Team doesn’t think of the long term or otherwise bigger consequences of the decisions that they make (or have made) in terms of the base coding of this otherwise awesome game. Nothing disappoints me more than hearing from a developer than “I agree, but that can’t be done/changed/fixed, because it is hard coded that way in the game engine, or the database is not set up that way.” Basically, hearing anything that suggests had a little more forethought been put into it, it would be a really easy simple fix, but since we didn’t it cannot be changed (meaning it would be cost prohibitive to change/fix).

I guess, while I realize that any game is at some level a business, the business aspect shouldn’t always dictate or otherwise get in the way of the game being fun part of being a game.

Anyway, I’m not sure how I strayed onto that tangent…..

The article is dead on though. Gamers are Gamers’ worst nightmare incarnate. Nothing will kill the fun in a game faster than a disgruntled gamer. Maybe that is why I’ve stopped trying to keep up with the live forums as much as I would otherwise like to. Why do gamers feel the need to make such extreme and violent statements when expressing their frustration with the developers? Is it an aspect of the violent games we play? Is it just because of the anonymity that the internet and online gaming inherently provide (at least when you factor out the NSA). Is there something wrong with me as a gamer , if I’ve never even felt the inkling of the urge to wish horrible things onto my “favorite” game developer(s) and their families? Or does that just mean I’m a better person than any troll on the internet? Of course I get frustrated with things that my favorite game developer(s) do and have done (Monday and Tuesday of this week are clear examples of that). I just hope that they don’t take my comments to heart in a negative way, but take them for how I meant them, which is to encourage them to do better and bigger things. To be bold, and think outside of the box, and try to see the forest, despite the trees. An open, honest and most importantly, respectful, dialog is the best way. And a little foresight goes a long way.

So in closing we as gamers and consumers should be critical. We also need to be sure to stop and review what we are saying and how it may come across to our audience. When in doubt, we should draft it and walk away form it for a while, before coming back to it later and seeing if we still feel the same way we did when we drafted it. This week I may have critically failed my saving throw. And for that I’m proud to say I’m ashamed of myself.

  5 Responses to “Reflection on Gamer-on-Game Developer Hate”

Comments (5)
  1. 🙂 I saw the article, didn’t read it through, though, as it was rather long. What I can say, though, as a dev myself, I have a lot of understanding for bugs in game. And when you have a massive game like ddo, it is very understandable that there will be bugs. You cannot avoid bugs, what you are striving towards is to minimize them. But the thing is, when you fix one bug, it is very easy to mess something else up. I’ve seen it so many times myself, how everything seems tested and correct, then when the customer tests it, he or she finds things that you hadn’t even thought to check.

  2. Im hard on game devs.. it is their job after all, to program and develop said game. Maybe its a bit of jealousy and desire to think that, if I were actually able to do that I would do a better job. But I never threaten a dev or name a name, well maybe Solar gets blamed for a lot of things he might not have any hand in, but.. sigh. I digress. Im not overly pleased with how the whole enhancement line/+20 heart of wood to fix it was handled, but I will live. Knowing the game is free to play, tho in the back of my mind I wonder if the best solution wasn’t explored or given cause they wanted to drive more sales. This might not be a fair thought but it is one that has cropped into my head. Conspiracies and all aside I used to really enjoy the game, and after I get used to the changes I will probably start to enjoy the game again.

  3. To be honest, while I’d never stoop to the low of threatening a dev, it’s out job as players of these games to be critical of what they give us. If we just smile at every single thing they do, they’ll do nothing but hand out crap until we go insane and pull our hair out. When we don’t like something they do, we need to be hard on them within reasonable limits.

  4. Did you see the follow up article? Where they posit that over-the-top harassment actually mutes the impact of thoughtful constructive criticism?

  5. Per DDO Wiki:

    Troll (n.)
    1) A socially retarded player that intentionally causes grief and distress upon others through pointless arguing, debate or ad hominem attacks while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.
    2) A giant-like monster with a long nose, a weakness to fire and acid, and renowned for its ability to regenerate HP.
    >>Both kinds of troll appear in DDO but, sadly, Giant-bane weapons only work on the latter definition.

    The internet is not moderated. Unfortunately, many game players (adults and kids) aren’t moderated either. By moderation, one can include a spiritual life where you always know what’s wrong and right (in game or out), a real life where you interact with others with courtesy, respect or, else, consequences. Anyone with even a Facebook account can see how people think that the internet gives them free license to not only say their mind, but say the first (often stupid) thing that comes to mind.

    Makes me wish that all internet-enabled devices that you can text or chat or write into would have a small electrical probe or plates on it. You have to have your flesh connected to it for the device to work. If a built-in context meter sees that you make too many insults in a day, you get a shock.

    The people described in these stories would have electrocuted themselves several times over and dimmed the power grid of a small city with their vitrole.

What do you think?

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