In the example presented in the article, the gamers in question were completely out of line- in my opinion. The developer was expressing their own personal opinion about a hypothetical condition which may or may not exist later on down the road. A video game where narrative is more important than game play, story telling over player activity. Is that actually a video game, or is it more of an interactive movie? Remember, her interview was done in 2006.
The sad fact is that MMO players have very little recourse for contending with issues that they dislike or despise in their MMO. They have two choices, complain (be it in either a civilized manner, or a raging tantrum) or quit playing that game. The free market will decide if a developer's decisions are wise or folly.
The Player / Developer relationship is best served when there is open and honest communication between the two parties. Developers have to keep in mind that the revenue stream which makes their labors profitable is derived from the Players, and the Players need to keep in mind that they are consumers of a product / service, not lord and masters over someone else's schedule.
Name calling on both sides of the fence should stop. Referring to a developer in the terms that these children did is appalling- and a developer agreeing with statements that refer to paying subscribers as 'Whining 12 year olds' or 'Cry babies' is just as unacceptable.
IMO, more MMOs should be communicative and honest with their player base. The older, wiser gamers will inherently set an example for the folks who are younger and e-raging. In turn, Developers should listen to their player base. Keep them moderately pleased and revenue will continue to flow from consumer to producer. In the event of content / financial drought / famine... the relationship can be salvaged or maintained until the rough patch is passed.
Sadly however, this is just a small sample of a larger symptom. A lack of common respect, decency and consideration for our fellow man.
Sadly though all of this flack occurred when Helper didn't even make a bad call. It's a good idea she got slammed for (not that it would have been excusable had it not been). Really, the gameplay in Bioware titles has always been lacking, with the exception of maybe Mass Effect. They've basically been poorly built RTSs based loosely on D20, with the exception of Mass Effect which was a mediocrely built third person shooter.
For most of their games an option to skip through the inane combat might be a blessing so that people can focus on the good gameplay that's offered via the dialogue trees presented in the narrative. There's rules, challenges and interaction... so yeah, those conversations are gameplay. Often the only gameplay within the associated titles that's worth getting excited about.
I don't personally know of anyone who played Baldur's Gate because it had rippin' good action. I mean, it was like ******** II with a poor interface and fewer units. Honestly it probably would have been better had it been turn based and a closer adaptation of the actual rules. It wasn't that though, and thus everyone I know played it mainly because it was a nice little dip into the Forgotten Realms, and had an interesting narrative that players wanted to see concluded.
But hey, maybe that's just me and the folks I know...
Originally Posted by dontdrunkimshoot
lol gamer entitlement, we get more entitled as content is striped out and sold separately. this has nothing to do with some new trend, she was just the latest target of anonymous, 4chan, reddit, the internet hate machine basically. that's were the angriest of gamers hang out, and they don't like their rpgs being turned into this fetish filled, gay sex dating sim.
that's this helper person's contribution to everything bioware makes, its also proboly why mass effect 3 has this laughable story mode were you basically invincible and could walk through the whole game without firing a shot. is it there because they think they are such good writers that people would rather walk from cut scene to cut scene having no interest in the game play? is that maybe a bit arrogant, or insane? did the angriest people on the internet call them out on it the only way they know how? i think so...
this, the bad handling of the TOR forums, and being absorbed by ea is why people think bioware is going down the tubes. games have been made disturbingly casual, simplified, and just crappy of late. what we love is being destroyed by console shovelware that has no creativity or substance. game companies arent creative places anymore, they are oppressed corporate dungeons.
why are gamers so mad lately? fetchers of previous tiles don't make it into sequels, damnable, insulting day 1 dlcs, pre order bonuses that you cant get all of, and then charging full price for the game after they cut all this out of the retail version. these are single player games, not FTP mmo's, its grossly unacceptable, its vile and slimy and it is the cause of our hate, they should be expecting it. they are generating the hate they are receiving, it didn't come about in a vacuum. and those that are the angriest struck at this soft target.
I think you both touched on some good points. People expressed it very poorly in their personal attacks on the developer though.
I suspect there is some fear that non-narrative gameplay will be neglected in the end. Fear that rather than fixing bad gameplay or working to improve it, a developer with finite resources starts focusing on interactive cutscenes instead. That fear got expressed inappropriately as rage. I like both story and "traditional" gameplay. I do worry that unless developers have unlimited resources that something will have to give if combat becomes unecessary. I'm curious in the development community which is cheaper/easier/faster to develop? An interactive story/cutscene or a game that has story content but also an actual combat game engine behind it? I don't know, but I'd guess the former.
Putting aside the bad behavior for a moment. I suspect there is some sense of entitlement from gamers that have been around a while and helped make the industry. As was said, as more casual games are made these gamers are going to feel neglected, perhaps even betrayed. There perhaps wouldn't be a casual gamer market if it were not for the dedicated gamers to begin with.
At least that's what I think is truly behind a lot of that rage.
I find it funny how some people want to justify insulting other individuals personally, whether to their faces or "behind their backs" (if such a thing exists on the Internet).
The Internet is such a pervasive part of our lives now, I don't believe it can be "separated from real life". We communicate with real people with real feelings over the Internet. That's as real as it gets. Part of the challenge, which as been said before, is that it can be quite difficult to intone emotional inflections and include body language that would change the meaning of certain interactions. Words on a screen are left to be interpreted as their direct meanings, so it's important for one to reflect the information he or she is posting with that point in mind.
Not a single person enjoys being talked-down to, berated, insulted, humiliated, or any of that nonsense in any context in any form of communication. And being "social" over the Internet, or someone prominent in a job of any kind, doesn't give others the innate right to defame that person personally, thinking there's no consequence. The old rule of "treat other as you would like to be treated" is applicable even more so in this wild frontier.
Personally, if I were on the receiving end of "criticism", I would be very interested to hear the opinions of those who are directly affected by my work. However, if their criticisms being with "you're an idiot and deserve to be fired, and here's why", frankly, I couldn't care less of what you have to say, because that tone feels too confrontational (attacking me personally first), and less genuine (explaining what the person doesn't like secondarily to making personal attacks). So I cannot and will never take them seriously with that attitude.
The supposed anonymity of the Internet gives a lot of people cajones they never would have in person, and they tend to overcompensate for their severe insecurities drastically by acting as superior humans who have every right to verbally abuse others. If you know what to look for, you can spot these people and see them for what they really are: people who are frustrated in their own powerlessness and have latched onto something to make them feel better than their current state. Someone comfortable in their own skin in every other facet of their life will never feel compelled to cut others down to get their points across. And if they have something to criticize, they'll criticize the issue, and leave the person out of the equation.
If the listening party is interested in fixing the problem, they'll handle all of that internally, as the vast majority of the people giving the criticisms have no real idea of how things work internally; always making assumptions, and giving validity to their criticisms and why they should be addressed immediately.
Not to play kiss-booty here, but I believe the devs here have done an admirable job in communicating with the community. They're a game development studio -- a studio with set management practices -- and they're communicating with us to see what we want, and work in a balance of the best interest of the company and players to get that done.
Anyway, not sure who'll read this, but I felt compelled to give my two cents on the issue.
there's only one word that can barely, but only cuz i can't think of another, best describe these "people", and that's dispicable for spewing such vitriol. they should be permabanned from playing any game
Funny. Stanley Woo has been getting this treatment for ages.
Helper gets insulted, and suddenly we're too entitled.
So, if I'm to understand your point here, because Stanley Woo didn't speak up like Jennifer Hepler did; and has been taking similar abuse for some time, that makes teh behavior of the gamers that attacked Jennifer Hepler okay; and everyone who sees a problem with said behavior is over-reacting?
Constructive Criticism: X (Product, feature, item, practice) is dumb, and here's why.
Insulting Criticism: Y (Person, Team) is dumb, and here's why.
Certainly agreed on that.
I started writing something here, but it's become muddied. On the one hand, players should certainly be called out when they're being unreasonable. On the other hand, it's far too easy to catch others in that calling-out such that it makes ANY criticism seem like it's being called out. And on the gripping hand, is there proper protocol when a *dev* says something 'unwise' or 'unrecommended' for them to be called out?
It's easy to call players out on rude or inappropriate comments; just get a shotgun (figuratively speaking) and open fire and you'll hit one. But you'll hit others, too, who ARE trying to address Feature X and not Dev Y. (I'd rather not get into the examples that've come to mind.) What if said dev IS (again figuratively) shooting back at EVERYONE who is providing constructive criticism, who are saying 'X is dumb and here's why.'? What do you recommend be the process by which constructive criticism is not poisoned by insulting criticism? And what protocol to use when a dev is going Uwe Boll? (Again, figuratively. Thank gods.)
Developers are entitled to the same freedoms us gamers are. Freedom of opinion.
Hepler is a creative writer for Bioware. To her, dialog is the most important part of a game as its her part of the game. But to get spat on for having an opinion... That's wrong.
Should games have skippable combat? Some. Dragon Age, Mass Effect? Sure. Star Trek Online, World of ********, TOR? No.
Of course my opinion is valid because it's my opinion. I am allowed it. I am entitled to it. Everyone else will have a different opinion to me and their opinions are also valid. They are entitled to them. If you disagree, attack the opinion. Attack the argument. NEVER attack the person.
But this is where we get into the meat of the article's topic. The "entitlement" part. I feel there's a lot of back and forth that's being dismissed. The "here's why" part is prone to get ignored because of the "soandso is an idiot" part.
A lot of posters in this thread have pointed out that rudeness and the like and the kind of "entitlement" behavior is not specific to the video gaming industry. And it's not. You spend time working with customer service reps in a variety of other industries and you hear their horror stories.
You can see it in the comic strip "Our Valued Customers" or the "Clients From Hell" feed. They're both very entertaining outlets for bad customer experiences. But you know, if you work a call center, you know you're going to get yelled at by really rude people. Not all the time. But it is going to happen. Disregarding or lashing back, we all know, isn't the protocol those businesses endorse you know?
So that definitely raises concerns to me if "entitlement" is being viewed in the way it's being presented in the article.
I fully agree that threats are a no-no.
And yeah, the feedback of "X is dumb!" is really thin and not very useful (though if thousands of your customers keep posting X is dumb, but do not have the ability to articulate why, the stacking data of X is dumb is still of some value to the company ... they just now have to find out why so many people think X is dumb).
But the thing I feel is bad about the article is it's suggesting X is Dumb, Here's why X is Dumb! ... is entitlement. And that's bad for business.
I have worked in a call centre; and I can tell you that if a customer is being rude, and efforts to calm them down are getting you nowhere, it is permitted to terminate the call (at least, in the company I worked for; maybe it's different for others).
In any business, there comes a point where you have to lay down the law; 'this is our policy on that', and policy won't change just because someone starts shouting louder. A customer may always take their money elsewhere if they are unhappy with the product.
In most areas this is understood. A shopkeeper can ask a customer to leave, a call centre operative can hang up; but generally, they won't have to, because the customers understand that companies have their own way of doing things, and that products are made to meet certain specific goals. Someone shopping for a new washing machine or television doesn't rant and rage at suppliers or manufacturers because a particular machine has not been made to their exact personal specifications.
It is not exclusive to gamers, but there is a certain minority group among fans of various forms of entertainment who do not seem to share this view (people involved in film/TV, books, and various other forms of media, catch just as much abuse as game developers). They lash out at developers (and even fellow fans) for having ideas that differ from their own about how a particular product should be.
Playing a game, or watching a film, or whatever, can be a very personal experience I suppose. We put ourselves in the shoes of the characters, live their lives and walk their worlds through them; immerse ourselves in the stories and events than surround them. In a sense, the player/viewer/reader may feel that they own these experiences as if they have lived them themselves; and they don't like the idea of someone messing with them, or taking them in a direction that they wouldn't have chosen. But the fact remains that it is still a product made by a company, to meet certain goals that are defined by that company; so if that wouldn't count as an unreasonable sense of entitlement, I don't know what would.