Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Life on the WoW forums..
Published on February 17, 2005 By Draginol In WoW

In the "skinning" world (for those of you not familiar with skinning, it's a large community of power users and techies who enjoy customizing their PC software and operating systems in unique ways) there are occasionals complaints that there are too many Stardock "groupies" or "fanboys" who defend everything Stardock does.

Hah. Stardock may be "the Blizzard of skinning" but there is no substitute for Blizzard but Blizzard when it comes to having fanboys.

I'm friends with people at Blizzard and it amazes me how down to earth and normal these guys are because their forums are populated by fanboys of an almost unbelieveable variety.  I swear, they're only a few steps away from buying shirts that say "Blizzard: Pee on me please!"

I never participate on a forum until I've gotten the "lay of the land" and so I've been very careful not to write anything remotely critical of World of Warcraft on the forum because it's useless.  The fan boys are so totally in control there that it's almost cult-like.

I recall, shortly after release, when the game was having some connection problems a user making what I thought was a pretty good point: "Look, when you're down for a weekend, you should be compenating us. We are paying for a service that you're not providing. And giving us 2 extra days doesn't cut it because most of us can't play during the week. Weekends are precious."

To which he received a ton of infantile flames that included "Blizzard don't owe you a thing!" or "It's a game! Get over it!" or "Too bad, so sad. I hope you quit playing, will cut down on the queue!"

The "Blizzard don't owe you a thing" comment (and there were many of that nature) really struck me.  If I'm paying for a monthl service, then actuall yea, the company does owe me a service. It's a basic part of business.  To be sure, Blizzard has not taken on this attitude. They've made a really honest and good effort to make good. But their fans, oye.

Recently things have been heating up because the bulk of original players are starting to get up into the "level 50" range.  This is uncovering some issues that we saw during the alpha and beta.  The alpha and early betas of World of Warcraft only went up to level 30.  The level 30 to 60 content was put in much later with relatively less play testing.  Based on reports, things become quite problematic as you get higher with most quests being "elite" quests (quests that you have to get a bunch of people to do). 

There are signs that the raw number of quests starts to really dwindle as you near the higher levels of the game.  I have a level 35 Paladin, only 5 levels beyond the original beta and I'm already starting to notice this.  I created a new character today and I was floored by the rememberance of how good the early level experience is - or as I call it, the pre-addiction phase.  You walk into a village and it's full of quests. Half the town would be full of quests.

By level 35, as you enter Booty Bay or South Shore, the number of quests has dwinded remarkably. Still quite a few, but nothing like it was early on.  As you move up and get into the Plague Lands, you're left with only a handful of non-elite quests to do. It really starts to dwindle.

But don't dare make any criticism of the game on the forums - where the developers might see it. The fan boys will attack.  Check out this post made by a level 53 player (I've put in a lot of hours and had the game on day 1 and I'm only at level 35 with my main character, so  you can imagine how much time this guy has put in).  His post isn't totally polite but the responses are infantile.

As a professional game designer, I tend not to be critical of games since it's a bit cheesy for one game developer to critique another's work.  But I do know the importance of listening to constructive criticism. And the out of control fanboyism in teh Blizzard forums creates an atmosphere where few are going to want to provide useful constructive criticism.  What they'll get instead are drive by flames by people who don't really care (they get tons of nasty, unconstrucive flames in there too).  But that key feedback where the player has put in some time and effort to try to improve the game? Forget it. Not worth getting attacked over.

World of Warcraft is a fantastic game..for the first 30 levels or so.  It survives beyond that due to the sheer time investment one has put in and addiction.  But I suspect that if the first 30 levels played anything like the last 30 levels, it would not have the following it has.  And the fanboys need to get out of the way and recognize this. They need to get out of the way so that people feel comfortable putting in constructive criticism that Blizzard may read.


Comments
on Feb 18, 2005
Nothing new there, i've watched fanboys or otherwise known as "God Lovers"(because the devs are gods in that game), ruin more games than I can count anymore. Worse, now the fanboys are smart, they start during the beta of games, and ruin games straight away before they reach the starting gate.

Fanboys in general are pathetic. Not sure why, but I have no alliegence to any particular product or developer. I buy whatever I feel like at the time, and hold no love affair with any product or company. I'll switch my brand on anything, in a matter of seconds, if someone comes up with a better product at a lower price. I guess on the anti-fanboy.

WoW is an OK game, I was bored of it at level 12.. Linear, exponential level treadmill MMOs with segregated content don't impress me anymore. I don't see much compelling about killing 50k mindless spiders and rats day after day. Perhaps, when someone finally develops an mmo that has substance, designed for the mainstream, I might bite (but I don't keep my hopes up). So far, only Shadowbane, Meridian59, UO and Neocron got the formula right, and botched the coding, management or implementation.
on Feb 18, 2005
Interesting, we don't have so much Blizzard fanboys over here in europe.
As you may know, WoW just launced last weekend in europe and the launch went similiar to the US launch: Servers down, endless waiting times ('489/489') etc.
But in the german WoW-forums, there is a total lack of fanboyism. EVERYBODY was just 'Hey, haven't you *****s learned from the US launch? Hey you *****s fix the *****! Hey I'm gonna sue you *****s! Hey you loose a costumer if the servers aren't up within the hour!"
Which is the other extreme, but equally annoying.
Of cause Blizzard owes something. But that should be told to them in a polite way. And they don't owe me 24/7 uptime without any trouble, because this isn't possible. After the chaos of the first two days, everything is working quite well, so I am pretty satisfied. Well, I think it's a typical german reaction to complain about everything. No matter which game forum you check, people are always complaining. But the fact that they are all playing the games just proves that things aren't that bad as everybody claims. *g*
on Feb 22, 2005
I wish they learned from the US Launch, which sadly it seems they did not.
Queues, not enough servers and the lag....

At least you get warning messages now, but that does'nt help when your 20 person level 20-40 guild is stuck on the second most populated server in the game...

Fanbois like the one described in this article are the scum of MMORPGS (or any other game) and I loathe them. They also tend to ruin games even before they are launched by being accepted into the beta test and suggesting content changes to improve their powergaming habits. It is also my impression that they are the first to whine about 'the other players have much better characters than me'...


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