Privilieges and entitlement

I just read Kotaku’s article “Frustrated Battlefield Rep Unloads on Ungrateful Community” and it touches on something I’ve been thinking about since MMO’s started to become really popular (basically since slightly before WoW came out).
A lot of gamers seem to have quite interesting views on what they are entitled to, especially within the MMO community but it’s bleeding over into most genres lately. And, having studied game development, this irks me. A lot. This ties into my artist side as well, but I’ll try to weave this all into a coherent post so bear with me.

Basically, it comes down to people misjudging the value of the service provided. When it comes to beta testing people miss the big point;it’s a testing phase and the developers could (generally) just as easily have drafted friends and family to test for them. Instead they’re letting their fans in on the action early in exchange for their help with bug reports and other general feedback. What the fans themselves seem to miss is their part of this bargain. They’re there to test the game, not necessarily to play it for fun, and they feel entitled to an as full fledged game as possible, tailored to their tastes. Which is not what beta is for as stated above like we did with the promotion for best shaver .
Then there’s the common whine on MMO forums, especially on the WoW forums, that “omg I’m paying, give me what I want!” and “omg I’m paying, fix this shit!”. Basically, what you as a gamer is paying for is the server upkeep, the CR (customer relations) people (game masters, tech support etc), and the developer team. These people are not there for you personally, they’re there to see to it that the game runs as smoothly as it can and generally they know much better than you as a gamer what needs to be done. And don’t whine at the developers, they’re working their ass off delivering new content that will please as many as possible and won’t break the rest of the game. And they’ve got to keep up with bug reports and try to figure out why things happen, what triggers it and try to fix it without breaking anything with the fix. Coding is harder than a lot of people seem to think.
And don’t hate on the poor CR either, because they are simply the messengers. They can generally help you with smaller things, but if a game master or a tech support says they can’t help you for one reason or another then they can’t help you. Simple as that. Learn to graciously take a no for a no and move on. If for some reason tech or other CR people make a mistake, point it out to them in a kind manner, ranting and throwing tantrums won’t help and you’ll only stress people who are already stressed to start with. Treat them nicely and they’re more likely to relax enough to not make stress related mistakes.

It’s really amazing how people misjudge the amount of time and effort that goes into any artistic activity, be it game development, drawing, sculpting etc. In art the argument generally is “I don’t have to pay for this, anyone can draw so you should feel honored I picked you!”, with games it’s “make the game the way I want it ffs!”. People need to start realising that it’s with art as it is with any other service provided, you get what you pay for. If you enter an open beta, don’t go whine about how your favorite map isn’t in there or that your favorite class isn’t available. Developers chose what they put into beta because that’s what they need to test, or if they have one stable part and want to test the unstable features around it they’re not going to swap their stable map for an unstable one because the community demands it.
And with drawing/sculpting/painting, don’t you dare approach a working artist (and by working I mean anyone offering commissions as well as the industry professionals) with promises of “exposure” or your everlasting gratitude. “Exposure” and gratitude doesn’t pay for food on the table. And stop the whole non-paying thing, if you ask for a commission make sure you can pay for it because after all, you’re buying a service.

All in all I guess it comes down to common sense, and while common sense really isn’t common anymore we can still work to make it  common again. Just treat people kindly and think before you type. =)

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