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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The 'Teardown Mentality' Mailbox

16 posts found

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16278

OP  12/13/12 7:33:27 PM#1

In last week's Devil's Advocate, we took a look at the MMO community's proclivity to "tear down" games that aren't the current favorites. In this week's follow-up, we take a look at the community's reaction to Victor's column. See what YOU had to say and our thoughts about it. As ever, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

Last week's Devil's Advocate got a lot of responses, and I wanted to take some time out to put five of these front and center for everyone to read and digest. These comments provided a great context for additional reflection, and I'm really happy to see these responses on The Devil's Advocate.

Here are a couple of responses that provided me with some great food for thought or otherwise made me smile. After each, I've chimed in with thoughts of my own.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: The 'Teardown Mentality' Mailbox.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Jade Dynasty Correspondent

Joined: 6/22/09
Posts: 98

12/14/12 12:51:07 PM#2

I don't think we need to all start drinking the kool-aid but I wonder how the negativity surrounding MMO's is good for the industry. Consider, is a casual gamer more or less likely to start playing MMO's after reading the comments section. I have to say I quote TSW everytime this comes up.


"If you want to learn about humanity read the comment section on youtube".... "I hate the internet"


Novice Member

Joined: 7/21/12
Posts: 67

12/14/12 3:52:31 PM#3

All this talk about locust eating up content and leaving...  mmo was never about amazing story content. First story driven mmo was SW:TOR and it was released in December 2011 only a year ago. Yet there were hundreds of games released earlier with that concept in mind but they never asked you to pay continously for privilege of playing through story content. You buy your RPG game play throu it once or more the content never lasts for more than 100 hours but it's ok you paid for it. Publisher and developer get their money and everyone is happy (of course when game is crap you are not).

If you are gonna make game and scream loudly that it's RPG experience people who are not interested in long term mmo will also show up to play through the game as much as they want like they did with for ex. Skyrim and leave. Bethesda doesn't stand above their fans asking for money each month expecting them to pay because they made fully voiced RPG nor they have big ass servers to pay for.

I honestly don't think you can freely mix genres and expect every RPG or Star Wars fan to absolutely love MMO and play they game for year or two straight, can you ?

On the other hand the MMO crowd are usually people playing some other MMO game at the same time they probably already put few months or years into that game. They are going to compare and they have to go absolutely crazy about this new title to drop all of that time and/or money investment and fully switch to another game.

You can't be playing 2 MMO game's at the same time unless it's all you are planning to do and if you also have to pay 15$ for each a month it's only a matter of time when you switch to playing only one especially when some new good game comes up and you want it and have to dish out chunk of money for it.

You can't beat WoW with cheaper clone of itself. 12 years ago it was diablo 2 and many clones followed for none to repeat that success it had to be next generation since thing like torchlight apeared and got some recognition.
I don't think the game with copycat game play and skill mechanics would beat the wow unless without being ground breaking better. If it plays like WoW and is much better than why am I not playing WoW the blizzard subscriber would ask and probably goes back to game with which he has spent much more time.

Last thing would be the mysterious mechanics that hook you up to playing mmo for months and no one in my opinion done this better than WoW. Story content lasts only as much as it's needed to play through it but decent MMO mechanics with periodic updates keep people involved in pvp / pve constantly.

start of TL:DR; lots of words about wow don't ask me why kinda on topic.

You may say that WoW is not a grind mmo and you think that because of AAA masking of the grind mechanics that we always want. People like to work for the success getting top ranking gear in arenas can take months. It took me 2 weeks of 5 hour daily sessions on battle grounds to get first full pvp armor set. Same goes for pve you can rarely skip a tier on pve gear because you are gonna either die or no one will invite you to the group doing X dungeon when you don't meet gear requirements. In WoW at the time of getting max level you won't probably fit into requirements for 95% of PvE content and you have to go through it step by step. When you feel like you are done there's at least one or two classes you wanna try out.

My theory about WoW popularity are the big changes with content updates. Blizzard not only rises level cap and throws some new gear to chase after but they change good quarter of the previous class mechanics. Blizzard got somewhat lucky that they seemed to hit sweet spot of rpg world which contains almost all fantasy settings that you can imagine. We have death knights using blood rituals along with kung fu fighting pandas, steam punk dwarves and pirate goblins. IMHO it sounds ridiculous on the paper but it's blended and mixed so finely togheder that you can hardly spot anything wrong in this world of warcraft.

Right now I'm not playing WoW but it's hard to deny that It has huge quantities of qualities that are now impossible to match by any new title. Millions of players paying over the years made this game just a monster impossible to compete with without dishing out something close to billion dollars (isn't that the number that wow cash in every year)? And then you have to pray people will like it more...

Therefore I don't think it's possible to make such a game to be match for monster. It started small but it was AAA in every aspect and that's probably the way to go for the future. Game developers would have to remember that world is not going to breed X million of MMO players out of the thin air just because they made a game. Asking for 10 milion wow playerbase is a joke they have game you can't touch and extreme crowd on the scene doesn't help either.


P.S. I think I need my own column ;-)


Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/13/10
Posts: 183

12/14/12 10:19:36 PM#4

yes @cypec86, you need your own column. :)


And no, next week will not have a mailbox, as I won't be able to write anything if you ate up all the space! :D

A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

Can also be found on


Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/12
Posts: 14

12/15/12 6:05:41 AM#5

Seriously? Not even ONE comment quoted that says developers just fail to deliver in general?

Many people are just fed up with overadvertised overhyped games that don't have enough value to support the sub model.

Of course, there will always be whiners and trolls. Always someone dissatisfied. But do you think if the games were better you'd have to write an article about the "teardown mentality"?

People are fed up with their governments - they rebel. It's basically the same mechanism.

In many cases if the game plainly sucked people would just go and stay away from it. But lately there have been a LOT of games which can be considered wasted potential. They have great X, but suck at Z... and Y is just meh.

And many developers dont socialize, don't listen, don't care as long as they get paycheck for their half-assed work.

So yeah, maybe lately people are overly angry. But don't they have reasons to be? Don't they? Really?


Elite Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2407

12/15/12 10:55:11 AM#6

Is this "shoot the messenger"?

None of this matters anyways. Most gamers don't come here and read all the "negativity", and they still are walking away from the Themepark repetition and stagnation. Try to save it all you want, it just doesn't matter.

Once upon a time....


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

12/15/12 1:14:02 PM#7
How many of us checked to see if our comment made the cut?  The desire for attention, to rise above the din of other voices, can be a constant pressure that increases our volume.  Whether it's deliberate baiting, a territorial need to react to our hot-button issues or an innocent escalation of our opinions, we are all on some level competing for the eyeballs of our peers.

Elite Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2407

12/15/12 5:10:55 PM#8
Originally posted by maplestone
How many of us checked to see if our comment made the cut?  The desire for attention, to rise above the din of other voices, can be a constant pressure that increases our volume.  Whether it's deliberate baiting, a territorial need to react to our hot-button issues or an innocent escalation of our opinions, we are all on some level competing for the eyeballs of our peers.

I didn't even reply to the first one. I just thought "yeah, screw that."

But now he's back at it pushing an obvious agenda, so I made a comment here. So, no, I'm not competing for eyeballs. Especially not from someone who's not my peer so much as someone who's pushing an agenda that's contrary to my wants....and yes... my needs!

Once upon a time....


Novice Member

Joined: 6/09/09
Posts: 150

12/15/12 5:11:32 PM#9

I don't think it is far off to say that a very good result in a creative effort is an accident.    Takes good people, good ideas, and a large dose of luck.   In any field.   So there are very rare exceptions --- personally I think every movie David Lean made had something special.   But that's the exception.    More typical is Lucas...after three pretty fun Star Wars movies, with more technical ability and the same creative team he produced three so-so efforts.

Much of what we have in these columns is a desperate attempt to break down an MMO to find out why it wasn't the next great program.    I understand the feeling, but a good, big program is not a simple sum of its parts --- it is a magical combination of things  that work.     Of course with really bad examples it is possible to point at things.   But remember, when EQ came out it was buggy, had a steep learning curve, and could be so brutal it would make people cry.    Yet it took off, and it is still here.   So the point is even when it seems we understand why a new game isn't so isn't that easy.

Creative stuff is magical, I repeat...because it is true.   When you are hoping for the next great MMO, patience is a great virtue.   I do not accuse people for promoting and being enthusiastic about MMO x.   I think you have to have that to have a chance...but the truth is before the community gets out and plays it,  you just never know, and the odds are not very good.

I am trying to stay hopeful, but I am getting old.


Rose-lipped maidens,
Light-foot lads...


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 288

12/15/12 11:50:40 PM#10

Nearly every MMO is story based -- just most of them require you to fill in your own imagination and actually read the quest copy for interlocking clues.  Some people don't do that; others just absorb it and move on without thinking too hard that this is narrative that's shaping their experience.  


It never ceases to amaze me that if you take two people and sit them down and ask them, "What was the meaning of this quest line?" they will tell you completely different notions of what the ethics and set and setting of the whole thing was.  One person will tell you that the quest line was about getting a lot of loot together through manipulating a set of nobles.  Another will tell you that it was about being sent to this principality by your leige as an ambassador as a proxy to show that you could serve that district to pacify their enemies and bring them under the influence of your leige for a coming war.  Both of these people read the same story content and brought their own characterization to it -- probably without the Bioware style 3-choice radials.  And both of them might well think that their interpretation was the only story that could be drawn from that copy.  


Which means there is no story right?  How boring.  Just sad text on a panel.  But these things are often written with an ambiguous art to let multiple playstyles run through them without "roadbumps" derailing immersion.  It's an art.  And unless you talk to another player with a dramatically different play style and compare your feelings about the playstyle, or unless you are a roleplaying type fussing with replayability with different character concepts -- you'll never know.  (or, of course, unless you're a dev...)


But even if you don't count that, LOTRO is completely structured around story content (to the point of being books and chapters of content in structure), and runs entirely parallel to Lord of the Rings, interweaving with the events of the LOTR trilogy and intersecting with the adventures of the Fellowship of the Ring and various factions that the Fellowship interacts with, and other entities of Middle Earth mentioned in the Silmarillion and other Tolkien sources.  You can't get much deeper into story than that.  My kin on Landroval is an institutional member of the Tolkien Society, and today our book club met at 3pm server time to discuss chapter 3 of The Hobbit, and part of the discussion included a comparison of Turbine's build of the approach from Bruinen Gorge to the gates of Rivendell against Tolkien's description in The Hobbit -- what details did Turbine get right?  What did they leave out and what of those details did they leave out because they changed between The Hobbit in 1937 and LOTR's publication seventeen years later?


We don't just think about this, Turbine does too.  The story and lore is deep in their game structure and the copy and artistic design of everything they do in that game -- I can tell you they love the books a lot more than Peter Jackson does!  (noting that Christopher Tolkien describes him as "eviscerating" The Hobbit in the latest movie in Le Monde).


It's a lot easier for games drawing on strong IP such as Star Wars or LOTR to go deep into story.  But it depends on the game company too.  I don't see the superhero games as going that deep despite the strong tradition they draw on.  I understand TSW made a stab at it drawing on multiple IPs (Lovecraft and Robert Anton Wilson and much high weirdness).


But SWTOR also draws on a talent pool that is all about story -- I've found references in the Imperial Agent storyline to Ian Fleming's Bond, to The Prisoner (vintage 60s Brit TV series that lost a close 2nd to getting the Hugo award to 2001: a Space Odyssey in 1969), and various.  And LOTRO's team has a deep love of the IP that goes above and beyond the call of duty into a sort of literary geek passion equalled only by fans like my kinship (guild) who organize a book club, the periodic in-game music festival WeatherStock, and so on.


These interplays build strong community not only within the bonds of the fandom (we recently got our five year anniversary mounts and such) but also between the subscriber base and the devs.  


Story goes unrecognized but it is there and it is powerful.  Just because it doesn't club you over the head with millions of dollars in voice talent doesn't mean it isn't there at all.


btw, thanks for quoting me.  But I think you are discounting the fact that I am not talking about the folks who stay and critique the LUA stats you are talking about from the WOW logs and all, though -- those people stay and tune and stick with the game longer.  


I'm talking about the people who leave within months -- and those are hundreds of thousands these days.


You have to account for them.  They are more "massive" than most game subscription bases.  And they take down games.

  User Deleted
12/17/12 1:09:36 AM#11

I think people just tear down WoW because it was never that good, yet all the people who started out on WoW think that it invented the genre, there were better MMOs around before WoW.

There does tend to be an anti-hype brigade on here in the sandbox community for any themepark though. Rather than just accepting that the game doesn't suit their playstyle, they would rather just bash them repeatedly, as if that will change the themepark players opinions.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 3217

"A very special kind of stupidity"

12/17/12 7:57:22 AM#12
Originally posted by Yolen

Seriously? Not even ONE comment quoted that says developers just fail to deliver in general?

Many people are just fed up with overadvertised overhyped games that don't have enough value to support the sub model.

Of course, there will always be whiners and trolls. Always someone dissatisfied. But do you think if the games were better you'd have to write an article about the "teardown mentality"?

People are fed up with their governments - they rebel. It's basically the same mechanism.

In many cases if the game plainly sucked people would just go and stay away from it. But lately there have been a LOT of games which can be considered wasted potential. They have great X, but suck at Z... and Y is just meh.

And many developers dont socialize, don't listen, don't care as long as they get paycheck for their half-assed work.

So yeah, maybe lately people are overly angry. But don't they have reasons to be? Don't they? Really?


You mean apart from the second comment in the article?

Give me liberty or give me lasers


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/07/09
Posts: 692

Banned 18 times and counting.

12/18/12 12:42:31 AM#13

Teardown mentality ftw.

This way companys know how suck thier suck games suck. Mmhmm.

Hero Evermore
Guild Master of Dragonspine since 1982.
Playing Path of Exile and deeply in love with it.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 1327

Not Safe For Woona (NSFW)

12/18/12 12:47:26 AM#14
Seems a lot of people just wanna play games for free and without restrictions, and will stop at nothing until they get it.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/20/10
Posts: 1225

12/18/12 8:01:36 AM#15
Originally posted by birdycephon
Seems a lot of people just wanna play games for free and without restrictions, and will stop at nothing until they get it.

This is a problem and is eroding the quality of games on offer in my opinion. Hybrid games are ok, but the cash shop games that we are getting more and more of seriously piss me off. If people were willing to support the games that they do actually like and spend time with, we wouldn't be facing the cash shop metagame for most games on offer like we are now. There is no gaming industry if we refuse to pay for it.

Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/08
Posts: 4

12/20/12 9:05:40 AM#16


I think there many causes for as you put the tear down mentality and no one factor can be blamed.  One I don't see touched on is firstly people spend years getting kicked around in one way or another by some MMO developers.  Sometimes it's small stuff, sometimes it huge stuff that gets changed. They lose character names.  Their characters get nerfed.  Their skills get overhauled.  They have an entire combat system changed that makes their character obsolete. They feel like they get ripped off. And hundreds of other things.

The final insult is whenever the developer decides to close up shop the player looses everything. If I buy a  $60 non-mmo sort game even if it's been 10 years I can reload it and play it. (Sure I might have to mod it or find mod for it to get to run but I can still play it.)   Not so in MMOs if it is closed down all the money for subs, expansion, or cash shop items Hundreds of dollars, time, items I gathered for years, things I've poured creativity into, things I've built and lastly most importantly the community of people are gone forever.

Some of us have gone through this multiple times.  It's not hard to see some folks truly grieve when they loose a MMO, nearly exactly the same way they would react if they experienced a house fire, the lose of a loved one, or pet.  Granted some of us are just ticked off we lost so much money, and time.  So why wouldn't these people become bitter and distrustful of MMO developers as a whole.  This resentment builds and is unleashed on other games, and cycle goes on and is building.  It's lead us to where we are now, the collapsing MMO market.