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Transcendent's Tomb

Submitted weekly. The tomb contains reviews, references, alternative concepts and polling to torture the truth from the minions of MMORPGs.

Author: Hhussk

Who are YOU to Demand?

Posted by Hhussk Thursday March 26 2009 at 9:54AM
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Ask yourself why a company should listen to your feedback.

Lately, the calls for activism and the making of demands against MMOs having been increasing. As well, threads have been created about certain individuals getting banned from other online forums because of their commentaries. One comment I am seeing people get banned for is "What makes you think this [MMO] isn't going to fail like all the rest?"

Does this really inform anyone about the game? Or is it actually a snapshot of a hot-headed, shoot-from-the-hip, MMO player who may or may not even be subscribed to the service? What makes matters worse is when individuals begin insisting on audience, calling for action, and over-inflating their anger to encompass far-reaching ego if to say they are holding their subscription hostage until their bids are met. Here is one example. This thread is called "A Total Lack of Transparency".

Demand information.

Demand integrity.

Demand equity in words and actions.

Demand respect.

And above all demand transparency. It is very easy to provide and the height of spiteful arrogance to deny.


Who are you to make demands of a MMO company? Answer the following questions before you reply to my question:

  1. Are you "currently" playing the game?
  2. Are you "currently" investing capital (money) in the company, supporting their endeavor to run a Massive Multi-player Online RolePlaying Game?
  3. Is any of the content in the game generated by you? In other words, did you create the lore, program the graphics, develop the core engine et al.?

So... Are you playing the game? And if so, do you believe your paltry $15.00 a month grants the ability to make demands? If you do, then you are mistaken. By law, you are only entitled to your $15.00 back. You are also entitled to cancel your subscription at any time. These are your basic rights.

But make demands? I don't think so. You have no right to make demands. How about going to the game company's forum and nicely stating that this game is likely to fail? Think you are immune to punishment?

Not at all. The people who own the product have the right to kick you out of their game and off their forums any time they choose. They don't even need a reason, actually. All they are required to do is give you your subscription fee back for the number of days you are not receiving service.

It's called the GOD CLAUSE, and you should be aware of it. It has existed for a long, long time, but certainly this community started seeing it in the days of Dungeons & Dragons, paper and pencil, RPG games. The GOD CLAUSE goes something like this:

When its my ball, it's my rules. If I don't like you, you're gone.

Kind of final and tyrannical, is it not? Well, that's the point. A company is not a democracy. It is only required to answer to its owners and/or investors. If you're paying a monthly fee to the game, you are neither. You're a customer. And if "SUPER MMO" wants to change from a fantasy setting overnight to happy bunnies, that's their perogative. Likewise, if "MASTER RPG MMO" decides that your style of roleplaying doesn't fit with their game, then can kick you out. They actually don't need a reason and all they are required to do is give you your monthly fee back.

Your only true voice is your dollar.  If you want a company to listen to you, hate and calls of activism are going to have the reverse effect. Examples of actions that cause true change:

  1. Cancelling your Subscription.
  2. Providing constructive criticism through feedback or a thread.
  3. Providing examples of bugs/problems on a periodic basis. Just be careful not to throw it in their face.
  4. Speaking with players in game to join a concensus.

If you want to go a step further, by stock in the company. OWN some of it. But demands? You are in no position to make demands. Such notions are infantile and show a lack of understanding of business.



Kyleran writes:

I've excercised Option number 1 on many occasions.  Perhaps its really the only one truely at our disposal, and it speaks the greatest volumes. (but is not always listened to)


Thu Mar 26 2009 10:23AM Report
Sovereign797 writes:

 To be perfectly honest with you, and in fact this is obviously not the case, but your 15 a month IS almost like having stock in the company.  The only problem is, you're not expecting a cash gain out of it, you're expecting an entertaining MMO experience.

Of course, you can really only complain if something is not 'as advertised,' because if the game takes a turn for the worse with a patch or expansion, you can speak with your wallet and just stop playing.

Sure, maybe voice your opinion as well, perhaps enough people agree and the company may do something about it but that's highly unlikely.  I've always been a big believer in MMO companys NOT listening to a damn word anyone says on their forums.  Loud whiners have oft gotten things changed for the worse in games where the majority of contented people spent their time playing instead of forum trolling.

A developer should stick to their guns and make the experience they planned and advertised in the beginning, then evolve as the game needs to, at their discretion using their years of expertise.  Most of the trolls out here have no background and no reason for anyone to listen to them at all.  If you don't like a game, find one you do like.

I think 55 and 60% subscriber losses should speak volumes to an MMO developer and publisher, as we've seen with certain newer releases.  But at the same time, I'm not sure we have numbers for many releases to back up whether that is normal or not.  I am sure that they do see it as substantial losses of customers, though, and are trying to make positive changes, but for most people, I think that those two particular games just did not offer what was advertised.

Concerning Darkfall, I do think they are offering what they have been advertising for years.  No company is going to tell you they made a bug free, perfect game, and they're going to execute their launch just as good as a Blizzard or Bioware.  They will say they are offering something new, different, and exciting that 'isn't for everyone.'  

Considering that, I think they've been at least transparent enough for us to either forgive their rather rough freshman year and look at all they ARE doing to improve.  They -are- patching, they -are- actually fixing bugs and game mechanics when they do patch.  I can't say that for several big release MMO's in recent history, who patch just to break the same thing more and other things that weren't broken.

I agree in part with the OP in the thread you mentioned and I've been talking about it with some people I work with.  Given Aventurine's situation and what I consider to be a large cult following eagerly awaiting their product, who are definitely more than willing to buy the game now and play on European servers, regardless of the game's state, they should be a bit more open.

I believe that they lose more people following them than they gain the longer they let the situation slide without some word on their status and plans.  Even a vague message saying again, hey, we're doing our best, we're having trouble purchasing, configuring, onlining or whatever, a new server and we can't sell any more copies.  We're working on it and we plan to launch 1, 2, etc servers soon.  That would be enough to keep most people salivating at a chance to play.  If money is an issue they could always start the pre-order process in North America, although I have a few ideas why they staggered the release, and it has nothing to do with getting some time live to work things out.

To sum up, I generally agree with what you've said here.  I think most gamers are intelligent people and can get their points across without coming across like they're demanding something.  However, I think we're also very passionate people, especially about our favorite hobby, and some people let that show in more negative ways.  These cries for attention on these and other forums really don't serve any purpose but incite others to reply with equal vigor.  It's unfortunate that the well thought out opinions tend to get either drowned out with negative replies or end up buried under new threads.

Sorry for the long comment, I should have just put this on my blog, but it's off of your topic, so you deserve the BUMP!

Thu Mar 26 2009 11:20AM Report
Hhussk writes:

I think there was a lot of wisdom in your comments. Soveriegn797, and I don't believe you have to disagree with the posters comment about wanting transparency. There's nothing wrong with that. At the same point, the poster should be aware that "demanding" transparency is like a child telling his mom that she has to buy him candy....or else.

Thu Mar 26 2009 11:36AM Report
stayontarget writes:

I think you could have used a different color in your text....J/K  ;D

Thu Mar 26 2009 1:31PM Report
Vrika writes:

I think we here on argue too much among ourselves. We're big anough community, and since these forums allow us easily communicate with each other, we could easily arrange to boycott companies whose business practises we think are unfair.

We could really force companies to do a full NDA lift well before launch if none of us would buy or preorder the game untill NDA is fully lifted. And we could make The Chronicles of Spellborn makers and publishers to rethink their decision of dividing Europe with IP bans if none of us would play TCoS untill the IP bans are lifted, or at least changed so that people living on same continent can play on same servers. But we argue too much among ourselves to do anything like that. We, as a community, aren't capable of defending our interests, and I think we'll never be.

Thu Mar 26 2009 1:49PM Report
SupaMutant writes:

you forgot in "ask yourself" these questions...

WTF game have you made recently... and how many people play your game?

none and none?


Fri Mar 27 2009 1:16PM Report
avalon1000 writes:

Yes Vrika that's a rule.  However in the case of SWG and the NGE thousands stuck together and voted with their wallets and Sony took a big hit.  Not only to the game but also to their reputation.

Fri Mar 27 2009 2:49PM Report
Vyeth writes:

Well as long as is a stagnant wasteland of gangs and the usual mob mentality, staging a mass boycott is never possible..

It seems that you can really never get an honest review or opinion about a game on here.. It's always usually based on whatever game they are presently playing or previously played...

But I agree with the article.. Especially in the case of Warhammer.. Some people acted as if THEY were the ones designing the game..

Fri Mar 27 2009 7:18PM Report writes:
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