Reflections & Moving On
A full year has passed since I began writing the Player Perspectives column, and after a full year, it is time for me to bid adieu to the column. While I will still be writing actively in the online gaming industry (feel free to come see me at Examiner and MMOHut, among other places), I simply don't have the time to commit to a weekly column here on top of everything else.
It's been a long year, one which I hope has, at least once, entertained or enlightened you. As I began the year, I endeavored to be a spokesperson for you, but – as I discussed in last week's column – I believe you are capable of taking care of yourselves. Indeed, I've learned a lot from you, reading comments week to week from each column, even if I have not said much myself in return. MMORPG.com has a stellar community to write for, and there's plenty to be proud of in what you've built.
The idea behind Player Perspectives was simple enough: to be a springboard for the communication of ideas and perceptions as they came from the communities of various online games, and the MMO community as a whole. I strove to understand the dynamics between community and developer, between sub-communities, and the community with itself in an informal study of the one core piece of the online gaming industry often overlooked or overshadowed by the business. There have been times I have strayed and misjudged, times I have missed the mark, but each time has taught me something new from each of you. A community is made of many voices, and it's impossible to capture them all in one week's time.
The truth remains – everyone's a critic, and for good reason. There's a rare person outside the online gaming industry who understands MMOs more intimately than their players, and those of us who have spent months or years on them have learned their structures, formulas, and manipulations quite well, even if we don't always consciously recognize them. A well informed, articulate community can make significant impact in the industry, and often makes the difference between a good game and a great game. Games which survive the longest have been those that have adapted to their community, reflecting the concerns, ideas, and energy that their players have for the game, rather than plodding down a predestined path without heed for the voices around them.
I've said most of what I wanted to last week, so I'll keep this short and simple. Thank you all, and farewell; enjoy your holiday gaming season gleefully!