You ever get so into ripping off a finger nail that minutes go by but you don’t notice? We all know no matter how careful we are its going to hurt tomorrow but we can’t stop! That is sort of how I feel when I click the browser icon after things happen. Because we all know in this era whenever a thing happens staunch opinions aren’t far behind. Lots of things both in and out of the CUniverse have been happening lately. I feel like we have a new class every other day which means we have people happy or angry about a new class every day.
I’ve recently been picking at my nails. I read about Bethesda and Obsidian. I listened to a podcast featuring Harebrained Schemes about what it’s like to run a studio in 2015. I watched Ronda Rousey hit the ground harder than a bunch of presidential candidates on the campaign trail and I saw France be taken to a knee then come roaring back.
(drinks a beer and puts on his serious mask)
What do other game studios, a UFC fighter, a terrorist attack and a CSE store have in common you ask? Us. Humans and the trend that plagues all of the above, hatred for all things we fear, envy lack an understanding of or think we understand better than others. At times it seems like the only thing we love more than the thing we want is when that thing gives us a reason to hate it!
The surrounding circumstances of even the most banal trivialities have come to ferociously bear down upon every aspect of our lives. No wonder Mark Jacobs goes to such lengths to inform his followers! From the computer to the can we have a thousand voices in front of us all screaming a million different criticisms and praises, hatreds and loves, fears and fandoms because at some point the rest of the world felt the same power that we all did back in the dark days of MMOdom, the power of anonymity in a near lawless setting. No wonder some studios go dark for months or even years on end! Its simply easier. It takes broad shoulders to carry the burden, I’m glad Mark is built like a Jotnar!
We tend to react faster than we think, and it served us well over the last 300k years when we were outnumbered by werebears. Unfortunately we are running Windows 20 on a Apple II. Fear, fight, or flight are our quickest processes while calm and collected take longer to launch with the end result too often being hatred and resentment for what was, in many or even most cases, a decision that we either had no business participating it or will not be affected by. Why? Because once everyone got a phone with a connection they became the God of their own anonymous kingdom. Unlimited knowledge is a few button pushes away but the anonymous person on the other side of the screen is a world away. It's a recipe for disaster. MMOers learned this 15 or more years ago but even we still haven’t learned to control it...or have we?
Trying to stay afloat in our wake of hive minded hatred are often the things we love the most because it’s those things we are most concerned about, therefore most protective and opinionated about. Making a game is hard, making a MMORPG is creating a virtual world and now you are doing it for people that already paid for the product then stepped behind the till so they could watch over your shoulder as you worked.
When I made an account to back a MMO named Camelot Unchained I didn’t know if the game would happen but I was excited to see what I could glean from the journey. The picture that’s forming is that the CU experience is more than a game and its fans. Just like the MMORPGs that it’s calling back to it’s a micro study in human behavior. A micro study that can be scaled up to represent the current state of the MMORPG we all call the Web 2.0 which is yet another microstudy of the entire human population.
This all might sound dark and dire but you forgot one detail, the results of the original study. While the CUniverse has certainly had its disagreements, and while it will continue to it has been an island paradise among the ocean of hatred that the larger internet seems to be whirling into. If over 20,000 anonymous MMORPGers one game can kick the trend and find a way to coexist, then maybe just maybe we learned more from those dark MMO days than I remember, and maybe just maybe if we apply our micro community to the larger internet, then the world we can help bring a light in a time of negativity and darkness. Maybe if we can stall our instincts and wait for the calm to boot up we can inspire others to do the same.
You can disagree on philosophy but no one can argue that we aren’t a species of fortunate beings on a pale blue dot that wants nothing more than to get rid of us hurling through darkness toward an inevitable doom. The only way we can overcome that is by being one people, united for the greater good of preserving our species. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned during the CU experience is we don’t have to agree to overcome. We don’t have to agree to overcome but we have to agree that overcoming is worth agreeing on. From Camelot Unchained to the MMORPG genre, to the internet and beyond we have to agree that preservation is worth peace and tolerance in spite of personal opinions. At the risk of sounding trite we truly are one and its past time we acted like it.