Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Are bloggers the trendsetters?

After reading several blogs from my blogroll about the copying/tweaking issue risen by the Tigole post in WoW Forums, a thought surfaced. Just like a slowly growing irritation in the back of the mind, the thought had formed itself into a solid being after I quit my lunch. And -like all good reasons to write- it compelled me to hear it's call and write about it.

Being the newcomer to the MMO's and especially blogging, and generally being one of the followers of trends rather than the trendsetters, I'm a bit slow and late. I rather am late and safe than early and apologetic. And I take my time to consider things before making a decision.

But it seems to me that majority of the active bloggers aren't. People seem to make their decisions pretty fast, take their stand and defend it with fervour rarely seen in real life. When Age of Conan was about to be launched after so and so many delays, it was the flavour of the month: each, every and then some bloggers readily discarded their other chores and booked a trip to sunny Hyborea. Only to return later 'in the wait of the next gen mmo'.

Weeks before the Open Beta of Warhammer: The Age of Reconing launched, the buzz was already there, and as the early entry started, the blogosphere was full of entries of WAR, it's mechanics and how fun it was to bash real player characters in the scenarios. Well, honestly speaking this is still going on, even though there are some reports already that this may have been just the initial rush to the new, greener pastures.

And here I am. Newcomer to the MMO's, befuddled by the buzz and hype on the next great shiny MMO, hearing how the game I'm just now playing is 'old news' and 'so passé'.

Of course, the buzz before the launch of AoC or WAR was mainly due great marketing, but the voice of the blogosphere -especially in the small niche of MMO players- turns the tide for better or worse. The enthusiastic reviews of the game and it's mechanics are sure to suck players who have nothing to complain in their current game to the next big hype.

The sad part is the fact that no-one seems to remember that there are still newcomers to the older game. Especially in this case, where WoW has been around for 4 long years and the ones who have been burned out by overdoing the content have gotten their friends, spouses, siblings and youth interested. The bloggers -the über-gamers- show clearly that the newcomers are noobs because they do not understand how inadequeate the game of their choice is. And the newcomers clearly feel it as the MMO of their choice -if it's not the current flavour of the month- is void and empty, without the MM part of the whole definition.

I have played, on and off, for a bit over two years, mainly WoW. From the beginning I witnessed the terrible urge of people to level up the content to the cap, to 'enter the game'. And all the while I have been wondering the reason to that, as I have not had the possibility to participate in the 'end game grind'.

Instead, I started to enjoy the game the instance I started to play the content. When I decided I want to read the stories and find the longer story lines.

The more I'm wondering the terrible rush to the cap currently, because I'm encountering more of the newcomers to whom the basic concepts of the game are completely lost. But they are convinced that they have to level up as fast as possible, nevermind the content or the scenery.

Sure, the great majority of the players have their toons capped and are at the top of the pecking order when the WotLK launches. The more the newcomers to WoW will feel obliged to level up as fast as possible, and the less they will understand their class or playing in groups when they reach the cap someday.

During that time the bloggers who have overplayed and burned out by WoW will blog about WAR, their accomplishments and bewildering thoughts on how much better their gaming experience is than what it was in the earlier game.

Till the next flavour of the month comes with a bang and boom.

Fallout MMO? Starcraft MMO?

Who knows, but the next one is lurking already.

Are you ready?


Anonymous said...

That's not an MMO phenomenon, or even a WoW/WAR one. Some bloggers are trendsetters just as some journalists are, because polemic makes for better news than reflection pieces, or so some people think.

I'd say both are needed.

That some writers care more about acquiring a following than about what they're actually writing... this also is not new.

As for rushing through content... again, I don't think that's the blogggers' fault, or even the fault of the older, jaded players. It's the nature of the beast, partly created by MMO "end game" hype, fed by single-player "finish me and win!" games, and perpetuated by MMO players themselves. Human nature likes what's new, young humans like it even more, and young humans make up the vast majority of MMO players. Ergo.

Not necessarily a cheering thought, but unavoidable. Ultimately it's not so much what happens to you as how you react to it that matters -- so although I rant about "end game" mentality, *I* will continue to play as though it doesn't exist. Allowing it to bother me (outside of the occasional venting rant ;)) or change my playstyle would be silly.

Copra said...

I never thought it would be a MMO phenomenon, but it was so easy to put the stamp on the recent issues in the MMO and blogging worlds.

I have a confession post to make about my history with WoW, the dirty and ugly, showing the faults in my thinking that have made me the player I am today.

I think I went through the cycle in a speed mode, and got very tired of the constant achieving. Which is very much not me.

When I started to do what I enjoy (being ESAK, the exploration and lore), I found the peace and fun in WoW.

And I'm going to share that with the newcomers that are flooding to the Guild I'm in. That's a reward in itself, to help others find their fun in the game. Be it that it is speed levelling through the content.

Controversy and dilemma.

Anonymous said...

Not a dilemma, rather a really good playing choice IMO. Empower your own playstyle while doing the same for others, great stuff.

It's sometimes really HARD for me not to berate people for the bone-headed ways they choose to play... Till I remember that I loathe being told what to do, how to think, and how to play.

Content vultures I tend to leave alone, because it's their choice to gobble and my choice to not help them. Younger players tend to be that way, but often enough they'll turn around at some point and say "Hey, this slowing down thing ain't so bad!" (Younger or less MMO-experienced -- it's not necessarily an age thing.)

Oh and, er, ahem... Apparently I'd forgotten to add your blog to my feed. You're now on my reader. Be afraid, be very afraid! :-D

Matticus said...

You could classify me as one of the younger generation of players. I want nothing more than to tear through content and see as much of it as I possibly can.

But I can't sustain that type of progression for long without compromising other things in my life such as school.

With that being said, I'm certain every gamer's been at the stage where they were still trying to figure things out and learn where they are in the game. Curiosity and exploration ruled the day. Over time, there becomes less and less to explore.

I'm primarily a Priest blogger. There aren't that many Priest bloggers around and certainly there aren't a lot near the level of content I'm working on (AND blogging about it simultaneously). The main reason I blog is to help newer or younger Priests through the game. Having a following or setting trends isn't my intended goal although I've noticed that's been an interesting side effect.

I blog to teach what I know. In order to do that, I have to remain near the upper echelon of progression. I don't have to be the best. I just want the experience and knowledge so that I can share it with others.