Framing a Narrative

Just a month ago, the Battle for Azeroth expansion was about to go live. I remember it well, mostly because I was laid up on a couch recovering from appendicitis!

Most importantly, however, the hype of the upcoming expansion had everyone brimming with excitement. After all, Legion had been a big success so we were ready for new Mythic+ content, new Raids, and new stories!

All of that content landed and the last four weeks have been a whirlwind of questing, reputation grinding, and dungeon adventures that has left many of us feeling overwhelmed with the sheer amount of launch content available to us.

Just last week, our first raid opened up. Warfronts launched… kinda… and we all kicked off on doing yet another new thing. Oh, and Mythic+!

Slowly, however, I’ve noticed the rising tide of aggression and contempt within the WoW community, both in the forums and on Reddit. Some of the issues seem reasonable enough. There’s a fair number of strange bugs that have worked their way into this expansion and it’s okay to be disgruntled at those issues.

It’s not okay, in my opinion, to start grabbing cue cards from other complaints on the internet and using them as your own.

For example, if your complaint includes any of the following quotes, I will completely ignore whatever you are complaining about, because you’re not saying anything original… you’re just pasting someone else’s argument:

  • “Blizzard is a small indie developer” – It’s meant to be sarcastic. Clearly a large powerhouse like Blizzard Activision should be able to squash bugs better than a small developer studio. I’m not sure where this idea comes from. The only reason WoW exists with the sheer amount of content is because of a large development team. Bugs, like most other things, scale with the software that is produced. More content means more bugs, and more content means more complex bugs. The large studio probably has more people working on bug squashing than an entire small development studio, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have less to deal with than a small studio.
  • “Literally Unplayable” – Nothing makes you sound more dramatic than highlighting how a bug is “game breaking”. The problem is, most bugs aren’t game breaking at all. They’re bugs. They cause an issue here and there, but many times are hard to replicate, hard to find, and hard to resolve. In almost every post I’ve seen about game-breaking bugs, I’ve found that when doing the same content I didn’t have any issues. That’s not to say the bug doesn’t exist, but it does mean that it’s not killing the game. Submit your bug. Move on.
  • “It will take months to <blank>!” – Whether it’s reputation grinds, farming gear, clearing raids, whatever. It doesn’t really matter if it’ll take “months” to finish. WoW is an MMO that requires a monthly subscription to play. The game isn’t meant to be cleared in a few days or even weeks. This is supposed to take months. Honestly, I’ve never understood how people can be outraged about rewards in game being locked behind actively playing the game. It’s genuinely confusing.
  • “LFR is an abomination!” – As a bonus, this one is starting to pop up a lot now that the raid finder is open for the first wing. Here’s what I have to say about LFR. If you don’t think it’s worth it, don’t do it. If you’re clearing normal Uldir you don’t need to bother with LFR. It’s not meant for normal raiders. It’s meant for those who will likely never clear normal or above difficulties. It gives them a way to access the content. Complaining about “casuals” while playing their content is stupid. Really.

It’s fine to have many issues with Blizzard, the game development team, the quality assurance team, or even just the way you think the game should play. The problem is the feedback loop that complaining on places like the forums or reddit is creating.

Instead of feedback about improved ways to unlock the allied races, we end up with spam posting about how we demand Blizzard just “make it better”. Instead of reporting bugs and waiting for the developers to tackle them, we create dozens of posts about that one thing that happened to us that one time and spend days raging about it!

Look, the developers do things that we don’t like sometimes. Right now, for example, I’m one of players that expected to get multiple pieces of gear from my weekly chest yesterday. That was due to a lack of communication from Blizzard. Oops.

The problem is, the community latched onto this issue and is using it to frame a narrative that it’s “us vs. them“. If you listen to the internet narrative, then Blizzard is just a lying, money-grubbing, terrible company and the proof is holding onto stuff like… they only gave us one gear piece instead of up to three.

It’s really depressing.

I’ve been playing a lot of Battle for Azeroth since it released and I have no shortage of dungeons to run, no shortage of ways to get gear, and no shortage of raid guides to read up on as I also continue to try and finish my War Campaign, get my crafting up, and finish the Pathfinder achievement.

There is SO much content that I can barely even find time to write and read on my blog because I have a massive in-game checklist! Yet people are angry because we have to wait another week to get a shot at warfronts? A scenario that the same community is also complaining about on the other side because it’s so boring and easy?

Come on community. We’re better than this.

You can have issues with WoW. That’s okay. But if you’re so unhappy with the game that you think the developers are actual villains in some kind of way, then it’s time to step back and figure out a new path forward. It’ll be good for you and the rest of the players.


3 thoughts on “Framing a Narrative

  1. I wish I could ‘like’ this post more than once. It perfectly articulates the frustrations that I’ve been having myself. I don’t care that there are bugs in the game – these things happen, and it’s not the end of the world. But what I do care about are the people ranting and raving about ‘what a pieces of shit’ Battle for Azeroth is, and how Blizzard are just crap. What a load of rubbish.
    Thank you for helping to highlight the ridiculousness of this situation, and making me feel less alone in wishing people would be more polite. Really great post. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s the hardest part for me. These developers, writers, technicians… all of them are working hard to produce the game we play. I hope they know there are plenty of us out here that enjoy playing and are thankful for their endless work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written. As you point out, you still have plenty of content ahead of you. I do too. I just hit 120. The people you see beg for changes/content, etc. are those that are where we are now, a few days after the expansion launched. They never realize, that just because WoW has a subscription fee does not mean that the game is meant to provide them entertainment around the clock. That’s the biggest factor, and the most bizarre to me. As a game developer there must be few things more discouraging, than to see playere devour the game that way, without really enjoying it, but instead just makes it into a race.

    Liked by 1 person

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