July 31, 2008

Word of the Day: Hypocrisy

It would be a sin if Mythic charged players, in the form of a paid expansion, for the four cities and classes removed recently from beta.

It would be a sin if Blizzard charged players, in the form of a paid expansion, for hero classes that have been talked about since beta.

See what I did there? Which statement can be found circulating the MMO blogosphere currently?

Sadly, the MMO blogsphere is in a state of hypocrisy. Loud mouths are shouting off left and right that it would be absolute heresy for Mythic to charge for items perceived to be cut from beta. However, no one, aside from myself, is talking about Blizzard charging for an expansion that will introduce the first epic hero class to World of Warcraft (WoW), something discussed since WoW's beta.

I recently listened to the Shut Up We're Talking (SUWT) #30 podcast where the hosts used some very choice words about the idea that Mythic could charge for the extra classes and cities later in an expansion. Yet, in the same show, the hosts discussed how other, older MMOs need to add "carrots on a stick" to their expansions to actively promote players to buy them and therefore continue playing.

Not to mention, they discuss how MMOs need to be careful to ensure expansions don't become treadmills, continually wiping the previous accomplishments of players out. Yet, the idea that Mythic has the exact content to create a horizontal expansion, which would add to the game without taking away, that they would charge players for is absolutely preposterous to the show hosts.

To all of the SUWT hosts:
"Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins."- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anyways, moving on. Fortunately, for the WAR faithful, Mythic has come out and stated that they do not intend to release the content in a paid expansion.
Folks,

I would be very, very angry, how’s that?

Now as to my reasoning. First, during the development process of most creative ventures, things get cut and changed. That happens in games, books, films, television, etc. Secondly, for examples, things such as scenes that are cut from a movie are then are put into a “Director’s Cut” or “Special Edition” etc. I don’t think that it is wrong for a filmmaker to cut things out of his/her own film in order to make the film great and then offer them on a special DVD. Now, I wish they would put them on the same DVD as the original film is on but I have no real problem with the practice. While some people may disagree, it is a widespread practice and one that I don’t have any problem with morally, ethically, etc. Making a game, especially an MMO, is no different in that respect. We cut out things, change things, etc. during a development process and when the development process is three years long, well, even more can get cut and changed. However:

We have been talking about these classes and the cities for quite a while. And while I absolutely believe that we have the right, if we so choose, from every ethical, moral and legal perspective to cut them out totally or put them in the game in a paid expansion, that doesn’t mean that we should do that. We’ve always tried to hold ourselves to a higher standard. No, we’re not perfect, yes we make mistakes and yes, yes, yes we are also a business but just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do something. In this case, what we want to do and what we will try our best to do is to make sure that if/when we bring back those classes and these cities (sorry for the if, don’t read more into it, just being careful) that players will not have to buy them from us as part of a paid expansion but rather just part of the content updates that we did so well for DAoC.

And that’s why I would be very angry because we tried to do something and for some reason(s) we couldn’t make it happen. And that always pisses me off…

Mark
But let me guess, Mark Jacobs just left the door open for Mythic to commit the sin. That's fine. I'm not a hypocrite and have no issues paying for an expansion that would feature the content perceived to be cut from WAR, just as I would have no problem buying Wrath of the Lich King to play the first Hero Class.

19 comments:

Scott said...

Just to be fair, John is the only one with "strong words" about charging for cut content in WAR. Darren agreed somewhat, but as evidenced in the #30 comment thread, it's a pet peeve with John. Karen and I stayed out of it.

heartlessgamer said...

I understand that, but as I mentioned in the thread over at VW, there was an "I agree too" attitude which reflects on you all as hosts, and hence my word choice here.

Still, I listen to the show, just want you guys to play devil's advocate a bit more to at least give a bit more of a defense to your arguments.

Karen said...

The show is not meant to be a debate, it's a roundtable. Darren contacts guests in advance, and almost always, the guests have not necessarily "met" before. Argument and debate doesn't work in that format - how do you argue with someone you have never spoken to before?

It's a roundtable type discussion, and while there is some polite disagreement here and there, the focus is mainly on the guests' reactions to topics of the week. Totally different format than what you're demanding, and as Darren has said before, that's the format that works, and that's what he's sticking with.

As for the cut content comments, John said he wasn't paying for it later on. I didn't jump in because I don't plan to play it, so I'm pretty indifferent overall. You're sorta making this a bigger deal than it deserves honestly. And us being hypocrites? c'mon.

Karen said...

The show is not meant to be a debate, it's a roundtable. Darren contacts guests in advance, and almost always, the guests have not necessarily "met" before. Argument and debate doesn't work in that format - how do you argue with someone you have never spoken to before?

It's a roundtable type discussion, and while there is some polite disagreement here and there, the focus is mainly on the guests' reactions to topics of the week. Totally different format than what you're demanding, and as Darren has said before, that's the format that works, and that's what he's sticking with.

As for the cut content comments, John said he wasn't paying for it later on. I didn't jump in because I don't plan to play it, so I'm pretty indifferent overall. You're sorta making this a bigger deal than it deserves honestly. And us being hypocrites? c'mon.

heartlessgamer said...

I make no demands of the show to change. I am simply pointing out that some sort of debate would strengthen the conversation being had. It would go a long way to stopping someone, like me, calling the show a hypocrisy.

Scott said...

I'll not argue the point that it's great to have people with opposing viewpoints on a topic, or at least able to cover both sides of the coin.

The way the show's format works just can't guarantee it, however. The guests are picked, the topics come later depending on what the blogs have been discussing that week. #30 was almost a minicast due to a slow week, but Darren came up with an extra topic. Even then, he ended up including the Dr. Horrible discussion to add extra time to the show. That was originally a behind-the-scenes informal discussion not intended to be aired. So for #30, John seems to be the one most excited about the game, Darren second, though I don't yet know if Darren is excited for it on its own merits or because he's a Big Name Blogger and feels an obligation to play them all. Karen is monogamous and married to EQ2. I've been very ambivalent about WAR and am only very recently changed my attitude from "no way" to "ok maybe someday." It just so happened that all of us had similar opinions on the topics. It's not always the case, but it was with the topics #30 had.

There are plenty of issues I'll disagree with the other three hosts of #30, not to mention the other bloggers in the potential guest pool, but if those topics aren't on the table, I'm not going to start a debate (or worse, an argument) "just because."

wilhelm2451 said...

First, crying "hypocrisy" is not "playing devil's advocate." Hypocrisy is taking 20 seconds out of the longest segment of the show, a segment where we said mostly positive things about WAR and were quite on board with the feature cuts in the name of quality, and practically screaming bloody murder.

Not everybody is going to be as blindly effusive about WAR as you are.

But let us go back to your own opening above.

A "sin?" Those are certainly your words, not mine. Way to stilt the discussion!

How about similar situations? Did Blizzard come in two month before WoW shipped and say, "Hero class? Sorry, it won't be ready in time, so it is being cut." Got some proof on that one? A press release?

In your attacks on others, you simply betray your own bias.

wilhelm2451 said...

First, crying "hypocrisy" is not "playing devil's advocate." Hypocrisy is taking 20 seconds out of the longest segment of the show, a segment where we said mostly positive things about WAR and were quite on board with the feature cuts in the name of quality, and practically screaming bloody murder.

Not everybody is going to be as blindly effusive about WAR as you are.

But let us go back to your own opening above.

A "sin?" Those are certainly your words, not mine. Way to stilt the discussion!

How about similar situations? Did Blizzard come in two month before WoW shipped and say, "Hero class? Sorry, it won't be ready in time, so it is being cut." Got some proof on that one? A press release?

In your attacks on others, you simply betray your own bias.

heartlessgamer said...

Wilhelm you confuse me.

darren said...

Again...it's SUWT, not Maury Povich.

Heartless, if you've been listening to the show for long you'll notice I go from guest to guest, getting their opinion on the topic and then moving on. If I were to put more debate into the show it would:
1) lead to a rathole show
2) increase length of show
3) decrease focus

I could do this, but it would change the current format. Gamers With Jobs is a more debate like podcast, but they only have one topic per show.

As for being a hypocrite...well, whatever.

darren said...

Again...it's SUWT, not Maury Povich.

Heartless, if you've been listening to the show for long you'll notice I go from guest to guest, getting their opinion on the topic and then moving on. If I were to put more debate into the show it would:
1) lead to a rathole show
2) increase length of show
3) decrease focus

I could do this, but it would change the current format. Gamers With Jobs is a more debate like podcast, but they only have one topic per show.

As for being a hypocrite...well, whatever.

Notherenow1 said...

I fail to see the Hypocrisy..

WoW decides to ship missing one class that really would not be available to a player until higher level. It was not really a "needed" feature.

WAR cuts 4 cities and 4 classes.

The class cuts specifically make the balance of the game a discussion right off the bat due to missing tanks for various factions.

Now, WoW has finally decided to add in this class to an overall expansion. As well, Blizzard never said "We will not charge for the Hero class when we ship it out".

Mythic is already making the mistake of saying "Hey, we will not charge for this...even though we could"

And if they do, THAT is Hypocrisy (defined as "lip service")

And if these are added as a paid expansion...there better be some other stuff to go around that missing content that they said would be there in the first place.

As Karen said, based on their guests, there is no way to know how the conversation would have went.
Lets say you invite Mr. Bush onto your debate show, and decide to discuss Obama.
Is he really going to keep an open mind?

It all goes back to this "opinion" thing you and several other bloggers have an issue with.

You gave a rant and opinion on why AoC was like WoW and how WAR was not.
I fail to see the difference between that post and the podcast discussion.

Like you have also said in the past "Your blog".
Just may want to watch how you point fingers is all.

heartlessgamer said...

I've simply said that this is what I think will improve the podcast. I guess I misunderstood the portion of the show where you ask for feedback.

If that is the format of the show and what you want to stick with it, then stick with it.

@OpenEdge

You make no sense as well.

Blizzard cut the idea of hero classes, then changed their entire view on how they would work, and are now only releasing one class at a time and requiring players to own the expansion to access the class. Players have the right to confront that issue, but they are not because it isn't unreasonable for Blizzard to change their design and charge for it.

Just as it is not unreasonable for Mythic to change their design goals for WAR. Yet, here we have a bunch of commentators shouting the doom of WAR for what SHOULD BE normal policy of MMO developers.

Chuck what does not fucking work and make something that does. I guarantee that policy will always result in a better product. I'm sorry of the SOEs and Sigils of the world have trained people otherwise.

Notherenow1 said...

@Heartless

I make no sense because you do not wish for it to make sense..

You would prefer to be oblivious...

It is ok for you to say this about AoC

Heartless speaks

They launched because the game was playable

And for WAR to be playable, it is ok for them to launch missing the material as originally quoted...

And how dare anyone question Mythic's motives, as they are just and righteous in their decision.

I really see a trend here though...anytime someone says they think you are being blind to the obvious, you say "you make no sense".

BTW, I also am curious about the supposed "Hero" class discussion from WoW beta.
I would love to see some more data on that.
Can you provide some links please?

thank you

heartlessgamer said...

I think the post you link perfectly describes the issues facing AoC. Now please put your reference to it in context to this discussion, because it is not "obvious" and I must be "blind" to it.

Again, you make no sense Open Edge, nor do you even try to refute the issue presented.

To you, it is OK for Blizzard to bring hero classes into fruition with 1/9th of the planned hero classes, in a capacity that is NOT what they originally planned, in an expansion you have to pay for.

To you, it is NOT OK for Mythic to launch with two cities instead of six and minus classes that did not work. According to YOU that makes the game bad.

That sir makes no sense and is exactly what you are stating here. The problem being, that once again, the measuring stick is NOT leveled equally to WAR and that IS ALL I am asking from people.

People are NOT questioning Mythic's motives. If they had, they would of been EXACTLY WHERE I AM, and in no way SHOCKED when classes were cut and number of cities reduced. People are simply shouting ignorance from high, proclaiming that any change WAR makes is bad without an iota of evidence to support their arguement.

We have ONE game on the market that took the time to "get it right" and that is WoW. During WoW's development many things were cut, BUT NO ONE THREW A QQ FEST BECAUSE THE GAME WAS IN DEVELOPMENT. Is it SO hard to ask the same principle be applied to WAR? I am slowly guessing it might actually be too much to ask.

If you can provide an argument to as WHY I am wrong to approach both game's announcements with a level head, then please provide it. Until that time, please keep being ignorant.

And isn't a wonderful thing that all Blizzard dev quotes are tracked somewhere: http://blue.cardplace.com/cache/wow-general/5638693.htm

May not be beta, but IT MORE THAN ILLUSTRATES MY POINT.

Notherenow1 said...

@Heartless
You make no sense..

According to YOU that makes the game bad.

I never said that. Please show me where I stated this. I have no clue if the game is bad. I never played it.

Now, how did my previous comment fit into this context?

You state for Funcom
"They launched because it was playable..."

You honestly do not think Mythic is NOT doing the same? Have you played it yet? You know it is feature complete in the first place? Did someone inform you of this?
And to make it so it could be launched in a "playable" state they remove a bit of stuff. How much is not quite clear..

Why is it not clear?

We have not played it for real.

And this is not even the gist of this overall discussion.

You blame someone for hypocrisy when all along you have given "lip service" to a game you have yet to play, basing it purely on conjecture and the same exact data we have (that I am aware of. Maybe you have played it...but have you played it until endgame? Do you know it is ready? Do you know the removal of 4 cities and classes has not had a major effect?)

I doubt that. So YOU do the same thing we all do..

Form an opinion..

Even if WoW discussed this feature, I am sure their forums were lit up with arguments left and right about why they felt the need to drop the "Hero" class.

Our main concern is...will it effect the overall game. Did it hurt WoW?
No.
And is the expansion only the Hero class?
No.
So, we postulate...what SUWT did, and what you and I do now.

Far from hypocrisy.

Now, does THAT make sense? or do we need TL:DR.

heartlessgamer said...

No, that would not be a hypocrisy. Mythic clearly laid out why they are NOT morally or legally obligated to release the content for free. Then, they stated the intended plan to release it for free.

Should they change their mind later, they are well within their rights to do so.

I'll give a little, because you did not directly state WAR will be a bad game because of this.

However, you argue for Blizzard's hero class release as fair, but then vaguely leave the following Mythic argument with a negative, open-ended dot dot dot.

At the end of your last post, you lay out a fine arguement for WoW, one that I've agreed with all along. That is all I am asking for people to start to do with WAR, which most seem to refuse to do and thus remain in the hypocrisy.

Your argument for the WAR changes starts and ends with a feeling of contempt. So, you may not say it directly, but that is the only conclusion one is going to gain from the way you've phrased the arguement.

And still, the connection to my AoC post is not there. AoC's developers NEVER stated they were going to wait and "get it right". They were stubborn and launched when the product was simply "playable", because they felt the market timing was right. It didn't matter that the majority of beta and technical testers said the game was not ready. It is proving a fairly disastrous situation for them if they can't stop the bleeding subscriber numbers.

WAR has been playable for over a year, but has been delayed in favor of "getting it right". How do I know this? Because I've followed the game, leveled my criticisms, asked the questions, and most importantly I've paid attention to MMO history and the lesson it has taught us. Those developers that talk about "getting it right" and that have the financial backing to do so, have GOTTEN it right.

Notherenow1 said...

@heartless

Fair enough.

I really do not hold any contempt actually over this missing content. But, I do believe if AoC had not pulled their little stunt (and continue to pull), Mythic would not be under a spotlight in the first place.
We are unsure at this point how the changes before release will affect the game.
But, all anyone CAN do is sift through the information and form opinions until release.
The WAR juggernaut is still going, and no matter what you, I or SUWT says...
People WILL play it and make their own decisions.

Just like we did with AoC (and maybe we all feel a little burned by being tricked as well)

heartlessgamer said...

Agreed.

I will continue my quest to ensure the playing field is level. People can form opinions, but I hope they can do so on the right basis, not a stilted headline.