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.

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…

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.