The Daily Grind: How much of an MMO must you play to issue good criticism?

World of Warcraft Community Manager Ornyx sparked a bit of a wildfire on the game’s forums this past week as in response to a player criticizing Legion’s lack of content, he snarked, “I assume you’re trying to make a joke about content, because, looking at your Armory, it appears you’ve only engaged with about 25% of Legion.” In his follow-up, he said that his role is about “engagement and community-building,” not customer service, and characterized the exchange as “a bit of fun.”

The thread erupted, with some people arguing that the player who dared insult Blizz’s expansion got what he deserved and others expressing shock that a Blizzard employee would treat its players that way. I come down on the side of “enabling elitism is exactly why armory profiles shouldn’t be forcibly public to begin with.” I thought the comment in extremely poor taste for an employee. It’s the kind of low-effort ad hominem I see in bad arguments, not good ones. I expect better from community managers, certainly, in the service of “engagement and community-building” than to model dismissing opinions based on gearscore and not on their merits. Seeing that attitude promoted by a bluename disappointed me deeply, even if it didn’t surprise me.

So this morning’s Daily Grind is two-fold: Where do you stand on comments like this from studio employees? Is so-called “armory shaming” OK? And just how much of an MMO must you play to issue good criticism?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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163 Comments on "The Daily Grind: How much of an MMO must you play to issue good criticism?"

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Alex Malone

As with all things, context is important. When issuing criticism, I feel it is only valid if you have experienced the thing you are criticising properly. So, if you’ve only done 25% of the content, then all you can say is “I’ve made it this far and the content is rubbish”.

Same with people criticising pvp / dungeons / raiding etc without ever having done it – you need to put in the effort to reach some level of understanding.

As with all criticism, try to be constructive too.

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kgptzac

I think the “context” here is that the CM got triggered over someone insinuating that they aren’t doing their jobs. Quite silly.

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Ocho

A paying customer has the right to issue criticism at ANY time. If they think the new player experience sucks, they should be able to say so. If they hit top level in the new expansion, and yet there’s still a lot of content left to do, but they feel disincentivized to play it, THEY SHOULD SAY SO. Thinking someone’s criticism is invalid just because they haven’t 100%’d the game is logically unsound and bad business. The people who are going to leave a game early aren’t going to *want* to finish the basic game, let alone 100% it. If all you listened to were complaints from those that have 100%’d it, you wouldn’t receive many because the players obviously enjoyed it, or they’d be biased with sunk cost psychology.

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fanggwj

I wonder if the CM has played more than 25% of Legion? Or perhaps they played too much of Legion? They might not exactly be an educated source either. And by the CM’s response they completely lack customer perspective. A CM that lacks customer perspective has achieved less than 25% of their job.

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Pres Venator

Armory shaming is perfectly ‘OK’, challenges and perceived deficits are what drive us to be better. No-one should ever be so complacent that they abdicate to what seems difficult (not that WoW was ever difficult).

I think people seem to forget that ‘real life’ isn’t a perfectly constructed and fair realm.

Blizzard considers its work to be a form of art, and as such is perfectly within its right to be offended by criticism. Perhaps it would have been better form for him to have phrased it a little differently.

The player may offer his personal judgement on what he’s experienced, but not on the body of work as a whole.

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Ocho

I agree that it should’ve been phrased better. I also agree that “real life” isn’t fair. However, those that armory shame are showing a lot about themselves by doing it: that they’re superficial. One of the most valuable complaints, from a business perspective, are from those who have passed up on playing WoW entirely. So you really can’t say the only worthwhile judgements come from veterans. All criticism is worthwhile, and I’d even argue a veteran’s criticism is worth LESS than those that haven’t completed everything.

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AussieEevee

Depends on the criticism.

I’ve never played WoW’s raids or high level dungeons, so I can’t comment on them (Other than to find the Cata dungeon’s being too hard amusing)… but I can comment on the levelling experience… and honestly, the levelling experience is something you can comment on if you have only ever played ten minutes of the game, as it is the first thing you see.

So in short: Armory shaming is NOT okay. And how much you must play to issue good criticism really depends on the criticism. You do not need to play every single dungeon in Legion to comment on Battlegrounds. You do not need to be level 100 to comment on the levelling experience.

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Giannis Papadopoulos

If you do the leveling in wow and the dungeons in normal mode then you did the content…

The reason that armory say you did only 25 % is because Blizzard thinks repetitive content and additional difficulties as more content…

World quests are the exact same quests you did while leveling… heroic, mythic, mythic+ dungeons are the same dungeons.

If wow armory say you completed 25% of the content then is more than enough to criticize the game.

ceder
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ceder

Insights(and thus criticism) can come at any stage of experiences.

You don’t need to force yourself to eat the whole meal if by the first bite you realize its rotten.

That said, some points may require more in depth experiences to fully give a sound critique of something.

Its really case by case.

Orynx’s response comes as no surprise. 1. Because its standard operating procedure to shift the blame to players. 3. The Us versus them culture that they’ve groomed. 3. The epistemic bubble that the studio works in.

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Melissa McDonald

You don’t need to force yourself to eat the whole meal if by the first bite you realize its rotten.

I don’t see how this comment can be beaten.

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Robert Mann

Aye.

That first point is so important the others are tied for third place too, it seems! :D

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Bluxwave

when a dev studio closes up and is bigoted then the game usually spirals to its demise for a niche bunch of players… its important to have a good relationship with your players… and the devs to be nice and neutral about it

sad to see this as I would like to play again sometime, well not if its continuing the way it is.

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James Mock

Your first impressions are the most important… If you hate the first 25% of something why would you continue playing? It’s not like I am getting paid to play.