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.

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Annoyed badger

““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.””

Shame that 25% was so shit it did not inspire me to play anymore. failure on the devs part I think.

Never bought the “game gets better” argument, if your game or content does not grab me, dont expect me to play through shit on the promise it gets better…..I’ll go somewhere else where the devs make the entire experience fun, not force you to grind out crap to get to the “good” stuff. Plus I only have your word for it…..

Plus Bliz make 25% content, then clone it 3 times at different difficulty levels……its lazy as shit.

Still this attitude is endemic at Bliz, remember the “you are not playign the game right” comments, and the “our devs worked hard on it so plays should enjoy it” (petulantly) comments?

Tizmah
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Tizmah

The food I made you is bad? HAH! You must eat all of the meatloaf I made you before you can really give good criticism on it.

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MassivelyMacD

To answer the question in the title: starting from the first second. Being able to issue good criticism has got nothing to do with the amount of time and content played, but with whether you follow an analytical mindset. In some games it actually would be very helpful if new players issud criticism rather than either accepting an awful new player experience or silently leaving, both not helping the issue.

With regards to the issue under view here I think that the CM behavior is barely acceptable. You are payed for your job, be professional. There are better ways to handle that situation.

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Crowe

Any studio employee that posts with an official account (as opposed to their personal/private account) represents said studio and anything/everything they say and the way they say it reflects directly upon that studio. Whether or not this developer thinks he is more an “expert” than a professional, the manner in which he dismissed that concern truly lacks professionalism. If I were running that studio, we’d be having a sit-down to discuss this and he/she would not be allowed to post without signing an agreement that they acknowledged and understood this.

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birini

That running the exact same content in 4 different difficulties passes as “content” is pretty much making the original poster’s point. They clearly had a right to make this comment and it was a characteristically clueless response by Blizzard.

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Ben Stone

If you are going to chime in with negative comments, its fair to be called out if you don’t know what you are talking about. That being said, the metric used in this case is a bit stupid. I mean, what is he including as % expansion seen… Crafting? Mythic raids? Quests?

Although I suppose the complainant should have been clearer about what content specifically he thought was lacking.

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mysecretid

I try to avoid giving advice, or game criticism. Everything I say is merely my opinion.

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Pedge Jameson

*Brian Blessed Voice* Tseric lives???

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Melissa McDonald

He would have been the perfect Boromir if he hadn’t been a little too old when the LOTR movies were made.

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ichi sakari

ideas should stand or fall on their own merits

(I know it doesn’t usually work like that, but it should)

luxundae
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luxundae

I feel like all reviews are valid as long as they’re clear about what their limits are. I’m perfectly happy within someone doing a review of the first two hours of a variety of different MMOs with the goal of helping people decide which ones are likely to capture their attention in exciting ways and get them hooked, or with the aim of offering criticism to developers about the new game experience. I also think that reviews at the 100+ hour mark are important in terms of helping players decide if a long term commitment is a good idea or whether they’ll be disappointed by the end game content or long term play style.

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Tiresias

Whenever someone complains about your product or service, even a generic complaint like this one, the proper response is always “Tell me more about your concerns, specifically the issues you encountered that you feel we can improve upon.” With a complaint such as this, you could also say “I took a look at your profile and noticed that you only experienced about 25% of the content in Legion. What barriers stood on your way of experiencing the gameplay that you missed out on?”

I know that snark gets a point across quickly, but it also results in a missed opportunity to engage your customers. The very best thing you can do when someone makes a complaint is ask them to tell you specifically what they are dissatisfied with. Those who have real issues will provide insight into ways you can improve your strategy and tactics. Those who don’t have any real issues will reveal themselves as such immediately.

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starbuck1771

However there are proper ways of doing that. There are also proper channels for doing it as well. Posting the way the person in question did just made an ass of themselves and they got knocked down a notch in the form of truth. I am not going to fault a CM for stating facts that are available for anybody to look up.

People say that the customer is always right or the customer is king. Well that is not exactly true. MMO’s are not hamburgers and can’t be custom made for every single person. If the person thinks there is a lack of content when they only played 25% of the content the. maybe they should just go find a game with more of the content they desire instead of making themselves look like an idiot on public forums. Having to explain that is like having to tell people coffee is hot.

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Annoyed badger

the customer is not always right.
The customer is always entitled to their opinion. You should listen to it. You may decide that you dont do anything in response, that you are not going to make changes to cater to it, thats fine.

But you should always listen and never be dismissive or attack the customer. plus, if you work at a company and comment on a company website, or with an official account, thats you speaking for the company whether you intended to or not.

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David Goodman

If your comment is criticizing an overall lack of content, when you haven’t engaged in a significant portion of the content, it is a legitimate response to call a person out on that.

If you are talking about a specific piece of content not being very fulfilling or engaging, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve never PVP’d, raided, pet battled.. whatever it is.

A person’s personal experiences are absolutely subjective and personal to them, but if you are talking about an objective fact, than your subject opinion CAN absolutely be factually incorrect. “There’s no content.” “You haven’t even done a quarter of the content there is.”

Should the dev have called them out on it? I think so — the WoW playerbase should be treated a little more like this, in my opinion — and this is from someone who actively IS part of that community even right now — too many players are armchair quarterbacks, or just fishing for “lol me2s” on forums. A poor mans’ five minutes of fame.

Maybe it would have been more politically correct to have framed it in a different way. I won’t deny there — asking, “Is there a reason you are not engaging in all of the other content in Legion beyond what you are talking about?” would be more informative.

But you try to herd a forum the size and as obnoxious as the WoW forums without wanting to snap and roast some chump :)

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thirtymil

Provided you’re only criticizing the bit you’ve played, I think you’re allowed to issue criticism – it just requires context.

Also, confusing Armory achievements with content is a flawed perspective. SWTOR had an achievement for killing 5000 people on one of the capital planets. That’s not content, that’s a mind-numbing grind (he said from experience).

So, if you can’t find anything left to do in a game then either the game hasn’t got any content left that suits you, or it has hidden that content too well. Neither problem is solved, as the article points out, by a low-effort ad hominem attack.

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starbuck1771

Funny thing is you didn’t hear people whine about the badge & achievement system SWG had and yes you could even examine a player basically the same as the armory system. Many games have similar systems.

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thirtymil

Perhaps the issue is the focus of the games. Warcraft is designed clearly around achieving (iLvl, achievements, content that only unlocks at max level, etc) and you’re very much constrained into optimal rotations and so on for your role.

I never played SWG but when you have an environment that gives you more flexibility in what you aim for and a less definitive way to measure other players’ worth, it becomes easier to accept that other people are valid in their own right because the game doesn’t give you so much of an obvious yardstick to measure them against.

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Crowe

Very nicely stated.

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Loopy

I still stand by my belief that if you don’t like a game, just stop playing and move on. “The devs MUST know my opinion” entitlement is what’s killing the gaming industry. What happened to devs having a vision and then building that vision into a product? Since when does everyone have to complain about how a game doesn’t fit their ideal view of what it should look like?

I will generalize the crap out of the community with this, but players need to STOP expecting their ideal MMO to be in every game, and either accept what a game has to offer, or move on.

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Nathan Aldana

At the same time though, Most of us dont hate a game, we just feel x issue is important and needs to be addressed. Generalizing criticism as ‘well, you just dont like a game” means that honestly nobody should ever play anything unless theyre slavishly loyal to it

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starbuck1771

Yes but if your going to give criticism be clear what the issue is and don’t try showing off or just post a troll statement like the player did that the CM replied too.

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Loopy

I’ll try to rephrase my thoughts: i believe that a game should be viewed as a product of all of its elements. A player can either accept it as is, or move on if the elements are too gamebreaking. I’ll use myself as an example: there are many MMOs that have elements i don’t enjoy. But, if the core of the game is appealing enough, i will continue playing. Once the negatives outweigh the positives, i will move on. It’s really that simple. I personally don’t see the need to complain about a product that is clearly a realization of somebody vision. Who am i to say that something “works” or “doesn’t work”?

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Ben Stone

Constructive criticism has a its place. If you enjoy the game mostly but there are a few niggling issues that could be resolved by the developers, by all means give constructive feedback (and be specific).

If what you need to enjoy the game is outside the realm of possibility for the dev team to achieve, you should just move on.

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Nathan Aldana

a paying customer and someoine with a brain, presumably.

Assuming devs are 100% correct in all decisions and their vision is perfect i find to be the equivalent of surrendering yourself to a political party or religion and never questioning the party line, in other words, i find it utterly baffling and anathema to simply assume that someone else has all the answer and nothing can ever be improved by the input of others.

Shit, looking at how often wow devs severely underpower a spec every expac should tell you that if their “vision” is perfect, then they absolutely intended some specs to be completely unplayable.

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starbuck1771

That’s idiotic because a game can’t be custom tailored to every single player. Either you like the game or you don’t there is no in between. you don’t like the game then move along and don’t make a spectacle of yourself.

As for WoW devs under powering certain specializations well welcome to the issue at hand. The criticism we are talking about leads to that very problem. Your always going to have customer A saying it is underpowered, customer B saying it is overpowered, & customer C saying it is fine as is.

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Loopy

Don’t get me wrong, i’m not talking about obvious issues such as exploits, extreme balance problems, etc. That’s all fine and dandy to bring up to the dev’s attention. I’m talking about complaining about obvious design and system choices.

For example, people complaining about lack of minimap in ESO, or centralized AH, or other games not having group finder, or walking in stations in EVE/E:D, or content gating design, or daily reputation grinding, or any other obvious choice in direction and design. These things to me are pointless to complain because they are personal preferences and not gamebreaking issues. These elements are something that developers incorporated for a reason, and people wanting their own visions of what a game should look like/feel like is, in my opinion, a prime example of entitlement.

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starbuck1771

Well the walking in stations issue CCP brought on themselves. They made it sound as if you were going to be able to walk around in the station like in SWTOR but when it happened you could only walk in your own private office.

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adri

Imho you can criticize content of a game when you feel that it is not the way you expected it to be. The way of communicating is very important. Just writing hate and flame in a forum with less or no examples or evidence is the wrong way to do it.
Constructive critisism is key: show examples why you personally (!) think the game is no appealing.
“I experienced very repetitive content because of 3 reasons”
“I find it difficult to do because of ”
“It was hard for me to reach max level because of the following ”

To do so you have to have at least a bit of experience in that game. That paricular person played probably other expansions and thus compares the newest one with the previous one(s).

On the other side it is non-professional for a CM to act the way he did. You should encourage and help your players and not bully them in a harsh way.

Having your equipment displayed somewhere and being judged by those items is also unfair. You are able to experience more of the game (e.g. “longer” in game time) with a lower tier of armor than a person with higher tier equipment. Just judging a person by stats is not a proper way to estimate the experienced content. Yes it could indicate the amount of dungeons and raids you were into but RNG is a b*itch sometimes.

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Rolan Storm

Without context I’d side with dev. 25% percent is rarely enough to issue statement ‘what else is there’. After reading I am not that pro this answer, since – as much I can figure out without playing last expansion – player referred to grindy nature of artefacts.

Anyway, I’d say I need to play at least a month – the very minimum – to figure out what’s what and level a single character to decent degree. As for ‘I can see right off the bat whether MMORPG is good for me or not’ – I salute you guys. That’s how I almost missed TESO: bought, played a bit, considered it’s not good. Returned with ‘Tamriel Unlimited’, playing ever since.

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mcsleaz

Depends on the mmo. Some of them you can tell it’s shiet right from the character creation screen.

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Chris Walker

I have no issues with the community manager’s actions. Even if he wasn’t serious, the internet is flooded with uninformed opinions. For opinions about high-level content, in any game, it’s good to have a tool that separates the wheat from the chaff.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

For MMOs, it depends on what aspect of the game you’re going to criticize. When you have gated content, end-game, support for alt leveling, and/or ranked play (among other MMO features), it really changes what one needs to experience to understand it. As a good MMO is a virtual world, it really may take some time.

That being said, if you have to rate a game for the general public (not for MMO fans specifically but core gamers that hop from game to game without heavily investing in the worlds), I’d say an hour tops, and it’s why MMOs are really hard to get casually gamers interested. If a game can’t make an impact during the newbie phase, it’s going to be too hard for a lot of people to want to invest much further, and I say this as someone who’s introduced multiple gamers and non-gamers into the genre.

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Schmidt.Capela

This is particularly valid for F2P games and when free trials become available. Someone that already paid for the game is already invested, at least a little, and will be more willing to sit through the slow parts to get to what the game does best; someone that is on a trial or F2P game, though, has much less of a barrier to just discard the game and move on.

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starbuck1771

Actually it is valid for any game regardless if it is F2P, or Sub or the genre of game. MMO’s are not exclusive in this issue.

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McGuffn

What the community manager did is dumb. The armory isn’t the culprit, they could get the info with a non public tool.

And you only need to play a game, including a horribly gindy mmo 15 minutes or less to see if it is any good. An expansion is different of course if there are level restrictions, but 25% is more than enough.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Nobody has to listen to you because you are insignificant. Only when you have the same rank as we do will we listen to you, by which time, you will be just like us and have all the same opinions we do.

As you can see by our stupendous gear scores and astronomical number of forum posts, we are heavily engaged with this game. Your criticism amounts to a challenge to our life choices, which amounts to telling us we are wrong, wrong, wrong. Since we have conflated our self-worth with the game, we are unable to accept any criticism until we are certain that you know us as well as we know ourselves. Even then, we will stomp on you if you show weakness.

Your low participation indicates that your opinion is either 1) completely objective because you have not devoted yourself body and soul to the game sufficiently to be subsumed by it; or 2) completely subjective because you have dared to cast your own likes and dislikes upon the game, ignoring what other people, who know much more than you do, have told you to think about the game.

In either case, worm, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Get thee hence from the forums and do not bring light to these pages again until you have conformed to our opinions and expectations.

And, by the way, nobody cares, snowflake, if you stop playing. We won’t miss you, n00b. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, whiny little loser. Canz I have your stuff?

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Witches

Sadly, this behaviour is the reflection of the type of community they want to foster.

This is a bit over the top on the rudeness, but at the end of the day we all know the devs understand how to properly enjoy their game, they simply know more about having fun than we do.

Of course every player would make a better dev than a real dev and our superior knowledge on , well everything, makes our opinion a fact, so if guy x says there’s no content it’s because there is no content, he wouldn’t make an hyperbolic statement like that if it wasn’t true…

At one point devs, community managers and most people involved in a game, where gamers, and given our behaviour as gamers is it so strange that devs act the way they do?

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starbuck1771

but at the end of the day we all know the devs understand how to properly enjoy their game, they simply know more about having fun than we do.

That is the key point to your post right there. Yes we pay a sub to play the game but in the end it is their game. We are guests just like at a hotel or a movie theater.

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Robert Mann

IF, and only if, a person is truly trolling can something like this be acceptable. In this case, you have a concerned player noting that they don’t feel the game offers them much other than pursuing their ‘artifact’. It may have been a little snarky, but a proper CM response would avoid attacking a customer, and instead might note a bunch of other activities in the game.

I’m not surprised blizzard CMs would do this… it is a big part of why I don’t buy or play Blizzard games. It is that aspect of their customer service that has bothered me the most, and something like this just reinforces that I was correct to stop supporting them (imo.)

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starbuck1771

In that case you may just want to stop playing MMO’s all together. All of the game companies CS have gone to crap over the past several years.

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Robert Mann

AAA, mostly. There’s a few that do a decent, if not great, job. Some of the indie devs, though… they shine on that!

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fanggwj

You can know within an hour if the MMO is not for you. However, I don’t think you need to apply any more time to an mmo than any other game of moderate scope and comparable production value in order to properly critique it. Sure, with mmos it is possible to spend much more time but that should only be used to illustrate a specific point. This whole,” the real game doesn’t start until the endgame” is not an excuse for a game that does not successfully introduce key endgame mechanics beforehand and should be critiqued accordingly.

It is a perfectly reasonable argument that the player that only achieved 25% of the Legion content may be a player who doesn’t like the other 75% of the game if it is something like PvP and raiding. Perhaps they like questing or they felt the first questing area was phenomenal and saw a drop off in quality and uniqueness in the next few areas.

MMO’s are so diverse that an experienced mmo dev would know that anyone can complain about anything and that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the sentiments. Perhaps Blizzard didn’t leave a significant bread crumb trail for this player to discover the other areas they would enjoy.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Agree. I’d also add that community managers reflect the attitudes of those they work for. If a completion or gear score check is something they’ve been told to look for before bringing remarks or suggestions to the devs, then they may well reflect that in their comments. If so, this would be a too on-the-nose example.

The dismissive attitude expressed by the CM’s comment may simply be a reflection of Blizzard’s dismissive attitude in general towards non-raiders or non-PvPers.

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Robert Mann

Blizzard is infamous for dismissing player arguments with poorly thought out retorts. They are very strongly “Our way or the highway” until it causes the executives to feel financial pressure… even if their ‘way’ contrasts with things that players cite which are fairly solid sources (past examples include dictionaries, Maps of Earth, Blizzard’s own written lore, and even the CMs themselves.)

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Jack Pipsam

If the mod was just trying to have a cheeky little jab then I could sympathise.

But it doesn’t come off that way at all, it comes off very poorly, regardless of the intentions.
It really does sting of elitism and nobody likes an elitist.

While I think for the most part being able to see other character’s stats is a neat idea, I have often seen how it can lead to these sort of shaming scenarios or using it as evidence “u dunno wat ur tlking bout m8”. While I somewhat expect that from other players (even if I think it’s stupid), having it from mods or devs is just never going to end well.

While there is something to be said about seeing everything, truth is that when a game is so large, you don’t need to have seen everything to have a fair judgement.

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rondstat

On this argument, I feel like if you’re engaging with WoW forum culture, you’ve already lost.

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Robert Mann

MMO forums are, well, the cesspools that the CMs and companies have created by not addressing such behavior. WoW being a prime example.

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rafael12104

Ah, well. Let me jump in here with both feet because this touches on subjects that are near but not necessarily dear.

First the CM. LOL! Is that guy or gal new? Sheezus. Calling out a customer over criticism is like arguing with the internet, fruitless and stupid. And that is exactly what this CM did by telling everyone about the players armory. It couldn’t have been worse if he said “L2P noob!”

Of course it mushroomed. That is what happens when you have CM buffoonery. Oh and his publishing of his job description and his attempt at laughing it off as having fun is an indication that mighty Bliz is already looking down at him. Ornyx, that stuff in your cube that you really want to keep? You might take that stuff home now.

As for “good” criticism? Well the definition differs between players and the media. Let’s stick with players for the moment as media crits are another bucket of orcs.

The answer is there is no minimum. It doesn’t matter how long a player has been playing. New players can have valid criticism. The content, the proof, and he articulation, determines if it is a good crit, not the amount of time in game. But as I said this applies only to players. I’ll reserve my comments on the media until we are all better rested.

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A Dad Supreme

“And just how much of an MMO must you play to issue good criticism?”
========
Good question, but I remember reading once where someone said something to the effect of “I don’t have to eat a whole shit sandwich to be able to say “Hey, this sandwich is made of shit!”

Many times, this applies to MMOs. You don’t have to play many MMOs to the ‘end’ to find out they are badly made, boring, or just a money grab.

For instance, Neverwinter imo is a money grab. If you want to progress past a certain point you have to upgrade gems to place in your armor. The stronger the gems, the stronger you are. The problem is that it’s RNG, so you have a high chance of blowing up gems in the attempt to improve them. The counter to this is buying items from their cash shop to greatly improve if not solidify your odds. Without this, you’d never reach the top level of gemhood which is Level 10 or something. So if you have a Level 8 gem and blew it up, too bad.

There are things like this throughout the game (and several other MMOs) as you progress and you don’t have to reach the end to find that out and give an accurate portrayal of game conditions.

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wratts

All I can say is that if the CM were one of mine, I’d have fired him right off. All jobs are ultimately customer service, and the comment was unhelpful, unnecessary, and unprofessional.

No disrespect to the profession, but community managers in general are easily replaceable, he shouldn’t feel empowered to give a customer snark unless there’s a longer personal relationship and it’s understood they’re just playing.

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Schmidt.Capela

Even then this kind of exchange isn’t a good idea, as people unaware of the context will be seeing it.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Couldn’t agree more. Even if we give the CM the benefit of the doubt (all people have bad days), the comment reflects an entrenched attitude of the CM team. This didn’t just come from nowhere.

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Justus Brennan

I think it depends considerably on what you are criticizing. How much time you’ve played is definitely relevant to many elements because it’s impossible to have an accurate view without some decent experience.

On the other hand I don’t think you must defeat all the raid bosses on mythic to have a valid opinion on gameplay or content or any number of other elements of the game.

But what the article doesn’t address is that nature of the criticism and how much time put in is directly relevant. Certainly from the outside I can still provide criticism, but it would be very difficult to criticize content from my own experience if I’ve actually only experienced 25% of it.
That said doing the same thing over and over, with different settings and difficulties isn’t necessarily what people consider content.

On the other hand this is an MMO. This is what the genre is and despite what many may think, the grinding and more ponderous elements are not just baggage of the genre. The genre can change and improve, and it will, but criticizing a game for being exactly what it is supposed to be and for not having more content than has proven reasonable for the genre may be…. misguided.

It’s not fair to say the “I don’t want to play the rest of the game” is an entirely invalid criticism, but at the same time if you only play 25% of a game, and that is by choice, the game may just not be for you. That’s not to say you can’t ask it to change, but the criticism in this case seemed to be “I don’t want to play what your game is” and that probably means you are in the wrong place.

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wandris

There is criticism and there is whining. It does not matter what blizzards does, changes, nerfs, buffs or balances. Moving a rock from one side of the road to the other would merit a 50 page whine.

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smuggler-in-a-yt

Company rep got short with someone who tried the midnight mocha every day for a week and said the company brand sucks.

Got it. Human #fail is real. Would be nice to see a beer summit between the two. Maybe Mark Jacobs can run over and shout “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!”

Human beings are flawed, flawed creations. People get frustrated about crazy things under silly circumstances. Sometimes it is best to chalk it up to a lesson and move on.

For what it’s worth, I have to say I agree with the player on this one. Legion is a mile wide and an inch deep. Wading along the tideshore is nice for the first fifteen minutes or so. But eventually it gets annoying. You either want get wet and swim, or get the heck out of the water. Luckily, there’s years of content that is pretty deep, and diverse, so finding what you want isn’t entirely impossible. Or, you can go buy BDO base game on Steam for $6. That’s got to be worth something (or so the explosion of BDO ads on my Massively page tell me).

Handling criticism gracefully is really, really hard. Objectifying it: especially for a company that many people personally identify with; I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be. So, I empathize with the CM here. Legion’s detractors are loud, very loud, and very vocal. It’s a tough job.

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NeoWolf

How much of an MMO must you play to issue good criticism?

Considering a tutorials job is to teach you the games mechanics and basics of lore and gameplay then theoretically a tutorial should be enough gameplay to absorb in order to have a fairly good idea of the game and what to expect, because again..thats its point.

In terms of time it varies from person to person I think, if someone is new to the genre they have a much steeper learning curve than those familiar with the genre, but typically speaking I think a tutorial should be enough to determine if a game is worthy of good or bad criticism otherwise it is not meeting its purpose as a tutorial well.

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Line

It’s pretty stupid to use some sort of “PvE progress” (or PvP rankings I suppose) to dismiss someone’s opinion.

Criticism can be made on all aspects of a game.
Something like combat feedback is blatant and can be seen in 10 minutes (which is also why consistant classes is important – I’ll take Bless as example with atrocious magic classes and okayish melee ones, talk about a bad first impression depending on your choice), the visual and sound design is something that will be judged very quickly too, even if it’s incomplete without a lot of time invested in a game.

But content?
That’s a tough nut to crack, and affected by everything else in a very negative way.
I certainly wouldn’t bother playing a game to max level, grind the gear and reps, then farm raids for months to get access to their harder versions… more than fair to say “stop, it’s not fun and I can only do X until Y condition is met and I’m getting bored”.
Plenty of games are just boring.
That’s a fact, and it gets even worse with mandatory grinds and trials to access more difficulty modes. You don’t get new content by grinding gear and the like, you get the same thing but not amputated of half the mechanics.

Criticism of a one trick pony gameplay that do not offer a wide variety of content for the majority of the player base is all too real in MMOs.
I always hope for more side content, and WoW actually has cool stuff with its minipets and plenty of cosmetics, but it sure is way too versed in the gear progression and nullification, forgetting all other social and solo aspects.
If you don’t dungeon/raid, what is there to do with friends? Almost nothing (outside of some PvP). In solo? Slightly more if you want to play doll with your character, but there’s not even housing and virtually no roleplay tools.

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agemyth 😩

The person who said “what else is there?” to the whole expansion thus far other than AK/AP grinding seems like the average WoW player who does 5 man content of a variety of difficulties and can’t be bothered by raiding outside of LFR. In that sense, telling someone who may be about as invested in doing things as an average player that they may not be enjoying the grind because they aren’t doing all the grinds is a bit too snarky for a CM when it gets this much scrutiny.

I found myself often overwhelmed by content from 7.0-7.2, but just grinding for marginally higher ilvl gear and trying to keep up with Artifact Power was never really my priority. Those are constantly moving goalposts that are constantly getting tuned to bring those that lag behind a bit up to the next tier a few steps behind the people grinding content to death.

If all you want to do is grind dungeons and watch your numbers go up over time, yeah that will get old. It is the classic themepark problem that WoW has always had. Most people are just there for the flashiest stuff and that can’t be made at a pace to keep people interested indefinitely.

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fanggwj

I think this brings up a good point. Even if there is 75% more content to experience, it is not a clear rebuttal if we consider what effort it takes to access that other content. It may as well be null content if the effort required to access it becomes nigh inaccessible at a seemingly abrupt and random time. Or the level of commitment to a guild to access the content passes a certain impossible threshold. Because Blizzard (or any mmo dev) would never inadvertently empower larger guilds to collude on the price of entry to high difficulty gated content under the guise of forming social bonds…

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TomTurtle

I agree that CM’s response was in poor taste. They need to take a step back if they feel they’re going to get snarky with the community. It’s not easy dealing with all those people, I’m sure, but you can’t give in like that.

To answer the question at hand, it depends on the design of the MMO, doesn’t it? With some MMOs you are able to grasp the core gameplay loop from the start. Many others make you hit max level. And this is only for what I’d consider a more detailed criticism.
I don’t think it’s fair to invalidate those criticisms for those who take a cursory glance at an MMO as long as that context is given. If people are having a bad time with an MMO, it doesn’t matter how much they should play. If they’re not enjoying it and decide not to play anymore, so be it. They’re not beholden to it.
It really comes down to the fact that people take other’s criticisms of their MMO too personally at times. I know that too well, I’ve been there before excessively defending an MMO.
If you enjoy your MMO, good! Just don’t take that enjoyment and bash anyone who falls outside of your position. You can make a much better point by making a rational argument than namecalling or anything as silly as the aforementioned armory shaming.

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Bryan Correll

I can criticize whatever part of the game I have played even if it’s only a small amount. And I don’t need to eat a whole loaf of bread in order to realize it’s stale.

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agemyth 😩

I’m not sure the analogy work here. To the Blizzard employee they are running a whole bakery with goodies to partake of, but this player seems to eat one thing every day and question why it is getting old.

The criticism is still valid, but it is very limited.

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imayb1

Really? If I get a stale loaf of bread from a bakery, I’m not likely to return for stale muffins, biscuits, and cookies.

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Bryan Correll

It may not be a perfect analogy, but many of the of the ‘missing’ achievements are ones that are nothing but grinds. If you didn’t like the cranberry-orange muffin the first time you had one you’re unlikely to order it 49 more times just to prove you’ve fully experienced eating cranberry-orange muffins.

PS Yeah, I hate cranberries.

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agemyth 😩

I apologize to everyone who read these posts for my original expansion of an already silly analogy. I refuse to further speak of baked goods in such a manner.

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Bryan Correll

I meant no offense toward baked goods with my analogy. Or toward WoW for that matter since I haven’t played since WotLK. Cranberries can still go to hell though.

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Utakata

Yeah, you got pretty pwn’d by the stale loaf there. o.O

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Totakeke

I’d argue that it’s kind of bunk that the CM got all anal over the whole thing. Looking at my Armory profile it shows I’ve done like, less then what she’s has done on her profile. But I’ve basically already threw the game out as there being nothing else to do like a month or two after Legion.

Fucking, rep grinding and mindless questing doesn’t make good gameplay. Raiding is fun, but I personally had no good people to play with (since we were all waterlogged in different timezones), Keystones were alright, but really needed something else besides just making the dungeon harder for a couple of item levels.

I’m not going to count running past raids solo as “content” or the mindlessness of filling out the xmog grid since most of the gear I get is for other classes.

And if we’re only getting into the idea that you don’t finish a game because of cheevo’s, then that would allude that every game someone has on their Xbox, Playstation, or on Steam, basically anything that has the ability to track achievements; doesn’t get their 100% gamerscore. Then that would mean that they never “beaten” the game and still have all this “content” to get to.

Which is just a dumb idea all around.

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Sally Bowls

Fucking, … doesn’t make good gameplay.

Second Life and its customers would disagree; same for upstairs in Goldshire. :-)

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Totakeke

I’ve had my fair share with that.

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Robert Mann

An excellent display of why grammar and proper use of words can be important. LOL!

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Totakeke

Technically in grammar, it would be labeled as an, ‘introductory word.’

What I used just there is called an, ‘introductory clause.’

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Robert Mann

There’s a little rule that you don’t combine lists and introductory words, because it causes this exact confusion. An introductory word is fine, but your problem is that you put it right by a pair of items, thus making it appear as part of a list.

The standard solution is to either convert to a few words such as “By every f-ing thing in existence,” or to put descriptors on each part of the list instead.

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Mr Poolaty

Woohoo Bree we agree!!

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Kevin

Given the overall toxicity of the WoW Forums, I really don’t blame Oryx for saying what he said, at all. Could it have been more tactful, yes. But anything he said would have been met with vitreol and wroth, so he may as well just go full on and make a snarky comment to a snarky, and generally rude, forum community.

Besides, the person he responded too has said it didn’t bother them, and they actually snickered at it. Either way, it’s not a big deal, and it’s stupid people are acting like it is. Believe it or not, Developers are people too. As Oryx himself said, they “Try” to hold themselves to a higher standard, but it’s not possible all the time. Just like you might snap at someone at work, they tend to snap too.

And despite popular belief, one does not get fired immediately for snapping, especially when they’re in field as stressful as game development.

As for the feedback, I do side with Oryx. The player in question actually had done quite a bit of content (they were posting on an alt), but the point Oryx made stands all the same. Complaining that there’s no content to do, when you haven’t even touched the majority of the content, is just stupid. If the content in that game doesn’t interest you, then stop playing it and find something else that does. Complaining that there’s a lack of content in an MMO that’s primarily dungeon and raid focused, when you your self don’t like doing dungeons and raids, is like me complaining that a primarily PvP focused game doesn’t have enough PvE content, and therefore there’s no content.

Sometimes I have to shake my head, and wonder why people can’t just say “You know what, I don’t think this game is for me, thanks for the fun, but I’m going to take my business elsewhere”, instead of having to go to public forums, and complain to developers until they hand craft the game to be made specially for them. Either way, you can formulate an opinion about a game any time you want, but how much weight that opinion holds, and how valuable the feedback you give that can come from it, is tied entirely to how much experience you have with the game in question.

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