Massively OP’s Andrew Ross and I were recently discussing how to approach an opinion piece on Chronicles of Elyria when he reminded me that the game’s forumgoers won’t take any criticism of the proposed game lightly. That provoked an impromptu discussion on the way certain vocal subcultures flock to new, in-development games and shout down even well-intentioned criticism from would-be allies. They sort of pitch their tents on the forums in an attempt to steer the game and vocally make no room for anyone who disagrees with even the most glaringly problematic, pie-in-the-sky game features — meanwhile, the vast majority of the MMORPG market has no time for camping out (or doesn’t even know it’s happening).
It happens with sandboxes, especially PvP-driven sandboxes, certainly — look at the small but distinctive and persistent PvP crowds dogging Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Revival, for example. And that’s not to say that PvE themeparks or formally produced, non-Kickstarter games are immune, either; we saw some of the same behavior from hardcore raiders during WildStar’s early testing periods, markedly changing the tenor of the game.
These are relatively small groups of people, but they are getting a very big say in how MMOs are being made in 2016. Are you among them? How involved are you in the new wave of “open” development for MMORPGs? And do you think it’s becoming a problem, or is it a good thing for the genre?