The Daily Grind: Have you ever boycotted an MMORPG?

Blizzard Watch ran an editorial yesterday quoting former marine biologist and World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street on the subject of video game boycotts: “I would not advocate boycotting a game as a way to make a statement, especially if deep down you still love the game. You’re just not likely to drive change as a result.”

It’s not a new idea, but it’s one worth revisiting whether we’re talking about something as big as economic and political sanctions or something as small as quitting a video game with a big ol’ flounce: Even if a whole crapton of people quit over something terrible in a game, it’s unlikely to have much of an effect since the developers won’t know why. There will always be exceptions — like the NGE or monoclegate — and they’re such outliers that they have names. For the most part, games really can’t react to a few thousand people quitting over a patch here and there. Boycotts just aren’t specific enough.

This is why it always bugs me when gamers say things like, if you don’t like the way a game is going, leave! Don’t try to divert the developers from their vision. I’m with Street: If you love the game, stay and fight. Be loud, be those annoying guys on the forums and Reddit, those tipsters who send rants to the press, who agitate to make games better rather than shrugging and moving on, the games decaying behind them.

Have you ever boycotted an MMORPG? Did it work?

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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Fenryr Grey

Plenty of times. I avoid all F2P MMO like the plague and EVE Online with its plex-system.

Valen Sinclair
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Valen Sinclair

If by boycott you mean unsubscribe or stop playing because the game is boring or crappy…sure.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I don’t boycott. I leave. Ask me why I left, I guess.

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Pedge Jameson

I myself really detested the forum “Petitions” when they used the be all the rage in MMO forums. Until the trolls decided it just wasn’t working. Remember the “Rollback NGE! and /sign” garbage? Yeah, that’s progress.

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Jay Madison

I don’t “boycott”. That implies that I shout to everyone that I’m quitting and why.

If I am not satisfied by a game, I quietly unsub, delete it from my hard drive and I simply don’t play it, and I move on to another game.

that said, I can’t rightly recall a specific game change that caused me to do such a thing to a game. For most, I just stopped finding enjoyment in the game.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

Sure I have. This assumption that “if you boycott then you don’t let the studio know what it is you think needs changing” is a bit short sighted. Very often the time at which players boycott is after a “long enough” bit of time voicing their disapproval. “Long enough” being a relative measure at which the player doesn’t think it’s worth their free time anymore to troll forums and spend time lobbying when they could be spending that time having fun doing something else.

Also, the idea that developers don’t know, especially when talking thousands of players, the “why” when they boycott is complete and utter hogwash. They know, it’s just a matter of whether they care. If it’s over something that they don’t want to change/reverse, then they feign ignorance followed with an “oh well, they are gone so really no point in changing course now”. You have to have the most completely lousy, horribad community manager to not know why such a significant chunk of your player base bails. Yes, not all of them are going to sit down and write a page and a half over why HOWEVER there will be a thread on your forums (if you don’t block/lock it) with a bunch of “yup” and “this” replies that tells you why.

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Slaasher

I agree. I will voice my opinion on the forums of a game. Probably many time if I am unhappy and I care about the game. BUT there does come a time when its just not worth the effort anymore. This isn’t work. I’m not getting paid to “stick it out.” If something becomes unenjoyable and I don’t like the way something is going then I leave. I don’t leave messages on the forums. Why would I? I have already fought the fight.
I also just unistall and leave.
Why would this person encourage us to stay and be unhappy. being unhappy isn’t the reason we game. AT least in theory :)

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Funny but someone, maybe it was a developer said LTP for their game rather than address the issues that game had. I learned to play a different game and that particular game has never seen another cent from me. Some people are so full of themselves that they will never listen so no point talking.

Celestia
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Celestia

I went so far as to have them delete my account so I would never be tempted to give them my time or money. I’m speaking of Trion, of course.

NCsoft killed City Of Heroes, my all time favorite, most hours logged game, and I still didn’t boycott them. That’s how deeply offended I was by Trion’s unforgivably hostile customer service.

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mysecretid

That’s genuinely interesting, and has got me curious about time-frame (i.e. when they were good vs. when they were bad).

Why? Because the best customer service I ever experienced with MMORPGs was during the brief time I played RIFT. Not only did they solve my problem, but the manager stepped in and gave me a bunch of digital pets and toys as a thank you for my patience.

I’m not suggesting I don’t believe you (I do) — it’s just interesting to me how customer service can rise and fall to such extremes.

The worst customer service I ever experienced? Far and away, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Surly CSR kept closing my ticket because he couldn’t see a record of me owning an essentially worthless (except to me) housing item which had disappeared.

I kept re-opening the ticket and reminding him that the missing item was the problem.

Eventually, I tried a housing console command I read somewhere, and made the lost item reappear (it had randomly “clipped” into the floor of my housing and “vanished”). I ended up solving my own damn issue because the CSR couldn’t be arsed to do anything himself.

Cheers,

Valkyriez_Gaming
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Valkyriez_Gaming

Not sure, but I’ve definitely boycotted a development studio and I still do. After the butchering Rift and Defiance both got, I’ll never touch a Trion product ever again.

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Rottenrotny

These comments are… funny.
Something tells me GC knows more about what motivates game development changes than the armchair devs in the massively comments section. (◔_◔)

I believe the best way to get things changed in a game is to use the officials way to give feedback. Forums, tweet to the them on twitter etc. Boycotting is like throwing a tantrum when no one is around to see or care about it.