Massively OP Podcast Episode 177: ArenaNet A-bomb

    
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On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!

Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

Show notes:

Other info:

Further reading on the Guild Wars 2 incident and ensuing fallout:

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kalamari_
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kalamari_

you got the thing with mmoinks wrong. that was a day BEFORE all this went down. so she attacked two partners in two days in a row.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

The thing we’re talking about from MMOINKS was literally a reference to the Deroir conversation; it happened after that (it’s the one where she tells INKs to go away). If there’s a second incident with INKS, then that’s separate. I haven’t seen anyone else mention a second one.

kalamari_
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kalamari_

hm, the timestamps on my side show that inks twittered to her before she answered deroir… thats why I thought it was 2 days in a row.

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Mia.

“You can’t negotiate with terrorists, you can’t negotiate with Reddit.” … That’s the best thing I heard all week.

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rafael12104

Hmm. I hate to belabor the ArenaNet shitshow, but I will. Lol.

I agree with the Podcast’s opinion almost uniformly, but with one big outlier difference. ArenaNet was correct in firing JP. They didn’t make things worse. The didn’t make employees ashamed and fearful. They did not force employees in to unions. Lol.

The message or signal sent was simple. If you treat our customers like crap; if you belittle them and insult them, you will get fired. The exaggeration that this somehow is an unwarranted burden on devs and that it makes them fearful or ashamed is not on the mark. How would I feel if I worked for ArenaNet today? Overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of me, probably, but not ashamed or fearful because of the latest gaff, I can promise you that.

ArenaNet is corporate, lest we forget that all of this ends up at the feet of NCsoft. It’s no mom and pop shop. It isn’t a co-op. The guidelines or employee conduct are quite clear and mandatory. All corps have them in an employee handbook. And JP was fired because she violated those guidelines. How do I know? Heh. Corporate employee conduct handbooks are almost universal in there legalese. And most if not all include sections on interacting with customers and or clients.

Reddit denizens have nothing to do with the firing. If they take credit, they are delusional. Gender politics had nothing to do with either. You can’t use this situation as stump fodder.

As big as this is now, this will all fade away soon because JP was fired. While others with axes to grind may choose to use this to further cause, ArenaNet itself will fade into the periphery. And the situation will not resurface as would likely happen if JP remained an ArenaNet employ and a twitter user.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I don’t think this is a good read on the Anet atmosphere right now, based on all the commentary I’ve read from devs on the subject. The amount of harassment we have gotten just for covering this is considerable now, and it certainly makes me fearful. No reason to think people actually central to it would be immune if we’re not.

Regarding the handbook, I also expect Anet has one, although to be clear, I specifically asked ArenaNet about its social media policies and it no-commented – it wouldn’t even confirm that it has one let alone what it says, which is a red flag to me for several reasons. On this point, the issue, again, is that ArenaNet left itself exposed by not running JP through the proper orientation on this subject and then giving her a verbal description of a policy that contradicted the written one. That’s all spelled out in detail in her interviews and similar bits have been implied by other former employees.

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rafael12104

I’m sorry to hear you or anyone at MOP is getting harassed and are fearful. Internet hooligans and their sheep followers are scum. But I thought you were implying devs should be afraid of ArenaNet and their jobs, which I don’t see as logical as long as you do your job and don’t get in a twitter war with customers.

As for the Anet rules and guidelines? Well, I’ve worked in corporate my entire working career in several positions with different companies and, in my experience, they don’t make a move to fire someone without detailing cause as spelled in that damn handbook. Why? Lawsuits and not just by individuals but by the Federal Civil Rights Division. And, yeah it does happen. It is such a big deal that in all corporate jobs that I have had, every year there is a refresher course, and actual course you have to take on Employee Conduct and all that that means.

So, I won’t speculate anyfurther. Why ArenaNet wouldn’t follow this, or why employees would choose to verify one way or the other on the internal workings and employee conduct guidelines is beyond me.

And yet, I still think Anet did the right thing in firing JP. From the little slice I read and saw with regard to her interactions with others via twitter, I’m sorry to say it, but she was a ticking time bomb.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I agree there are some weird things in play here. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see a lawsuit come out of it in the end either.

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I am pleased to say I avoided the A-net sh** show entirely. I saw the article here about two devs getting fired, skimmed it and thought..yeah not touching that..personal dramas blehh.. they are all toxic snowballs rolling down a hill… they build speed and size and always end up the same a huge mess with everyone getting hurt.
And Reddit..do not, nor will I ever dip toe in that cess pool.

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GoldenHornet

Best. Intro. Ever.

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Bryan Turner

I’ve got a question, is this player a resource hog? Yesterday I tried playing this while attempting to load up games and it just wasn’t working. Of course it was in the 90s yesterday and my AC barely kept my place at 80 degrees so perhaps my PC was reacting to it (I imagine it must be hotter in the office since the PCs generate heat).

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Kenny

Personally I use player.fm to listen to it now. Had a few issues in the past with the player on this site.

Give that a try and see if that helps.

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Kenny

Gonna play a bit of devils advocate here because…well I like to actually prompt discussion.

People were getting fired over twitter spats much longer than this. (Wasn’t some guy in Canada sent to court for disagreeing with someone who then claimed it was harassment?) So i don’t think the fear is something for ordinary people who aren’t hostile a lot of the time.
But that leads to the question that starts creeping in is “Should you be fired based on what you put on your twitter?”,

if No, then political leanings and personal opinions shouldn’t ever cut across your worklife, and a lot of people already fired for personal opinions on twitter should not have been (Yes that includes the ones saying the worst stuff)

If Yes, then the Price thing is fair to you.

Dunno, I’ve definitely heard of people getting fired for much less.

Also as a side note, thanks for being really well balanced on your reporting and adding more nuance to the discussion. You stated that everyone’s noting faults on both sides, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. A handful of major ones aren’t.

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Jack Pipsam

PS4 vs Switch, hmm. I am an Xbox guy, so that’s all I really intimately know.
If you’re after an MMO machine, PS4 would have more power and games to work with over Switch. Switch then again is far more open to cross-play, which in the future might link it up increasingly with the Xbox/PC.

But as for a family system, Nintendo tends to have the edge based on their IPs. Mario Kart, Party, ect. There’s a larger focus on coach co-op with Nintendo platforms over PS4/XB1.
But Nintendo also is more expensive, their accessories cost far higher than the others and they tend to charge a premium for their games over the systems entire life.

PS4 has far more games you can get for it though (cheaper too), not just because of the systems age, but also the power and investment made into it. Although some might argue that Zelda itself has more worth than five of Sony big IPs. (I have Breath of the Wild on Wii U, fantastic game).

So if the focus is more on kids playing together, Nintendo Switch has the clear edge. But it’ll come at a cost with expensive controllers. PS4 has less family-friendly titles as a focus, but have plenty on their store and has the advantage of a system which one can play when they’re a tween or teen without any childish stigma.

PS4 also has plenty of apps and the ability to play blu-rays, but it also has a higher cost to play online. Switch’s online cost will be less, but you’ll also get a worse service. The internal storage is bad on the Switch, so an SD card is required. It’ll break easier, but it can get used more anywhere.

The Switch will have to be upgraded at some point without doubt, the hardware is weak and despite the many ports, there are still very clear omissions in the lineup. As developers move to target the Xbox One X for 4K, the Switch will become an increasingly harder system to develop for without heavy investment.

Then there’s the issue of backwards compatibility. The Switch has none. The PS4 has a stupid streaming service. But the question is moving forward. Xbox has created a new standard for backwards compatibility with the Xbox One and seems determined that the games you buy for it now, will work on whatever their new machine will be.
It’s more than likely Sony will attempt to match this with the PS5, what Nintendo will do will rely on what kind of media they take.

Both PSN and Nintendo Online are rubbish services, but at least there’s a sense that purchases/achievements on PSN will like Xbox LIVE, will transfer from platform to platform. Your account, will move with you. The same is not guaranteed for Nintendo, it’s a running joke you’ll buy Ocarina of Time for the eight time and Nintendo basically dropped the Wii U hard without any mercy (which made be so bitter I never bought a Switch).

If something goes wrong, Nintendo has an excellent record of customer service. Sony has mixed results, depending on who you ask regarding issues.

So I dunno, Dreamcast?

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draugris

Happy to see that MOP have a more neutral stance regarding the GW2 drama. While I can´t agree with everything, but I enjoyed that podcast.

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Minimalistway

As for the internet drama, i’m tired of that since 2003, when i left a community i thought it’ll be my home for decades, so i avoid any new drama, i don’t read or follow, i’m tired of that.

Yes, Zelda games are action RPG, that’s one reason why i loved them, i could not play other RPGs because they use turn-based combat, i can’t play that … now if Nintendo made Legend of Zelda the MMO, i can imagine how people will freak out at the news, just a dream, Nintendo will probably keep itself away from online games with few exceptions.