It’s long-since become a multi-year and fun tradition on Massively OP to do an end-of-year recap of the best and worst MMO dev quotes of the year – both the quotes that resonate with us and the ones that make us wince and wonder where the PR handler was!
So once again this year for Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to offer up those quotes and maybe a bit of popcorn for the really bone-headed ones too.
Andy McAdams: Blizzard on the Ovia Tracking: “I want them to have a healthy baby because it’s great for our business experience. Rather than having a baby who’s in the neonatal ICU, where she’s not able to focus much on work.” It’s cringe-worthy how is this still not a bigger issue. It still pisses me off, and it doesn’t directly impact me as a gent. But the implication that you should share your period so they can maximize their discrimination to maximize revenue generation is disgusting.
Best quote from Sean Murray: “There have been a number of games that have since come out, had a polarising launch, and that explosive mix of loads of people playing it but also problems. And I can see EA, Microsoft, or Bethesda try to placate players by just talking to them, but for right or wrong, it just doesn’t really work. You see this all the time when a big publisher will talk to the community and try to solve the problem and then get embroiled, taking up more and more of its head space.” Less bullshit corporate speak and lack of nonpologies is always a good thing. I would love to see more develops take the approach – “We see the issue. We acknowledge, we’ll get back to you” – and leave it at that.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Here’s No Man’s Sky’s Sean Murray on why sometimes companies should shut up, stop trying to sweet-talk players into faith, and just do the hard work of “actual game development” to convince them to trust you again. (This works. And clearly it stood out to us because Andy and I picked it independently!)
“There have been a number of games that have since come out, had a polarising launch,and that explosive mix of loads of people playing it but also problems. And I can see EA, Microsoft, or Bethesda try to placate players by just talking to them, but for right or wrong, it just doesn’t really work. You see this all the time when a big publisher will talk to the community and try to solve the problem and then get embroiled, taking up more and more of its head space.”
Here’s Guild Wars 2’s head of analytics on fun – the overall interview is an eyebrow-raiser, but this line really stood out to me as something that a lot of classic MMOs and classic MMO fans need to learn:
“If your game is only fun when played with fun people, then it’s not actually fun.”
Finally, here’s Path of Exile’s lead programmer apologizing for a relatively minor game outage.
“This incident is not up to the standard of service that we want to provide to you, and I want to personally apologise for how it was handled. You should expect better from Grinding Gear Games and we will be doing everything we can to avoid this type of thing in the future.”
Hey J. Allen Brack – this is how apologies are done.
Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): For the worst one, it’s easy for many of us to pick at the things that were said in the aftermath of the Hearthstone incident, but this one stands out:
“The internal silence is deafening. Besides two brief “I’m listening” emails from our president, we’ve heard nothing of substance. No one is helping us process what this means for us as a company, as individuals, or is identifying a path forward. No one has been told what to say or do in the aftermath of a legal yet insupportable decision.”
This was easily one of the worst parts of the whole ordeal (beyond the whole “helping China silence dissent” angle): that regular working developers were the among the first to feel the effects of Blizzard’s decision. Sure, the top brass could see the smoke column rising up from the wreckage, but the folks who work for the company were feeling the heat of the fire. It was pretty distressing, especially when many in the company didn’t agree with the C-suite stance.
For best quote… am I allowed to quote an entire audience erupting into appreciative applause for Final Fantasy XIV writer Natsuko Ishikawa? Because that was the best.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I don’t think that there was any quote that singled out Blizzard’s hubris and hypocrisy as when J. Allen Brack publicly took responsibility for the Blitzchung Hearthstone controversy at BlizzCon… and then swung about to say “we have been more graceful” when PC Gamer asked why, when the studio took responsibility, Blizzard wasn’t more graceful to the punished player and two livestream hosts. You made an unforced error, man – either own up to it and make it right or go ahead and keep the fingers pointed at the little guys. You can’t have it both ways.
In short, apology or no, Blizzard was not graceful with the punished trio when it could have reaped a huge PR benefit by acquitting them. It proved Brack’s BlizzCon apology to be nothing but a bunch of flowery but meaningless weasel words. I have no respect or faith in Brack’s leadership after this.
Samon Kashani (@thesamkash): The obvious foot-in-mouth events of October aside, I’ll point out what ArenaNet’s Mike Z said in September:
“The thing we need to be a little more cautious of is that GW1 had four or five different PvP game modes, which basically fragmented the playerbase. With Conquest, the goal was to always have one thing that, if you wanted to be the best at PvP, this is what you went and did. As opposed to ‘well, now there’s actually two things that are going on.'”
I wrote an entire piece on this at the time, but it continues to bug me and it should bother anyone who expected great things from Guild Wars 2 PvP.