The Path of Exile community has been roiling over the past couple of weeks, first because of the Harvest crafting nerfs and then because of a massively upvoted Reddit post that argued POE is an “abusive” game that is destined to be overtaken by other titles that better respect players’ time and health.
Obviously, POE is not a traditional MMORPG, but some of the complaints – and solutions – are the same in any always-online title. What struck me is the part of the original post that urged fellow players to “consider that supporting alternatives to Path of Exile might be the best way to generate real change in this game we all love.”
This has always been something I struggle with. I’ve never bought into the idea that if a game changes for the worse, the customers are obliged to take it or leave it instead of agitating for better; if I quit a troubled game and play something else, the studio will probably never notice and certainly never know why. It only works if, as the poster suggested, a whole bunch of people leave and raise up some rival (and even then, I look at games like World of Warcraft that have lost millions of customers from self-owns and shrugged). My gut says that writing and raising awareness is far more powerful, and that’s not just my opinion as a writer with a platform: Even a random player on Reddit has that power, as the post demonstrated.
How do you push for change in a broken MMO? What’s the most effective way to go about it (that doesn’t bring out the “if you don’t like it then leave” folks)?