Perfect Ten: MMOs with the noisiest fanbases

    
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The yeller.

In my particular neck of the woods, there are a lot of big fans of the Boston Red Sox. There’s also something of a joke about that. How do you know if someone is a fan of the Red Sox? The answer is “don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” Or, you know, you could look at the two dozen Red Sox bumper stickers or the small shrine set up in the front yard that’s apparently a scale recreation of Fenway Park.

There are MMOs like this, too.

This isn’t about whether these games have the biggest fanbases or anything; rather, it’s about whether or not these fanbases are vociferous to everyone who will listen and even people who won’t. Heck, it’s not even usually the majority of the fanbase, just a particularly vocal and notable portion of same. So let’s take a tongue-in-cheek tour through some games most likely to produce someone who will let you know about that fandom early and often.

Ominous!

1. World of Warcraft

Being an evangelistic fan of World of Warcraft these days is not a fun ride. You’re still being a noisy evangelist about a game that seems to be managed by people who hate the game and the majority of the people who play it, and every time you turn around there’s another legitimate criticism being leveled against the game. It tends to mean that a lot of the loudest fans are also the most willful obtrusive sorts, trying with zeal to present a case why an enormously successful game can’t be bothered to develop actual player housing.

Please note that if your first instinct there was to respond, “well, who actually wants player housing?” then you can stop now. It’s all right. There’s ample evidence of an answer already. It’s just being badly managed, Charlie Brown.

Also note that WoW has just as many people who will be equally enthusiastic in telling you how much they don’t like the game, which is… well, it’s not the same as developing a personality, folks. Someone should write an article about that.

You have to use one of these shots when talking about deterministic gear. It's the law.

2. Final Fantasy XIV

The funny thing is that a lot of the old-school veterans of Final Fantasy XIV aren’t the incessant evangelists. Seriously, people who have been playing since the reboot (much less the original launch) tend to just be chilled out about it. I strong suspect a lot of the really noisy fandom comes from the people who came over from WoW and realized that a game actually existed that did a lot of the things WoW resolutely refuses to do and subsequently just will not shut up about it. Points for enthusiasm, guys.

Of course, much as in WoW, you have just as many people who don’t like the game who will literally never let you forget that ever, which tends to bring out a certain contingent of people often labeled as “rabid fans” who are more often just tired of the same bad-faith critiques getting trotted out. Hey, did you know this game has a bunch of cutscenes? And that it starts off kind of slow? Oh, the global cooldown is 2.5 seconds? Wow, you’re the first person to notice this stuff.

No, I don't like it either.

3. Fortnite

Tell me that you’re in grade school without telling me that you’re in grade school. Here, I’ll start: “I’m a big fan of Fortnite.”

At least that does defend a certain amount of behavior, though. I mean, does anyone expect a nine-year-old to shut up about the thing he likes? Of course not. You’ll be lucky if you stop hearing about it within this decade. It’s just the way things are.

Oh boy.

4. Star Wars Galaxies

We’re never going to stop hearing about this game. I am absolutely certain of this fact. You can be talking about anything else, and fans of the game will find somewhat to turn the topic to Star Wars Galaxies. Try mentioning your favorite recipe for potato salad in the comments and before long you’ll have people bringing up their anecdotes about AFK dancing in a bar as a twi’lek.

It always comes back to AFK dancing in a bar as a twi’lek eventually.

You know it.

5. City of Heroes

At this point I’m tired of hearing about this game and I both played it and literally wrote a column about it. To some extent this is understandable; both this and the prior entry were beloved games shut down for what were indisputably crappy reasons. But there’s a certain amount of re-litigating that element that seems to result in just as many people arguing that fact and the whole thing ultimately going nowhere beyond, well, a whole lot of yelling past one another.

I miss it too, though. Only… well, there are rogue servers now. So maybe not so much.

So, if you still think is happening...

6. Star Citizen

At least both of the prior games released, though. Here, tell me that you don’t understand the sunk cost fallacy without saying so many words. You can start by mentioning that Star Citizen’s development is transparent; we’ll even count that one as a free space.

Build it up.

7. Lord of the Rings Online

I respect Tolkien fans. I don’t share their fandom, but I respect them. There’s a whole lot of material and analysis written for what is actually a pretty thin amount of material, and I kind of love the fact that so much is spun out of what is ultimately a fixed scope, especially since unlike many franchises, thus one offers a distinct opposition to really substantially changing and expanding from what already exists in the lore.

Lord of the Rings Online fans are pretty noisy in the same way, with an added sense of having a game that always had a lot of source fidelity but never really broke into the mainstream in the way you might have expected. It’s respectable. Heck, even though there tends to be a lot of grousing from this particular fan group, it’s usually based on some pretty egregious mismanagement over the past few years. Respect.

Possibly with helicopters

8. War Thunder

It doesn’t surprise me that War Thunder seems to have something of a hatedom going like WoW and FFXIV. What surprises me is that it seems like the hatedom is also its noisy fanbase. Seriously, you can know someone plays this game through a stream of invective and complaints, usually mingled amidst various play sessions of the game itself. It’s kind of weird.

At least you’re having fun, guy? I think?

Ahem.

9. EVE Online

There’s a stereotype of EVE Online players as a bunch of cutthroat jerks who don’t care about anyone else and generally will do anything to screw over other players. This is not wholly correct. Those players are just the most evangelistic parts of the game’s community, which actually probably says more about the game’s target audience than any number of other promotions for the game could possibly say.

Yes, I’m aware there are people who are content to just quietly mine and play without drama or corporate raiding or any of that nonsense. But that’s not how the designers are planning to get butts in seats, so to speak.

Heard of it?10. Ashes of Creation

All right, when you start off every single public address to your fans with “glorious Ashes community,” maybe this is inevitable. But there is definitely a very strong sense of these fans letting you know well in advance about the game, and somehow even a failed battle royale spinoff didn’t really dampen that.

Oh, did you forget about the battle royale? Because I sure didn’t.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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Harlow Games

you’ll have people bringing up their anecdotes about AFK dancing in a bar as a twi’lek.

Call me out by name, why don’t ya? lol

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SmiteDoctor

Neat I guess I’ve been Counter Culture for awhile then, for years I was evangelical about GW2, then I was evangelical about ESO.

I used to defend WoW, but I just can’t, there’s nothing fun about it for me any more (not to shit on any one else’s fun alright people that enjoy WoW still?)

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Bannex

Can we do noisiest anti-fans next? Games that attract so much unbridled hate that it’s hard to separate the sins of the company vs the sins of the developers.

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Graham Tobin

Fortnite is an mmo? That is stretching it when put in context of all the other mmorpg. So many good games could be there instead. ESO are not loud? Does loud mean rude? Then I can see why wow is top. πŸ˜πŸ‘

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Fortnite has a massive number of players who collect loot and skills?

Carlo Lacsina
Staff
Carlo Lacsina

I’ll just put this right here

Desert Oasis: Black Desert Online should be 2020’s MMO of the year

Just sayin, BDO players can kick up a huff too

Harry Koala
Reader
Harry Koala

Let’s not forget Wildstar, a game that closed because very few people wanted to play it, but whose fans are incredibly vocal about how it they re-released it, it would somehow be the biggest and best thing ever.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, but at the same time you gotta commend them. They kept Wildstar going for 4 years give or take after it’s failure just by Housing and Theed conversations. Peeps were really passionate.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Very few want to play the “HARDCORE” game that WILD STAR switched to just before launch because the PvPers and the “Hardcore” minority were very vocal.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I don’t think anyone honestly thinks that just opening up WildStar exactly as it was when it sunsetted and then giving it exactly as much development love as it got the last year or two of its life would do anything at all. People want it opened up and properly developed and fixed because of its squandered potential. The original developers screwed it up, and NCsoft wasn’t giving Carbine the money to save it.

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Jon Wax

This all pales in comparison to whatever the hell is going on with Earth2.

It’s a scam, it’s a Ponzi, no it’s cool like Fonzie, the devs are suing YouTubers, some kid spent 4500 so far on tiles, they’re gonna make The Oasis in a browser, some real estate bro has it all figured out…

Love watching the Earth2 thing. It’s better then Netflix.

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Bruno Brito

Wasn’t SOTA one of the most vocal bases ever? I think you can’t even talk about RG in their forums without them going into meltdown.

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Bryan Correll

Eliot’s list seems to be based on total noise volume instead of per capita noise. SOTA players may individually be noisy, but there aren’t enough of them to rise above the crowd.

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Bruno Brito

Funny you mention that. I once asked Bree about the most toxic games in MOP coverage thinking it had to be SC, and she said SOTA took that spot because of the incredible number of sockpuppets that came just to shittalk the site lol.

But people really stopped caring that much. I guess reality finally caught up.

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Bryan Correll

Maybe the socks got lost in the wash.

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Bruno Brito

It’s funny because Garriott went deep sea diving to both flee his responsabilities and maybe find his shame, and even the zealots drowned in anger.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

STAR CITIZEN is … a special case.

It has two ginormous milestone events in its development. These events divides it’s backers into three groups:

Long haulers

The ones who backed the game from the original October 2012 Kickstarter. SC was going to be a single player combat spacesim, SQUADRON 42, essentially a spiritual successor to the 1990s WING COMMANDER. If there was enough support, they, Cloud Imperium Games, would add a multiplayer Persistent Universe (much a lot of 1990s). However CIG was flooded with support– especially financial support. With the resources available came the first milestone event:

Switching development from S42 to SC first.

Originally, the plan was to get S42 out the door by 2014 (which is why you’ll hear that question raised every so often) and later bolt on a multiplayer SC universe. With so much resources, CIG decided in 2014 it’d be more efficient to develop the greater SC universe and carve out the single player game, S42, from the greater whole. That’s what initially caused the controversy with SC backers and in the news. It was made worse by being poorly communicated.

Also a horrendous mixup in communication with a studio responsible for the First-Person-Shooter modules, something about measurements for inside and outside not matching and months, almost year of development lost, while the CEO was shooting mocap scenes for the game. So there was a long summer of a drought of (useful) information.

Since then, much of the marketing of SC focused on the multiplayer universe and backers who came along at this time, like myself, who backed the game loolking for the multiplayer SC and not upset that S42 wasn’t the focus of development.

During this time, the decision was made to move development from licensing third parties to work on the game to bringing the work inhouse. It was also a time when CIG was deciding what should be in SC not building it. This resulted in long times between major patches in 1.x to 2.x range.

This is when the rise in complaints took off. CIG gained a reputation of missing dates and being slow. When it did complete elements they were breathtaking but achingly slow. Worse, the end of 2015 was when S42 was due or your money back and a number backers requested refunds. Even so, it became the most crowdfunded game project. And then came the lawsuits. CIG mostly prevailed but the damage to their rep was done. Ergo, more controversy and with it toxicity.

The year 2015 ended with a video to Answer The Call: 2016. CitizenCon 2016 was going to feature the Vertical Slice for S42. The year 2016 ended with Alpha 3.0 patch delayed to Q4 2017, along with the Vertical Slice. The slice was delayed because CIG also wanted to do a surprise video about a sandworm and was running late on finishing them both and did the sandworm video instead. The announcement was made onstage at CitizenCon 2016, which had been ruuning an hour late. Backers were, to say the least, miffed. The sandworm video was impressive but wasn’t expected and the timing of the announcement was a sore point.

Two weeks later, they released a video explaining the slice delay, showing clips but that it wasn’t ready, so almost a week before CitizenCon, they decided to do the sandworm video only–but didn’t announce it until CR was onstage at the event. Didn’t help CIG’s reputation either and again stirred up legit hurt feelings and sadly some of that turned toxic, in addition to the standard causes of toxicity in any given population.

That was the situation leading up to the second milestone event, December 2017:

Alpha 3.0

This would be the foundation of the future of SC. Development was changed being feature centric, and with it lengthy delays, to quarterly releases. If a feature is ready it gets released if not then it’s delayed to the next patch while the rest of the patch releases vs delaying the whole patch, which had been previously done. Also a Roadmap was posted to show the features expected or planned for quarterly patches up to 12 months out.

Also released was the S42 Vertical Slice a year later. Surprise! Fun fact, when it was revealed that the decision to ace the slice video mere days before release, many people,myself included, was sure it would release a month, two months a quarter later. Nope. Neither was anything said about it during the following year. Not helpful. This would be a pattern, emotionally sensitive decisions made but poorly communicated, aggravating the situation.

So 2018, most backers were feeling good. Quarterly patches came on time and filled with meaty content. But as the year progressed, there was an increasing pattern of delays, often at the last minute, also a lack of updates to the roadmap, surprise entries to the game that were not on the roadmap and by mid 2019, it was well-known the roadmap was not exactly a reliable guide.

And with more delays, CIG announced a restructing of teams instead of working on one project every quarter, they’d work on projects for six months for the patches and decide early on if it was a go / no go, to avoid the trend of last second delays.

And that eased some of grumbling in the playerbase because the improvement of development wasn’t expect until 2 or 3 quarters hence. That led into 2020, and toward the end of Q1, they announced they would have an update on SQ42 in May. It got delayed for months until October 2020, along with the rest of the planet due to a pandemic but the radio silence on the SQ42 was another sore point among the playerbase.

The SQ42 update was finally released as a full-fledged video–after which it was announced no more SQ42 video updates until they are much closer to release. They continue to do written updates, which are easily overlooked.

Currently in 2021, SC is on the edge of live release of alpha 3.14 patch, which was due by the end of Q2, so several weeks late is pretty good. Right now it’s still in the test servers.

Too late for long story short.

So when people say there’s turmoil and bruised feelings and anger among SC players … yes, and there’s reason for it. Is there toxicity? Sadly, as with any population there is some, none it justifies personal attacks on devs, players or reporters.

Now even with the … saltiness … among the playerbase, there’s still recognition there is progress made in other areas, cities, Planettech to speed up planet creation, creating the planet Microtech and its capital city, New Babbage and more development on mining (the teacher’s pet of professions in the game). As shown in a ton of videos online and even in MOP itself, the alpha 3.14 patch includes update to the Crusader gas giant and its cloud city landing zone, Orison, which even the most hardened detractors would admit, is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

If you can tunnel your way through all the salt, SC, the game is about the most beautiful multiplayer game ever. That progress that we can see in videos or even if venture to log in on how the game looks, how it sounds, and what you can do, goes a long way, though not totally, to counteract a lot of would be toxicity and even some of saltiness.

— Ken from Chicago

P.S. As long as you have a solid state drive and can tolerate bugs, glitches, crashes that force you to reboot to relogin. πŸ‘πŸ€£

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Thomas Koren

ffxiv has housing…if you are willing to camp for days and months on end and have a ton of plat to burn…..so it’s got that going over wow…the illusion of housing.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

XIV not having ideal housing for serious housing fans doesn’t absolve WoW of not having any housing. There are dozens of other MMOs with extremely good housing. It can be done; WoW chooses not to. And no, I don’t play XIV.

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Thomas Koren

Actually, I would say that ffxiv is worse than wow when it comes to housing, one says, we don’t have housing, so you can immediately see, not gonna happen.
Ffxiv instead advertises housing, but no realistic way for newer players to get it.

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Kickstarter Donor
Phubarrh

Ooooo, did someone say Freespace?