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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.