The Daily Grind: What convinces you to accept an MMO studio’s apology?

    
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For SOME REASON

MMO studios are going to screw up sooner or later. Some are better or worse about how often those screwups happen, but these studios are going to make mistakes and then they’re going to apologize to you later. For some reason that’s been on my mind lately, and as usual that gets me thinking about what it takes to accept those apologies. It might not necessarily be easy to apologize, but it’s definitely much easier to apologize when you don’t altogether mean it.

Of course, at the studio level it’s hard to know if the person apologizing “means” it, but there are certain things that make it more or less likely. Maybe you’re more willing to accept the apology if it has material compensation attached. Maybe it’s easier to accept if it’s followed by real and tangible change, or if changes in leadership come before the apology. Whatever the case, today, we want to know. What gets you to accept an MMO studio’s apology?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Schmidt.Capela

A combination of change in behavior with the passage of time.

I’ll usually only accept the apology if the behavior changed at least a year ago and the company kept (or improved) that change ever since. The exceptions are for exemplary behavior (e.g., if the company becomes a key figure in the fight against the behavior they apologized for) or for products without competition I can’t live without (which doesn’t really apply to games).

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traja

For one the CEO/executives need to accept full responsibility and not in any way pretend that they didn’t know. Admit that they knew and resign in response. Then the company follows up with actual changes and not PR.

Thing is that me accepting the apology doesn’t actually mean anything. What matters is what it takes for their current and future customers to keep spending money. I don’t think that accepting apologies is really a factor in that enough to be worth working towards.

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EmberStar

How sincere it appears to be. The dev studio’s past history will be a big factor. At this point, I assume Kobby Botick is lying if his lips are moving. It might be something about how his company has *repeatedly* bragged about record profits to shareholders while literally at the same time firing close to a thousand people to raise the bottom line slightly. The only way I would accept Blizzard’s apology is if the entire C-suite resigned in shame.

They won’t do that. Obviously.

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Cluedo86

Only when the apology is sincere, made in good faith, and accompanied by CEO/executive resignations and legally binding changes.

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wjowski

Not hiring union busters when your employees walk out in disgust at your callous disregard for their well-being and safety would be a good start.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Back in the day, Johnson & Johnson pulled every bottle of Tylenol off every shelf in the U.S. because one bottle had been poisoned. That was concern not just for their customers, but for their brand and their reputation. Would they do that today? No way.

My husband works for a large corporation under considerably duress due to its own sloppy institutional behavior. The CEO resigned and when the new CEO came in, he personally fired every single person in the company who had touched the burning pile of feces. He’s serious about cleaning up the mess and now everyone knows it.

Issued apologies are garbage. We know this because we seen so, so many of them. Action is the only thing that matters. Actions speak.

It takes will and determination to direct change. None of the people at Blizzard have shown the least bit of either when it comes to their internal culture.

Unless heads roll, nothing will change. If they don’t have the courage to take a hit, financially or creatively, then they don’t have the nerve to effect the necessary changes.

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Arktouros

I think most scenarios really can be summed up with that scene in Avenger’s End Game where Tony Stark is talking about he would love to save all the people and bring them all back, but it can’t be at the cost of what he currently has.

When these big mega corps are promising change and things going forward they’re absolutely going to do that, so long as it doesn’t really cost them anything or significantly change their scenario. Throwing subordinates and others through diversity/harassment/whatever trainings is great. Mandate seminars company wide on topics? Sure. Zero tolerance policies, they’ll get right on that. Fire some executive who has made them lots of money? Maybe. Step down or fire large amounts of their leadership which will cost them or the company millions of dollars potentially? Not a chance.

But that’s basically what people want. They want this crazy systemic change that rips out what they view as the rot from the roots. Apologies isn’t going to cut it for them and every one is “hollow” or “empty” or “just words” because the person apologizing won’t fall on their sword for failing as a company, human beings, etc.

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Bruno Brito

Yep.

And i honestly don’t think the demanding side is wrong in demanding specific change that comes from sacrifice. If they don’t want to do it, sure, their absolute right. As is ours to mock them, to not buy from them and to watch them fail.

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Arktouros

Thinking in terms of “right and wrong” is what ultimately gets people no where on these kinds of things. Being in the right doesn’t make your argument any more compelling or likely to happen. It’s like you have a Genie in front of you and it tells you that you can’t wish to bring back the dead and all you do is keep demanding and focusing on bringing back Mi-Ma because it’s the morally right thing for you to do for her. Like what are you even doing? Thankfully I think (hope?) the Blizz Employees are a bit smarter than that and are asking for tangible things that will give their leadership a win and themselves a win for their working conditions.

As for mocking them and not buying from them and watching them fail man I just haven’t seen a company fail yet. Mocking is pretty much a given with the nature of the internet and how we are on it. EA was literally one of the most hated companies in the world and it didn’t really stop them from making billions and I imagine the same will be true for Acti Blizz. Like you do you, just don’t have any delusions about what impact you’re actually having.

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Bruno Brito

Thinking in terms of “right and wrong” is what ultimately gets people no where on these kinds of things. Being in the right doesn’t make your argument any more compelling or likely to happen. It’s like you have a Genie in front of you and it tells you that you can’t wish to bring back the dead and all you do is keep demanding and focusing on bringing back Mi-Ma because it’s the morally right thing for you to do for her. Like what are you even doing? Thankfully I think (hope?) the Blizz Employees are a bit smarter than that and are asking for tangible things that will give their leadership a win and themselves a win for their working conditions.

Bad comparison. We’re not asking dead to be revived. We’re asking sexual harassment on the workplace to not happen and for the leadership which let that happen to be substituted. One is by natural law impossible, the other is pretty achieveable if the law gets involved.

As for mocking them and not buying from them and watching them fail man I just haven’t seen a company fail yet. Mocking is pretty much a given with the nature of the internet and how we are on it. EA was literally one of the most hated companies in the world and it didn’t really stop them from making billions and I imagine the same will be true for Acti Blizz. Like you do you, just don’t have any delusions about what impact you’re actually having.

I don’t. Activision will survive just fine.

BLIZZARD? Now we’re discussing something. I don’t think Blizzard itself survived anything, what we have is a shell of it’s former legacy here being looted into oblivion.

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Chance Palmer

Seems like most are in agreement. Any company can take a couple days to write a statement and comb over it several times. If said company is committed to change, swift and and meaningful action FOLLOWED by a statement seems like it would mean more than words and promises

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Rndomuser

Words are meaningless if they are not backed by the actions. This is something I am being constantly reminded of when dealing with certain game developer who have apologized many times but keeps doing the wrong thing. To accept an apology it has to not only sound genuine but also has to be backed by an immediate action that is meaningful and impactful.

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Witches

Generic case: They need to mean it, back it up with actions that show they changed, and never do that particular thing ever again, and maybe even not do anything objectionable for at least a couple of years.

Specific case: Jail time and or a considerable “financial apology” to the victims, top offenders are blacklisted for the same amount of time they victimized people.

What upsets me the most is top execs getting bonuses while the people that actually helped create the product get laid off, but when there’s problems suddenly they aren’t responsible for anything.