Home > Design, MMO > Off with their heads! Player politics.

Off with their heads! Player politics.

Spinks shared this, so it actually came up on my reader, and I have to cry shenanigans. Oh wait not that one – BS. That’s the one I want.

It’s another “gamer-types” post and here’s the original. It’s another incredibly biased gamer-types post where one side is beauty truth and light and the other is one step down from maggots. I wonder if you can work out which is which from the quote below?

Left:
Likes welfare epics
Wants easier content
Everybody should be able to access all content
Downtime sucks
Vanilla WoW sucked
Gameplay >> Virtual World
Theme Park >> Sandbox
Likes Instances
PvP has to be balanced and instanced
Group content should be optional. Players should not depend on each other
Anonymity is not a big problem

Right:
Hates welfare epics
Wants harder content
Wants only some people to beat the hardest content
Downtime adds to the experience
Vanilla was nice, Original Everquest even better
Virtual World >> Gameplay
Sandbox >> Theme Park
Disklikes Instances
Why shouldn’t I be able to hit the guy in front of me?
Group content is important and requires players to depend on each other
Anonymity is a big problem

Aside from its absolute inaccuracy, which I may not bother discussing, I am amused by the distribution. So left is the whingers, the scroungers, the slacking bastards who want checks and lewts and sparkly mounts handed to them on a platter without stirring their pot-smoking, probably unshaven lazy arses. On the right you have the upright, square-jawed, wilderness-hewing, never-take-a-handout, it’s-not-fun-unless-it-makes-me-bleed Prince Valiant.

I do wonder what the author’s own political leanings might be.

Now although there are a bunch of lines thrown in there to make the classifications look more official, there are really only a few salient criteria. The hippie-bastard make the world so much worse for the rest of us REAL players pinko leftie player is defined by: WELFARE, EASIER, INCLUSIVE. The rugged, handsome and probably really well hung righty player is: ANTI-WELFARE, HARDER, EXCLUSIVE.

Here’s what that classification boils down to:

Left: Do What Thou Wilt.

Right: Do What I Want Because My Fun Demands It. And besides, I’m a controlling bastard and I just happen to like telling people a) how to play and b) how to have fun.

What me, biased?

I need to bang on this drum a little more, and it has nothing to do with instances, sandboxes, or having all the rewards handed to one. Well — for all I know (and to add a dash of charity to my vitriol stew) maybe that’s how things break down in WoW: Slacking whingers who want everything for free and cry when they lose, and strong silent working types who never owned anything they didn’t bleed to earn, 50-60 times over in the same dungeon, night after night.

But in other MMOs the distinction isn’t nearly as clear so I find it hard to believe it holds true in WoW. The problem is that lists like these are drawn up by extremists whose position relies on creating an Us-vs-Them, even if they aren’t usually prepared to admit they have an agenda.

I don’t have a psychology degree so this is pure speculation but what is up with wanting to classify people into USEFUL-SLACKER or hey, KEEP-EXECUTE bins all the time. What’s the big deal about how other people play? Ooooh right, THEY are ruining your beloved game. So THEY must be identified and named and categorised so that hopefully the devs will see the light and go back to designing another EverQuest.

Right. Because that worked so well and we now have 24 exact EQ clones to choose from. No? Gosh. Wonder why.

I feel a series of playstyle rants coming on. Guess it’s time someone stood up for the “leeches” and “welfare players” again.

Categories: Design, MMO Tags: , , , ,
  1. August 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Hrm. Smacks a bit of the (crudely paraphrasing) “games are SRS BSNS, fun is for the weak” post Wolfshead made a while back that got me a bit irritated. Adding “left” and “right” as classifications is a nice touch, though, like there weren’t nearly enough flamewars going on over any of the ideas lumped into random bins, adding political overtones will definitely help. Maybe we should try and draw parallels between different play style and major religions too, just to complete the set…

  2. Tesh
    August 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I dunno… either “the Left” or “the Right” can get plenty authoritative and pissy when the Other Guys aren’t Doing It Right.

    Seems to me we need less dictation, more playing.

  3. August 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Mmh. Thanks for quoting my blog.
    Even though I find your language quite harsh :)

    These are stereotypes. That is the whole idea!

    Most people do do not support every one of the ideas of their group. Nor do I.
    But most people belong into one of these groups. Just like most people who like higher taxes also believe in climate change.

    Totally unrealted – and still.

    • August 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Heh sorry — I need a starting point for a good rant and while I may harsh on the content, I try to never harsh on the authors. Sincere apologies if it came over that way, that wasn’t my intent at all!

      I don’t happen to agree with your assumptions, either about climate change & taxes or about gamer types, though I do agree that pigeon-holing is something we can’t seem to avoid doing. Maybe we like to find patterns. Maybe we like to be able to define people according to narrow criteria because it’s easier.

      I still don’t think it’s how it should be, but I’m an idealist. ;)

  4. August 16, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I think this one’s hilarious. I love the idea that I so neatly fit into the jack-booted fascist category (I’m a bleeding heart liberal in real life).

    Excuse me while I goosestep around the room.

    Oddly enough my bus to work this morning had to stop because a flock of geese was crossing the road. Must have been an omen.

    • August 16, 2010 at 11:58 am

      Geese don’t actually goose-step though. What’s up with that?!

      As an aside, a goose can break a small child’s arm. Just sayin’.

      • Erik
        August 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

        “Goose”, in this instance, comes not from the animal but what happens to the guy in front of you if you get too close to him.

        • August 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

          I want to know how you know this. Field trials? :D

          I will never be able to watch that march again with a straight face. Not that, after Monty Python and Mel Brooks, I ever really could anyway.

  5. August 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    As usual, looks like I’m Independent because I like things on both sides of the list. Which brings me to my irritation – can’t people find a new way to categorize things without borrowing from America’s horrifically stupid political morass?

  6. foolsage
    August 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    This is a hard topic to approach without risking offense, so I’ll tread lightly.

    My biggest single issue with introducing political polemics into other parts of life is that a lot of people have very passionate views about politics. Sadly, very very few people bother to back up those passionate views with anything remotely approaching knowledge, which almost always results in extremist views being cribbed from some demagogue and regurgitated without reflection.

    I’m that extremely rare beast, a moderate. In discussions about politics and economics I find almost nobody holds my views because the discourse is so taken over by extremism. The conservatives call me a commie and the liberals call me a fascist, which is amusing if also a little sad. I’m neither but they lack the education to understand this distinction, and they just repeat what their pundits tell them, on both sides. I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative, meaning I don’t fit anywhere.

    Enough about me though. ;) My point was to gently suggest that the initial article Ysh quoted, which doubtless well-intended, is full of very suspect political misinformation, and attempts to impose the same spectra of viewpoints onto an unrelated field. Nils, you’re conflating political philosophy with economic philosophy – the two are not the same thing at all. There are two relevant spectra here which often do not overlap. The political spectrum of left to right is NOT the same as the economic spectrum of left to right, which is how e.g. we can end up with a group like the Nazis who were politically on the far right (fascist) and yet held some economically leftist views (e.g. socialism). Even if you were not mixing two different spectra together willynilly here, there’s nothing to suggest that these spectra extend to any other area of human endeavors – e.g. Stabs actually hold political views completely at odds with how he approaches games (as indeed I suspect many people do).

    All of which is to say that I agree with Ysh’s dismissal of the original article. Those criteria for judging an imaginary “left” and “right” are unbelievably biased and intended to make one group feel better about themselves, nothing more. Yes, ok, the “conservative gamers” are he-men, full of vim and vigor, bursting with True Morality ™, and only they can save our wretched society from the perils that, um, imperil us.

    Yeah. Or these are just games, and people’s political and economic views ARE NOT INVOLVED. Whether I like PvP or permadeath or moddable GUIs (yes, no, yes, for the record) is in fact completely unrelated to my political and economic views.

    Oh, and I have to call this one out, as it’s just over the top: The Left is quoted as believing, “Everybody should be able to access all content” while the Right is quoted as believing, “Wants only some people to beat the hardest content”. Putting aside the fairly obvious fact that this is not remotely a Left/Right issue, these two viewpoints aren’t even in opposition. It’s entirely possible for someone to want everyone to be able to access all content, but also think that only skilled players should be able to beat the hardest content. But hey, nice underhanded attempt to subtly denigrate people who hold political views different from your own, anyhow. ;)

    • August 19, 2010 at 12:20 am

      I used to consider myself a moderate. But these days when people ask, I say I’m a radical centrist. GOOD TIMES!

  7. August 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Look, I am from Germany.
    Left vs. Right wasn’t invented in USA :)

    But today, it seems, it is an especially heated discussion over there.

    If you dislike the left/right thing in gaming: Sorry. Ignore my post.
    In German politics we discuss this, too. But the debate is not as .. heated…

    Actually, from ‘our’ point of view all of USA is extremely RIGHT.

  8. August 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Nils, you’re conflating political philosophy with economic philosophy – the two are not the same thing at all.

    I agree.
    Actually, my guss is that the political right would rather support the MMO left ideas and vice versa. But that is hard to prove.

    The whole point of this blog post wasn’t to invent two new words, even if that seems to have gotten a lot of coverage ;)

    The original idea was to explain Blizzards shift in some parts of the beta. You know, 400% more mob damage, extra slow mounts for the dead, no AOE in dungeons, less item level progression, …

    • August 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Hey, the idea of polemical posts is to drive discussion — I’m pretty sure you achieved that rather well!

      It’s very interesting to see how political discussion (or even hints thereof) will drive usually very calm commentators — myself included — into a frenzy. As far as I’m concerned it woke us up of a Monday morning and hopefully drove some traffic your way. Nothing wrong with either of those. :D

  9. August 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    It wasn’t even meant to be polemical.. I still don’t get that, I fear.

    But you guys over the Atlantic should really cool down. If the left/right tension has already left politics and can spark such an outcry .. get your stuff together and stop discussing whether Obama is a Muslim or whatever.
    Here these things cause convulsive laughter ;)

    • August 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      You’re making more assumptions. :D I’m not American, I just live here. I’m actually French and German — and while German politics may be calm (haven’t followed it closely lately), French politics has exactly the same bipartisan divisions. Throw in an active far left and right and it gets even more heated.

      Personally I dislike bi-partisanship and for/against easy dichotomies in general, whether it’s politics or gaming. I think life is more complex than yes/no.

  10. August 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Every country I know has the left/right dichtomy, because humans like to think in white/black.

    Is the world as easy? Hell, if you can read German, I’d suggest you go read my German politics blog

    http://visatos.blogspot.com/

    Of course the world is not so simple, but many people still behave as if it were.

    Most humans who have a big problem with higher taxes also believe that they earn their money in moral sense.. Stupid? Yes. Fact? Yes!

    Dichotomies are usually wrong, exept for many about people.

    Btw: There are people now who blame me of liking Fox News… the world has gone crazy.

    • August 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      “Btw: There are people now who blame me of liking Fox News… the world has gone crazy.”

      Okay that made me laugh out loud. :D

      But it does illustrate that seeing one thing about someone and drawing specific conclusions is a dangerous pastime. On a less amusing level, we all fight stereotypes all day long — whether they’re national (all French are cowards! (tell that to my grandfather)), gender-based, race-based or what have you.

      I think what I’m trying to say is that just because stereotypes exist and are used and are (in many cases) somewhat accurate doesn’t mean we should rely on them. At the very least I think we need to be *aware* of what they are and the pitfalls involved in using them.

      One of which — for your post today anyway, and I’ve had a few here in the past — is that they can spark some really heated debates. ;)

  11. foolsage
    August 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Nils, my apologies. I read into your post something that wasn’t there: an agenda. I spend too much time talking about politics I fear. ;)

    I think there are some ways to improve the accuracy of the list as a predictor of how someone’s political or economic views might influence their game choices, but it’s provocative as is.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 376 other followers

%d bloggers like this: