Faithful Fans and Helpful Haters

I really don’t like “fans” of a specific game any more. It’s a term that used to have many positive connotations, a descriptive you would and could wear with pride but now days it just seems to come with too much baggage.

I like a lot of things and I love a select few but even now I don’t think I could call myself a fan of anything in particular. I used to envy those people who felt strongly enough about something to call themselves a fan and yet, here I am using it as a negative. They used to be held up on a pedestal to admire, amazing knowledge on everything and helping out where they can but now, it’s more a smug idiot trying to prove their superiority complex. Lets be honest as well and say they are becoming a bit of a joke in the regular media as well.

This change has been happening for some time. I’ve noticed over and over the fans of a game that will completely ignore or be oblivious to certain issues or flaws while continuously proclaiming its brilliance. The opposite of that seems to be a hater, something reviled that no one takes seriously yet the word of a fan is somehow worth more. Both are equally as bias but it seems the influence and appeal of one is far greater.

At the moment I really don’t understand many mmo fans, it’s a genre that is mostly devoid of any real change and been rather content with various cosmetic changes. I still like them all, and even look forward to the next batch but to be a fan of one seems rather pointless, how is that distinction made on a title to place it above all else and then revere it.

I’m also having doubts as to their importance. Many times I see this blind praise of a title without any mention of faults, no critical eye on the mechanics or a balance to the positive… Just adoration. How does this help anyone? It will build up unrealistic expectations to potential players that is likely to cause bit of discontent when the reality comes crashing down. It doesn’t help the developers at all in finding places to improve or issues to solve and it is unlikely to put pressure on developers and companies to strive for better

We’ve had a number of rather amusing cautionary tales this year of games taking mechanics a little too far, being lazy with design or stretching the boundaries of acceptable cash shop use and it has been the critical players, the haters and such that have brought about positive change for their game that benefits everyone, maybe even the industry. It is a genre in it’s infancy and needs a certain guiding hand to help in development and as a way of pushing back against publisher demands, developers have their valuable input but players themselves also have a certain amount of insight.

I honestly think that person bitching and raving on the forums or wherever (like me =p) is giving people more important input, at least you can anazlyze those comments and see what the issue is, where to improve and what concerns the community has… If a little less passionately. Most people will never be bothered commenting when they leave and these posts can be indicative of a larger issue. The person thanking you for a patch does none of that, it’s good to know what people like too but there is always room for improvement.

It also seems like fans of something are the most avid in maintaining the channels of communication; attacking all who disagree and silencing alternative opinions.A close minded demographic whose ideas are completely closed and reluctant to even listen to others. A debate is hard to have at the best of times and this certainly doesn’t help.

There will always be a certain amount of decision in the community, our interest are diverse. Arguing is fun and this is the internet after all, I’m just starting to question which side is more valuable though. The dark side certainly has some intriguing opinions… It’s also more fun.


7 thoughts on “Faithful Fans and Helpful Haters

  1. I think a real fan loves something despite its flaws, not because they perceive it to have none. If anyone asks me seriously, I’ll often tell them that MMOs are my favorite genre. That if I had to count myself of anyone genre, that would be the one. Only, I haven’t played a MMO with any serious gusto in years. I’ve tried many, often for very short amounts of time, but those same passions don’t arise to the levels they once reached. This leads me to questioning my fanhood and a mild depression that something I tell myself I love is not something I love at all.

    But I do. I love MMOs so deeply that some of my disappointment is bias and nostalgia, but its mostly the intense feeling of recognizing missed opportunities. The genre is stagnant and boring. It creeps along, innovating at a snail’s pace while regressing in other places with reckless abandon. It was once the genre of dreamers; it was once a place where designers strived to build worlds.

    Now, the genre is stuck in an cycle of repetition, which is largely a metaphor for the experience you can get from anyone single MMO. Rinse, Repeat. Rinse, Repeat.

    Rinse … Repeat …

    • It is kind of like that. With bring a fan you have to try and keep a positive outlook otherwise it starts reflecting on you. You ignore faults but after a time reality sets in

  2. I think a good example of this is Diablo3. The beta had issues, launch was a failure, max level content was pretty much non-existent, the RMAH/GAH met all player expectations of being destructive and there were hundreds of posts detailing suggested changes.

    The game today, especially on consoles, is vastly different mechanically from the game that launched and the wide majority of it from player feedback.

    A game where that didn’t occur is SWTOR. I was in beta. We had number crunchers, testers, people with a vested interest in success. For the last 3 months of beta, there was a forum design session between players. Devs ignored all of it and only put in the changes after the swap to F2P (the alacrity change essentially)

    Industry can learn so much from the haters/fans in terms of better design. No one person has the magic sauce but put enough people around you and you’ll find awesome ideas.

    • Definitely agree there but I will say during that Diablo… And even swtor discussions that there were else fans saying the game is great and to stop complaining. The games were leaking players with a rather negative view yet none of that matters… Was just odd. This is what I mean by haters being more valuable, even if they are trying for conflict the hidden critique is still valuable

      Definitely should be both involved in community discussions though, good to have a balance

  3. I am sure that hater’s comment does not have more information than fan’s one and they depress developers.

    I agree that giving negative feedback is interesting, but positive feedback help to put a hierarchy also. If someone say “I hate this feature” and no other one said the opposite, the dev can think this is a bad feature. Whereas the silent majority love it.

    So I think that feedback both positive and negative is helpful, but shall be argumented and not full with emotions.

    • This post original came from the discussion after a gw2 patch, the one with the rescinded clothing. Some were defending them about it and I just didn’t see the help there. Haters vie for change while fans often want stagnation or at least only to improve on what’s already there rather than growth

  4. I think of “Fan” as a wholly positive word. I can’t really imagine using it pejoratively. If I was going to describe someone’s over-involvement with something critically I’d probably go for “Fanatic” or “Obsessive”.

    I also wouldn’t categorize those people who attack others for not sharing their interest as “fans”. I do, however, see with increasing frequency that that’s how the mainstream media chooses to use the word, but mainstream media routinely misrepresents, well, pretty much every group, all the time, so I don’t ascribe much value to that.

    If the word “Fan” is being twisted out of shape it’s we, the fans, whose job it is to make sure we exemplify the original and true meaning, that of someone who likes something very much. I can’t see anything bad in that.

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