Three events stood out to me this week, and I want to focus on those because they all pointed to a similar trend. Now I want to be very clear that I view this as the vocal minority -- the Guild Wars community is one of the best out there. As with any community, however, it's got its discontented vocal minority. That grumpy minority is usually drowned out by the positive elements, but I've seen a bit of a change lately.
There is a growing sense of entitlement that I first noticed in the case of the Necromancer skill videos. Some enthusiastic fans figured out the URL for the videos before ArenaNet intended to release them, and the videos were subsequently shared far and wide. Other fans who saw the videos did the same. When the ANet staff expressed disappointment that the surprise had been ruined, many fans seemed to think that the developers should be thankful for the enthusiasm.
I don't want to be all "leave Britney alone!" but the incident angered me, both because of the disrespect toward the developers and because of the crazy sense of entitlement of the fans. It's an attitude that I've seen a lot of over the past week from the Guild Wars community.
When the new costumes were released, Community Managers Regina Buenaobra and Martin Kerstein made an appearance in Great Temple of Balthazar to show them off and hang out with players for a while. A lot of players were excited to see them, chatting, admiring the costumes, and asking questions. Unfortunately, almost as many seemed to be more interested in complaining about the Dervish update (or lack thereof), demanding a Guild Wars 2 profession reveal, and asking the by-now-annoying question about a launch date for Guild Wars 2. Martin and Regina eventually departed for Lion's Arch, leaving behind a local chat channel full of players cursing and complaining that the visit was "useless."
Stephane Lo Presti's update from Paris evoked a similar reaction. Fans were more annoyed than happy because the post was not in-depth enough.
Finally, this year's Halloween quests turned into a slight issue once Mad King Thorn showed up. There were two new quest arcs this year, each consisting of three fairly easy quests with generous rewards. Each arc awarded XP, platinum, and a total of 250 Trick-or-Treat Bags. The new quests were great and even introduced a new explorable area, but there was an unexpected consequence.
The Mad King arrived in Kamadan and Lion's Arch and began issuing commands. He awarded those who obeyed the usual one Trick-or-Treat Bag, and the disappointment in local chat was immediate. "Only one? Screw this waste of time. Someone tell me when it's time for the hats."
Somehow it's become less about the fun of special events and the excitement of Guild Wars 2 news and more about "give us everything right now or else." Are we spoiled? As I said before, every gaming community has that overly entitled fringe element, but in Guild Wars it's always felt like a smaller percentage than normal. It seems to be growing lately, and I think there are a few reasons for that.
For starters, the community itself is a lot bigger these days. As players flock to get a jump on GW2 via the Hall of Monuments, that vocal minority grows proportionally larger, which only makes sense. There are other factors, too. The way Guild Wars 2 news has been released has caused an odd combination of frustration and high expectations in the fanbase. The folks at NCsoft have a very clear plan regarding what they want us to know and when they want us to know it, and they will not deviate from that. We're not privy to that plan, so it can get pretty frustrating to hear "when it's ready" and "we're not prepared to talk about that yet."
When information is released, it's more often than not spectacular. Profession reveals come with paragraphs and paragraphs of text, multiple videos, and art galore. It sets high expectations, and we are conditioned to expect that caliber every time. Therefore, when we get a quick update from Paris, too many fans forget the part about the 18-hour-a-day schedule that those in Paris are keeping right now and how hard they are working. Rather than thinking, "Wow, that was cool that he took a little time out of his schedule to post that," way too many fans jump straight to saying, "What is this garbage?! Where is a real update? This is lame!"
The rewards offered by Mad King Thorn are similar. The quests were a lot more generous than they've been in past years -- less than a half-hour of playtime can net you a full stack of Trick-or-Treat Bags. In the face of that, King Thorn's visits somehow become less about the fun of the games and more about what a ripoff it was. The more we get, the more we seem to want and the louder we yell when we don't receive it.
In a way, the onus is on ArenaNet for raising our expectations in every corner, but I doubt any of us wants the devs to stop impressing us. I think we have a tendency to forget two things: this is a career and livelihood for those at ArenaNet, and they are very passionate about it. Put in more mundane terms, imagine that you were working on a huge project for a client at your job. For several years you made it your focus and poured yourself into it. As things progress, your client becomes increasingly demanding; your updates are less satisfying every time, he complains more that you should work faster, and he finds ways to dig into your work files and access information that you are not ready for him to have.
Not only is this client behaving incredibly inappropriately, but he is being disrespectful professionally by hounding you and taking information that is not currently his to take. You understand that he is impatient, but it's still difficult that his impatience and sense of entitlement is trampling this work that you've put so much of yourself into. I think ArenaNet has a fine line to walk here as its devs try to meet the expectations that they've created. The fans have a line to walk between enthusiasm and behaving like a crowd at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving.
It's an interesting dilemma, and I'm honestly not sure where those lines are in some cases. This week, I really want to hear from you guys. What do you think?
Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in
Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's
Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at firstname.lastname@example.org.