Ask Massively: Why isn't this news?

Remember back when people read newspapers?
Welcome back to Ask Massively, the part of Massively where you ask us random things, we give you answers, and you yell incomprehensibly at us.

natecantbefound asked: Why are you guys reporting this crap [a League of Legends video] when Darkfall has a new video out?

Short answer: Perspective.

Long answer: Because Darkfall isn't the center of the gaming world.

A few years back, we began to expand our MMO coverage beyond what most people would consider classic MMORPGs. Like it or not, the definition of MMOs is constantly changing; there's a truckload of games that reside in the grey area between "truly massive" and "MMO-like," and the audiences overlap heavily. So as most wise publications did, we adapted and started covering MMOFPS titles, mobile MMOs, and MOBAs, especially League of Legends, which as the biggest game in the world even earned its very own column. (We'll be reviving MMO Burnout soon as well; it focuses on non-MMOs that MMO players might like to hear about.)

Darkfall, by comparison to LoL, is an extremely small game, the nichiest of the niche. It's got a lot working against it in the popularity department: It's a sandbox, its playerbase is teensy, it's got mostly open PvP, it's made by an indie company, it's not new, and its credibility has been damaged because of revamp delays. That doesn't mean we won't report on it. We have and will continue to do so because we like sandboxes, we like indies, we like old games, we like PvP, and if we ignored every MMO with a small playerbase or late patches, we'd run out of things to write about within two days.

But let's keep some perspective, shall we? Darkfall is tiny next to LoL, and even still, Aventurine's sandbox wrings far more posts out of Massively than its size might merit. That doesn't mean you have to like every game we write about. I don't even like every game we write about. Go ahead and crush on a niche game, but be aware that you'll bump into posts about other games when you're surfing a general MMO blog. Maybe just skip anything you don't want to read, even "crap" like a video about the aforementioned biggest game in the world.

You should probably also figure that what you consider worthy of our attention is not necessarily something that other people care about. Not everyone who reads Massively is going to agree on what constitutes newsworthiness. I offer the following illustration as example:

Why isn't this news? Because of reasons.
How is this news... why is this not bigger news... whiplash! Here's another one.

Alejandro wrote: I know you guys love to post mostly negative stuff about Blizzard, but honestly, how did you let this one fall through your cracks? Amazing story.

That was an amazing story... back in March. The cool thing about Blizzard is that the company does this stuff all the time and doesn't always publicize it, so it doesn't always leak out to the blogosphere.

And hey, we don't "love to post mostly negative stuff about Blizzard." I hate to see Blizz and World of Warcraft bleed subs; I hate to see non-MMOers use WoW as an example of a "dying MMO genre." Plus, I actually like WoW and still return to it on occasion. But our ability to cover WoW is limited by the fact that we have an entire site in-network called WoW Insider. We're generally allowed to cover only the very biggest news, and where Blizzard and WoW are concerned, the biggest news is often unflattering.

But not always. In the last few months alone, we posted about Blizzard's Hurricane Sandy relief charity and published a friendly overview of the game for its anniversary. Blizzard's third quarter reports were very promising as well, especially for WoW subs. Then there were a bunch of neutral stories, like Project Blackstone, the authenticator lawsuit and response, Mists of Pandaria's holiday deals, the crackdown on Diablo III cheaters, and so on.

Do commenters respond negatively to posts about Blizzard? Often; we're a site that covers everything but WoW, so our readers are predisposed to hating on WoW, and I'd bet most consider themselves WoW refugees. But don't conflate the readers and the writers.

It's all a matter of perspective and what you selectively choose to read and remember -- or don't.

What should you play? Where is the MMO industry headed? How does Massively operate? Has Lord British lost his marbles? Why is there no edit button? Should "monoclegate" be hyphenated? Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce submits to your interrogations right here in Ask Massively every Thursday. Drop your questions in the comments below or ping us at ask@massively.com. Just ask!
This article was originally published on Massively.