Hyperbole in gaming discussions

Two unrelated things came together in my blogging brain yesterday. I’d been musing for a few days about the usual hype->disappointment->hysteria cycle that affects MMO discussions and is currently afflicting Wildstar. For once I’m on the outside of this burst-bubble. I’ve been on the inside of it for Allods Online, Rift, SWTOR, and to a certain extent Guild Wars 2. As a blogger I tend to follow forums and news posts about the games I’m interested in, so I’m exposed regularly to this hype->disappointment->hysteria cycle. It can be draining to see the stratospheric hype and hope for this new ‘WoW-killer’ (the MMORPG having been dubbed such by the community not the developers) fail to deliver on all the promises, real or imagined, and then to see the community split into those defending the game and those declaring it already a failure.

Then today I read this post over at the Guardian (a UK daily newspaper) written about hyperbole on the Internet. The article is primarily about a music concert and how fans of the artist over-hyped a come-back concert to extreme levels. Taking out the specific references to a music concert it sounds exactly like people talking about MMORPGs before and soon after launch.

Reading about Wildstar last week or so reminded me of exactly the same sorts of ranting discussions about other earlier games. Thread upon thread of heated debate whether SWTOR was or was not KOTOR 3.0. Flame-filled arguments about Free-to-play being the doom of LOTRO and Everquest 2 (both are still here). The hope and despair of Guild Wars 2’s attempts at ending the trinity and quest-hub content model (the jury is still out on those two).

I find myself reading forums, Reddit, Massively article comments and more even though they are often full of this kind of exaggeration; not because I enjoy tabloid style rants but because amongst the dross there are some very well worded arguments and valid gameplay improvement suggestions. There are still plenty of diamonds in the rough. But I certainly would be happier if, in general, people were slightly less extreme about gaming. I’d much rather read a “10 things I’d like to see improved” thread rather than “this game is doomed!” thread. Really there needs to be a reminder to “Keep Calm and Carry On (Gaming)” as part of every forums header…

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