MMO spoilers and reading choices

One of the core rules I follow in writing this blog is to avoid spoilers as much as possible. This can be quite a limitation on the styles and content of posts that I want to write but it’s a rule I stick to because this issue matters to me for my own gameplay enjoyment. I play MMORPGs for the combination of shared story and exploration that the genre uniquely provides.

Beyond limiting the topic or what I chose to write about a topic it also impacts my reading choices on occasion as well. There are multiple series of very interesting blog posts that I have to bookmark for another day because of the inherent spoilers they contain. For example Shintar at Going Commando has excellent class story reviews, but I’ve only read Consular and Trooper so far as they are the only class stories I’ve completed. I used to read Syp of Bio Break‘s coverage of The Secret World out of general interest in all things MMO, but now I’ve been playing the game I have to selectively skip entries if they’re about content I haven’t tried yet.

class_stories

SWTOR loading screen now declares how many class stories you have done…

Avoiding spoilers can become pretty tiring really as you have to often sign out of global chat or maybe even guild chat if your guild has no rules about avoiding spoilers. It can even affect other media such as whether you chose to listen to podcasts or live streams – for example we had to stop listening to an episode of the Blizzard Watch podcast recently because the hosts started talking in detail about some WoW quest chains we’d not done together.

Sometimes spoilers can at least signpost something you’ve missed: I spotted from blog posts about the Halloween event this year in The Secret World that there is a new investigation mission to do, but we haven’t had the chance to play it yet so I’ve not read the posts in full. Do you care about gaming spoilers in the choices of MMO coverage or media that you follow?

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5 Responses to MMO spoilers and reading choices

  1. It’s definitely frustrating to try to avoid spoilers in the MMO community. A lot of people don’t care that much about the story and thus don’t consider the implications of discussing spoilers, and a lot of people that do care have nothing against spoilers, or just assume everyone else already knows. So for those of who do want to avoid spoilers, it’s pretty challenging.

    There’s also a lot of debate over what actually constitutes a spoiler. I remember I complained about an article on WoW Insider whose header picture — visible to anyone on the site — gave away the entire ending of the warlock green fire quest, and everyone was just telling me it wasn’t really a spoiler. I don’t know what counts as a spoiler if that doesn’t.

    In fairness, though, that’s an extreme case, and there is a lot of gray area. Some people consider any and all information to be a spoiler, whereas I’d say spoilers are only major plot revelations or twists discussed in detail. Like, I wouldn’t consider saying “The ending was an anticlimax” to be a spoiler if you don’t go into detail beyond that.

    It’s especially hard in WoW because almost all the big story moments happen in raids, LFR is gated for weeks after a raid’s release, and no one is willing to sit on spoilers for that long, so if you’re not part of a raiding guild, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’re going to get spoiled, unless you cut yourself off from the community entirely.

    For what it’s worth, I usually avoid spoilers on my blog, and when I do have them, they’re clearly marked. Though you should take into account my personal definition of spoilers above.

  2. Shintar says:

    I’m a big spoiler avoider myself. I consider myself lucky in this regard for having SWTOR as my main MMO, because both Bioware and the majority of the community (who aren’t general chat trolls) value story very highly and therefore try to be respectful about spoilers at all times. Even four years after the launch of the game most bloggers still make sure to add disclaimers if they are about to mention a major plot point of one of the class stories. It does get harder over time though, also because the definition of what counts as a spoiler tends to change over time, as Tyler mentioned above. I remember that just around launch, even as much as saying that character X would become a companion was considered a spoiler. Of course nowadays anyone can see that in their in-game achievement panel right from the start.

    I also remember when Blizzard posted all the big story cinematics for Warlords of Draenor on their website before the expansion had even launched – I think that was when my initial interest took a real nosedive. Sure, there were spoiler warnings, but releasing that kind of information into the wild means that it will be discussed everywhere two days later whether people want spoilers or not To me, that was an indication that Blizzard doesn’t particularly care about impressing its customers with their storytelling.

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  4. It’s difficult to avoid them, but I’m lucky in that I surround myself with folks that are willing to keep me spoiler-free as much as possible. As for blogs, I usually just skim by posts that include the spoilers. It is definitely tough to do, sometimes, though! I usually try to warn folks my own posts if I get into spoiler-territory, because sometimes I do tread there.

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