Influencing The Industry
I received a very nice email from Jeff Martin at Company of the Wolf a couple of weeks ago asking if I’d like to do an interview with him for his blog. I was thrilled and flattered so of course jumped at the chance. What totally surprised me though (so much so that I didn’t quite believe him until he posted more details when he published the interview) was when he said he knew that people from Blizzard and Turbine read my blog. Huh? Ex-squeeze me? Bacon powder? People from those companies MY blog? How bizarre.
But then it’s not really that strange when you think about it and no doubt all sorts of folks from all sorts of MMO companies read all sorts of MMO blogs. It makes sense. They like the industry and they want to follow what people say about it and what their reactions to events are. It’s all part of that thing called community which can help establish a very successful playerbase. Some developers and designers, like Brian Green, Steve Danuser, Wolfshead and Eric Heimburg (apologies to anyone I’ve missed), even keep bloggy-wogs themselves and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Thing is though, does all our blogging actually carry any weight where it counts? Does the guff that we write about day-in and day-out across all of these hundreds of MMO blogs actually affect anything in our game’s production and development? Do all of our comments and opinions influence MMOs in any way whatsoever? I’d be thrilled if it did but I’m not so sure that any of it does.
I never actually set out to change the world or shape or influence MMOs when I started blogging. I just had a bunch of word-monkeys jumping around in my head constantly and I wanted to evacuate them onto my keyboard as quickly as possible. I’ve never written an article with an ulterior motive in mind or an agenda to either get into the game’s industry or actually change the way the games are designed and created. Of course it would be nice to think that my thoughts somehow carry weight but, at the end of the day, I’m just a spectator and bystander of the MMO industry and I’m neither qualified nor inclined to alter it.
That’s not to say that all of the MMO blogs and sites out there don’t carry merit in their articles but I would hope that any developers reading them take things with a pinch of salt. There’s probably some golden ideas lurking admist the see words but ultimately these things are all expressed as opinions with heavy slants in one direction or another. That is, after all, what makes blog fun to read.
I’m probably a great example of this because even though I often use World of Warcraft in a lot of my MMO discussions (it’s the most popular one and thus the easiest example for people to associate with) and heaven knows I like to complain and moan about it but ultimately I’m still currently subscribed to the game and play it regularly. If I honestly didn’t like it, I wouldn’t play it. Of course writing luvy-duvy articles about it everyday would be darn boring so don’t expect me to heap it with it’s – well-deserved in many areas – praise. No, I’d rather poke and prod every aspect of it, and every other MMO out there, in great detail and minutiae, critiquing every last tiny part of them all. Call it blogger’s prerogative.
Still, if any developers or designers out there are enamored with my thoughts on permadeath, travel, community, localization, more community, the multicultural aspects of MMORPGs, zombies or how I think MMOs are like women then feel free to utilise any of them. Just send me an email and I’ll let you know where you can send the royalties cheque to.
Anyhow, you find my interview at Company of the Wolf here. Feel free to have a look around the blog whilst your there, it’s a great site.