Are Blogs Good Or Bad For The MMO Industry?
It’s been a strange week. Strange in the sense that I’ve spent most of it recovering from an illness that has come to be known by many in my household (well, just me actually) as The Deadliest Plague In The World. As the name suggests, it’s a illness so deadly that it’s already claimed the lives of thousands along the South Asian Subcontinent and would have inevitably felled any lesser man than myself (or so I’ve been telling my wife repeatedly). In fact, I should also probably make it clear that my constant and consistent high pitched childlike moaning to her was a necessary side effect of my superior body expelling this extreme toxin of death. Fortunately I’m a hard man to put down and, suffice to say, Gordon’s alive.
Although nothing good came from my sickness, I did have plenty of time to consider reality, existence, the meaning of life and, more importantly, MMORPGs and one day,whilst quivering in a feverish pool of man mess, I pondered the affect of blogs on the MMO industry and whether or not they were actually any bloody good for it.
I suppose most people would immediately leap to the conclusion that of course they are beneficial but, playing devil’s advocate, there are actually plenty of negatives which stem from blogging, some which may be downright detrimental to the MMO industry. For instance, blogs can carry a lot of sway with readers and the authors opinion can be a powerful voice and I’ve often worried about being negative towards a company or product, even in the sense of doing so for critique or humour, that it may damage the life expectancy of the game. No matter how much I dislike something, I’m not sure I – or any other blogger – has the right to damage even a small percentage of a game’s success by swaying public opinion. As a reader of many blogs, this affect can clearly be seen with the new Final Fantasy MMO and my decision to stay away from it upon release, solely and entirely based upon some reviews and opinions of several blogs that I read.
And indeed the sheer amount of information thrust upon readers through blogging can be quite detrimental too. I wonder how many people have skipped dialogue and lore or bypassed entire quests because of some guide found on some blog? Or how many people have gone straight for the walkthrough or strategy tips rather than taking on that raid boss with their guild blind for the first time, as intended? These things don’t do the developers and designers the justice they deserve.
And let’s not forget that too much information can ruin some good surprises, I statement that I’m happy to make as I now know absolutely everything about Cataclysm without ever having played it once.
The benefits of blogs on the industry though can be as equally dramatic. Much like a wealth of negative reviews and opinions can kill a MMO, a spurt of strong public favorability can take a game from the unknown realm into the heights of success or even bring them back from the brink of death. The hype generated through blogs can push new games, expansions, F2P releases, patches, and even individual micro payment items. Where there is negativity to be found, there is also a huge amount of positivity and hope, the only difference being where it’s shone upon.
Likewise the wealth of information available on blogs is a double edged sword, the good side being that every minor aspect and detail of every MMO ever is available for scrutiny to aid and help any who may need it. No longer does the scrawny noob have to cower in ignorance, no longer does the min/maxer have to waste countless hours in useless experimentation, and no longer does our impatience have to be an irritation if we don’t wish it to be.
To me though, probably the most valuable aspect from blogging (which, even though this is just a whimsical discussion, probably does outweigh every negative side) are the communities that it helps generate. I’ve had countless friend requests and offers of guilds for a variety of MMO through this blog that I would never had had otherwise and there many blogs out there who dedicate themselves completely to helping new players get established. There’s certainly no negative side to that.
So what are you thoughts on this rather lovely philosophical subject? Toss your cents, weigh in, and dip your wick while I slink off and attempt to milk some more sympathy in my convalescence.