Nobody Likes The Popular Kid

You know what’s a setup for an unfair fight?  When you have a game that’s yet to come out attacked by an anonymous ranter who claims to have insider info, but lacks any solid credibility.  Then pile on a crowd who’s itching for an excuse to put down said game and will take any hearsay as fact, and you’ve got a mismatched brawl where the victim has both hands tied behind his back and is being savaged by an unreasonable and impatient mob.

I’m referring, of course, to a certain infamous rant that spread across the internet last week — said by a person who still has yet to provide any conclusive proof that they’re who they say they are, mind you, a person who’s taken down what little contact info they had — and was instantly picked up by most media and bloggers as indisputable fact.  This person is an EA BioWare/Mythic employee — why?  Because he says he is!  He’s saying things nobody could possibly say, unless you look at the typical rants of any forum troll.  But still!

And you know what?  He very well could be an employee of that company.  He might not be.  The important thing is that there’s absolutely no way we can verify this, but little obstacles like that are easily dismissed when there’s rumor-mongering, gossip-flinging and reputation-slandering in the air.

All we do know is that said writer is obviously discontented with the company and games (and is a terribly poor writer, may I add), and is bearing a grudge.  I don’t know about you, but when someone is sporting an emotion-backed grudge against something else, I tend to take what they say with huge piles of blood pressure-raising salt.  This is not the voice of impartial analysis, but of someone who just wants to cause trouble and see how much of a reaction he can get during his 15 minutes of internet fame.

That is what it is, but what really makes me furrow my brow in frustration is just how many internet commentators and bloggers have repeated what he’s said in this post not as questionable information or anger-laced rantings, but as indisputable proof, especially against Star Wars: The Old Republic.

We see this sort of thing all the time in the political sphere (oh yes, I’m bringing politics into this post, muahahaha).  The crowd really dislikes POLITICAL FIGURE or POLITICAL PARTY, and due to that bias, eagerly latches on to any scandal or rumor or hearsay against that person or party way before the truth comes out.  Who needs the truth?  Tom Cruise?  The mob?  Nay, it’s more fun just to ride the waves of argument-twisting fantasies.

Star Wars: The Old Republic may or may not be a good game, and may or may not be a financial success, and may or may not become a heavy-hitter in the MMO field come next year.  We simply don’t know.  People may predict such events with the certainty of prophets of yore, but you know what?  They don’t know.  EA Louse, he doesn’t know, he’s just acting like a toddler thrashing about trying to do as much damage during a temper tantrum before he’s put away.  Me?  I don’t know either.  The game felt good to me during my time with the demo, I think the IP and dev company are major points in its favor, and I see EA betting a lot on this being a big success.  Past that, I don’t know.  And it’s okay for me not to know.

Although I like discussing and speculating on upcoming games as much as anyone else, there’s a line that frustrates me to see crossed, and that’s when the voices of doom (or success) start trumpeting their position as if they actually know and it’s just a matter of time before they’re proven right.  Sometimes it almost seems like all they’re doing is setting themselves up for a potential “I told you so” because that will make them feel more important.

If TOR comes out and bombs, then the “I told you so’s” will be crowing about.  If it releases and does at least reasonably well, then expect none of the advance slander to be recanted — people will always find something else to be upset about.  But it might be the worst thing if TOR hits the stratosphere, because nobody likes the popular kid — and they’ll all be waiting in line for their punches.

Except, of course, everyone else who could care less about the meta-discussion and simply wants to experience the game as it is, and not as how they’re told it should be.   You know, 90% of the players (statistics void in Nevada).

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19 thoughts on “Nobody Likes The Popular Kid

  1. In this age of the internet, I don’t think it’s possible for the person that posted it *not* to get found out. It’s only a matter of time before we know exactly who it is and where they are coming from.

  2. That episode really aggravated me. It’s like as soon as they open their browsers about 50% of gamers lose the ability to think for themselves, or something.

    I was happy a few sites did parodies; maybe they’ll give some of these “I believe it cuz it was on the internet” types a reason to stop and think critically for a moment…. but I doubt it.

  3. I learned early on not to trust what I read on the net to be the bare truth unless I can find the same information in a couple of different sources. I only see this person and since there’s no actual person put behind it, why believe it. Chances are this is just going to turn out to be the same as that Paladin blog about a year ago that everyone turned on like sharks in a feeding frenzy as soon as it came to light that they weren’t who they said they were.

    All I can say is how lucky are the ignorant, that they might truly enjoy the game.

    Oh and epic “muahahaha” by the way, there’s never enough of those in blogs.

  4. I grew up in the MMO scene from Everquest. After the way SOE milked me and everyone else for all of our cash, I grew to learn not to trust ANY game company.

    Now, I play these games until the game becomes old and I need to fond something new or the company heads in the directions of SOE…/looking at Blizzard….

  5. I agree in a sense. When Louse posted I thought “lol, what a joke. This is fake.” No one seems to be pointing out the fact that anyone could make it up, since there’s actually nothing new there at all. I wonder if I could Activision…House? I’d be an internet sensation telling everyone how WoW is being destroyed from within!

  6. “..the victim has both hands tied behind his back and is being savaged by an unreasonable and impatient mob.”

    Hang on, are you suggesting that there isn’t an equally unreasonable mob leaping vigorously to the victim’s defense? Because every discussion I’ve seen has been a fair fight, mob vs. mob, with of course neither the detractors nor the defenders having any genuine basis for their arguments beyond blind faith.

  7. the thing that really annoyed me was the $300 million number. Nobody questioned it. For all intents and purposes the budget for TOR is now 300 million.

    Ridiculous.

  8. Pingback: Picture Points: What’d I Miss? « MMO Gamer Chick

  9. I don’t think you can blame him about TOR. The TOR quote felt like a throwaway. His main beef is with the WAR people, yet for some very odd reason everyone overreacted on the TOR quote.

    The amount of reaction is what staggers me. Like you said, nothing really is new about it, and it’s not just MMOs. In almost any business of that size you have similar complaints. A lot of the more rational comments were people agreeing with how the business is.

    Yet that one quote hijacked the discussion. That might mean a lot of people have invested way too much hope into TOR for various reasons. It’s not a good thing, because it’s setting people up for a big fall later on.

  10. Syp wrote inpart:

    “And you know what? He very well could be an employee of that company. He might not be. The important thing is that there’s absolutely no way we can verify this, but little obstacles like that are easily dismissed when there’s rumor-mongering, gossip-flinging and reputation-slandering in the air.”

    Well…there is this; EA Louse claimed in part:

    “I found out recently that I will be dismissed from Bioware Mythic during the next round of layoffs EA coming this November.”

    That maybe the only evidence he has provided us that he works for EA. Being that if there are indeed layoffs next month then, then nobody outside the company would be privy to that information….so the arguement goes.

    But 3 things come to my mind though:

    1) Does an employer let you know about your inpending layoff with such an advace noticed? Wouldn’t the employer be afraid you may “spill the beans” on them, causing them embarrassing and irreputable harm? Seems pretty stupid of EA to practise that, doesn’t it?

    2) It yes to that question, then it would of helped EA Louse’s case if he provided his blog with the exact date of his termination. Then the public can verify with any layoffs at EA that corresponds to that time.

    3) If there is no exact date then, it’s likely a coincidence at best if there is actual layoffs at EA this Novemeber.

    My position? I think EA Louse whole claim is most likely a big fat hoax. As Dril eluded to above…this guy (or gal) could of easily pulled this stunt with Activision Blizzard. In fact anyone could do this with half a brain and some rudimentary internet savy. Just saying…

  11. @ Carson – Oh, I’m sure there is. What I’m asking for is a measure of reason and benefit of the doubt until a game can launch to either prove itself or not. But this past week, TOR specifically — as well as Mythic/WAR — have not been able to return fire. I haven’t seen anyone go, “Maybe TOR is really awesome and this guy is full of it” — just a lot of “Maybe this is all true HMMM” or “This proves me right — TOR sucks!” But your point is taken.

  12. Carson – I haven’t bothered to follow all this, but is it really equally balanced?

    On one side you have the general implausibility of the whole thing. You have him directly contradicted on at least one major element of his story by Sanya (who is generally trusted and well-respected). You have a bunch of name dropping, but it’s all top-level names – Barnett, Jacobs, etc. The names everyone would know. No mid-level managers, co-workers, nobody on the TOR team. Come on, you’re going to launch off on an “I’m getting laid off” rant and not include at least one “I’m getting laid off but this lazy loser isn’t!” comment? No griped about dealing with GW approval process – anyone who’s followed any GW-related computer game knows how harsh they are with the artists and staying true to their canon, hard to believe not a single word directed at them. And to top it all off he laid it on thick about how much he though WAR needed dance emotes, and how stupid management was for not putting them in. I think that was a bit overplayed.

    And for those who want to believe him, there’s… what? Again, really haven’t been following this, but has anyone surfaced ANY actual, real evidence to counter the massive amount of “Okay, come on now…”?

    The only reason this is a story AT ALL is because it gave voice to a bunch of rabid disgruntled gamers who love the idea of an “insider” vindicating their views. Could he be for real? I suppose, but most reasonable analysis comes down against it. That’s a lot more than blind faith.

  13. Onus is of proof is on the person making the claim. Not on us to believe this person. Until EA Louse is able prove who he says he is, then I presume he’s likey just another disgruntled former Warhammer player with an axe to grind.

  14. granted, we can write an entry when it comes out mocking the people that trolled TOR, it would be futile as they’d find some flaw about the game ;)

  15. That’s the thing about expectations – you usually find a way for the world to meet them. The people who go in thinking it’s going to suck will probably find that – surprise! – they think it sucks after the first few hours of actual gameplay.

    @Utakata: I personally wouldn’t go so far as to say he has to prove who he says he is. I am sensitive to his concern for anonymity. But something – honestly, ANYTHING – to establish credibility is a must. That’s the thing that baffles me about this whole incident. It’s beyond, as Syp says, that we can’t verify what he says – it’s that there is, literally, NO actual support for any of it beyond what you pour into it.

    It’s like a Rorschach blot for the entire gaming community. And as happens too often lately, I’m deeply disappointed with the community’s response to it.

  16. Because nay-sayers will always grasp any “evidence” that supports their opinion and flaunt it about as fact to prop up their arguments. So all the PvE-themepark-story-StarWars haters claim this is clearly proof, while the neutrals and fans scratch their heads going “who the f*** is this guy?” This is the MMO blog equivalent of Rush Limbaugh here :P

    Not that fanbois are any different, they just latch onto any positive “evidence” as proof instead :P

  17. Maybe I should of rephrased that, Buhallin. Because that made me wonder too….especially in light of EA Louse needing to keep his/her secret for obvious reason if he where legit. This was silly of me.

    Again, I’ll refer bact to where I susggest EA Louse posting the extact date of his termination on his blog, to see if it corresponds to any layoffs at EA around that time. The specific date would lower the probability of it being a coincidence. And give credibility to EA Louse because he’s privy to infomation that the gaming public does not know about.

    I am sure there are other things he can do to give legitimacy to his claims without identifying himslef.

  18. The internet loves drama. And EA Louse sure brings it. Which is cool.

    Come on, let loose the dark side.

    I stopped following news about TOR a while ago. I just can’t take being hyped about little or nothing anymore.

    But I’ll be honest with you. Deep down inside, I’m kinda hoping TOR fails … epic scale. I know I know, that’s a bad thing to wish for, but like I said, listen to your inner dark side.

    Wouldn’t it be grand for EA to fail twice?

    Maybe it won’t, maybe it will. We don’t know. But we can sure wish … even if it’s an evil wish ;-)

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