“Try not to judge until you’ve read it all. It’s definitely going to make a few of you think about wearing a troll costume, but if so, please keep in mind that this is just an idea. It’s a discussion. That’s all. I am serious that I’m asking for feedback.”
I don’t think there’s anything quite as disquieting in the online world as when a developer of one of your favorite MMOs starts publicly speculating about making massive changes in the game. Dismissing for a moment what the topic is about, it’s not a lead developer’s job to solicit direct feedback from the playerbase in the form of a “Hey guys, what if we just turned the game upside down?” hypothetical question.
Is there any wonder why a lot of the discussion around this proposed instant-max level EQ2 character freaking people out? When you read Dave Georgeson’s post, it almost comes off like he’s directly needling his own community: “I know this is going to rankle a lot of people — but hear me out! What if!”
It’s even better when this comes from a company with a rich history that boasts one of the worst mid-stream MMO course corrections ever made. Because now SOE players know that these whimsical musings could indeed be made reality, so it’s no longer a discussion so much as people being freaked out for no good reason.
Players like stability; players freak at instability. This is not Georgeson projecting stability.
Was there anything beneficial that Georgeson thought might come out of this discussion? Did he think people would be all sorts of cool with suggesting such a radical change in a game’s design? It doesn’t even matter as much to me about the specifics of this issues so much as how inappropriate it comes off for Georgeson to post this — and the tone of his post as well. That’s why you have marketing, polls, people in lesser positions feeling things out. People tend to take what the big cheese says as iron-clad law, and if Georgeson doesn’t know this, then he’s got no business in MMOs.
I’m all for level-headed discussion, but a lead developer saying outright in the post that it’s going to upset people just to mention this, but if you’re really a cool kid, you’ll get over it? Huh. Well, no, sometimes it’s appropriate to be unsettled, even if you’re told you’re “putting on your troll outfit” for having a strong adverse reaction.