I know these have been out a while, but I haven’t been up to date on my TERA stuff because… I don’t care about TERA. I don’t hate it, I just am not interested. So while I heard of the eyeball-wrenching awfulness of this MMO-FO marketing campaign, I never checked it out until recently.
SERIOUSLY? This is what a major MMO studio is attempting to use to lure new players in? Oh me oh my, let us count the ways this fumbles:
1. This is our hero of the commercials, Bas Rutten, Bad Ass:
If you don’t already want to slap him silly, go back and stare at that picture for a few more seconds. It’s like the great minds behind Poochie the Dog were hired on to destroy everything that En Masse has worked toward these past couple years. It gets way, way worse once you see him acting.
Or forget me and buy the line En Masse fed the public: “When we started talking about Bas Rutten as the embodiment of our action combat system, it felt like a natural fit. Bas has a charm and intensity that only a man with lethal fighting skills can project, and that felt like the perfect match for our game.”
2. As a gamer, I guarantee that you will identify with anyone and everyone in these commercials except for Bas. Unless, of course, you’re a Dutch martial artist who looks like the stereotype of every geek-kicking jock come to life. To my knowledge, Bas is not known for his extensive experience playing MMOs or doing anything other than putting random people in headlocks and asking why they don’t stop hitting themselves.
3. What does “MMO-FO” stand for? Well, if you know your acronyms at all, you know “MMO” and probably know “FO”, so by piecing the two together, you have a marketing campaign that’s telling online RPGs to kindly depart with maximum vulgarity. Or, hey, just shorten it one M and you have another fun swear word. You know, for kids!
4. There’s a thin line between self-aggrandizing winkery and just annoying monkey poop-slinging. This reminds me of what the esteemed lawyer Wayne Jarvis said when he first saw these commercials:
5. It laughs AT its target audience, not WITH them. There’s a difference here. I’m all for tongue-in-cheek parodies and funny send-up of tropes, but this series is all about outright mocking its target demographic (RPers, LARPers, MMO gamers, fishermen) and trying to shame them into playing this game. I’m sure everyone involved in making these thought it was a hoot and would be taken in stride, but you know what? It’s kind of mean at its core, and that’s hard to ignore even if you slather jokes all over it.
6. There’s a commercial where MMO-FO guy is ripping into the current crop of MMOs as people are playing them, then hijacks their games to force them to play TERA. Everyone in the commercial goes with it, even though you see intense hatred boiling out of their eyes because he made them DC in the middle of a raid to play an upskirt fantasy title.
7. “TERA is the only game with true action combat!” Well, MMO-FO, I hate to call you a liar because you obviously know your MMOs, so… I’ll move on. But I’m sure there are no other action MMOs that have ever been released. I will take your word for that.
(I mean, c’mon. Claim that you’re going to be the best action MMO, I can respect that approach. But to deny that any other games have ever tried action combat? That’s just stupid.)
8. You’re badmouthing LOTRO. Well, that totally endears you to me. I also find it hilarious that in this commercial, he’s ripping on DCUO despite DCUO having, y’know, action combat.
9. Bas’ approach seems to be laughing at whatever games these people are playing, beating them up (because martial arts, that’s why), and then converting them to TERA. Are they marketing to bullies? Again, joke or not, why would I watch this and go, “Why yes! He does make a compelling argument! I will obey the bald gorilla and play this game!”? It doesn’t make sense.
10. Here’s what gets me most of all: I’m sure there are plenty of TERA fans who are both eagerly anticipating this game and cringing at these commercials, knowing that they’ll be lumped in with this madness in the eyes of everyone else. In other words, “He does not speak for us.” I feel bad for them.