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What Would Gaarawarr Do – Redux

September 30, 2010

At some point last summer I had the grand (and utterly unoriginal) idea to do something akin to what some other bloggers at the time were doing and dissect what Mythic was doing in terms of how the game was being managed and present what I would if I were in charge in a perfect world.

I had planned on it being a series of articles and had even gone so far as to come up with a fancy name for it: What Would Gaarawarr Do.  I made an introductory post to the series and everything.  I had planned on diving headfirst into what I would do if I were in charge of Customer Service for the game in the first article (I had even done what could be said to be considerable research just for the purpose of said article) and then bounce around to such topics as Marketing, the Tome of Knowledge and the Oracle Program (aka: Core Tester program of which I’m a part) and go from there.  There was an almost endless list of possible topics as far as I was concerned (as there’s an almost endless lists of things that could be improved about the game).

Obviously, this never happened.

It wasn’t because I ran into any kind of writer’s block for the first article.  In fact, at one point I had an outline for the article which had a fairly interesting progression (in my opinion) and a list of adjustments that would have probably been well received by the player-base.  It also would have been fairly long and would have required an overly-critical look at the current CS department.

And there was the rub.

It’s not that I’m afraid to be highly critical of Mythic.  I’m not.  I have no problem outlining my issues with WAR in a logical and reasonable manner.  I do so whenever I feel my opinion on the subject might matter.  Most of the time I feel others are in a better position to judge so leave it to them.

What kept me from continuing was what I realized had just become a recurring issue for me when it came to this.  Namely, when I sit down and put myself into a highly-critical frame of mind when it comes to a game, I find I lose any and all enjoyment in playing it.  It doesn’t matter what game it is I’m looking at, if I look for problems, I find them in spades and then can’t stop thinking about them.  (That’s not the problem though.  The problem is that I’m then not allowed to go and fix them.  That’s just depressing. :p )  It’s why, despite my initial drive to start this blog being to talk in length about my thoughts when it came to game development as pertaining to the games I play, I ended up making it a guide/interview blog instead.

I realized after the first few initial posts criticizing issues I had found with some of the more recent games I had played, but mainly focusing on WAR, that I was no longer enjoying the game and was becoming overly negative in general in regards to it.  When this realization hit me, I stopped and looked for objective reasons why I wasn’t having fun anymore.  Had some aspect of gameplay changed?  Was I not able to find things to do in-game that I enjoyed?  Was I no longer playing with people I enjoyed playing games with?  Upon reviewing the answers, it had been only my outlook that had changed and not the game itself.  I had effectively killed off my ability to have fun simply by focusing on the negatives.  (There’s a lesson in there somewhere, if you can find it. I can’t.)

And thus, when I sat down to write the first WWGD article’s intro, it hit me that I was going down that same path again and instantly shelved the series until a time came when I could think of a more interesting way to reintroduce it.  One that, instead of overly-criticizing things already in existence, would instead discuss ways to enhance things in the game or coming to the game as well as possibly foster a dialogue in the community about what they would like to see in that regard.  It would also necessarily need to stick to topics I have a passion for as it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s more fun to write about things you’re interested in than things you’re not. 😉

Now is such a time.

A Twitter-based conversation with Bootae made me realize that this series was the perfect vehicle for what I wanted to talk about.  I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll see this series regularly.  In fact, I’m currently only guaranteeing that you’ll see one article in it (on Skaven!).  But hey, one is better than none in my opinion.

So, coming soon to a blog near you (this one, actually) :

What Would Gaarawar Do: The Skaven Conundrum

Until then…

Have fun!

~Gaar

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 6:28 pm

    Nice article. It really hit home for me. I have been in a rut lately, and my whole thoughts on WAR changed almost overnight. I went to liking the game again to instantly finding a million things I hate about the game.

    I still play the game, but tier 4 just pisses me off for some reason these days. I am just playing around with some twinks in tier 1.

    I was liking the game enough that I was in the process of getting an interview set up for Warhammer Online, but one day I told Carrie I just was feeling bitter again, and it was best that I didn’t do the interview.

    So what happened? I can narrow down to two things that caused it. At least I think it did. The first culprit was PAX, and the second was the slow leak of information for the RvR packs.

    At PAX I saw so many great games, and played them too. I saw all these companies with great demos. I saw so many great features coming. It just made me itch for Warhammer to do something. I just hate the either no comment, or really vague information. It just makes my mind spiral downwards, and think of all the negative things about everything.

    I think being negative isn’t always bad. What if I pointed something out that maybe a company didn’t think about, and they were able to adjust, or fix it before putting it live.

    Anyways somehow I have to get my mind back on track.

    • October 1, 2010 1:28 pm

      Well, there’s a difference between being negative and being able to provide constructive criticism. It is a fine line though. For me the difference lies in looking at something and trying to find ways to make it better as opposed to looking at something and attempting to pick out all the flaws in it. The first is something I enjoy doing and have done for years IRL and in games. The second is the beginning of the downward spiral I see so many players go down before ending up leaving whatever game they’re playing.

      When I see recognize that someone is in that spiral, that tends to be when I start telling them they need to take a break for a bit. Perspective can go a long way toward shifting one’s focus back to the right place to be able to enjoy a game again. It’s something I prescribe to myself frequently and at times just consistently force myself to play multiple games at once while limiting my focused time on WAR. I find myself in a much more constructive frame of mind when I then turn my focus back and not only do I enjoy the game more, I also tend to have more ideas on ways to make it more fun for others.

      Ironically, where PAX seemed to send you towards the downward spiral, it did the opposite for me. I saw so many interesting, yet simple, ways to make games fun that I couldn’t help but want to start conversations about what WAR would look like if some of those things were introduced. WAR has been in a constant state of improvement over the last year and a lot of that has been tied to player feedback. There’s no reason why that would stop now considering how well it has worked, so now seems like the perfect time for those conversations. Which is why I decided to bring this column back from the dead. :p

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