Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Entitlement in Gaming

Eve was down over the weekend. Not CCP's fault; they were the victims of a DDOS attack by a currently unknown group. CCP also found a vulnerability that that allowed the person access to some back end functions of the server, which they confirmed had no connection to any of the personal information of players.
Many of us had an Odyssey outside on the weekend.

Soon after the website services were restored, the forums were ablaze with people doing one of two things: demanding something from CCP to compensate for the downtime, or encouraging CCP to not give the players anything (the logic being that maybe people will try to DDOS the server more often so as to get free stuff). I personally didn't care, and the additional 50,000 skill points we were eventually given were used immediately to save some time on Marketing V. But during the time I spent of the forums, I saw the word "entitlement" being thrown around a lot.

Entitlement gets thrown around an awful lot in the gaming industry, by players, developers and publishers. Unfortunately it seems to have become somewhat of a meme response when someone is complaining about anything at all in a game. But the truth is, the meaning of the word has been lost because of this usage as a derogatory term. The dictionary definition of entitlement is a guarantee that you will get benefits based on a contract or law. There is also a sense of entitlement that involves believing that you deserve a benefit without a law or principle to back your stand up.

Gamer entitlement is something that developers like to throw around a lot to describe any discontent or complaints about their game. The Mass Effect 3 ending rage showed that certain people within the industry are very disconnected from what gamers expect from developers regarding promises. When BioWare touted that their game would feature a storyline where choices the player made would influence the ending, but actually involved an A, B or C choice, they showed just how much they didn't care about what people thought. Then when players complained, they threw the "Oh you're just entitled" argument back at them.

It's not entitlement to ask for a certain level of quality from a developer in a game. If a car company released a car that was faulty from factory, it's certainly wouldn't be called entitlement to demand that it is repaired at no cost. So why is it that developers and publishers seem to think that it's fine to do this? Perhaps they are trying to lessen the backlash they get for day 1 DLC. Or maybe they simply don't like criticism of their games.

Then you come to the more prevalent type of entitlement among gamers, particularly MMO players. The entitlement where they say, "I am paying for this game, so my character or class should be buffed, the content should be easier, rewards better, etc." In my opinion, this is the type of entitlement that has slowly crept into Eve, where you will see two different players arguing completely opposite points because they play in different areas. Miners demanding that they be able to mine without fear of ganks, and gankers demanding that they be able to gank. In these cases developers have to walk a fine line. I can only imagine how hard it is to find that balance between easy and hard, with the right rewards for each.

In conclusion, if you feel that you deserve something in a game, run it through a filter first. Ask yourself exactly why you want this, and how it would affect the rest of the game. If it passes all the checks, then post/petition/email and see what others think. But posting a rage post is a good way for people like me to come and shut you down. I will always listen to a well reasoned and constructed argument and usually accept whatever they have to say, and then post constructively. Whine and rage, and most people like me will tell you where to go with your idea.

As always,

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