The Unchanging Player

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is the ideal we all want. Either consciously or subconsciously we do not want things to change. It's a fundamental part of human nature. So, when I see posts such as this one, while it's intelligent, to the point, and non-agressive, I still have to question whether or not it represents the "truth" of the situation. It seems inevitable that these sort of posts show up when any change is on the horizon. And the size and scope of the change is directly proportional to the number and "volume" of the outcry.

I'm not dismissing this poster's argument, by any means. Heck, I don't even play a minstrel, nor have played in the beta, so I wouldn't know. But experience tells me exactly what I laid out above - people will complain about changes. Certainly there are times when those complaints have an aspect of legitimacy. This one might very well incorporate some of that. Or even all of that. However, I've come to learn my own opinion is the most accurate. For me. And that's what can be frustrating about using a forum environment for scoping out a game update. Number one, if you don't have an experienced-based opinion yet, you don't have all the facts. Regardless of how many "facts" are posted. Secondly, it's not your own opinion, and when has anybody else's opinion every exactly matched your own? Point for point. In its entirety. The meaning of life sort of scope.

So, everytime I read posts like this, I have to remind myself - wait until you've experienced the game. Then, I move onto the next few questions...

Does this change accomplish the goal it set out to? There's always a goal the developers have with changes. And rarely do you ever not know what that goal is when that change goes live. So you can indeed objectively determine if the changes accomplish that goal, regardless if you "like" the changes.

Is there "unintended consequences"? Nearly every change, be it in a game world or in real life, will affect something other than what it is supposed to affect. Frequently, these are indirect waves that shuffle down through systems. One class's gameplay change could affect how another class reacts when they play together.

Are these changes, unintended or not, limiting my ability to effectively play the game? Now, here's where subjectivity comes in. How do you define "limiting" and "effectiveness"? I would take each goal, accomplishment, etc in the game and compare if I can complete that within the set parameters. For example, does the change eliminate my ability to solo through content designed to be soloable? Or does the change eliminte my ability to power through group content that was meant to be more difficult than it is for my class? A little subjectivity, a litte objectivity.

The point is to keep an open mind, and in that open mind, go through these questions. Certainly the changes might not inhibit effective gameplay, but maybe you prefer to play the old way anyway. That's fine, that's your opinion, and you might even act on those preferences (like leaving the game). At this point, I hope one is intelligent enough to attribute their actions first to personal preference rather than changes in the gameplay (albeit these have a factor in that decision).

Or the changes really might be a big pile of auroch's crap. In that case, raise your pitchforks and storm the castle.

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