Gone fishing

I’m sick of being sequentially disappointed by MMO companies. From Funcom’s “Surprise, there’s no content past 20!” to Warhammer’s broken RvR and feeble PvE to Aion’s bizarre beta system and now to Cryptic’s “Did we say Sept 1? We mean until we decide to arbitrarily pull the plug.” to the issue going down between Atari and Turbine.

Not many of these companies really deserve our money these days. Not long ago I joined Syp in proclaiming with pride that I’m a Day 1 MMO player. I see now that by being that kind of player, I’m working to encourage these bad business practices. Half finished games, sketchy policies and a general contempt for the customer — these are the behaviors that get rewarded by our slavish devotion to getting in on the next big thing ASAP.

And I’m personally sick of most bloggers, too. There are a few really top notch blogs out there, but most of them (including this one!) are just soapboxes for whomever is writing them. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. I’m just sick of devoting my time to reading them. Or less venomously, I don’t feel like my life is enriched in any way by reading them, and that there are more productive ways I can put my time to use.

And many bloggers are pompous, pig-headed and arrogant. I’m sure they don’t see themselves that way. And I’m sure they DO see ME that way. Again, I’m not setting myself apart by saying I’m in any way better than the rest. Most of us are just tooting our own horns out here and I’m worst of the bunch in a lot of ways. Much too often I find that I feel ashamed of how steadfastly I’ve clung to a position I’ve taken, without being willing to be gracious enough to accept there’s another way of looking at things.

On the other hand, I’ve found that many bloggers seize on any concession as a point of weakness and just press harder. Whomever backs down in the slightest from their point of view loses.

Surf around and look at some blogs, and particularly the comments. What draws comments? Controversy. Arguing. Bickering. The Blog-scape has become like one giant gaming forum with everyone shouting as loud as they can and no one really listening to what anyone else is saying. Sure, we’ll read a post and riff on it to move forward our own agenda on the topic at hand, but there’s very, very little honest, open-minded dialog going on. No one ever convinces anyone else of anything. We have our opinions, our opinions are the only right ones, and anyone with a differing opinion is just someone to be shouted down, in the form of leaving more comments than the other guy can.

It’s pointless. It’s destructive. And I’m done with it.

I’m shutting down Dragonchasers, temporarily at least. Until I can come back refreshed and recharged. And I’m culling my RSS feed to a bare minimum. There are bloggers out there who I consider friends, and them I’ll keep reading, just because I want to keep in touch with them in some way. And there are bloggers out there who are just smart, talented writers, and I’ll read them from time to time just because reading them *does* enrich my life.

But beyond that, I’m going to try to reroute all the time I spend reading blogs and bickering in comments and worrying about what the next half-finished game to launch will be, into some more productive activity. Something I can feel good about at the end of the day. Even if that something is as simple as spending time talking to loved ones, or taking a walk under the stars.

So to the friends I’ve made, I say “Thank you for being such awesome people.” And to everyone else, so long for now. Try to be nicer to each other. Try to really listen to what the next guy is saying, and open yourself to the possibility that we all don’t see things the same way, and just maybe you can learn something from the person on the other side of your next debate.

26 thoughts on “Gone fishing

  1. Some of this mirrors my own reasons to leave the blogging world, at least in part. There was just too much negativity and arrogance to deal with. My blog tended to be a pretty peaceful place, but the comments and posts on others’ really started to get to me. For a community that likes to pretend it’s incredibly friendly (linking, blogrolls, etc.), the blogging environment is actually pretty nasty. The rare exceptions know who they are.

  2. sorry to see you go, just found your blog and really liked what I was reading.

  3. Miss you already *hugs*

    Started writing out a reply to this post, but I can’t do it without having it turn out like a novel. I just wanted to let you know I understand.

  4. Ahh Pete, I’m sorry to hear that.

    I reckon I discovered your blog about the time I started running with the CoWs, and since that time it’s been a regular read in my feed reader. Even if I’ve been too busy to read everything and have just marked a bunch ‘as read’ I’ve taken the time to read what you’ve had to say.

    Sometimes it’s important to take a break and do something different, even if it’s just fishing — doesn’t work for me, the fish seem to sense when I’m coming and head to the other fishermen — but I do hope I’ll see you back again.

    Take care.

  5. I hear ye, mate. I’m pretty tired of it all… which is why I’m plotting a transition to write more about board and card game design, as well as plain old art. I have an itch to write and get ideas out there (at least until I turn my writing itch to the novels I keep meaning to write), but I’ve laid my cards on the table regarding MMOs, and there’s little value in repeating myself to an unsympathetic or uninterested audience.

    So, good luck with whatever you get into. We’ve had some fun conversations. (And if I’ve given offense at one point or another, know that I didn’t mean to.)

    Just… if you *do* catch a dragon, be sure to grab it by the end that hurts less. (It depends on the dragon.)

  6. Don’t argue through blogging….it is pointless you are right. If a topic comes up that everyone types about…ignore it.

    We are seeing several things get rehashed in gaming blogging…so it is best to just write about your own adventures and leave the speculating to others. If Cryptic made you made, post it and forget it.

    But honestly no MMO right now is worth getting this mad about, but I understand your frustration trust me.

  7. I’ll miss ya Pete, I have enjoyed reading your blog since I found it. I almost feel like I know you a little bit. Take care of yourself, we’ll be here when you come back!!

  8. Sorry you feel the way you do, but it’s understandable. I use to be the gotta be in day 1, but after all the fail MMO’s the past couple years (IMHO), I’m going to give them a few months or so to work out the kinks.

    As for bloggers…. mine is definitely non confrontational and of little use to anyone but me. I like it that way. I’m not a pundit or industry maker/shaker and that is just fine. I like what you write and have been reading for a long time. Hope you’ll come back.

    Good luck, enjoy your break – hope you’re not leaving the Twitter world too! Take care.

  9. It’s amazing how much this reflects what I feel from time to time but never dare to blog. Just know you’re on my twitter and rss! And I will await your return. Or chat to you there.

  10. I’m new to the blogging world. I just started my own last October. And I’ve only really been reading them since late 2006. I guess I’ve been fortunate to not really run into the arrogant bunch, at least in the niche I’ve found myself. There’s a fundamental truth about human nature in here somewhere, and I’m going to severely generalize and butcher it, but it should be noted that forums for which only opinion is voiced tend to become populated by much inane yelling.

    I think the outsider looking into the blogosphere misses much of that, but we bloggers need to know that we will inevitably deal with idiocy and immaturity – sometimes daily and even hourly. The semi-anonymity of internet gives little incentive to replicate the general civility of face-to-face interaction. So the human nature I just mentioned takes over. This is by no means your fault either, just the way things tend to be.

    As to the state of the industry, I’m not connected enough to comment intelligibly. I hear my news tangentially for the most part, due to my finances keeping me to one MMO and little new game purchases. But I think MMOs are at a crossroads. With the success of WoW, everybody’s development team went to work on replicating the success with the same formula. Instead of getting a bunch of Dr. Peppers, we’re left with the off brands from the Safeways and Albertsons of the MMO space. That’s not to say the soda isn’t well made, but it just doesn’t taste quite right. We’re seeing the fruits of those plans post WoW come to harvest and they’re not living up, in one way or another. Ultima Online and Everquest were the big players in the MMO infancy. WoW is the 800 lb teenager. We’re getting lots of siblings but nobody has grown up yet. And just we largely couldn’t see the change between Ultima and WoW before those changes happened, we can’t see the change between WoW and the next state in the MMO life. We’re awkwardly blundering around in the dark, tripping over our own feet to grow up. I don’t blame anybody for wanting to take a break from it all.

    Good luck with whatever pursuit finds you. I hope to see you back some day.

  11. I’ll miss reading DC. But I do hear where you’re coming from. I don’t often leave blog-comments these days as it usually feels like I’m just “feeding the Energy Creature” as they used to say back when “social network” meant “EZBoard forum”.

  12. No problem, Pete. There are certainly a thousand things more productive than blogging, and I hope you find one you enjoy.

  13. You should know and probably already read the many blogs lamenting the loss of some great bloggers. Especially two that I personally like to read a lot quit yesterday. You are one of them. I blamed the weather and some other reasons for their burnout and I hope you and openedge return to blogging when you feel ready for it again.

    I will not stop bothering you with LOTRO related questions on Twitter! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Eww… Too sad to read this, and even though Hud’s post came first in my reader, I didn’t make the connection (or believe what he wrote) before reading this post in full.

    A step away once in a while is refreshing, and most of the time it gives a fresh start to something more interesting. I hope to see you comment at least from time to time and sure as hell I hope you return with your reviews and great remarks on the business. Soon, that is!

    Laters! Take care!

  15. I just discovered this blog, and I’m sorry to see yours fall by the wayside.

    But I definitely understand where you’re coming from; things get really nasty. If it makes you feel any better (probably not, heh), this isn’t a gaming thing or even a blogging thing. Believe me, I know — I’m a journalist, and I’m continually dismayed and (on some days) horrified by what gets posted in online comments on our site. And I get PAID to do this. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I’ve really enjoyed your blog. You will be missed, but enjoy the step away from the nastiness.

  16. Although fo some strange reason I don’t have Dragonchasers in my google reader, I always read through your posts on a bi-daily basis.

    From first hand experience, I know how good it is to take a break from writing…

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  18. Sorry to see you stop blogging, yours is one of the ones I read regularly, and even comment on. Come back when you’re no longer burnt-out ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. That’s unfortunate to hear, especially as I’m a recent convert to your posts. But – breaks are necessary and needed even when writing, so come back when you’re feeling into the practice again.

    Re: your comment about drawing comments through controversy and arguing – most definitely true, if for nothing else the fact that one group of people will be sorely tempted to shout down another group of people bent on doing the same. That’s at least 3 comments per post, boiled down to “you suck”, “no YOU suck”, “no YOU suck more”.

    The little blog I run is actually those blogs’ antithesis, but as a result drives less traffic. But that’s fine. There’s a lot of bad on the internet, but plenty of good if you know to find it and keep it close to you.

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