I have an unflattering nickname amongst my real life friends, and that nickname is “Donkey”. It was inspired by my stubbornness and independent streak, and is usually found in the phrase “Nobody tells Donkey what to do!”. And lord, some of the pro-Guild Wars 2 folks I’ve encountered over the past week are making me feel particularly donkey-ish. It’s unusual for me to be contradictory to popular opinion — my tastes are often easy to please, I guess — but I’m starting to feel like me and some of the other people who are still unsure about the game should develop a secret handshake or something.
Enjoying or not enjoying a game is a personal decision. Heck, even that is being too restrictive and binary: most people just fall somewhere on the enjoyment scale. My reasons for not enjoying the game belong to me, and I don’t claim to know or agree with why anyone else might not be enjoying the game. A game that is too punishing for you might be good old school fun for me. A game that has endless opportunity might feel like freedom to one player and crippling overwhelming choice to another.
The best we can do is play a game, read a few things, have a think, and throw in a dash of emotional response. How I approach that conundrum will change based on what I’ve played previously, what I’ve read about the game, even just what I’ve absorbed from fellow bloggers about MMOs in general. It is very conceivable for everyone to come away with a different genuine response.
I’ve been watching negative or unsure forum posts and blog entries (by people who are not me) be swarmed by angry fan bees everywhere this week. Some dude on Massively is even unironically yelling at naysayers by calling the game “MMO Jesus”! My (unwanted) advice is for Guild Wars 2 defenders to not tell people they’re just playing wrong, or haven’t played enough (of a game in limited beta no less), or accuse them of “not trying” or being that most horrible of creatures, a “WoW fan”. Stop speaking in the imperative about a personal, subjective matter. Shouting, “No you’re just wrong this game is awesome!” does not actually make anyone wrong or the game more awesome.
Remember during the launch of SWTOR when I wrote a post to the hater crowd, telling them to mellow out and let people enjoy the damn game if they wanted to? I feel like we’ve gone through the looking glass here. Mellow out and let people not like Guild Wars 2 if they in fact don’t. The more you tell me how the game is really awesome and I am just too stupid or illogical to realize it, the more Donkey will never ever play it in a million years.