Friday, June 21, 2013's not just for dinner

     I seriously want to say one thing first before going ahead with this post.Nothing I say here is based on hard cold facts or anything gleamed from official sources.Call it conspiracy theory, tinfoil hat speculation, or simply insanity but when these seemingly random things pull together it looks like something so valid and wrong it had to be brought up.
OK so we all in the Wildstar community know how above and beyond Carbine Devs and others employed 
to work on Wildstar have interacted and such. This part is old news and there's plenty of more quality articles on that online. So the thing I wanna discuss is the fact that it has become a very increasing situation running across the Internet and bouncing off various MMO companies in recent weeks of something possibly (theory remember)scaring them. I'm not going to sit here and say "You so scared of Wildstar and Carbine!) No...well not directly that is.
    Lets go back a few weeks to Guildwars 2. Those unaware of this game it's from Arenanet and it 
is a very fine game with bits of issues but it can be fun,now they've never been interactive really, at beta they tried but after launch outside of a couple dev diary videos and a post occasionally all REAL interacting stopped. This is standard I'm sure but should it be? That would be the end of that BUT this few weeks back business showed a strange thing, things in a lull from people a bit wore out of WvW and farming for whatever they were farming and out of the kindness of their hearts suddenly content updates went from 1 month apart to 2 weeks. Nice huh? Sure it's nice even if odd and a bit suspicious...I'll touch more on that later.
     Most of the other camps, basically the lower level MMO's stayed the same but suddenly in about a week's time both Tera and The Secret World went free to play, there was speculation on the why's and woes of such a thing but nothing was accurately detailed, they fairly have faded off to their fans and such and that's fine if it was for the right reasons.
     About this time there was tons of odd posts on facebook, twitter, and forums from various MMO's
making it sound like they were interested in players feedback, not just the typical "We'll tell you what we're doing with little feedback." stuff but occasional if not hollow answers. This part is intentionally vague because as long as this post will be if I started naming every single evidence of this I'd be here all day. Suffice it to say in some cases these games around from 1 to 8 years began "acting" like they were not the same people as had been around.
     So you say well this is a good thing for those communities. I'm not pointing fingers and saying "Bad guy" but I do question if the motivation behind these things are Altruistic or marketing, PR/HP, and simply bad practices to give a false sense of security for their players. Go ahead another few weeks and Rift went Free to Play with the stance "This is what our players wanted." Um...Bravo? Now I'm not going to say I'm some super awesome reporter and I can't say I've asked ALOT but on my server and a couple others I checked out the buzz the week before Free to play were loudly against it or indifferent. Was the community loudly chanting FREE TO PLAY! FREE TO PLAY!...? The company behind Rift is Trion and while they may be a tad....just a tad more interactive, leading up to F2P suddenly their twitch channel became over active with footage and shows where a random Dev (who I had no clue was to be honest) would pop in and give vague info. 
     MMO's suddenly began apologizing for maintenance and login /connection issues...for a free game in beta! Three times I witnessed betas and full games have some way too long issues then suddenly you have some prize in the in-game mail 'for your trouble.' One tip I can give is Beta will be filled with issues as will new launched games and even some long standing games so it should NOT be expected to receive some sorta i'm sorry prize, it's technically a polite gesture but it just suddenly began being the chic thing to do.
     Perhaps another thing to slightly add to this is beta access, I do not have an issue with companies trying to fill their beta servers but this too started a weird "Let all in" or we're giving out WAY too many keys wherever so sure it's exposure to the right crowd but the wrong as well, having restrictions on how and how many makes for a more stable and pleasant beta test where things are actually tested and not full of trolls and critics. Finally this last part will in no part surprise a way to wrap this up. Most who know me are aware I was a long time Warcraft player, if your seriously unaware of the game World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment is the Largest MMO out there, in size perhaps and subs somewhere at 8 million.
     Warcraft fits into this whole weird situation stemming a few months back perfectly. In a short history lesson WoW has notoriously been known to release patches/ expansions/ or new features very close to the launch of other games. It's a good business practice business, now in let's call it Public relations, not so much. So why is that relevant? Well I was pretty active in the "community" for 5 years and outside of forum moderation type posts or the occasional event they attended it's safe to say the devs didn't act like they cared or at least showed they cared I should say, so what you may ask has the big B been up to in the last couple months?
     For one it all started small, devs who barely tweeted or facebook posted beyond cliff notes of patches began answering direct questions, or deflecting them sometimes. Some did make comments on their own but it wasn't active still. Then some interviews happened, after 8 years they get on cam via satellite or whatever and actually answered a few things. Then an interesting move was made a long time "internet" personality was hired as a cm, this is fine and I don't dispute he deserves it I'm finding its a small cog but a cog in timing perhaps. After this things blew up in a cacophony of ama's interviews stories maybe a little more telling then usual.
     Blizzard after 8 years seemingly was restructuring policies or standards or making it look like that for some reason?E3 was looming and rumors of Diablo 3 going console was Mentioned and then suddenly a long long rumored new project of theirs codenamed Titan to be released this year was pushed back. Some say scraped and it was pushed 3 years to 2016 but scraped, you decide. Now this is factoring into  what all I'm trying to point at, in Titan I personally believe there were other factors as well not only  TESO (The elder scrolls online) but a console MMO called Destiny from Bungie  also release later this year and is a Shooter sci-fi MMO. If it fits in with the rest and there's that and Blizzard felt it was not as good at Destiny or too similar it explains that. 
     E3...beyond the Bull x-box and Ps4 stuff was the announcement of yes Diablo on console with other unannounced Blizzard projects tied to console. On  a side note but minor fitting in with this situation TESO went multi platform and pushed it's release until Spring 2014 which is telling as well. Finally 2 more things in recent weeks with Blizzard are what made me finally recall all this and theorize a bit. After Blizzard's new acquire got started  something funny happened, the cm's (somewhat instigated) began tweeting things back and forth..alot..a really lot. They tweet cutesy things and seem generally light hearted compared to 8 years of bare bones structured posts. The final thing and I'm sure EVERYONE seen it was the recent Jimmy Fallon We are the world of warcraft video where "special" individuals were selected from around the world,in some cases maybe less random then you'd think but even the cm's were involved and sprinkle in a couple pseudo celebrities(who may play or not who knows) and they sang about it being their community and they're in it together and whatever.
     This video and all the other items I've compiled leads to one of two things, on the happy go lucky path of good and happy things these companies all suddenly in a tiny amount of time totally came out of a fog and decided "This isn't right we need to do whats right for the players of our games." Then we have a darker path, one where business as usual means exactly that. I surmise all of this, every single one has either been boldly and directly influenced or indirectly and subconsciously driven from one single reason, one reason we all know and love, and that one reason in the sense that literally "The Devs are listening" That's never been a joke tagline or something for a chuckle, it's a way of life for these guys at Carbine, at no time do any of them make us feel stupid, lower, or like all we are to them are consumers. This community is so getting tight knit this early and more so everyday and then you have the devs tweeting all the time, joining in podcasts in new sites, giving exclusive interviews, personal messages about community members kids or issues going on, a composer that(and ive never seen or heard from a MMO composer at all) is allowed and does show music early and hangs out with everyone and just chit chats, top that with solid campaign slogans, having community dinners, and just being Darn fine human beings,yes I said human beings because to me they are fine people that happen to be working on a fun game for us to play, they involve people in jokes and rp type scenarios and they truly do "listen". 
     To wrap up (finally and I apologize for the length) once again this is speculation at best. I just reiterate that these things all these MMO companies have done are unusual practices, after being one way for years and years and never budging to suddenly change all kinds of things at the same time when they could easily see what was happening in the Wildstar Community points to this answer over and over that all of these games know something is different here. It's not a sleepy dulled senses group of the same old complacent players. We are pulling together and getting actual help from Carbine to be cohesive  and make this game and the people who play it the most we can get out of it. Would I be intimidated on the outside looking in? Sure I would! In the end if they are pulling things from a magic hat it's still smoke and mirrors and not because they care. They care that Wildstar is a big deal and getting bigger every day, they care that others will hear about Carbine's closeness to the players and eventually maybe find real community is what they want and deserve. So yes its alot of stretching all over but what do you think? Hope you enjoyed my rambling and  found some interest in it, take care and see you on Nexus everyone!      

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