To those that don't play MMORPGs this will make little sense. You are warned.
I get email updates of slownewsday.net. I usually read them and then hit delete. There is a link to the discussion thread, but I rarely read it. Slownewsday.net used to be the The Rantings of Lum the Mad. Since Lum stopped playing UO and eventually left the site, I didn't find a lot of interest in the topics. It wasn't bad, it was just different.
Today I saw a story about Dark Age of Camelot by Roark. I read it and felt he was full of shit. I clicked the link and posted a three line rebuttal and minor flame. When the thread updated, I saw that a full scale riot had broken out.
There were harsh words and personal attacks by the writers, the readers, game developers, former Lum writers and even the main man, Lum himself.
It morphed from flames on Roark's post to a general slagfest about the state of the slownewsday site in general. The schism between the old guard and the new guard was obvious.
It was nasty. It was harsh. It was hurtful. And I couldn't stop reading it.
Like a multi-car pileup on the information superhighway, I had to slow down and watch. Personality after personality, known only within the otaku MMORPG circles laid down post after post. Lots of colored names if you know what I mean.
Soon enough saner heads prevailed on the site and there was attempt to bring people back together. Like making up after the schoolyard fight, people begrudgingly shook hands and walked away.
But the damage was done. People know what was said. It stung. It won't be forgotten. The wound may heal, but the scar will remain.
I was a long time reader of Lum's rants. I remember the post on Dr. TwisTer's that shined a light on Lum's page for the first time. IIRC, it was on the webtoys server Lum's owned for something completely different. Through server move after server move, I followed. I even had a link about me on the front page.
But it's not the same anymore.
Why is it different now? Actually it's simple. Eldin is stating the new goals on the front page ala Citizen Kane about wanting to 'serve the gamers and the gaming community'. In all due respect, he's full of shit. I'm sure he means well, but he's wrong.
What gave Lum that edge and difference was that it was about having fun. Pure and simple. Fuck with the game like a GM creating lewt and selling it on eBay, you fucked with Lum's fun.
I remember the excitement we felt as OSI announced Siege Perilous. Like kids before Christmas we couldn't wait to begin. You could feel the pride Lum felt when his guild produced the first GM Smith on Siege. It wasn't about community. It wasn't about making games better. It was about having fun.
Like friends sharing a beer and talking over the gossip at work, Lum's was about reveling in our shared addiction to online gaming and enjoying the company for people who knew what you were feeling.
After four years, my wife still has little clue about why I play computer games at night. I can't share my achievements with her. She doesn't get it. She loves me, but she will never understand the satisfaction I felt upon killing the GEAR-using sploit monkies in-game and posting screenshots about it. People at Lum's and Battlevortex got it. They shared the passion. They laughed at my jokes.
Somehow at Lum's/Slownewsday they lost the concept of having fun. They got wrapped up in being journalists. They cared about having an impact on the game's design. They wanted to be treated seriously. They wanted people to behave. This is where today's meltdown came from.
Eldin, Roark, and the current crew are smart cookies. They can do great job with slownewsday, even after today. But I fear they are on the wrong path.
If Eldin wants slownewsday to succeed, the path is simple.
Here's my advice:
Get back to enjoying games. Have fun.
Write about that. Write about what's cool, not about what's wrong. The rest will follow.
Rant when you really feel the passion to, not because it's expected that you do.
Don't try so hard. Try to share your passion about playing, not your anger. Sure there's going to be 'they screwed up!' stories to write, but they shouldn't be all you write.
Drop the 'serving the community' idealism. Let's stratics and warcry do that.
You've got the stage. The audience is watching. Do you want to entertain us or simply read the news releases like a TV talking head, tsk tsking over the latest gang violence?