Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Tale Of Two Forums

"A couple years ago, White Wolf released this RPG called Scion. I started a campaign the first chance I got.

At first, I loved it, but I was really bummed how long it took them to release new material for it. Six months out, all they had was one rulebook, and a super-short demo adventure. Their release schedule kept falling apart, and it was frustrating, too, because that first book was at best 1/3rd of the setting and rules. PCs in Scion have a primary stat called that can be rated from 2 to 12, and the first book only covered characters with a rating of 2 to 4. It took them nearly a year to get the second and third books out, IIRC.

Anyhow, I was running the game for that whole time, and a good while later. There were things I loved about it, but the more I analyzed the game, the more it fell apart. I eventually came to the conclusion that the core mechanics were broken, and that later books just compounded those problems. Of course, I was emotionally invested in the game by then, so when I thought about these things, I got fired up.

I spent a lot of time at the Scion forums, posting various house-rules and what have you. What I noticed though, was that I spent less and less time coming up with cool new things to improve my gaming experience (and those of others I interacted with on the forums) and more and more time just venting about the rules and the company. There were things they were doing wrong with Scion, and I just had to let everyone know.

Every topic that came up on the forum, I figured out some way to bring it back around to the things that pissed me off about the game and the direction it was going. I got quite cynical. I knew that I was no longer being helpful to others, and that I was probably just coming off as troll. There they were, trying to post all their cool ideas about a game they loved, and I'd just come along and rain on everyone's parade.

Then, just over a year ago, White Wolf rebooted their forum software. Everyone that wanted to post on the new version of the forum had to build their account all over again. Knowing, as I did, that I had long before ceased to gain enjoyment or serve a useful function at that forum, I declined to make a new account. I just walked away.

Ever since that, I've felt better. Other facets of my life improved, because I was no longer voluntarily subjecting myself and others to my own negativity."

I typed that up at the FFG WFRP forums today, and have not yet decided whether or not to post it. The WFRP 3rd Edition forum has several rather obnoxious posters, who just troll the place, taking every opportunity they can to bitch about the new edition. Half the time they're screaming about how angry they are because the game has only had three releases in 6 months, whereas 2nd Ed has years of sourcebooks. The rest of the time they bitch about how "it's a board game, not an RPG" because it uses colorful cards. Edition wars are part and parcel of the gaming experience, but this is pretty extreme.

And I'm left wondering why the hell do these people think we care? I wish they would just move on, and not linger around a forum that is intended for the enjoyment of a product they don't like. I mean, it's not like there isn't already a really good forum for 2nd Ed WFRP, and for people who just want to rant about how much they hate 3rd Ed. It's called Strike To Stun. And yet, even when they're getting me all fired up by trolling at the only good 3rd Ed forum, I can understand where they're coming from, because my own Scion experience was so like what they are doing.

Eventually, you just need to break the cycle.

I'm glad I finally found the strength to move on and leave Scion behind. I hope they find the strength to do the same for Warhammer's forums. If you hang out at places where people like the same things as you, you'll enjoy your life a lot more, and feel much better about yourself. If you insist on trolling places where other people enjoy things you hate, you can only make everyone (yourself included) feel worse. That's my 2 cents, anyway.


Lee 'Spikey' Nethersole said...

But what about the people who are at forums to get a balanced view? The people who may appreciate the spotlight shone on the negative? The definition of a Forum isn't a place only open to one view of a topic after all.

Your own well written reviews and opinions of WHRP 3rd have done a wonderful job of highlighting why I would only waste any money I spent on it. If I'd have waited until a few more people had seen AvP: requiem and posted to forums about it I could have avoided a lot of personal misery.

Don't knock the benefit to society of a negative opinion. ;)

r_b_bergstrom said...

I, I understand the need for a few negative reviews.

The case in point was about someone who literally posts at least four times a day to the FFG forums, and slams the game every single time.

Someone will post "How does this rule on armor ratings work?" And he'll reply about how "it could be spelled out more clearly, but that will never happen because FFG is only in it for the money. They just want to break up the rules into as many discrete money-hungry little bits as they can. It's not even an RPG I tell you!" And he'll rattle on like that for three more paragraphs, and never answer the person's question.

Four times a day, I promise you.

So, yeah, I get the need for the occasional bad review, but this guy is clearly making it his life's work.

It's like the difference between giving a movie a bad review, and picketing a theatre where the movie is being shown with the intent of picking fights at the box office. The first is helpful, the second would intrusive and obnoxious (at best).

r_b_bergstrom said...

As if to prove the point that I understand the need for negative reviews, the very next film I saw after posting the above comment was a horrible waste of time and money.

I assure you, I won't go trolling at the Clash of the Titans fan forum every day for 6 months. Instead, I'll just stick a review up on both of my blogs, and post a shorter version at Netflix.