Quite a while back, I made the statement that supporting NCSoft was bad. I even went so far as to state I had my own personal gag order on buying any products that NCSoft pushed. Given that a gag order is actually an order to silence and all I was doing was boycotting them with my money, that metaphor is really terrible. Regardless, I still maintain that buying their stuff is bad for you, me, and the entire gaming industry, thus making it YOUR fault we can’t have nice things.
Well, that last one might be a bridge too far. This particular post is coming after news that last week Wildstar, the new MMO developed by Carbine Studios and published by NCSoft, is up for pre-order. While I’m desperately hoping someone will pull through and get me a beta key so I can see what all they do right with the game, I have no intentions of buying the game myself or of paying any money to gain any level of access for it. Sorry Carbine, but NCSoft is still the devil who took my home away from me. You guys don’t get a pass just because you made something that looks kind of cool.
But why you wonder? Can’t I move on? Can’t I let things go? It’s been over a year now and MWM isn’t moving fast enough (doing all you can, I know guys). Everybody else in the gaming industry does bad stuff too. If you held a moral filter up to any game company you’d find all sorts of problems. Two weeks ago at the GDC conference they had panels on how to maximize the monetization of micro-transactions for the sub-set of people who can’t stop buying them. They referred to this group of buyers as “whales.” And yes that’s as awful as it sounds. Along those same lines, the Free to Play market is saturated with micro-transaction garbage. Can’t I just have a decently made game free from most of the major issues in gaming right now? Where do you get off telling me what to do with my money, LockOn, you insufferable moralistic, self-righteous, colonoscopy-bag.
No need to get personal, I would say. Let me give you a few reasons for you to perhaps reconsider.
I understand the desire to forgive and forget. All the way back when I first wrote my post on NCSoft in May of last year, there was already fatigue from the Save Paragon City movement. And NCSoft has made overtures since then to improve their image, this is absolutely true. So why not let things go and try out something that could be a lot of fun and worth the time and pony up a little bit of cash for the people who made it? First, you have to think that Wildstar will be worth the investment. And while this is the opinion of someone without a Beta key, I haven’t seen anything yet that tells me it is.
Wildstar is a WoW clone. A well thought out WoW clone, made in 2013/2014, with all the advantages that come with that, but still a WoW clone. There’s also no proof that NCSoft is going to manage it’s behavior with Wildstar any better then it did with City of Heroes, and I have no desire to build a new home, only to have it taken from me all over again. Sorry NCSoft. But your reputation as the MMO killer is still fresh, and well known. I’m not going to let you off the hook after just one good deed, when your past is littered with the corpses of MMO’s and other games that you threw out the moment they stopped making you the money you thought they should.
Is this sour grapes on my part? No. I said this last year and I’ll say it again now. I have a right to not support a company with my money, when I think it does things it shouldn’t be doing. It’s my right, and it’s also the ONLY way that gaming companies are ever going to straighten up and start treating us with the respect we damn well deserve. So I’ll use the small meager power that my money gives me to voice my dissatisfaction. You may choose to join me, or not. That is your choice.
But now for our next argument, everybody does it. All game companies are terrible entities that are just out for the money, right? EA just lost out on it’s possible 3-peat as being voted as the worst company in the world by consumers. Even Nintendo has gotten into hot water recently over conflict metals. And these are just two examples. How can you pick on one company who’s only crime was to deprive you of the game you loved, when there are other companies out there that are potentially engaging in REAL crimes? You hypocritical, two-faced, degenerative skin disease.
Hey, the doctor said some penicillin would clear that right up.
There are lots of reasons not to play video games. Finding them are easy. Everyone has their own line in the sand. For some it’s when things affect them personally. For others, it’s when they read about it on the news. Nothing is conflict free because it’s all made by humans, and we’re all a ruinous mess of a species that can barely get coffee right in the morning, let alone evolve. (I’m looking at you instant coffee drinkers!)
All you can do, is pick which battles you fight. For me, it’s NCSoft. For others, it’s EA. For some, it’s the Palestinian conflict. There’s lots of fights to fight in the world. Some are more worthy then others. Some require little effort. Those are the ones I go for! So this is where my line is. Your mileage will vary. That is your choice.
Finally, I’ve heard that somehow a subscription wall will help to isolate and protect a user from the micro-transaction garbage of Free to Play. Yeah, don’t believe it. WoW has a subscription wall, and they just offered a level 90 bump for 60 bucks. Never mind, the myriad assortment of mounts, boosts, and other items available in their in-game store. If anything subscription services worry me even more than Free to Play. The question of what are you paying for with a subscription versus what is everyone else who plays without one, can be very difficult to sort out. Caution is warranted.
But again, that is your choice.
So that’s why I won’t be pre-ordering Wildstar. It’s my choice, and while I hope you’ll join me, I won’t hold it against you if you don’t. The game is very pretty, and even I would like to see it. But even without a Beta key, at least I’ve got my penicillin.