The making of a picture ought surely to be a rather fascinating adventure.

From the ArenaNet blog:

To build incredible online worlds, ArenaNet starts by hiring incredible people. You’ve seen some of the breathtaking work our artists have produced, and you’ve undoubtedly heard the groundbreaking ideas our designers have incorporated into Guild Wars 2. Well, even though QA isn’t responsible for making art or designing game systems, ArenaNet ensures that our team members are the best in the industry.

Looks like ArenaNet’s marketing has moved from game promotion into shareholder fellating. It’s the second time in as many posts that their marketing has grated, so for me it’s time to switch off the feed until the game gets released.

Honestly, if you can read through that post without throwing up in your mouth a little, well done you, and do carry on. I’m sure there’s a drinking game in there somewhere though; perhaps, take a drink every time you read a sentence that screams ‘I’m only saying this because my boss wants me to, then I can hopefully get out of QA and become one of the “legendary designers and developers that make up the staff here”‘. Perhaps I shouldn’t picture it being written by some poor sweating sobbing dishevelled individual, as marketing drones in tight black uniforms stand behind spot lamps and bark orders at him. “ACHTUNG! MORE GUSHING! SCHNELL!”

I rather like ArenaNet as a company; Guild Wars is an excellent game, and I’m looking forward to the new iteration of it, but for me the marketing tone has shifted from promoting to pimping, and it’s more likely to drive me away than make me want to play the game.

Maybe this is the way marketing has to be in the industry. Perhaps this is the sort of glossy rose-tinted reality that the ‘true’ fans are after. People within the industry may say that the sort of frothing self-congratulatory adulation that paints a picture-perfect presentation of how remarkable this particular MMO will be – of the sort that helped Mythic to win through so convincingly with the release of Warhammer Online – is a perfectly acceptable part of participating in the carnival of pre-release hype for an MMO. They may be right. But I don’t have to like it — and I don’t.

9 thoughts on “The making of a picture ought surely to be a rather fascinating adventure.

  1. Melmoth Post author

    And I probably shouldn’t picture someone at ArenaNet turning from their computer and saying “Smithers! Release the fanboys!” either.

  2. Zoso

    Maybe there’s something of a transatlantic divide (though I apologise for sweeping overgeneralisations on both sides) where our American friends tend toward the thrusting, enthusiastic, woo! and to a greater or lesser extent go team! sort of positivism, and us Brits think that blowing your own trumpet is a touch crass and vulgar (if anatomically impressive), and really we should just pop that lamp under a bushel over there.

    On the other hand it might not be a national thing at all, after all we did have those Marks & Spencer adverts… “This is not just a MMOG… this is a Belgian hand-rolled lightly frothed stone-baked sun-dried MMOG…”

  3. Melmoth Post author

    really we should just pop that lamp under a bushel over there

    Oh you, you’re always harping on about your lamp and how many bushels you’ve stuck it under! “See that bushel, stuck my lamp under that once. Oh yes, m’beauty!”

    Belgian hand-rolled lightly frothed stone-baked sun-dried MMOG

    Y’see, this is my problem with it all: hand-rolled on what? The velvety thighs of voluptuous virgin maidens, or the fat hairy warty thighs of Frank from accounts?

    Details, details.

  4. Gankalicious

    Like, oh my god, I’d totally go for a M&S hand-rolled, lightly frothed MMOG- especially if it includes a mini-trumpet I can blow while reminding you that you would have lost the war, if not for the fine Canadian ships who risked all to bring you cans of spam. Mmmmmmmm…..spam rations.

  5. Jonathan B

    Have I mentioned I love that posting on your site reminds me of Jabberwocky? One of a handful of poems I have ever memorized in their entirety.

    Unfortunately, we live in a world where style matters over substance. Just look at politics. Regardless of which side of the aisle one supports, there are plenty of politicians to point at in any country you want to pick who have done nothing of what they promise, yet continue to be believed as they make the same promise every term to do the thing they said they’d do last term but didn’t. Some of them even manage to win a Nobel for promises before they even get into office *cough*.

    People believe whatever their chosen news source(s) say(s) for the most part, whether it’s world news or gaming news. So hype makes marketing sense. None of which explains perfume ads, which I still maintain are the result of the advertisers sniffing too much of the product.

    I think we can all agree on the importance of Canadian spam rations, though.

  6. Melmoth Post author

    Maybe we could get perfume advertisers to overdose on snorting Canadian spam rations, just think of the adverts we’d get then.

  7. Jim

    Integrity gave way to self-promotion years ago.

    I am the most talented, brilliant gamer to have ever posted on your site, given the genius of that insight. It means my wife is completely satisfied with my love-making prowess as well.

    Did I mention my fixation on integrity cost me my job 2 months ago? I’m broke, powerless, and hungry. That’ll teach ‘em!

  8. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    One thing successful MMO developers learn is that perception is reality. Let’s look at the obvious example: WoW is the most popular, therefore it must be the best game out there. Blizzard has done everything they can to keep reminding us that they are, by far, the most popular single MMO out there. Honestly, this is probably why a good share of the non-MMO people playing WoW did so in the first place, because it was “accepted” by more of their peers.

    I was chatting with a very smart person in a game the other day and she was lamenting about Turbine’s attitude towards addressing bugs. I gave the usual developer excuses, but mentioned that it seems Turbine’s attitudes had turned a bit more “corporate” since the WB buyout. My guildmate then countered that Blizzard didn’t seem at all corporate, given that she’s read a lot of complaints about Turbine on their forums, but less of such complaints on Blizzard’s forums.

    I explained that Blizzard very heavily moderates their forums, precisely for this reason: by deleting pure complaint threads, they give the perception that there is less complaining about Blizzard, therefore Blizzard is a better MMO developer with fewer problems than other games. Of course, it’s hard for an outsider to say if one company is truly “better” than another at handling issues, so perception goes a long way.

    Ultimately, this explains the “rah-rah” nature of ArenaNet’s blog posting. Even though some of us know the reality of QA at various companies (and know that Blizzard sanitizes the forums to make themselves look better), some will take things at face value and perceptions of the developer will be affected.

  9. Melmoth Post author

    @Jim: Indeed. And sometimes you have to wonder whether they’re trying to convince us, or themselves.

    @Brian: It was also amazing how quickly everyone forgot about WoW’s first few days (weeks?) after launch, with crashing servers and all manner of issues. Blizzard are very good at altering player perception, more though, they’re very good at doing it without being seen to be doing it, thus allowing a vast majority of players to convince themselves that perfection is the natural order at Blizzard.

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