Mommy, Where Does QQ Come From?
A little while ago I had a conversation with a user that got me thinking.
He was talking for a bit about how he didn't want Wowhead to turn into WowSpace, and that while he granted that the forums were a great addition to Wowhead, he also expressed frustration about troll posters, feeling that they caused the Wowhead forums to bring the overall quality of Wowhead down, rather than up.
Now, I don't mean to suggest that this user was QQing. He was expressing his honest opinion and I respect him for it. But it started to make me think about the nature of people, and why we complain about the things we do.
Wowhead has the exact same database that we had before we had forums (except with a couple of nifty new features). There is literally zero change in user experience for the people who DON'T choose to participate in the forums. If you genuinely think Wowhead is better off without forums, that's totally okay—they're all tucked away in one little tab, and you don't have to interact with them at all if you don't want to. If you want to have conversations in a much more strictly moderated environment where stupid questions aren't allowed, we have a
. If you just want to read posts that we think are genuinely interesting content, we have a
. If you think forums altogether are a waste of time, we have an
. There's no possibly way that Wowhead having forums—even really, really terrible forums—would actually make the site
than it was with no forums at all.
I think that people don't get upset about something that they don't like. They get upset about something that they DO like...almost.
Let me give you an example. The official WoW forums are constantly full of people QQing about WoW, complaining about some problem or other, and talking extensively about how much WoW sucks. The answer that's given is always the same: "If you don't like it, don't play." What I propose is that it isn't that simple.
I think that all these QQers DO like WoW. The like it a lot because inside it, they can see something that they really really enjoy. Here's the trick though: They QQ because WoW is
that thing they want it to be.
If I have no interest whatsoever in playing video games, I'm not going to QQ about World of Warcraft. I'm going to skip over it entirely and go play volleyball, or whatever it is I do. No worries, no complaining, no hard feelings. WoW goes its own way, I go mine.
If I play video games, but I don't like MMOs, then I might QQ a little about WoW.
is an ideal example (and if you're not watching those reviews already, you should be). He's not an MMO fan, and he doesn't pretend to be. He's a game reviewer, so occasionally he reviews an MMO—but he makes it clear from the beginning that it's not his thing. So he complains a little bit about WoW and what it does to the game industry—in typically hilarious fashion—and moves on. He doesn't spend much time on it.
It's only when you look at people who actually play WoW that you find the really
QQing. Why is this? Why is it that the closer you get to the thing you're complaining about, the more vicious your complaints seem to be? What's the unifying factor?
People don't QQ about things they think are bad. They QQ about things they think are
People complain about WoW not because they think WoW is terrible. They complain because they think WoW
to be good, until....something. The "something" is always different. Sometimes the game was awesome until Jeff Kaplan and Tom Chilton took over. Sometimes it was awesome until it started focussing too much on battlegrounds, or arenas, or even the latest arena season. Sometimes the thing that spoiled it was TBC, sometimes it was WotLK. Some people feel like the pve was awesome until the pvp started getting in the way, others feel that the pvp was awesome until the pve started detracting from it. But the common theme is the same—something awesome has been spoiled.
The same is even true when you look at things—like the
—that don't have any effect on the actual awesome thing in the first place. Adding forums didn't have any effect whatsoever on the quality of Wowhead's item database, so even if you don't like forums, Wowhead is no worse off than before. The fact that WoW is out there doesn't have any effect on the quality of the games
likes to play. And yet this hits close to home—because, I believe, there's an unconscious, unexamined assumption going on that there's "only so much out there."
This is a little complicated. What I mean is: people automatically assume that Wowhead only has so many hours of time spent on development, and every moment spent making the forums cool is time that's NOT spent making the item database cool. Yahtzee, without even thinking about it, has this image of the "video game industry" as only containing so many people, and every person who's working on a MMO is a person who
be working on a cool game. Every Blizzard developer who's spending time writing code for the Arena Tournament is a developer that
be spending time on getting Ulduar out the door. And god forbid they create a new world event when there are server problems going on—come on, people! All hands on deck! Everything is seen as a
true. There are times when classes are rebalanced for pve to the detriment of pvp, and vice versa. But 9 times out of 10, the assumption is totally erroneous. The guys who are working overtime to bring the servers back up are not the same people who are creating holiday events. And even if they re-assigned all the people who were creating holiday events to server duty, it wouldn't matter—they'd just get in the way. The developers that are making games Yahtzee hates are going to keep on making games Yahtzee hates—and if you re-assigned them to work on titles Yahtzee might like, they'd just mess them up. The fact that I'm spending my time on forums doesn't have any effect on Skosiris' development schedule, and God alone knows what would happen if I started mucking about in the Wowhead code.
So what does this mean? Why do people
like to QQ?
What is it about WoW—or Wowhead—that bothers
, and why do you think it gets under your skin?
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