Hollow Earth

Old vs. New


Ask anyone who was in Prologue and they’ll tell you that things are quite different from back then. Cyan had more money, bigger ages were put out, the story seemed more engaging (though that is likely only the perception of an audience that has, also, changed), and (most importantly) Cyan had fewer staff and less money.

The other day, however, I noticed something else that had changed since Prologue. Something that, as I have said many times before, people have not taken advantage of. The possibility of activities beyond the Cyan content using that content adding to it or making your own. Compare the ages and areas in Prologue with repeatable content vs. the ages and areas in the new Myst Online.

In Prologue: Great Zero missions/user-made missions

In Myst Online: Er’cana pellets, Jalak games, Minkata soccer games, Great Zero missions/user-made missions

Certainly, I’m counting the Great Zero twice (as there is no reason to disqualify it for new people). Certainly Er’cana and the Wall were planned, but neither was put in place (the Wall still hasn’t). Certainly I’m not counting the possibilities for social gatherings in the ages. But simply look at the old journey ages for repeatable play. Only Gahreesen really has anything (though it isn’t working). Compare that to the Ages we got just this year where pretty much EVERY age we got has something fun to do in it.

So why is no one doing anything with these grand opportunities? The answer I hear is that all these people “don’t pay $10 a month to” fill in the blank. They don’t pay it to play in a Jalak sandbox, to “waste time” with pellets, to “wander around a desert”, to “listen to drama”, to “have a 3d chatroom”, to do all these things. So the simple question is: why do all these people have no interest in this game? Why are they subscribing if they don’t want to take advantage of the possibilities in the game? Why all this angst and cynicism about in-game activities?

I think this is the attitude that needs to be dealt with. People who don’t want to do things in the game and then complain about the lack of content. Cyan can only do so much (really, what could they do?) besides producing more content and more potential. The community is going to have to do something. Some will have to organize these groups and others will have to follow those organizers and others will have to spread these events and popularize them. And the community should marginalize those who scoff and belittle these events and those who enjoy them. This is not to say that we should marginalize those who dislike these events as people have different tastes. However, we should not be kind or feel sympathy to those who enjoy being destructive with other’s hard work. Let that distinction be clear. Simply not liking it is fine, but don’t be rude.

This is another distinction between the old and the new. The old community (see Old Guard/Middle Guard) enjoyed and engaged themselves. They did not require Cyan to engage them. They did not shy away from extra-storyline events. They did not share this bias against non-DRC, non-Cyan, fan work. In the new community, unlike any other part of Web 2.0, there are a number who feel (and express their feelings loudly and often) that fan work is equal to bad work, unprofessional work, shoddy work. They regard fan ages as things to be shut away somewhere they don’t have to see them. A private library somewhere they don’t have to be. I have heard these opinions quite often and it’s quite startling and revolting. They have decreased recently, whether because popular opinion is beginning to sway or because those who demonize it have left the game, I don’t know. But it does seem that the negativity seems to have lessened, which makes me hopeful.

I’m hopeful because now, with the hiatus in full swing, I’m still seeing a great number of people online. In UO, I may not see the hood list scroll offscreen, but it gets close. Not only the numbers, but the enjoyment and “busy-time” is there perhaps even more than before the finale. I was just at an Ahnonay party the other night where I had lots of fun enjoying the world inside the game. I was kept busy by Dr.Watson/RAWA’s post on the DLF opening up the D’ni language. By the Lara documents which are still derided as possibly a fan thing (because fan is now a dirty word here). The first thing asked of Barnes is not “Cool idea, where do I get more info?” but instead “Is he official?” or “Is he a fan?”

And I see more and higher quality pushes for community activity. J.D.Barnes’ ideas, the many parties, Subterranean Restorations, and the D’ni Age Tour Club. The last two being ideas started by myself. We can no longer afford to be elitist and snobbish about where we get our content or we will forever be disappointed. The fans producing content now are more mature and talented than those in Second Life or elsewhere yet they are lumped together with them. You insult and deride them when you compare the great work they have and are doing as “just” fan work. Because from what I’ve seen recently, their stuff is just as good… if not better.

Give What You Want.

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Filed under: Gaming

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All posts are my opinion only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.
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