Hollow Earth

Paranoia Lives


It is, frankly, hilarious. MOULa has been working for less than a week and we already have people wringing their hands, worried about Uru without Cyan. This is not a sign of a mature community. This irrational fear that Fan Ages/stories are somehow lesser to Cyan is ludicrous, and it will end Uru if people keep seriously entertaining it.

It is incredibly frustrating for me to look at the forums after just leaving Fahehts, Cass, Jonnae, or Tre’bivdil and see people saying their concerned fan content will make Uru into Second Life. It’s even more frustrating to see Rand Miller, an adult, lend credibility to this absurd claim. The only people who are concerned about fan content are the ones who haven’t spent much time experiencing it. There are poorly-made Ages. But guess what, I don’t download them. Second Life? This is not a rational response. Many, including myself,  comment on the Uru community’s unique qualities (of which stubbornness is one). Since we assume we have qualities which distinguish us from other gaming communities, why do we think that same community is going to act like the Second Life community (which, by the way, is even more passionate and belligerent in the defense of their game)?

It was and still is similarly frustrating to be conducting an IC story, only to have someone say “oh, they’re just RPing” or “why don’t you leave the story to Cyan?” My response is usually “because Cyan’s last story had parts that sucked more than the Teledahn sub-pump,” but the better response is “why should we?” Why is it wrong to tolerate, evaluate, and embrace/discard a story? Why do people hold URU/D’ni/Myst canon is such high regard when Cyan has been said canon’s greatest enemy?

Being able to respond maturely to Ages and stories you disagree with (and by maturely, I don’t mean by using R language) is something essential for the new Uru. This is why we need to eventually move away from Cyan approval to community approval. After all, that is what is going on all the time. There are many people who do not approve of Jalak, Minkata, and other places because they lack Nexus pedestals. I and others don’t approve of calling neighborhoods “Bevins.” Many don’t approve of the game starting in Relto. Cyan has made very good games. As I have said before, though, they are neither friends nor enemies. The community would benefit, Uru would benefit, and Cyan would benefit if people would stop clinging to Cyan like a parent. We must mature if MOULa is going work.

Edit: Further discussion can be found here (just recently closed): Link to the MOUL foum topic.

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10 Responses

  1. Ian says:

    Well, I don’t “approve” the lack of Nexus books because it’s lazy, not story-related. And Jalak is a health hazard regardless. ;)

    I think the community problem actually descends from the Rand/Cyan problem to handle a story that is not their own. They don’t ‘get’ fan made content and so the fans (while usually very good at criticizing Cyan on other aspects) reject such content just as strongly, if not more. It *is* frustrating, and rather silly.

  2. Jishin says:

    Eh, I kind of expected it, really. I’ve already seen complaints about the Big Bad Guilds, too.

    At this point, I think the best thing we can do is just to do our own thing, and let other people do their own thing. Quality work stands on its own merits; we’ve seen that already.

    I respectfully disagree with Ian; we had combined Cyan/fan material with Sharper and the Zoological Society, and I thought that was pretty cool. I suspect Cyan may just be choosy about what fan-created storylines they want to work with; otherwise they’d be utterly inundated with requests.

  3. Ian says:

    Well, that’s kinda my point: it was up to Cyan to select and decide what parts of fan content they wanted to play with.

    This new brand of can content must be the opposite: apart from some basic rules (no Cyan characters, don’t contradict the canon, etc.) it must be a “free for all” territory without their supervision or stamp of approval.

  4. Justintime9 says:

    fan content definitely seems the way to go from here, and as a Writer, it looks promising if we do it right. Not to be an “age snob” but I do think there should be a level of quality maintained in Fan content (e.g. someone can’t just create a plane, give it bounds and a sun and submit it as an age.)

    • Whilyam says:

      But why not, Justin? Let’s say someone makes an Age like that and releases it. Who does it harm? Don’t say something esoteric like “Uru integrity” or “canon” since both have long since been shattered by Cyan itself.
      Let’s say something like that is released. Give fan Ages a rating system like iTunes and the garbage is given a low rating.
      When you want to find someone in a neighborhood, what do you do? Sort by “population.” So what do you do when you want to find a quality fan Age to spend some time in? Sort by ratings.
      Obviously Cyan runs the show on their own server/shard, but the fans need the freedom to have areas where they can choose their content.

  5. Tomala says:

    Whilly wins teh internets today.

  6. Here, here, Whilyam.

    The paranoia needs to end.
    Cyan is not intrinsically somehow /better/ than Fan creators. This needs to be learnt by the community at large.

  7. Tweek says:

    Well said Whil.

    It bugs me to no end that there are those who seem to think Cyan’s stuff is the pinnacle of design and that we can never match it. Cyan’s stuff was never as flawless as some thing it is (one has only to look at the top side of Dereno), and there are a small handful of Ages built who’s aesthetics are right up there with Cyans IMO, of course there is room for improvement, always is (I’m always trying to improve my own stuff).

    I put a lot of work in trying to make my stuff look nice, whether it is nice enough is not something I can comment on as I can’t objectively think if what I make is good, but it does belittle the work we do, and the effort we put into it when it is compared to SL.

    The IC stuff is as bad, unfortunately some people need to be breast fed by Cyan and can’t do stuff for themselves, it’s a shame they have to impose that view on others who can think for themselves, Uru is like a living thing, there are stories in every rock, every room, every person every corpse, and not all the stories will come from Cyan, people need to deal with that.

    However there is fan content and there is fan content. As I said on the GoW, if you’re building for Uru it needs to be Uru, it needs to be up to the aesthetics of Uru and it needs to conform to the lore.

    If you want to build whatever you want, then it needs to be stand alone from Uru (I also mentioned perhaps just calling it Plasma after the engine). That might be a view not appreciated by some, but I’m one of those pain in the ass purists who is anal about D’ni lore (and am also annoyed at what Cyan did to it during MOUL).

    The concept of the community acting maturely however is a pipe dream, I’ve been hovering around in this community for 12 years now, and maturity levels have pretty much stayed the same throughout.

    I was annoyed with the lack of Nexus pedestals in Ages and locations for the simple fact of, if you’re entering a location you need a way out, the DRC and their safety first attitude kind of failed with this, to much reliance was on the Relto Books.

    But then a lot of people complained cause Jalak was simply an Age, with no journey, no deep meaning and heaven forbid we have Ages that are just nice to look at or wander around.

    Don’t get me started on the Bevins crap >. I don’t think it’s being a snob at all, it’s consistency, you don’t restore one of Da Vinci’s paintings with MS Paint. Some Ages are decent enough to be in Uru, a lot aren’t, if you (not you specifically a general you) are content to work harder and improve, then more power to you, I’m constantly trying to improve my Ages, adding with each new thing I learn from the GoW chaps.

  8. Jevasi says:

    Great post. It really saddens me to think that were back to this already, I hoped we’d get at least a few more days. Tweek your definitely not alone with that, the pubs badly need a nexus book.

  9. Erik says:

    Good post and I agree. Frankly, I haven’t seen many paranoid posts since MOUL started again, apart from people wondering whether they should consider the posts at the DRC forum, just before MOULa launched, as ‘canon’ or just ignore them. *sigh* However, when I say that I haven’t seen that many posts, perhaps what I mean is: not more than the usual. Or perhaps I read over it nowadays or perhaps I know which forum topics I need to skip. :)

    Perhaps people will change their minds if fan-made Ages are really incorporated in MOUL and when they see for themselves how great some of those Ages are.

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