Thursday, September 30, 2010

Americanized Entitlement

Entitlement is a term we hear thrown around a lot these days.  It's such a bad word isn't it?  Entitlement.  Like Newb.  Or Casual.  Or Elitist.  Or Moron and Slacker.  Or Huntard.   Or Mage.  They're all of the same ilk, aren't they?  It's all about labeling, negatively, other players.  It's about how the attitudes of others are obviously disillusioned or wrong.

We hear all the time about how this overblown sense of entitlement is ruining the game.  About how Blizzard has cultivated a crop of gamers in Wrath who feel entitled to things.  Every time I read it, I can help but think we're misusing the term a bit.  It has such a pejorative cast to it right now, that calling someone "entitled" is like calling someone an asshat.

Yet, entitlement is what America was founded on.  Americans, after all, are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It's right there, written on aged, yellowy paper.  I can't speak for the other countries that make up the WoW-iverse, but I would assume they have similar statements of entitlement somewhere in their government documentation.  Entitlement is essentially synonymous with "rights", though usually a bit more personal and perceived rather than a global truth.  In that regard, we have a whole Bill of Entitlements.  Right or wrong, that's how the government I'm most familiar with (and live in) started: with a sense of entitlement.

Now, I'm not saying entitlement can't be overblown.  In fact, an exaggerated sense of entitlement is one of the key characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Entitlement, when taken to extremes, can certainly be bad. However, I can't help but want to ameliorate the term.  There can be such a thing as a healthy sense of entitlement.

So I ask you, dear reader, to think about the things in WoW that it is appropriate to feel entitled to.  If we were to make a Declaration of Co-dependence to send to Blizzard, what would our inalienable rights be?  If we were writing an Azerothian Bill of Rights, what would be contained within?  Or, if you're more comfortable in a Constitutional Monarchy: if you were writing An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown, what might be writ therein?  Or, if you're living in Soviet Russia: what would Bill of Rights write about you?  (I'm being facetious, of course.  Current-day Russia is no longer a Soviet Union, it is a Semi-presidential Republic.)

Here, I'll get the party started first:

We, the denizens of Azeroth, in order to form a less arbitrarily insulting society do ordain and establish these points of entitlement:
  1. We shall be provided with a playable game, without having to put up with an unreasonable amount of downtime.  We get Tuesday maintenance, but if your shit crashes on a Saturday night... it's on.
  2. Taxation by subscription only.  If you start nickle and diming us for content, there will be hell to pay.  Sparkly ponies are, apparently, okay.  Be careful though, we wouldn't want to have to go all Tea Party on your ass.  Alternatively, we're not completely opposed to other business models, it would just be tough to switch horses in midstream, if you will.  We could always pull a Prohibition on this one if you come up with something wickedly cool that we've never even heard of.  Then we could go back when it doesn't work.
  3. There shall be varied raids.  Facelifts on old raids are okay so long as they play well at the current maximum level.  Complete reuse is only permissible in the case of Onyxia, because she was an awful awful bitch.  And maybe Ragnaros, you can do him too.  I like his yelling.
  4. There shall be levels, and we shall be able to gain them.  Leveling is important too, mmkay?
  5. PvP is optional, but you already got our hopes up, so you'd better make it good.
  6. Trees and abilities shall be roughly balanced.  One class shall not be exorbitantly greater in prowess than another by design.  We shall term this being "OP" and it shall be unacceptable.  We reserve the right to complain, loudly, when we perceive imbalance, however we acknowledge that we may not be right, and/or it was not done intentionally.  In that case, it shall be fixed... pronto.
  7. The environment shall be poly-climatic.  We want to be able to explore and see different things.  Don't George Lucas us and give us entire planets of only one ecosystem.  Though, if you give us multiple planets, we may not complain in that case either.  Just mix it up, ffs.
  8. Communication shall be enabled and convenient. This could fall under article 1, since communication is key for an MMO, but we made another one just to be sure you "got it".  In addition, we shall have the right to "block" certain unsavory characters from "spamming" our chat fields.  You should probably ban those gold sellers too.  They're bad juju.
  9. There shall be some degree of challenge to the game.  If a one celled organic player, we'll call him Parameciumlol, can clear all the content, then you haven't lived up to your charter.  Similar to the "OP" clause, we reserve the right to submit varied opinions as to the current and future potential levels of "challenge".  We will probably submit them in the form of vitriol and ragequitting, but we might surprise you and be loquacious too.  In either case, you need only make sure there is something challenging in the game to satisfy this article.  
  10. Our personal information shall not be shared with "creepy" collectives or individuals.  Creepy shall be defined on a person by person basis as "anyone who we strongly do not wish to have show up at our front f-in door or send crap in mail, both electronic and snail."   Investigative committees may be formed to help define key terms "personal" and "information" and "shared" and "be", but just be careful because this one is impeachment worthy for a lot of folks.  
What's on your list?


  1. We declare our right to create or join a guild of any size, shape, and color. We do not want to be forced to join a large group of strangers just to enjoy in some of the "fluff" that you put into the game. Just because our idea of quality social interaction is not the same as those devs creating this game, does not mean that we don't know how to have fun with the few people close to us.

    You pretty much summed up everything else I wanted, and then some. Hail to Entitlements!

  2. You shall not exclude casual players from high-level content, just because we put our RL family before the game and don't raid 15 hours a week.

    @Gronthe, if the TNB 100 round table is correct, that fluff will be harder to get in larger guilds than smaller guilds.

  3. @ Elkagorasa: I'll have to give that a listen to. I wish there were no advantages for large or small guilds either way, I'd just like to socialize with a guild of any size or type and not be penalized for my choice. It may be all speculation, though, I guess we'll see how it shakes itself out.

  4. @Elkagorasa: I used to make that remark about raiding 15 hrs a week = seeing the high-level content. Then, about 3/4 of a year ago, I joined my current raiding guild. Although it's not the top-top-top of the game, we only do 7 hrs a week (2 days of 3.5), and I've seen the entire place of ICC 25, plus some HM. I didn't even see the whole place in 25 in NAXX in my social guild that raided.

  5. I get two hours a week and we're almost through the Lich King :-). I would say that's not bad.

  6. A certainly intriguing thought I shall ponder for a bit longer. you see, personally I don't think that as a gamer I am entitled to anything in a game; I have wishes and criteria that will keep my playing or not, but I would never raise to the stage of entitlement some wow players are displaying in the wow official forums and QQ-threads. I do not perceive blizzard as my "slave" so to speak - it is also a weird notion since we are paying for the game while keeping zero rights on the actual data of it, including our own character which again is not our 'own'.

    especially when it comes to the entertainment industry and games, I think the quality of the experience is lessened the more the developer chooses to meet all his customer's demands; if it gets to the stage where we create most of the game ourselves, what's the point? i want someone else to come up with the essential ideas and surprise me, I dont want to become a co-dev. if i hate it, i'll leave, that's my consequence and thats how i prefer it too.

  7. I think there's always a certain level of integrity that needs to be held. For instance, a company shouldn't charge you money and then provide you nothing. I know there are many people out there who have gotten into a game, only to have the developer pull support of the project so that it dies. They probably paid money up front it and now they're getting screwed. I'm not saying they actually have a "right" to that, after all free market policies make paying for anything somewhat of a gamble. However, by getting pissed about what they feel they were entitled to, they will probably not buy that company's product again. Thus, improvement is made by "voting" with your dollar.

    So, some sense of entitlement is healthy for progress. Without it, we'd just get taken advantage of.

  8. Abamnation HellscreamOctober 6, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    LOL nice blog.

    I am going to put on my progressive, socialist hat on (that I got through an entitlement program along with my free cheese) and say wow players with under 5g are entitled to receive monthly stipends from a general WOW Welfare Fund, hereafter known as the WWF. Said fund shall be funded by a tax on all wow players that have in excess of 20G. Access to WWF gold shall be entirely need based and lack of actual effort (crafting, farming, raiding, questing) shall not be a factor in determining eligibility for WWF gold.....

  9. @ Abamnation Hellscream

    mmmm Free Cheese