Video Game Fans

David Gaider, lead writer to the Dragon Age series recently wrote a post on his blog, DGaider, about the “increasingly toxic” online forums moderated by the game developer Bioware. Jeff Vogel, creator of the games Geneforge and Avernum, wrote in January of 2011 that his first tip for developers is to never visit their forums. When game developers are saying that reasonable fan input is so outweighed by venom, there’s a problem.

Despite what you might hear on the Bioware forums, Gaider is one of the best game writers of his time, rivaled only by his fellow in Bioware legend, Drew Karpyshyn. The fact that this man must avoid forums because of the anger directed at him is a crime.

What one can easily learn from any forum is that video game fans are the most entitled beings to ever grace the Earth. By paying $60 for a game, they believe they deserve to be put on an artistic high for the rest of their lives, and anything less than will result in sulfuric acid based threats.

With forums becoming an ever more stagnant cesspool of “Trolls” and extreme vindictiveness, their previous role as a way for fans to reach out to their developers is becoming obsolete. Without a filter the forums’ ability to provide good feedback, positive or negative, is horribly hurt. We gain less intelligent, coherent opinions and far more horrible attacks on developers personal lives.

Ignoring the Valve- and Bethesda-based forums, which are just fans being in love with the material, every game development forum is essentially a hate mailbox.
Gamers need to learn that their hatred has negative effects. It removes motivation from game developers and makes us look bad as a community. Gamers aren’t entitled to a new Citizen Kane every game, and people need to learn how to criticize properly, rather than simply spewing anger.