In Defense of Jay Wilson: Bullying Is Not A Game

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Jay Wilson is a man who has given years of his life to the gaming industry.  A good chunk of them were spent as the game director Diablo III, a game that has proven to be almost as divisive within the player base as Mass Effect 3.  He recently celebrated his seven-year anniversary at Blizzard — let’s think about that, SEVEN YEARS, whereas most of us can’t even stay in the same place for a year.  That’s seven years of 80-hour weeks, late nights at the office, tackling unforeseen crises as they arise, being the one that everyone looks to when they’re not sure how to proceed… and now he’s set to do it all again for one of Blizzard’s as-of-yet unnamed IPs currently in development.

Three days ago, Mr. Wilson announced on the D3 forums that he would be making this switch.  You’d expect that he’d get a bunch of “gratz” replies thrown his way, maybe some good-luck wishes for the future, right?  Go ahead, click that link.  By the second page I guarantee you that you’ll be ashamed to be a gamer.

The outpouring of hate that followed his announcement is nauseating to read.  It runs the gamut from snide remarks to personal threats in such volume that chief creative officer Rob Pardo had to step in to try and put a stop to it.  And this tidal wave of cruelty doesn’t just stop with Blizzard; one of the lead writers for BioWare’s Dragon Age franchise recently revealed that he avoids the forums as much as possible because of how toxic of an environment it has become.

Once upon a time, gamers were the ones being bullied.  We hid in our bedrooms and rec rooms with our D&D sets and a group of like-minded friends, never daring to tell anyone what we did every Thursday night lest we risk getting stuffed into our lockers the next day at school.  There was a certain sense of community that came along with it, a solidarity in suffering, if you will.  As gaming worked its way more and more into the spotlight, it was no longer exclusively considered a hobby for social outcasts and began attracting a much wider audience.  Jocks picked up the controller alongside the nerds they once noogied.  It should have promoted a commonality between us all, proof that we could all share a bond and play nice.  Perhaps it was bitterness over years of torment, or the creation of a new, digital outlet through which bullies could torture others in previously inconceivable ways (griefing, for example), but for some reason, it totally did not end up that way.

The gaming community has developed an ugly sense of entitlement over the years that only exacerbates this simmering rage.  We feel that we deserve to have every request and demand catered to by the developers, that the game companies should kowtow to us because we’re the ones dropping $60 on their game.  When we don’t get our way, we throw a temper tantrum, not caring what effect our harsh words and irrational behavior could have on those exposed to them.  We are selfish, we are childish, and it has to stop.

Tonight I lost part of the core PvE group in the guild I run because I stood up for Jay Wilson.  While I am, of course, worried about the future of said guild, I don’t regret what I did at all.  We have been too silent and too permissive of bullying, and it’s been allowed to run rampant through our community.  “That’s just the nature of the game industry,” I’ve heard the argument made.  “Devs need to grow a thicker skin or get out.”  Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not sure that it’s possible to keep a stiff upper lip when somebody starts threatening to rape and murder my entire family or tells me that I should kill myself solely because they didn’t agree with a line of dialogue.  Telling victims of bullying, whether children or adults, to just toughen up is a complete dismissal of their feelings and their right to feel safe.

Here’s a disturbing statistic, too.  The game industry tends to attract the nerdy type who typically have high IQs.  Multiple studies have shown that people with high IQs are more prone to suffering from mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression.  Therefore, that game dev you just chewed out?  Yeah, he’s potentially fighting depression, and being told that he should “quit life” could be all it takes to push him over the edge.  Hope you enjoy that blood on your hands.  Sound dramatic?  It isn’t.  You have no idea what another person is going through in their personal life.  You cannot possibly know how deeply your words or actions are going to affect them because everyone handles things differently.  I’ve already mentioned several people who have chosen to take their own lives because they could not deal with the harassment and abuse visited upon them by others.  I’m not saying that everyone who works in the game industry is mentally ill, but statistically, a few of them are, and you don’t know if you’re lashing out at one of them.

But let’s refocus on Jay Wilson for a moment.  Though I refuse to reprint any of the hateful garbage that’s been spewing forth from the community because I do not believe that these bullies deserve the attention, I will paraphrase some of the complaints that I’ve heard in an attempt to “rationalize” the cruelty directed towards him.

“He Destroyed the Diablo Franchise”

No.  No, he did not.  He tried to take the Diablo franchise in a new direction rather than letting it go stale and become just another example of “more of the same” that has taken down so many other giants in the game industry.  Whether or not this choice worked varies depending on who you ask.  Was it like Diablo or Diablo II?  Of course it wasn’t!  This may be shocking for some of us to realize, but those games are officially old now.  They run on technologies that would be decried as last-gen these days.  The flip side of this is that they’ve had years for patches, expansions, and add-ons to really polish their experience.  Diablo III came out less than a year ago.

Making the decision to try something new with a time-tested franchise is pretty scary.  There’s always the chance that the player base will… well, react exactly like they did.  But bringing new blood and new ideas into any game is vital for its survival.  Just look at the plethora of expansions for World of Warcraft, and the difference in play style from patch 1.1 to 5.1.  Of course there are those who claim that Mists of Pandaria “ruined WoW,” but once we push the melodrama and hyperbolic statements aside, it’s impossible to deny that it was, in fact, a gigantic success.

The D3 servers are still up and running, and at least one expansion is currently in development.  Jay Wilson did not “destroy” Diablo.  If anything has chipped away at it, it’s the refusal of internet tough guys everywhere to embrace change and look at things from all sides with an open mind.

“He’s Kind Of A Jerk”

I have yet to find any examples of Jay Wilson being an outright jerk, which is surprising, because the way that people like to throw this accusation around, you’d think his creative process included filling his pens with puppy blood and stealing his lunches from Darfur war orphans.  The worst I can find is him trying to defend himself and his team after someone started slinging abuse their way, in a Facebook thread that was between friends.  Let’s think about all of the conversations we’ve had with friends on Facebook and see if we’re so innocent ourselves.   I really don’t think any of us could fault him for being upset, seeing the words that spurred him on.  In fact, I think we all need to give this guy a huge round of applause for not coming out and saying exactly what I’m sure was on his mind, let alone going on to apologize publicly for what amounted to standing up for himself.  In addition, so what?  You’ve never met him face to face.  Text is a horrible medium for subtleties and tone.  Jay Wilson could be the game industry’s version of Princess Diana for all any of us know.  Also, as a smarty-pants-creative-type, I’d like to just put it out there: we suck at social interaction.  We really do.  If you’re also a smarty-pants-creative-type who’s about to put up their index finger and say “But I don’t!” then let me just stop you, because you do.  We’re good people and we don’t mean to come across as abrasive, but we often do.  A little bit of kindness and understanding that maybe we’re just trying to make conversation rather than be antisocial jerks can go a long way here.  Take us with a grain of salt.

But everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Maybe you just really cannot stand the guy for some reason.  That’s great.  Don’t talk to him.  Don’t invite him to your parties.  Don’t buy him a beer.  Belittling and threatening him is not going to magically turn him into your best broseph.  Dishing out such cruelty requires effort and going so far out of your way that the only real reason for doing so is because you enjoy hurting other people, and if that’s the case, I really hope you get help for those serious issues of yours before you end up murdering people.

“He Disappeared For Like 37486964 Months!”

A lot of people have unrealistic ideas about what it’s like to work in the gaming industry.  In their minds, everyone walks around in nerdy T-shirts and spends all day playing videogames and eating pizza.  I have some close personal acquaintances and relatives who work in this industry and while they do have the occasional anecdote about an inter-office Nerf gun battle, for the most part, it’s more like “Oh man, I can’t hang out this weekend, we’re pushing the final version through so I’m working a double shift.”

Recruiting websites for game companies tend to show mostly play and very little of the actual work, not because they’re dishonest, but because they’re trying to let those familiar with the 80-hour work weeks and horrendous amounts of pressure and deadlines know that after six months of constantly being on the edge of a nervous breakdown, they encourage their employees to kick back and relax — at least until the next patch is due.  Maybe if they showed the neglected spouses, missed dance recitals, and nights spent sleeping on the office couch, the ignorant among the laypeople would be a bit more sympathetic.  Brad Gray of Electric Mammoth Studios, who happens to be one of the game industry folks that I stalk and beg daily for a job follow on Twitter said it best: “Game devs spend their lives so we can have fun.”

Jay Wilson was out of touch for a few months?  Really?  Nobody thinks that maybe it was because he barely had time to get up from his desk and use the bathroom, let alone answer the flood of questions — most of which I would assume were probably the equivalent of “HOW I MINE FOR FISH?” — filling his inbox?  Are we all really that needy and desperate for attention?  People complain that the man’s work wasn’t good enough, but they curse him for working.  It’s ridiculous and based solely in ignorance and a desire to villainize others when they don’t give us what we want.

It’s easy to be cruel when you’re hiding behind a computer screen.  This is the entire reason that internet trolls exist.  Too cowardly to say what’s on your mind to someone’s face?  Log on to Facebook and insult their sexuality for the whole world to see!  I guarantee you that if any of those voicing their “opinions” (which are actually nothing but thinly-disguised vitriol) were to sit down across from Jay Wilson, or any other dev who’s been blasted into oblivion, they’d suddenly find themselves with nothing to say.

So why am I letting this all bother me so much?  Why am I sitting here at 2 in the morning writing thousands of words to defend people I have never met?

I was bullied all through school.  It started in kindergarten and lasted until the day I graduated high school.  I was a year younger than everyone else due to academic advancement — when I graduated I was only 16, too young to go see Resident Evil in the theaters without my mom — and everyone knew that once a week I left to go to special “Gifted” classes for exceptionally smart kids.  I had huge glasses, wore unfashionable clothing, and didn’t discover makeup until 10th grade.  I was short, always somewhat chubby, and due to my ethnicity looked completely different from the other kids.  In short, I was a perfect target for bullies.  The teachers turned a blind eye, claiming that it was just normal kid stuff and even deigning to say that maybe it was my fault for being so different.  The other students didn’t dare say anything because they knew that if they did, they’d get it just as bad as me.  So I endured it all alone, for years.  Even though no one was there for me, I have made it a personal mission of mine to stick up for victims of bullying.  I don’t care if it’s a twelve-year-old kid or a 40-something year old adult.  Bullying hurts at any age.  It doesn’t mean that the victim is weak, it means that they’re a human being with feelings and emotions just as valid as everyone else’s.

This doesn’t mean that I think everyone expressing even the slightest bit of dissatisfaction with a game is being mean.  There’s a huge difference between saying “Hey, I didn’t like x because of y” and saying “OMG WORST GAME EVER YOU SHOULD BE FIRED QQ.”  A successful development team will listen to constructive player feedback and at least consider tweaking their product accordingly if they decide that doing so would not break the game for others (the eternal battle between rogues and Greg Street wages on to this day) or have some other far-reaching negative effect. When I was participating in the betas for Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, completing a quest would trigger a window to pop up asking us to rate our experience and explain what we liked and didn’t liked.  I filled out every last one, sometimes with legitimate suggestions, but sometimes just to say “This was fantastic, great job, guys!”  On several occasions, I noticed that changes had been made between beta and release based on the results of the player feedback.  To say that players are ignored by the big bad game companies is a total falsehood.  If you feel that you’re not being listened to, maybe you need to check how you’re presenting your argument.

As an aspiring game designer I’ve been able to develop a very unique view on this.  No developer or other creative type likes knowing that their work has been poorly-received, but it’s important that they do.  Without constructive criticism, we can’t grow.  Sometimes it helps us to see better options that we may not have even thought of during development.  If you have an issue with something in a game, there are many ways to get your point across and be heard as a level-headed, contributing member of the gaming community.  There are even more ways to look like the complete opposite.

WAYS TO PROPERLY GIVE FEEDBACK

  • “I really like this game, but I was a little disappointed with x because of y.  Here is how I think this could be improved.”
  • “I was surprised by the direction taken in this installment.  Can you explain why you chose to make such a drastic change?”
  • “I find that {insert quest or zone} is too difficult” followed by some sort of proof, whether it be damage readouts, comparisons to similar levels, etc.
  • “x isn’t working properly” followed by a detailed description of what happened and what you were doing at the time so that the bug fix team can check it out

WAYS THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER GIVE FEEDBACK

  • “Your game sucks now.  GG, {insert offending game company or employee}.  I’m gonna go play {insert competitor product}.
  • “Holy crap, what idiot designed this?  They should be fired or quit because they suck at their job.”
  • “F&#^ THIS S^&# YOU F^&*ING F^&S STEALING MY MONEY I WILL COME TO YOUR OFFICE AND KILL YOU”
  • “I pay {insert monthly amount} to play and you can’t even release a game that isn’t broken.  GG.”

If what you are about to say includes personal attacks, expletives (unless they’re followed up by “awesome” or “sweet”), broad generalizations, threats, or hearsay — “the entire rogue community thinks our class is broken, FIX IT” — don’t say it.

I remember my first design project and the weeks I spent slaving over a technical document outlining proposed mobs, quests, linked dungeons, new tech for quest and item delivery, the whole nine yards.  I was so proud of it when I handed it over to a buddy of mine who works in the industry.  He read it, passed it back to me, and gave me a whole list of recommendations on how it could be improved.  He wasn’t mean about it, he was very matter-of-fact.  Of course there was the initial feeling of disappointment that he didn’t immediately pick me up and twirl me around while singing my praises, but it faded in a matter of seconds and I got to work on the next draft.  The next draft wasn’t quite there yet, either.  Five drafts and a steady stream of constructive criticism later, I finally produced a document that netted me a high-five.  If he had cursed me out and told me I sucked right off the bat, I probably would have crumpled the whole thing up and never touched it again.  Because he gave me real, meaningful feedback in a way that was helpful rather than harmful, I was not only inspired to continually improve my work based on his recommendations, but learned a ton of new skills that prevented me from making the same mistakes in later design projects.

We need to pull together as a community and put a stop to the cruelty now, while we still have people willing to endure our abuse in order to produce games purely so that we, the players, can enjoy them.  Let’s review our personal expectations and make sure that they aren’t unrealistic or totally selfish (I would love for shadow priests to be able to wear plate, but that will not and should not ever happen).

In the meantime, Tweet using the hashtags #ISupportJayWilson and #LetsPlayNice to try and get the good will trending.  Jay Wilson and all of the other devs out there really need to know that they have the support of their community behind them.  For anyone working in the game industry who’s experienced any degree of bullying, you have nothing but my best wishes, and I truly hope you keep doing what you love without letting the cruelty out there get to you.

As a special and important note to any developers or individuals within the game industry that I have previously poked fun at, including but not limited to the guy who came up with cross-realm zones in WoW and the team behind Dragon Age 2, I am truly sorry and hope that no feelings were hurt.  Even if what you created was not my particular cup of tea, I know there were many others who absolutely loved it, so keep up the good work, and remember that despite my attempts to be “funny”, you possess a rare degree of talent, creativity, and intellect that the rest of us could only hope to one day aspire to.

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80 responses »

  1. Let me start by saying this was some read and one that put words to a lot of my thoughts of late.
    As both a psychologist and an avid ARPG-gamer, I’ve observed the recent development of the JW-thread with what could best be described as ‘fascinated horror’. In a sense, I suppose the Blizzard fora have always been known as a hive of scum and villains, yet the haste with which this thread degenerated into a moaning cesspit baffles me, in all honesty.

    I think you raise pretty much all the important points there is to this farce, yet I believe it’s also important to notice the divergence within the unconstructive process. It has always seemed obvious to me that self-entitlement will thrive within most communities, at least when they raise to a certain size, and then of course there are the followers. In a psychological sense, it’s really a mob-mentality of “Burn the Witch”, the witch in this sad case happening to be Jay.

    Allow me to look back upon this in an analytic perspective. I was massively disappointed with D3, even though I desperately wanted to love it for what it is. At the time I was getting stomped in inferno and still found underpowered legendaries, I went to the official fora on a regular basis like so many other people wanting answers/a debate about the current state of the game. After some time I heard about this incarnation of evil that was Jay Wilson, apparently the gaming world’s equivalent of Sauron.

    While I arrived rather late at the party, I was quickly taught how we hated that guy and blamed him for ruining everything that was good in the land of milk and honey, known as D2. And as time went by, the more rage and hate grew around this guy I had no idea who was. I even had to google a picture of him. But in metaphorical way, the community knew why plague had come to town – a witch lived nearby. I’ll admit catching on to this notion for some time, riding the hateful wave with so many other fans, till the point when it got personal. Where people would start posting degrading comments about his appearance and life; or as the saying goes – ignoring the ball and smashing up the player.

    What’s truly ironic is that somewhere, hidden deep beneath, there are some individuals who posted genuine, solid guides and recommendations as to how this game could be improved in several ways. Ways that, to me at least, seemed to appeal to newcomers and veterans alike. Yet, these posts seemed to drown, because for each of them, there would spring up five “LOL FIRE JW!!!111” topics.

    I have no issues with people hating the _game_, if that’s where they want to spend their energy. In that case, simply don’t play it and acknowledge you’re disappointed about it. I still am, and there are several initiatives about it I don’t quite understand or hope they will change. As you say yourself, Diablo 2 wasn’t exactly good when it first arrived, but even with its age taken into consideration, I don’t think some of its mechanics should be left out of D3. Elements such as rune words, cubing, some kind of talent trees, a broader diversity of gems, much bigger and more maze-like maps and so on. And call me naïve, but I have faith that they will come. Perhaps even with what we see in Path of Exile now, with special maps added for end game.
    But I honestly suspect this is something they hold back till the expansions hit.

    Some of the more reasonable posters on the fora (yes, they’re there!) came up with even more good suggestions. While I myself have no experience of the average workday of the people behind the scenes, it really takes little thinking to imagine the kind of digging they have to go through, in order to just to find some proper feedback. It’s certainly not a job I envy.

    In this regard, passion for a game will likely always be a dual edged sword. Not that this should excuse the atrocities that pop up, but at least people should try and keep it to the game.
    I do believe Diablo 3 can become a better game, eventually. In a cynical way, it has been a success from a financial perspective and I dare wonder how many of the rage-posters will storm out and buy the expansion the day it hits?…

    Which frankly just adds insult to injury.

    Thanks for a great read!

    • Hey, thank YOU very much for a wonderful, well-thought-out comment. It’s great to get a perspective from somebody who deals with various mentalities on a daily basis. I, too, believe that with future patches and expansions, D3 will improve significantly. That was another argument I’ve heard against Jay Wilson that I forgot to put into the post (I wrote it around 2 a.m. so my brain wasn’t really functioning at top capacity, ha!) — that he promised mechanics and other aspects of the game that didn’t materialize. But like you pointed out, PATCHES! EXPANSIONS! Chances are the tech wasn’t quite there yet, or needed polish, and will be rolled out as time goes on. I’d rather have to wait for the “good stuff” than suffer through a completely broken and aggravating version of it, and the community would have probably lynched him just the same for resulting bugs.

      Hurray for you, sir, and your level-headedness. Here’s to hoping we can get the rest of the rational people into a place where the more… shall we say, emotionally-charged plaintiffs can’t drown us out.

  2. Thank you so much for making this post. I am glad more people can see the insanity that is the Diablo 3 forum community. Speaking from the heart, I would be completely discouraged as a game developer if that was the kind of unreasonable audience my games are directed to.

    • It’s heartening to see how many people are speaking up to say “I agree” on this! Here’s to hoping that maybe we can all change some viewpoints, or at least silence some of the hate. As a community, we can accomplish anything, so let’s put our voices to good use!

      • Jay Wilson deserves all the hate he’s getting
        not changing Diablo would make it stale?
        Well here’s some news for you, The Diablo III I WANTED was Diablo II with updated graphics

        • It’s unfortunate that you were left so dissatisfied with Diablo 3, but I think it’s irrational to condone death threats and personal attacks towards one person just because you didn’t get your way. That kind of behavior is unacceptable in the adult world.

          • I’m not one of the many who jumped on the threat bandwagon
            I do think it’s a bit fair considering what he did and didn’t do
            Think about what Jay Wilson said to the Diablo and Diablo II fans, that’s what started all of this, not making use of all the good things that made Diablo II so fun in the first place
            Having the nerve to tell us what is fun and what is not
            Having the nerve to tell us that we are not playing the games correctly
            I play Diablo II however the hell I feel like playing it….

            • Having the nerve to tell us that we don’t correctly remember Diablo and Diablo II
              He insults the owner of the former Blizzard North
              He goes on and on about Deckard Cain’s “Stay awhile and Listen” being repeated too much
              I don’t have a problem with Deckard Cain’s repeated catch phrase
              It’s good voice acting
              Blizzard North wouldn’t have killed off Deckard Cain the way that Blizzard South did

                • D1 and D2, while good games, are pretty much cookie-cutter nowadays. And you sound like a whiny little bitch. Do us all a favor and change your manpon and get off your mandstrul cycle.

                    • Pretty much your entire rant. You have no concept of progress, and would rather bitch about how a game isn’t just a rehash with a fresh coat of paint. Sadly, you are just a raving fanboy. Go bitch to those who actually give a damn.

        • Playing D3 right now, and as a fan of the series I have to say I like the new look. It is sad that you would rather settle for mediocre rather than try something different. And, for all intents and purposes, just a fresh take on the classic formula.

    • We all have to start somewhere. I’m sorry that you think this invalidates the bigger picture, but to each their own.

      • The literal “UGH SET JAY ON FIRE AND THROW HIM OUT A WINDOW” vitriol is pretty stupid, yes.

        Giving him a pass for making a completely soulless, joyless game that feels very transparently like it was created to provide a constant revenue stream first rather than be any sort of evolution/revolution/whatever on one of the most successful game franchises in history because he tried REALLY REALLY hard? Nah, sorry.

        There’s a lot of things wrong with D3 and people disagree on what is wrong but even Blizzard agrees there IS something wrong. You don’t move someone like Jay from Diablo 3 to drawing a paycheck to see how many times he can spin around in his chair and read reddit all day because he did it right. This is a firing in everything but words, and Blizzard is a very insular environment so they want to see if he can do something else before just showing him the door. If Jay exits Blizzard in the next 1-2 years I would not be surprised. I’ll look at whatever Kickstarter he makes however. Ha.

        D3 was going to make a shitzillion dollars regardless, and will continue to make money. But when you make a half a billion and manage to not really win any awards says a lot.

        • Jay Wilson made a game that a lot of people don’t like, this is a fact. But the main point of my post was that regardless of how anyone feels about the way D3 was handled, the severe hate that was thrown his way was NOT deserved and is never appropriate. Mr. Wilson isn’t the only person in the game industry to go through this, either.

          You do seem to know a lot about Blizzard’s internal workings, though, which is some pretty cool knowledge to have!

          • It’s important to understand that Jay Wilson was not the sole author of the game or its design. While he was certainly in the position of a creative lead, every creative lead takes feedback both from the project team and from the production and executive staff. While he was expected to be the “visionary,” there are no guarantees that one’s creative vision will actually make it into the game.

            Making games is a collaborative process, fraught with challenges. You’ll get engineers who refuse to implement features that they don’t like, often by claiming that the tech won’t allow it or by stating that it will take more time than budgeted in order to implement the design. You’ll get designers who decide to take the creative reins into their own hands, building assets or encounters that were never formally approved, going behind your back to the executive staff to get sign-off on their work. You’ll get artists who are disengaged from their work, grousing about how they’d rather be working on “Feature X,” with its art style or artistic challenges than the tripe you’re forcing them to work on. And yet, you have to pull the team together. You have to rally the troops. You have to sell your vision daily, and that uses all of your communication skills… skills that you rightly point out aren’t there for most people in the industry.

            Working in an industry of smart, creative people has its perks. The conversations are engaging, solving problems can be fun, and you learn how quickly you can brainstorm new, amazing ideas with like-minded peers. However, in an industry of smart, creative people, everyone thinks themselves to be the smartest person in the room. Everyone believes that they will show the world what fun is… if only they can get out from under the thumb of this so-called “creative lead.”

            Couple that with the fact that you are making a product… a product that must make money… a product that will constantly be evaluated by people who are far less interested in games than they are in profit… and you will find yourself fighting challenges on all sides, all related to the process of making games but unrelated to the actual game in production.

            How do I know this? I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years. I’ve been a creative lead more than once. I do not envy Jay Wilson’s position.

            Jay Wilson was at a disadvantage from the start. Diablo II was a very good game. It was built well, and its gameplay holds up fairly well. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was very, very good. It was a tough act to follow. Diablo III is also okay, but it is merely okay. Maybe, given time, expansions and patches will fix the issues that exist. It would be easier to forgive if it hadn’t taken so long to release. After a certain number of years, though, the expectations of what the game should be will far outpace what the game could ever possibly be. As such, the game — and sometimes its creative lead — will be eviscerated by the video game press. Is it fair? Of course not. But that is the reality of development.

            I don’t blame angry gamers for their reaction, per se. After all, theirs is a transactional relationship. They made a purchase, based on claims and coupled with expectations. If the purchase doesn’t at least meet the claims as they were presented, then they have every right to be upset. What other recourse do they have? However, I agree that most gamers have forgotten that they can express their anger and frustration in civil, intelligent ways, without resorting to threats, name-calling, or bullying. Language is powerful; eloquence and wit are more powerful still. It is possible to talk about the flaws in a game without threatening the creative lead and without expressing raw rage. It is difficult to take seriously the complaints of a gamer who only speaks in garbled froth and fury.

            Thanks for your post. I think you touched on some good points. Jay Wilson does not deserve the abuse he’s received. The same is true for any other game developer.

            • You’re right, Thrax, I misspoke there a bit — of course there was a great team to back Jay up. Since Jay is the one mostly in the spotlight, however, he’s the one getting pelted with tomatoes. Hope I didn’t make anyone on the D3 team feel neglected or unappreciated there 🙂 Just as you said, they DO have the right to be mad, just not the right to express themselves in such horrifying manners.

              Thanks for all your hard work and devotion within the game industry, by the way. I definitely appreciate it, as well as the great insight!

            • Most people do not think with that kind of attitude. It has become a selfish and toxic environment where the incredibly stupid can be noticed.

  3. I really like your segment on ways to properly give feedback and ways that you should never ever give feedback. I recently seen that segement cut and pasted into the forums anyway I digress people will act the way they always have on the internet nothing will change that.

    • Oh wow, it was? Do you have a link to it?

      Changing people’s attitudes is no easy task, and of course there will always be that handful of people who enjoy being mean for whatever reason, but the important thing is to NOT take a defeatist attitude towards it. That’s what allows this culture of bullying to grow, that people just throw their hands up and say “oh, well, it’s going to happen anyway.” Please, please, please speak up and make your voice heard! We can stand strong as a community of sensible gamers.

  4. sorry but im not going to feel sorry for somebody making 6 figures. you get paid that kind of money you put out a quality product not dog shit

    • Based on your comment, I’d have to ask whether your issue is actually with the game, or the fact that the people working so hard on it are making a healthy paycheck. I’d also recommend that you reread the section about how to give feedback. 🙂

  5. First of all, I don’t know where you get this peace love and understanding blather about the “good ol’ days” of gaming. I grew up on Battle.net; I grew up playing Diablo 1 and Starcraft, and I’m here to tell you that absolutely nothing has changed. If anything, people are more civil because it is now much easier to get banned for abrasive language. What you’ve said here is so off-base that I honestly cannot fathom the circumstance which led you to believe you have *any idea* what you’re talking about.

    But that’s beside the point. You leave out critical information in this post:

    1. Being a video game developer is Jay Wilson’s *job*. He makes money from it. *A lot* of money by most standards.

    2. The game does not satisfy the standard set by previous installments. This is purely a matter of consensus reality at this point, and if you think otherwise, you’re either blind or extremely gullible.

    3. Jay Wilson was forced to step down. If you think this occurred because he did such a great job and they just couldn’t wait for him to start another game, then you are incredibly naive.

    Other than that, Jay Wilson’s mishandling of this project both on the technical and the P.R. sides have been so well-understood by the gaming community at this point that there is no use arguing with you. And everyone who has seen his interviews knows that he is a snide little twerp and he had an extremely misguided view regarding the merits of Diablo 2.

    At the end of the day, Blizzard is a business. They made a product that seemed extremely insulting to most users, and they ruined legacy to do it. Most people feel this was due to a need to balance for the RMAH and that the game was released way too early so Activision-Blizzard would seem more attractive for the Vivendi sell.

    You can’t tell a company to go f itself. So you tell its representatives instead. It’s really simple.

    • There were days in gaming long before Battle.net, my friend. I feel sorry for you that your gaming experience has left you so very jaded. As far as your argument for civility, I’d like to point out that there are plenty of ways to cross lines without using profanity or bannable language — it’s a fine art that few people have been able to master, but it IS possible.

      I don’t understand why people are pointing out salaries and paychecks, but it seems to garner quite a bit of hatred. As far as satisfying previous standards, we haven’t even seen the first expansion for D3 yet, something that D2 has already been able to bring to the table purely because of its age. I’d also like to see your proof that Jay Wilson was forced to step down.

      I’m not going to argue with you, because I see things one way, and you see yours another, and no amount of bickering is going to change anyone’s mind. There’s enough hate out there right now that we don’t need it to be here, too.

    • @pwrjph:

      1. Completely irrelevant to the author’s thesis.

      2. Sentence 1: Opinion. Sentence 2: Opinion. Google “argumentum ad populum”.

      3. Sentence 1: Conjecture. Sentence 2: Opinion.

      I’d respond to the rest of your comment but it’s just more of the same. Good for you.

  6. Pingback: In Defense of Jay Wilson: Bullying Is Not A Game « rgmount85

  7. I see this issue as the ridiculousness and stupidity of throwing death threats at people because you don’t like the game they worked on. The issue is being mean and nasty. It’s not about D3 or Blizz or any other game/function/person. It’s not a defense of Jay Wilson. It’s a defense of common decency. Why do people think it’s OK to be mean? Whether they make 6-figure salaries or not. Whether someone works at McDonald’s or as the quarterback for the NFL, you don’t have to like what they do, but there is ZERO excuse or reason to threaten their lives. You don’t like it, don’t play it.

    BE NICE PEOPLE! Sheesh… is it really such a hard concept?

  8. Great write up, and it’s disappointing to see people missing the point in the comments. It makes you wonder if they actually read the article or not, seeing as you addressed how to discuss short comings that a game has (and Diablo 3 clearly had a few, at least).

    As for where Mr. Wilson is headed, I doubt this is him getting fired. He was head of the fastest selling PC game of all time at the time of release, and it has continued to make good money through market transactions. Whether or not it was what Blizzard was hoping for? I doubt it. But everyone makes mistakes, and when you work at the level Blizzard does, you don’t fire your head people for anything but a massive commercial failure, which D3 was not. Left4Dead 2 had similar issues (not as long of a tail as L4D, gimmicky new stuff, not as polished or cohesive as the first), but you didn’t see anyone getting fired there.

    People need to stop assuming that their personal enjoyment, or the vocal minority’s personal enjoyment (here’s a hint: if you’re talking on a forum, you are discussing things with the vocal minority), is the end all be all. I would agree that D3 had problems; I stopped playing after beating it on the second difficulty because it was boring and unrewarding to me. But this means that a PART of D3 failed, even though it was a significant part.

    In the end, I think that this is ultimately an issue that transcends gaming: digital culture and communication is rapidly changing the way we interact we each other in digital environments, and issues like this run rampant everywhere, not just with gamers. So rest assured that this section of vitriolic gamers is not unique, and is but a representation of a larger problem in a specific niche. It will be interesting to see how the problems of digital communication get resolved in the future, but for now we can only hope that the few voices encouragement (even if it isn’t all positive) outweigh the disparaging voices.

    • To be fair, that may be partially my fault in picking a poor title — I think people expect that the ENTIRE post is about Jay Wilson and because he is such a sore subject right now, sort of shut off their brains after the first little bit.

      Jay indeed has NOT been fired. He spent seven years on one game, at that point I might consider moving on to something else, too. Especially with Blizzard’s top secret projects they’ve got going right now, I don’t blame him! I’m excited to see what they are. Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, though, so it’s much more interesting to throw Occam’s Razor to the wind, and serves as just more “proof” in people’s minds that he’s some kind of monster.

      Wish I could shake your hand for such a coherent and beautifully written comment. It’s people like you out there in the gaming community that keep me from becoming jaded. 🙂

  9. I think the most important rule is “If you have to swear or insult someone to get your message across, your message isn’t worth getting across.”

    I have been in heated flame wars on forums before – pro-CRZ being one of them, sorry – and I have always managed to get my point across without filthy language or insulting another person.

    I have also managed a small number of forums and always immediately deleted messages with foul language. And you know what? The forums were a much more productive place.

    • When someone starts swearing or using grade-school insults, I automatically write off anything further that they could ever say to me. I’ll be honest, I swear like a sailor. I once dropped the F-bomb six times in one sentence, but it sure wasn’t during a debate. Making an argument for or against something is the number one time that we have to put on our grown-up undies and conduct ourselves in a manner which we know will encourage people to listen, not to tune us out.

      And no worries on being pro-CRZ. 🙂 I’ll only deduct one point from your column… (kidding!)

  10. Just because he made money from the game, it does not entitle people to insult him. He is not your whore to use and abuse. And you might agree or disagree with what he did, but he worked his ass and I doubt Blizzard despises him. More of the contrary probably.

    • I assume all of the hatred over how much money he makes is based in jealousy and entitlement — that’s the only explanation I can come up with. It’s very sad.

  11. Great post, lemme start by saying that.
    But there are some things that bother me a little though about your premise, first off where I come from gaming d&d did not lead to gaming pc games. At least not in the 80’s when I grew up – which leads me to my second point
    Have you read hobby-forums on anything not gaming related lately? This forum-bullying thing is very much not a gaming related issue. (Just go and read what people write about Tom Brady this week after his teams defeat)

    I honestly think there are a lot of young kids who find themselves on a forum arguing with adults as equals, but have not yet learned how to construct an argument, so they use what they use to argue with their friends. (if you have any early teen family members who you are facebook friends with, odds are you’ll see the same form of argument between them and their friends there.)

    So I do believe there is some truth to the ‘grow thicker skin’ argument, in the way that you should not take arguments made in these forums, in these bullying manners as anything other than kids who will grow up and eventually be horrified that they would ever write something as asinine as what you see on (for example) d3’s forums.
    Rest is up to moderators to weed out the worst, which will overall improve the tone of a forum.

    A couple of years ago we did an examination of a kids forum, and found that if the first comments children saw on that page where malevolent, they would follow in tone. I find it very hard to see this being any different with adults even.

    • Of course, the gaming experience will be different for everyone, and I didn’t mean to make anybody feel excluded, but through inference and context I would hope that those who didn’t break into PC games from tabletop games would be able to understand my point. And of course bullying stretches far beyond the gaming industry, but this doesn’t invalidate any of my argument. Nowhere did I claim that this is exclusive to the gaming community, either.

      Clinging to the “thicker skin” argument is part of why bullying culture, both in and out of the gaming world, has been allowed to grow and thrive as much as it has. It’s an archaic and damaging point of view — just look at the ever-increasing number of teens who commit suicide every year because of bullying and harassment — and one that is damaging not only our youth, but adults, as well. When the cruelty turns to something extremely personal or threatening, as it often seems to, there’s only so much you can brush off before it becomes unbearable.

  12. The professional criticism in the form of candid comments by David Brevik literally read: “I have very mixed emotions about it. On one hand I am sad that people haven’t enjoyed Diablo because it’s a love, a passion, and it’s obvious people still have a giant love and passion for Diablo… That makes me feel great.

    I am sad because people are outraged and… some of the decisions they have made are not the decisions I would make, and there have been changes in philosophy and that hasn’t gone over very well…

    I am also a little happy… I hate to say, [but] it shows that the people that were involved in Diablo really did matter, and so I am happy that it has come to light that how talented that group was, how unique and special… when the people leave the game changes, and it shows how critical people are in this industry.”

    To which Jay Wilson’s unprofessional response is “Fuck that loser.”

    So, yes, he is kind of a jerk. And he deserves no more or less of a quality response from the playerbase than he gave to his colleague to whom he owes his job.

    • Rationalizing bullying by saying “he deserved it” is no different than rationalizing rape by saying “she was asking for it.” Whether or not his response was professional, he a.) apologized for it in a manner which I earnestly believe to be sincere, and b.) said three small words in defense of one of his team members feeling like they had been, quote, “thrown under the bus” that amount to something I guarantee you is much less severe than anything any of us have said in defense of our friends.

    • Jay said “eff that loser” in a personal comment on colleague’s personal Facebook page. By definition this was NOT an unprofessional comment. It was an a-professional comment. Was it wise? Maybe not. But professionalism has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  13. Ashamed to be a gamer is right.

    I think that gamers get really involved and passionate in the fantasy worlds we inhabit, and that this increases the chances not checking reality and of saying stuff that you would never say directly to someones face. Especially anonymously online when you can pretend that you are being as witty cool and awesome as you actually aren’t.

    No excuse though. There is never an excuse for being a total dick. Unless you have that rare brain fungus that crawls into your decision-making gland secreting moron-fluid all the way.

    • Nope, you are right, there is NEVER an excuse for it. I see a lot of people trying to rationalize their own insecurities and anger by claiming that “he deserved it” or pretending that other people are responsible for their emotions and reactions. That’s sadly not the way that the adult world works.

  14. Why do you insist on calling this bullying? Jay Wilson is a LEADER and a public figure. Anyone who chooses leadership should expect criticism and harsh treatment at times.

    Do you think that President Obama is being bullied by Republicans too?

    Everytime you attach the word “bully” to situations like this one, you water it down. Pretty soon bullying will be connotatively ambiguous.

    • The “they should expect it” mentality is indicative of exactly what I wish we could eraticate. Criticism is one thing. The Jay Wilson incident was an example of something entirely different.

      • Then I’m afraid you have unrealistic expectations, my friend. Contrary to your proposal, criticism of leadership should be encouraged. Leaders surrounded by “yes men” generally do not adjust and tend to retain overinflated egos. Furthermore, criticism of leaders is the hallmark of a grown up, civilized society; it is the hallmark of a free society. Yes, I realize Wilson was merely at the helm of a video game development process that doesn’t really matter in the real world, but he was somewhat of a tyrant in this microcosm.

        Every situation in which criticism is dealt should not be considered bullying. Please save the bullying defense for those who really need it.

        • I am sorry that you think my expectations are unrealistic and that you can’t see the difference between what happened with Jay Wilson and simple criticism, which, as you say, should be encouraged. It also sounds like you’ve been a victim of bullying at some point in your life or been close to someone who has, and for that I am truly sorry. Nobody deserves that.

          • Let me concede that quite a bit of unnecessary hate has spewed forth from the thread in which you posted a link to this blog post. For many, I suspect this is a byproduct of exasperation. However, let me make a quick case for why I think you shouldn’t label this thread as bullying.

            1. Wilson voluntarily placed himself into public view. In many public appearances, he appeared arrogant, cocky, and self-obsessed.
            2. He personally attacked anyone who (constructively) criticized his leadership choices and his game. This included the creators of Diablo 2 (“Fuck that loser”) and other prominent figures.
            3. Wilson drew a considerable salary with bonuses and remains employed (even promoted perhaps) within his company. He has received his just rewards.

            Wilson is hardly innocent or helpless. He does not need to be defended. If he’s a strong leader, he will learn from this experience and adjust. If not, he shouldn’t be a leader in the first place. Not everyone is leadership material. Leadership is reserved for the few with strength, resilience, stamina, and an open mind. Jay currently lacks the latter ability but maybe he will adjust, learn, and grow from this experience AND improve for the better.

            • Actually, it was not me who posted the link on the D3 forums. I was just as surprised as anyone else to see it there.

              I am a bit distressed, however, that most people are fixating on the Jay Wilson portion of my post and completely ignoring the rest of it, which shows other examples of how the gaming community is getting completely out of control and crossing the line between constructive criticism and pure hatred.

              It’s not up to any of us to determine who doesn’t need to be defended. You may be absolutely right, but I refuse to be silenced when I see what I consider to be an injustice being done.

        • You know, at no point in this article does Overlord advocate not critiquing Diablo 3, or Jay Wilson’s influence.

          The point is simply this: if you’re doing things like a) wishing death upon someone; b) being excessively rude and caustic with your choice of words; c) praising god this person is leaving; in a public forum, you’re not adding anything to any discussion, you’re just being a dick. This is the sort of behavior that, in real life, would be unacceptable. Unfortunately, we (the internet denizens) seem to think that statements that are pointedly caustic or rude are equivalent to some form of criticism, which just isn’t the case.

          If you don’t like Jay Wilson, I think Overlord made it clear that you have the right to think that and to express that. I bet he would even be willing to agree with a few points about what he did wrong, where Diablo 3 faltered, etc. But “criticism” isn’t anything negative, it’s reasoned and thoughtful commentary (positive or negative). Furthermore, you don’t make it during someone’s farewell speech; no one does things like this in front of the President when he’s leaving office.

          As for the use of “bullying,” language is mutable. The most basic definition of bullying is “the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others,” which is exactly what this is. Bullying as a form of retaliation is a different social issue than bullying as a form of domination, but it’s just as relevant a social issue, especially in digital environments where it goes unchecked.

          • “Furthermore, you don’t make it during someone’s farewell speech; no one does things like this in front of the President when he’s leaving office”

            Well, except for Fox News, and none of us want to be like Fox News.

    • You think personal insults and physical threats of violence constitute appropriate “criticism”? If so, please post your home address so that:

      a) someone will threaten to kidnap, rape, and/or murder your entire family because they didn’t like a decision you made at your job, and
      b) I know never to step foot in such a wretched place.

      I’m sure you’ll be cool with that.

  15. @Bunny “Rationalizing bullying by saying “he deserved it” is no different than rationalizing rape by saying “she was asking for it.” Whether or not his response was professional, he a.) apologized for it in a manner which I earnestly believe to be sincere, and b.) said three small words in defense of one of his team members feeling like they had been, quote, “thrown under the bus” that amount to something I guarantee you is much less severe than anything any of us have said in defense of our friends.”

    That’s an awful double standard, isn’t it? It’s not OK for anyone out there to say “Fuck you, too” in response to Jay’s “Fuck that loser”, because it’s rationalizing ‘bullying’. But you’re rationalizing Jay’s “Fuck that loser” to Brevik. Mmmmmmmmkay?

    You also have a serious disconnect from reality if you draw any connection between people slinging insults and substanceless threats at eachother over the internet, and rape. Get a grip, man.

    • “Fuck you, too” itself wouldn’t really be bullying, though it would be a disappointingly immature response. You seem to have missed the death threats and severe personal attacks that were being slung around — that’s where the line is crossed.

      As far as “substanceless” threats over the internet, it’s true that most of them likely are… but there are some really unstable people out there, and it’s still incredibly disturbing to read.

      I am sorry that you don’t agree with my analysis, but to each their own 🙂

    • No, it’s not a double standard. Forgiving someone for making a rash, emotional claim on their personal Facebook in response to something their friend posted is much different than going on a public podium and screaming caustic comments.

      I think that if you did something (made a game, drafted a bill, made a company, etc) and someone said “Do you think Mith Randir was the wrong person for the job?” in public for an audience, you’d be a bit peeved too. That was what he was responding to.

      You also have to take into consideration that he was posting in what we would practically deem the private sphere, where conversations are amongst people with a decent amount of intimacy. It unfortunately got screen capped, and posted across the internet because he was a dev. This whole debacle about the “Fuck that guy” quote is indicative of a societal misunderstanding on the relevance of personal comments, and the boundaries of digital communication.

      And if you seriously think one comment is bullying on a level even remotely comparable to the consistent, persistent, and far more negative statements made in that D3 thread alone, you are the one with a serious disconnect from reality.

      Also, here’s some food for thought: if you want games to be taken seriously, the internet to be taken seriously, your digital contributions to be taken seriously, then you had better start taking digital communication seriously. Just because it’s “the internet” does not give you a pass to be a dick, and saying “well the internet isn’t serious” is denying all the things the games industry, and others, are working for. We live in a digital world now, and that means we have to start taking digital communication as serious as we take other forms of communication because it IS as serious (if not more so) than other forms of communication. And before you misinterpret this, it doesn’t mean funny, silly things can’t exist; what I mean is that we can’t act like our actions on the internet are devoid of responsibility or meaning because it was anonymous and on the internet.

      tl;dr: what you say has meaning, no matter what medium you say it in. Better get used to that.

      • Thank you, Evan, for once again stating more eloquently what’s on my mind! High five for the assist. 🙂

  16. You guys seem to have more of a problem with the relationship between human nature and the anonymity of the internet. Out of curiosity, I wonder how vehemently opposed you were to the real-ID forum proposal. I am truly sorry you believe that something on the internet, especially on Facebook, could remotely be considered ‘the Private sphere’.

    P.S. I thought we’d moved on from bullying to mental illness as the hot topic flavor of the month.

    • I think that we, as a society, need to reconsider the importance we artificially graft on to Facebook communication. I think it is unfortunate that Facebook is anything but private, even on the strictest security settings. Not all communication is meant to be public, just as Jay Wilson’s “Fuck this guy” comment was not meant to be public. I see it as something akin to office chat, where a friend shows you an article and you respond to them directly; these sorts of interactions aren’t usually public, and I don’t think that these sorts of conversations on the internet hold any more merit than a brief, colloquial office chat.

      As for Real-ID, it was well intentioned, but had problems. It seems like it would be easy to get around, and research has shown that having your name attached to something wouldn’t actually change your behavior (it has more to do with body language, and physical presence). The problem R-ID was attempting to address, though, is interesting; if there’s one issue regarding digital communication that trumps the rest, it’s the fact it’s insanely easy to have no accountability or responsibility for what you say. While R-ID wasn’t a good solution, hopefully it will start some conversations about what could help fix this problem.

      And yes, I think this is a problem that transcends the gaming community. This is simply a growing pain as society transitions into a more (and eventually fully) digital phase. However, it is still a very real and very large issue, that there isn’t really one answer to. Hopefully we can sort it out within (the early part of) my lifetime, because I tire of the witless negativity and irrational spite that plagues gaming forums.

      Also, I don’t see this as discussing the same sort of bullying that was the rage a few months ago (a year ago? I forget when that was a big topic, but it wasn’t recent). As I mentioned in a previous comment, I see the bullying on the D3 forums as form of retaliation, rather than a form of domination. It’s something that’s really come into its own with digital communication, and is a very relevant and current issue that no one really talks about, at least not by that name. Is calling it bullying a tad dramatic? Perhaps. But it can easily be classified as such, and doing so lends some much needed weight to the issue I think; it’s easy for people to pass over discussions on digital communication, but bullying…that’s sensational. Even if it isn’t, really.

  17. First, let me say, what a great read. I agree with you about everything you said. But I must point this out. Your online handle is Tardbunny. According to your About section, it’s a playful, benign nickname given by a friend. OK, I get that. Cute. Who could it possibly hurt? But it’s derived from the word “retard” which is hateful slang for someone with Down Syndrome. While you’re not intentionally being rude, “Tard” or “Retard” is still in very common usage to refer to people with Down Syndrome in a derogatory and sometimes aggressive way, often by the bullies you’re referring to. Would you consider changing your handle based on what you’ve written here? It’s a rhetorical question. I’m not demanding that you do it. But do please consider my point in light of your entry here. http://youtu.be/ObPoZCTTVeI

    • You do make a good point, but I feel I should defend myself here a bit. “Retard” in French (which I speak) also means “behind” and does not carry a connotation of being “retarded” in the English sense. For instance, “un jour retard” would be “a day behind,” as in being behind schedule. This is really the “tard” to which I refer, as it describes me quite well. I would, however, like to point out that “tard” when used as a slur does not only target people with Down’s Syndrome.

      Would I consider changing my handle? No, I wouldn’t, because it’s a derivation of a different word, even if it is spelled the same, though obviously it easily causes confusion. In truth, I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve been asked. 🙂

      Judging by the video you posted and the specific mention, I would assume that someone close to you has Down’s Syndrome, or that you have worked with them in a close capacity. I taught an art class for one of the group homes when I was a teenager. Please rest easy knowing that I certainly have no hate or derision in my heart for anyone suffering from a mental illness or disability.

      • You speak english. “Tard” is hateful language used by the exact people you are attempting to criticize with this post.

        • Can be, but isn’t always. As explained above, it isn’t intended to be hurtful, but can be interpreted as such without an explanation.

          Essentially, your argument here is “if it can be that way, it is necessarily that way,” which doesn’t make any sense.

          And let’s not go into how ethnocentric it is to say “if it has a meaning in English, it must hold that meaning before all other meanings, regardless of context.”

          Also, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the discrediting: there is a very big difference between the actions of naming yourself and publicly stating something, regardless of language. To conflate the two is both incorrect, and I’m honestly not sure how you manage to do it and not have a mental break down from the dissonance.

          Also also, the post was mainly about the action, rather than the specific language. Language is a part of the action, but it isn’t THE action.

  18. Retard as a noun (person) and Retarded (adjective, referring to such a person) are derived from Retard (verb: to slow or inhibit) and Retarded (adjective, slowed or inhibited). As in, this mentally handicapped person is developmentally inhibited, mentally slow, aka retarded.

    And again, a double standard of rationalization.

    • You’re really determined with this double standard thing, even though you’re not very good at recognizing where it’s applicable. You also are using a rather deficient dictionary.

      The first definition of the noun “retard” is actually “a holding back, or slowing down.” I think that falls within the general concept that the author was aiming for with his handle. The offensive term is a reference, or adaptation, of the original meaning. Also, a retard (as a noun) can be more than a person, as it’s a musical term as well. It can also be a noun as an abstract concept, which is how it’s being employed in the handle.

      In order for it to be a double standard, you have to make the argument that any reference to the origin of the offensive term “retard” is actually a reference to the offensive term, which is pretty bone headed. Given that he also gave two very good reasons why it isn’t a reference to the offensive term (used more literally in French, which he speaks; worked with special needs children), that’s not a rationalization, it’s an explanation.

      While I think it’s definitely worth inquiring about (although not terribly relevant, for a few reasons), there’s no double standard at play here.

  19. The double standard is how he berates people for rationalizing ‘bullying’ Jay Wilson, while going on to rationalize Jay Wilson’s “Fuck that loser” comment, and then his own handle (there is only one thing ‘tard’ is short for, and it’s not the french).

    • In all of his article, and comments, I have not seen Overlord berate ANYONE. He has disagreed with them, he has stated he thinks their statements don’t make sense, but he has not berated them.

      If anything, he has been the most civilized person in the comments section, willing to agree to disagree and not try to start a fight with people.

      Also, and this goes back to your first double standard accusation, the “fuck that loser” comment and the community reaction to Jay Wilson are in almost no way equivalent in how they should be interpreted. To say that we should have the same reaction to the Facebook comment as we do to the forum outcry is ridiculous, and an example of the absurd notions our society has about the meaning and boundaries of personal commentary online.

      Even if you wanted to say the two were similar, do note that Jay Wilson has come forth and apologized for his conduct, admitting that he was wrong in what he did. So while what Wilson did may not be proper conduct, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that the conduct of the forum goers was wrong as well, which is the entire point of the post.

      And given that Jay was willing to publicly apologize, even if you assume it was insincere, it isn’t a double standard to say that’s worth forgiving him (somewhat, if you assume it was insincere) and not the forum goers, because he recognized what he did was wrong, even if he didn’t want to take back his words. There has been no such realization on the side of the forums, and there probably won’t be for a good time, unfortunately.

  20. Let me say this.

    I don’t think the name calling is right or people wishing he was dead.

    However… There has been plenty of constructive criticism..
    I have personally gathered and made a very lengthy post trying to improve the game just using the Main threads that keep popping up Every day.

    Blizzard pretty much plugged its ears and closed it’s eyes not listening to the fanbase.

    Look at the duping situation right now? 35 threads created less then 4 days! And what does bliz do delete the threads.

    He was the LEAD.. Idea’s and design and what have you had to go through him at some point.

    Blizzard’s way of communicating with the fans is by CM’s.. LOOK at the site… you got a silly thread up asking where would you live.. why not polls about how to remove duping or stop gold spammers or why items are fail?

    Communication is everything…….

    Player base is rabid the game is awful. It is not just diablo forums go to other games forums and check it out.

    I personally don’t need someone telling me what is fun and how to play.

    Blizzard has really dropped the ball. Diablo should be king of ARPGs!

    Not getting multiple MOST disappointing game of the year awards..

    Diablo 3 is a Failure.

    Who ever was managing D3 was most likely a Tardbunny..

    • What? You sound like you know the industry head to toe without any real experience, and that you were disappointed by the game. Most reviews by reviewers tend to be positive.

  21. sadly this is the “me” generation where everything is allllll about meeee. This is the generation that mommy and daddy tell all of their kids that they are special snow flakes and that they are important. Surprise! They’re not special.

    People need to stop thinking that their opinions are fact. They are not. You are not that special. Your opinions does not represent the majority. Just because some basement dweller believes that Diablo 3 is “a shiity game” doesn’t make it fact. The game has sold so many copies and people genuinely love the game. People have to understand, the forum goers are a tiny population of the game. Real players are happily playing the game and aren’t bother posting on the forums. The people who do post on the forum are people who think their opinions actually worth a damn. So what if you don’t like the game. No body cares. You already bought the game and obviously played it so much of it already. You can’t drive a car and take it to the dealer to return it after 100k miles saying how the car sucked. It doesn’t work that way. You played your 60 dollars worth it, shut up and get out. They don’t owe you anything.

    You opinions simply matters little. If you do not like the game? Oh well, there are millions who do and are still playing. Diablo 2 wasn’t all that fun to me. I didn’t enjoy much at it. Big deal. I didn’t complain about it at all. I played as much of as it as I can and then moved on. It was repetitive and boring. Then came Diablo 3. Gameplay felt better, story was better. It didn’t make me want to bang my head against the screen every few seconds. I played Diablo 3 about the same amount of time that I spent playing D2. I was done with it which was fine. I knew I expect going in. Diablo 3 was not a failure. If I were a gaming company that made a game which sold over 10 million copies, I’m laughing all the way to the bank. The game developers don’t owe gamers anything. They don’t have to listen to constructive criticism. They don’t have to answer poorly written questions posted by absolute idiots. Yet some how they take time out of their day to do that. They don’t have to change the game one bit. Why should they? They already got your money. It’s their game. Of course they can do whatever they want.

    Stop feeling entitled. You are not a special little snow flake. Your opinions are merely… opinions. Other players like the game just fine.

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