Thursday, April 26, 2007

You say Goodbye...and I say Hello

This is something that I've wondered about for a long time...why do people even bother posting on a MMO forum that they are leaving the game? Why do they think that other players who read the forum even care what they do with their gaming time? Why do they think that posting in a forum is more powerful than voting with your dollar? Do devs care about these posts at all? Lastly...why must every responder after such a post insist on posting "Can I have your stuff"? :)

First angle...why do they even post these types of messages? Well, first and foremost I guess it depends on the person who's doing the posting. This person could be saying goodbye to a lot of friends who's company they've come to enjoy. Another motive could just be the venting of pure frustration on a certain aspect of the game...this type of person my not even follow through on actually quitting. They may have encountered a loot ninja or some other type of frustrating aspect of MMO life and just said, "Frack it!" Either way, people who even post this seem to think that this message is important to convey...or why else would they even bother.

Second...do they really think that people care about them leaving? I think they do, at the very least, those players who have played against or with this person want the chance to say good bye to this player. I had such an experience with one such player in WoW. Before Blizzard ruined world PvP, most battles that I enjoyed where in the Crossroads area. There was this one Rogue on the Alliance side who would just wipe the floor with anyone he engaged. Some time ago, he posted on the Gilneas forum that he had to leave due to the birth of his new child and I posted to say goodbye (one of the two times I posted on the WoW forums). I respected his play skills that much. He later came back, at which time I rolled an alliance toon just to say hi to him.

Why wouldn't people just leave instead of posting? I mean, bottom line is that MMO companies are businesses and surely voting with your dollar has more of an impact than just posting a "goodbye" or "screw you guys" in the forums. Well, some people may feel that just canceling the account leaves a loose string. After all, when you finish a phone call, you just don't hang up the phone...you say "good-bye" first, then hang up. When you leave a friends house...you don't just walk out the door without saying goodbye. I know....there are plenty of circumstances where you do, but in most cases you say "goodbye" then you exit stage left in whatever situation your in. Even in most monthly transactions like phone service, you call up someone to cancel the account first and then you stop paying...kind of like saying goodbye I guess. So, the forum avenue seems to follow the same kind of model for leaving a service of some kind.

Do devs care about these forum posts? I think they do...especially when there is a pattern evolving right in front of their eyes. People leaving could point to a design or game play flaw. It could point to a PR problem that the company has. I think they do read these posts just to make sure that they can intercept these issues before they become too big. I've seen some good "I'm leaving posts" and some bad ones...and I'm sure that the devs get a wide range of useful and useless information from each post that involves the departure of a player.

I'm not really going to cover the "Can I have your stuff" replies, because it just seems to be an MMO forum culture thing...and a stupid one at that. Regardless, it seems that these type of posts are quite useful to the player, the community and the devs in some cases.

D out.

4 comments:

yunk said...

I'm actually quitting WoW next month, I've started to give away gold and items. And I've been looking for a survey or exit-interview type form to fill out and can't find any.

I'm sure it would be useful and help them develop content if enough people filled it out.

I had not even considered leaving a post in my server's general forum. Why would anyone care? I think often those people are more looking for sympathy or attention or trying to hurt people as they leave.

Presume said...

I had not even considered leaving a post in my server's general forum. Why would anyone care? I think often those people are more looking for sympathy or attention or trying to hurt people as they leave.

"Can i have your stuff"?

Theres your explanation in a nutshell.

Tipa said...

yunk, you get a comment form to fill out when you cancel your WoW account....

wilhelm2451 said...

I think you can leave an effective parting message if you work at it. You have to want to send a constructive message. Since most people just want to say, "Screw You (insert company name)!" you rarely see such posts.

First, avoid drama. You are probably best off just saying that you're taking time off from the game. That thwarts all but the most obtuse "can I have your stuff" posters.

Second, detail, with examples, why you've grown tired/frustrated with the game, again without drama or over the top declarations.

Third, mention some good points like what drew you to the game. You were there for a reason, right?

Fourth do not pretend to represent some undocumented group of players. Just because you are upset with the game doesn't mean everybody is. Contradictions to generalizations about the player base exceed responses about who gets your equipment by a large margin.

Finally, do not have any expectations that anything is going to happen ever because of what you wrote. Even if you write something so powerful that it moves the staff to look into your issues, you're unlikely to ever find out.

As for "why" people leave these posts, it is the same reason my wife stomps away and slams the door when we argue and I hold the upper hand. She is mad, she is not getting her way, and she wants to demonstrate that even if it serves no purpose whatsoever.

(I, on the other hand, sulk and get really passive-aggressive... and that happens more because I am usually on the losing side.)

(You also get a comment form when you cancel your EQ2 account. I just saw it yesterday!)