Politics, Religion, ... and Game Mechanics?

#1 - April 7, 2015, 3:07 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Its common knowledge that you shouldn't bring up Politics or Religion at the dinner table, since they are topics that tend to devolve rapidly into argument. But reading these forums, I can't help but notice that some people seem to take a very similar tact regarding certain game mechanics.

Its fairly consistent for you to find statements like:
- "Put your foot down!"
- "You can't silence me!"
- "We'll keep saying this until we're heard!"
- "Boycott!"

These are phrases you might overhear at political demonstrations, or, oddly, video game forums. Some seem to perceive Blizzard's developers as a kind of dictator or tyrant, imposing unwanted laws on the game world - as opposed to attempting to create an experience through the mechanics.

Why is that? What makes mechanics in the game create feelings of injustice rather than just distaste?
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#10 - April 7, 2015, 4:17 p.m.
Blizzard Post
04/07/2015 08:07 AMPosted by Mvura
Why is that? What makes mechanics in the game create feelings of injustice rather than just distaste?

I think it's mostly to do with ownership. You see the same thing with some movies, especially with popular movie franchises, that the dynamic of product creator and product consumer changes--and this is compounded when you factor in age and nostalgic factors. It's not just about making something to entertain for a couple hours anymore and a 'We hope you had fun!' and everyone moves on, it's had an impact on who they are, and it's something they've invested some portion of their life toward. In most cases you'll also find these things have a human element, where relationships are formed, experiences with friends are had, and memories made. When you're involved in creating the entertainment that defines a part of who someone is, and this is especially true of games and gamers, you're not just making something they can choose to buy or not, you're continually trying to deliver on a promise. It's usually not a promise anyone wrote down, or put on a website, but it's an expectation that this piece of their life won't betray them by becoming something else. All of this is sometimes explained or downplayed as entitlement, and I think that word is often used as a way to belittle people who rightfully have expectations--who have a deep and emotional connection to a life experience that just happens to be based around a piece of entertainment.

It's no small part of our job to ensure that when you see one of our game logos, or just the Blizzard logo, you know that when you pick up that box, or click on a link, it's going to be something that delivers on all those promises, and that those expectations are not only met but exceeded. It's a really difficult, and scary, and exciting, and wondrous obligation we have. And one that we really enjoy challenging ourselves with. Every day.