The People vs. Blizzard Entertainment
I watched a documentary yesterday about Star Wars titled The People vs. George Lucas. It cataloged the stages of love and disdain Star Wars fans have had for George Lucas since his first major film release. It was, I feel, a very fair documentary that looked both at fans’ rights and creator’s rights, and while there were some scathing criticisms of his choices, there was also an in-depth look at why he might have made those choices alongside experts defending his decisions. It ended, too, on a very positive note, and I felt it was one of the best documentaries I’d seen in a while. It’s recently available on Netflix, so if you haven’t seen it and have any relation to Star Wars or George Lucas, I’d strongly recommend it.
I mention this because at one point in the movie, and I apologize for spoiling this excellent observation, one of the experts says that the hate that so many felt towards Lucas was a natural outcropping of their love for him; that they’d become so passionate about the material that they, themselves, had become like the Sith Lords, embracing their hatred. It struck me as a perfect metaphor for my, and I believe many players’, relationship with Blizzard.
We rant and rave against Blizzard, but many of us still play, as well. Many of us who’ve been around the longest have had time to really develop a love for Azeroth, and when we see changes being made that we don’t agree with, we complain, as if we, the players, have a proprietary right to the land. This issue of control is precisely how Star Wars is debated, too; do fans have a right to the creations they’ve loved and poured so much money and time in to?
The debate between the original versions of Star Wars versus the “Special Editions” (as an English professor, a narrativist, and a lover of neutral characters (because I can’t bring myself to be one), I do find it a major element to Solo’s character that he shot first. Changing that changes his very core.) mirrors exactly the recent discussion of classic servers where one could play WoW in its original form. Like with Star Wars fans, we don’t understand why that wouldn’t be made available, and like with Lucas, Blizzard simply doesn’t see that moving backwards is a good creative decision.
Is it really possible that strong love with a misguided feeling of betrayal (I say misguided because no promises were made to the fans of either about the future of the stories/games) can turn into such bitter hatred? It seems so in both cases. The amount of time, money, and devotion one has given seems like a favorite food that’s been enjoyed, only to be wretched up as bile when we’re gut punched by the creators of what we love.
I feel like this pretty clearly explains the turn in the blogosphere recently, where instead of so many sites lauding praise, we instead see directed efforts to talk about what was good in an expansion, which have to be deliberate attempts because the ratio of good to bad is so skewed. It’s exactly the same in the Star Wars community; there are fan sites dedicated to saying good things about the “new” trilogy specifically because there’s so much bad to say about them.
We want to love what we loved. We’ve been trying for a long time to reconcile our feelings about Blizzard’s direction and our love for what once was. Perhaps we should simply give up and let our dark side feelings over take us. Hatred, after all, is a form of passion, is a form of fandom. Besides, with Mists around the corner, we can guarantee one thing. We’ll be a lot happier soon – or a lot unhappier. However MoP is received, it’ll be like a dam bursting, and either providing much needed water for the local crops of our hearts, or drowning every last villager of loyalty in the floodwaters.
Stubborn (Darth or Jedi, depending on the expansion)