Warning: contains generalizations.
Once upon a time racist contracts kept black people out of white neighborhoods. They were unable to buy homes because the sellers would be breaking contract to sell to them. Someone realized this was both racist and anti-free market and now such contracts are illegal.
The black middle class reacted as anyone would: they got away from the uneducated and often criminal lower class. This wrecked the community. The proof that blacks could move up was gone down the road. The neighbor who used to care, who proved a good role model, had left. The children would grow up immersed in failure. Ironically, the removal of the racist contracts may have damned the black lower class.
Gordon has brought up the idea of premium servers. Imagine, for just $15 more a month you can have a paradise of GM-moderated public channels, gold spammers are priced out, maybe you even GM-run events, and the kiddies are priced out. What could go wrong? It sounds great!
Unless you can't spend another $15. You're stuck on the regular servers. Many, though clearly not all, of the positive influences on the server/battlegroup community are gone. You're stuck with the people who either don't want or don't care enough to have GMs watching.
Still, it can't be so bad, right? So some of the good people left. Big deal, you'd probably never meet them. Well no, not them specifically. But you might meet their influence or someone like them or the guild they run. The asshole concentration goes up.
We know Blizzard likes profits. Ponies. What better way to increase profits than to not hire more GMs for premium servers, but just shift them over from the normal servers? Charge twice as much and you don't even need to hire any new GMs, just a few more tech people, or shift those too from the regular servers. Since there aren't likely to be tons of premium servers compared to regular, the percentage change won't be gigantic. People might not quite notice. But the effect is there. The spammers aren't taken care of as quickly, the bots stay up longer, the anal spam is unnoticed.
Eventually people would start to quit. Probably the good people first. That pushes the jerk concentration higher. And more leave.
Blizzard would notice of course and take some action to fix it. But what action? And could it work? Selling more ponies or charging more for premium would fix the profit loss, temporarily. Hiring more GMs to clean things up, to try to at least get back to the old standards, I think would fail. The community would be saturated. Even worse, it wouldn't bring people back. Once a game, a place, is known to have a terrible community, people stay away.
Fair and balanced: You get what you pay for. If something isn't worth $30 a month to us, that's our problem. We can quit. It's a free market, so what's the loss to us? We can put our money elsewhere. Whining isn't the solution. Wallet voting is. No I don't mean bribing politicians; we're not lobbyists. I mean putting our money into the other MMO which is worth our $15 a month. You know, the one you aren't playing, the one you tried the trial for and didn't like enough to pay $15 for it. Yea, that one. See, no problem at all, the free market will save us.
If the black middle class moves out, are we doomed to live in the virtual ghetto? Will we even get condescending hipsters?
Now that we're all done, you're probably wondering "Did he just compare real world racism and resulting poverty with people saying 'anal' in a public channel in a virtual world?" No, I in fact did not. If I did, I could easily say that one is a much, much bigger issue than the other. Instead I tried to show similar processes, negative trends which we could identify and prevent. Think of it as 1+2=2 and by the same process, though much different scale, 100000+100000=200000.
Posted by Klepsacovic at 8:00 AM | Friday, June 4, 2010
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