We Should Be Better Than This

When I was growing up, I had a ritual whenever I started a new game. I would unwrap and open the box and take out all the pieces and literature. I would read the manual. If I was unable to get into the box while my parents were driving home I’d read it at home while the game and whatever gaming platform sat there enticingly close to each other, staring at me. When I was done with the literature I would put it carefully back in the box and never touch it again.

Only then would I insert the game. After install (if required) and upon start-up I would sit through everything. Developer and publisher logos, starting cinematic, and idle animations were given prominence of place on my screen during my very first time with a game.

Once I had seen everything there was to be seen I would play the game proper, but this first time was still special. I would carefully engage in every tutorial and read all instructions given to me. This would last until it was time for me to turn the game off and go do something else, usually 1-2 hours. Upon entering the game again all previous reverence would be abandoned. Intros would be skipped, tutorials rushed through, and quest text skimmed.

In the same way that the journey is as much, if not more, important as the destination, the anticipation leading up to finally sinking your fingers into an experience is something to treasure.

We have all been feeling the strain of the long marketing campaign that ArenaNet has chosen to pursue. That does not, however, excuse the sloppy releases and disrespect for ArenaNet I have seen lately among the gaming press. I wanted to express my disgust and sadness with my peers for the debacle and mess they have made of, not only the PAX East demo, but of the new updates to Guild Wars Classic.

Perhaps ArenaNet had it coming to them because of the way the title for the Guardian profession was ‘leaked’. We know that bounds were overstepped and NDAs were broken when video of the demos were published. I’m sure the offending parties are being dealt with. But a press outfit breaking news early because ‘it’s already been leaked anyway’ is not only unprofessional, it’s disrespectful to other gaming sites that were capable of holding their tongues and respecting ArenaNet’s wishes.

Such acts not only undermine trust, they breed a new and insidious dynamic into an otherwise mature and respectful community. Will fan-sites now feel obligated to scramble for news releases in order to turn around and scream “FIRST!” as they vomit their information across the internet? Instead, will ArenaNet be forced to withhold information because we /can’t be trusted/?

It’s an ugly picture no matter which way you dice it, and to the sites who, through accident or malicious intent, betray what trust has been given you and tarnish the reputations of the rest of us I say: You ought to be ashamed.

Perhaps my ideals of mutual trust and responsibility are nothing but a pipe dream. Perhaps this mess actually /was/ orchestrated and isn’t really the garbage heap that it looks like.

I don’t know.

All I do know is I miss the pre-Gamescom release strategy, when new information came first from ArenaNet and only after did the fansites publish their interviews.

Guild Wars 2 isn’t even live yet and I’m already pining for ‘the good ol’ days’.

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  • Comments (7)
  1. Oh, the good old days where games actually had instruction manuals instead of 2-page pamphlets on how to install and legal warnings. I remember those days, sitting in the back of my parents’ car, unwrapping a new gameboy game and digging into the manual, only to completely ignore what was in it 10 minutes later when I actually started to play ๐Ÿ˜€

    But reading what you wrote about information leaks and websites posting all that stuff “because it got leaked”, they are stupid idiots.

    • Andrea
    • March 3rd, 2011

    I agree. It is really pissing me off. I paid good money to go to PaxEast. I feel like part of my excitement, the experience I was hoping to have, and the money I paid has now been cheapened. I wish Anet would stop giving these news sources any information. I don’t want to find out about the game from them any more. They don’t deserve the respect and they are ruining the hype. Finally when Anet actually releases something I feel like its not special anymore.

    • Chalky
    • March 4th, 2011

    What press outfits besides GT leaked their GDC information early?

      • Tigerfeet
      • March 4th, 2011

      It wasn’t just the GDC information, the information about the latest Guild Wars 1 update was leaked as well.

  2. I used to have a similar ritual, although I would always read the manual in the car on the way home and watch all the cinematics first time around.

    I think its despicable the way its been released. KTR did a good job of pulling the information off the site once they learned of ANet’s distaste for the manner of its leakage. Hopefully, people will follow ANet/Ravious/the GW blogging world example and respect the cadence of the release schedule in the future. ANet have done a brilliant job of building suspense and excitement, releasing information in exciting morsels which delight us but don’t quite fill us up and leave us slavering for more.

    I’m sure the true release of the *profession who’s name must not be spoken* will be a far more grandiose and all round satifying affair than this sordid episode.

      • Tigerfeet
      • March 4th, 2011

      Agreed. And actually, the press embargo on the Thief has been listed (that’s pro you noticed I refrained from naming it :D)

      We know that the official reveals will come next week. Despite this mess, it’s a profession I’m stupidly excited about. I’ve been screaming “feathers in yo’ face!” to random passerby since I saw it ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Haha! Feathers in YO FACE! I’ll give it a go.

        Yep – only have to wait till Thursday. Should be a larf!

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