Friday, November 13, 2009

In Context

It is uncanny how much power people can give simple words and how relentlessly they can latch on to your usage of a specific word to go on a crusade. I'll likely get in trouble for this one but frankly, I don't care because this chick is annoyed! The culprit? A not so very fuzzy "care bear".

What's a care bear? The Urban Dictionary has a lot of very appropriate definitions for it. My own definition of a MMO care bear is a mix of definitions 1, 3 and 6: essentially a player who takes part in all aspects of the game except for those involving PvP. Throughout the industry, this term is also used that way. BUT it's also used in the pejorative way, though usually by the players.

It's all a matter of context.

It is up to you how you interpret one's words. But use common sense. I always felt it was ridiculous every time I make a post referring to PvPers and non-PvPers I spend forever trying to figure out how to word a sentence with the word Trammie, but don't have to think about it twice to use the word Fellie. In fact, I usually use Trammelite instead of Trammie, which I think sound retarded but normally avoids any stirring of the politically correct fanatics. Why is that?

Developer's definition
Trammie: any player that never comes to Felucca. Period.
Fellie: someone who exclusively (or mostly) plays in Felucca and takes part in PvP.
Care Bear: someone who doesn't necessarily live in Trammel, but who doesn't take part in PvP. (Yes, there are people who enjoy Felucca but not PvP)

Players and others definition
Trammie: wuss, whiner, pixel crack hoarder, animal tamer
Fellie: griefer, PK, thief, hacker, duper, cheater, (insert extensive list of faults here) and trash talker. Probably has a small weenie irl and low self-esteem
Care Bear: the most annoying type of Trammie who deserves all the grief they get from Fellies.

People need to lay off the paranoia sauce. It's kinda like when someone says "you're cute". It can simply mean what it says, ie that you're huggable, lovely, cuddly or w/e flattery is implied. Or it can mean you're a smart ass, a dumb ass, an idiot, etc. The context dictates which one it is. A developer addressing a broad audience, including his customers, would obviously not use a term in the derogatory sense. So it's rather mindboggling the way some people have decided to take it the wrong way and just won't let go.

It somewhat reminds me of what guys often complain about regarding their girlfriend or wife. He did or said something she didn't like, whether maliciously or not, and 2 years later they will have an argument and she will dig that one thing back up and throw it in his face even though it has nothing to do with anything! And the poor guy can't help but think: "good Lord, woman, GET THE F... OVER IT!"

Seriously... -_-

Political correctness has always rhymed with BS to me. Good thing I'm not the PR person! For the record, the majority of the Dev Team are Trammies, including our Producer. Hell, he's a Tamer, so what does that make him?! Personally, I've always considered myself a Fellie and a PvPer. However, since I disbanded my guild 2 years ago when I joined the Dev Team, I've rarely PvPed even though I live in Fel, which makes me the team's only Care Bear. And I'm damn proud of it!


Ken said...

Sorry you got pushed on, it wasn't necessary and certainly not attractive or respectful. You just walked in to a developing riot with no back up and not nearly enough protective gear on.

You gave some information about playstyles represented on he team that I find a bit unsettling.

I posted a reply to your plea for some form of self governance, I hope you take time to read it. There is a grieving process that will have to be gone through and it is not personal about you. I think most are very happy to have you at the helm. But we have lost a friend and, like the wife in your post complaining bitterly and unreasonably, the system has to be purged.

Its painful but healthy. Those who keep it inside and don't vocalize are the ones likely to actually pack things into their bank boxes and shove off. *shrugs*

I hope the days get a little better with every rising of the sun.
KK (Viq)

Regine "Sakkarah" Abel said...

I fully agree that people need to communicate better. As a player, I remember how it felt each time I heard of one of my favorite developer leaving the team, either by choice or by force. As a Dev, it hurts even more as I knew these people and developped strong bonds with them. Some I was friends with even before I joined the team.

This post/rant however isn't about the layoffs even though it was indirectly triggered by them. It's more a matter of asking people to seriously keep things in context and before they jump the gun to put things in perspective.

A word is no more than a word. The intent behind the word is what matters. Players should know that no one on the team would set out to randomly insult them. Maybe the term used wasn't the best one for the target audience, but people need to also try to look at it from speaker's perspective and see they're making a big fuss over nothing.

French is my first language. You have no idea how many "innocent" things I've said only to have people go "OMG, you can't say that!! Because to us, saying that means (...)"

Players didn't appreciate the term used. It was duly noted. There was no malice behind it. There's no reason for them to hijack every thread, especially in such a difficult time, to bring up that silly thing again. They did it during HoCs, they spam the FoF forms with it, derail the producer's letter with it. It's like come on folks!

Communicating is good, lashing out not so much.

GreyPawn said...

I am a Carebear by definition, and I take zero offense at the term. But then again, I'm not your typical UOer by any means. My pedigree is heavily steeped in factions, the earliest functions took my entire attention as the Council of Mages materialized in lore and features.

The transition, however, of the bulk majority of UO's population from PvP ruleset to no-PvP ruleset is at its base a matter of risk vs. reward. Unless the rewards accompanying any assumption of risk are specifically unique, players will act like water in finding the path of least resistance (and risk). You guys figured this out with the PvP-enabled areas in SA - but Felucca still leaves much to be desired.

Some advice I hope you will take in the wake of these layoffs...

I know you love UO's community, it's obvious you care tremendously and that you definitely "get it" when it comes to the core essence of Ultima. Please, please, please don't try to juggle community AND design. For the same reason that a handful of mindless players might take offense at being called "carebears", trying to resolve the unfiltered desires of the community at large with the imperatives of design for a userbase as vocal and unmedicated as UO's wouldn't cause burnout, rather full on immolation.

Trusting that the legacy of Sanya is still intact and EA/Mythic still understands that it will need a community peep, the crazed munchkins on U.Hall will keep for awhile. Take what they say in this time of turmoil with a grain of salt, and try not to let any of it affect your great work as a designer.

Stupid Miner said...

Hehe, that was an amusing couple days to say the least. On the one hand, "carebear" probably wasn't the best choice of words, but then again you have to realize Uhallers flip out over anything and nothing and everything in between.
Take note of certain players who always have negative feedback for the devs, so you realize it's not everyone, but a vocal few over and over.
On the up side, I think after that was over, everyone had a much greater degree of respect for Draconi; he did an amazing job firefighting.
... and remember, you'll never find a game with more fanatics than UO. :)
You all are doing a great job, hope you can keep it up.