Turbine’s Brownnosers

A look at Turbine’s Brownnosers (AKA those who drink the Kool Aid)

While most of what’s wrong with DDO currently is either a direct or indirect result of Turbine screwing up random shit in the game, there’s still one peculiar aspect which will continue to hinder DDO’s progress, so long as Turbine’s still in charge.

And that aspect is you.

“Who, me?”

Well, it might be you. But to determine whether or not you’re the problem, ask yourself a few preliminary questions:

When Turbine introduces something that seems conspicuously pay-to-win to the store, is your first instinct, “Well, they’re a business and they’ve got to make money?”

If so, you might be a Turbine Brownnoser.

When Turbine continues to release a static list of known issues, month after month, with none of them being fixed, do you ignore the issues in question, despite many of them having been present for years?

If so, you might be a Turbine Brownnoser.

When someone brings up a valid concern about the direction that DDO is headed, is your first response to that person, “oh please, I’ve been playing since the beginning; I know more than you and therefore I must be right?”

If so, you might be a Turbine Brownnoser.

When you see that the average amount of LFMs up at any given time is a mere fraction of what it used to be, do you still delude yourself into thinking the game’s in a healthy position for the long run?

If so, you might be a Turbine Brownnoser.

When you see the same handful of builds being used in all content past a certain level threshold, do you pretend that there are no balance issues in this game?
If so, you might be a Turbine Brownnoser.

When a new loot/crafting system is introduced which blatantly will require a disproportionate amount of farming to earn anything of significance, is your first response to blog about how great the rewards are, despite them clearly not being worth the effort?
If so, you might be a Turbine Brownnoser.

(Or Gamer Geoff. Same thing.)

If you’ve answered “yes” to the most of these questions, then in all likelihood, you are a constituent of the community which is the problem. And chances are, if you’ve answered “yes” to most of these questions, you’re probably going to hate everything I’m writing and you may be better off reading about Turbine’s exciting new changes to Mysterious Remnants or reading about how to intentionally gimp your Monks on the Book of Shitcraptitca or however the hell you want to spell it.

But on the off chance that you want to hear what I have to say, though, please indulge yourself and read on.

You see, the main problem with people like you, the Turbine Brownnosers, is that you indirectly prevent any progress being done to the game, both in terms of game development and in terms of expanding the community.

In regards to game development, here’s the thing. If Turbine decides to release shitty update after shitty update (which they have) and the player-base takes it lying down, unquestioningly, rather than raising valid concerns and complaining about things that need fixing, then this sends the message that Turbine can get away with this model. This eventually means that the game will reach a point of stagnation (which it has) where the release of good content eventually slows to a standstill and the state of things reaches the point where it is now: the player-base is split in two in regards to which game they’re playing, half of the game is horrendously unbalanced and greatly favors specific classes/builds, that same half of the game is obviously half-assed with only a fraction of meaningful content as the other half, and numerous instances of not-so-subtle pay-to-win monetization transactions have crept into the game.

As players, we have power. We have power in that we can choose to support good updates by paying for their content and by saying “Good job, Turbine!” We have power in that we can choose to protest bad updates by not paying for their content (after all, this game is F2P now) and by spreading the word that “yeah, this update is crap.” The problem with Turbine Brownnosers is that they’ll indiscriminately spend their money on anything Turbine’s putting out, and this sends the message that Turbine’s always doing a good job, when they’re not. Take, for example, the people on the forum who defended Temple of Elemental Evil tooth-and-nail when it came out, saying “oh, nothing’s wrong with it!” So in essence, what Turbine Brownnosers are doing is green-lighting Turbine to go ahead with poorly-conceived updates and ideas.

In regards to expanding the community, Turbine Brownnosers, when compounded by the problem of the echo chamber that is DDO’s official forums, creates an environment which, from an outsider’s perspective—namely that of a newcomer—will frankly appear Totalitarian. Take it from me; I was one of those new players at one point, and what invariably happens to sensible newcomers is they either become disillusioned with the community of sycophants and leave altogether, or they still retain a certain level of enjoyment for the game and read the Vault for DDO-related discussion rather than the official forums. (Guess which category I fall into.) The important thing to note is that, regardless of the consequence, the net result is that said newcomer eventually stops paying any money to Turbine and, in some cases, starts complaining about Turbine’s bullshit through other online platforms.

Like this one.

But that’s not all; here’s another thing I’ve noticed

Without fail, all of the Turbine Brownnosers I’ve encountered both in-game and witnessed on the forums share one trait in common. And that trait is a sort of cross between megalomania and narcissism. I’ll explain what I mean, and perhaps a couple choice anecdotal examples would help illustrate my point.

Ever seen those people on the forums who have thousands of posts and who list every single level of every single character of theirs in their signature, despite nobody else on the forums giving a flying fuck about what levels/classes they are?

Ever seen those people who love to link their uber-farmed equipments in party chat, despite nobody else prompting them to or asking them to?

Or alternately, those people who love to brag about how strong their build is (despite others in the same group being stronger…)?

Yeah, well, for the most part (I don’t want to over-generalize here; some people simply like to brag but aren’t necessarily Turbine Brownnosers) these are the same sort of people who, if I get into a discussion with them about the current direction of DDO, always seem to resort to the same fallback “argument” of “oh, I’ve been playing this game since the beginning, so I know a lot, obviously” (while simultaneously failing to provide any concrete evidence to back up their claims.) They also seem impervious to reason, as every time I ask them how they reconcile two mutually exclusive beliefs (i.e. “I don’t believe the game is dying” and “I also observe that the game is less popular lately”), they simply move the goalposts or change the subject of the discussion. A lot of the time, the latter tactic takes the form of them telling me all about the kind of builds that they’ve made or all the cool items they have. As if any of that pertains an iota to the points being discussed.

I think on a subconscious psychological level, I’m seeing something very telling going on here.

These people who clearly demonstrate themselves to be Turbine Brownnosers have an abnormal, almost pathological obsession with the game. As such, for me to bring up the prospect that DDO is on the road to its death, they take offense as if I had personally attacked them (which I didn’t, of course). To these people, this game is their life, and it gives them meaning. Do you see where I’m going with this? For me to suggest that DDO is a sinking ship is construed by them as me basically asking them to fuck off and kill themselves. That must be how they see me, because I can’t come up with any other conclusion.

Sometimes, I’m feeling silly and I put up a stupid LFM with a title like “Running a Triathlon; will finish by the time this raid fills,” or if I have a LFM up for an hour with nobody joining I’ll make some snide comment in it like “Quests don’t fill anymore, RIP DDO.” You wouldn’t imagine the hate I get from saying something rather innocuous. My only conclusion is that these Turbine Brownnosers come at me from the mindset of “OMG this person is attacking the one thing I hold near and dear, better lynch them and tell them to shut up!” Thinking it over, I think it’s quite sad and almost pitiful, if they weren’t so full of hatred and loathing.

As a closing remark, I’ll say that it’s interesting how humility works.

As I’ve established already, most of these Turbine Brownnosers who love to brag about how great their characters/equipments are really are not that great. (As a prime example of this, go look up random articles on the Book of Syncraptica and look at how full of himself the author is, despite producing nothing but subpar build after subpar build and bad advice after bad advice.) Most of the Turbine Brownnosers I encounter in game are arrogant enough to presume to know my thought processes before I’ve even said a word about what I believe, and none will ever admit being wrong if presented with evidence which challenges their dogma.

On the other hand, the best players I’ve met never seem to brag about their past lives, their equipment, or anything about their character; they only ever talk about these things if they’re specifically asked. Typically, these players are thankful, courteous, and of course, great assets to the group. If you get into a discussion with them about DDO’s direction, they’ll probably bring up some really good points about balance, monetization, and other such subjects, and support their points with observable or factual empirical data or anecdotes. Sure, I may disagree with what they say sometimes, but since they’re civil and polite about it, I welcome the alternate perspective. I love running quests with this group of people, because they strike me as a remnant of DDO’s golden age; it seemed that in the 2009-2012 era, these people were much more common for whatever reason, and the community overall was simply much more fun and lively.

Now, there are a few of these people left, and when I actually engage in conversations with them, they all seem very tired and weary, almost as if they’re waiting for the dream to end. Many of them seem exhausted and worn, as if they’ve seen some serious shit. Most importantly, though, is the aspect that, despite them being some of the wisest and most experienced players I’ve met in the game, they mostly retain a demeanor of humility. It’s like the Dunning-Kruger effect, except on a modesty-arrogance spectrum. I think the root of this all is that they understood what Albert Einstein (at least I think it was he who said this) said: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

And that’s a good quote to end this post on. I want you to know that, despite my unapologetically caustic, scathing, and sardonic tone, I am open to criticism and will revise my opinion if new facts are brought to light. I also want you Turbine Brownnosers to know that this is principally what separates me from you: I want to have meaningful discussions about DDO’s direction and I want to strive for the truth, whereas you simply want to silence your opposition and intimidate those opposing you by reciting your list of high level characters/equipment.

(I also want the average reader to know that Turbine Brownnosers, though insidious, are a vocal minority [just like radical feminists]. So, statistically speaking, it’s more likely that you’re not a Turbine Brownnoser. I like to think that most DDO players are at least somewhat reasonable and don’t drink Turbine’s Kool Aid… at least not in large doses.)