If you've ever played a MMO, there's a huge chance that you at some point ended up on that particular game's official forums. Some of them can be quite nice, others often take a turn for the worse and become a stinking cesspool of trolls and flamers - others can be a mix of the two. But sometimes the trolls that frequent these forums manage to get a soapbox of their own, which is quite easy in this age of blogs, and that's when the Internet really should shiver.
Recently, an article called Age of Conan: A Post Mortem Analysis made the rounds in the MMO-blogosphere. The author, Daedren, explained - in his own special words - why he thought Age of Conan was already dead, the faults he found in the game and his general view of Funcom. The article got a lot of links and a shitload of comments. The article, even though highly subjective, can be quite a fun read, but hardly something I would put 100% faith in.
Then, here comes the follow up - Hell Froze Over: An Interview with Funcom's Erling Ellingsen. Daedren managed to get Erlin Ellingsen, product manager for Age of Conan, to agree to do an interview. I won't go into the particular questions and answers, won't comment on what parts I agree on and what parts I don't. What I want to say is that I think it's sad that Daedren has managed to get as much attention as he has (look, even I am doing it now! Damnit!). Because the guy obviously holds a grudge against the game for some reason.
Now, I'm all for fun and cocky (am I allowed to write "cocky" here, Bengt?) games journalism. It's all good. Some people managed to pull it off, some don't. With the post-mortem analysis, Daedren walked the thin line between the two, and with this interview he managed to crash over into the side of fullblown egos. It could've been a really interesting interview, with some hard questions for Ellingsen to answer. That'd be good. But since Daedren holds his petty grudge against Funcom for some reason he sprinkles the articles with idiotic pictures that draws the focus away from what's actually being said and turns the whole thing into a stupid charade, all played out to get more people to talk about the article and get the author some more links and comments.
And, of course, Daedren himself hasn't played the game since June, which somehow detracts from his role as agitator. Asking hard questions, sure, but being the poster-boy for Age of Conan hate? Nah. I wouldn't know the exact state of Age of Conan either, since I haven't played it either for a long time, but you don't see me jumping down the throats of the developers just to build our Google ranking. Humor is one thing, blatantly ripping into a game because it build your own ego is another. Is that the whole reason why Daedren keeps his grudge alive?
There's something about MMOs that turns ordinary citizens into weird monsters of hate. I'm not sure why. But perhaps Daedren is right, perhaps Age of Conan is dead in the water. I know a few people who still enjoy the game, just as I know people who quit in disgust. I quit because I lacked the time to keep playing, so I am not part of either side.