Flame wars in the online game community

Over on my blog about Star Wars online games, I’ve been following the current extended outage of Star Wars the Old Republic. This follows an attempted minor fix of a major update that kept the game offline for hours yesterday.

As I write, the thread on the SWTOR Customer Service forum about the disastrous new patch (that took four hours) and the seven hour task of fixing it, is 72 pages (ten posts a page) long. Initially people were remarking about yesterday’s content disappearing, and wondering when BioWare would respond. Now that BioWare has “fessed up” and tells we won’t be able to play for six more hours, the thread has degenerated into a flame war.

The initial sides seem to have been those who were upset that the game they subscribe to is offline, and those who point out that after all it is only a game and not to get so upset. Both reasonable positions, but one wonders why some people have to start calling each other idiots because they don’t agree? I saw a lot of this on the Star Wars Galaxies forums. People seem to tend to say things online that they probably wouldn’t say if they were talking in person.

In fact, they probably wouldn’t make such comments to each other in-game (although they did in SWG, but the conversation interface was a lot better there).

I should point out that not everyone in the forum thread is flaming. Civil interactions continue as well. The best recent comment was from someone who wondered why BioWare didn’t submit today’s minor patch to its Test Server to see what would happen. After all, that’s what the Test Server is for.

 

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