We’re going to try an experiment today. Blogs are all well and good for mouthing off about your favourite MMO and patiently, maturely and rationally explaining in minutely constructive detail why certain aspects of the game could do with improvement and enhancement. You’ve seen the ones: “This game isn’t WOW so it obviously SUCKSZ!!!!”, “My healer class is TOTALLY underpowered because I can’t nuke an entire zone in two seconds. I’m cancelling my sub!!!”, “Yor 18th century pirate game is a COMPLETE RIP-OFF because it isn’t set in space with ninjas which is totally what I was expecting it to be based on a mis-assumption on my part after looking at a single pre-alpha screenshot, so youre company SUCKS BALLS and has BETRAYED it’s customers!!!!!!!” Fume, pant, rage, stomp.

There’s a lot of energy on display out there across gaming forums, albeit the kind of negative energy that could destroy entire planets if it fell into the wrong hands. But imagine if we harnessed that energy for good, for a cause so righteous you could put a helmet on it and call it a crusade?

For we have a choice in this virtual community. We can accept a blogosphere that breeds anger, and bitterness and misperceived character class injustices. We can tackle game updates only as spectacle – as we did in the dev corruption allegations in EVE Online – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of the NGE update for Star Wars Galaxies – or as fodder for daily rantings on EQ2Flames. We can /quote Patch Notes on every thread from now until the next update to the Test Server, and make the only question in this forum whether or not the developers have a favoured class that gets all the buffs and isn’t yours. We can pounce on some bug by an overworked coder as evidence that SOE doesn’t care about the game or the players, or we can speculate on whether disaffected coercers will all flock to Warhammer Online in the autumn regardless of its quality.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next game update, we’ll be complaining about some other non-existent nerf. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this blog post, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”

This time we can look at what assets our chosen classes actually bring to the table. This time we can talk about how not having as high a DPS output as some other class isn’t the be all and end all of defining your class’ worth and suggest how one class is able to support another and make up for the designed weaknesses. This time we can say, “Maybe the developers have a reason for doing things the way they are with THEIR game, and maybe rather than kicking up a massive fuss on a public forum, we should find out how to play the class and enjoy it for what it does well instead.”

This time we can take off the tinfoil hats, count backwards from twenty, let the red mist fade out and try asking about changes that happen in patches in a constructive, friendly manner, engage in positive conversations about game mechanics and maybe, just maybe, for once, not immediately assume that any change is directed at you, personally, because the devs hate you and want to drive you away to another game.

That’s the experiment, to try constructive discourse for once, rather than flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. This is where we start. It is where our community of gamers grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realise over the course of the thirty-four years since a band of geek heroes penned that D&D design document in Lake Geneva, that is where Perfection Online begins.

Or at least the beta test. I’ve a feeling the Evangelist class is a bit too powerful against apathetic defences and could do with a nerf…

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