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WOMAN FIRED FROM JOB! Don't miss this hot Guild Wars 2 drama.


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I guess there was some shit people didn't like about this most recent GW2 update some shit happened. So, there is this big as wall of text that I don't know if it is actually worth reading, but a GW2 partner and content creator named, Deroir  responded to this with some decent criticism. And well, Jessica Price, an ArenaNet Narrative team member, did not like what he had to say. 

 

This is just the wall of text. Read it you want. Below is where the drama starts. 

Spoiler

 

Jessica Price:

Since I spent all kinds of time saying it on a Reddit AMA, and I haven't talked about actual game dev on Twitter in a while, here's a thread about writing for the PC character in an MMO.

The dirty secret is I'm not sure if it's possible to make an MMORPG (or CRPG) character compelling, because people have different expectations about what that character will be, as opposed to a pre-designed character in a single-player game.

People booting up Bioshock know they're playing Jack. People starting Dishonored know they're playing Corvo. People beginning Tomb Raider know they're playing Lara Croft. So in those games, you have more wiggle room to make the protagonist an actual character.

Whereas in an RPG, where the player chooses all kinds of character options and names their character and designs their face and so on, they feel more ownership over that character. They're not playing a character YOU designed--they're playing a character THEY designed.

So if Jack or Lara or Corvo says or does something the player doesn't feel that THEY would say or do, the player's more forgiving, because they have the expectation that they're piloting a character someone else created.

N.B. that I'm not talking about overall plot objectives/quests. Players know going in that the game is going to be telling them what to do, and their character is going to do it, and that holds true even when they've "created" the character.

But the *interpersonal* stuff, the PC's REACTIONS, players respond strongly to. Some people don't like it if they think their character's responding in ways that make them too much of an asshole. Some don't like it if their character's responses seem weak.

So, basically, most things that you'd do writing-wise to give a character, well, CHARACTER, are going to upset a large contingent, maybe even a majority, of your players.

So--I know I've said this before on Twitter, but it's still going to weird people out, but please bear with me--you have to construct your MMO/RPG's PC character's dialogue as if they were Bella Swan from Twilight.

To be clear, I don't think Twilight is good writing. I don't think Bella Swan's a well-constructed book character. And I think people who criticize Twilight for the latter are correct but also missing the reason for Twilight's popularity.

Because Twilight isn't the love story of Bella and Edward. It's the *experience of being loved by Edward.* Which is why Bella's constructed the way she is.

Bella Swan is a carefully constructed blank space, with JUST enough personality to function. All of her personality traits are chosen to avoid preventing the reader from inserting themselves into the space she holds in the story.

She's a bit of a klutz, but JUST enough to make her endearing, not enough to prevent her from actually doing anything the story needs her to do. She's a little bit awkward. JUST enough to be relatable but not enough to actually hinder her. And so on.

And essentially, we have to write the player character in an MMO/RPG the same way.

Specifically in GW2, in the Living World, we can write the Commander with a bit of wry exasperation, a hint of impatience, a touch of "okay, I'm done fooling around with this crap and I'm going to take charge," but most of their lines have to be pretty devoid of personality.

Because if we give them too much personality, it might clash with how the player is imagining Their Commander.

So, how do we tell a TV-like season of story with a protagonist who can't really have a personality?

The answer to that, and I dunno, maybe this is too much of how the sausage gets made but whaddaya want from me, any sense of shame I had burned out a long time ago: SLEIGHT OF HAND.

We SUGGEST that the Commander has a personality in how the other characters interact with and react to them. Even there, we have to be super-careful. We can't even have THEM directly characterize the Commander.

You'll rarely hear a character say anything about what the Commander always does or doesn't do, except when it's PURELY factual because it's something the game design FORCED the PC to do.

E.g. "the Commander always finds a way!" because literally if you don't we'll resurrect you until you do.

We have NPCs react to you with affection, or irritation, or leeriness, or whatever, to suggest that your character has regular habits and ways of interacting that build these relationships. But for the most part, they don't.

The PC is who you imagine them to be, and the NPCs react in ways that have to FEEL personal, and build a story, while not conflicting with whatever you're imagining your character's personality to be. We WANT you to project.

Which makes writing the NPCs' relationships with the PC basically like writing horoscopes. It has to feel specific and personal while actually being universal.

So:

A) VERY delicate sketches of non-objectionable personality traits (like a hint of wryness or world-weariness)

B) NPCs that behave as if your character has a distinct personality while not doing so in ways that actually identify what it is

C) one-sided relationship-building

Voila. An MMO/RPG character.

Needless to say, a lot of the color comes from NPCs' relationships with EACH OTHER, even though we try to keep it centered on the PC as much as possible.

It is a constant, very fragile calibration. We don't always get it right.

Incidentally, if you've played Ep 3 of this season of GW2's Living World, you've seen this sort of writing taken to an extreme in Joko's final monologue.

Almost everything he says is about actions the game has forced you to take, not your own character traits, and he's clearly projecting when he talks about what you were thinking, but it's--hopefully!--constructed in a way that feels personal, like he's twisting the knife.

Jessica Price:

Since I spent all kinds of time saying it on a Reddit AMA, and I haven't talked about actual game dev on Twitter in a while, here's a thread about writing for the PC character in an MMO.

The dirty secret is I'm not sure if it's possible to make an MMORPG (or CRPG) character compelling, because people have different expectations about what that character will be, as opposed to a pre-designed character in a single-player game.

People booting up Bioshock know they're playing Jack. People starting Dishonored know they're playing Corvo. People beginning Tomb Raider know they're playing Lara Croft. So in those games, you have more wiggle room to make the protagonist an actual character.

Whereas in an RPG, where the player chooses all kinds of character options and names their character and designs their face and so on, they feel more ownership over that character. They're not playing a character YOU designed--they're playing a character THEY designed.

So if Jack or Lara or Corvo says or does something the player doesn't feel that THEY would say or do, the player's more forgiving, because they have the expectation that they're piloting a character someone else created.

N.B. that I'm not talking about overall plot objectives/quests. Players know going in that the game is going to be telling them what to do, and their character is going to do it, and that holds true even when they've "created" the character.

But the *interpersonal* stuff, the PC's REACTIONS, players respond strongly to. Some people don't like it if they think their character's responding in ways that make them too much of an asshole. Some don't like it if their character's responses seem weak.

So, basically, most things that you'd do writing-wise to give a character, well, CHARACTER, are going to upset a large contingent, maybe even a majority, of your players.

So--I know I've said this before on Twitter, but it's still going to weird people out, but please bear with me--you have to construct your MMO/RPG's PC character's dialogue as if they were Bella Swan from Twilight.

To be clear, I don't think Twilight is good writing. I don't think Bella Swan's a well-constructed book character. And I think people who criticize Twilight for the latter are correct but also missing the reason for Twilight's popularity.

Because Twilight isn't the love story of Bella and Edward. It's the *experience of being loved by Edward.* Which is why Bella's constructed the way she is.

Bella Swan is a carefully constructed blank space, with JUST enough personality to function. All of her personality traits are chosen to avoid preventing the reader from inserting themselves into the space she holds in the story.

She's a bit of a klutz, but JUST enough to make her endearing, not enough to prevent her from actually doing anything the story needs her to do. She's a little bit awkward. JUST enough to be relatable but not enough to actually hinder her. And so on.

And essentially, we have to write the player character in an MMO/RPG the same way.

Specifically in GW2, in the Living World, we can write the Commander with a bit of wry exasperation, a hint of impatience, a touch of "okay, I'm done fooling around with this crap and I'm going to take charge," but most of their lines have to be pretty devoid of personality.

Because if we give them too much personality, it might clash with how the player is imagining Their Commander.

So, how do we tell a TV-like season of story with a protagonist who can't really have a personality?

The answer to that, and I dunno, maybe this is too much of how the sausage gets made but whaddaya want from me, any sense of shame I had burned out a long time ago: SLEIGHT OF HAND.

We SUGGEST that the Commander has a personality in how the other characters interact with and react to them. Even there, we have to be super-careful. We can't even have THEM directly characterize the Commander.

You'll rarely hear a character say anything about what the Commander always does or doesn't do, except when it's PURELY factual because it's something the game design FORCED the PC to do.

E.g. "the Commander always finds a way!" because literally if you don't we'll resurrect you until you do.

We have NPCs react to you with affection, or irritation, or leeriness, or whatever, to suggest that your character has regular habits and ways of interacting that build these relationships. But for the most part, they don't.

The PC is who you imagine them to be, and the NPCs react in ways that have to FEEL personal, and build a story, while not conflicting with whatever you're imagining your character's personality to be. We WANT you to project.

Which makes writing the NPCs' relationships with the PC basically like writing horoscopes. It has to feel specific and personal while actually being universal.

So:

A) VERY delicate sketches of non-objectionable personality traits (like a hint of wryness or world-weariness)

B) NPCs that behave as if your character has a distinct personality while not doing so in ways that actually identify what it is

C) one-sided relationship-building

Voila. An MMO/RPG character.

Needless to say, a lot of the color comes from NPCs' relationships with EACH OTHER, even though we try to keep it centered on the PC as much as possible.

It is a constant, very fragile calibration. We don't always get it right.

Incidentally, if you've played Ep 3 of this season of GW2's Living World, you've seen this sort of writing taken to an extreme in Joko's final monologue.

Almost everything he says is about actions the game has forced you to take, not your own character traits, and he's clearly projecting when he talks about what you were thinking, but it's--hopefully!--constructed in a way that feels personal, like he's twisting the knife.

 

This is where the drama starts. This is just a copy and paste from reddit.

Deroir:

Quote

Really interesting thread to read! ? However, allow me to disagree *slightly*. I dont believe the issue lies in the MMORPG genre itself (as your wording seemingly suggest). I believe the issue lies in the contraints of the Living Story's narrative design; (1 of 3)

When you want the outcome to be the same across the board for all players' experiences, then yes, by design you are extremely limited in how you can contruct the personality of the PC. (2 of 3)

But, if instead players were given the option to meaningfully express *their* character through branching dialogue options (which also aren't just on the checklist for an achievement that forces you through all dialogue options), (3 of 4 cause I count seemingly...)

then perhaps players would be more invested in the roleplaying aspect of that particular MMORPG. Nonetheless, I appreciate the insightful thread! (End)

 

Jessica Price:

Quote

thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9

 

Deroir:

Quote

You getting mad at my obvious attempt at creating dialogue and discussion with you, instead of just replying that I am wrong or otherwise correct me in my false assumptions, is really just disheartening for me. You do you though. I'm sorry if it offended. I'll leave you to it.

This is the context for the linked tweet:

Jessica Price:

Quote

Today in being a female game dev:

"Allow me--a person who does not work with you--explain to you how you do your job."

TL;DR: Long explanation how and why the PC in GW2 can't have many character traits (he has to be a "blank slate" for the player) by an ANet narrative dev. Someone disagrees and gets complained about.

Well, the community got pissed at the dev for crying sexism and then she got fired, along with another person who defended her statements.

 Opulgtp.png

https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/comment/586426#Comment_586426

 

I jacked all this shit from reddit so here the links. 

 

Article from TenTon Hammer. 

http://www.tentonhammer.com/news/guild-wars-2-lurches-to-yet-another-pr-nightmare

 

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It's too bad, because sexism and misogyny are problems, but I do feel like we are tilting on over-using the accusation. It's to the point where I'm even slightly afraid to post that, in fear that someone might find that offensive too lol. 

 

I think we need to assume people are arguing in good faith until it's clear that they are not. She jumped the gun. 

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As an active GW2 player I've been knee deep in the reddit crybabies. She fucked up and maybe could've gotten away with some of what she said BUT she went way too far and  exploded and just kept on going. So the company pretty much had to let her go. 

 

And then of course there's this....

 

 

mBC58_WIBRBCyhgJDa8Xby91i7Z25qpklb0KJ8u7

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Of course that was her too, lol.

 

2 hours ago, Paperclyp said:

It's too bad, because sexism and misogyny are problems, but I do feel like we are tilting on over-using the accusation. It's to the point where I'm even slightly afraid to post that, in fear that someone might find that offensive too lol. 

 

I think we need to assume people are arguing in good faith until it's clear that they are not. She jumped the gun. 

 

She just sounds like a person who doesn't know how to respond to criticism.

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This is a good outcome. I think its important to keep a level head in this age of both denial and outrage and just try to focus on the evidence in each instance,rather than the mountain of feelings that so often seems to dominate conversation. The problem I see with the two sides of the misogyny wars is that both want to paint a more simple reality than what really exists. Each situation is its own and should be looked at in that manner, not through a lens of "yup, you know that's how "X" is! ".  I think this situation was handled well by the Guild Wars management. 

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6 hours ago, crispy4000 said:

Of course that was her too, lol.

 

 

She just sounds like a person who doesn't know how to respond to criticism.

Right, but here we are the morning after and my twitter feed is filled with people I respect saying how horrible and unfair this is. 

 

I’m not a centrist, but I do think there is nuance in the world. We can have a world in which there is awful misogyny and sexism and man-splaining and I’m sure this woman was subjected to an absurd amount of that, but she isn’t immune to going over the line either, and as a public figure, even if it’s not like she’s a big star or something, you have to pick your battles a little better. 

 

This is just disheartening to me. I’m just tired of it, the hopelessness that each “side” conveys about the other. 

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22 minutes ago, Paperclyp said:

And for her specifically, today (if she didn’t feel this way before) instead of feeling like she messed up and she needs to handle that differently next time, she’s probably feeling ever more unfairly victimized. 

Of course she is. Maybe she should join Resetera where those morons will trip over themselves to lick her boots and kiss her ass. They will blame EVERYTHING on straight white males. 

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1 hour ago, Paperclyp said:

Right, but here we are the morning after and my twitter feed is filled with people I respect saying how horrible and unfair this is. 

 

I’m not a centrist, but I do think there is nuance in the world. We can have a world in which there is awful misogyny and sexism and man-splaining and I’m sure this woman was subjected to an absurd amount of that, but she isn’t immune to going over the line either, and as a public figure, even if it’s not like she’s a big star or something, you have to pick your battles a little better. 

 

This is just disheartening to me. I’m just tired of it, the hopelessness that each “side” conveys about the other. 

 

No doubt.  But as I said, she doesn't seem to know how to handle to criticism.  She reached for the misogyny card because she couldn't handle the pressure of having her work scrutinized by a public commentator.

I don't think she picked this battle consciously.  She overreacted in the heat of the moment, for her.  Just like she did when she spat on Total Biscut's grave.

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Can someone point out to me the firing worthy offense here?  Being a salty asshole on twitter now is grounds for losing your job as opposed to any other disciplinary action?  Yes, it was absolutely a stupid thing to do and engage in, and she handled it poorly, but an outright termination is just absurd.  

 

Also, let’s not pretend there isn’t a shitty angry mob of dipshits that eagerly jump into whatever torch wielding mob is aimed at yet another woman in game dev.  Did this start off as a targeted campaing against someone?  Doesn’t seem to be that way, but it sure got its signal boosted way past where it normally would have been because of the same ridiculous chodes that are whining about authenticity in Battlefield because of the wimenz in it.

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13 minutes ago, LazyPiranha said:

Can someone point out to me the firing worthy offense here?  Being a salty asshole on twitter now is grounds for losing your job as opposed to any other disciplinary action?  Yes, it was absolutely a stupid thing to do and engage in, and she handled it poorly, but an outright termination is just absurd.  

Eurogamer wondered the same thing.  They speculated that she might have been warned internally after the TotalBiscuit tweet that further activity on Twitter of a similar nature might be grounds for termination.  That seems like a pretty reasonable inference.

 

And, yes - I do consider "being a salty asshole on Twitter" being grounds for immediate termination.  I know that in my firm it is and I happen to agree with the policy.

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Part of the issue was that the GW2 players were already salty about the update. This just made things worse. I do doubt that this incident was the sole reason, but I can't I am displeased with the outcome. Well, I don't really care all that much cuz it is GW2.

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It could be too she was given the option to apologize or leave.  It's not like the GW2 community wanted her fired from what I read, but wanted an apology of some sort. 

 

But it most definitely is a fireable offense as you don't attack paying customers that are giving constructive criticism.  Especially one that has furthered the community probably more than she ever did or will have.  Especially when that person was being pretty respectiful in their approach.  I think we've gotten to the point that people really don't take constructive criticism of any sort well anymore.  We should be able to discern between criticism that is constructive and destructive and it seems too often, both types are being lumped into the latter especially by a lot of creators.  As someone who likes constructive criticism, it bothers me that this happens because constructive criticism is one of the best ways to grow and improve.

 

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I don't know if she needed to be fired, but I don't really have a problem with her being fired for that.

 

I think it's also wildly impractical to try and do branching dialog and character choices to any meaningful degree in an MMORPG. Maybe you could do something super basic, but I imagine the complexity involved would quickly become overwhelming.

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6 minutes ago, TwinIon said:

I don't know if she needed to be fired, but I don't really have a problem with her being fired for that.

I'm pretty certain that had this occurred in isolation that she wouldn't have been terminated, but in conjunction with the previous tweet about Bain's passing, ArenaNet probably figured it was best to cut ties.

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1 minute ago, SFLUFAN said:

 

He's referring to the notion that this now essentially creates "open season" on Guild Wars 2 developers if they implement things of which the community disapproves.

Talk about an over reaction.

 

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Just now, SFLUFAN said:

Considering what we've seen in gaming community, I don't think it's that much of an overreaction.

 

1 minute ago, LazyPiranha said:

 

How is that an over reaction when that is, literally, what they're saying?

 

I just can't see this one instance causing THAT reaction. Unless this was the primary reason she was fired, shit will be fine. Like, yeah, people are gonna say "FIRE THIS PERSON TOO! REEEEE!" But it ain't gonna happen. We have no clue, "what goes on behind closed doors." You can already go on reddit and see that while people agree with the firing, they also want the drama to be over. They want the shit to return to normal. And that is what will happen. Two people fired, and now it is back to business.

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Given what happened to Alison Rapp, I'm reflexively skeptical any time a woman is scrutinized by gaming communities. Regardless of whether or not it was justified in this instance, let's not pretend like women in gaming don't face a distinct and disproportionate amount of toxicity. 

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7 hours ago, Mr.Vic20 said:

I think this situation was handled well by the Guild Wars management. 

I wouldn't go as far to say that it was handled "well" as much as it "might have been handled less poorly than the alternatives".

 

And that would entirely be dependent on whether or not she had been subjected to previous internal disciplinary action for similar behavior (the Bain tweet).  If she had been previously been warned, then this was the more than likely the proper course of action.  If she had NOT been previously warned, then this was handled terribly by management.  Of more interest to me is the "veteran" writer who was sacked as that one does seem to have no real precedent in his public behavior.

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