Yesterday saw the release of the latest patch for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which brought some few changes to the game. The ones that garnered the most attention from players were the slightly reduced damage of the AN-94 and reduced rate of fire for the DSR 50 and Ballista.
As David Vonderhaar, Studio Design Director, noted on his Twitter account, “The DSR fire time was 0.2 seconds. It’s now 0.4 seconds. The rechamber time was 1.0 seconds. It’s now 1.1 seconds” and “The sprintinTime was 0.25 seconds. It’s now 0.30 seconds. SprintoutTime was 0.25 seconds. It’s now 0.30 seconds.” He then followed up these two tweets with, “Not sure these fractions of seconds are worth the threats of violence” and “Guns have powerbands and learning curves. Over time, both change. As one goes up, so does the other. That’s the short answer to “why now?”
Not wanting to stay quiet on the subject of threatening game developers is Dan Amrich, Community Manager at Activision, who wrote a piece on his website about the situation, noting that “one of Vahn’s many responsibilities is to keep the game as balanced as possible.” Through the course of millions of hours of gameplay, weapons are balanced accordingly, something Dan notes “has happened with every Call of Duty game” and it shouldn’t be a surprise at this point.
Yet Vahn often gets told he should die in a fire or kill himself or is a horrible person. If anybody thinks for a second that this is okay, it is not. But if the loudest voices in the Call of Duty “community” act like an angry mob instead, guess how the entire world views Call of Duty? Now consider that these Internet Tough Guy rants and demands are not unique to COD, but exist everywhere, in many gaming communities. This is why the world often does not take gaming seriously; this is why gamers are assumed to be immature, whiny assholes. Because the immature, whiny assholes are louder.
Take a look at Vahn’s Twitter stream today; look at how he has responded to the people who found issues and sent him calm, useful feedback. It’s clear that many gamers understand basic human communication, and it’s doubly clear that developers respond positively and gratefully to this kind of feedback. Maybe Vahn is super patient. Maybe Vahn is super human. Maybe Vahn is heavily sedated. But the fact that he focuses on the useful feedback, puts that intel to good use fixing the problem, and doesn’t irrationally lash out at the immature, whiny assholes is amazing.
After this, Dan did a little role-play, asking “would you react better to having someone scream in your face that since your mother didn’t have an abortion, you should commit suicide instead?” when you made a mistake, or if someone just said, ‘”Hey, I noticed this and I think it’s not quite right; are you seeing what I see?'”
Finishing up, Amrich said, “This is not the way to show a developer that what they do matters to you. Not at all.” Also, “if you enjoy your games, have a little respect for the people who make them – and stop threatening them with bodily harm every time they do their job.”
Taking a look at David’s Twitter account does show you that he responds to multiple people, and when someone said they were sorry for all the threats, he replied with, “It’s ok. It’s an incredibly passionate group. I have to make tough, unpopular, decisions armed with info they don’t have. Honestly, I believe most people would do the same thing if actually wearing my shoes. I try not to take it personally.”
What do you think of this whole situation? Let us know in the frag-ments below.