Comparisons are something that’s just a part of human nature. But it’s not always a wise thing to do.
It’s something I’ve noticed as I’ve bounced around MMOs-particularly where you find similar genres. When Bioware opened up forums for their development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, there was no shortage of people requesting features that sounded eerily like features already found in the still-existing Star Wars Galaxies. Star Trek Online suffers occasionally from people wishing that it was more like the single-player Bridge Commander. And there are people who look at Champions Online and compare it unfavorably to City of Heroes.
This sort of thing happens when a game is closing down. SWG veterans (of both eras of SWG) try to deal with the fact that space combat isn’t remotely like the Jump to Lightspeed expansion, which was more like the computer games X-Wing, but more like arcade shooters like Zaxxon. (Now that’s showing my age…) City of Heroes veterans are migrating to what they feel is the second-best superhero game. People are inclined to gravitate to the games they feel are most similar to the games they are leaving. But here’s the thing: these people are going in with the feeling that they’re settling for second best-they’ve been playing the game they liked better, after all. But it’s going away.
This general attitude doesn’t endear the migrants to the game populations they’re joining. They’ve been playing what they feel is the better game, after all. Having a bunch of folks coming in from a game that obviously wasn’t good enough to still be around telling them that the other game was better…well, that’s not likely to bring warm fuzzies. You can see this to an extent with other games at different points in their lifespan too-how game X was better before developer Y nerfed everything. And that causes conflict, too.
People migrating to a new game need to realize and understand that what they had is gone. The new game isn’t going to be that old game. TOR isn’t going to be SWG with a new paint job. CO isn’t going to be CoH with a different art style. Appreciate the target games for what they are, not for what they aren’t. TOR doesn’t have housing; don’t spend all your time complaining about that. Appreciate the involved stories that make up the quests. CO doesn’t have Mission Architect; but you can enjoy the Nemesis system. The games are different-but this is only as good or as bad as you let it be.
People in those games that are seeing a flood of migrants need to understand, too, that they come bearing fresh and raw wounds. Speaking ill of the dead is tacky. Don’t put your effort in saying how the old game stunk on ice-the migrants won’t appreciate it any more than you would appreciate them coming in and saying how bad your game sucks. Help them see and appreciate the game you see-the game you fell in love with. It might not work-but that’s the way it goes with anyone new to a game.
This sort of thing seems pretty obvious, but I see the conflicts in forums and I see them in the games. It’s really pretty simple in the end, though: the people leaving a dead game are looking for something at least similar to their old one-not just in game mechanics but in community. The people in the new games are (or should be) looking forward to a new influx of players who can help improve the overall health of the game. There’s a middle ground here, where both sides can appreciate what the other can bring to the table. It’s a better place to be than on the extremes where one side shouts, “My game was better!” while the other shouts back, “No, mine is!”