Uh-oh, looks like it's time for another one of Matt's opinion pieces.
Okay, so I'll admit it. My time on World of Warcraft has utterly
changed the way I think about MMOs.
Those on my flist may or may not be aware that I've recently gotten back into Mabinogi. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I ever quit was because Alpha had stopped playing, and the game isn't really any fun alone. It's a fun game, and sufficiently removed from the train wreck that was Maple Story.
Between quitting and starting up again, though, a lot of time passed and a lot of things happened. This isn't about the game being different; this is about me
being different. Despite all the updates made to it, Mabinogi has stayed the same more than it has changed. The game hasn't stopped being fun, but it has
started to feel alien.
Take this announcement
on the official Mabinogi forums, for instance. Reading this thread, and the responses to it, has driven home just how much my outlook on MMOs has changed.
Two years ago? I probably would have been singing the praises of this announcement right alongside many of the other posters in there. Things looked much more black and white to me back then.
Now, though, I've had the experience of what a game is like when run by a company that actively supports the modding community. And it could not possibly seem more mystifying to me that these people are so fervently against "modders", and that Nexon would have a blanket ban on all mods
, both harmful and harmless.
I'll admit that some the "hacks" that get used in Nexon games are a far cry from the mods enjoyed by the WoW community-- many of them are
outright malicious, and these games certainly have their share of cheaters-- a problem not remotely
as rampant on WoW as it is in Mabinogi, and on Maple Story especially.
But I have a very big
problem with the fact that strictly aesthetic mods
are being tarred with the same brush as such hacks. That's what Nexon is doing.
Many of my friends will know that I make a minor hobby out of custom soundtracks. Since the music in Mabinogi is stored externally in .mp3 format, it's a cakewalk to replace the music files with my own in order to customize the soundtrack-- but uh-oh
, I guess that makes me a dirty modder
. You can get banned for that, can you believe it?This
is one of the reasons that I now feel like I'm nothing more than a guest in the world of Nexon MMOs.
I'm a little dumbfounded that this is what they're focusing their attention on, rather than combating the rampant botting that goes on in this game. It's disgraceful how easy it is to bot in this game, and how difficult it is to go five feet without tripping over a gold-farming bot. And this, while I could get banned for my custom soundtrack? It's almost farcical how out of line their priorities are.
I'm not quitting the game over this, don't get me wrong. I just find it utterly surreal how alien the Nexon MMO culture seems to me now. And it is
a culture, make no mistake about that.
I'll just continue in my role as outside observer of the indigenous peoples and their strange folkways.