Ayarane Project

Why I Like Twitter Integration in World of Warcraft (or, Hyperbole is for Winners)

by Yoshi on Feb.11, 2015 | ITP: , , , ,

In Patch 6.1, Blizzard is adding the ability to tweet from inside World of Warcraft. While people have been tweeting about their WoW experience well before this, the integration of Twitter into the game will streamline the process considerably, and will be useful to players with low-end machines, for whom alt-tabbing to tweet is not practical.

Needless to say, this upcoming addition is not without controversy. Now, it’s not possible to please everyone, and there will always be some people who are vehemently against any kind of social network intermingling with their MMOs (strange considering that MMOs themselves are a form of social media, but eh). While I agree that Patch 6.1 is otherwise very light on content (which I will address later on), the amount of negativity rooted in willful, petulant ignorance is ASTOUNDING. That YouTube video up there? Don’t read the comments. Even if you agree with the backlash, the amount of over-the-top anger is enough to make your brain hurt. I say this as someone who regularly goes diving into comments on controversial things.

(disclaimer going forward: I am painter, not a game developer, programmer or even a “social media guru.” What I know about this subject is a result of years of observation and a hell of a lot of tech podcasts.)

The most common complaint is that Twitter integration is somehow “taking away” from Actual Content (quests, dungeon and raid development), which does not make sense because anyone who knows Twitter knows that it has an API that is very easy to implement. So easy, in fact, that in all likelihood it took probably less than a couple days to drop the API code in as well as a little more user interface work to pretty it up. This was most likely handled by someone on the Battle.net/User Interface branch rather than someone who handles graphics, class balancing, dungeon/raid development, or quest design. It is not practical to assign someone who deals with graphics to work on class balancing, you would be better served putting a monkey on a keyboard.

The tinfoil hat argument is that Twitter is sponsoring said integration, which is also nonsensical: Twitter does not pay developers to implement their service (that’s what the publicly-available API is for) and is actually more likely to buy out third-party developers to absorb their engineers and code. See: the multitudes of third-party Twitter clients over the years that have been acquired by Twitter itself (e.g. Tweety).

There is the claim that Twitter is being forced on the player. This is also not true. You have to opt in through the game settings and link a Twitter account (just like everything else that allows you to link a Twitter account) in order for it to work. Though, I imagine that the mere presence of an “enable Twitter” setting to some is enough to count as “you’re forcing me to tweet.” This leads into the perception that “nobody asked for Twitter integration.” Maybe not on the forums (WoW or fan-run), but… you know, there are other avenues for collecting feedback, right? Email, Facebook and, yes, the many Twitter accounts operated by Blizzard employees. Maybe the demand was not so much through loud forum posts and more of a subtle “gosh, I wish I could tweet from inside the game, it would be so nice” sentiment gleaned from tweets and other things. Yeah. “Nobody asked for Twitter integration, this was forced on us.” Sure. Whatever you say.

SO much Picard Double Facepalm. See what I mean about “negativity rooted in willful ignorance?”

The best part is when there are some detractors petty enough to actually call for some of these programmers to lose their jobs over Twitter integration. Really? If that describes you, I hope you’re ready to explain to their families that they’re down one– or their only– source of income and may suffer great financial hardship because they implemented a feature you don’t like, and that this makes you realize how terrible this makes you look. You’re possibly, no, definitely worse than those who have openly declared their intent to register Twitter accounts for the express purpose of trolling and harassing Blizzard employees over Twitter integration.

Yes, Patch 6.1 does not have a whole lot to offer in terms of content. That part I will not disagree with people about. That said, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some demand in the past for a major patch that is light on content in exchange for more class balancing, bug fixes, graphics tweaks and QoL (quality of life) updates… all of which describe Patch 6.1 very well, actually. And yet, now that we are given such a patch, it’s being dismissed as possibly the “Worst X.1 Patch EVER.” I guess all this does is reiterate that people really don’t know what they want (even when asked what they would do instead, they respond in very broad generalities, many of which are not really possible to do in the timeframe it takes to put out a major patch) and will complain irrationally about EVERYTHING.

As for me, I most definitely welcome the addition of Twitter. I tweet a lot about things that go in in game, and the ability to attach and crop screencaps is especially nice because it saves me from having to fish up a screencap (it’s annoying in both Windows and OS X) and crop it in an outside program and such.

As for that SELFIE camera toy, maybe I’ll pass on that. I will agree that the whole “duckface” part of it is a bit too much. …well, for Yoshi, anyway. Somehow I can see Phil, Hynderia and Leslie using the camera, though. Man, ESPECIALLY Leslie– silly Bronze Dragon is SILLY.

In closing… dear players opposed to Twitter Integration: it’s okay to not like things. Please don’t be hyperbolic jerks about it. (that video REALLY needs to be required viewing for posting on forums or anything else.)

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