|This Raid Boss doesn't look at all scary.|
This is Arsene Wenger. He's managed Arsenal Football [*] Club since 1996 and is considered by many as a revolutionary not simply on the pitch, but in the fields of sports science and player management too. However, he has come under mounting criticism in recent years as his team seem to have become increasingly adept at not simply getting injured with worrying frequency, but throwing away potentially winning situations. As the world has changed, as other managers have been hired and fired, Wenger remains one of the longest serving managers at a single club of all time. However, he has failed to win a major trophy since 2005.
You're already wondering where I'm going with this, aren't you?
Wenger is an innovator, a trailblazer, whose effect on English Football is universally accepted. However, as time has moved on, many would argue his outlook has remained worryingly static, refusing to grasp that the world around his team is a considerably more complicated place than it was the last time he won a trophy. In fact, one might argue that he has failed to cope with key changes not simply in how the game of football is played, but in the world around his team. This is where I come into this story, on Thursday night, sitting at my PC making Mogs for various characters. As I watch Twitter on my second screen, I have a WTF moment the like of which I think I've never really experienced before.
I think this WoW Insider article sums up my feelings pretty well. This is about as relevant to my interests as a poster where Pamela Anderson cosplays Sylvanas being offered to me as a free gift for subbing to the game. In the two hours that followed the announcement I watched pretty much every reaction imaginable to this news: shock, amazement, disbelief, anger... they were all there. Then there were the inevitable comments from those who didn't really see what the fuss was about to begin with, who just carried on with their evening and (presumably) chalked this whole PR exercise down to 'just another thing Blizzard do.' It's like the occasional picture sequence I'll see appear on Twitter that shows lines and lines of Champagne bottles lined up for Blizzard employees to 'celebrate' some notable anniversary, where the whole point appears to be to waste a load of alcohol by spraying it over each other in what I assume is the same celebration that Racing Drivers and other 'sports' participants love so much.
I've never been a great fan of waste, but I digress.
It occurs to me that although clearly much has changed in gaming over the nine or so years since Arsenal won a trophy, certain parts of Blizzard's mindset remain entrenched in an age where the 'guys on choppers' lifestyle would not simply be appropriate, it would be far more universally embraced. However, that's not the case in this part of the demographic, and for the first time in some years I know I'm not alone if the reaction of the last few days in my social 'network' has been any accurate indicator. More importantly, where this kind of outlook might simply be ignored or dismissed as not relevant, and more and more people are making their unhappiness felt with the situation as it stands. Blizzard have a track record of inappropriate behaviour in certain sectors of the community. This latest adventure is not likely to do them any favours in those places as a result.
|Horde Corgi, Alliance Corgi, EVERYBODY WINS.|
As someone pointed out to me in the midst of the lolwuts on Thursday, it's not like Blizzard aren't short a few pence, so indulging an 'Easy Rider' interlude is perfectly understandable. Let's face it, if I could do a job where I could make cool stuff and then make it in turn into virtual cool stuff and still remain relevant for the majority of my player base, I'd probably take that as a good deal. The thing is, as Mr Wenger is now discovering to his cost, there comes a point where doing the same things over and over again and not embracing the changes to science, society and culture around you has potentially dangerous consequences. As I don't own a billion-dollar gaming empire I'm clearly in no position to give advice, but as a mother of two with kids (boy and girl) who both think Blizzard isn't really catering to them or their mum, but has their dad covered with the bikes, there's a sage lesson in base level observation for starters. When my daughter asks unprompted for more female characters that do cool stuff and my son thinks armour should actually look like it works and not be an excuse to expose some pixel skin, there's possible benefit in listening to your minorities, whoever they might be.
The thing is, there's not always an Agenda (Capital A) behind people's actions, or some shouty person in what seems to you like a minority who wants to upset everyone to make a point. Sometimes it's normal, decent people who are just fed up with the fact that when the rest of the world changes, other bits seem to like to pretend they're stuck in nearly ten years ago. This isn't 2005 any more, and if enough time elapses before things do start to change...
The future's supposed to be for everyone, after all, not just those in the demographic of the people who manage the company. It might finally be time to more publicly embrace the diversity, rather than what seems to be the case currently.
We're still here, after all.
[*] That's soccer for those of you who insist on playing Football in armour and with a rugby ball :P