Epic Verdict: Flame Wars are for Kids

Welcome to the Epic Verdict where we report MMO trends fast, straight, and most importantly, with a bias. Here you’ll find snap judgments on game developments in the World of Warcraft, Aion, and dozens more. Sometimes we even pick on a baby murloc or two.

We begin in the land of forum flame wars where expletives and sarcasm are the weapons of choice.

January, in particular, sees a spike in online trash talking after MMO websites have handed out their “Best of” awards. Players get their knickers in a knot debating if Aion deserved its accolades, for example, or if Age of Conan winning ‘most improved’ is but a hollow victory.

While I personally think those games are great, I bet all my Aion Kinah and AoC Gold that detractors will drag out the argument for weeks. Sabotage/fixing claims will be slung like Molotov cocktails. Egos will butt heads until the forum mod shuts down the thread.

I believe people should just see MMO awards for what they really are: luck of the draw.  Luck that an editor likes a game better than the rest. Luck that a game had more fans that bothered to answer the poll.

For the unconvinced, I just ask that you mind the three m’s. Make your case, mind the manners, and then move on.

Ninja PuG Groups in WoW: EPIC FAIL

Speaking of bad behavior, there has been an increase of ninja PuGs in the World of Warcraft that came together with the new Dungeon Finder feature.

A little bit of background first on the Dungeon Finder, for the WoW virgins.

Before the latest Patch 3.3, casual WoW players regarded 5-man dungeons like a root canal. There was danger of things going horribly wrong, but in the hands of expert professionals–or in this case, capable party members–the temporary pain was worth it in rare loot.

The problem for Blizzard was that many casual players couldn’t be bothered to take the risk. Too much hassle, they said, in finding cooperative strangers and wasting one hour or so of the little time they had to meet up in the dungeon entrance.

But with the release of the Dungeon Finder feature, players could simply click a few buttons in their menu; wait for their ragtag team to be assembled automatically across different realms, and voila! A pick-up group (aka PuG) is born.

“Wham, bam, thank you for the blues and purples ma’am!” most casual players thought.

But enter the ninja PuGs who are made up of three or four guild members/friends who enter the Dungeon Finder, team up with a random dude who helps them kill the final boss, but then kicks the random dude out of the group before the loot is distributed fairly.

Poor casual player just got dumped like wet toilet paper.

I believe there should be a running list of ninja PuGs. A public list of shame. But since it’s New Year and we’re in a constructive mood around here, we could settle for a loot safeguard system to prevent abusive vote-kicks.

If that doesn’t work, we’ll just have to pay WoW Gold to shame these thieves into obscurity. Watch out ninjas!


– Nothing warms my heart more than seeing developers work hard to make their games better. Champions Online wants your feedback (the only one who I’ve seen ask for it specifically) on their “Attack of the Misfit Toys” winter event, here.