Consumer Contempt

I once tried to explain that one of the main reasons it’s hard to make a go in the RPG business is because a disturbingly large segment of the gamer population has active contempt for the people who produce the entertainment media that they consume.

Here’s a great example of that: A quote from a thread on the largest d20 forum, ENWorld:

“…sometimes I think the hobby would be better off it there weren’t an RPG industry.”

Yeah, damn that industry, producing stuff for you to use in your games. How dare they!

It’s stuff like that which really wears me down. Sure, it’s a quote from one guy….but multiply it by several thousand just like him, and have them post and email stuff like that to you all year long, and see if it doesn’t start to get to you.

Welcome to my world.

18 Replies to “Consumer Contempt”

  1. Maybe he was frustrated with WotC and worded it badly. Since they’ve turned D&D into one giant list of feats, prestige classes and PH4t L3wTz0r!11 no one really likes them anymore, and I know a lot of people would like to see D&D out of their hands.

  2. Oh yeah, trust me. I’ve been in your world. I was one of the highest level storytellers in the Camarilla. I handled a justicar NPC, and portrayed him at cons (points at my icon). I wasn’t necessarily working in the same way as you are in the industry, but for 2 and a half years, I wrote endless stories, hit 6 cons a year, and spent every one of them working my ass off from beginning to end, only to have everyone and their brother armchair-quarterback my every move.

    Trust me, it’s a little more harsh when they not only make comments like that but also throw in some personal comments directed right at you. We may have slightly different experiences, but I do certainly feel your pain.

    Here’s what I always tried to say… Fuck them in their goat-ass. If you’re doing the best you can, and you’re enjoying yourself, then fuck them.

    I didn’t always succeed, but it felt good to say it…oh yeah and drink heavily after Cons. ;)

  3. It is not just gaming.
    I feel that fandom in general loves to spit at those who would entertain them. Film, comics, RPGs, what have you, the so called fans love to hear themselves complain. Damn it, at least the emo kids have the common decency to only whine about their lives. Fanboys whine about everything, and you can’t win, ask George Lucas.
    A majority of this venomous garbage is generated by those who want desperately to write/illustrate/do something creative, but lack the motivation and the talent. Most of them are pissed that you made it, and they didn’t.
    When viewing all this crap remember,

    Those who can, Do
    Those who can’t do, Teach
    Those who can’t teach, Criticize

    Do what you do for yourself. If they like it, fine. If they don’t, that cool too. If they bitch, tell them if they know so much, then why aren’t they doing it themselves. That will shut their yaps, until they can get to a computer and complain that you were an ass in person. Like I said, with fanboys, you can’t win.

  4. I’d just like to toss in a hell yeah at what the brother above said. It is the nature of the fanboyish nation to have a peevish anger at what they themselves are to lazy or lacking in skill to create. It is really ridiculous when you think about it, like yelling out “I hate that you make us love you!”. Pointless, timewasting on all fronts and utterly, utterly non-productive.

    Screw them.

  5. There’s a vast difference, I think, between producing material that people can pick, choose and do what they like with as compared to playing an active part and making decisions (often bad) over people that they do not have any choice with. Working hard is all well and good but working hard in a fashion that actively screws people over and makes decisions that directly harm them and their fun is not really the same thing as working at producing game material.

    Equally though, it feels to me that there’s a lot of contempt towards the consumer in the RPG industry as well, and not just the Ron Edwards’ of the world.

  6. Not knowing the context in which it was said it’s kind of hard to really properly react to the statement.

    Generally though there is a lot of misunderstanding between the players, gms and content providers in general, which includes a lot of misjudging the value of each in the equation.

    Because of the location of the statement (a d20 forum) it might have been directed at the d20 related part of the industry and not just the industry in general. Or it might have been directed because of the industry often being it’s own worse enemy and that a complete revision of how the business side of things run (author-publisher-distributor-retailer) and the way pricing etc works, and that the industry would be best off starting again from scratch and eliminating much of the middle men involved in getting product to consumer.

    Or it could have been an indie player/author who was tired of the way things work in gaming in general (I’ve run into a more than enough of these folks who are more interested in game theory than actually playing or producing games and yet want the industry to bow down to their ‘new nifty diceless settingless game’ as the be all of gaming).

  7. Some things never change I see. You’re trying to equate apples and oranges, one situation (one of potentially – and often – abused authority) with that of a provider of tools.

    Enforcement/interference and enablement aren’t the same thing.

  8. So what, you can’t see the difference between the two?

    The only place I can see the potential for a similar situation is in a canon heavy sort of game where greatly diverging from established game canon can (from the designer position) genuinely give reason to piss people off. Even then a tabletop personal game can diverge without too much bother.

    I really don’t think the situations are comparable and that it isn’t a valid comparison. That’s _all_. A designer isn’t in a position of authority over someone’s personal game and that’s very different to being in a position of enforcement which CAN breed quite justifiable resentment. No?

  9. Wow, I’ve never seen someone bow out of an arguement while using their -LJ icon- to sneak in the last word anyway. On some level, that’s almost impressive.

    I think everyone who’s been part of this thing for long enough– writer, developer, player, GM, whatever– has found themselves on the recieving end of total non-appreciation for all the care and hard work they bring to the table, though this, I have to admit, is particularly breathtaking.

    If it makes you feel any better, the silent majority out there is silent because they’re too busy enjoying the fruits of the industry with their friends to look up long enough to say ‘thank you.’

  10. Wow, I’ve never seen someone bow out of an arguement while using their -LJ icon- to sneak in the last word anyway. On some level, that’s almost impressive.

    Yeah, it takes a special kind of asshat to pull that move.

  11. I’ve argued with people over similiar things before. If they don’t want an industry and just a hobby then what is stopping them? Simply stop buying anything and use free resources or write your own material and stop complaining.

    Personally I think a lot of the source of complaining is from people who fall for the hype of a game and buy without thinking or doing any research on the game. Then when they get it home, or on their comp, and it’s not what they thought it should be they bitch. Myself I haven’t felt like I made a single bad buy in a long time just from checking out what I’m getting before I put forth the cash.

    Also people gripe because things come out that they don’t like. Even if they don’t buy it they complain. I’ve seen a lot of this about D20 and OGL material. Myself I don’t like the D20 system so I don’t buy books for it but I don’t complain that there are a lot of D20 books out there, but I know plenty of folks who do.

    Just my two cents.

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