Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet has terminated the contracts of two writers following a heated Twitter exchange with a fan of the MMORPG.
What started out as an innocuous insight into the inherent difficulties of creating a compelling MMORPG single-player character by writer Jessica Price, quickly descended into an abrasive retort to a seemingly constructive response from respected Guild Wars 2 content creator Deroir, a member of ArenaNet’s partnership program.
After a Reddit AMA, Price opted to continue the conversation on twitter, explaining ‘The dirty secret is I’m not sure if it’s possible to make an MMORPG (or CRPG) character compelling, because people have different expectations about what that character will be, as opposed to a pre-designed character in a single-player game’.
Really interesting thread to read! ?
However, allow me to disagree *slightly*. I dont believe the issue lies in the MMORPG genre itself (as your wording seemingly suggest). I believe the issue lies in the contraints of the Living Story's narrative design; (1 of 3)
— Deroir (@DeroirGaming) July 3, 2018
In a since deleted tweet, Price’s response to this is what caused the controversy, as she said ‘Thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9… [L]ike, the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me–as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a fucking DECADE, I have never heard of it–is getting instablocked’. But, she didn’t stop here authoring a series of tweets with increasingly derogatory and accusatory implications.
Many people joined the discussion to defend both sides of the argument with many gibes thrown about. Peter Fries, another Guild Wars 2 writer, jumped in to defend his colleague, ‘Here’s a bit of insight that I legitimately hope he reflects on: she never asked for his feedback. These are our *private* social media accounts – imagine you’re an astronomer and you start sharing some things you’ve learned in the last few months since you began a research project observing Saturn, only to have observation techniques explained to you by a layman’.
ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien responded to the events via a forum thread on the Guild Wars 2 website, explaining ‘Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players. Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they’re no longer with the company. I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you’.
Deroir, who remained silent during the whole attack, finally tweeted:
In a world where discussions should be encouraged, and not belittled, yet the opposite becomes reality, I've apparently found myself in the midst of a war I never intended to partake in. Disappointed. That's all. #IAmAFeminist https://t.co/w3js1Ye8mA
— Deroir (@DeroirGaming) July 4, 2018
It is worth noting he is an active and respected member of the community who seemingly only wished to improve a game he clearly is passionate about. His comments do not come across as confrontational or demeaning in any way, hence much of the backlash suffered by the two writers.