Editorial: What's Your Favorite Divisive Topic In Gaming?

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor


A few years ago, a politician took a stance on a controversial topic. I won't say who it was or what he said, but a friend of mine posted on Facebook, “That's gonna cost him in the election.”

I supported the stance he took, so to me, it made me more likely to vote for him (and I did). A number of other people probably felt the same way. But I can understand how polarizing his statement was, how it could create equal numbers of “Atta boy!” and “I'm never voting for that #*$@” responses, from each side of the political aisle. In any case, it wasn't as simple a case of political suicide as my friend put it.

You see a lot of the same thing in video games, especially when a new game, or new features are announced. For example, some people like raids; some think they're the worst. An MMO that announces raids is going to get a significant percentage of people cheering while others jeer. It's rarely the type of thing that elicits no response.

Of course, there's the biggie: free-to-play vs. paid. Some people swear off F2P games for one reason or another, while some won't even look at an online game if it isn't F2P – or hound P2P games for their “greed.” I see reasons for both, so I'm not automatically biased toward one or the other; it depends on the game.

My topic is something a little more subtle, but one that I think still tweaks a fair number of people: choices in games. More choices are always better, right? Nope, not buying it. When I see a game offer six billion different ways to customize your character/starship/whatever, or an extensive crafting system with 38 different ways to make a sword, I just see it as introducing a ton of unnecessary layers that mostly exist just to show how “big” a game is – especially when only a handful of builds are valid in the first place. (My long-standing feud with inventory systems are probably an offshoot of this, especially when my bags are 90% full of stuff I'll probably never need, or need about once a month.) Some degree of complexity is necessary; I just think that some games overdo it for the sake of saying they can.

Dota2 items

But I get why that's attractive to certain people. The heady rush of having unlimited options can be intoxicating, and some folks are more than happy to spend hours browsing wikis to determine the exact perfect configuration for their chosen avatar – especially if it gives them an advantage over someone who doesn't put in that kind of time. I'd rather play a game than research one, but I can see the appeal of chasing perfection.

At the very least, just like with that politician, I hesitate to say some part of a game is an awful decision unless I know nearly everyone's going to hate it. One person's “stay away” feature is another's “best thing ever.”

I'd like to know if other people have similar “binary” issues with games, especially if they're the sort of things that they know other people love. It could be a case of “I understand why they love this” or “I have no idea why anyone likes this.” The key is that a large segment of the gaming population does disagree with you – even if you aren't sure why. Leave a comment and let us know!

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

More Stories by Jason Winter

Discussion (7)

Neosapience 6 years ago
"What makes a game an MMO?"

*sits back and watches the bloodbath*

Pieareround 7 years ago
I've got two which are probably related. First is names. In a game where my blank slate player character is an important agent in the world, he has to have a name that makes sense given his race and background.. Elves have elven names, orcs have orcish names, etc. I will spend literally hours coming up with the perfect name to fit my character and make sure he fits into his culture in the game. And I often have to have multiple choices in mind because my favorite is usually taken. That said, I just don't get how people can stand having names like BigDikWulfMan9236. It breaks any sense of immersion. I don't call anyone out on it, because I'd pretty much have to call out half a given WoW server, but still...


The second thing is fashion. In WoW, I have spent innumerable hours hunting down the perfect transmog. In Monster Hunter, I am a fashion hunter. In Warframe, fashion frame is the true endgame. My character has to look good. I mean, I'm going to be staring at them for hours upon hours, so I have to make them look as good as I can, right? I don't get how people deal with walking around in the most eye burningly garish outfits I have ever seen. Like, this is stuff you wouldn't dream of wearing in real life.

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Hellsworth 7 years ago
Definitly "P2W" concept is probably the biggest within online gaming, but there's plenty like "classes" for example, in some games you pick your class and in others you skill up your abilities and you can use what you evolved, to some people having classes is monotonous while other claim that having a character without a class makes it lack identity. Auction Houses and trading in general is another one for example, in older MMOs we're used to drop our excess in an AH or even use our tradeskills to make items to sell at the AH, that's all fine and good but it also leads to botting abuses and some games nowadays give you tools to help on the trading itself but not an AH to "craft n dump", some people prefer the AH some people prefer make the trade by interacting. Another one is for example flying mounts, while everyone agrees in a way that mounts are a cool thing the same doesn't apply to flying mounts, while some like the aspect of flying around others see it with disdain claiming it cuts on the immersion. At the end of the day some people prefer immersive to non-immersive others prefer speedy effectiveness.

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Curst 7 years ago
"Free for all" PvP (of any form and within any genre) as opposed to team-based competitive PvP. It's boring, pointless, doesn't require skill (other than the "skill" of griefing), can't stand it. But apparently millions love it, just look at the abominable "survival" games (Who thought to brand it "survival" anyway? Humans band together when they are forced to fight for survival IRL, they do not kill on sight for a flashlight and some chocolate bars).
...Which is probably a controversial thing for me to say in of itself, since I'm a pathological lonewolf. >_>

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