Last week at Kotaku, Stephen Totilo wondered if too much hype for good games can kill the buzz? His reasoning is that as a reporter, he is most excited by the games he knows the least about. If he’s overloaded by demos and game information well in advance, it’s not exciting to write about any more.
Thinking about this with respect to Warhammer Online, a game that’s already been delayed twice, I’m awed and impressed (in a fangirl way) by those people who have been able to keep the buzz going for so long. As human beings, delayed gratification isn’t one of our strengths. We get excited about something, then we want the thing to actually happen.
PR people are very adept at managing the buzz. For example, big blockbuster films are advertised a long time in advance, just to remind people to keep that calendar spot in mind as something to look forwards to. But they don’t start the media blitz until about a month out. Before that, it’s mostly teasers. I figure that’s because it’s just too hard to keep that level of buzz going, and also people are pragmatic creatures and will prioritise. Why get excited about next Christmas’ films when there’s another blockbuster out next week?
But, a game isn’t a film. And a MMORPG in particular is a big big game. A triple A release is such a big event for MMORPG players that, like a blockbuster, you can keep the momentum and excitement going for a long time. There’s a lot of information that can be given out to keep the fans chatting and the buzz rolling. We see this in the monthly newsletter for Warhammer. More information each month on classes, scenarios, crafting, podcasts, developer blogs, and so on.
Fans are also easier to please with hype than reporters. They already know that they’re interested in this specific game and this specific genre. The game doesn’t have to compete for their mindshare with lots of other games. They’re interested in every little snippets of information and screenshot that comes from the horse’s mouth.
But can it get too much? If we get overloaded with detailed information about talent trees and scenario tactics and the minutae of crafting, do we just switch off? I know I get to a point where I’d like to just play the game already instead of trying to figure out how it will play. So for me, I’m glad Mythic aren’t being too detailed in their interviews and press releases. Of course, another reason they don’t do that is that the minor details can and probably will change before release. But still, we have been getting a lot of information recently, and it’s a lot to digest when you have to do it all hypothetically.
Do you feel overloaded with information, or does it just make you more excited about the game? Do you prefer to discover more about the game by just playing it?