ArenaNet, the team behind the MMO RPG experience Guild Wars 2, is dealing with some major after effects of a Twitter feud that lead to two members of their Narrative team being fired. The president of the company, Mike O'Brien, confirmed that the two members have since been let go when the tweets became under public scrutiny.
The issue began when Jessica Price took to her social media to create a thread surrounding the unique challenges faced when making MMORPG characters. Though the thread later blew up with splintering conversations, the initial conversation began like so:
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.— Jessica Price (@Delafina777) July 3, 2018
It wasn't until one fan responded that it turned a little ugly:
Really interesting thread to read! ?— Deroir (@DeroirGaming) July 3, 2018
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)
After the initial response was received, Price responded with "Today in being a female game dev: 'Allow me -- a person who does not work with you --- explain to you how to do your job." She later added, "like, 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 f---ing DECADE, I have never heard of it--is getting instablocked. PSA."
The exchange continued to grow more and more heated, prompting collegue Peter Fries to respond to the now deleted response:
He then went into more detail, further elaborating on his original commentary:
"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. Today is a national holiday. It is our day off, after working hard for months on our most recent content release. If I’m being embarrassing and unprofessional, it’s because I’m enjoying a beverage in the sun in my backyard and this nonsense is being directed at someone I respect. Jessica is great at her job and deserves to be treated with respect, was the gist of what I was reacting to."
Price hopped back into the conversation by adding, "Since we've got a lot of hurt manfeels today, lemme make something clear: this is my feed. I'm not on the clock here. I'm not your emotional courtesan just because I'm a dev. Don't expect me to pretend to like you here."
The attempts of fans to exert ownership over our personal lives and times are something I am hardcore about stopping. You don't own me, and I don't owe you.— Jessica Price (@Delafina777) July 4, 2018
After the debate started to fizzle out between the parties, but not out of the public eye, ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien issued the below statement regarding the decision to cut ties with the two developers:
"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.0comments
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."
The situation quickly escalated out of control with two very different sides of the equation. As a huge Guild Wars fan, I found out about this exchange through a Facebook group I am in and the dialogue it opened up there was ... intense. So what do you think? Do you think these devs are out of line, or does there need to be a clearer line between fans and developers in terms of "ownership"? Sound off below!