Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 design director David Vonderhaar has received death threats regarding tweaks made to weapon balancing in the game’s most recent patch.
Let’s put that into perspective.
A developer of video games has made some minor alterations to how three weapons behave in said video game. And as a result some people on the internet have judged it to be a fitting and suitable reaction to tell him that he deserves to die.
Understandably, Activision community manager Dan Amrich has lashed out at these individuals, explaining not only the personal hurt caused but also the wider implications of such behaviour.
“If, in the course of millions of hours of gameplay and the data to go with it, weapons are found to be more effective or less effective than they should be to keep that performance balanced, they are adjusted,” he wrote. “This has happened with every Call of Duty game that’s come out for the last few years, and it will continue to happen.
“Yet Vahn often gets told he should die in a fire or kill himself or is a horrible person. If anybody thinks for a second that this is okay, it is not. But if the loudest voices in the Call of Duty ‘community’ act like an angry mob instead, guess how the entire world views Call of Duty?
“Now consider that these Internet Tough Guy rants and demands are not unique to COD, but exist everywhere, in many gaming communities. This is why the world often does not take gaming seriously; this is why gamers are assumed to be immature, whiny assholes. Because the immature, whiny assholes are louder.
“Role-play this for a second. When you make a mistake — because you do, we all do — how would you prefer to find out that there is an issue? Would you like someone to just say ‘hey, I noticed this and I think it’s not quite right; are you seeing what I see?’ Or would you react better to having someone scream in your face that since your mother didn’t have an abortion, you should commit suicide instead?
“This is not the way to show a developer that what they do matters to you. Not at all. If you enjoy your games, have a little respect for the people who make them — and stop threatening them with bodily harm every time they do their job.”
Here here, Dan.
Here at MCV several of our team have had times had to endure similar treatment from members of the wider games “community”. The obvious and apparent mindlessness and stupidity of said individuals is often sufficient enough so as to prevent significant upset. After all, if you’re the sort to insult or even threaten people you’ve never met on Twitter or on a games forum you’re fortunately likely not the sort whose opinion has any worth or merit.
But every now and then one particular comment at one particular time can get to you for whatever reason, no matter how idiotic.
That team member may be at home at the time and be about to put the kids to bed or make dinner or do the dusting or watch TV. And instead of focusing on their family and their homelife and themselves and the many things that actually matter in this world, they instead spend the night dwelling on a spiteful comment sent by a cowardly imbecile hiding behind a screen. They can’t explain that to their children. They may not want to explain to their partner. So it sits there, festering, eating away and damaging. And for what?
Perhaps that’s a fitting punishment for daring to “write some words” that you decided you didn’t like, for expressing enthusiasm for a console you’re not intending to buy or suggesting that your favourite game hasn’t sold as well as it should have done.
Or perhaps it’s just fucking mental. That’s a decision for you to make.