In a moment of gaming evolutionary brilliance, a genre that we once knew and loved grew by one amazing game that would become the preeminent online gaming experience. There was little to no reason play any other online game because visionary Reed Hastings had taken all the best parts of gaming and thrown them together into a smorgasbord of awesome with a subscription rate cheaper than those of its competitors.
In the early days, players’ voices were heard, and they helped shape the community that they would become. The other rival game giants were brought to their knees due to Hastings’ diligence and cleverness. After those competitors were no longer a problem, however, the game designers and community representatives became increasingly tight-lipped. The players weren’t treated as a part of the process anymore.
Hastings allowed his new pet project to flourish and evolve further still. There were some changes here and there, and the majority of the community accepted those changes as improvements to the game as a whole. The game continually grew bigger and better. What started out as a mostly PvE-only game, grew to include PvP aspects. The PvP wasn’t stellar by any means, but it was a great way for people to pass the time while they waited for their dungeon and raid lockouts to expire.
At this point, most players were more than satisfied with their game. A pay-as-you-go MMO popped up during Hastings’ game’s glory days, and a few players did indeed leave for it, but not enough to worry the developers or investors. Besides, comparing the two companies didn’t really make much sense since they were such different game models.
Everything continued to go smoothly until an unexpected patch was announced that would leave the most exciting PvP domain completely unplayable. Suddenly the PvP side of the game was going to be lacking; the best part of PvP was gone. There would still be some PvP content, but none of it even ranged past mildly entertaining, and PvP would suffer for it.
It wasn’t long after whispers of these new patch notes that Hastings decided to charge separate subscription rates for the PvE and PvP services. This would be a price increase for anyone interested in making use of what was once included as the full game. Players were reminded that PvP was always just a bonus.
Not long after the outrage subsided over this news, Hastings and a friend who had been previously unknown to the community announced that they were sorry about they way they implemented the price change. They weren’t sorry they’d done it, however; they were just sorry they hadn’t had more humility.
This would be known as the exact moment that Hastings’ once-beloved project imploded in on itself. He and the random man in his announcement video were promoting the new game they were releasing soon. The PvE side of the game that everyone knew and loved would be transferring over to all new servers and headed up by this random stranger, who had been a Lead Story Writer for the game. Plus, as a bonus to the PvE game, now players would even have access to a new game, at an additional cost. Unfortunately, it was not a game that most of the people currently subscribing would enjoy or make use of.
Further indignation came from the fact that only the PvP side of the game was keeping the same name and staying as it had been. There were promises of new PvP content, but no hints or indication as to what those might entail or how far off their release would be.
People were suddenly left wondering if their characters and their achievements would carry over to the new service. They’d have to remember a brand new and needlessly complicated acronym when they wanted to boast about their gaming prowess now. There was still confusion over whether your same character could do both PvE and PvP. Would characters be duplicated in some way to accommodate these changes?
Fortunately, the gaming community is much more prone to nerdraging than those members of other forms of entertainment, like DVDs by mail or web streaming of TV shows. The once peaceful community of the game mutinied. There were in-game protests and threats of firebombing and bodily violation.
Hastings, again, hadn’t predicted this level of dissent. Players were using the in-game world degradation mechanics to literally tear his world apart. It wouldn’t be long before his once-beloved game would be little more than rubble and profanity filter asterisks.
Sweating and shaking, Hastings sat bolt upright. He clutched his sheet to his chest and tried to take calming deep breaths. He had nothing to worry about, he knew. He hadn’t angered millions of gamers. He would never do something like that. But there was one small fret in the back of his mind: Just how many gamers are subscribed to Netflix?