Recently I have been reading a few articles by Wolfshead about games in general and MMORPGs like WOW in particular and have been finding the relentless negativity quite offputting. It is an interesting curiosity that people spend so much time bitching, complaining and kvetching about things they obviously love and also just how much attention such whining gets. Wolfshead is widely read despite his constant harping on about how the games he loves to play are awful garbage and the companies that make them are terrible, even considering the fact that by the reasonable standard of "Do people like it" WOW in particular must be considered a fantastic game. It is almost robotic the way that Wolfshead and many more of his ilk continue to talk of terrible games of yesteryear that they themselves choose not to play as if that were the last time games were any good.
This sort of behaviour isn't limited to a few WOW hating bloggers of course, but rather is true all over. Even staying in the WOW universe for a moment it is shocking how many people continue to pay Blizzard a monthly subscription fee for the privilege of going on the official forums and whining about how awful WOW is and how Blizzard has ruined it. Some of these people actually continue to play the game they profess to hate and many do not even play but yet continue to pay for the right to complain about it on the forums to no end. Obviously this isn't limited to WOW, or even online games, for nothing is more common than talking to a sports enthusiast and hearing about how the players these days are whiny, over privileged babies, the refereeing is terrible, the league is going in the wrong direction and the tickets cost too much. It must be noted that the people that make such complaints obviously love the league, the sport and the players or they would not spend so much of their time and energy keeping up to date and talking about them but yet so often the only thing you end up hearing is hate, especially directed at the status quo.
I wonder why it is that people get so hung up on how things used to be and end up so jaded on how things are. It is demonstrably true that the human condition has drastically improved with time and yet people continue to be convinced that ancient pastoral farmers must have had it so great - imagine, no stress, no pollution, working outdoors, what could be better? Yet despite this people continue to choose modern life over the much vaunted ancient agriculture - it must be the lack of disease, starvation, illiteracy, random violence and constant backbreaking labor. I personally make a real effort to look around me and see the benefits to the ways things currently are instead of trying to romanticize the past. Perhaps there is a risk of complacency in doing so but I think either way we risk enshrining foolish ideas as sacrosanct and accepting that most things are consistently getting better is closer to the truth.
Likely the main attraction of negativity is the attention. People love to hear about conflict and disaster, just witness the slowdown of a highway any time something happens on the side of the road, so being a doomsayer is likely to make you popular. Unfortunately it tends to make you wrong too, but there are surely plenty of folks willing to make that trade.