Thursday, September 13, 2012

Getting my head around the Ghost in the Shell

One of the things that I like wasting spending time doing is analysing people in popular WoW media.  I look at all the things they say/blog, read what they write, read interviews about them, see how they deal with people who talk to them, and try to figure out what kind of person they are.

For those who have been living under a rock for the last week, World of Warcraft's Lead Systems designer Greg Street (aka Ghostcrawler) joined the twitter community.  Why, I wasn't quite sure, but perhaps he wanted more to reply questions in a more instant method, disseminating the information faster than it would be via WoW forums.  Those of us on twitter know how quickly rumours information is spread if put out in the right medium.

I've always looked at Ghostcrawler as "the guy who writes blue posts which means they are something important about the game so go read it".  He's that guy who has to deal with  more trolls than you could poke a stick at.  That cool rare crab in Vashj'r is named after him.  How does he keep his cool?  Does he have someone filtering his *&^# comments (like a personal assistant) who follows behind him with an iPad tweeting what he says?  Where does he find the time to tweet all this stuff when he's busy preparing for the next game tweak?  What must it be like being one of the lead designers in what I think is one of THE best computer games of all time?  I mean, surely, to be working on a computer game as your daily JOB, and getting paid for it, must be a dream job right?

Spirit crab rare found in Abyssal Depths, Vashj'ir, named after the big man himself.  Attack ability includes nerfbat - an unfair attack that reduces all skills.  LOL, hilarious!
But maybe, just maybe (hey, I'm being fanciful here ok?  This is my blog and brainchild post after all) he wanted to make himself accessible to all his "fans" - people who aren't big and famous writers and theorycrafters like everyone from WoWInsider, or people who are forum gurus and stuff.  Maybe he just wanted to see what the quiet ordinary player has to say, rather than the ones with the loudest voices.  Maybe he was thinking, wouldn't it be cool to chat to the WoW community on a more social level, and make them feel like we designers and developers care about them and what they think in the game.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to have his life - getting to design, test and play this awesome game AND GET PAID FOR IT, and have just about everyone who plays WoW know who you are (and that's about 10 million people, all over the world).  Maybe he still pinches himself thinking "I can't believe all these people are hanging off and examining every word that I say, because it might be the NEXT big thing in the game."  And maybe wanting to say a word, to all these people who think he's amazing, and by sending them a single message, sending them into massive squeeees of delight, would bring a smile to his face and think "Wow, I can't believe this is my life."

But hey, I don't know what he's thinking.  I'm just pretending here.


Enough questions.  Time to find answers.


I look at his initial tweets - I saw them when he first came to twitter, as he took back the Ghostcrawler handle from someone who was minding it.  Look, he's excited about MoP launch!


Then I looked at some of what he had to say about parts of the game itself.


And what he says about dealing with negative feedback... gosh some good and bad responses there (had to keep Moogyver's part of that conversation in it /grin)




I like how he responded to fanboy tweets like this :)



Gogo Hestiah! /hugs



This one could be construed as... self absorbed.  But I think it was funny :)

And of course, people asked about paladins.  When Ghostcrawler has said these things in the past:

"I like long walks on the beach, drinking gin, and nerfing paladins." 

Q: Are we going to nerf Ret?
A: TO THE GROUND BABY. Okay, not really, but sometimes I can't resist. We'll see how much that quote comes back to haunt me.... (GC 2008)

You can't expect people are going to wonder about the pally hate.  But this is what he said in response to that:


I can only go by what I've seen in videos, what I've read, how he's responded to people's tweets - even my own tweet!  I have sent tweets to people who are well known in the game and received no reply or response - I mean, they're busy, they don't know me and why would they care about what I say, right?  But Ghostcrawler, who has over 10k followers and increasing every day, even took the time to reply my one tweet, which wasn't even a question, but an observation. I echo Amijade's sentiments, that despite his fame, he reaches out to fans personally, and it's refreshing.  It makes me think that he DOES care about what we think.  And how can you not admire someone who thinks like that?

It took me a long time to compose that tweet.  8 hours in fact!  Godmother was teasing me:


It took me that long because I was thinking about what I really wanted to ask.  The guy is damn busy.  I don't want to waste his time with something silly like whinging about my class mechanics or something stupid in game that I can just ask a GM about.  I wanted to say something about the man himself.  I didn't even really expect an answer - getting one actually gave me some meat to work with for my mental composition of his character.

I realised that maybe why I was so fascinated with him was because he and I have some similarities.  His reply, is exactly how I feel about my own line of work.  I love my job, I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.  I really enjoy going to work, and my work, with the long hours, callbacks, patient hassles, death and stresses, though time consuming has moments of great satisfaction as well.  I really like seeing people who are happy in their job, like me, and wished that everyone could be like that.

And he tweets A LOT, considering he's supposed to be busy.  People wonder about that, but you know, even though I am operating all day long looking after my unconscious patients, in between there is plenty of down time to tweet and blog (he even said the same thing), and even play, for which I am grateful.  And hey, another similarity, both he and I can PLAY WoW at work!!! LOL!!


And do you think this tweet is true?  If it was, then we'd have that in common - when I was young, I used to say sleeping was a waste of time.  Nah, he must sleep.  Nobody can NOT sleep.

 


Navimie's conclusion - a guy who loves computer games, gets a cool awesome job in computer game design.  A biologist to start with, meaning he must like animals at least a little bit (and nature and maybe conservation).  He must be around early to mid 40s, as he did a BA and marine biology in 1987 till 1991, which you tend to do after high school.  Then he did a PhD for 5 years.  Then he was an associate professor for another 2 years.  So that was 11 years after school he did sciency stuff.  Then he moved into Computer game design for 10 years with Ensemble, and then he was with Blizzard for 4 years (up to now).  So what's that... 25 years after school!  As a designer, he's really interested in what the consumer wants, which is why he's talking to us.  And, clearly he's mature and sensible because he:
  • doesn't go off in tweets or forum posts with bad language
  • doesn't engage trolls or abusers - he just ignores them
  • is happy to take the heat for stuff, even bad decisions
  • takes all the whinging and crying about each class in stride
  • is happy to be the spokesperson for all the other people who no doubt work with him and may get freaked out with all the hate and abuse
I think he seems like a pretty swell guy.  I saw a lot of hate about him - a lot of people who said that seemed angry that he refused to act on whinges and complaints they had about class/game mechanics.  They said that he was arrogant on forum posts.  I went to read those posts - they were just informative, and to the point.  I think that anger and frustration were colouring those people who were haters.

I think I've stalked the poor guy enough now.  Now that I've done my brain dump on the whole Ghostcrawler thing, I can move on :)  Thanks for reading guys! 

8 comments:

  1. Well geez, if you lift that rock you'll see me. I don't know what I'd ask him. I would ask him to tell whoever does the art for the zones thank you from me. I guess asking him to deliver my messages wouldn't be cool. Okay, I'll get back under my rock.

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    1. Oh, you make me feel embarrassed :P
      I just get a bit fanboy sometimes.... that's all!

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  2. Is this like your way of saying "Greg Street/Ghostcrawler... you've been Navispammed! :D :D :D"? Cause it kinda seems like it.

    Also, I think your "analysis" (for lack of a better term) of GC is pretty much spot on. He's just genuinely a guy who loves games, who lucked out into what has to be one of the most visible jobs for one of the most popular games on the planet. And I think he doesn't doubt for a second just how lucky he is either haha.

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    1. If I understand the Blizzard Policies regarding staff and their characters, if Navimie managed to Navispam GC's actually personal account, he could never admit to it, because that would be a violation of Blizzard's rules.

      Again, if I understand the rules.

      Which I very well might not.

      Delete
    2. Wouldn't that just be the Navispam to end all Navispams! ... Hey, how much would it eat you up Navi if you Navispammed him but couldn't blog about it?

      :D

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    3. Achloryn, it's not a Navispam exactly, but reading this you can see how I get with Navispams... I MUST know everything about them, I investigate armory, read blogs, read comments people have left... I mean, it all sounds borderline stalker-like.

      And I'm not sure Hyperious, I don't think I could ACTUALLY spam him and if I did, well, I couldnt' tell anyone about it. And I would be BUSTING to talk about it, but I'd probably sneak it sneakily in somehow in a secret post in code just to let my squeeee out...

      OMG the idea of it just makes me hyperventilate!

      Delete