Kermit's Last Post (Destiny)

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Saturday, November 02, 2019, 17:25 (1578 days ago) @ someotherguy
edited by Kermit, Saturday, November 02, 2019, 17:52

Pricing notwithstanding, I feel that by making it a "reward" for doing somehing in-game, rather than something you can just purchase straight-up, Bungie are adding additional false "value" and "rarity" to the item.

Just more marketting tactics I disagree with. Not all of you feel the same way. C'est la vie.

I think the idea of false "value" and "rarity" is where I disagree. Based on previous posts, I think I'm right in saying your point is based on the idea that the limited availability is contrived, and not based on real-world scarcity, but by that measure much of the economy based on collectables shouldn't exist. But that economy is based on human nature--even when people have access to the same mass-produced goods, they still naturally desire what is rare or unique, regardless of how it got to be that way.

And that brings us to this idea: Bungie shouldn't appeal to that desire (to paraphrase of a reddit poster). I've been thinking about last week's discussion a lot, and part of my visceral reaction was a) I dislike trendy acronyms like FOMO, and b) I thought the reddit poster was inane, and pretentious at the same time. He (I assume) had the tone of a freshly taught 18-year-old, home on holiday break after his first semester of college, explaining to his ignorant family how repressed they were--all because he'd read a few pages about Freud in his Psych 101 textbook. I found his a simplistic, reductive take--essentially a conspiracy theory. (I actually think Freud was simplistic and reductive, but I digress.) As others have pointed out, there are innocent explanations for Bungie's actions--I include here the need to make money--a game like Destiny isn't cheap to create or maintain. That aside, I think know what the real concern is: greed.

And that brings us to this exchange:

Some of us get a little prickly when you suggest that anti-corporate Socialists are "frothing" instead of reasonable people who don't want to watch the world burn in the fireplaces of the rich, but hey man, go on, it looks like you're doing well here on both sides of the ball.

I am an anti-corporate socialist. I just have issues with the caricature that I see painted so regularly by DBO.

Okay. Sigh. There's a reason I named this post what I did. It's nearly impossible not to cross a line to address this. Before a frowning, capotain-wearing hall-monitor type tells me "I should know better," I'm saying now: yes, I know better, but people seem to be speaking their conscience, and I feel compelled to speak mine. I apologize in advance.

One more caveat before I dig in: you and narc are two of the coolest people I've met and played video games with, and I mean nothing personal by what I'm about to confess: I'm still not used to how blithely people claim that they are socialists. In this country it's become more common in the last decade among younger people and some ancient politicians, but some of us get a little prickly because to our ears it's akin to claiming you're a Nazi. I know, I know--you don't mean soviet-style socialism, and I get that, too, to a point. I'm not going to assume you're like the freshman in my previous analogy, who knows something but not enough, but for a lot of people my age, the word "socialism" points to an ideology that Solzhenitsyn pretty definitively identified as evil.

Here are my cards on the table: I'm a capitalist, but not without some serious reservations. Because humans participate in capitalism and socialism, both can be corrupted by cronyism and greed, as history has plainly shown. That said, I think liberal democratic capitalism is undeniably responsible for a 30-fold increase in living standards over the last 200 years. It's done so well at solving our problems that many of us now have the luxury to spend a significant portion of our lives in a virtual world solving virtual problems. I'd also say that Bungie the company or their games as we know them would not have been created under a socialist regime (at least the word as it was commonly understood until recently).

I am NOT saying that everything is just peachy now. I also share some of the concerns that narc and Cody express regarding where the gaming industry is going. I want the strong narrative game that Cody wants (fortunately, we still have Naughty Dog and others). I've heard disturbing things around Destiny's origin that point in the direction of it being simply a money machine, which is what I think narc fears. For me, anyway, where they have crossed a line (by selling chances to get cosmetics or treading close to pay-to-win), they've settled in a place that's not over my line. And the game has improved in other ways. The narrative is stronger. Their living world ambition seems closer to being realized. They've really created something amazing with Destiny, and it seems to be working better than ever. I don't underestimate how hard it's been to pull off. I know that to build something like this takes a lot of talented people who, in the competitive big business that is gaming in 2019, could get jobs elsewhere (and probably make more money). I don't care if Jason owns an exotic car or three. That man, regardless of whatever flaws he surely has, created something that has added a lot of joy to the world. I want Bungie to thrive, and this means not just keeping the lights on, but perhaps accumulating a decent amount of filthy lucre. I know it's popular to demonize the rich (and some deserve it), but most of the rich didn't start with money, and sacrificed a lot to get their wealth. I don't begrudge Bungie success. I have't felt taken advantage of.

I can't help but think that as a "anti-corporate socialist" (whatever those words mean to you) that that outlook in some way informs your opinion on Bungie's efforts to make money. By the same token, my philosophical beliefs lean more toward allowing people the freedom to make bad choices, including being whales. We can agree to disagree on that. Here's what I see: games and gamer expectations have become so outsized that the $60 model doesn't cut it anymore. That has led to some trends i don't like. On the other hand, I don't believe in top-down command-and-control approaches to economies; I believe capitalism provides a better environment for innovations that surprise us, that there will be breakout hits no one sees coming, and the business models will work themselves out, too. I think Bungie is threading a needle, trying to do something original and competitive in an environment that is evolving, and so far their business model hasn't offended me, especially since I think the core of their content is getting better (or at least has remained fun). I still imagine the article written on the 20th anniversary of Destiny, recapping it's history, its innovations, and how its initial weakness proved to be its greatest strength, how its rich lore ultimately transformed into an amazing narrative--a story no Vex simulation could have predicted.

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