Dear Paul Sage,
It’s become clear to me in the last few months that this game is evolving away from the paradigm that attracted me to it in the beginning. I’ll admit that I was a bit starry-eyed in those days (I’m talking about the bad old “beta” days last year), but I did my best to adapt. I won’t mention the betrayal your “secret” testing group represented. That was a red flag I failed to heed, to my sorrow.
Turns out that this game hasn’t been good for me, for my emotional or physical health. This is not only about the game itself, and the stress of unending, repetitive combat that game-play requires (I can’t for example, just play through everything once. I have to fight the same battles from multiple points of view in order to progress my little cast of characters past the elementary ranks).
It’s not just that, though the biggest of these battles and combat sequences has begun to leave me breathless and heavily stressed. I’ve developed a stress-related heart problem as a result. Turns out playing the game more than 1500 hours as I have hasn’t been good for me.
It’s also the “community” and its arrogance, uncharitably, and intolerance. I knew about that early on, but I thought that, through feedback, I had a chance to make a difference. Actually, what I know now is that it was a chance to be alternately mocked and ignored. I’m not a young man any more. If this is what the 25-35 year old generation is like, Goddess help us all.
Most of all, though, is the certain knowledge that feedback of the kind that I have is not welcome. You’ve decided that players are expendable, and that you’ve accepted the idea that the game is a revolving door; people come, people go, and you’re counting on a lot of subscription turnover.
You don’t care whether I’m happy with your game or not. There will always be a new player to come to take my place. It might surprise you to know that some people don’t care to be viewed as a commodity.
None of these things are new, and, taken separately, they are all things that I could live with.
Not any more. Stress, caused by this game (not just the game; but the other stressors in my life are not your concern), is killing me.
So I’ll be doing what I can to correct that problem. I’ve found a better virtual world to explore, in “Dragon Age: Inquisition.” And when it comes out, eventually, there will be “Witcher 3,” possibly. Perhaps a new Mass Effect game down the road. These games should scratch that itch well enough. It seems that lots of people like that kind of experience. You tempted us into thinking that ESO would be like that. What a joke you’ve had at our expense.
I’ll also be going back to writing. After finishing four novels, I found ESO. It’s as if I had joined a cult or something. The things I loved no longer mattered to me. I didn’t write a word. I filled my notebooks not with story ideas, but with character build ideas. I became someone that nobody could talk to.
So that’s all over with now. My subscription is canceled, and I’ve said my last goodbye to my characters.
But, as I know very well, none of this matters to you. And that’s why I’ve posted this on my blog, and linked to it on Reddit — where you’ll be unable to delete it. With any luck, a few people will read it and decide that they, too, have had enough.