I don’t think you need to subscribe to a Judeo-Christian worldview to come to the conclusion that people are generally horrible. To be more specific, I find that many of us [myself included] tend to believe we deserve more than we really do, that a good portion of our wants are in fact needs or rights. It was the crux of my post on leaks last year, and recent events have once again brought this issue to light.
The first has to do with Overwatch, a game I informed you has been eating up all of my free time. On August 2nd, after a few mistimed reveals over various platforms, game studio Blizzard officially announced their first seasonal event, the totally-not-the-Olympics Summer Games.
As a playerbase no one really expected this. Yes, there was the expectation of new skins coming down the pipeline, but not new skins and a slew of other cosmetic items, as well as a wholly unique brawl [that, let’s face it, is just Rocket League]. However much of the initial excitement over the upcoming content turned to ashes in players’ mouths when they realized that they would not be able to purchase any of it.
To elaborate, Overwatch is not an F2P (free-to-play) game, which don’t require your purchase and instead support themselves through various optional microtransactions. Blizzard was upfront that Overwatch, after being bought, would be releasing new heroes and maps for free, promising to support the game moving forward. In other words, everything that is essential to playing would cost nothing.
With that in mind, all Summer Games items are exclusively unlocked, from August 2nd to the 22nd, through loot boxes that you can earn by simply playing the game. In contrast, all standard items can also be purchased with in-game currency, which is earned in the same way. Loot boxes can also be bought with cold hard cash. Upon finding out that their means of acquiring these Summer Games items were thusly limited people flipped out.
To get right to a central part of this issue, the items that players are raging about are purely cosmetic and don’t ultimately affect how they play the game at all. Not only that but, as mentioned, items can be unlocked by playing the game, which is ostensibly what people already want to do. Given the time limit, if players are worried they won’t be able to get what they want there’s always next year, as head game designer Jeff Kaplan announced:
“Our Summer Games are on a yearly schedule — not a 4 year schedule. Our plan would be to have the items available again when the event recurs.”
He also said in that same post, emphasis added:
“We’d like to give the event more time and see how people feel as it wraps up. Maybe people will be feeling differently at the end of the vent. Maybe not. If we need to make things less rare — if everyone is entitled to that Genji Epic Skin — we’ll have to reconsider our design philosophy in the future.”
At which point certain players became very, very upset.
Ironically this all came about less than a week after Blizzard banned countless players for cheating. While you can peruse a cornucopia of responses in this imgur album, and I highly recommend that you do, I’d like to spotlight one in general:
The Overwatch community rallied together, essentially decrying the cheaters while exulting in their ban. Their judgement over those they deemed to be entitled is in stark contrast to the hubbub over the Summer Games. It should be stated, however, that certain people outright stated that, yes, they did feel entitled to the skins. While what they really meant was that they felt entitled to acquiring them on their own terms, that self-awareness was refreshing. It’s a self-awareness that was not at all present in a large number of Suicide Squad fans.
As you may have heard from one news outlet or another [and you can read Variety‘s report by clicking on the image above], one individual sought to shut down the popular film review aggregator through a petition on Change.org. While the petition has since changed gears, now aimlessly dubbed “Don’t listen to film criticism”, the entire movement once again reveals something about the difference between wants vs. needs.
YouTuber YourMovieSucksDOTorg did a great short review on Suicide Squad, and I felt part of his first few minutes was worthy of a block quote:
“Do you guys not understand how obnoxious it is to spam IMDb with 10 star ratings before you’ve even seen the movie? Do you guys not understand how obnoxious it is that you can’t even watch the movie and enjoy the movie, you are so desperate for validation that you can’t even handle when someone else doesn’t like it.”
The desire to see a film succeed metamorphoses, for whatever reason, into a need when people are actively trying to silence negative criticism. It’s not simply that they would prefer that the movie be good, they feel like they deserve it, as evidence by the idea that there might be outside forces trying to keep that from them.
This entitlement is certainly nothing new, and existed long before Overwatch and Suicide Squad graced computer and theatre screens, respectively. That said, key differences abound within this current cultural context, if you’ll pardon the alliteration. The internet allows the disgruntled to turn their individual complaints into an outpouring of outrage, for one. Another point is that many of us live in nations where our basic and social needs are met, and although-
– is a very valid sentiment the emotions directed toward these “frivolous distractions” are more frequently coalescing into action.
Whereas the petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes was never going to bring down the site [or, let’s be fair, affect film criticism in any significant fashion], the Overwatch servers were recently came under a DDoS [Distributed Denial of Service] attack. It’s been surmised by some that a particular hacking group was responsible, and that this was partly due to members having been banned from the game. If I can’t play with the toy I want, no one can.
As mentioned in the title of this post, the indictment that millennials are entitled and self-centred is altogether too common. The primary issue here is that this isn’t one generation’s dissatisfaction over the difficulty finding work or the state of America’s political system, it’s over whether or not they can easily get their particle-cannon-wielding Russian character to look like an Olympic weightlifter
or the public coming to the unanimous decision that the movie about superpowered-ish criminals is worthy of an Oscar.
It’s fine to care about things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter. Just maybe think for a few more minutes before actually doing something about it.