Obvious Bias

After Schramm apologized for his “obvious bias” in this WI article about Azeroth Advisor, I thought maybe there would be some reform.  His apology seemed to have been prompted by this excellent post by Lassirra at The Hunter’s Mark, and frankly, it surprised me to see him back down given his tone on the WI podcast at times.  I was happy to see him edit the original post and acknowledge how unprofessional his comments were.  Apparently, there was no reform, however. His tone in this recent post about the WAR developer’s comments about Blizzard is just … ugh.  Embarrassing.  As frustrated as I get reading WI sometimes, somewhere deep down, I’ve still been rooting for them because I do like some of their writers.  But, between snark like this, the rampant misspellings, and the abundance of filler posts, I’m losing the faith.  If the intent is to relay information, beginning an article with “Oh, this is rich,” doesn’t exactly scream journalistic integrity.

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7 responses

  1. Not to mention that LotRO had a similar achievement system in place back when it was in original Beta (I know because I was playing it at the time), so I hardly think WoW’s achievement system is the direct result of the same in Warhammer, or that it’s even an idea that originated here. People seem much too interested in speculating on who did what first and why, rather than simply enjoying the features that are being added to our favorite titles, whichever they may be, for us to savor.

  2. Yeah, I don’t think it matters who did what first. I like that it’s a competitive environment for MMO developers — it’s going to make all the games better for players. The “fanboy” attitude gets tiresome. Just because your game did something first doesn’t mean it’s a better or more fun than another game. Just because you don’t like another game doesn’t mean that game can’t be fun for anyone else, either. It’s a silly debate on a subjective matter.

    Still, if a WI article wants to spark such a debate to get some traffic for their site, I can’t begrudge them that. What I do think is totally lame is how smug and one-sided the presentation was. I don’t remember seeing anything on WI about some of the exchanges that happened before that comment, for example.

    People can be as smug/snide/whatever as they want in their personal blogs, but for a blog that aspires to be a news site, I’d expect a more even, professional tone.

  3. But see, that’s how WI gets around all of the arguments against their articles . . . “We’re just a blog, we can write whatever we want.” And then they go on and claim to be your source for all things Wrath, or all things Brewfest, or whatever. That’s the biggest thing I don’t like about them. They really do present themselves as a news site, but then wave off any criticism by saying, “We’re just a blog.”

    Meh, I skim the headlines, read the ones that look interesting, but I really have no respect for them as a whole.

  4. Being a blog you can pretty much get away with anything, it’s true. I’ve heard Schramm call it a “fan site,” so I guess it’s not intended to be the Washington Post of WoW news reporting either. And, to be fair, real news sources (on tv and on paper) have fun sections, human interest stories, and things besides the latest headlines.

    I also skip over most of this stuff at WI. Much of it seems to be trying to encourage me to read the comments (and reload the page so they’ll get the ad hits, I assume) but that’s not why I read news sites. I also hate it when I do bother to click on the link to ‘read more!’ and find that there’s just one more sentence after it. Grr…

  5. Someone made a comment on this post over at MassiveBlips, and I wanted to record both that and my response here in case other folks wanted to respond…

    The question was…

    Do you guys expect unbiased news from a site that is specifically about one game? I don’t think I would. Not that I’m defending the snarkiness or anything, but just that I wonder if biased is really the right term.

    My response:

    I got the phrase “obvious bias” from Schramm himself, from the apology he added to his previous post about the Azeroth Advisor (also linked in my post). I thought it applied to the post that sparked this discussion, as well, given that he was only reporting one side of the juicy exchange that’s been going on between the WoW and WAR developers.

    I expect a certain amount of bias in what they report because, as you say, it’s a site devoted to a particular game. Schramm himself refers to it as a “fan site.” That’s fair enough. I’d expect a more professional tone from a site that aspires to be a primary resource of WoW news, however, and reporting on Blizzard’s earlier comments would have given Jacobs’ comments some context.

  6. WI is a for-profit site, and their primary interest is massive pageviews. They are going to write things that they think the typical WoW reader wants to read, including making fun of other games and similarly non-objective thoughts. This isn’t a bad thing at all–I read WI every day and enjoy it. Just keep it in mind as you read some of the stuff that’s more transparently provocative. I wish that the site were called wowfanboy, (like their corporate relatives ps3fanboy, etc), as it would clear this matter right up.

    For pure WoW news, I read mmo-champion.

  7. @GoW

    Mike’s apology for his bias in the previous post is what misled me and left me thinking I could (should?) expect more even treatment when it came to WI posts about other games or products. That’s why the tone of this recent post particularly struck me. It felt like a step backward.

    But, you’re right. It’s a fan site, by and for WoW fanboys. They do have features (and writers) I enjoy, but I’m finding myself reading fewer articles there as time goes on.

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