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A pair of writers has been fired from ArenaNet, developers of Guild Wars 2, following a dispute that kicked off on Twitter. The whole ordeal has turned into something of a debate concerning social media etiquette, both in terms of what a professional can/should say to a member of their community and what that community should feel obliged to say to the folks working on their favorite games.
As IGN is reporting, Guild Wars 2 writers Jessica Price and Peter Fries have been ousted from the company. According to a statement from ArenaNet, their recent actions on social media do not reflect the company they work for or its standards, and their behavior was unacceptable enough to result in termination. We'll let you decide for yourself if those actions were appropriate. Obviously, it's a bit of a mess.
Last week, Price took part in an AMA regarding making characters in an MMO more personable. Since you're playing an MMO, it's hard to make a character super distinct, since it's supposed to be a representation of a whole bunch of different player types. If you make the MMO character a pessimist, for instance, that's not going to suit your players who prefer a more sunny disposition.
Price tweeted that the expectations of different players makes it difficult in a game like Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy Online to create a truly compelling character. That's not the case in a game like God of War, where you go in knowing you're going to play as a pissed off bald dude instead of a character that is supposed to be a cipher for the player.
This tweet was noticed by user Deroir, a YouTuber who streams Guild Wars 2. Deroir responded basically saying that branching dialogue in an MMO would help provide that distinction Price was talking about. Price did not take that too well, probably because she actually works in the industry and understands that it isn't as simple as "just add dialogue options." If you decided to create four options for generic character archetypes, you'd need four responses as well. That would go for all of the interactions in the game, which would have the effect of quadrupling the script.
Price hopped back onto twitter and responded that the next "rando asshat" who tried to explain her own job to her would be insta-blocked. She also pointed out that she's been writing in games for over a decade. Price followed this up by retweeting the conversation, noting her gender and referring to the response as someone who does not work with her trying to tell her how to do her job.
That, obviously, caused a stir on social media, with members of the Guild Wars 2 community and beyond taking sides. Fries jumped in reminding everyone that Price never asked for feedback, while Deroir stated they were just trying to open a dialogue that, again, was not actually asked for.
ArenaNet finally caught wind of the conversation and dropped the two employees. There are a lot of complicated issues and questions crammed into this single incident, but we'd need another couple thousand words even to scratch the surface. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments, below.