Friday, July 31, 2020

Proptapalooza: Fandom Change'mups with a Fan Art Twist

Welcome to Day one of Promptapalooza, a really cool idea from Belghast at Tales of the Aggronaut. It's kind of like a parade of blogs through the month of August while also providing a month of writing prompts.

Belghast makes some very good points about toxicity and the exclusionary nature of some game communities. As he states:
" . . . I see an awful lot is what can be collectively termed as “Git Gud” culture. There is a constant thread of trying to push “scrubs” out of the community and force them to play better. I think in some ways this starts off as a somewhat toxic altruism… like that players are being “bad” because they don’t know any better so folks will take it upon themselves to “educate the bads”. I mean there is an awful lot of hyper cringe content in the early years of this blog that would fall into this category. The problem however is that this does not take into account that folks often times come to a game for different reasons. There is the false assumption that every player is playing a game for the exact same reasons you are."
Yes! Preach on, Brother!  I've seen that plenty in every game community.  He makes great points and you should definitely check out his post.

Now in this post, I think I'll take a similar view at the games I'm currently playing with also a slightly different angle. I feel that ultimately the greatness of a community can be judged by its creative content. 

Project Gorgon
The only thing wrong with Project Gorgon's fandom is its size and lack of complexity. It's vocal minority is tiny and tends to stick to itself. This is undoubtedly a result of the game population being small and older. Unlike other communities, I don't see fan art or a ton of creative endeavors happening in the game. It might be happening somewhere on a small scale, but I just don't see it. I did find one person who drew their character. That's it.

So . . . I'm doing my part as well . . . I made a remix of the Serbule Dawn theme song the other day and have plans to make a video for it eventually.

Small communities need your creative love too! Even if your art and words won't get a lot of likes.

Oh man, I'm not a part of this fandom, and I don't think I ever could be because of the "get gud" mentality that Belghast mentioned. I'm more on the edge looking in . . . that said . . . I have in the past done things like join the Houston Outlaw's Discord server.  Being on a server for a professional esports team inside of a game you play was interesting. Did you know that in Overwatch, people make fanart of the professional players as well as the characters in the game? It's amazing.

It's completely different from a game like Project Gorgon: this game's fandom is enormous, thriving, and diverse. Its YouTubers do everything from talking about metas and upcoming patches to fun and cute videos based around the characters. Dillongoo is amazing. He re-imagined all the characters in Overwatch as cats! Again! Just amazing creativity.

The fanart here is so plentiful that a search on a hero's name and "fanart" will get you a lot of hits . . . and . . . some stuff you'll wish you could erase from your mind. I guess that's what I'd change. Less fanservice from the fringe and less toxicity from the haters. Butwatchagonnado? That's just a result of a huge community based around an FPS hybrid like Overwatch.

Guys . . . you don't know how cool the Wizard101 community is. Full warning, I'm incredibly biased here. Being this game's community manager for a few years, I've seen it all.  The highs and the lows. From crippling 2017 DDOS attacks on our game's anniversary to Make a Wish visits from fans who become a virtual part of the game. What I've learned is that every community has its saints and devils. All you can hope for is that the good outshines the bad, and that's definitely the case in Wizard101.

(**UPDATED SIDE NOTE: After thinking about this a bit . . . I just want to be sure to mention here that, yeah, you still try to eliminate the bad. You ban, you discourage the bad, you encourage the good, but for all those efforts, it always seems like when you squash one cockroach another 10 appear. That said, you never STOP trying to improve. Felt like that needed to be said.)

The majority here is kind and caring. It has great artists that love what they do and love the characters in the game they play. It has everything from what I'd call "glorious grandmas" to small kids and big kids alike. On its average days it's super lighthearted, happy, and welcoming.

The artists that love this game are super quality. In fact the background picture for this blog features my wizard101 character as drawn by Dearly Doodles.

I love it so much.

I wouldn't change a thing . . . other than I wish I was a little more involved than I am currently.


There's probably more I could discuss here. If you have any additional thoughts about what you'd change in a fandom, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Thanks Belghast for running promptapalooza! I'll be posting on and off throughout August, but probably not about every prompt. My day is August 6th, so I'll for sure see you back here again when that happens.

Happy Dueling!

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