One of the most important questions we ask potential Directors is “Are you prepared for your public life to be put under a microscope?” When you turn your hobby and social circles into a business, you lose the separation of who you are and the game you run. In some ways, you don’t get to own yourself anymore. Keeping those two separate takes a great deal of planning and failing takes a toll.
For more years than I care to count, I took the criticism, negative feedback and complaints personal. After all, I was half of the team that created it. Why wouldn’t it be personal? This is as close to a baby as I’ll ever get to making. It affected my life, my health and my outlook on the world. I’ve always been a little nihilistic and nobody will tell you that I've become more of a ray of sunshine over the years.
The larger the company got and the wider the reach of our product, the more differing voices we heard. Not to say that in 2010 we didn't have friends who disliked what we did or had opinions about it. But the farther from home we got, the more frequently we found people who thought DR would be better with some goblins in it (my favorite unsolicited "fix" of the system to date) or that Road Trip was exploitative of real touring bands.
We would tell one another that the insults, threats, and attacks didn’t matter because the people throwing stones didn’t see us as real people. It wasn’t until about a year ago, maybe less, that I really understood that. I don’t know what caused it or when exactly it happened, but I came to realize that it was foolish of me to take things to heart. People have a desire to fight authority and to rage against the injustices they see, real or otherwise. I get it.
As anyone who knows me can confirm, I really hate authority. So much so that I made a company just so I wouldn’t have to answer to a boss. When I worked in an office, I would have to sit alone for at least an hour after work just to calm down and be capable of talking to humans. I am the same level of fight as I was at 16. It’s just been fine tuned over the years.
In some ways, it’s no different than someone who rages on Facebook that the change to a skill has ruined their entire life. Humans need something to fight. Sometimes it’s leaving a one star review on Amazon of the greatest album that’s ever been made. Sometimes they decide it’s the people who run their entertainment. But that doesn’t mean we’re anything more than a concept to them. The same as someone who spends full Reddit posts talking about how awful the video game developer is who changed the way their favorite character fights. And maybe they’re right, maybe the game is unplayable now because the character can no longer use a two-handed weapon. But, that doesn’t mean they have a right to hurt someone for it.
So I learned to take rages posts and the like with the weight they deserve. Filter through for the good ideas and discard the rest. We joke that no group loves to hate the things they love more than gamers. We can’t change that, but we can control how we let it affect us. They’re welcome to smash a cardboard cut-out for as long as they like. It has thin skin, but lacks pain sensors.