Solving MMO review problems

To the tune of: Nina Nastasia – Our Discussion

As an MMO reviewer, I’ve felt both privileged (at occupying a niche few are equipped to explore) and also terrified (at a reviewer’s complete inability to perceive the whole game). As Quintin Smith found last week, and Ed Zitron found previously, reviewers, no matter how professional, can’t just hop back into an MMO when it’s been updated and hope to review it. Especially not, as those two found, when the audience they think they’re talking to isn’t the audience that actually reads and responds to the article. Here’s a putative structure for reviewing MMOs that deals with the problems caused by trying to employ time-poor professional reviewers.

Cpl Smith, M.I.A.


  1. Must experience enough of content in proper way to do review.
  2. Different experience types for player types – solo, casual, hardcore, obsessive.
  3. Need for humour, quality writing.
  4. Cost of review process must be kept down.
  5. Content alters substantially over game’s lifetime.

Many professional reviewers provide 3, can attempt 2 but usually fail, don’t keep playing so can’t do 5, and to provide 1 would be to disregard 4.


  1. Multiple reviewers
  2. Multiple reviewers
  3. Mediated by co-ordinator
  4. Co-ordinator is paid writer-editor – incentivised to find free reviewers and collate & polish their opinion.
  5. Reconvene with original panel at regular intervals.

It's all about getting a good team together.

This system as a narrative. Un-paid enthusiasts are given early access and review title in return for thought-access. Primary writer becomes interviewer, co-ordinating impressions from many different groups. Individual, subjective experience is not of primary relevance, but collation of views is. Common problems can be identified, and the game rated on these – whilst problems specific to groups acknowledged, represented. Panel reconvenes to alter score when game has altered substantially from previous score. (This also provides you with an evaluation structure for up-and-coming writers, as you can test their analysis, reliability and writing ability  through these panels.)

Here’s a question I don’t know the answer to – is this process applicable to reviews other than MMOs? Should all reviews be done this way?

Five Myths About Proportional Representation

To the tune of: Malcolm X – No Taxation Without Representation

  1. Proportionally Delightful

    Minority parties get more seats.
    Small parties don’t necessarily get a larger share of seats – some systems, like the “mixed member” system of Germany, put minimum limits on the share of the vote (as high as 5%), that exclude smaller parties.

  2. Parties will be weakened
    PR can give more power to parties. A purely proportional system normally allows parties to control the selection of candidates completely, leading to politicians with much stronger party loyalty. Some systems work against this, especially ones with constituencies, but there’s almost always a party-selection element.
  3. There will be no independents
    Independents can still stand, especially in systems that have constituencies that are then topped-up  – they do especially well if they have a national profile though.
  4. You still have to choose one party
    It doesn’t mean you just have to choose one party – a preferential system allows you to list parties/candidates in order of preference or leave them out completely.
  5. It’s too complicated for Britain
    It does work with Britain – we already use it in the European elections, and Scotland and Wales. And it’s less complicated than guessing the intentions of your fellow constituents to vote tactically on the basis of poorly-biased voting-intention polls.