Lum posted articles about two GDC talks, one by Mythic’s Paul Barnett and the other by Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan. While the articles themselves are interesting, I found the comments sections even more enlightening.
In the former, you have a number of commenters saying what a blowhard Paul is, some of them implying that WAR’s subscriber numbers are an indicator that Mr. B doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
In the latter, you have a number of commenters saying what a blowhard Jeff is, some of them implying that despite WoW’s success it’s clear that Mr. K doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Which to me is yet another amusing example of Why Devs Can’t Possibly Win. Because if you fall below some community-perceived bar of success then you are a clueless failure, and if you’re above that bar you’re out of touch and too afraid of losing profit to innovate.
Despite the occasional exaggeration or bluster, neither of these guys is trying to put himself atop a mountain proclaiming he has the answer to the mysteries of the universe. Ultimately, they state their opinions and observations in public forums because people ask them to. As attending or reading such presentations is an entirely optional undertaking, I find it odd that some folks seem to get angry that these guys are even allowed to speak.
From the mighty intellectuals to the lowly bloggers, we’re all just trying to inspire discussion about what works and what doesn’t so that those of us lucky enough to work in the industry can keep doing this for a living and hopefully get better at our craft. If there’s any value to be had in GDC and its ilk, it’s that. Sometimes you just have to look past a lot of bullshit to find it.