It’s strange or me to be writing this, but I don’t think I can avoid it more after all the drama with #FochGate… Even got it’s own hashtag!
First of all, why haven’t I covered the issue more? Basically I didn’t want to jump into it without getting all the facts right. Second of all, I didn’t see this as a massive issue and really though that “something got lost in translation”, and was all just a poor choice of words. Knowing Ph3lan I believed this was just all a big misunderstanding.
And the fact that Wargaming apologized to SirFoch and we had several statements where Wargaming EU admitting their mistake, was more than enough for me to believe this would soon be over and people would focus on the real problem: Where is Wargaming taking World of Tanks?
I started playing World of Tanks back in September 2010, way back on Closed Beta and I’ve seen several different stages of Wargaming. From the company that was 100% dedicated to interact with it’s community and we had Victor Kislyi on Tank Fest handing out t-shirts and talking about World of Tanks with passion, to Wargaming that wants to release Rubicon and players know sh*t about this, we are the developers not them.
One thing we all need to remember, Wargaming is a company that is here to make profit, either you like it or not. Their game model is Free-to-Play and still is and if you really believe that at the moment is “Pay2Win” just based on “OP Tanks and other sh*t”… You haven’t seen anything. Ever tried to play World of Tanks when only Top Clans could afford gold ammunition while playing Clan Wars and players who willingly spend money on Gold to buy ammunition just to spam it on Random battles and even better performance on their tanks because they could buy Premium consumables?
Those where the true Pay2Win days and thank Wargaming these are long gone.
Now, don’t think I agree with what Wargaming is doing to the game. No, I don’t and I believe there is a bigger storm coming with Update 9.19. But we will get there in just a second.
All this drama starts with SirFoch or Foch, for short, publishing a video ranting about Wargaming. Cutting to the point, it gets taken out and the reason was the foul language. Now, seems everyone focused on the part where Wargaming asked Foch to take the video down and very few actually looked into what Foch said in the middle of all that “F*ck Wargaming”:
- Release of ever more Premium tanks that are better than regular ones;
- A few of these new Premium tanks even encourage players to use Gold ammo;
- Removal of frontal weak spots making players use more Gold ammo;
- Buff to some tanks making them almost impenetrable with regular ammo;
- Introduction of Bonds and special equipment and consumables that will increase the gap between good players and bad players.
These are just few points that Foch wanted to bring attention to. Now, what have we achieved with #FochGate? Did we get these points into Wargaming list of issues to be fixed?
I’ll tell what we got with all the drama: more sh*t! Wargaming EU is desperately trying to control the situation, while the Community goes berserk on Reddit, Facebook and Forums. Foch followers desperate try to get this into every post, stream and other things they can remember and #FochGate becomes a reality.
Meanwhile on NA, ASIA and RU player base, this goes unnoticed because why should they care about a EU Streamer? Some try to bring this into the NA Forum and WG NA handles this quite well, refereeing players to the EU Forum in the hopes that would make it easier to manage.
But for some reason this gets into Kotaku and Jim Sterling radar, and the sh*tstorm was about to reach its pinnacle, or so we thought.
In what it can be only describe as Wargaming NA trying to help out Wargaming EU, rapidly became the worse thing possibly done. Both Kotaku and Jim Sterling talk about something, we in the EU Server, never heard before:
Wargaming accuses SirFoch of hatespeech and homophobic slurs!
Wait, what? Where this comes from? I was baffled when I read Kotaku article and found this:
“We are more than willing to give members of our community second chances, but there is a level of toxicity and/or offensive language that is unacceptable. We regret having to go to such extreme measures in SirFoch’s case, but we also don’t consider those measures to be censorship because we weren’t trying to silence SirFoch’s opinion, we were simply seeking to curb the extremely profane language of a member of our contributor program. SirFoch’s latest claim that we’re somehow prohibiting him from making future videos involving our games is completely false – he’s more than welcome to make more Wargaming-related videos. If those videos continue to include hate speech and homophobic slurs, we’ll take the necessary and appropriate action.”
This small text, quoting no source, made all EU EN Community Contributors ask: Where this came from? We got a statement from Wargaming EU Head of Community Management, Florian, where he says that “We at Wargaming never claimed and will never pursue a copyright strike on public available or given content based on criticism, negative reviews of content, opinions on content etc. as long as I am having responsibility for community management in Europe. The only exception can be content provided under conditions of an NDA. (…) I want to point out that there was no copyright claim done on SirFoch and I assure you it wouldn’t have come to that.” , and now we got another statement saying they will take the necessary and appropriate action?
It wasn’t until today, when Jim Sterling publishes a second video about this, that we were able to find Jim Sterling and Kotaku source: WG NA Senior PR Manager. I can understand that Wargaming is a Global company and that normally if an office of such Global company gets a question, they don’t point to another Region Office to reply… But in this case that’s exactly what WG NA should have done.
Wargaming EU and Wargaming NA Community Contributor Programs are completely separate. So, if we are treated separately, why Wargaming NA should now, of all times, much such a statement? Worse of all, they didn’t even bother to communicate to Wargaming EU before they did it, maybe I don’t know, to get more information and to give an common response?
And to make things worse, those accusations of SirFoch for hate speech and homophobic slur are false. Yes, he is a rather toxic player, but that doesn’t make him homophobic, does it? And did he get a second change? No, first strike he was out…
Just like Jingles said, “Left hand doesn’t talk to right hand. Left hand doesn’t even seem to care that right hand had the issue under control and is just making the situation worse. Left hand isn’t ruling out coming after me if I say anything they think is inappropriate.”
Instead of making things better, Wargaming NA Senior PR just made Wargaming EU a lot more interesting, to say the least, with not one but two EU Community Contributors, Jingles and PointyHairedJedi, leaving and possibly there will be more.
Hurray! #FochGate achieved absolutely nothing positive to the game!
Who do I blame for this? Lets just say I blame everyone, me included. Wargaming for doing what they did with the copyright strike, the Community for not taking it’s time to get the information and for overreacting, Wargaming again for the poor damage control and for having no coordination on what and who says what… And us, Community Contributors for not doing what we should have done, published information and asked our followers to keep it calm.
So lets ask again, did we manage to get Wargaming to point the game into the right direction?
Of course not, no one is focusing on what should be done and on what is coming just around the corner. Remember when I said Update 9.19? You really think that a few slightly overpowered Premium tanks are the worse of our problems? If you think that it is, then let me refresh your memory:
Bonds! Improved Equipment for Bonds! Improved Consumables for Bonds!
I’m really looking forward for Ranked Battles, but I’m not looking forward for Bonds. And I wish the Community had taken this opportunity with #FochGate to tell Wargaming what is wrong with the game, because that is what Foch was ranting about.