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Content Locust: How They Change The MMO Gaming Landscape

Updated on September 5, 2012

What is a Content Locust

The term content locust describes a specific type of gamer. In online Games, particularly MMORPGS like World of Warcraft, Aion, Rift, and The Secret World, these are the players who join as soon as the game comes out, they get to the level cap as quickly as possible, and they do all the end game content before a majority of the population is even midway through the game.

Generally speaking, their progression is so fast, when asked, they can't give too many details about the story of the game, or the lore, not to say they don't read any of the quest, but the retention and reading of every quest they take is just logistically improbable.

These are the elite in the mmo gaming world. They are able to do the content before there are guides everywhere about them, they have all the best gear, and the most money from being able to sell rare item drops from the end game world before anyone else, when the prices are high.

As such, they control a large portion of the economy in the game world, and their opinion holds a great deal of weight with a lot of players, whether we want to admit it or not.

Content Locust are the parasites in the MMO gaming community
Content Locust are the parasites in the MMO gaming community | Source

The MMO Community

he problem with this is the effect it has on the gaming community. To understand this a little better here is a basic breakdown of the MMO gaming world:

Isolated Gamer: These are the people that log in, play their game, don't talk to anyone or do group content, they are fairly rare in the MMO gaming world but they are out there. They are vastly unaffected by the problem that is being discussed.

Casual Gamer: The casual gamer doesn't really go on forums or push into the most difficult aspects of the game. If they do go to forums, it is mostly to read, and rarely post. They do the content that is easily accessible, they socialize and have friends in the game, and do not necessarily define fun with success in character progression.

Dedicated Gamer: These are very similar to Casual gamers, only they will spend more time on character progression, and typically participate in forum discussions, on the games site and in general gaming discussion sites like mmorpg.com. They still don't put too much investment in their characters though, but do play with goals in mind.

Hardcore Gamer: These players are the step between dedicated and the Content Locust. These are the people in progression guilds, they see the endgame content first, do hardcore modes, and generally have the rarest and most difficult achievements and items. They make strategies that the rest of the players will follow. Are a very vocal minority on the forums, and change the landscape of the game as such.

Content Locust: Aside from what was mentioned above, it should also be noted that this part of the population in a game is generally less than 1% but the effect they have on games and the gaming industry is much larger than that.

Where are you?

According to the definitions given above, where do you see yourself in the MMO Community?

See results

What is the problem?

The problem with content locust is far reaching. At the very top of the list, they blow through a game developers took years to make in a matter of weeks. Then this very vocal part of the community then generally go on the forums and say two things,

  1. That this game has nothing to do at the end game.

  2. It is too easy, and there is no challenge.

This affects the game in one major way, for casuals to hardcore gamers when choosing a new game to purchase or resubscribe to, a common first step is to check out the forums and see what is being said. Since content locust are so vocal about their triumphs and how easy it was, it turns a lot of new players off to the idea of the game, and that cost the game company revenue.

It also is demoralizing to the community in general. Casual and dedicated gamers by far make up the majority of almost any games population. I would say easily 90% but I really don't have any research to prove this other than more than a decade of personal observation. But when these elite gamer snobs (another term for content locust) go on and on about how simple and easy something a large portion of the community is struggling with, or possibly doing, but it is far from simple to them, it makes them not want to try, and certainly not want to do anything more difficult.

Over time difficulty changes as well. When the vocal feedback constantly says “this was too easy” and casuals and dedicated gamers don't voice out enough and say “It was just right” or “It was too hard” a game company is eventually going to make a correction in the difficulty, which will ultimately not make the content locust happy, because once they have mastered the new content, they will be discontented again, and it will lock a large portion of the player base out of content they used to see, but now is too difficult.

This will make them quit, the company looses money, which makes development more difficult. While they had the resources to recoup, the change in World of Warcraft from Wrath of the Lich King, to Cataclysm is a very good example of this.

Why The name Content Locust?

This is why this part of the community is called content locust. They consume the content and befoul it with negativity so voraciously that they eventually make the game barren, and most players will move to other games, or even out of the MMO genre. For being such a small part of the community, they have the biggest effect on it.

The only real way to stop them is rather simple. These are the people who want attention for for being better than others, the boast and patronize, so just ignore them. Don't respond to their forum threads, don't try to join their guilds. It's one thing to try to push yourself in a game, that can be fun in its own right, but when you define your fun by keeping other people from having fun themselves, at this point your a content locust.

So if you are a content locust, now you know, and that's the first step to recovery

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    • Morgaren profile image
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      Tim 4 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Be hard to offer a service people pay for with that kind of limiting factor, that people still want to pay for.

    • profile image

      Astraal 4 years ago

      Got a question i want opinions on: what do you think of limiting online session time per day for example? Basically to force you to take a break from playing non-stop (not too long a session, nor too short - idea hovering around 3 to 4 hours max). So when you log off the session timer starts 'regenerating' after some time. This will directly impact the number of afk people, they will more likely disconnect to preserve session time (maybe helps with lag), take more breaks when there's nothing to do etc. Of course now most companies want the maximum amount of money and their philosophy is to let them spend all they can in an unlimited amount of time. The only game that suggests taking a break that i know of is currently Aion. It doesn't force you to take a break, but is a very good reminder.

      Opinions?

    • profile image

      MMO Veteran 4 years ago

      These MMO game services are not simple and need tons of attention from developers to filter through bug reports, fix actual bugs, adjust exploitable designs, finish the content in the pipeline, etc. I think the general problem with locust gamer's is that they get developers to spend time on content that few people are actually consuming at the expense of content that the majority are consuming. This happens because of the perceived impact dissatisfied locust have on a games revenue stream.

    • profile image

      Robin Siebler 4 years ago

      You left out a demographic. I am a role player. I fall between the casual gamer and the hardcore gamer. I play the game for fun as the casual gamer does and I don't care as much about leveling and gear. I play the game as it was designed to be played when I don't feel like role playing or when others invite me to level or go to a dungeon with them. 90% of my time is spent role playing and I am an active participant on forums.

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 4 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      I guess I should clarify, the change in difficulty to content is never making existing content harder, but making new content more difficult at first, or gating is another way that they try to stop locust from consuming everything instantly.

    • profile image

      Some Random 4 years ago

      I followed this article nodding my head up until the "What is the problem?" part, then I respectfully disagreed with many points presented.

      I don't quite recall too many incidents of developers buffing encounters, and in those cases the content locusts do not really face the issue you presented.

      I quit WoW before cata came out, but as I heard from the people I played with the reason for failure aren't relevant with the topic you're discussing much. The content was rehashed, sometimes healers were godly in pvp tanking 4 people at the same time, other times people were 2 buttoning their way to victory, etc. But that it was also "too easy".

      Your last comment is a popular argument put forward by many players. However, it ignores many other aspects. The word "appealing" is a relative one. For example, back in BC Illidan was heralded as an "epic" encounter (sure his ending was rather anticlimactic), but at the same time he was THE man to target. Among hardcores, among casuals, etc. This was of course way before normal mode, hard mode stuff surfaced. Now you see such designs so that the content is "accessible" for everyone. One portion of the community can continue killing hard mode Illidan to feel good about themselves, while everyone else kills normal mode Illidan and all is great, right? I disagree with this notion, Illidan should just be Illidan in this example. In other words you should have no "I killed normal mode Illidan" or "I killed hard mode Illidan", it should just be Illidan. It's something to strive and progress for, for everyone. Making this achievement accessible just so everyone can see it for themselves detracts from the experience and makes the encounters redundant as everyone has done them and now they're sitting in the capital city twiddling their thumbs.

      Another example, we had a casual guild back in vanilla WoW who cleared Naxx spider wing. I was rooting for those guys, and they were over the moon on what they did. Those guys were enjoying what they were doing far more than those who cleared the whole raid months before them. Why? Because they felt that sense of achievement and were connected more to each other. SWTOR also replicated the same model and added a nightmare mode, yet no one spoke of any "epic" encounters. You don't feel connected to anything if you can merely clear its normal mode while experiencing all the content with random people from general chat, knowing the last thing they're going to say is "thanks, bye" and leave the group 1 second later, as if its just some routine event. Guild Wars 2 made things different for example and scrapped the normal mode and hard mode model, but they don't compete on the scale where you would hear people talking about an "epic" encounter or achievement which would be reminisced 6 months from now. The only thing that would be mentioned are legendary items, and the acquisitions of those are mostly from people being sly (exploiting godskull, playing the market, buying gold, etc.) and a few from grinding. Not quite the same experience.

      All in all, I disagree with the notion that "more accessible" or "appealing" (as you put it) necessarily translates into a better overall experience. You still hear people talking about Ragnaros, Razorgore, Viscidous, C'thun, Illidan, etc. even though their times are up. Yet you don't hear anything about Karagga, Kephes, Vitiate or Zhaitan.

      Kind regards.

    • Morgaren profile image
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      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      AI monster, Wow Cataclysm. And making the game more appealing to the larger fanbase isn't a bad thing. It is changing the game for the whims of 1% of the population that makes no sense.

      Adam, it can be accuarate with time. I never made some claim that this was a scientiffic study, or that I have made sure a diverse sampling of people have taken it. It's just for...what's that word...we lose sight of it so often. Fun, that's wight, the word is fun.

    • profile image

      Adam 5 years ago

      How can this poll be accurate? surely there are many "Isolated" and "casual" gamers who won't even bother to vote in the poll?

    • profile image

      AIMonster 5 years ago

      Game developers listen to content locusts that content is too easy and game difficulty is effected as a result? I thought it was the other way around, that developers listened to whiny casuals claiming the content is too hard and nerfed it to be completed by anyone. Look at World of Warcraft (every expansion has easier and easier heroics/raids), Rift (Expert dungeons nerfed to be easily completed), FFXI, etc. Can you even name a MMO and give an example where the difficulty was RAISED as a result of content locusts?

    • profile image

      Gainsense.com 5 years ago

      Good article (there's a your vs you're error in the last sentence though -- sorry I just notice things like that). Content locusts definitely have a huge impact on MMOs and that isn't necessarily beneficial. I might write about this myself.

    • Morgaren profile image
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      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      I like that, but still, content locust that hang around typically will be the ones that do the raids first, before guides come out. They have newest gear and all that.

      I agree with you. I think we have different regards of the elite though in this case. I didn't mean it as a badge of honor. Far from it actually. I would much rather be in a healthy marriage and in a good career than be the first to down Kil'jaden.

    • profile image

      Silverbranch 5 years ago

      I would disagree with the assertion "These are the elite in the mmo gaming world." (meaning content locusts).

      That's like saying the 400 pound guy stuffing his face as fast as he can at the Golden Corral is the elite in a human being.

      Content Locusts represent an aberation in the gaming community represented by someone willing to "break the game" in service to themselves.

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Here is the article on Aion, hope you find it useful.

      https://hubpages.com/games-hobbies/Aion-Ascension-...

    • Morgaren profile image
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      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Yes I do, the concept behind their ftp model is going to be the subject of an article I will write soon. Plus talking some about my experiences with PvP in the game, it is not nearly as forced as people make it out to be.

    • Kyricus profile image

      Tony 5 years ago from Ohio

      Eve is a bit of a PITA, but, perhaps it's complexity is what keeps me subbing. I too wish I had more time, but alas, time is becoming more constrained, rather than more available.

      I was thinking about trying Aion since they went ftp. Do you like it?

    • Morgaren profile image
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      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      I really like Rift, EVE seemed too much like real life to me, buying insurance, and managing profit margins. Course I really wish I had enough time to play them all lol. I currently subscribe to wow and play aion a bit from the ftp model they adopted.

    • Kyricus profile image

      Tony 5 years ago from Ohio

      This nails it spot on! I am a casual gamer now, I play RIFT and EVE. I used to be a hardcore gamer in EQ and EQ2.

      The content locusts amaze me. I simply cannot understand how they can get to max level when I am barely 1/4 of the way thru the game. I love to explore the lore, the world, and the achievements the Dev's have built for us. To rush through it make just no sense to me.

      I also abhor the snobbishness inherent with these type of players. They refuse to acknowledge that other player types exist, and most certainly won't even attempt to help a new player learn the ropes.

      Great article!

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Thanks I will check him out.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      I'd love to hear more about that then, as I'm often bored with reading reviews and like to see the inside of video gaming industries. I'd recommend you check out a Hubber named "Keith Engel" who also does similar works, as well as poetry from time to time. I'm sure you'd have a lot of interest in his articles, and he's usually one to comment on this kind of thing. Best of luck on HubPages! ^^

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Thanks, I really like the business and psychological side behind the decisions made in the gaming industry. I will be writing about this kind of stuff often, thanks for the compliment

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Wow. I mean, just wow. Words cannot begin to describe how excellent this article is. A professional and detailed Hub about how MMORPGs are not only attracting this threat we fail to see regularly, but also how they are manipulating the industry. Instantly, this gets a following.

      Voted up, useful, interesting, Liked on FB and shared on HubPages!