“It seems like gaming forums in general have gotten a lot more negative and it sort of feeds into itself and creates these groupthink hate campaigns. There’s a new kind of solidarity in shared distaste, but it can get really toxic and snobbish.” ~hereafter
You know, I’ve seen this very thing in the Warhammer 40k tabletop community. It’s this “Love to Loathe the Hobby” motif. There is a definite camp that seems to enjoy commiserating about the crappy stuff (in the game) more than they actually enjoy the hobby itself. This same thing is coming about in MMO-blog-o-land as well.
I really don’t know.
I agree that Rift and SW:TOR are getting inordinate amounts of flak for what amounts to stickin’ to the genre; imagine people getting angry at Modern Warfare 3 because it’s still a game in which you run around a finite space and shoot other players. Oh, and the dogs. Damn those freakin’ dogs.
I really don’t think that TOR will fail tragically in the way some of these people seem to want it to, and I don’t see the market making a sudden shift into sandbox land.
I do see us growing into sandbox land.
Games are getting more and more complicated by the year, and – more importantly – what games are popular are growing more and more complex by the year. Sure, Skyrim isn’t as complicated as Morrowind in some ways, but the steps it took down the ladder of complexity pale in comparison the the steps up the ladder its genre as a whole as taken. The same is true, I feel, of MMO-land.