Veterans: what has changed about Choice of Games and the forum over the years?

Criticism has its place and is important too, even in positivity. Nothing is ever wholly amazing or wholly terrible. And without acknowledging that, the forum (everything in general) could easily stagnate, regress and become decidedly not what I’m feeling nostalgic and warm about. I don’t see why you should be silenced and if that’s what I made you feel, I apologize for that. I for one am interested in hearing your thoughts. I don’t think honesty is depressing at all so long as no one is being intentionally cruel.


Well, I am isolated from 80% of the forum where I can’t directly post because fans of the two most popular franchises launch over me like hyenas. That’s nothing to do with the company with I have improved the relationships and I think is giving positive steps in modernisation and integration. Then, I am afraid posts in most new wips as the acceptance of criticism is below zero. Anything not remotely close to appraisal is followed with or a flag or twenty different people calling out the critic. I have learned to keep up in the tiny bit of forum when Fans of Infinity universe aren’t. Think is really sad as those people were during the years, my friends. But now I am too aggressive and sincere for most of the forum.


I’m not sure what the two most popular franchises are or your exact situation. I can say, however, that I feel you on a little of what you’re talking about. It didn’t happen here, but I pretty much got dogpiled for disliking an exorbitantly popular series and laying out my reasoning in a CoG/Hosted fan group when we were opening discussion threads on games we find overrated. My thread failed quite miserably. That’s life I suppose. People are just highly passionate about their viewpoints, and it can be easy to develop misunderstandings and points of bitterness if someone feels like they’re being called out or nitpicked unfairly.

I haven’t witnessed criticism not being accepted in wip threads, but I also don’t usually directly post in any of them. If I find a game I like and want to support, I personally message the author because the perfectionist editor in me has to give in depth, line-by-line style critiques or nothing at all and that can get awkward on the main post. I haven’t had any complaints so far; the authors have actually been quite grateful and kind. In my experiences, taking time to give feedback at all is mostly appreciated around here, but that’s just me. I am sorry that you haven’t been seeing the same acceptance.


Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Mara.

Aside from my usual advice (if someone’s being rude, flag it), here’s a word from Toonami’s TOM. I hope it encourages you to keep engaging with the forum and making our games better.


I’ve been here for about 3 years so idk if that makes me a veteran or not, but there are definitely some changes I’ve seen.

Such as when I first joined there was no subcategory dedicated specifically to the Infinite Sea lol. But I think the biggest thing that I’ve noticed, specifically in the past year or so is the increasing diversity of WiPs. Before, about 60-70% of new WiPs (at least that I saw) were high fantasy. Now, while there’s still a large chunk of high fantasy WiPs, there are more Sci Fi and urban fantasy WiPs than before.

Also I’m not sure if this was there before and I’m just noticing it now, or if it’s always been like this, but I’ve definitely noticed fan culture becoming more prevalent. What I mean by fan culture is that people seem to stick to the threads about their favorite games/WiPs, not engaging with other threads too much. That’s not to say people don’t engage in other threads of course, it just seems to me that we tend to stick to one or two threads which we post on regularly, and then post maybe once in another thread.

Of course, that’s not to say that this is a bad thing. People will talk about what interests them, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it does seem that before people engaged with a wider part of the community.

Last but certainly not least in my opinion is the way attitudes about romances and ROs have changed over time. It seems to me that earlier, having well developed and fleshed out romances was something people very much enjoyed but never really an expectation. Perhaps I’m wrong but now it seems like there is an expectation every game (or at least WiP) includes some decent ROs, even if romance is not the focus of the story.


The migration/integration to and of social media has been the biggest evolution in the community.

Today, Discord servers, Tumbler, Twitter, and Patreon all are huge pieces of the puzzle and even Facebook, although not as much for “reasons”.

Before, this forum and the CYA forum were the only two places to be a part of a community.


I joined the Forum back on Feb. 2015, so I’m not sure if that makes me a veteran?

Anyway, there were quite a lot of changes. In the past, I feel as if I can check out any threads I like and comment whatever. Now, though, I feel as if I should just stick to what I know best, you know? It seems difficult to branch out; sorry, I’m having difficulty explaining it. It’s like how we’ve solidified our penchant for a certain game or a series and we stick there, and seldom look at other games.

I also noticed that there are more users who’re rather aggressive and impolite (I speak in general terms, and this is not targeting anyone specifically). I miss the tranquility of the old days, where we’d discuss and hypothesize about what will happen on Chapter X, or if Character Y would survive, and so on, and to do so without any worry of any insults. Now, I’m not saying that uncivil discourse is common now; it’s just that uncivil discourse seems to increase as time passes.

And there are more games now! The variety of the genres, too, are expanding! When I first got into CoG, games were mostly fantasy or historical. But now, I see some contemporary (is that the right term? Those games take place in today’s time) and science fiction ones.

I also like how the games and the community are getting more inclusive and open-minded. The Forum members too, are getting more inclusive as time passes.

That is also another thing I like very much: when I first arrived here, I enjoyed the idea that we may freely exchange ideas, even controversial ones, as long as we treat each other with respect and respond to the argument. I am happy to say that, in general, this open-mindedness has increased; it was already present when I arrived here back on 2015; but it’s higher than ever now.


I’ve been a forum member since 2012. Let’s see what cobwebs I can dig up. Speaking purely from the catalogue of games put out?

  • Word length (anyone remember HG’s Popcorn, Soda… and Murder? title)
  • The capabilities of the choicescript software
  • The inclusion of other sexualities/genders/etc.
  • Just my personal opinion that I don’t know if it’s supported or not, but I feel like in the HG label in there wasn’t much of a ‘story’ element… until Zombie Exodus came along.
  • Like Eiwynn said, we’ve moved beyond just the forums for specific fandoms
  • Eventually, stories got more character customization options, there was more focus put on including minorities (thanks to the Heroes Rise trilogy I feel), more branching storylines and just got bigger and grander overall
  • Price increases from like… I wanna say 2.99 to what they currently are to compensate for the epic proportion of writing

Well. personally I feel the forum has grown far less tolerant over the years. Used to be if you said something someone disliked, they would try to talk it through with you, rather then just flag the heck out of your post…


Well, logically, most veteran people here can’t really hate me anymore than they already do, so I can address what people want to tiptoe around without fear of anyone losing respect they never actually had for me to begin with.

I feel there’s kind of an issue with the idea of looking at it’s people getting worse so much as that as popularity and site population increases, the amount of users as a base grows. With more added users the percent of them that it’s actually possible they really are just pretentious/rude/or all around assholes increases. I’m all for supporting new authors. I wish when I first started writing I had people to support me and we should be careful not to let people just starting out get discouraged…at the same time…not necessarily everyone who shares your love of something is going to be a nice person. Some writers actually are just extremely thin skinned and refuse to take any amount of criticism because they feel they have nothing more to learn, which is a bad attitude.

But if you take a look at most things, most writers welcome not entirely positive feedback. Fanbases have a tendency to get so zealously militant they take any traces of dislike as “Just hating” which is a problematic line of thinking. So why fight battles for the author when they don’t support you on this?

Remember when people sent death threats to review sites because they didn’t rate Breath Of The Wild as a 10/10, absolutely perfect and above all flaws(Except for all the flaws)? It’s not any different than what you see. People confuse liking something and needing to defend it. You can find a lot of attitude that is “I like this and if you even think about the slightest amount of criticism to it, you’re a bad person. Every single possible thing is pure genius and you’re just a hater because I like it, therefore it’s above all criticism.”

Which sounds like an extreme case where clearly I must be exaggerating this logic…except not really. It sounds extreme, because it’s an extreme view to have. It’s okay to enjoy things or see things you liked that other people didn’t, but if your reaction is “You’re just a troll because you don’t fully approve of every possible decision!” Well…you’re wrong.

Yet, it must be emphasized while this is actually an extremely common train of logic in movies and games, the amount of people actually like this, while they most certainly do exist, is actually a lot narrower than the common population.There are jerks in every group, and as population rises, we are far more likely to see a more visible amount of that group. As the player base expands, so does stubbornness and intolerance by a natural effect. Not everyone with an internet connection and a keyboard qualifies as a good or even mentally stable person. Not even every content creator is a morally upstanding person. Some actually are just smug jerks with overinflated egos and an unjustified sense of superiority who’d rather just shrug things off as people being too dumb to get it than actually consider if they might have a genuine point.

And again, as time goes on, the amount of people who share that line of thinking grow. It turns into the feeling that nobody cares what someone’s point is anymore. They just take a look at something not entirely positive and dismiss it as inherently wrong without actually considering any of the reasoning behind it which ultimately, just hurts the natural development of letting the games grow into the quality they deserve and authors better than me could provide if they were given the room to actually develop and grow instead of cutting down anything for not immediately falling to the general sentiment.

If you love a franchise, then accepting criticism is an important part in helping it become better and grow past that. To see actual improvements made, that means allowing people to voice what they feel needs to change, even if you aren’t going to completely agree.


I didn’t even know there was a dark mode option, sweet !


Yes and no in my opinion. While I think there is a stronger push for more time and options to be devoted to RO, there’s always been a bit of an expectation that they’ll be there while I’ve been around at least. One of the complaints I had for Wizardry which was published a number of years ago was that it didn’t have RO’s.

I also agree this seems to be more common than it used to be.

I think there is a bit of an increase, but they seem to go in waves. High fantasy always sticks around, but sometimes there’ll be a shift to include pirate games, or urban fantasy, or supernatural or zombies on the forums. Superheros has been an increasing trend for a while as well. Other genres do pop up from time to time (comedy, sci-fi, slice of life etc) but rarely get the following that fantasy genres do, so they don’t tend to get written as often. (That’s not a new thing to the forum.)

Sigh I haven’t moved with the times it seems. (Only have Facebook :stuck_out_tongue:).

Just as an aside, the fact there are people mentioning that they feel they’re hated/excluded/not respected for giving constructive crit or that they feel they can no longer discuss games without starting arguments is concerning. I thought the forums did go though a turbulent period a while back, but I’d hoped that this wasn’t still happening much anymore.


I am going to push back on Hex’s and CoGZealot’s posts a bit …

What they are talking about has existed from day one … the way we handle it as a community has changed.

And this led to a lot of problematic behavior. Behavior that leads to harm for the individual or the community is not behavior we should tolerate.

Anyone that would like to participate in this process should be welcomed to read the demo and then provide actionable feedback.

Actionable Feedback is feedback that an author is able to used to make their game better. Opinions that express value judgements and that direct the ongoing discussion away from the author’s work should not be allowed.

Circular argument and sniping back and forth should be flagged to hell and back because it is wasteful, hateful and toxic.
The following types of posting have been cracked down on:
- Rudeness
- Ad hominem attacks, especially name calling
- Extreme expressions of anger
- Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
- Engaging in Circular Argumentation
- Sniping

There is good, actionable feedback and then there is non-actionable, ignorable feedback - someone expressing negative feedback focused on a person’s writing is often an example of the latter.

Expressing your opinion on how awful a writer’s writing is doesn’t help that author … they know their writing sucks. Most authors suffer from imposter syndrome and low self-esteem anyways, so your beat down won’t do anything that they are already doing to themselves.

The author is not in control of your feedback – you are! Why should an author sit there and try to figure out your reasons… you should express those in a way that the author can then take that feedback and improve… that is on you, not the author to do.

Most authors do need to work on accepting criticism – it is painful to have to do so.

I also believe most authors here do a pretty good job as it is… it is the fans within an author’s fandom that need to practice more tolerance.

Most of us moderators (and Leaders) and staff try our best to help individuals when such intolerance rears its ugly head, but often we are not called in, until there are other more immediate problems.

If you are experiencing a gang mentality trying to intimidate you from providing actionable feedback – let a Leader, Moderator, or Staff know before things spiral out of control and off the guardrails.

All of us are open to PMs to discuss things one on one or out of the public’s eye… remember to let us to help, if we can, before things require such drastic things like suspensions for other issues brought on by frustration.


I’m gonna have to say that barely anything about the users has changed. While I noticed the moderator team basically got overhauled after they… well, didn’t do a good job earlier before.

There also used to be a no limit to a thread so if you had a very popular work and left it open, you were bound to get over 10k comments on there but now they don’t do it anymore and I’m glad for it because it can become quite a clusterf_ck, ya know?


…I understand where you are coming from, but I wasn’t (at least I don’t think I was) talking about feedback or attacking others.

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I’m not sure if I’m a veteran, I officially joined in 2013 but was lurking for a good few years before that. Back then Vendetta and the first unnatural games were some of the most popular WIPs, it’s crazy to me that I found this site when I wasn’t even in high school and now I’m legally allowed to drink


I have definitely seen cultural shifts in general (not just here) towards the definition of personality and identity around liking an item of popular culture, leading to seeing any sort of criticism of that item as a personal attack on the individual.


Exactly, Now any critic of the offering of alternatives is considering an attack. And an insult. Any opinion out of what the fandom considers the opinion is an attack and is replied with “You don’t have right to talk about this because you aren’t a fan.” Or is directly accused of harming the environment
When the game released and people in bad reviews say exactly the same I said and could have been addressed. The fans response is that the public is wrong . an It is a terrible harmful cultural shifting when is not literature or games anymore when enthusiastic people do their best to help the authors to reach their full potential.
Now is becoming hooligans that all is perfect and any criticism is replied with hostility and a You aren’t one of us. Or even attack other writers that is the worst possible. I hope someday the forum will return to what it was , a place of discussion and focused in helping authors to improve and reaching their full potential. Publish and make a living from that.


Then, would you spell it out for me what you were trying to say?

If it means taking it to PM, so we don’t disrupt the thread, I am fine with that.

This is exactly how I see the forum, now as opposed to the past where it was one snipefest after another because someone insisted that the author write about incest (or something just as disruptive), or adding a pet theory they have into the author’s work…

Perhaps you are so micro-focused on one thread or author’s work that you lost sight of the entire forum.


Well, Except one or two exceptions it is in my opinion how all forum works reason I probably didn’t have participate in a wip in a year or so. But that is only my opinion probably based on the fact most people on forums don’t have a positive image of me.

I have to admit that the authors themselves are very supportive and gentle in general and makes this community a special place. The fact that I think this community is becoming worse doesn’t mean that I think is a bad place.