Historically, human beings have a nasty tendency of "aligning" themselves with things. This is an age-old instinct that allowed humans to better survive via tribes, kingdoms and clans.
However, these days, we see this same instinct rear its ugly head in the form of people defending their purchasing decisions, and this is what gives birth to what I call "fleas".
If you are a "fan" of something, you enjoy it but you can still critique it, sometimes even harshly. Even the most embittered fan still enjoys the game in question on some level if they stick around to criticize it. Criticizing something is just a way of saying "I wish this was made better because it deserves to be better". If something was truly so awful that the fans saw no potential in it, they would leave (sorry, trolls, but if you didn't still care about the game on some level, you wouldn't be here).
Fans are necessary for a game to survive and are certainly necessary for FFXIV to survive.
"Fleas" are another matter because they love to cling to something and say it's wonderful, seeing themselves as a part of it and never criticizing it no matter how bad it actually is. They vehemently defend it from all "attackers" and blindly love it even when it needs improvement in order to survive. Fleas will happily label fans who criticize the game as "trolls", and they have no qualms about driving fans and other paying customers away from the game. They do this because, the more alone they are in liking a game, the more it makes them feel "unique" and "special".
Fleas even love bad things that need fixing. There's nothing fleas love more than figuring out how to use bad system, then proudly proclaiming that they have mastered it and ridiculing all others who have trouble with it or point out that it's a bad system. To a flea, braving mediocrity is a badge of honor whereas sensible people correctly see it as idiocy.
Fleas have no actual love for a game, however. They only seek something to align themselves with so they can feel better about themselves. These are the same kinds of people who love to root for sports teams who usually win but will quickly root for another team when that team starts to lose. When the game dies from lack of good feedback, the fleas will simply jump off and find another host (game) to suck blood (self-validation) from.
Fleas are what will kill FFXIV, doing nothing to save the game from its potential impending doom, because they will not dare criticize something they see as a part of themselves.
You are not a flea if you:
-contribute feedback about improving the game to SE, either here or the feedback submission form.
-accept that some people simply won't like the game and that it's okay. The game is a leisure activity, not a banner under which you've joined to fight for a cause.
-don't take personal offense to people ragging on the game as if they were ragging on you personally.
In short: We're players playing a game, and that's all it is: a GAME. It's not a religion. It's not a banner. It's not a cause. It's a leisure activity, and it needs our critique, not our undying affection.
Edited, Feb 5th 2011 4:38pm by TheRealDestian