The Problem With Influencers Negatively Affecting the Arena FPS Community & How Diabotical Will Revive Arena Shooters

Arena FPS is in a different place than it once was over two decades ago; notable players are well in their 30s, modding tools are restrictive or scarce, and interest in the genre amongst the younger generation of gamers is minimal. Compare that the 90s and 2000s when online gaming was blowing up, we have all these crazy third-party tools to make your own levels and mod the games, the rise of LAN parties and that face-to-face interaction between players. What's going on? Why did the popularity of arena shooters drop off? What's preventing arena FPS from growing again, and how do we get back there with the release of Diabotical?

Diabotical can revive arena FPS; the problem is what influencers say and show to their followers.
Diabotical can revive arena FPS; the problem is what influencers say and show to their followers.

We have a younger generation of gamers who never experienced these games from the 90s. Think about what it is they're seeing when they see arena FPS: they're watching game reviews, they're looking at their favorite content creators, and they began following them because they found them in games outside of arena FPS. These days, we call those content creators "influencers" because of how influential they are towards large amounts of people. It's easy to say that arena FPS is just a niche genre, and it'll never go back to its former glory. It's easy to blame arena FPS itself for its difficulty. But if you try and see things from the perspective of these younger gamers, you slowly begin to realize that arena FPS as we know it was never shown to them at all. id Software tried to revive arena FPS with Quake Champions, but with only a few hundred concurrent players, the franchise seems to be a shadow of its former self. I believe the key to the success of Diabotical and the revival of arena FPS is in the 90s; understanding what made games like Doom and Quake as popular as it was back then, and then replicating it with Diabotical today.

Are Arena FPS games too difficult for new players?

What is it that makes an arena FPS game so unapproachable and unfriendly to newcomers? Movement, weapons, map knowledge, item control, etc. It can be very overwhelming to newer players, and while these games tend to be easy to learn and hard to master, it doesn't necessarily translate to "easy to get into". But is the difficulty of these games really the problem here? There's no shortage of these difficult and hardcore games out there, both inside and outside of esports. Dark Souls, Cuphead, and Super Meat Boy are just some of the thousands of difficult single-player games out there today that can be named. For competitive multiplayer games, Dota 2 is notoriously hard to get into, along with a few real-time strategy games, and a plethora of fighting games and tactical first-person shooters.

Players get into them for one reason or another, whether it's because they want to play with their friends, or because their favorite player on YouTube or Twitch is playing it, or maybe they paid close attention to the development of the game. They're willing to learn something new, but they need to be shown why they should spend the time and effort learning to play arena FPS games.

If you learn positioning, understand the different behaviors of weapons, the resource management, respawn timings and other elements, these skills transfer into other games. Many of these influencers never learned these skills, and it becomes apparent when they play other games where their skills (or lack thereof) force them to play at lower difficulty settings or against lower-ranked opponents. That makes a difference in how influencers present these games to their followers, since the gameplay, the tactics and the adrenaline rush they get from it is significantly different at different levels of play, despite being the same game.

Playing against opponents better than yourself in a multiplayer game or turning up the difficulty in a single-player game pushes you to your limits, forcing you to understand the mechanics of the game and take every advantage you can get, but that takes a lot of time and effort to get to that point. Influencers generally prefer to play against more casual opponents or play at a lower difficulty, allowing them to quickly get into the game, get their content out there and be entertaining for their audience, but they end up missing out on a lot of exciting things or misunderstand how certain mechanics or tactics work. The best possible representation of a game is shown at the highest level of play, but if a particular influencer is focused on playing and showing off as many games as possible, it's in their best interest to go with the latter.

Influencers may talk about the fast movement in these arena FPS games, yet they never use the fast-movement mechanics; they never strafe-jump, rocket-jump, dodge-move, plasma-climb or any of these advanced movement mechanics needed to play these game effectively. They may criticize a game for requiring you to switch weapons frequently, yet they don't bother rebinding keys to make it easy and convenient for them to do that. Arena FPS games are failing to attract a younger audience, and a major reason for this is because the people they're watching who play these games don't have the knowledge or skills to show them what these games are about - they're certainly not watching Rapha or Cypher play. The games themselves are not as difficult for newcomers as many people have been led to believe, but they're too difficult for influencers due to the amount of time and effort it takes to be competent at the various mechanics and tactics, and that translates to their followers gaining a false impression of the games.

The Relationship Between the Developer and the Community

There's only so much a developer can do in-house to make the gameplay and the optics around it as good as possible, but for a highly-skillful and competitive game like an arena shooter, you have to consult with people in the community who deeply understand the mechanics and features, and understand what it is they want in a game. There's no better example of a developer taking feedback from high-level FPS players in the past than John Carmack listening to Thresh on the weapon balance for Quake III Arena. He highlighted this in his 1999 .plan file.

Mar 03, 1999

On the issue of railgun firing rates – we played with it for a while at the slower speed, but it has been put back to exactly Q2's rate of fire.

I do agree with Thresh that the way we had it initially (faster than Q2, but with the same damage) made it an overpowered weapon in the hands of highly skilled players, which is exactly what we should try to avoid.

An ideal game should give scores as close to directly proportional to the players reletive skills as possible. The better player should win in almost all cases, but the game will be more entertaining if the inferior players are not completely dominated.

Quake 1 had really bad characteristics that way – Thresh can play extremely talented players and often prevent them from scoring a single point. We wouldn't put up with a conventional sport that commonly game scores of 20 to 1 in championship matches, and I don't think we should encourage it in our games.

Eliminating health items is probably the clearest way to prevent blowout games, but that has never been popular. Still, we should try to avoid weapon decisions that allow the hyper-skilled to pull even farther away from the rest of the crowd. They will still win, no matter what the weapons are, just not by as wide a margin.

The focus on making Quake III Arena "more entertaining" over its predecessors stems from discouraging those obscenely one-sided matches. In order to do that, John Carmack consulted with Thresh, someone who had a deep understanding of the weapons in Quake and Quake II. This collaboration between the developer and people within the community is what ultimately resulted in Quake's "Holy Trinity" of weapons: Rocket Launcher, Lightning Gun, and Railgun.

Unfortunately, id Software today is not the id Software of the 90s, like Blizzard Entertainment and many others developers. The power and control we had over our entertainment has slowly been taken back by those developers, through the removal of LAN capabilities, publicly-available server binaries, clan support, level editors and modding features. The release of Quake Champions in 2017 was a half-hearted attempt at bringing back the Quake series, introducing "champions" with abilities to the gameplay formula to capitalize on the hype from hero shooters like Overwatch and Paladins. While an interesting concept in itself, it came with a myriad of problems; from technical limitations due to its hybrid id-tech/Saber engine, to the lack of maps to play on, to missing core features from Quake Live, the list goes on.

A more restrictive game would facilitate monetization given that Quake Champions moved to a free-to-play model and lacks a level editor, but that makes the relationship between id Software and Quake fans even more important. That relationship is almost non-existant, with every major patch leaving players feeling that the developer isn't listening to them - and rightfully so. The team actively working on Quake Champions is a skeleton crew that isn't getting getting the support they need from the higher-ups; there's only so much they can do that it may seem at times they're not really doing anything. I don't believe for one second that id Software or Bethesda would provide the necessarily level of support to their game or freedom to the community to make a Quake game succeed the way it had before. At best, it's a distraction. At worst, it divides the community. The Arena FPS community needs to rally around a developer who cares enough about the scene to make things real, not one that just provides lip-service and a marginal update once in a blue moon.

A developer who values a strong working relationship with its community has the best chance to create something that appeals to them. The GD Studio - the developer of Diabotical - is headed by James "2GD" Harding, a former professional Quake player. With the help of Quake players like Noctis, Phaze, and others, the weapons and movement in Diabotical has the best chance of appealing to the greatest number of arena FPS fans. A game needs to appeal to a core audience - players with a genuine passion for the gameplay and its community. Those players should be making a name for themselves and building up their own following so they can represent the community and what it's about to the rest of the world, and then from there, that audience would have translated to the scene. This has not been the case for arena FPS.

Existing Arena FPS Content Creators on YouTube

Cypher has a YouTube channel with only a few hundred subscribers, while Rapha and Cooller don't even have a YouTube channel of their own. Zoot has almost 6000 subscribers. Jehar has a little over 300 subscribers. Even as big of a name as Fatal1ty was over a decade ago, his own YouTube channel has less than 10,000 subscribers. The largest arena FPS content creator I've seen was DDK with 22k subscribers, and it's mainly because of his CS:GO videos. Outside of personalities, the biggest arena FPS channels are uploading QuakeCon matches; channels like QCP, and those channels are not that big.

In other competitive scenes, having personalities with a large following on YouTube is standard fare. For CS:GO, FalleN has a YouTube channel with 1.25 million subscribers, while n0thing has nearly half-a-million subscribers. Over in competitive Call of Duty, Nadeshot, founder of 100 Thieves and former player for OpTic Gaming, has a YouTube Channel with over 3 million subscribers. Scump, player for the Chicago Huntsmen and formerly OpTic Gaming, has a YouTube Channel with over 2.5 million subscribers. Many of the early subscribers of these OpTic players found them through Minecraft, and that following translated somewhat to the competitive Call of Duty scene.

It's a given that Fortnite players are huge on YouTube, with Ninja at the top with over 24 million subscribers on YouTube, and many others with 5-6-figure subscriber counts. But should they switch to other games, some of those subscribers who liked them for their Fortnite content will become interested in those other games as well. It's the same way with popular games like Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto V. It's a great way to build bridges between games, and introduce people to something else. Arena FPS channels are the exact opposite: almost exclusively arena FPS content, almost no cross-pollination with other games or communities, and no engaging content ideal for sharing on social media or websites like Reddit. What is the arena FPS equivalent of Evo Moment #37 or UNiVeRsE's $6,000,000 Echo Slam Dunk? Nothing comes to mind.

For Diabotical and arena FPS to have a chance to succeed, that needs to change. Influencers within the Arena FPS community should be at the forefront of coverage and hype for these games - those who can grab those 6-figure subscriber numbers on YouTube, who can show the younger and impressionable players how exciting and in-depth these games can be. It needs content creators who can put that gameplay in front of them, and it cannot be stressed enough that it needs to happen specifically on YouTube. It's the biggest video-sharing platform in the world, and it's shocking to see how much it's been neglected by the Arena FPS Community for a very long time. There's a huge focus on Twitch and streamers, but it's insane to limit the potential exposure for the game when most people who are simply looking for content to watch on-demand are on YouTube, especially with YouTube's algorithms enabling the discovery of content for these games with their recommendations. Some content creators like Y2Jake are already trying to build their channels, but there needs to be a much bigger push to have Diabotical content on YouTube.

YouTube channel of Cypher, hard to find even through a YouTube search due to poor titles.
YouTube channel of Cypher, hard to find even through a YouTube search due to poor titles.

Over the years, I've lost count how many times I've heard people refer to these arena shooters as "dumb fun"; it shows a lack of knowledge about the depth that these games can have, no different than calling fighting games "button-mashers", or real-time strategy games "click-fests". It's also an unintended consequence of games that are easy to learn, yet hard to master: lesser players may feel they know everything there is to know about the game, so they don't feel they need to advance their own knowledge and skill, and they may even ignore an in-game tutorial that would teach them those vital basics of the game. This mentality needs to be reversed, but it all comes back to influencers.

Some of these influencers, and especially game reviewers, can say anything they want about a game and justify what they say because their opinion is "just their opinion" whenever its challenged. Furthermore, some of them will say that they "grew up with these games" when talking about Doom and Quake, which really surprises me because of the highly technical and meritocratic culture the communities of these games had since the 90s - we back up what we say with our skills. Our opinions are based on this technical knowledge and skill, and those of us who are lacking in these areas were hungry to learn and improve; those values are conspicuously absent from them.

Influencers got away with saying whatever ignorant opinions they wanted about these arena shooters because there was very little pushback from the gaming community at large. Gamers in general - especially younger gamers - are very impressionable and easy to manipulate. Those opinions were left unchallenged for so long that it stuck with their audience and can now be argued as "fact" after being repeated for many years. People within the Call of Duty community were very pro-active in addressing misinformation being spread about their competitive scene because they wanted the best representation possible for their scene despite its flaws, and they're much better off because of it. There is very little equivalent to that happening within the Arena FPS Community, primarily because those who are involved in the Arena FPS Community have no idea this is going on. Influencers are vital to the growth of Arena FPS, but they need to be people with a deep understanding of the genre and not those who only present what they see and hear on the surface.

An Example: GmanLives

GmanLives (formerly Gggmanlives) is a YouTube game reviewer with a focus on first-person shooters, leaning towards old-school FPS games. From his channel's description, he is "just an average Aussie guy who grew up on Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and other violent video games I probably shouldn't have been playing." Yet over the last few years, people slowly began to notice problems with his reviews; in particular his lack of knowledge and skill in these types of games that he supposedly grew up with.

In his Unreal Tournament review, he shows no dodge-movement, no charging up rockets to fire a volley from the Rocket Launcher, and even set the bots to a very low difficulty and explained why he couldn't turn it up. He shows none of the skills he would have learned from other arena shooters: positioning, movement, resource management, fast weapon-switching, etc. In his Quake III Arena review, once again lacking skills: he performs no strafe-jumping or even switching weapons frequently. When he reviewed Painkiller, GmanLives comments on the slow movement speed and mentions the bunny-hopping mechanic, while not utilizing bunny-hopping that would allow him to move quickly around the map and avoid the "unavoidable attacks" from the bosses that he criticized.

His reviews of more recent games makes his low-level playstyle more noticeable. Shadow Warrior 2 - while it can be an arena shooter depending on who you ask - it has dodge-movement similar to the Unreal Tournament series. In GmanLives's review of that game, he once again does not take advantage of the movement mechanics. What really stood out was his thoughts on the damage system; using elements against enemies who are vulnerable to those particular elements is how you're supposed to deal damage to enemies. Not only does he use physical damage against enemies resistant to physical damage, he criticizes the game for its "bullet-sponges". His confusion with the different element types would have been easily remedied by constantly switching between different weapons, meaning he did not learn that vital skill for arena shooters.

Even outside of a game in his video talking about his experiences at Quakecon 2018 (now set to unlisted), he demonstrates how unfamiliar he is with LAN culture - describing QuakeCon as the "mecca of FPS conventions", somehow believing he was "the only FPS player" at QuakeCon, or seeing people talking about games on stage as if he never saw that before in his life. The way he speaks about QuakeCon 2018 makes it seem like this was his very first LAN event. The fact that Bethesda covered his flight and hotel to QuakeCon 2018 begins to show a conflict of interest, as he gave games like Doom (2016) an obscenely positive review just a couple years prior - showing the same overall lack of knowledge and skill of arena shooters, yet omitting criticisms to mechanics that he had given to other games that did the same thing.

Oddly enough in his preview of Quake Champions he played during the closed beta in 2017, GmanLives acts as if he knew about strafe-jumping for years and is just getting back into it, even though his Quake III Arena video where he doesn't strafe-jump at all was published a year prior. Other than that, he continues to show none of the behaviors of Quake players - no switching to different weapons on-the-fly, and no apparent consideration for positioning or stack. But when he says Quake "has its roots in single-player as opposed to multiplayer", you have to wonder if he was ever involved in the Quake community in the 90s. Someone coaching him on the movement mechanics of Quake Champions for his preview video would explain why he shows competency in the movement here, and in no other Quake game or arena shooter.

Add to that GmanLives' disrespectful conduct regarding the contracts he signs for "sponsored reviews", you begin to see a shadier side to the world of influencers, where optics are more important than substance, where publishers are willing to provide some form of compensation for it, and influencers who may or may not properly disclose it to their viewers. For someone who built a reputation for being a huge Doom and old-school FPS fan, GmanLives not only speaks but plays like someone who was never involved in the Doom or Quake communities of the 90s. He doesn't appear to possess the knowledge or skills that we had, nor does he demonstrate the meritocratic traits or etiquette of these communities. To make matters worse, his following of almost 400K subscribers on YouTube means an arrangement with a publisher or his own lack of knowledge and skill that his opinions are based on can have a major impact on the sales and communities for a game.

That's just one short example of an influencer spreading misinformation about games, though game reviewers tend to be the worst of them. Compared to streamers and Let's Players, game reviewers are under much greater time-constraints; they can't spend much time making a game review because they have to move onto other games and review them as well. Game reviewers with a large following have to put out their content while those games are at the peak of their popularity at launch - the window when those games have the most search queries on Google and YouTube. Sometimes the path of least resistance is to build a review around an existing narrative, or do "sponsored reviews".

Smaller game reviewers, on the other hand, have a little more freedom as they don't usually have the burden of using ad revenue or Patreon support to put a roof over their head; they can spend upwards of 40-50 hours on a review and provide as much useful information as possible. But it's also a major reason why those reviewers stay small, since they release their content long after the peak of a game's launch popularity which won't attract as many viewers, and they also don't have access to the same opportunities as their peers with a larger following. This translate to their videos having a lesser impact.

But that's how misinformation about arena FPS games has spread: through game reviewers like GmanLives who don't take the time understand the community and the underlying mechanics of a game, through streamers and personalities who lack the knowledge and skill to show fun and exciting gameplay, through many others who pander to the crowd and conform to the popular opinion, and also through their followers who jump on the bandwagon and repeat whatever they say. It may not be intentional in most cases, but the unintended consequences can be just as damaging as malice. Diabotical has a huge cliff to scale in the face of establish influencers, but to understand how to overcome it, you first need to understand how arena shooters like Doom and Quake became as popular as it did in the past.

The Rise of LAN Parties, Third-Party Tools, and The Freedom to Contribute

In the 1980s, the rise of what was known as the "demo scene" in the Nordic countries helped to build video game culture in that part of the world, and fueled the rise of DreamHack and The Gathering as we know it today. Computer enthusiasts would attend these events, or "demo parties" as they were called back then - creating "demos" to show off programming, art and musical skills, playing and sharing video games, and harboring a competitive atmosphere.

Hackerence was a Swedish demo party that began at the end of 1989 with the founding of the youth association "Young Scientists Härnösand", and held bi-annually until 2000. DreamHack, another Swedish demo party, originally began as a gathering of friends in the basement of an elementary school, but was officially called "DreamHack" in 1994 and was moved to the cafeteria of the school. "The Party" was a Danish demo party beginning in 1991 and held annually until 2002. The Gathering was a Norwegian demo party which saw its first event in 1992, and Assembly was a Finnish demo party that began in that same year.

Of these events mentioned, DreamHack, The Gathering, and Assembly continue to exist today, though calling them "demo parties" these days would probably be met with some confusion amongst the younger generation of gamers. It's important to note the demo parties of the 80s and 90s because of the influence they had on the development of video game culture in Scandinavia, Finland, and the surrounding European states - the interest and passion people had for these events, their willingness to cross borders to attend, as well as the games in the 90s that greatly furthered this passion: Doom, Quake, and other multiplayer games played on LAN.

Although these types of events had existed long before the release of Doom and its multiplayer gameplay, it gave people another major reason to come out and attend. As the interest for these multiplayer games grew, the focus of these demo parties slowly shifted from demos to multiplayer video games with LAN functionality, thus being referred to as "LAN parties". But this phenomenon wasn't limited to the Nordic region. LAN parties began springing up all around the world, such as LanETS, Euskal Encounter, Insomnia, and hundreds of others both big and small. The origin's of QuakeCon can be traced back to the IRC channel "#quake" on EFnet, slowly growing from a simple weekend gathering of Doom and Quake players to becoming the largest LAN party in North America for a time. DreamHack eventually became the largest LAN party in the world, and expanded its presence in other countries.

Not everyone can afford the PC hardware or have access to a fast internet connection necessary to play these games. Some events did not require you to bring your own computer (BYOC), but instead took place in a location with existing infrastructure like a school computer lab, or the equipment was brought in by sponsors or the organizers themselves. LAN centers (or internet cafes) allow you to play these games anytime you want without the need to purchase the hardware. These venues serve the local community and host smaller, single-day events where players can meet face-to-face. But it's not just events and businesses being created by people within the community.

QuakeSpy, third-party server browser for Quake and QuakeWorld. Along with ICQ and mIRC, this was common for Quake players of the time.
QuakeSpy, third-party server browser for Quake and QuakeWorld. Along with ICQ and mIRC, this was common for Quake players of the time.

Doom and Quake never had clan support, match-making, or even a server browser out of the box. They slowly became integrated features within a game itself, but at a time when developers could not support - or even imagine - these features, people within the community went out of their way to create the tools and processes to make it happen. Programs like "DWANGO" allowed Doom deathmatch and co-op to be played over the internet in 1994. A server browser for QuakeWorld known as "QuakeSpy" allowed players to quickly find and join servers. ICQ, an IRC channel and a private server were used to organize a match between two Quake clans in the 90s. Features we take for granted today began as third-party tools created by people within the community.

It's the foundation of every popular game out there: a developer creates a fun and enjoyable game, the players who like the game get together a form a community, and some of those players develop tools and organize events around that game to further the fun and enjoyment of the game. Thanks to their efforts, the games themselves became more accessible and more approachable to newcomers, allowing even more people to have fun with it and meet others who share the same interests as them. It was never solely the developer that made their games great; the contributions by people in the community made all the difference in the world. A lot gamers today take these things for granted, yet they never appreciate where they came from, nor do they learn the process of creating these things in the games we have today. Every so often, I hear people complain that video games these days are not as fun or enjoyable as they were over decade ago - I can't help but wonder what those people are doing to make it fun and enjoyable; probably nothing.

There are people and organizations who have a lot of power and influence, but they aren't the only ones who have it. Power comes from everywhere; it's not just from the top-down, it can be from the bottom-up as well. Each and every single player has the ability to make the community a little bit better. It only takes a small number of ordinary people to get the ball rolling into something big that can make a difference in the community, and has the potential to happen anywhere with anything. A small gathering of fighting game players at an arcade in Southern California called "Battle by the Bay" slowly turned into the largest event for fighting games in the world called "Evolution Championship Series". That all happened over a period of two decades as more and more people showed up every year, the venue changes to support the high attendance numbers, and they encourage as many people as possible to come out and play.

Despite the low population, arena FPS games like Xonotic still have their own tournaments, though the prize pools tend to be less than $100. There is a willingness in the community to run tournaments and contribute to its growth no matter how insignificant it may seem to be. Websites like Eggdevil are already springing up to support the community for Diabotical by making it easy to share their HUDs and configurations with others. A developer making a game more accessible to a wider audience doesn't necessarily mean simplifying or "dumbing-down" the gameplay; it could also mean giving players the freedom to contribute in their own way, such as making maps and mods for the game, allowing them to organize events, and enabling them to create projects that bring more value to the game and its community.

Believe it or not, it's not the game in and of itself that's important - the game is just a program at the end of the day; it's just a tool we use to have fun. What people did with it is what really matters. A game can only be as good as its community. As the saying goes, "It's better to give than to receive." You may have heard a version of that at some point in your life, and while it has a Christian origin (Acts 20:35), what this means here is if you enjoyed something so much that you want others to experience it as well, you find ways to give back to the community that's given you so much.

The Real Gatekeepers of Arena FPS

I don't believe for one second that the people within the Arena FPS Community are a problem in and of itself; they clearly have that same attitude and work ethic that made Doom and Quake as popular as it was in the 90s. I believe arena shooters have everything it needs within the niche to grow and succeed, but everything preventing that from happening is outside their sphere of influence.

The pro-players are supposedly the gatekeepers of arena FPS, yet Quake Champions peaked at around 17,000 concurrent players, and many other arena FPS games have had much smaller player populations. How can they be the gatekeepers when barely anyone shows up to the gate? Videos from established influencers grab hundreds of thousands of views. These younger gamers have only been seeing it through the rose-tinted glasses of their favorite influencers. The Arena FPS Community left a vacuum for content and personalities on YouTube, and it was slowly filled in over the years by lesser players who lack the knowledge and skills developed in the 90s and 2000s, and built a following with gamers who don't necessarily question that lack of knowledge and skill. It doesn't matter how fun and exciting a game is if some noobs with follower counts in the 6-figure range only show how boring and slow the game can be.

The problems stem from these influencers - players who have no idea what arena FPS is all about - telling their followers what arena FPS is all about. But their followers wouldn't know any better. Many of these influencers had already established themselves with authority on these games over many years, and those who listen to them will likely believe anything they say without a second thought. The misinformation being perpetuated cannot be addressed without the Arena FPS Community having influencers and out-spoken individuals of their own to counter it. For every influencer with over 100K subscribers, there's a dozen modders, level designers, and pro-players with years of experience who don't have much of a following. The reality is influencers are the real gatekeepers, not just for arena FPS, but for most of the games on the market. It's only a matter of time until game design begins catering to influencers in an effort to appease them; it could be happening already with games currently in development.

Influencers will ultimately dictate the fate of Arena FPS...

It's not the games themselves - it's not the the scary, pixelated monsters or the non-linear levels that you could explore, but the technology that empowered players to do more with the game, far beyond what the developers intended. Doom and Quake were not games that you played for a few hours, then tossed aside once you played through it once or twice. You took it further by being involved in the community; you played other players' maps and mods, you join clans and played in skirmishes and competitions, and discovered new ways of playing the game and shared it with others.

What ultimately made Doom and Quake great in the 90s was its strong community full of passionate people who go out of their way to make the games more accessible, bringing more players in and sharing the fun and enjoyment with others. Take away that community from those games and what you have left is a glorified single-player experience similar to single-player games we have today; the same kind of experience that some of these influencers insist were what these games from the 90s were all about. The culture of the 90s and these community efforts are almost never conveyed to their followers because those influencers never experienced it themselves for one reason or another. That, in turn, reflects in their perspectives and their own playstyles. Nobody seems to realize that there are people outside of the Arena FPS Community who are discouraging new players from coming in, but again, it's probably not intentional.

LAN parties may not have been experienced by some influencers who talk about arena FPS.
LAN parties may not have been experienced by some influencers who talk about arena FPS.

The Fighting Game Community is much smaller than many other competitive scenes, but it continues to live on and be a thriving niche because fighting game players stepped up and represented the FGC in the greater video game industry. Not only is there no such representation for the Arena FPS Community, but the games and its community are frequently misrepresented by influential outsiders who view and portray them with a closed mind. Arena FPS has definitely not been represented the way it should have been, and it's a problem that has been going on for well over a decade. But now that Diabotical has been released, it's a problem that needs to be dealt with. It's important to get a spotlight on it and make the Arena FPS Community aware of it before its too late. The game may not even succeed even if the problem is addressed, but if left unaddressed, Diabotical will definitely fail.

These established influencers should not get to define what these games are about, but the reality is they have hundreds of thousands of followers who will take them at their word. It doesn't matter how good you are at a game, or how much technical knowledge and experience you have if you don't have people willing to listen to you. That's what these influencers have, that's what the Arena FPS Community needs, and they needed it over a decade ago. At the end of the day, it's hive-mind mentality; the hive-mind gives a game its biggest marketing boost. Word of mouth and discussion among gamers have proven to be extremely powerful compared to a trailer or coverage by IGN or Gamespot. Peer pressure can be more persuasive than videos and images, especially when those peers manage to attract a huge following.

Addressing the problem is two-fold: building up core influencers in the Arena FPS Community with at least a respectable following specifically on YouTube, and dealing with the misinformation out there being propagated by established influencers. Like it or not, influencers will ultimately dictate the fate of arena FPS - whether that be through exposure for games (or lack of it), through misinformation that their followers repeat ad infinitum, and through their own gameplay that could either be exciting or boring depending greatly on their own knowledge and skills. Some of them may claim to have grown up with these games from the 90s, but actions speak louder than words. Arena FPS now has a realistic chance to revive with Diabotical combined with an extremely passionate fanbase willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen, so if you're like me and you want arena shooters to make a comeback, it's time to step up: make your content, build your audiences, organize your events, create useful tools for the game, help each other out and go make a difference.

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