This column is wrong. I wrote it about two months ago, and it’s wrong. It contains two major pieces of speculation, both of which have subsequently been confirmed as wrong, wrong, wrong. This does not exactly surprise me, as when I originally wrote it I assumed that odds were even or better that every part of the column would be proved wrong before the week was out.
It’s not the only thing I’m going to write about WildStar that will be wrong, even. I could be wrong about the Exiles. I could be wrong about the Dominion. It is entirely possible that all of my speculation will fall handily under the header of “very wrong.”
Yet I persist all the same. And if you want to understand why I keep talking about things when I know they might be completely wrong, that’s the subject of this week’s column. I love speculation columns, I will be writing more in the leadup to WildStar’s release, and I wanted to explain why I do that when I have no doubt many of them will be proven wrong.
Throw it to the wall and see what sticks
First of all, let’s just be honest and admit that for some people, speculating is just plain fun. I am one of those people. I love to speculate. I absolutely adore throwing ideas into the air and seeing which, if any, turn out to be right.
Maybe this is because I’m a creative type and really enjoy experimenting with what could be. Maybe this is because when you spend enough time thinking about game systems and lore you start throwing things together in strange ways. Or maybe it’s just because the idea of coming up with what might be is occasionally more fun than processing what is. Blank canvasses offer a lot of potential.
The point is that no matter what, I’m going to be speculating on what’s around the corner. The crazy future is still undetermined, and I like that. So as long as I spend time trying to come up with strange speculation, I might as well make it public. This leads naturally to my next point.
Often wrong is cleared when you’re occasionally right
Speculation is fun. But even more fun than that is when you speculate about something totally crazy and you turn out to be right. It turns out that all of your wild guesses have precisely hit the mark, or at least hit it within an acceptable margin of error. A 5% success rate at predicting the future is a notable improvement over the usual rate of 0%.
If you’re throwing out a lot of speculation, you’re going to be drawn toward speculative directions that interest you as a player and as a person. So the few times that you turn out to be right, you’re right about something that you probably wanted to be true in the first place. That’s a pretty fun feeling, to guess at something and turn out to be totally on the mark.
This is part of the reason I prefer speculating about more wild theories instead of more mundane ones. Being right about the boring stuff is fine, but going for broke just tickles me more. I didn’t honestly expect that WildStar would feature friendly fire, but the idea seemed interesting, and if I was right, it would have been incredibly unique. So I’m not bothered by turning out to be wrong.
Sometimes you learn more from being wrong
Every so often I veer into giving real life advice, and this is one of those times. As a rule, from birth until the grave, you’ll find out that being right teaches you very little about anything. Whatever you’re trying to do, if you do it right the first time, you’ll never be motivated to learn another way or more efficient way of doing it. It’s only when you turn out to be miserably incorrect that you start really learning.
Oddly, speculation is the same way. You learn a lot more from throwing something out and finding out that it’s wrong rather than just sticking in the safe zone.
Let’s use my speculation about friendly fire, which was proved to be wrong very quickly after I wrote it. I guessed that players might have to watch their field of fire in the game, and I was proven wrong. However, from what we did know about the game, it was eminently possible that I was right. By learning I was wrong, I clarified some speculation.
See, in a game focused on having fields of importance all along the ground, you could find that every battlefield is filled with dangerous ground, on which you try to maneuver as much as you try to attack. However, we now know that isn’t the case. It’s possible, even, that we won’t be luring enemies into other attacks as much as luring them into effects that other groups generated. Dominion enemies might not be vulnerable to the area attacks of other Dominion enemies, but they might be vulnerable to the local wildlife spitting fire. Turning on friendly fire creates new game situations that we wouldn’t have if it were off.
And there’s the simple fact that we didn’t know about friendly fire’s status in the game until some idiot speculated that it might exist and was debunked. So hey, we learned something!
I’ve got to talk about something
It’s a weekly column about a game that isn’t out. Speculation is going to be the order of the day anyway, am I right?