I think writing a guide about gaming etiquette in general would be fun to do, but I bet some folks wouldn’t get the tongue in cheek aspect of doing it.

The thing is, the game we play is both social AND competitive, and you don’t have to do both to enjoy the game.

You can, like myself, play the game purely for the social enjoyment of playing with friends as a cooperative team, choosing as our adversaries the NPCs controlled by the software AI. Our enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of playing together well and having fun as friends. Of tackling difficult challenges and beating them as a team. Even when playing solo, most of our fun comes from exploring, adventuring, and trying new challenges alone.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can choose to play against human opponents in PvP arenas, duels, world PvP battles, and battlegrounds, fighting to prove who is the best. You can work and dedicate yourself to being a fantastic player in one on one or large group wars waged against other living, breathing, scheming opponents that want to be just as tricky or evil as you.

And of course, you can enjoy the game in any of a million shades in-between.

So etiquette, a series of rules for what is or is not appropriate behavior in the game, is pretty much impossible to seriously tackle in my opinion.

One person’s idea of what the game is all about may be to have fun and play with other people in a friendly environment. Mature conversation, people helping each other, and in general a cooperative mutually supportive society. A group where everyone wants each other to win together, and enjoy success together.

Another person’s idea of what the game is about may be to prove that they are superior to you by beating you in some measurable way. Victory could be measured as completing more difficult achievements, winning duels, victory in battlegrounds, higher DPS in raids, more epics, Arena rankings, number of lifetime honorable kills, more gold earned in game, more level 80 characters, the list goes on and on. The point here is, the person is playing the game as a means of competing with, and trying to be better than, other living people… and that is also a totally valid point of view.

No, seriously, it really is a totally valid reason to play. There are official Arena tournament matches, the battlegrounds, the duel system, world PvP… clearly, Blizzard feels that competition amongst players against each other is a vital, essential part of the game.

Now, for the most part I feel that everyone should reasonably be expected to act in a polite and considerate fashion to other players. I’m not naive enough to expect that to ever happen, but hope springs eternal.  

But when you take into account the competitive nature of so much of the game, you have to change your expectations of how people will act.

Competition in and of itself is perfectly fine, but here in the States at least, and maybe elsewhere too, there is a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be a part of competition, but is. For some people, winning is inextricably tied into forcing someone else to acknowledge they are a loser. To feel good about themselves, they believe they have to force someone else to feel bad. They want not a victory, but a victim. 

In true competitive sports, you beat yourself into a frenzy to win. Maybe you even demonize your opponent; you don’t want to just beat him, you want to destroy him. But a true sportsman knows he is psyching himself up to unleash a ton of emotional power. At the end of the day, he or she doesn’t actually spit on the other players and want to gut them and eat the entrails. At least, not as a matter of course. At the moment, in the heat of battle, whether they really mean it or not isn’t really going to matter. The exultation over kicking your butt is what’s gonna come through. 

Still and all, I’m afraid I’m gonna my opinion is that level of competitive spirit isn’t appropriate for WoW.

This is a video game, with a player base of all ages, and anyone you meet could be somebody else’s under 12 son or daughter, and treating other people like crap in this environment just isn’t appropriate.

A certain level of competitive spirit isn’t bad at all, among people who share that drive, that zeal, that passion. I’m not saying it’s bad, I think it’s awesome that there is so much for people to be drawn to in the game. I also think that most good raiding guilds are forged of people that have a drive to win, to succeed, to push the limits of themselves and each other and destroy the opposition.

No problem. Kick ass!

Most of that kind of interaction and any behavior surrounding it can be kept in guild, between people who share that desire to win, okay?

What I’m saying is that in a mixed group of strangers, in open General and Trade Chat, in pugged raids, in any group setting where you do not know the people you are playing with… treating other people like shit is wrong. Sneering at someone, mocking them, acting and talking in a way to try and make them feel bad about themselves or their accomplishments is crappy. 

If you are driven to be number one, thats fine. But a real athlete doesn’t pit himself against everyone that comes along and calls it a reasonable fight. You need to find someone else that also thinks they’re number one, and duke it out in order to have a true competition.

If you are number one DPS, and nobody else in the group is striving for that goal, if they’re just trying to each do their part of the team effort… you are working towards a meaningless victory. Maybe on that Maexxna fight you’re so proud of, if that other Hunter had been doing nothing but pounding on the boss instead of cutting webbed people off the wall, he’d of smoked you. Or maybe not. He wasn’t trying, so who knows?

But he cut people off the wall, they got back into the fight fast, the group as a whole worked together, and the boss died. You had number one DPS on the boss. Grats… but you were competing in the wrong race, and some of the others are likely to be wondering whats up when you post your Damage Meters and start gloating over your score while they are all basking in the success of the group.

Compete, yes. Just make sure you’re in the same race as the others.

Competition is great. I’m really not trying to put down raiding guilds fighting for server firsts, or PvPers kicking some serious butt. I’m pointing out that putting people down, trying to hurt someone else’s feelings or belittle what they’ve done and how they choose to play the game may be appropriate if that is why you play the game… but only amongst other people you know are playing the game for the same reason as you. And the best way to ensure that is to keep it in guild or between folks on your friends list. 

I started by saying this game has both a social and a competitive side.

For me, specifically, what I enjoy in the game is the social aspect of playing with friends as a team.

Since that’s what I enjoy in the game, it stands to reason that the people I want to play with in the game are those that share my love for the social game, and share my values and sense of what is or is not appropriate behavior.

I’m going to share my beliefs on what is appropriate behavior. That is, appropriate behavior if you play the game NOT as a competition, but as a way of sharing adventures and fun with people you care about.

I invite you to share your own thoughts on this, on what you do think is fine in the game, and what you think isn’t. Maybe share your pet peeve… or the thing you think other people make a big deal of that isn’t anything at all to get worked up over.

Okay, my opinions on what the heck is appropriate.

First, the golden rule that most of us learned in kindergarten. Act towards others as you would like them to act towards you. 

That’s a fine foundation to start from, but to me, that really means; “Act towards others as you believe they would LIKE to be treated, so as not to hurt their feelings or offend them, because you do not want other people to hurt YOUR feelings or offend YOU.”

It’s not quite the same thing. If you like being whipped and beaten and made to play the submissive… do you really think you should treat everyone else as if they do too? Hopefully not, but considering my audience, I’m not placing bets. :)

I’ll go a little farther. If you respect someone, if you care how the other person feels, then you should not want to act in a way that you know or believe would hurt them or their feelings.

That works both ways. You don’t want people acting towards you in a way that shows they are intentionally trying to hurt you or damage you. Not because you actually were or were not hurt by them, but because it shows that they don’t care enough about you as a person to make any effort towards behaving with politeness or consideration.

In the game, just as in life, I try to act how I think is appropriate by my own standards and values… and if I encounter people in the game that I feel act in an inconsiderate or hurtful way towards others, I choose not to associate with them again.

I do my best not to swear in public or amongst strangers. Friends and guild members that have gotten a chance to know me, and who know that I would not intentionally offend someone, will inevitably hear swearing in vent, especially if Prince Arthas decides he wants to go charging 150 yards ahead of the group and kill us all… but I don’t talk that way in front of anyone that might misconstrue what I’m saying or how I’m saying it as a personal insult towards anyone. BTW I want to boot Arthas from the group, that freaking noob. 

I try to treat everyone that I meet with courtesy and consideration. That includes joking around. If I don’t know them, and they don’t know me, then there is no way they could be expected to know if what I say, no matter what my intent, is meant as a joke or as a serious comment. Sometimes I’m better at this one than others.

I try and share or offer my help if I see a situation where someone else might need a hand. The nature of the game that I enjoy is to be social and friendly, and share fun times. If it looks like someone needs help, AND if I have the time at the moment, then it’s the right thing to do to offer to help. Maybe they are attempting to overcome impossible odds and don’t want help. That’s fine. But if they are trying hard to do something, and encountering serious difficulty… then why not lend a hand?

I try not to discriminate towards others based on gear, class, or level where the content makes it possible. If I’m doing a Heroic, I’ll have to only go with level 80s, but I won’t pass over a player due to their gear or spec or class. If we have a tank and a healer, and some DPS, then we’re good to give something a shot. One kinda group may take longer than another to clear an area, and we may even run into a problem we simply can’t get past. But I’m not going to worry about it until we hit that point, and if we do get stuck… sure it can be disappointing, but all I personally really care about is that we try our best and we work together and have fun.

Sometimes I will, as a guild leader and raid leader, set minimum standards for something like a ten man raid, say a minimum Spellpower or DPS. When I do that, it’s never to put roadblocks up, but instead to try and give people a goal to aim for when preparing themselves. I can’t remember the last time I actually told someone they weren’t okay to give a raid a shot… it’s just good to have an idea of what to aim for. I try hard to encourage people in the guild to work hard on their own gear before they run a raid… because it does show that they care about trying to do the best they can as part of the group, and show respect and consideration for all the other folks that have worked hard to be the best they could be. But in the end, I mostly drag undergeared folks into raids who are afraid they aren’t geared up enough first. I almost never have to tell someone they’re not ready yet.   

I do not judge others based on Damage Meters. Damage Meters are fine tools, but very few people seem to understand how to use them. You can set them to show many different things, such as the overall total damage done on a raid. That’s great, except that the information is always presented as a comparison to others on the run. Well, if you are looking at overall damage done… those that do AoE damage on large groups of trash mobs will make a much higher showing than someone that specializes in single target sustained DPS. You need to take that into account. You can also show damage done for a particular boss kill, just one fight on one target… but then that doesn’t take into account the DPS that were dividing their time killing trash spawns to keep them off the healers while the rest of the raid was fighting the boss. Damage Meters are subjective tools that need to be understood properly to provide a benefit, and really do little for me when I’m raid leading. I do not judge based on them. Instead, I try and pay attention to the flow of the game, who is doing what, and whether or not what needs to be done IS getting done, and how smoothly. I don’t rely on a Damage Meter to tell me how other people are playing their character.

I do not judge others based on arbitrary stats such as Spell Power, Crit Rating, Stamina, Attack Power, or hair color of toon. To me, it’s not the stats or the numbers, but how well you play with what you have, and how much fun you are to play with.
 
And finally, when I say that I will be somewhere to help someone do something or be part of  a raid, I always try to be earlier than the scheduled time. When you’ve got a bunch of people all getting together, I am well aware that some of those folks have families, children, pets, work, hobbies, commitments… and they have to put these things on hold for a little while, take time out of their lives, all to be there together for fun. To be late, to make them all wait and wait… it is to me the ultimate example of being rude. It says you really don’t care about the rest of the group, it’s fine if they wait on you. No worries about what they could have been doing during that time they spent sitting and waiting. I really, really try hard never to leave someone waiting on me.

I do not expect anyone else to share any of my values or act according to my personal standards. People are perfectly free to behave in exactly the way they choose to behave. I’m not a WoW nazi bitching every time someone does something that I don’t approve of.

However, I DO choose to only spend my time in game with people who have shown by their actions that how they treat other people, how they act around other people, is similar to what I’ve described. People that are just… friendly. Polite. Kind and considerate to others. 

That power, the power to choose WHO I spend my time with, IS under my control.

I will say a few words about how the blog fits in here, because it’s come up a few times.

I do not expect anyone to ever change to suit me. Never. If I encounter someone that is, in my personal opinion, rude or doesn’t show consideration for other players as people, then I put them on ignore, and I do not group with them again. Doesn’t exactly hurt anyone, now does it?

Sometimes, if it’s something that I think is a little over the top, I’ll come back here and talk about it.

The reason is not to publicly shame someone into acting a different way, despite what folks might think. I have called people out as an asshat before, but if you think I ever expect anyone to change their behavior from that, you’re crazy. I know nobody really cares what some fool writes on a blog. It’s all cool.

I share stuff here, on my blog, because the only people I am speaking with are people who share in some way my values, understand where I’m coming from with how I see things even if they don’t agree, and are themselves quite likely to be amazed or amused by the things people will do or say to other people in game. 

“But BBB,” I hear you say, “How can you be sure that’s who you’re chatting with?”

It’s simple. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys being rude to me or to others, inconsiderate, inflammatory, abusive… I’m not writing my posts for you. 

I’m writing for the people who can discuss their opinions, whether for or vehemently against, without being rude or inconsiderate of others. For people that are just playing a game and having fun, and like to chat about it or read about it when they aren’t actually playing it.  And for people that can tell the difference between being nice to others, and being a dick.

If being polite or considerate when you express your point of view seems too difficult… either here or in the game… well, the problems not on my end. Your transmission is coming through loud and clear, five by five. Go find another channel. :)

The rest of you are my wittle wabbits, and I will wuv you and squeeze you and call you George.

Ah… the definition of a fictitious reality. I tune out what I don’t like, and pretend only the good exists, both here and in the game. lalalala I can’t HEAR you, my head is in the sand….

There. Now that I’ve said all that, gotten it all out of my system once and for all… I never have to mention any of it ever, ever again. Yay!

32 Responses to “A Bears eye view to gaming etiquette”
  1. bigbearbutt says:

    Sigh. Yes, that post is five miles too long. The problem is, I finally got my first draft done where I include every idea I had, and 5 different ways of phrasing the same concept so I can see which one gets the point across the best without being a jerkoff or creating misunderstandings, I try different stuff, it’s all one big mess… and then I hit the “Publish” button instead of ‘Save as Draft” when I head off to bed.

    I came back 5 minutes later with this nagging feeling, and took it back offline, but in that short span of time… it went out on feedreaders.

    Yes, I know. I already got emails about some of the stuff.

    Well, since it went out on feedreaders, I gave up on trying to make it a nice, concise and clean post. I cleaned up some of the spelling and removed one or two things that ended up REALLY not sounding the way I intended, and reposted it.

    Worst feeling a writer can have, is having your work notes out there for people to complain about, when it’s not what you intended to publish in the first place.

  2. Helban says:

    I hardly ever post responses myself, but love to read your work when it comes in over RSS. As I am certain others do too, and for that reason, I don’t think you need to worry about how you phrase your posts, because we read knowing we share very close opinions, and if there are lines to read between, you’re always going to get the benefit of the doubt, at least from this druid :)

    In response to the post itself, great work, I particularly like it when you touch on etiquette, play styles, and well, general good manners. It’s nice to know there are other people out there who do care, and think that one’s actions in a video game should be just as important as one’s actions outside a video game. However, the fact that such a high percentage of people in that video game DONT think it matters, from all over the world, is plainly, worrying.

    /A Druid from over the pond :)

  3. Rahl says:

    Good read BBB! Now if only everyone would read it and understand how to play the game.

  4. vikikz says:

    It’s me first post here,
    thank you that you’r writing that kind of posts, its just great to know that there is some nice and mature people who things the same way that i do.
    Have a wonderful day BBB ;)

  5. Easternwind says:

    My sentiments exactly! I thought this was a great post, and a must read for most people. While I will loose my cool (more than I’d like to admit), I try to always be considerate of others. This is especially true since I spend 100% of my time in PUGs as I don’t belong to a guild. I think a lot of guild leaders I’ve met should read this…

  6. Carey says:

    It is so much more fun to play the game with people that want to play instead of just being a general “asshat”. I was farming last night and a healer friend asked if I wanted to bring my bear and tank Heroic Gundrak. I told him I was working on some new rotations to up my DPS in kitty and could I come as DPS? He got another tank and one of the DPS wanted the achievement to kill Moorabi without him changing form so we went in the back entrance first to get to him. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, the guy that wanted the achievement apparently turned off his pc and disappeared. We waited about 5 min and he never came back. So, I said “what next”. And someone said, lets 4 man the place. Someone else said we need another DPS for the Snake guy. And I said “lets go for it! with 4. We proceeded to 4 man the rest of the instance. Wiped twice but had more fun doing it with people that wanted to do the instance and have fun. On the last boss, the TANKING ring dropped and someone said can I need for alt and everyone had passed but me and I said I already have it, go for it. All in all…..a great run, a lot of fun, good loot for some and everyone making new friends. Sounds like your blog to me!

  7. Kattrinsaa says:

    I for one agree heartily. I do not find it fun to be in a party/raid with foul mouthed, snot nosed, children (regardless of their physical age) who like nothing better than to belittle people for the gear they wear, or the half point of dps they are low. I was invited to a pug raid by a guildmate onetime to tackle hyjal. we had attempted hyjal a few times after the 3.0 nerfbat hit the instances but before wotlk came out. even in ez mode we couldn’t bring down the first boss. so naturally this pug raid was an opportunity to come back and hit it like you mean it.

    It should have been obvious from the start this was going to be bad, one of the “gentlemen” (using the term VERY loosely) started things off with some vent exploit that caused an open mic sound to play for like 2 minutes. we found out that this emmy award winner just got his chat privileges back after being banned from trade chat for a week. he wasted no time and in under 20 minutes got banned again. I’m not completely certain, but I think one of this guy’s alts is the one we always see sitting around in IF on his AQ mount. I’m sure he’s a good player in some ways, but I would not EVER group with him again voluntarily because of his assitude. We got through the first boss, but that was more than enough for me. I had an “emergency” come up and had to leave.

    Then saturday, my guild decided to do a back to BC evening. We cleared hyjal and BT in about 3.5 hours. Unfortunately I didn’t get the BT acheivement.. an unluckily timed disconnect 25% of the way into the illidan fight left me off the list for the kill.. yet I was able to loot the badges. go fig.. But we had a blast. And one of our 3 rogues got the offhand half of the twinblade set.

  8. Beefiest says:

    This post is right on with how people (mainly the “elite” guildies) act on my server. I finally get into a guild that I can go pewpew lazur chicken in and they all like me and my high DPS. The next day, when about to down the final boss in 25 man Naxx someone says so whos gonna get the torch. The raid leader says, “look at the healers weapons, who has the worst one?” Quite simply, this is wrong… All the healers in the guild have 2200 SP unbuffed and are geared to the extreme minus the torch maybe. Our DPS however, is hitting 2.2k DPS (low for their caster standards) and struggling with mana and 1750 SP. I said, “you know, the torch is best in slot for most casters, especially moonkin =)” and right there I get booted from the guild. I go to the guilds website and theres a huge long thread that was just put up after this saying, “Some people dont understand how to play their classes. We were unaware when we picked up BEEFIEST [yes they used my name] an ultimate noob moonkin. When the torch of holy fire dropped, [more lies it was right before the boss fight] he DEMANDED that it go to him over a healer. of course if it went to a healer the raid and the guild would have benefited more. However, he seemed to think that a DPS would even want this HEALER MACE. Please, all guild officers and loot councilmen, reply agree to this quite obvious post.”

    of course, they all replied agree because there all drones of whatever the GM says. They are he ones in fact who do not know how to play their class. (most of them are warlocks and shadow priests ROFL)

    All in all, this is my story, kinda doesnt fit but its about a GM being rude…

    Also, thought id use this as a time to say, LOOKING FOR A HORDE GUILD HAOMARUSH US SERVER geared moonkin and 10m ready tank……lol ty

    -Beefiest

  9. Catastrophe says:

    tl; dr

    Kidding! I agree with your values 100% – its exactly how I try and act and its what I base my ingame friends with. If someone is rude, purposefully unhelpful and rather selfish, I will not consider them my friend.

  10. Catastrophe says:

    Sorry for a double post but I believe theres a terrible “TL; DR ROFLMAO ZOMG TROLL FLAME /CARE” online culture at the moment.

    For example just yesterday My wife and I were playing in Arathi Basin on our level 30-something Troll Hunters.

    My wife went to cap Farm as did someone else. She believed she got there first, but couldn’t be sure, so rather pro-long the capping by stopping she continued to cap the flag.

    It turned out the other person got there first, momentarilly. The other person whispered her saying “NO NEED FOR 2 TO CAP FLAG NOOB”.

    My wife replied with “I wasn’t sure who got there first and didn’t want to prolong the capture, no need to be rude”

    Asshat: “I GOT THE FLAG, L2P KID”

    Wife: “Don’t be so rude.”

    Asshat: “LOL ITS ONLY A GAME CALM DOWN”

    The irony in the fact he overreacted then stated “calm down” made it more annoying.

    Something that made me smile later in the game though was the fact several people started calling the “Asshat” an idiot as all he’d done all match was camp Stables for HKs.

    (The irony).

  11. Adlib says:

    This is a small thing, but I think it illustrates your post pretty well. Over the weekend I was leveling my NE druid alt, and I was in Dragonblight at the Kalu’ak camp there. I was deciding where to go next when this undead warrior (same level) dropped a duel flag. I usually ignore duels and go on my merry way, but I was feeling up to the challenge of seeing how my leveling skills fared when in a small pvp situation. I was on my way to winning the duel when the guy popped a health pot. I don’t do anything outside of class-specific abilities in duels (since I feel that’s the way real duels should be) so of course he won, but he wouldn’t have without that pot! Anyway, he did a /clap for me, and I bowed to him as the winner and went on my way. It was just a fun part of the game being randomly encountered and both people having an enjoyable time. See, sometimes horde and alliance can be friendly. :)

  12. Kuh says:

    This is a good post. It is nice to see that there are people that are interested in real teamwork and group achievement rather than ego-stroking (I’m more oober than U R Nub!!!11oneone, etc).

    Of course, this could be because you are a mature adult, a former Marine (the military *can* teach people how to be better human beings), or just a decent person in an ass-hat filled world. Whatever the reason, thanks for tanking (lol) in the battle for decency and basic civility in a game that often resembles Lord of the Flies

  13. Fulguralis says:

    Ooooh, I got my post for the day BBB, thanks for the muse :-).

    Short story – I completely agree with what you said about often dragging undergeared folks into raids as a RL. So many times it turns out positive.

    Also, there is nothing quite as satisfying as booting and obvious asshat out of the raid to the applause of all :-D.

  14. Moondancer says:

    You know, everything you wrote should be common sense. It’s something I tell my five-year old daughter constantly. Treat others how you want to be treated. I put that into practice in real life and when I’m ‘anonymous’ my attitude doesn’t change.

    Yes, I enjoy hanging out with like-minded people in WOW also. I enjoy soloing, but I also enjoy being around like-minded people in game. I go out of my way to help others when I can. The friends I’ve made within WOW are the same way. It makes my gametime even more enjoyable when I’m with my in-game buddies. When I thought of recreating Alliance toons your guild was the first one I thought about because of the way you present yourself in your virtual spot.

    I started playing WOW in March 2008. In the beginning, I was a member of a few guilds that were filled with drama. I left as soon as that happened. It never ceases to amaze me that some people fail to realize that when your part of a group/guild you need to think about others. It’s not all about you.Treat others with respect. Online, as well as within a game, I can choose whom I want to associate with. If you’re an asshat well… welcome to my /ignore list.

  15. Thom says:

    One of the big difference between competition in sports and competition in WoW is that people in WoW tend to compete against their own team.

    Think about it. If you were playing on a football team, and you had a receiver who would lay into your QB the first time any play didn’t go 100% perfectly … that receiver is a liability and should be benched/cut if they can’t straighten up. Look at what T.O. does to teams. That is what you do to parties, asshats.

    In WoW, your party is your team. You don’t attack members of your team for no good reason, and you don’t focus your aggression on players who are on your side.

    And yes, when I DPS, I rampantly min/max, look at (personal) damage meters, and try to squeeze every ounce of firepower out of my character. I do the same when I tank. That doesn’t give me the right to be an ass to other players who I have never met.

    Unfortunately, the internet allows for relative anonymity. Otherwise, after a few hundred thousand bloody noses, WoW would be a much more polite place.

  16. Grigolis says:

    Love the post boss. That kind of thinking is exactly why I left my old server and joined the SD family!

  17. Eiellena says:

    I just wanted to say that I loved reading your blog this morning, it’s what I needed. I have pretty much the same exact beliefs as you, I needed to have those words read to me, kinda as a back up to myself!! Thank you

  18. Osethme says:

    Amen. I’ve been in 3 guilds in my 4+ years of WoW, and in every one, our #1 rule was “Don’t be an asshat.” I just can’t stand it when people forget that there’s a real human being on the other side of the screen, and that they should be treated as such.

  19. Krel says:

    there’s a term for the way games like this work – coopetition. That is, I’m competing with everyone else on my team on the DPS meter or the heals meter or whatever, but at the same time we’re all cooperating towards a common goal.

  20. Jacemora says:

    I have found that the most interesting social and competitive aspect of WOW is in RL. When I started playing WOW I guess I didn’t realize the breadth of the player base and how my VL accomplishments, friendships, and successes would translate over into RL conversions and experiences. There is nothing like getting a PC build job for a clients son because he was awed that you have a level 70 toon that had cleared Kara, TK, SSC, and was working in BT. We are playing an online game that is very much going to be looked back on as a POP culture icon of sorts. Even people that don’t play know some who does usually so even conversion of the game carries over to those people as well. Coming from playing poker as my social and competitive outlet I have been very surprised by how big having some purple pixels can be.

  21. Rob says:

    @Thom: I see what you’re trying to say, but for a bit of clarity, some of the best competition I ever had in sports was against my own teammates. This is partly because I did a lot of individual/team sports, like Track & Field and Swimming, but even in team sports like Basketball and definitely Baseball, when you can look at the other forward and say “my guy’s only pulled down 3 rebounds tonight” or something like that, in the right context it only charges you both up to do better. The same goes for WoW, and BBB touched on it too, that if you find someone else that thinks they can beat you on the Damage Meter, or in a fight like VR, if the tanks are similarly geared, competition can drive your raid to be better and faster. Shoot, even on Maexxna ranged can compete to see who can get the web down quicker. The important thing is that all parties involved are competing, otherwise you’re just some guy bragging about how you’re the best, when you really aren’t competing with anyone.

    I’m pretty sure I just reiterated part of BBB’s post, but oh well. Great post btw, just started reading your blog not long ago, but so far everything I’ve read has been top notch

  22. Tesh says:

    Good article, BBB. It’s sad that this needs to be verbalized, though.

    It’s one more reminder that I’d probably try to join your guild… if I ever get into the game again. :)

  23. Dierna says:

    I completely agree. As a mature casual player who like progression, I am constantly frustrated with all the asshats that I run into and deal with. I am in a very small guild who needs to PUG a few players to fill out a 10man raid. Last week, after our run on Wednesday we made plans to pick back up on Saturday. The PUG’d members of the raid proceeded to run the raid without us on Thursday. That was just mean and inconsiderate.

    I sometimes wish they had the servers more divided up somehow so that I could play more with my POV and moral and ethical code and wouldn’t have to deal with all the asshats.

  24. Akiosama says:

    Hey Bear,

    Don’t worry about it – it’s long, yes, but it reads fine. I think it’s a pretty good piece of work, even if it’s not concise.

    As for the topic at hand, I think that there’s just a big problem with differences in ‘fun’, like you said above, but that some of the types of fun some people have is at the expense of others, which is probably ‘wrong’.

    Oriniwen at Artisan Level brought up a Heinlen quote that seems apt for this topic – “Your right to swing your fits ends at my nose.”

    Blizzard, for the most part, has allowed people on the various chat channels and in the game world to act how they want to act. Extreme cases of harassment or over-the-topness are probably getting punished (I’m hoping), but the amount of moderation actually being done does not bring the game down to the level of a true “T-rated” game. There are still hateful conversations on the public channels, conversations about sexual orientation, extreme examples of name calling, and the likes, and there is still griefing going on in the game world – people killing quest givers out from under people trying to use them, or tactics that try to force PvP on people doing PvE quests (usually with ambush tactics severely in the favor of the griefers), or like activities.

    I think any time you get a bunch of random people together on the Internet, in almost any venue, you’re going to have asshatism arise. This game can go one step further, given that HOW you play the game (spec, rotation, performance, etc.) is just one more set of pieces that people can insult and criticize over. “You’re a noob!” comes up so often, and yet the people who often scream that seem even more childish than the people they’re criticizing. Go figure – it comes with the public territory.

    As for the competitive nature of the game, it’s only natural, given the make up for the game. There’s always been a PvP element to it, which often drives competitive people into a frenzy. Humiliation, unfortunately, has always been a part of the human condition in general when it comes to competition, as the public nature of much of the atrocities of warfare from previous eras in human history attests to. It’s not surprising that it follows in games, especially those that offer systems that people can compare themselves to others in.

    So, while you’re right about the fact that there can’t be a definitive document regarding conduct, people can control it, to a certain degree, by doing what you express above – treating people how they want to be treated, not rising to the baiting of others, and just generally ignoring the asshats. Asshats thrive on attention, that’s a lot of the reason why they do what they do. If they get ignored, they’ll eventually tire of trying, and go away. (Too bad the thin skins of many keep them well-fed on attention.)

    Again, a good set of thoughts. Don’t worry too much about its polish – I think we all found the diamond in your rough (draft).

    My 2 yen,

    Akiosama

  25. JohnSmith says:

    While i agree that every toon does not need to be fully epicced out to do the current level of raiding, it is pretty annoying to step into Vault or OS and see/hear someone who is totally undergeared.
    There are level 80 instances, and Heroics where you can and should spend your first days at 80(unless you have had good gear crafted for you) get get a decent set of Raid quality gear.

    We tried OS 25 with a full green, half dps geared druid healer and it was more than painfull.

    It does not help that most of the people on our toon believe that they can solo OS 25 and thus demand a drake run.

  26. Dirz says:

    Good article, I hope I’m not the sole inspiration for the post…

  27. Deeko says:

    great post mate you got it spot on . as for the “undergeared” topic im starting to disagree with that in our guild we got a DK in that a member had pugged with and he was very “undergeared” but on our first 10 man naxx with him he showed why he was spoted the guy is awsome at playing his class . i have asked him why ? and he said research in game and on the web then practice dummys he is now helping to “train” our other players (including me) on how to play there class the best they can . he has an awfull lot of time on his hands due to RL issues so likes to spend it helping people out . the guy is a legend !!!!!! funny thing is his old guild thought he was not geared enough to raid yet lol….

  28. Aleysha says:

    I knew you were a cool bear the minute I saw that Bugs Bunny quote! ;)

  29. Cybelline says:

    BBB – great post as usual. I agree with pretty much all you have said (as do most of the responses above). I think (can’t prove it; just a supposition) that the vast majority of the rudeness we all seem to encounter in game comes from teenage boys, who for the most part are probably behaving in the virtual world in a similar way to that which they use in rl. I believe that many of them simply have no understanding that their behaviour is actually rude at all. Sure, there are those that deliberately go out of their way to be asshats, but in the main, theirude behaviour seems to me to closely mimic that which is seen on our streets and on our TV screens.

    What do I do about it the rude people I encounter? /ignore the open channels; try to gently educate those I PuG with in 5 mans; get the 10 and 25 man PuGed raids done asap and then /ignore (too little time to have a /w conversation and MT!); and have long heart to heart conversations with those very few people who trangress in Guild.

    Life is too short for rudeness; but as adults I think we have some responsibility to help educate our younger co-partners that behaviour/language that is perfectly acceptable in their rl world is simply unacceptable in the wider community, whether that community be the shopping mall or the online game of your choice. Of course, compromise is also important. If we find their behaviour unacceptable, it’s likely that they’ll find our attitudes overly restrictive. A bit of give and take is all that’s needed! (Oh, and the judicious use of /ignore!)

  30. KT says:

    I’m coming out of lurking to give thumbs up to this post. I know this isn’t really what the post was directly about, but it reminded me of what I’ve been thinking about.

    I don’t really like PvP, but if someone wants to duel, I usually accept it (at least the first time they challenge). One thing I’ve sadly noticed is that most of the people who challenge me aren’t actually interested in a fair fight. 90% of my challengers have been at least four levels higher than my level. One guy that challenged my warlock waited until the duel count was at 2… 1 before saying “No using your pet” meaning I had to scramble to turn my pet on passive rather than begin the fight or ignore him and risk being called a cheater if I won.

    Not only do I find it cowardly to want to fight while asking one person to not use a tool provided to them by their class choice yet you get to use any of your tools; but I find it doubly unsportsmanlike to wait until the fight is beginning to announce your rule. And sometimes I’ve even had the people who beat me, when they are higher level than I am tell me how I suck. I can’t really dispute it, because I do, but I have my doubts about their own talent if they have to fight people who are weaker than them.

    The few even challenges I have had have been fun and I have won some and lost some, but my general experience of PvP at least in dueling, has not been that great and I’m too intimidated to even set foot on the battlegrounds because of the talk I have seen.

    The funny thing is, I’ve been raised to be polite so it was only recently that I stopped accepting challenges from people of ten levels or more higher than my character :P I had been accepting every duel to not be “rude” and then I realized how ridiculous the situation was.

  31. Akiosama says:

    @Elvgren

    I’m not sure about your comment regarding self-worth – I think you have the right idea, but I’m not sure it’s self-worth that’s involved. When playing a game solo, “steering a virtual character around on a computer screen”, all you get out of the process is self-worth, unless you are able to parade your accomplishments around to others. Talking with a guildie who has had a bad day while continuing to play the game, may or may not elevate your self-worth, depending on who you are (I know of people who loathe the concept, not because they’re bad people, but because of the drama, frequency, or (relative) idiocy of the guildies in question – I think the activity may actually lower their self-worth, since they may feel that they are too weak to say ‘no’ to others), but may raise your “guildie reputation” with that guildie. The accomplishments in the game itself that are gained solo (like some of the Achievements that Blizzard has given us to occupy time) do have an effect on one’s self-worth, based on what the person in question feels about the accomplishment itself. “A Shave and a Haircut?” may not do anything to self-worth, but what about, oh, say, the “Explorer” title? That’s a considerable investment of time and effort to gain the title – that ought to raise one’s self-worth, right? (And it could be done completely solo, too.)

    So, I think what is actually being examined is one’s ‘perceived reputation’, not self-worth. And like reputation in WoW, the measure changes from group to group (like factions), but is not static – it’s always in flux and variable. The maintenance and/or improvement of such reputations, and the pleasure such reputations allow, are major motivational factors to the social aspect of these types of games, and can be as big of factors to playing the game as the game-based ones.

    My 2 yen,

    Akiosama

  32. Alexandrite says:

    I hear you Bear, I hear you.

    My guild is a lot like yours I think, over the years we’ve grown as a team of people who like to play with each other and have fun. When we step out of the guild world and into the PUG world we sometimes meet complete asshats.

    For example, I was in an awful Heroic OS run recently, where the raid leader (which I knew to be a 16-year-old boy, from having run some PUG instances with him while leveling my bear tank) was yelling and CAPSLOCKOMGYOUALLFAIL and belittling everyone in the raid. I was absolutely shocked at the transformation of someone who was a normal team player while leveling, into a foul-mouthed asshole when at lvl80 and entering the “I have better gear than you” stage. I should have said something, but when someone’s in that mode, I don’t think he would have listened or even remembered one of the “underlings” he used to run with, who he is now wanting to step on and squish like bugs. But knowing his age from previous runs, and that he talked about war movies before, it’s almost as if once he graduated to level 80 and Raid Leader status, he was trying to sound like one of those bad Army commanders you often see in movies today, who yell at their troops and call them pieces of shit. I REALLY like to think the real Army doesn’t sound like that. Isn’t it supposed to build your confidence, not smash it into the ground? The kid needs to watch some better movies, if he wants role models for “how to act towards others when you’re in a leadership position”… or better yet, to remember that the people in raid chat are actual human beings, and would like to be treated as human beings, and not some twisted vision of soldiers fighting dragons.

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