I knew it was bound to happen someday, and now it finally has.
Besides this being a Bearwall, that is.
I feel disconnected from what everyone else is talking about when it comes to WoW.
I read blog posts, WoW forum comments and blue responses, and I swear I don’t know what game some of these folks are talking about. What happened? Where the hell did I go, and what did I miss?
When I read blogs and forum comments, the narrative these days seems to be, “People in randoms suck and that makes them unplayable and it’s Blizzards fault, we beat LFR and thus the game, now there is nothing to do and it’s Blizzards fault, I got the best gear I can from LFR and valor so there is no point to playing anymore and it’s Blizzards fault, the game is boring to level an alt through again for the thirtieth time and it’s Blizzards fault, everyone hates pandas and thinks the lore of Pandaren is stupid so the next expansion is worthless crap and the death of WoW, Blizzard jumped the shark, game over man, game over.”
Apparently I missed the memo, spilled my cup of kool-aid, or don’t follow media reports closely enough to have been brainwashed into buying the narrative.
Silly me, I’ve been logging in and playing every night, and I have been SO busy with SO many things to do I am literally unable to do everything I’d like. There is just no time. I have to prioritize my fun to aim at the things I really want to do that I think will be MOST fun, and walk away from the game each night knowing I left some fun back there on the table. “If I’d just stayed up later, if maybe I only really needed 4 hours of sleep, maybe I could have taken home more of the fun last night.”
Why is it that so much of the discussion out there is about how dead the game is? I don’t even PvP, I haven’t done anything in the new Darkmoon Faire, and still there is just too much.
If a few people feel the game is dead, hey, I am truly sorry your game experience sucks. Paying money on a monthly basis to stare at the walls of Orgrimmar really would suck.
But that’s not what I’m reading out there. I’m not reading a few individual people saying, “I feel like things are boring and dead”, I’m reading people making sweeping blanket statements like, “Everyone feels the game is dead, there is nothing to do, Blizzard you should…”
Here’s my take on the narrative. And when I say this, I am speaking MY opinion, and ONLY mine. YOUR EXPERIENCE MAY VARY, AND I DO NOT PRESUME TO SPEAK FOR YOU.
First, the “Pandas are Jumping the Shark” thing.
Pandas are WoW jumping the shark? Mists of Pandaria is fail, stupid, whatever?
Two words; Space Goats.
If you can really tell me with a straight face that disco-dancing space goats fleeing a demon horde across the endless dark, then crashing their spaceship city into a world was all fine and dandy, and a world breaking apart from the power of demonic forces but still retaining atmosphere and maintaining a self-sustaining ecosystem is spiffy, but martial arts pandas bringing balance to the force make you choke on your lore, I’ve got a face in a palm I’d like to show you.
What I’m saying is, that shark was jumped a long time ago. The Fonz jumped the shark while being pulled on his skies by a flying gnome-engineered helicopter.
What you have to do is get over it, and roll with it. If you didn’t quit then, why the hell would you quit now? The game is awesome anyway. Many whelps. Left Side. Handle it.
Second, the “WoW is boring, there is nothing to do” thing.
We’ve been over this ground before. Every period between content releases, we have this same discussion. And why?
Because there IS a period between content releases.
Until that far off distant day when new content is created as fast as or faster than it can be played through, there will always be times when new content was added, we played what parts of it we were interested in, and then wondered what to do until more new content.
Me, I suggest trying some other fine multiplayer game, such as Alpha Hex, when you are bored with the game you’re in.
Would the lack of fresh monthly content even be an issue if folks didn’t pay a monthly fee, and thus felt entitled to a full months worth of fresh content every time their bank got tapped? I dunno, I don’t play any free-to-play games to have a perspective. Personally, I look at the game as being a real world that exists, floating in an alternate dimension, and I pay a monthly fee to visit, much like having to keep my passport up to date, but without the intrusive anal probes at customs.
My point is not to say that we should not get new content, or even to say that we are or are not getting new content at a satisfactory rate.
My point is that everybody is going to experience that content at a different rate based on their own available time to play the game, what parts of the game they are interested in, and how many friends they have to play with to serve as a force multiplier. it’s kinda hard to judge just how often is “often enough”.
To put this in a different perspective, I know a few folks that are upset at the quantity of new content we just got. It’s too much. They feel guilt at not doing everything that got released, but they don’t have the time. No, I’m not talking about me. :)
They feel like they SHOULD be doing all this new stuff like Darkmoon Faire and the LFR that came out, but they just don’t have time. This makes them feel bad, that they are being left behind, and I’ve heard it said they wish the content had been spread out over a few months instead of dumped all at once.
And then there is the other side of the coin.
Just this last week someone in my guild logged in (cough, Dipro, cough) and complained about how bored they were and how there was nothing to do, and how Blizzard needs to release new raids right now, the game is boring and the new raids are boring and suck ass.
Someone else replied that the Dragon Soul raid was almost brand new, and Dipro responded by saying “You run DS every week on LFR with four characters and tell me how fun that shit is. Blizzard needs to release a new raid.”
Really? Yes, really.
I try and give people the benefit of the doubt, but if someone runs a full 8 boss raid clear not once a week, not twice, but FOUR TIMES, and not just some weeks but every single week, then whose fault is it again if they burn out?
Blizzards, apparently, for not preventing him from being able to play too much, too fast.
Congratulations, we now have a classic example of where ideas like gating raids through quest chains and reputation grinds come from. Why? Because people either won’t or can’t take personal responsibility for living online, playing 24/7, and burning through the content in two weeks. If you want to do it, then fine by me, but where do you get off blaming Blizzard for it?
And as long as we’re talking about personal responsibility….
Finally, the biggest issue. Asshats in raids ruin the game.
I’m going to say it. This isn’t a “there are asshats in the game, Blizzard should get rid of them” issue.
This may surprise you, but the reason there are asshats in the game is that in the real world, there are a lot of people who are asshats. That is who they really are. They are asshats. They wear a hat on their ass, I can’t put it any plainer than that.
Or, as I used to say, “there are a lot of people who are alive in this world for no other reason than that it’s illegal to kill them.”
What many people don’t seem to grasp is how many asshats there are out there in the real world.
Most of the time, in the real world the asshats act like everyone else. Thank god they DO seem to be in the minority, so they hide who they really are by default in public. They do so because they get benefits out of being thought to be nice, or honest, or trustworthy, or mature, or dependable.
It all comes down to what is considered acceptable. If asshat behavior is acceptable, then asshats come out publicly. If it isn’t acceptable, then they hide, and feel other people out carefully to try and find other asshats in hiding that they can form a clique with.
In most modern companies, asshat behavior is written into employee manuals as unacceptable. Enough big companies have been sued successfully for toxic work envinronments that they have learned there is a monetary cost to allowing asshat behavior to run unchecked. If you act like an asshat you get written up, reprimanded, denied pay raises for not being a team player, lose out on promotion prospects, or get fired. Or sued for harassment or discrimination. Or get promoted to branch manager, if the culture approves of asshats and hasn’t been sued yet.
Why are there laws allowing for the sueing of a company based on a toxic work environment or for other issues dealing with respect and fair treatment? I feel, again, it’s because the asshats are in the minority. This is my own opinion, after all, you’re more than welcome to disagree.
In most social groups, if you act like an asshat, people won’t hang out with you, you won’t get dates, at least until you find enough other asshats to form your own social group. And thus, the fraternity was born.
Asshats tend to pretend to be what they are not, because as I said before, I truly believe most people are not asshats, and so the asshat minority hides what they really are so they can be accepted into the larger group and get what they want from others. If there is nothing they want from the other people around them, and there is no chance in their opinion that word of their behavior will get back to whoever they DO want things from, then they just act like an asshat, and say things like “I do what I want and to hell with what other people think”.
It really is all about what is acceptable. You want your guild to grow asshats like mushrooms after the rain? Asshats always make little ‘off-color’ remarks, are looking for other asshats to bond with, and so they feel other people out looking for other asshats in disguise. If they make overtures of asshattery in the guild chat channel that are received with approval instead of disgust, it gets a little bit more accepted in your guild. Other asshats in disguise may see that guy get away with it or be joked with, and feel it’s okay for them to come out a little as well. It spreads, it grows, it becomes accepted as part of the culture.
If that is who the majority of the guild people are, well, shit happens. But if not, then those who hate asshattery better be prepared to shut down that kind of behavior before it grows. I know I don’t want to play where asshat behavior is an accepted part of the team dynamic.
If asshattery become an accepted part of the guild culture, then when a non-asshat enters the environment, boom. Welcome to a toxic environment to be in, and you’ll lose the nice people fast.
Am I talking about the real world, or the game world? Both. This all happens in the real world as well as WoW. Every day. And every different situation and environment you enter has the same underlying social dynamics going on. It’s just more obvious in WoW, where there are more opportunities to act without repercussions or long term consequences. Get too much of a reputation, get too many people friending you to track your name changes, and you can just make a new character or server transfer. In the real world, when people burn too many bridges they pick up stakes and move to a new town or state, job hop, switch regular bars or hangout places, whatever it takes to leave the consequences of their behavior behind.
For the purpose of this discussion, I’m lumping racists, sexists, jackasses, homophobes and all the other crap into one term; asshat.
When you come into World of Warcraft, all those same asshats are in the game. The game did not create them, it did not train them, they were not nice people until the game turned them into asshats. Asshat is their true inner person, their default state of being. They are only pretending to be nice to get what they want.
If they can get what they want AND act like an asshat, it is utopia. I have no idea what a guild formed solely of asshats would be like, but then again, I’ve never been in a fraternity, either. But hey, they don’t need a guild… they have LFD and LFR!
All those asshats, hiding behind their masks in front of their guilds… you get them on a cross server random BG or raid, surrounded by strangers, and let them loose. What happens?
You get people say all sorts of trash talking, people rolling Need on everything they can. Intentionally kill the Corruption tentacles to wipe Spine of Deathwing, again and again. Intentionally start encounters before they can be kicked, or before a full group can form. Pull oozes while people are still zoning in. Go afk in the middle of a fight, so if the group wins they got carried, roll need and leave with a sneer. Run addons that spam meters and spell activations until you can’t see actual text buried in the scroll going by.
LFD and LFR do not create asshats. Blizzard does not create asshats. They were there before, and the sudden lack of peer pressure and accountability encourages them to be themselves. The anonymity of LFD and now LFR did not create asshats, it just provided an opportunity.
I applaud every effort Blizzard makes to try and isolate asshats from affecting other players. The problem is, the convenience of LFR and LFD is just too damn sweet. For all our bitching about how LFR and LFD kill off server based communities, the fact is we all love the convenience of forming groups that don’t take all night sitting in one sitting spamming trade chat. We all hate the asshats and the lack of a reputation-based community policing itself and stifling the unchecked asshat behavior in our groups, but we also want fast groups.
This is all my opinion, based on what I’ve observed in my life and what I really think about asshats in the real world and in WoW. I don’t honestly know how Blizzard can be held responsible for blocking the ability of asshats from being in the game, without accepting that part of the responsibility has to be ours to shut down asshat behavior in our own day to day lives, and make it clear that asshat behavior is never acceptable.
No matter what, though, ignore works, and the majority of people I meet in game are not asshats. With the anonymity the game provides, the very fact that the majority of players I meet are NOT asshats fills me with hope, and a good bit of joy as well.
I joke about being a grumpy old bear sitting on my lawn yelling at the kids running by, but damn, talk about living the dream.