Negativity in the Blogosphere

| Monday, October 4, 2010
I'm really sick of the negativity. It's out of control and entirely unjustified. Also useless.

No I don't mean the bashing of this or that MMO or the usual sky is falling negativity. I'm referring instead to those who somehow got the absurd idea that performance in a video game is anything close to a useful measure of worth as a human being. Let's have a sanity check here. Let's all slow down a bit and think this over. There are people who think less of others because of how they play a game. And I don't mean less of others in terms like "what a noob" or "he is so full of fail", I mean people pulling out stupid, idiot, moron, lazy, and so on. Labels which they use with no moderating bits such as "stupid at games" or "lazy at grinding rep". No, just plain, unqualified stupid, lazy, worthless, and so on.

WoW is very important to me. I hate it when people disparage WoW or gaming in general with "it's just a game" or fail to respect it, or at least tolerate it, as would any mainstream hobby such as watching football or going to bars to talk to drunk bimbos and assholes. I suppose I was a bit hypocritical right there. My point is this: I think highly of WoW and gaming, so keep that in mind when I say this: World of Warcraft is a game.

It is not a career, a job, or even a weekend chore. It is not an intelligence test; it's not even one of those quizzes on Facebook. It's a game.

It's also a world or toy or epeen competition, but the central theme of it is play and entertainment. A game. Imagine it as a ball. One person sits on it, another bounces it off a wall, another plays catch with a friend, another uses it for physics experiments. None of them are doing it wrong.

I'm guilty of it too. I've thought, even said, that someone was stupid based on what I saw in the narrow context of a random, trivial location in a game. I try to avoid broadcasting that to the world and pretending that it is somehow useful data. I try to avoid claims such as "60% of all players are stupid" or "95% of all players suck at their class". The second one wouldn't even be so bad, since while entirely made up, it's at least not a blanket generalization of a person.

The other day I ran into an incredibly bad hunter. His gems were bad, he was bad at pulling, he was bad at controlling his pet, he was bad at picking targets. Was he stupid? Maybe, maybe not. The most negative label I could reasonably apply given the information I had was that he didn't care much about his performance as a hunter. That's all.

All the elitism doesn't even help. It just makes terrible players see a bandwagon to jump on. They can grab their cookie cutters and out of context spreadsheets and go to town, certain that they are in the elite group, because they're acting just like the elitists. They are in a cozy bubble of elitism. That bubble prevents introspection, since once you're elitist, you're at the top and don't need to get any better (at least that's how an elitist sees it). To reinforce the bubble they get whatever they can: gearscore, DPS meters, gold, spelling, anything to make it clear that they are in the elite us while the other is in the worthless them. They create their imaginary enemies.

I'd call the elitists stupid for all their negativity, but all I have to go off is their constant stream of elitism.

P.S. This post is so late because I screwed up the scheduling and had it going up tomorrow. Oops.


Ratshag said...

Today I done bitched at the Nobel Prize committee, but I were good and didn't call thems lazy-arsed stoopid noobs.

Even though they is.

Anonymous said...

I'd call the Trolls stupid for all their anti-elitism, but all I have to go on is their constant stream of badly written and ill-thought out anti-elitism propaganda. Wait... that's more than enough to justify calling you stupid.

Calling elitists stupid for negativity is lazy thinking. Why not just call them elitists? That's a negatively loaded term that says what you want to say much more clearly than "stupid". Oh, wait, you DID call them elitists. As usual, your multiple levels of sarcasm have confused you into thinking that you've avoided hypocrisy. There is no real difference between you calling them elitists, and them calling you a moron. Oh wait, you think they're only calling other people morons. oops.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I wouldn't really call it negativity though as much as elitism. People now seem to have no tolerance for being less than perfect (which is ironic because WoW has a lot of leeway for performance variations) and have no problem letting others know about it. I guess it's just either an insecurity thing or a manners thing. It also seems a little sad that very few people seem to play just for the pleasure of playing these days... everyone's in a rush to level up and gain loot!

Klepsacovic said...

@Rashtag: I understand your frustration with their pro-patient-being-alive bias.

@Anonymous: An excellent point and well stated.

@We Fly Spitfires: I think it's entirely unreasonable to even suggest that any MMO players might be insecure or lacking in manners.

Unknown said...

I never had a problem with people being bad. As long as they try, I'm completely find. I won't take the person to ICC with me, bot most of the time, he/she doesn't even want that.

However, when someone goes out of their way to be bad, or tries to leech off of everyone else, I stop being nice.

I don't think I'm being negative though. I'm not one of the people that complain about the community or any other aspect of the game. I prefer to do something about it, instead of just bitch and moan.

Now yes, I do kick people, but I never do it for a silly reason and always give advanced notice so that they get the chance to stop doing whatever it is they are doing (AFKing with the intent to leach, /following, ninjaing, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, WoW is a game and anyone can play it as they see fit. BUT. WoW isn't a single player game. If you're going to attempt group content (because you think that would be fun), you also take on the responsibility not to burden others too much (unless you're only doing it to annoy other people in the first place, in which case you deserve whatever you get called).

Granted, the name calling might be a bit more extreme than I would have liked, but it isn't entirely unjustified.

Dàchéng said...

There are many different ways to play WoW. Some people collect boss-kills (raiders). Others collect pets, or mounts, or gold, or gear, or achievements. Others like to role play. Some people just like hanging out with their friends online, shooting the breeze together. A lot of the negativity comes from people assuming that their way of playing is the one true way, and anyone not following their path is playing wrongly.

In real life, too, we all have different goals. Some people want a job that earns them a fortune, others want a job that gives them fun, or allows them plenty of time with their kids, or that gives them the opportunity to help other people. Some people don't want a regular job at all, and are happiest to drop out.

In real life, most of us realize that each person has to live their own life, as well as they can (within the confines of the laws that our society sets to prevent us harming others in pursuit of our own personal happiness).

In WoW, it seems a lot of people haven't come to that realization.

Anonymous said...

The problem comes when the different wow sub category people colide. When socials and new players try to break into heroics and raids the clash begins. We are all pretty much at a point where we can kind of tell where dps/healing/tanking will be vs gear score. ( no gs debate please). If u are near 6k gs than I expect around 5k dps tanks at around 50k health and a healer that can be half afk and do the job. We all kind of know what the numbers in-between should be. If you are at or around 6k gs and not performing anywhere near the norm, u will most likely get kicked. Obviously 6k gs is just an arbitrary number.

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