I will be insinuating something later, hence this week's video choice.
I'm writing to you as a non-hardcore player, but one who's been playing since WoW started. Heck, I even played the Diablos on Battle.net! As a long term player, I can't help but notice the venom increasing from other players to the more casual or new. You go into a battleground only to hear the newbies being yelled at for not having PvP gear, or into a random instance to hear the same about raid gear.
I've been married for going on 7 years and it was only a year and a half ago I got my husband to play with me. He certainly took to it like a duck to water, but the abuse from player to player made him so angry he eventually quit playing around the time Cata hit (he never had to deal with much abuse hurled at him as he geared up and learned to play quickly).
I've been getting back into PvP and raiding recently, and have been working up to my gear sets and the seething and insults from "veterans" to the truly new folks is starting to kill the fun of the game for me too. How do you get your gear if not by actually running the instances or BG's? Why aren't players as friendly or helpful to one another as they were in the early days of Vanilla? Am I alone in wanting to quit the game I once loved as well out of sheer frustration? I'm just hoping you guys might address this publicly, I can't help but feel like the meanest players are only mean because they have no life outside WoW, and that makes me feel bad for them.
Thanks so much!
Frustrated Hunter on Maelstrom
Drama Mama Robin: I am of the opinion that trolls, griefers and all other funsuckers are that way because they have miserable lives over which they have no control and therefore take it out on everyone they can. I think they include kids/teens who have yet to discover the value of social skills, henpecked spouses who escape into Azeroth to do some bullying of their own, and singles whose personalities prevent close personal contact with other human beings. (Nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?)
These loudmouths aren't exclusive to WoW; you see them in all MMOs (though the more popular, the more pervasive), but they are worse -- I mean really, really, horrendously worse -- in online shooters. Check out this Penny Arcade from 2002 which is, as usual, not so safe for work. There is nothing fun about getting unsolicited (and often inaccurate, unwarranted and only intended to belittle) advice shouted at you. I remember when I used to play Tribes 2 and would look for the servers where funsuckers were banned mercilessly. If those servers weren't active, I found something else to play.
You don't have to stick to single-player games to severely reduce your exposure to the loudmouths, however. You need to join a medium to large guild of friendly, like-minded people. The key thing to look for here is that the guild has enough members who play when you do so that you can PvP and run 5-mans with teams of people you actually like. You don't have to field a full premade in order to enjoy a battleground. As long as you have a handful of members willing to communicate and coordinate, you can successfully lead most battlegrounds, if not to victory, then a fun loss. Just make sure you report (and /ignore) any offensive funsuckers who cross your path. There's nothing like a good spanking in the form of a brief ban (that may happen several days later by the very busy Blizzard staff) to teach the louts a lesson.
Unfortunately, to find this guild, you may need to transfer or start fresh somewhere else. Here are some tips for finding a good guild for you:
- Try a guild with a common out-of-game interest. There are guilds for knitters such as Dropped Stitches, (that link only works if you are on Ravelry -- and if you are a knitter, you should be). Many fan guilds exist as well, like ones for Penny Arcade and The Guild. And then of course there's It came from the Blog, which I'm going to babble about in just a minute.
- Check out The Classifieds for guild recruitment. They'll run looking for guild notices from individuals, too.
- Look at the realm forums for guilds advertising on realms that are in your time zone and host your playstyle.
- Try the new Guild Finder, even if you use it with throw-away characters you make on interesting realms.
Our guild family isn't for everyone; there are some perfectly nice people who want to air their dirty laundry in guild chat. We tend to keep things a bit more positive and drama-free. Why don't you bop over to Zangarmarsh and see if we can turn Frustrated Hunter to Happy Hunter?
Drama Mama Lisa: My words here are for all those players who just can't seem to stop themselves from lecturing (berating, helping, heckling, advising, harassing, counseling) others: Less QQ, more pew pew.
If "runs with scissors" describes your modus operandi more accurately than "plays well with others," you probably need to scoot your desk away from the other kids. Obviously, we're not talking here about coping with those occasional frustrating players who just can't get it together; nor are we suggesting that anyone who offers a little friendly advice is completely out of line. But if you're one of those players who purposely races ahead of slower groupmates, vote-kicks anyone who's never run a particular instance before, or aggressively critiques groupmates' gear ... maybe it's time to slow down and take a look at why you're in this group, playing this game, to begin with.
If you can't generally make good in a level-appropriate group (a group with players who are likely to be unfamiliar with that content, who actually need the gear there, and who need to pick up and practice the player skills to successfully complete that level of content) -- or if you can, but you don't enjoy it -- then it's fairly evident that you're in the wrong place.
No, really -- we know you want your share of points. We know you're trying to gear up your alt. But if you take your character into content that's designed for gearing up and practicing skills (that means heroics, in today's accelerated game), yet you can't ratchet down your level of criticism or stop tearing through the content long enough to actually be a part of the successful group process ... Methinks the problem lies not with the undergeared, inexperienced, unskilled or clueless groupmates, but rather somewhere a little closer to home.
If pickup groups bring out the snarling inner critic in you, you have three alternatives:
- Adapt. Take a deep breath, stop haranguing others, and put your energy into making your groups work well. Think of it as a challenge: Are you skilled enough to turn a bad group around? If you do this successfully, you'll find yourself actually connecting with other players and having fun. If you can't swing it or just don't enjoy it, move on to one of the next two strategies.
- Stop pugging. If you're not having fun swimming with the other fish, get out of the water. Find a guild of like-minded players who move at a pace you enjoy. Gear up your alts in the company of other alts. The important thing is not to subject yourself or others to fussing, lectures, and the embarrassingly public tantrum of vote-kicking and dropping groups when you're faced with players at other levels of play.
- Log out. If you still can't find people you enjoy playing with, a multiplayer game is obviously not for you. Quit beating up yourself and everyone around you, and go find a game you enjoy!
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.