For the Love of Community
As a big advocate of the WoW community, and a (hopefully) somewhat active member in it, you can bet your sissy robes I'm pretty much a dorfish cheerleader for WoW Community.

I'm not just talking about the blogging or podcasting community. I'm not just talking about the world-first raiders. I'm talking about the wow-playing community - which includes all those random people you meet in pugs.

Now, I ask again: How do YOU feel about the WoW community?

The following thread made me start thinking about this question a lot - and when I spotted it on the WoW forums, and read Nethaera's response, I just had to share it. Every now and then Nethaera chimes in on a thread, and just adds a lot of life and warmth to it - she has this amazing ability to give someone a very gentle smackdown. You know, the kind where you're laying on the floor wondering what the hell just happened, but your face doesn't hurt one bit. This girl's got skills, man.

In the forum thread, the OP tells the story of a random heroic run in which the tank was pretty much an outright jerk. The details aren't really that important, since it's pretty much the same story you hear all over about random PuGs and a specific category of self-righteous tanks. The OP feels pretty desolate about the state of the WoW community due to the asinine antics of the tank and the sexism and vitriol spewed forth from one of the DPS.

These kind of ppl disgust me, depresses me since it shows that not even in a game where the goal is to relax and have fun, people are just as cruel and heartless as in the real world.... I know this behavior has been around in vanilla and in BC but honestly it seems to be more virulent and frequent. I will forever never understand how people can and will act like this to other humans. Perhaps i should consider quitting despite enjoying the game and maybe the expansion coming up.

I sympathize with the OP, I really do. I don't think he is a whiny player, or pathetic for being sad about the state of people with whom he is playing this game. Running into a PuG with one jerk and three average, quiet people will generally be scalded into your brain as "that shitty pug with the jerk". But the truth is, out of five people, that's one bad apple. Maybe the other three aren't particularly stellar examples of warmth and comraderie, but often times in LFD pugs, people just decide not to talk in order to avoid potential conflict with random jerks.

It reminds me of my dating days. Back in my youth (ha), when I lived in the dorms, I didn't really care much for college guys. So I fell back on what I felt most comfortable with: teh internetz. I dated people I met through online personals, and I was never really ashamed or embarassed by it. Truth is, the folks I met online are still some of the best people I've ever met - because I was able to relate to them through conversation instead of just both being in the right place at the right time. Hell, I met the guy to whom I'm engaged through an online personals site.

My mother, however, was not very fond of this concept (once she met my fiance though, she decided internet matching was a fantastic idea and promotes it to any singleton that will hear her). She was always worried about me meeting "creepy internet people". I think it never occurred to her that by her definition, I was a creepy internet person. One day I explained to her that the percentage of creepy people in the general internet population is the same as in the "real world" of folks hanging out at a bar - but if you talk to them over the internet, you have a safer way to weed out the creepies before actually meeting them face to face and putting yourself at risk.

The sad truth is, it's not that the WoW community sucks. In general, people are just more likely to be jerks to strangers - internet or no internet. The internet just allows you to meet a hell of a lot more strangers. You get jerks on every forum, and the WoW forums are certainly no exception.

In fact, the WoW community is actually pretty stellar. It's huge, and all encompassing. I think in order to get a feel for how great the community is, you actually have to step outside of the game. You even need to step away from the forums. Check out some blogs, some podcasts, twitter, conventions... truthfully, you could probably just ask around your workplace or school and you'd find someone else who plays WoW.

The thread in question got very big, very quickly. It's probably because Nethaera stepped down and got a little stern with the community-downers (as a side note, I really don't understand jumping on a community forum to ... bash the very community hosting that forum).

My input? The community is amazing. I love it. That said, bad impressions often last longer than good ones. There are always people looking to stir up things or cause some trouble, but I would strongly advise you not to let these types of experiences swallow up all the other good ones you've had or could have in the future.
And later in the thread...

I'd say it's an understatement myself. I've seen a lot of things and met a lot of people over the years. Yes, it is an amazing community of people. Take a look at the 5 and 15 year anniversary photos. Take a look at all the fan art. Look at the fansites or listen to the podcasts. Check out some of the WoW Stories, the comics, the craft projects people make, the cakes and cookies they've baked, the machinima that has been made. Check out all of the guilds that exist and the challenges they've taken on. And then there are all the things you don't see, because people don't generally go around saying, "I did x, y, z nice things for people today."

I've gotten hugs at BlizzCon from these people and watched the joy that has been shown as they met up with friends they've never met before, or reunited with ones they hadn't seen in awhile and much much more.

I get tired of seeing the community as a whole get a bad rap because of a few inconsiderate people who haven't learned how to play nice with others. It happens, but those people are not the entirety of the community and even those people can be amazing at times when they choose to be.

She chimes in multiple times later in the thread, and I encourage you to go through and at least read what she has to say. Her eternal positive attitude is personally inspiring, and it's not just because of the game.

Three cheers to the WoW community - and if you're reading this, you're an integral part of it. You, reader, are the WoW community, and I think you're great. It's people like you that make this game much bigger and better than the pixels from which it is constructed.
7 Responses
  1. Grimmtooth Says:

    I will say that I believe that being online does amplify the effect of jerks that are present. It offers anonymity, a 'blind' that they can use to strike out at passers-by without fear of reprisal.

    In short, Gabriel's Greater Internet F@!kwad Theory, as illustrated by Penny Arcade so well.

    I will not argue against there being an absolutely fantastic community out there, but I also can't deny the frequency of jerkish behavior, either. But what I would propose is this: the jerks are not PART of the community, rather they are the barbarians striking out AT the community.

  2. Grimmtooth Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Apple Says:

    I occasionally despair for the WoW community when I'm barraged in Trade by a bunch of sexist comments or rape jokes, or have had a string of crappy PuGs. But then I remember things like...

    The guy whose account had been hacked by a gold-seller. He got it back with MASSIVE amounts of gold on his character and, because he felt like it was sticking it to the gold-seller more than anything to give it away free, gave my level 12, totally without support on a new server Shaman 100g... just because.

    Or the random Belf RPers I ran into in Thunder Bluff one day over a year ago, who both whispered me (on my Belf Paladin) in ecstatic glee when they saw I had an RP flag up, and invited me to join them. This was early afternoon. We RPed for hours, and when one of them finally had to log off, I continued RPing with the remaining character. Then she switched to her lvl 80 Pally to mentor mine a bit, got me a couple pieces of better gear from the AH, and recommended me to her old RP guild. That guild welcomed me with open arms, and though I don't play that server very often anymore, whenever I log on, I get piled on by guildies who are happy to see me.

    Or the people in Westfall gen chat day before yestderay on my main server. I was there on my priest, and happened to pass the Defias Messenger. I have a habit of announcing when I see him in gen chat, just because he's a hard bugger to find and I like to make it easier for whatever poor player might be looking for him. I announced where the messenger was, expecting no response - but someone asked what I was talking about, and someone else chimed in to explain, and before long there were five of us talking about quests, specs, how nice it was to talk to civilised people, what our favourite class was... for at least a couple hours, before people started moving on to other levelling zones.

    Or, also in Westfall, yesterday, the two level 30's who saw my poor lv. 19 priest on the escort quest to the Deadmines entrance, and who silently followed me, killing anything that aggro'd me or the dude I was escorting, and then ran off without a word.

    These are just four of the MANY amazing and wonderful experiences I've had. I could tell about the mage who gave me conjured water when we kept passing each other questing, or the PuG of Utter Win (as I call it) that stuck together through four instances, or the level 80 who offered to run me through Deadmines once so I could do my quests there. The WoW community is full of amazing and wonderful people... it's just that usually the jerks seem louder and more prevalent, because it's true - people who do nice things don't tend to go around saying "I did these nice things today". And even if they did, they'd probably sound like a jerk for doing it.

  4. Grimmtooth Says:

    That Westfall escort quest is perhaps the finest example. There's almost always someone near Moonbrook that'll jump in and start killing Defias if they see the escort quest taking place, and it's very common for people to call out where the messenger is. It's kind of a shame that the Defias questline is going away, but I guess that can't be helped.

  5. Klepsacovic Says:

    The community is pretty good. It's all the people hanging around who aren't community who tend to ruin it.

  6. Gronthe Says:

    The community is definately great. The vast majority of people I've met in my many travels have been wonderful.

    The ignore list should be used often and liberally. I won't take but 3 seconds of behavior that I'm uncomfortable with, then they hit my /ignore list.

    There have been so many helpful and friendly people that I've met over the past couple years Blizz couldn't build a friends list big enough to hold them. Most of the community are truly great people to interact with. And those that aren't so great I don't worry about because I never see or hear from them once I /ignore them. Easy peasy.

  7. River Says:

    In any community, whether it's virtual, or real. You have a myriad of personalities.

    To be honest I would quickly grow bored if everyone was "Nice" to eash other.

    It's these differences that add spice to life. I celebrate it, and embrace. I welcome the asshat, the jerk, the douchenozzle.

    They add something to the game, they make me laugh with there stupidity, or make me angry with their fail.

    You can't have the good times, without the bad, Can't have the highs without the lows.

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