Yesterday, I had a series of conversations on Twitter which made me think a great deal about how the people in this game still remain more important than the experience itself. ‘Hang on,’ I hear you say, ‘isn’t that the way it should be? Warcraft is just pixels, after all.‘ On most days I’d wave this statement around like the undeniable truth it is, but I’m then renouncing a part of my past that I attempt regularly to ignore yet which rises in me every time a new Raid Instance is announced. I min/maxxed for many, MANY years. I was as hardcore a raider as I could manage and for a brief, glorious moment back in Wrath I made it to top 10 on my Server. It was very brief, let it be said, probably less than a week all told. I don’t remember it fondly either, because that me wasn’t very nice, and certainly not a person I’d ever want to go back to being.
The continuing annoyance over Legendary drops therefore makes me sad beyond words.
I’ve seen a remarkable amount of complaint about the process by which these items drop (look there’s even a comic that I don’t get the joke for. I have no idea what that ring is, and why it’s obviously so dire: I suppose I could look it up but hey, whatever.) I’ve seen Blizzard Devs point out that these items aren’t a big deal, right before the Russians went and rofflestomped the Nightmare wearing a bunch of them. I learnt yesterday from a Twitter friend that he’s been benched because he can’t do the extra 150K a guild mate can who has the ‘correct’ Legendary. This is the point I should stop listening and I was summarily reminded by someone else that this game is played an awful lot of ways, and it is probably just easier to let people do just that.
Except, as I have learnt over the years in my attempt to get better as a human being, extended exposure to negativity ends up doing far more damage than confronting issues head on. Judging people on their gear and not as people has been an issue in Warcraft for as long as this iteration of Azeroth has existed. This is where I bring in a conversation from Monday, on the fact that there are a group of players (according to some current and ex players) who won’t ever listen to reason when it comes to class changes or indeed anything that impinges on their views of gameplay. Ironically when I saw these people being labelled as ‘militant casuals’ and I will admit, I laughed out loud. There’s unlikely to be a better description of me than that, but I don’t give a flying fuck about my stat weights any more. The moment I get into organised content however, that will change.
This game ‘teaches’ a certain path, especially when walking into group content. It has always been so, right back since Vanilla, and it isn’t just PvE that commands you to walk a specific path. PvP, probably even more than the ‘casual’ equivalent demands not simply a high level of gear proficiency but extreme levels of both mental and physical commitment. That’s why it’s an eSport, after all: you can kick about and have a laugh on a Saturday, sure, but there’s no way you’ll ever achieve anything without hours of commitment. Prestige has become the equivalent of a Gold Nova One rating, and although your gear/standing may not decay over time? If you wanna be good, you gotta work. That makes the assertion that if you don’t have the right Legendary, you won’t raid even more of a slap in the face than it probably could be.
What makes me most upset, in all of this, is the people who are being made to suffer because someone else has decided they’re not a Raider without orange gear. I know enough about the game to understand that Devs would not stick things in game that would disadvantage players to this extent, but if the simulations say you’re better, then SCREW YOU BLIZZARD. The ultimate irony is, when players complained that Legendaries were just to easy to get, this change is now the problem. You wanted them to be special and rare and random, and yet you whine when the wrong one drops, or if someone else has the one you want by doing less ‘work’ than you have… and I’m sorry, this is where I will stop listening. You see, it’s not the Elite raiders that are the problem here, or the Militant casuals.
Everybody is the Problem
Every single person playing has, at any point, the potential to be a toxic player. Whether it be the healer who loses their nerve and can’t do their job any more, to the tank who thinks they’re fucking invincible and woe betide if you can’t keep up. It could be the Shaman who decides they want an item and when they lose a roll decides to fill Guild with a foul mouthed diatribe before Rage-quitting in disgust. Maybe it’s the Death Knight who realises that there’s just no point any more when none of this is real anyway and vanishes without a word. For every person you view as toxic? They’re just being human. When you put large groups of humans together and ask them to get along when the rewards can become so divisive? It will nearly always end in tears. Except… in many places, it just doesn’t. There is no drama. People get along, and work gets completed, and amazingly, everybody is happy. The problem here, of course, is that those people have no desire to be first.
They’re just happy to play the game.
You don’t hear happy people complaining, and this is where I decide it’s worth making a whole blog post on reminding those who don’t have what they want that sometimes, that’s how life works. I don’t need to tell you how to play, because that’s your job to decide, but I can quite happily point out that if you want to be happy? That is most definitely in your own hands. You can stop worrying, you could change raid groups, you could take a break from the game completely. If none of those things are possible, or you have no desire to try and improve the situation? Let’s face it, this post is just going to become more fodder for your believe that certain people just don’t understand the point of playing the game. Yup, you’re right there to, because I have no clue why people would do this to themselves over something that isn’t even real. Worry about your own health or real life drama, but don’t make your game the centre of the Universe, because the truth is anything but.
I’m really sorry for anyone who feels their life is somehow lessened in significance by not owning an orange item. last Expansion, everybody had one, and the major complaint was just that. Now you’ve got actual scarcity? Nobody’s happy. That’s the way life works, and I doubt that’s going to change any time soon.
I’d suggest trying to be happy first, and seeing what happens after that.