Once upon a Time, there was a joke in this game that if you were stupid, you’d not be able to move when damage happened under you. Players would be so obsessed with their own sense of worth (and that place atop the meters) that health would be sacrificed to ensure they kept up. Look, in the image the Official Twitter Account uses below there is even a Priest face-palming at this clearly abhorrent behaviour.
On Saturday night, I was the guilty one. Pretty much every personal fatality in our Kara 5 man was of my own design, it didn’t matter how good my healer was (and they were) if I couldn’t react quickly enough, I died. Sometimes the question isn’t who’s guilty, but rather the person not at 100%, or lagging… your team member just didn’t react as well as everybody else. Yes, I know this was a bit of fun by the social media person on duty, but occasionally that joke you think is hilariously funny ends up offending someone unexpectedly. No, I’m not doing this to be the butt of a joke, but it did give me pause for thought. Sometimes, we’re not here to make this about apportioning blame. It’s more about understanding what needs to change to make sure there’s never a problem to begin with.
Of course, once culpability is established, there’s an almost immediate compulsion to make others look at the wider picture.
In the discussion that sprung from this official Tweet yesterday, I wasn’t the only person who chose to look at themselves as offenders ahead of ‘blaming’ others. It is apparent to anyone who has played this game at length that personal attitude and outlook are equally factors in combat alongside ability and technical competence. This mantra mentioned above, that dead DPS = No DPS, was the difference in so many Guild fights I supervised over the years.Whether it was the warrior bandaging on TBC Gruul or my Hunter hero mate using Disengage to escape damage on Pandaria Garalon with a skill that was effortless… I can think of countless occasions where individual flair would negate any amount of individual stupid and players not moving when they should do. In current Karazhan, there is no margin for standing in anything, because a tick of most shit and you’re horizontal. I learnt that to my detriment at the weekend.
Then there’s players like my Husband who will use movement almost as a badge of honour, that they refuse to die however much unmitigated chaos you throw at them. In fact, without tanks like this, many great fights in my memory would simply not exist. Were it not for Mr Alt’s Paladin of Wonder and his ability to solo everything without apparently needing anybody else as support? My gaming experience would be so much less than it is. Of course it helps the game’s given him three million health this time around, but I know how good he is at knowing what to do, how not to panic, and to work with the limitations of the computer equipment he owns. Some people are just able to effortlessly take everything in their stride, and however much fire that might be provided, they’ll almost inevitably avoid the lot.
For the rest of us who are not born awesome, the truth of our ability is probably somewhere between ‘never die’ and ‘permanently horizontal in combat’:
The irony of course is that tagging that ‘mate’ that ‘stands in bad’ ends up more of an exercise of taking the piss and everyone laughs at the standing joke. Except, speaking as someone who’s been that source of humour? Not so funny. It’s roughly akin to having Depression and someone smiling, hitting you on the back and then telling you to cheer up. It’s one of those moments when you understand who gets your issues and who doesn’t, and as a result who it might be an idea to educate more people going forward, and that’s the whole point of this post, because when you make a ‘joke’ and someone is offended, is the right response to just blame them or is the better idea to look to yourself for understanding?
A lot of the problems that exist inside this MMO of late have a lot to do with how people see the landscape around them. Is it best that you promote a more general understanding of how things work or is it easier just to pretend that some people aren’t as capable of others? Is all of this overreaction around a simple statement an indicator that people like me need more stuff to do with our time? Is the bigger point that some people will sit and wonder what the fuss is about, because as they never stand in the fire, what’s the issue to begin with? No, all of these are true and correct statements. That’s the nature of how the MMO works, and around the people who play it.
The fact remains, everybody fucks up. Maybe if we stopped making jokes about that and generally encouraged people to be better, everyone might benefit long term.
Now that’s established, let’s move on.