Thursday, December 11, 2008

Annoyed? It’s your choice!

I don’t know if I see an emerging trend, but lately I’ve read quite a few ranting posts on WoW blogs, where people are complaining about other players. They get annoyed by their lack of skill, lack of knowledge, lack of manners or lack of imagination when picking a name for their toon.

The grumbling rant is a classic genre for WoW blogging and I can understand why. The recognition factor is high, you let the readers not and feel that they’re sort of members of a club of superior players. The blogger and his or her readers are all supposed to be players who DO have skill, knowledge, manners and good taste (or at least we can talk ourselves into believing that we have it.)

Somehow the posts seem to target those “bad players”, trying to convince them to change their behaviour. But honestly, do you think that ANYONE of those you’re complaining about will recognize themselves and get a new insight from it: “Oh, I really should change the way I play after reading the wise words by this guy”? I doubt it.

I guess the purpose of those posts (I’ve surely written some in this genre myself, so I’m not innocent) probably most of all is to let out some steam and to share the frustrations with other people, which somehow makes us feel a bit better. Sometimes they’re a bit whining. Sometimes they’re entertaining and well written and worth a reading.

Choosing a filter
Still all those rants leave me a bit wondering. Is the game really that bad to you? What glasses do you wear when you play it? Is it necessary to make yourself so unhappy? Because I think that’s something we do from time to time. We don’t always choose what will happen to us. A hunter’s pet may get berserk and run away and cause a completely unnecessary wipe (which happened to me the other night in a pug). But we can choose our reaction to it, depending on what filter we see through.

It’s got to do with what keeps you hooked to the game of course. If you’re only in it for maximizing your character in gear, ranking and achievements and you don’t care much about what means it takes to get there - if other players are nothing else but slightly less predictable npc:s to you and if you always measure your enjoyment and happiness in efficiency, how much you gain per played hour - if you’ve a shiny, antiseptic, steel coloured filter – then I can understand that you get frustrated every time you log in.

But if you have other motives as well – overcoming difficulties, gaining trust and friendship, enjoying teamwork and seeing new, unexpected things – then you should perhaps try seeing the events through another filter – perhaps in a warm, pink colour.

First impressions
The player who messed up in an instance maybe isn’t as skilled as you. But it isn’t necessarily because he’s an egoistic, stupid, lazy or evil person. Perhaps he isn’t as talented as you are and is struggling to improve. Of course you don’t have any obligation whatsoever to help him out. Of course there’s nothing that tells that you should give him a few hints and a helping hands to step up a bit. But do you know something? If you try it you may get surprised. Sometimes the first impression leads us wrong. The guy you were so quickly to doom if wearing the titan blue filter could have turned out to become a dear friend in the long run, if you had only been wearing the other filter. Perhaps he couldn’t kite properly, but who knows, maybe he could have given you a fascinating lesson in WoW lore if you had looked a bit closer.

If you pug a lot it’s quite likely that you’ll sooner or later end up in a group with players who are less skilled, experienced or geared than you are. You could say that they’re not quite carrying their own weight. But will the experience become any more pleasant if you let yourself become annoyed about it, if you turn into anger and loath? I doubt it. It’s not that they make you feel miserable – YOU allow them to do it. Next time you find yourself in that position – try to see it from another point of view. OK, you have turned up with a tank who isn’t master of tanking or a healer who doesn’t heal… but so what? This will make the run a bit more challenging; you’ll have to be on your toes to make up for it. And that’s awesome! See it as an opportunity to train your own skills as well as your mental stability (something which is certainly needed if you’re intending to raid 25 man instances later on.)

Chat channels
Another example: I’ve read quite a few complaints about the general and trade chat channels. Some bloggers have even turned it off, out of annoyance. They seem to get annoyed that people are asking things they could easily look up at Wowwiki, Wowhead and other public websites. I put on my pink filter and say: so what? As long as it isn’t gold selling spam (which honestly annoys me too) I’m fine with the rather wild discussions that sometimes are going on in General. It makes the world feel inhabited at any hour. Those “silly” questions sometimes work as starters of interesting conversations. I’m not sure I’d be any happier if everyone looked up the information they needed on their own, remaining silent.

Azeroth isn’t perfect and it never will be – no matter what appearance we may have in the game, we’re all human beings behind it, all with strengths and weaknesses. But if you get constantly annoyed by the tiniest little things in the game – it’s your choice. You’re not a victim, even though you may think so.

To see the gold
I try to see the world through the pink glass. Sometimes I fail. But I try because I think it will keep me happier in the long run. If I manage to discover the hidden grains of gold in other players I think it will help me to find the gold within myself.
And to my fellow bloggers: keep ranting about things and people that annoy you if that's what you like to do. They're fun reads. But don't forget to write a rant now and then about players and features in the game that inspire you and make you smile! We need that stuff too.


loronar said...

Pink glass. I like that. It's like in the middle of colorless clear and red opaque. You're not limited to one view. Nice. (I'm probably reading too much into it. XD)

I'm probably different compared to a lot of people. Instead of removing channels, I kept the normal ones and added the World Defense channel. I like being in the midst of conversations. :P

David said...

...except if your questing in Grizzly Hills and the World Defense channel spams your chat log from people doing daily quests :)

I've done my share of grumbling posts about this noob or that noob, but I think its always important to remember we were all noobs once. I remember spending an hour or more running (not flying) from Auberdine to Theramore on my level 35 mage because I didn't know there was a boat that went there directly.

There's also an important distinction between being ignorant of game mechanics (i.e. a noob) and being just ignorant. If I'm in a pug with the former, I'll say something lighthearted like, "hey melee guy, stab em in the butt, not the face, you'll get parried less!" For the latter, if someone is just being a jerk or rude and I'm in a pug with them, I'll let it slide and just focus on doing my best. If they end up wiping the group because they ran into a room without looking or pulled a boss early or something just dumb, I'll let it slide once. One more time and I take my leave.

Another point to consider is people rant on blogs because arguing in-game, with pug members or guildies during a raid will just cause rages, as in /ragequits /ragehearthing /rageD/Cing, etc etc. Blogs are a great place to blow off steam after tolerating someone in-game for a whole dungeon run.

Eishen said...

In my personal book of grudges there are one spot far worse than noobs, autoproclamed "pros" who start grumbling at the very first pull of a pug.

I can really no support the shaman who doesn´t use an ankh because "you all have made it very bad" (real situation)

I mostly pug with my alters when raid rotations let me aside and I face pugs with lots of forced patience, promising myself I would not be first to throw the towel and try to learn others class mechanics (in a raid I concentrate too much to do such thing) or teach about positioning, rotations to players willing to hear it.

As an experience finishing normal mode Uthgarde keep after three wipes with a pug turns to be more satisficing than clearing Heroic Violet Hold in 15 minutes with guildies.

Gevlon said...

You are a mind-reader Larísa, my tomorrow post is just about these people. However I'm far from being just ranting and do nothing. Wait and see!

Esdras said...

TBH they do get a bit frustrating bit they pay there money and have just as much right to be there as we do.

There is a reason why there is an ignore list and why guild vet people before they join.

I must admit though that I use to get so frustrated with them to the point af having huge whisper arguments hahaha I have now mellowed and have learned to live and ignore them.

Captain The First said...

I think once in a while it's probably healthy to vent your agitations.

I am guessing most bloggers simply write their annoyances down in a blog post to be able to put it behind them and more often than not they're quite docile in-game.

And the occasional rant is good, it helps people recognize that they're not being completely irrational with their complaints.

Drama invariably makes for good reading and as long as you don't abuse that too much I say rant away... rant your little hearts out :P

Cassini said...

@ David - wait, what? There's a boat from Auberdine to Theramore? /facepalm

*vlad* said...

It always amazes me just how little patience people have in pugs.
One mistake and the whining and bitching never stops;someone is a noob or a ninja, and there is no point playing with noobs and ninjas, right?
Insults are traded and then the group falls apart. Now that annoys me more than anyone making mistakes in game play.

Herc said...

Sometimes people just get frustrated.

Regarding PUGS

The biggest thing is players don't want their time spending on instances a waste of time. Plus being saved to an instance you never finish really sucks. Repairs aren't nice either.

Regarding chat channels

If you are annoyed by people asking questions that can be found via the internet ... get a grip. It's an M-M-O RPG. People are suppoes to interact with each other. Of course I'm talking about players who ask legitimate question.

I myself like to think of myself as a mellow player/tank/dps when playing I rarely do an outburst of some sort but I do understand both sides.

kyrilean said...

For those of us that rant, I do think there's a small part of us that hopes these guys will read it and a light will turn on where they say "Oh, now I get it!"

I think the reality is that those types of people don't know this stuff exists and will never read up on it. Isn't one of our biggest complaints they don't research their toons?

Anywho, back to your point. Very interesting. Always known it. But sometimes having someone point out that I've got control over my own attitude makes me say, "Oh, now I get it!" :D

Larísa said...

@Loronar: I must admit I've never got the idea about Defense channels... not on a PvE realm... :) The color of pink is of course referring to my obsession with my pink pigtails and this inn. But the way you interprete it... it sounds great!

@David: you've got a point. Arguing in blogs is definitly much better than arguing in game. I think though that people would be happier if they tried a bit more of a non-aggressive approach to the game and other players...

@Eishen: that's a very sympathetic attitude you have. Such a pity you're a horde and play on a different realm. Would love to party with you!

@Gevlon: now you're making me curious!

@Esdras: that's personal progress, isn't it?

@Captain the First: I don't mind the frustrated rants - only the overwhelming majority of them. I'd like to see some happy rants for a change.

@Vlad: yes... And still we have to try to deal with that too. To not get annoyed with the annoyed people. There's too much of annoyance out there already. Be happy!

@Herc: yeah I agree completely about the chat channels. That's why I want to keep them even though the conversation sometimes is a bit silly. Thanks to those you never feel totally alone, even if you're playing at an odd hour and not many people in your guild are online.

@Kyrilean: actually I think some of those rants can work as some kind of reminders to ourselves. Because I've got a theory that no one is really free from guilt here. You know... the thing about throwing the first stone. It's just that it's so hard to admit it it. That we too sometimes forget and fail.

Hudson said...

I talk about my adventures, but will call out a griefer or someone that is not paying attention and doesnt care if we wipe. Those types ruin a PUG for everyone that is trying hard to accomplish something. Sometimes being nice just doesn't cut it in this game.

Birdfall said...

I ranted "at" PUGs once, but added a qualifier: "And even though I know that the people who have been asking me EVERY TIME I LOG ON to instance with them will never ever ever read this, I just want to say: No. I don't want to instance with you. It would be horrible, you're just asking me because I'm a priest, and after finding out I can heal about as well as an Oily Blackmouth, you'd end up leaving me to die."

There's a difference between being understanding of people who are just learning their class (and maybe even giving them tips and advice) and encountering people who are actually detrimental to you. If, for example, you ask someone to heal your instance and they say yes and then don't... it's an issue. For the good of the group, you need to kick them and find someone who will do the job.

Some people don't care much about learning their class, they focus on more social or collecting aspects of WoW, and that's fine, but it's not necessarily fair to expect others to take them in groups if they really don't know how to play. It wastes a lot of time and money to pug with some people. And while I can be understanding that that person has different priorities in the game, I can also justify looking elsewhere for a group -- not just for myself, but for the people who have to group with me.

While I understand that you're distressed about players who constantly harangue people who are trying but just don't know any better, and I agree with you on that count -- not everyone is as innocent and nice as you. Your intentions are always good and you seem to often worry about letting your group down -- but not everyone does. Some people honestly don't care if they inconvenience the people around them, and some people actually wipe their instance group on purpose just to be funny (I know a 14-year-old who's a handful), and sometimes it's justified to take a hard line with people. It's just important to be discerning enough to tell between accidents due to lack of knowledge/skill and when they're actually a huge inconsiderate jerk.

Perhaps even pink can cloud sight and taint judgment. I give a lot of people the benefit of the doubt, but I also see people who are jerks because they think it's fun.

oriniwen said...

I rant because it's in my nature.

I blog my rants because then I link the posts to guildies so I don't have to rant at them, it's already written down and I can save my vocal cords.

It's also cathartic :)

As for PuGs, ignorance can be cured, stupidity cannot. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and then attempt to impart some wisdom (if I think I have any) if needs be. People who won't learn from their mistakes, or the advice of others - are just plain stupid, and not worth the time.

Though it takes some experience with people before you can determine if they are ignorant or stupid.

Fish said...

I have a tendency to rant a lot, but I have an overall very positive view of the game. I have been in PuGs that were awesome. Most of my guildies are amazing, both in a personal sense and to run with.

But imagine your favorite dessert. You take a bite and savor it. On the next bite it turns sour and disgusting. I believe we rant because although the game itself is enjoyable and almost incomparable to anything else, the moments of displeasure are a stark contrast that stand out.

Dr. Wang said...

"I think once in a while it's probably healthy to vent your agitations."

I completely agree with Captain.

David said...


Actually the boat in question was from Menethil to Theramore. I got on the *other* boat from Menethil to Auberdine, missing the whole point of having two boats from Menethil.

Larísa said...

@Hudson and Birdfall: : no, being nice isn't always effective. And I may be a bit naïve wearing my pink glasses. But what I'm trying to say is that by getting annoyed you're just hurting yourself.

Have you heard about I think he was called Victor Frankl? He survived a nazi camp during world war 2. How did he cope? Well he found that even though he suffered terribly from the things that happened to him, he always had a choice how to react to it. That little piece of freedom kept him sane. I think it's a way of seeing things that's useful in all sorts of situations - even such a trivial thing as a paiful pug group.

@Oriniwen: yes it takes time. I think the philosophy 1 mistake is ok, next time you're a noob is a bit harsh. I pugged Obsedian Sanctum 10 man today. We had a couple of wipes on the last boss so I got a chance to practice the drill with the waves. I must admit I got hit a couple of times the first tries. But the last time I finally started to get the rythm. Some people learn a bit slower than others. Blame age, blame lack of talent. Don't judge them too quick.

@Fish: yeah, maybe the negative rants are like salt. We need a little bit about it too. But not too much.