Friday, January 23, 2009

Will people notice your actions?

“Most people don't remember you. Your fears about getting bad rep or hopes to be liked for being nice are vein. People only care about his in-group members, like friends and family. The others are not treated as individual humans, but as stereotypic figures like "the barmaid", "the taxi driver", "the CoH priest". Unless they see you every day, you are not more than an object for them. So don't bother trying to impress them. It won't work”

This cynical statement came by Gevlon caught my attention. His post was about the fact that most people that you interact with temporarily, for instance in a PUG, won’t remember you afterwards. Neither good Samaritans, nor evil ninjas, will be recalled by name, unless you really make an effort, using the friends- and ignore lists.

And it’s possible that Gevlon is right from one point of view – I for one have a terrible memory for names and faces. I will often reward good deeds from players I meet with a spot on my friends list. There’s a reservation though; if I don’t remember to put a note about the reason for it, I’m pretty likely to forget and eventually I’ll remove the name since I have no idea of who this person is and what he has done to impress me. In theory bad deeds should equally be recognized by a membership on my ignore list. That list is strangely empty however – I tend only to see the good things in people I meet.

I have actually experienced more than once in the game though that I’ve met people who have made such an impression on me at our first meeting that we’ve ended up as long-term game friends. (Well since I don’t know ANY people in the game from real life, that’s the situation with all of my friends in the game.) I don’t say that the friendship is built just out of your behavour in a single meeting, but I’m pretty sure that if either of us had given a bad impression that friendship would never have evolved.

All in all I agree that we probably sometimes think that others put more attention to us than they actually do, and that causes us unnecessary worries. People probably won’t notice half of our mistakes – or the good stuff we do – and if they do notice, they will have forgotten it as soon as the PUG is done and dissolved.

Still I disagree about the conclusion – that you shouldn’t bother trying to impress them. At least I bother a lot about making a good impression. Even though people may not remember my name, they will certainly notice my guild tag and I definitely don’t want to be the one who spoils our good reputation on the server.

But even if I wasn’t in a guild, it still would matter how I behaved and performed. It would matter to me. I will remember very clearly the things I have done – good as well as bad. And I can’t be fooled. If I do good things I get a nice warm feeling in my stomach. If I don’t, it will hurt. And I tell you I’m not nice to deal with when I’m displeased with myself. You don’t want to expose yourself to the self-hatred of Larísa.

So yes, actions will be noticed. Somehow. You can count on that.


Weezzii said...

I think actions certainly count. I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who don't pay attention... but I'm sure there's a lot of people who do.

If I'm online typically, I'm in vent with my guild. On a regular basis people will talk about how good (or how bad) certain players are in their pug groups. What's the impact? The rest of us key in on certain people and send them a tell if we're looking for a group in the same day or next day. Just talking about a person and using their name a couple times makes it stick in your head a little longer.

Obviously if you don't group with them soon afterwards, you probably won't remember them... but on occasion you do, and they end up being a regular in the groups for your circle of friends.

From a guild stand point, I'm pretty big on the "your actions reflect the guild" type of thinking. Clearly that isn't a golden rule... but I think there's an impression you can take away from interactions with certain people that reflect in their guild.

Ruhtra said...

You know I read that article the other day and was ready to agree with the gobline, but once again, my wife proves my pesimistic side wrong. She was helping run my druid through the end of Ghostlands quest chain when on the way out she saw a low level Paladin struggling. My wife is a good samaritan, she cannot resist helping others, where I never even notice them.

Anyway, back to topic, she helped the low level toon and we logged off, with my teasing her for taking every stray in. We log back in several hours later, me to check mail and her to chit chat with her friends and she has mail from this low level player. She opened and the character had gotten onto his alt and sent her the level 68 plate saranite set for healers.

So just for those who read this and are like the gobline or even myself to an extent, you never know when you help someone. Sure they could forget your name and not care or you could end up making a friend or at the least get a nice thank you in the mail!

Klepsacovic said...

I do sometimes remember people. Most I don't, but it's because my default is [good] and it takes effort to change that to [bad] or [worse]. I tend to remember people that I help out, regardless of their performance. Of the bad players, even if I don't ignore them, I tend to have a general memory "this name is not a good sign in groups."

As for trying to impress people, why not try? At the least you're just putting forth your full effort.

I suppose you could take this story positively or negatively. In the mid-70s I was healing regular VH as ret. It went okay until everyone screwed up o the ethereal boss (zero kiting means too much AoE). I said some... not so nice things and left. They started bashing me in trade chat and someone responds to them with approximately: "he was in [guild that ended a year ago], they're [jerks] but good players." Whether this was a compliment or insult, it showed that my guild wasn't anonymous and neither was I.

People do remember guilds. Maybe not when one person is trouble, but if there are multiple people, all being jerks, then they cease to be individual jerks and become members of jerk guilds.

Gevlon said...

The big question is that their memory (if exists) has any affect on your future life?

Do you lose something because X or Y have bad opinion about you, or do they just spam trade until everyone /ignore them for being annoying.

*vlad* said...

People who kick me from groups without justification go onto my Ignore list - I have no desire to play with such people, so having them on my Ignore list means I won't random pug with them again in the future.

I am a bit like you when it come sto friends lists. I get a bit annoyed by constantly having

" X has come online"
" X has gone offline"

messages every 5 minutes appearing in my chat log, so after a certain period of time, if I haven't played with that person again, I tend to take them off my friends list.

As for my own behaviour, I hope I am always considerate and helpful, but I would like to think that I'm not a soft-touch.

Aureilie said...

I just wanted to thank you for this post. I had read the original and was feeling somewhat depressed about it. The fact that you can give some glimmer of hope that all good deeds won't go unnoticed by fellow players has brightened my day a great deal.

Thanks. :)

Birdfall said...

I think you shouldn't bother to impress people, but you should bother to be a good person.

Impressing people has a certain "make them like me" mentality, while being good has a "make me like me" mentality. The second seems a lot more important to me.

My guild has a blacklist, so if someone has treated anyone in my guild very bad (ie, one guy harassed our friend when he made server first DK to 80), they go on my Ignore List. I am not afraid to use Ignore or Report (the latter mainly for name issues), if the person seems to be taking pride in being an overall horrible creature.

Larísa said...

@Weezzii: Yes, that's an aspect as well. I'm not usually hanging around on TS all night long in my current guild, but I've been in guilds before where that was something you did, and of course we mentioned players that annoyed us by name.. The day when that annoying player will apply to your guild the chances that he'll be recalled are pretty big.

@Ruhtra: What a beautiful story you shared! I love that kind of stories, thanks!

@Klepsacovic: Yes, the guild tag is definitly a hang-up thing for the memory. I can't think of anything worse than making my guild look bad.

@Gevlon: It will become a problem the day you'll apply to their guild for instance. Or even join a pug. A realm is big but not THAT big. I think trying to keep a good name and good relations with everyone you meet in the game will gain you in the long run.

@Vlad: yes, those messages.. always makes me feel bad when I don't remember who it was. That person probably seemed awesome at the point when I added them, but my memory is so short...and I do feel a bit ashamed about it. Adding a note helps though.

@Aurelie: thank you! I think I often write pretty dull and sad posts, but I'm glad if it gave you a little hope about your fellow players.

@Birdfall: you're right, "impress" isn't really the word I was meaning. I don't always master the nuances of English. I meant it more like you. I want people to think I'm decent, both as a mage and as a fellowplayer.

Rohan said...

Lois McMaster Bujold has a saying about reputation in her Miles novels that has always struck me as apt:

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself...Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards."
- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign

Larísa said...

@Rohan: you are brilliant. I can't tell the world this fact too many times. Thank you for that quote, it's really worth remembering.

Darraxus said...

I could see you and Grvlon sharing a blog one day with countering views. It kinda reminds me of the image of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.

Anonymous said...

I am a raving altaholic and because I don't feel the need to burden my already-busy guild with running my eleventy bajillionth alt through something, I PuG a *lot* with my alts.

I feel that PuGing is good for you as a player, and I love PuGs because it allows me to turn my greedy Guild Leader's eye on the up-and-coming players of my server. I am always, *always* shopping for new guildies and I am very very picky. So a series pf PuGs is like a trip to the grocery store for me. I can see what isnew, what is fresh, what is worth acquiring and what is worth avoiding. And I can talk to one member in a PuG about another member in that same PuG and even get a nice outsider's view on a potential recruit.

So, what I'm trying to say is that there is always a chance someone is watching.

And on another note, I guard the honour of my guild's name very jealously. I have guild kicked and publicly (trade channel and realm forums) denounced players who have besmirched our good name.

There are people who put a lot of time into this game and there are people (like me) who stay on a server for a long while and are a part of the community in many ways. (For the record I blog, I am a regular on the realm forums, I meet with people from my realm outside of game both online and irl and I have a group for our realm on Facebook). I know I'm not the only person to keep a finger on the pulse of the server community. Who does what and what the reputation of players and guilds are.

leah said...

What Rohan said.

and as long as you follow your personal code of honor, you reputation will fall in, especialy in such a relatively tight enviroment as WoW realms

P.S. the entire series are wonderful, one of the few military sci-fi books that I actualy like :)

Bristal said...

Nicely put, Larissa. I used to really enjoy Gevlon's posts, but lately they are getting really dark with an isolationist feeling.

The whole reason I got turned on to WoW over non-MMO's like Oblivion, was for the potential of a virtual community experience. I still rarely group, mostly due to limited play-time, but helping random strangers can be really fun and dispel the illusion that you are playing a pointless game ALONE, squandering your life. That's my wife saying that.

And even if that player doesn't remember ME, they will likely remember the positive experience, which makes everyone's experience better. Karma Chamelion, baby.

Although I actually got my first gank the other day just trying to help someone. I play PVE so I just mark target and fire when I see someone in need. This particular blood elf was apparently marked for PVP for some reason when I went in guns blazin'. After I realized what was happening, I figured I might as well fight for my life. It was a hell of a struggle with addons everywhere and we both ended up dying within about 2 seconds of each other, but I got my FIRST Honor Kill!! only took 78 levels to do it.

Herc said...


hmm larisa and gevlon blog hmmm....

We might have something going on here.

@main topic

If your doing something out of your character(like help people) and hope to get noticed chances are you will be disappointed.

Play the way you want and eventually people will notice wether it be good or bad.

I don't do something so other people will remember me, I could care less. I do them cause I want to.

Jong said...

I agree with you. I've seen people form opinions of a country based on actions of few citizen from that country. I think members of a group have responsibility to preserve the reputation of the group.

Larísa said...

@Darraxus: I'm playing the part of the devil? :) Actually I like a little bit of interaction between bloggers, as long as it's done with mutual respect of each others freedom of thoughts. Communication at it's best. Still I think it's better if we all have our own inns and pop buy visiting each other from time to time.

@Oriniwen: oh I loved that description of your attitude towards PUGs (grocery store) and your sense of responsability for your realm. Do you know what? People like you are like guardians of the community. Sometimes in secrecy. Without you the game really wouldn't be the same.

@Leah: Oh I maybe should read those books as well. I'm an old SF reader, but it's realy been a while. Don't get much time for readning now that the WoW bug has caught me.

@Bristal: Yeah, the only time I feel lonely in the game is if I'm questing in a remote area, no people around, general chat silent and no guildies online. That is creepy. I really prefer to have people around me to interact with or at least secretly listen to. Fun story by the way!

@Herc: yeah, I hope it was clear that I don't behave nicely just because I want to be appreciated. Or rather I do: but the appreciation I seek isn't the one from other people. It's the one of myself. The feel-good-feeling.

@Jong: oh yes. Fair or unfair - you judge the group from the behaviour of the individs that belong to it.