The Article In Which I Defend The WoW Community

WoW Motorbike Ride

"Gee willikers mister, this motorbike sure is fast! I can't wait to reach your love lair!"

So. 8 months after first experiencing World of Warcraft my brother has quit the game. He sent round a rather ranty email to myself and another mutual WoW friend on Saturday detailing his gripes about all of the other inhabitants of Azeroth. Apparently he was fed up of being insulted by random strangers, PUGers who constantly threw “hissy fits”, and people who call you a chicken if you don’t accept their invitation to a dual. After checking that his character wouldn’t be wiped when he unsubscribed (he’s still a noob at heart, bless ‘im), he cancelled his monthly subscription citing the reason as “other players are immature assholes’”. Smooth.

Whilst I can’t argue with any of his points and know exactly where he’s coming from, I can’t help but feel that he’s overreacting a little, especially as he’s now saying he doesn’t want to touch another MMORPG for a long time. Thing is, we all know the community in WoW sucks. It’s awful. It’s dreadful. It’s disease on the face on the virtual planet that needs to be wiped out by some sort of manners and etiquette learning virus. We all recognise this fact and faithfully accept that the WoW community sucks yet still continue to play. Why? Because for every few dozen assholes, nutters and whiners we encounter, we meet a solid, upstanding and kind denizen who does us right and makes it all worth while, enhancement our enjoyment of the game. And yes, this is coming from the guy who wrote an article entitled “That Terrible Wow Community”.

My brother knows exactly what I’m talking about too. Back in June he sent me an email containing the image attached to this blog post followed up by an excited, schoolgirl-esque phone call about how amazing and fantastic a time he was having because someone in his guild was giving him bags, helping him complete quests and taking on a spin around The Barrens in his nifty motorcycle (at the time I suspected he was being groomed for salacious purposes but I didn’t want to spoil his fun and since he hasn’t admitted to being coerced into travelling to the Philippines and being locked up in some sort of sexual man boudoir then I can only assume I was wrong). It’s the perfect example of what I’m talking about and proof that even in the rough that is the most immature and frustrating online communities, there are still diamonds to be found. Or, to put it another way, even the sun shines on a dog’s arse once in a while.

So what exactly am I saying? Is the WoW community good or is it bad? Actually the answer is a bit of a paradox as it’s both utterly abysmal and yet quite fantastic. As a blanket whole it leaves a lot to be desired yet this doesn’t mean we should dismiss the entire thing based on surface impressions. There are nice players and friendly players and great players out there, it’s just not easy to discover them and sometimes requires a heck of a lot of effort and a hell of a lot of digging. It can take time and not always be a pleasant journey but they exist, trust me, and are worth finding.

I can only hope that these negative experiences haven’t put off my brother from MMOs completely and, even if he feels that he can never return to WoW, at least he’ll be tempted to check out some other games in the genre. No doubt he will encounter his fair share of morons there too but chances are it won’t be in the same quantity as in WoW. It would be a shame to give up on MMORPGs completely just because of a few immature players.

-Gordon

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21 Comments

  1. Klepsacovic says:

    If you look hard enough in any place you’ll find good people. Yes, anywhere, and I’m sticking to that. But that doesn’t mean that things are okay. It just means that attempting to group people along any single variable doesn’t result in a homogeneous group. That applies to race, religion, or game of choice. Just to keep things interesting, tomorrow I will compare Mexicans to noobs.

  2. leah says:

    personally I still play WoW because of the game play itself, the game design, the look of it. i enjoy various classes. I play in spite of the community. there was only one time when I wanted to quit the game because of something blizzard did and even then it was related to community interpretation of it more then anything else – the zombie even and the griefing it made possible. Every other time, for every pleasant person I meet, there’s at least 10 douchebags. every single time I’ve logged out in disgust and didn’t play at all for several days to several weeks was because of the community. every single time I quit raiding was not because of the boss design – it was because of the community. Maybe both your brother and I are just not cut out to play MMO’s. Its not a few immature players. you don’t have to work hard to find them. but you do have to work very hard to find players you actually want to keep in touch with and with dungeon finder is harder then ever.

  3. Numtini says:

    I found very very few good people in WoW. I met up with a few I knew from elsewhere. But actually meeting people? No, I can’t remember a single one really.

  4. Wolfshead says:

    The sad thing is that the WoW community could be easily cleaned up if only Blizzard had the will to do so. They lack the will because it would cost additional money to hire more minimum wage customer service employees. It would also cost money in lost subscriptions if Blizzard actually banned repeat offenders which almost never happens.

    Here’s an easy way to control the bad actors who abuse chat with harassment and other terms of use violations:

    1st Infraction – you lose the ability to chat on all public general and trade channels including /yell and /say for 24 hours

    2nd infraction – you lose the ability to chat on all public general and trade channels and for 1 week

    3rd Infraction – you lose the ability to chat on all public general and trade channels including /yell and /say for 30 days

    4th Infraction – you lose the ability to chat on all public general and trade channels including /yell and /say for 90 days

    5th Infraction – you lose the ability to chat on all public general and trade channels including /yell and /say for 1 year

    Trust me, this simple rule system put an end to the bad community almost overnight. Players who violate the rules would be afraid to do so for fear of losing their chat privileges. It would cost almost nothing and Blizzard wouldn’t lose subscriptions either.

  5. amcl says:

    It’s a shame, because, as you’ve said before, it’s a great game! I love playing the game!
    We had such a good time 4+ months ago … I couldn’t wait for our next game!
    Now that we’ve all disbanded finding friends on WoW has been really tough, because people have no qualms calling you a noob (I’m sorry, I’ve never been to this zone before .. I have a life and only play for a max 5hrs per week) or insulting you for no reason, because there’s no consequence (you’ll never meet girls behaving like that you spotty brat).
    Maybe I should just play the game like a single player game and not fuss about saying hi to fellow players.

    I have met some cool people, but they’re few and far between and not recently.
    Hissy fits in dungeons, because some player is hassling another for rolling need instead of greed for an item that he can’t use really annoy me. Or throwing a fit because a paladin hasn’t put BOW on every applicable dungeon player. Grow up.

  6. gevlon says:

    I don’t think that there is “WoW community” unless you call the random guys on the same train “train community”. There are many people playing WoW, big part of them are duel-spamming, anal [eviscerate] spamming, 900 DPS drooling apes. However other people play this game too. You just have to find the second and /ignore the first.

  7. Russ says:

    I think that how you view the WoW community can affect whether you think it sucks or not.

    From my perspective there are divergent aspects that make up “the community” as a whole, and my reaction to each differs. Some of these fall into more extreme categories, relative to each other. I despise and ignore the rabble, the assholes, the asshats, the grossly immature people. I do not tolerate belligerent people. I accept and respect the people who play the game for fun and treat others respectfully, and their level of maturity directly affects my reaction to them. I enjoy my friends’ company in-game, because I enjoy social interaction with people I have come to know.

    (All of these, regardless of ability. I’d rather play with a mature person who doesn’t “rule” than with a group of assholes, and I’ve held to that philosophy in-game. After raiding once with a 25-ToC group that many of my guild members ran with back when that content was current, I subsequently declined multiple invites because it totally sucked. Yes, I missed out on several chances to get some sweet gear at the cost of hating the experience. And… I lived. It’s a game, not a job.)

    I also become a fanboy of people who take time to help others.

    For me, the community extends to real life (my friends who play) and to those who write about the game I enjoy. Blogging and following the writings of others has become a favorite pastime of mine, and I feel a kinship with those who write about WoW.

    Additionally, there are other communities that resemble the WoW community. For instance, as a fan/follower of both baseball and music, I can attest that each “greater community” is filled with a variety of people, ranging from total asshole trolls to some of the most interesting people in the world. So the WoW community, in the greater picture, is not so different from other areas of life.

  8. kaozz says:

    The WoW community is a vile, sick, disgusting, scary monster. If I did not have good friends I’d be on another break. For a fresh player it’s got to be pretty overwhelming. Sure you meet some really kind people or someone really awesome once in awhile but that still doesn’t cancel out the other million assholes you run into a day.

    Some people can take the BS and deal with it others simply don’t want to be bothered with it. I think it boils down to the type of person you are. My husband hates the community but he brushes it off where I will fume over things easier.

    The overall community is what pushes me away from the game the most, however my small circle of friends keep me playing.

  9. ScytheNoire says:

    It really is all about who you surround yourself with. Thankfully I found a good community which is also a guild, AIE of The Instance fame. Great group of people, and enough that you don’t have to deal with outsiders who are nitwits if you don’t want to.

    But when you PuG, or especially in Battlegrounds, you find all sorts of knobs. Just try to find a great guild community and keep with them whenever possible. Or try changing servers. But there are good, big and small, guild communities out there on every server.

    Plus, don’t play Alliance. *zing* :P

  10. Refreshing post! Yes, the WoW community can suck and there’s plenty to gripe about, but it’s always nice to see someone at least acknowledge that there are good people to be found. I do get lucky sometimes and meet some great people to play with, and these I usually add to my friends list right away!

  11. [...] to make a bod give up on the community and the game, right? Actually … no, it’s not, says Gordon over at We Fly Spitfires as he defends the community to the [...]

  12. KK says:

    Nice article and so true. I currently have WoW set to cancel middle of next month. I already have taken it off the computor as well. Trouble is after a week of looking, I find no game that holds my attention or that I enjoy playing as much as WoW.
    The asshat community is one of the biggest reasons I get frustrated with the game and don’t want to play, trade chat and PUGs really can ruin it for a person quick.
    The suggestions to find a good guild and turn off the rest of the community may be the best advice yet. Also Blizzard doing a better job of policing chat would make make a marked improvement in the experience for the majority of players.

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