I Finally Figured Out Why WoWs Community Sucks
I finally figured out why WoWs community sucks – it full of kids. Sometimes even foreign kids (the worst kind of kids). Tweenagers more precisely. Y’know, those boys and girls that fall between that horrible age bracket when they’ve left behind the innocence of childhood and the respect of adults yet haven’t quite learnt the harsh lessons of life and all of the responsibilities that come with growing up. How do I know this? ‘Cause I joined a new guild on Friday and everyone in it was 12 to 14 years old. And I felt like a pervert.
Fortunately the guild was short lived as today it merged with another much larger guild, presumably filled with lots of children too but at least large enough for me to not feel totally uncomfortable. Some of them can even type proper sentences so their parents must have taught them well (spot English lesson: Superman does good; you want to do well), well enough so they can masquerade as adults when the need arises anyway. That’s good enough for me.
I discovered a lot in my short lived venture though, especially when I joined my lil’ buddies on Skype to run a few battlegrounds. Yes, these are the guys who spend the whole time critiquing (to put it politely) other players, telling them how to play and using barely intelligible language in the process. I used to roll my eyes, sigh and just ignore it all when I saw that sort of thing happen, unable to figure out why anyone would conduct themselves in such a manner. Now, though, I’ve been on the inside of it all, hung out the natives and ingratiated myself with their tribe so to speak, and I see everything from a new perspective.
It wasn’t that my guildies were horrible people, they were just young and, combined with the fact that English wasn’t their native language, unable to communicate properly using the in-game chat system. Funnily enough they were quite courteous to me over Skype although whether that had anything to do with my deep voice and some sort of alpha male pack mentality, I have no idea (only one of them was able to claim the ability to speak with a broken voice). Ironically enough I was terrified that one of their parents would come into the room at some awkward point during a PvP battle and misconstrue the entire situation. Fortunately that never happened.
Whether or not WoW goes far enough to recognise that the game is played by such a large number of children and teach them manners or at least the social skills for engaging properly with others across the Internet is a whole other discussion. I’m positive that such quick fire-and-forget match-ups generated by the random Dungeon Finder or Battleground system don’t help any because there is neither an incentive to play nicely nor punishment for being a jerk. There was something quite satisfying and anthropologically interesting about how other MMOs forge their own community rules through player enforced repercussions but alas, that is most definitely lacking in WoW.
It’s the nature of the game though and the trade-off to this lack-lusture community is a highly accessible, casual, short gaming session friendly MMO. Unfortunately though it does perpetuate the text message culture, the concept that any sort of language is appropriate online and that manners, pleasantries or simple good will don’t apply to anyone else on the Internet. They’re not people, they’re just pixels on the screen.
Anyway, next time you witness the ugly banter of a LOL-Kid or the expletive commands of someone in a Battleground just remember, it’s probably a teenager sitting awkardly behind their monitor, a tear in their eye as they struggle to find the words to express the unruly emotions their suffering within.
God, I feel so old.