I Finally Figured Out Why WoWs Community Sucks

WoW Community

I thought it best to censor this screenshot, especially since I just realised that the player is a member of my new guild...

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.

-Ancient Gordon

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51 Comments

  1. Morphisat says:

    I am in a guild that consist only of older gamers, with kids and all, even a few couples playing. I think such a guild would be more suitable for you :) . There are a lot of ‘older’ gamers playing as well, but they’re probably not as loud as the LOL kids !

    Wasn’t the average age of the wow player 28y or so ? That might have been an older survey, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  2. Luke says:

    it took you long my [cough] old [/cough] friend ;)

  3. I played WoW at launch for a while and have checked in periodically when expansions shipped. The community has certainly changed from that first year, but it really wasn’t until I tried the Goblin starting experience from Cataclysm that I realized how much it’s geared towards kids. At least that was my reaction doing the Goblin area. I appreciated the devs replacing the starting kill-ten-rats experience with more interesting mechanics, but all i could think was “wow, this feels like a kids game now.” Either that or I’ve just become an old man. Or maybe it was just the Goblins specifically. I will say, though, having just played through the RIFT starting experience, that I did not once have the “it’s aimed at kids” feeling (even if it was the same old kill-ten-rats *sigh*)

  4. Klepsacovic says:

    Even with an average of 28, consider what the population will look like. Below 14 you’re not going to see many players. But on the opposite side, there’s no real maximum age, meaning that in a sense, a 60 year old player changes the average a lot; there are no negative age players to balance that out. Besides, it’s likely that older players aren’t saying much, it’s the loud younguns making the noise. And since there’s no real indication of age, it’s hard for adults to keep kids in line, not that that works these days anyone.

  5. wilhelm2451 says:

    Next you’re going to tell us that a lot of kids hang out at the mall.

  6. Alex says:

    Having Kids rocks! Playing on the interweb in a community full of kids sucks! Nothing to worry about :;

  7. Arphalas says:

    I know what you’re talking about. Doesnt matter which guild you go to, even if its an adult guild like the one I am in now there is always one guy, either 12 year old or acting like it, making annoying sounds on TeamSpeak and refuses to use a ‘push to talk’ because ‘then his wireless headset is stupid’…

    So yeah, I know where this is coming from and I feel your pain.

    ~Arphalas

  8. Bhagpuss says:

    This really is where the different perspectives and experiences show themselves, between different MMOs and even differnet servers.

    My EQ2 experience has mainly been on the Test server, where the average age is probably at least in the 40s, maybe higher. Currently playing on the EQ2X Freeport server, which I would estimate to be mostly young adults in the 20 – 30 range. Vanguard was definitely 30+ with many a lot older. In over ten years of playing EQ I only met two teenagers who weren’t the children of parents who played.

    Playing WoW last year I felt it would be a big mistake to get into conversation with anyone. I’m in my early 50s and it just seemed like I should play WoW largel as a single player game, except for impersonal stuff like battlegrounds.

    Currently playing DCUO, which seems to have a pretty young profile, although nothing like WoW’s. Can’t hold a conversation there even if you want to , though, so it may be a moot point.

  9. pkudude99 says:

    “Some of them can even type proper sentences so they’re parents must have taught them well (spot English lesson. . . )”

    *ahem* Their parents must have taught. . . . *ahem*

    /englishnazitotheenglishnazi

  10. nugget says:

    Aweh, but I had so much fun running over all the goblins in front of the bank in the goblin starting town, and I’m already THREE!

    <..>

  11. slowthought says:

    You call them tweenagers? That’s what I call people in their twenties. I always thought that they were the worst noob-callers of them all. But I can’t tell you because as a RP-er I don’t use Vent or such.

  12. Lujanera says:

    I observed something similar to this during the end of Wrath. I occasionally made the mistake of entering LFD by myself around the time that the kids got home from school but before adults with 9-5 jobs had left work. I usually regretted this error, for numerous reasons.

  13. Bronte says:

    I know exactly what you mean mean. The first guild I joined in WoW was run by an American. Now English is my fourth language. Although I don’t claim I am Shakespeare or Kipling, I can put together a rather crafty sentence or two. So imagine my *eyeroll* when the guild leader said to me in guild chat: “u spek english rely guuuud!”

    Ugh…

    • Gordon says:

      LOL :) Y’know, I’m always impressed by the level of English players bring to the table. I mean, for a 12 year old to be able to speak and type English to a high enough level to communicate “properly” it’s very impressive.

  14. The Necromancer says:

    I see a growing in trend in the population of not just WoW but also in Halo and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as well. There is one growing factor, the number of kids playing in the multiplayers of these games or in World of Warcraft’s case the very game itself. It is happening all over the gaming world however it is not really touching the RTS games (whew…..saved RTS are my favourite). Nearly every successful FPS game and WoW so far have been invaded by an army of kid players. Strangely enough they don’t seem to go for other MMOs (for obvious reasons) but these games big enough to make a name for themselves in this year will be have to face the onslaught of the LOL kids.

    • Gordon says:

      I think a big difference is that 10 years ago the Internet was in it infancy and teenagers didn’t have access to it or credit cards to pay for online games. I know my parents were very skeptical about paying online so I could play Everquest.

  15. The Necromancer says:

    By the way the pictures of the WoW community just crack me up. It is really funny to watch “WoW’s Community at it’s Finest”. I hope you find some more mature and intelligent people to talk to in WoW.

  16. Epiny says:

    This is probably going to be a long post, forgive me Gordon.

    I completely and whole heartedly agree. I touched on this about 2 weeks ago on my Blog: Link http://spritesarefun.blogspot.com/2011/01/mmos-made-me-into-man-i-am.html

    You don’t need to go there… I’m about to TL:DR you all to death. The reason people seem to pine for the old MMOs is not because they were simply better games, but because they were better communities. In EQ my neighbor and I WERE those two teenagers in a guild filled with everyone from 25 all the way up to 65. Most of my server represented that same age bracket so we had two choices, learn MMO manners and etiquette or get black listed on our server. I learned manners.

    I am in fact the man I am today BECAUSE of EQ. I believe in equality for everyone so long as they all contribute equally… that I learned from being on a loot council. I learned conflict resolution through dealing with guild drama. I had to resolve loot and social issues within a raiding guild at the age of 19 when most my guild members were 10 years older than me… at least. I learned about how to properly construct a forum, or blog, post on the internet and I understood that lacking facial expressions or voice inflections makes a huge difference on how your post is taken. I didn’t just learn these things because I was playing EQ, in fact EQ had very little to do with it. I learn these things because of the community with in EQ demanded it.

    Games have gotten better, without a doubt I acknowledge that, but the popularity has lured in people with little respect for others. Be considerate of others, that’s all it takes to make a great gaming community. However you hear it all over the internet now… “It’s my $15 I’ll play how I want.” Well collectively as a guild we play some $450 a month in subscription fees and you can’t play how you want if it ruins OUR playtime.

    The bottom line is the game allows for players to be selfish and the community tolerates it. I don’t want to say it’s just an 18 and under thing. I know every aging generation say’s this, but I do believe it’s the mindset of a new generation. Yes every generation gets more and more spoiled than the previous, but at a certain point we are going to hit a point where it collapses on its self.

    TL:DR Unless we find a niche MMO that requires you to be 25+ I think we are screwed.

    • Gordon says:

      I think the money factor is interesting. 10 years ago, when I first started playing EQ, people didn’t buy things online and there was generally a lot of fear involved with handing your credit card information out over the net. I remember it being very hard to convince my folks to sign up to an EQ account for me! Now though it’s commonplace and I’m sure parents don’t have a problem paying WoW subs for their kids. Plus they can also buy subscription gamecards in shops now too, another thing that didn’t exist when I was a teen.

  17. It shouldn’t be that hard to find a guild full of adults, unless you’re on a very low population (or New Players!) server.

    That said, the kids are mostly completely obnoxious and make me have fantasies about legalizing retroactive abortion….

  18. I totally understand this. I had my own revelation a couple years ago working at a comic store/internet cafe, watching our customers play WoW on our machines day in day out. I mean, they were all very good people, polite and friendly when I dealt with them at the counter or by the computers. But I watched them play and saw the way they interacted with others in game, and I was boggled by how badly some people communicate over the internet, even if they are perfectly fine in real life.

    • Gordon says:

      It’s very interesting how people change when they go online, isn’t it? Unfortunately I think it’s a fact of (virtual) life though and we’re going to see more off it. People seem to think and care less about offending people online or even just communicating properly with them.

  19. Syl says:

    It’s odd, I keep hearing other wow players complain about ‘teh kids’ all the time, but the truth is the worst, most annoying or stupid gamers I’ve met in this game were never kids. in fact I don’t even know of that many really young players and the few I’ve met, were a lot more mature than many 25+ something player I’ve come to know in WoW.

    what servers are u guys playing on? :D

  20. Nils says:

    I agree, Syl.
    I play in an adult guild (pure coincidence). The amount of stupid players is substancial. The amound of unfriendly players, however, is not. We kick them really fast ;)

  21. Silvermute says:

    I think in LFD and random BGs a certain amount of self-selection occurs: i.e the sprogs tend to be more gobby, hence their apparent preponderance.

    That being said, I do feel your pain. Just before Cata I ran Arathi Basin with a random group and made the mistake of pointing out that fighting on the roads was not the best tactic for victory. The instant response was some comment about my mother; when I noted that I am 46, my mom is in her 70’s and unlikely to be keen on the suggested activity, the same player came back with the observation that I must have no life to be playing at my age. If you’re not playing with friends, it’s sometimes best just to close the chat window…

  22. Epiny says:

    I wrote to much… full blog post about it now.

    http://spritesarefun.blogspot.com/2011/01/weflyspitfires.html

    Excerpt “In reality it isn’t an under 25, 18, or even 14 thing. It’s the way the past few generations have been brought up, including my own. The video game developers are seeing a demand for a specific set of rewards and game features and they are providing them. It is in no way their fault.”

  23. [...] figured out why the community in WoW is awful. Too many dang [...]

  24. Phaedra says:

    To be fair, some people could just be terrible typists. My dad is a very smart man, but he has very large hands and watching him try to type is painful. Generally, I’ll shove him out of the way and type for him.

    However, I wonder how much of the poor community is allowed by parents who aren’t gamers and don’t police what their kids are doing/saying (ie, the internet/TV is a baby-sitter).

    I know when I plan to have kids, their gaming is going to be somewhat monitored. It might be worse for them because I know what the games are about and what they’re like – and what the communities are like. And you can bet my kid would get in trouble for spouting off some of the stuff I see in trade.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m a fast typer but my spelling and grammer really suffers as a result so I find I have to proof read my blog posts about 5 times in order to try and keep them error free (something I’m quite pedantic about). Unfortunately I don’t do the same for my comments or replies to comments and they’re often full of typeos and mistakes :)

  25. Dril says:

    Okay, I’ll give the kids’ perspective.

    WoW shipped (in America, upon whose servers I played before the EU version launched) when I was in the age-bracket in the article. Now, it could be because a) I’m British…so a native English speaker and b) I read an awful lot and was always very good at English compared to my peers. Where other people at the time would find the “Darren Shan” or whatever it was the most engaging and interesting reading experience they’d be involved in voluntarily (usually for up to 2 months per novel) I had already finished all of the available Discworld novels, all of David Eddings’ work, same again for Tolkein. Bear in mind that I went to a Grammar School as well (selective entry process; basically, we were theoretically meant to be the top 3% of students in our year-group across the nation) so it’s not like the people around me weren’t smart.

    I never had a problem communicating with people. I used to find it interesting to ask people who I talked to (i.e. in a dungeon) but didn’t know me well to guess my age. It was always at least 18…although the novelty of that wore off once I was closer to that mark :P

    So, yeah. My parents never monitored me either, and considering I managed to be a recruitment officer for a (real, raiding) guild, I don’t think I did too badly.

    • Gordon says:

      I’ve met a lot of very impressive younger players too which does limit my conclusion somewhat. For instance, the chap I’m running arenas with at the moment is only 15 and a foreigner but he’s a nice guy and a really skilled player. I don’t hold his age against him.

  26. Stabs says:

    I pug a lot, always have done and I’ve played all aspects of the game and met a lot of people.

    Most people are over 18. However a lot of 18 year olds act astonishingly immature and selfish at times.

    Most youngsters do their best to fit in if they’re the only young person. You’ll find many raid guilds where most people are adults having a 14 year old who behaves really mature.

    The most disconcerting is when you’re with teenagers who feel it’s a teenage social space. Vent with packs of hyper tweens is just horrible, if you’re older than about 17 get out fast.

    Having said that many times when I have moved on young players find it particularly hard to accept. I guess we get hardened to abandonment and dumping people in adult life. I’ve several times had youngsters refuse point blank to accept that I don’t want to continue our online acquaintanceship. It does make you feel pretty horrible when you /ignore someone who seems to be pouring out his soul on the other end of the line. On the other hand I didn’t join the guild because I wanted to adopt anyone.

  27. Ferrel says:

    Hilarious post (whether it was intended to be or not). Sadly you’re spot on in the assessment. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with what the kids are doing it just becomes silly to those of us that are older and no longer conduct ourselves that way.

    My guild is decidedly un-kid friendly (well, teenagers anyway). We’re all adults, we have a lot of couples and everyone is pretty much in the same place in life. The only kids in our guild are the children that directly belong to us (and thus they’re very well behaved).

    I think the trick is to find a guild like ours if playing with the teenagers becomes a burden.

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