Foreword: This post was directly inspired by this one over at the pink pigtail inn. Larisa is one of my favorite bloggers and I respect her and her ideas a lot. More often than not she has sparked good ideas for me and even helped this blog by encouraging me. That said, when you don’t agree with something, you don’t agree with it and I want to do my best here to do it with the utmost respect.
Also, I’ve been guilty of everything below so I do include myself. What follows is a reflection I’ve been having for a long time and that thanks to Larisa I’m finally able to write down.
You know it, I know it, lately there’s been a lot of talk about the WoW community. I know I’ve been vocal to the fact I think WoW community is probably one of the worst ones out there if not the absolute worst one. When Wolfshead wrote the article that started the recent spur of talks about community I was overjoyed. At last! someone talking about the problems. And then Larisa write her latest post about how we must not judge everyone just by looking at the community and how we can all enjoy the game doing our things and without being asses to others. How not everyone is bad and how some parts of the community are in fact helpful and friendly.
Of course Larisa isn’t entirely wrong. There’s wonderful people playing WoW and if you have the pleasure of meeting them you have tons of fun away from the general dickery. But by saying that there’s no such thing as community I believe we are putting our heads in the sand. Wether we like it or not we are part of the strange group known as a community and we all are participating actors, whether we like it or not.
Evils of Gearscore, how we fail at community
Do an experiment with your fellow WoW players. Ask them if they like Gearscore, if they approve of it, if they think it make WoW a better place. Almost all of them, unanimously, hate Gearscore with the passion of a thousand suns. Nobody likes that piece of garbage and if we could be done with it we’d be a lot of happier. Yet, it remains… it’s still there and we are still using it. The number one item that comes up when we talk about how bad the WoW community is, is the one we are all using. If this sounds suspicious it’s because it is.
Why is Gearscore still there then? Because we failed at acting, because we agreed to it. How many of you have used it once for shouting in trade to get that “one last healer” for ToC. You’re bored with the place and just want to get done. We don’t feel like asking questions so we get lazy, we ask for a 5k gearscore healer, just to make sure we get done. Just then we failed at community, or rather we helped building the one we ate so much. Sure for you it might be “once every month” but for the outside observer it’s one more elitist raid leader asking for Gearscore. Later, when someone else will want to put a group together what will he use? Gearscore! Because the community has accepted it. Because all those “once a week” added up. If every time someone used gearscore in trade to recruit, 5 people were to tell him to go to hell and get raped by an elephant you can be sure gearscore would disappear fast.
But no, it’s still there because we are not speaking up and because when the time comes to do better we don’t. We are part of that wonderful community we love to hate by our inaction.
The island, how we clear our conscience
Just like a lot of things in life when we don’t like something we tend to distance ourselves from it. It’s so easy to blame it all on others and keep to our little groups, our islands and forget about the rest. Think about your wonderful guild, how you’re shielded from the bad pugs, the loot-whores and the rest of the scum. You’re not like them, you’re better than them and at least you treat each other right! An island of civility and common sense amidst the seas of the retards.
It’s so easy to clear our conscience with a Us vs Them mentality and blame everything that goes wrong on the “Others”. Yet we all play the same game, we’re all in this together. If we want things to change we have to interact with the “Others”. If they don’t hear our ideas how can they change to something we like more?
I have a challenge for everyone, myself included. Let’s play the way we want the game to be played so we have the community we want to have. If we don’t like Gearscore we don’t use it, ever! Not even when it’s 11pm and the raid hasn’t started yet and you fear the guild will collapse if the healer sucks. Take the chance, you might gain a new healer or you will crash but at least you won’t add to the problem. Communities are built by their residents, not by anyone else.