TheGrumpyElf has a thought-provoking post today that I believe everyone should go read right away. I hope he’ll forgive me for not agreeing entirely with his point but I think he makes a good history of the problem, how it used to be and how things changed. I was there to see those changes it happened pretty much like he said.
If you’re wondering (which you should not because you read his post right?), Grumpy is talking about how automated group finding tools like LFD and LFR removed accountability for the bad players. Before those tools a bad player name would eventually get around a server and be black listed by the community, the good ones would get invited everywhere and that was life. You were responsible for how people viewed you. With LFD/LFR, you can do whatever you want and you’ll never be blacklisted and a bad player will be allowed to sour the game experience of as many people as he wants.
Grumpy finishes with this.
But one thing I always say is that I missed being able to be in a group where everyone was at least a decent player capable of doing the content because it was built with people that earned the right to be in that group by the accountability system we had in place before the looking for system.
Sometimes I wonder if what we lost is worth what we got. We sold our souls for an easier system and lost our community in the process.
I’ll be honest, when people start talking about “earning the right” or “deserving” it gets my attention fast. I don’t believe any player deserve more than any other. We all pay the same amount of money and everyone should be able to enjoy the game playing how they want.
So with that long introduction over, let’s talk about the bad players and how we can save our community.
The colors of bad
Bad is such a broad term. It’s also a very subjective term. If I compare myself to someone who never played then I might find him bad. If I compare myself to a raider from Paragorn, I must be downright awful. But bad might not only be about performance for some, it could also be gear. If a tank is in a heroic with barely acceptable gear he could be tought of as bad…. then again maybe he started playing way later than the rest of the player base who got better gear on average.
Then you can start combining these factors. Maybe the tank has poor gear because he’s a new player to the game and doesn’t know any better yet. Sure his tanking is awful but does that make him a bad player? Back in the day he would probably have been blacklisted while his only crime was to have picked up the game later than everyone else.
You see where I’m going with this. Being in a group with strangers doesn’t tell you squat about them . What you perceive as bad can be explained in a multitude of ways. Time, experience, skill, comprehension, distractions… any reason really. I learned my grandfather died while I was running Old kingdom and I finished the boss we were fighting in a kind of dazed state while my father was talking to me. Pretty sure my fellow puggers thought I was awful.
But sometimes in the heat of the action we forget to consider all of that. I’m often guilty of raging at hunters who keep their taunts on their pets while I tank. Sometimes I ask them politly to remove the taunt but more often than not I rage at them along with my guildies. I’m not especially proud of that because it’s not helping anyone in the end. Grumpy talks about community and I believe that this behavior or seeing Bads everywhere is not helping at all. But before getting to community building I want to address a particular issue.
I’m going to label a particular group of bad players Criminals. Criminals are the trolls, the jerks, the people who deliberately ruins it for everyone else. These are the ones that make racist jokes and throw insults left and right. Those are the players that no matter what you do, they’ll just ruin it for you.
For these I entirely agree with Grumpy. I miss the old days because we could identify them and keep track of them. I hate it when I get them in my pugs and I wish all their accounts would be banned and their computers burn.
But I don’t believe all the “bad” players should suffer because of those criminals and I think that if we want a better community we’ll just have to live with them.
If we want community back…
If we disregards the criminals, every player pays the same and is allowed to play the game how they want to play it. No one deserves to play more than other or have privileged access to content. I’m not saying that everyone should play with everyone. Hardcore guilds have the right to choose who they play with when they raid just as casual can choose their members based on personality alone.
But LFD and LFR are tools designed to give a chance for everyone to see the content. It doesn’t rob anyone of anything. Hardcore can still do world first if they want to. But when you click that LFD button, you do so with the knowledge that you will be put with four other players who come from many different backgrounds and all have the right to be there.
You should not resent people for playing the game in another way than you. There’s more than enough room for everyone.
Again, criminals are excluded.
So, going in LFD with the knowledge you may be put in with people with vastly different goals and aims as you your choices become really simple when you are faced with a player you consider bad. Is the bad player preventing you from finishing the run? If the answer is no then simply smile and run along with it. There’s no need to get upset about it. You’ll finish the run, get your loot and go home. Bitching will not make it better and it won’t help the other guy either.
If the answer is yes then ask yourself if you can do anything about it. If you think you can correct the issue simply by offering a few suggestions then go for it. They might listen or not but at least you will have tried to help out. If there’s nothing to be done and disaster is sure to happen then simply leave. There’s no need to waste your time and there’s no need to make someone else day more miserable by belittling them.
So it’s really that simple. We’ll never go back to the old community and accountability and I’m happy for it. Too many players got blacklisted back then only because they didn’t fit some standard often set by players whose only merit was to have started before them. Think back for a moment how new servers got flooded with people needing to make a fresh start along and level along with everyone else.
We can build a new community though and for that we only need to stop resenting people who are not at the same level of play as we are.