Monday, March 26, 2012

Behind The Character

I had a friend recently ask me who was my main in WoW, who was I progressing through content until MoP. My answer was, "I am done". I suppose it was a rather brash answer and I had to explain why I'm waiting for the expansion to pick up again. After playing from release I have watched a wonderful game turn into something I dislike, and the game is still wonderful in many ways but the community is far from it. There are many other games with better communities that cater more to my type of play anyhow, if I want to progress. I could change my mind, but for now I'm just puttering around and that is fine with me. If the community were better would I play more? I'd have to say yes. After so many years I suppose the actions of others have soured the game for me.

Which leads me to today's topic. Are we, as players, responsible for our actions? Recently (EVE) CSM-Chairman- Alexander "The Mittani" Gianturco- gave an apology for some slimy actions he made public. In his apology he mentions ..."except that I was so smashed that I didn't recall exactly what I said", and "and do my level best to convince everyone that I'm an unrepentant space villain, as that kind of facade provides an in-game advantage to me and my alliance. But I am not that character in real life, as anyone who has met me can attest." If you haven't read the story, catch it here on Massively.

Now I am just using this guy as an example, and what a fine example of really how far people can go. At the end of the day you are responsible for your actions and if you make someone feel like dirt, because you think it is funny you're still doing it, not your character, not your in-game persona. Chances are that person, on the receiving end, isn't thinking this is just part of the game, they're taking it personally. You're taking the time our of your day to bother them.

But what if I'm just playing a persona, it doesn't really matter, it isn't me doing that? Right? Lets make an extreme example of just responsible you are. If you send a death threat to another player, hey you were just playing your characters persona, you can have legal actions taken against you. You and only you are responsible for your actions, you can't chalk it up to role-play, it's serious and people take this seriously. Just as any form as abuse, it hurts when someone picks on you, judges you, harasses you, at some point or another someone has done something to us in a gaming environment to make us feel bad about something. It doesn't feel very good. I've grown a tough skin but it still hurts when I see other players picked on, I don't like it.

As the years go by, I see more and more of this type of behavior and it just seems so mainstream. Oh they didn't mean it, they're really a nice person in real life. How about taking responsibility and having some decency about yourself and others in the community that you play in, no matter what game it is, to take actions you would be proud of in real life or in game. Because in reality you're the one doing this, you can make the game a great place or a place nobody wants to be. Now you might say that everyone else is doing it, how long do you think that community is going to last? Do you want to be part of the community that chases players away or the part that helps it thrive? Why not take some pride in ourselves as well as our communities- to be respectful to other players instead of smearing their faces in the mud.

Now EVE and WoW are two different games. But we can make the community a more positive place no matter where we play. If you take a moment to remember there is another person on the other end. They are not some expendable piece of trash to grind your heel into as you walk all over them. There is a feeling human that your actions can affect in ways you may never know.

Recently I knew of a friend who took the time to go out of their way to help another player in a game. The player they helped was having a mental break down in real life. He logged in just for human companionship, he was alone, he was suicidal. Imagine if someone had told him to off himself, out of spite for who knows what. He told my friend that they really had no idea how the act of kindness to take the time to talk to him helped him. They became friends and he's doing much better, thankfully. We all have things we struggle with, we don't always consider what the other side might be going through. Not every situation is so extreme but why chance it? The tables can turn in life, you reap what you sow.

I go far out of my way in all my games to help other players, I try to make guides to help those I can because I like to help make communities a better place, in any little way I can. It makes me feel like I am doing something to help others and it is a feeling I like. I try to extend my hand in friendship any chance that I get, it isn't always received as I'd like but at least I try. I like to think that little things go a long way for my gaming communities and I did my damnedest. It isn't some need to be liked, it is taking pride in things I am part of, in what I do.

It isn't impressive to make others feel badly in order to make yourself feel better. To pick on people or use tools in the game to judge a person's worth. You might pass up something special- A great tank, a great friend, a new guild member. In the past I judged someone by a name and turns out I was dead wrong, to this day they are one of my long time friends in WoW. A fantastic friend who would go above and beyond for me, someone who checks in with me to see if I'm okay when I don't play. How many of us can say we passed up this type of friend because of our actions, we'll never know.

This is just something that has been on my mind for weeks. I hope each of us can take more care in how we treat others in-game as well as out.


  1. Using the "sorry I was drunk and didn't remember what I said" excuse is completely juvenile and doesn't fly anywhere other than on college campuses.

    He apologized, which is good, but CCP should removed him from CSM. Owning up to the mistake is only part one, dealing with the consequences is the second part. You can't just say, "I'm sorry" and walk away thinking everything is hunky-dory again.

  2. I totally agree. I suppose gaming companies also need to pick up the slack in many areas showing communities that abusive behavior isn't something they condone. I think it could go a long way.




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