Friday, February 12, 2010

30 Days of WoW

I looked back at my first post of when I went back to WoW and it has been almost 1 month to the day.

In hindsight I made a decent amount of progress in a month. I got my Warlock from level 57 to level 72, 15 levels. I was only two bubbles from 58 so I don't really consider it a full 15 levels, but 14 is still good.

Dungeon Finder was fun and it still could be. It gets WoW’s players to the dungeons faster and easier than ever. I personally believe WoW’s best content always has been its 5 man dungeons. They have always been well designed and fun.

MMOs have always provided every subscriber with a certain amount of anonymity. You get to create a false name and identity and take on that persona while playing a game without fear of people knowing who you really are. Everyone started with a clean slate and got to build reputation with their server community based on how they choose to behave within the confines of the game.

What Dungeon Finder has done is created an environment of anonymity for your Avatar rather than just you as an individual. The vast majority of people you group with through DF are not from your server, more often than not you have never met them before. In the words of Edward Norton in Fight Club they are “single serving friends”. The downfall of this is that by providing each player with a greater level of anonymity you remove any fears they would have of social repercussions from unsavory behavior.

This all boils back down to John Gabriel’s Internet Fuckwad Theory. When a gamer has no fear of punishment and a captive audience they will often act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. Again though, I tend to be harping on this subject so I’m trying to make this point clear, this is not Blizzard’s fault. You can’t blame the person who built the street because crazy people want to stand on it and shout obscenities.

Something to consider is that we have had cross server Battlegrounds for a few years now, and people are trying to compare Dungeon Finder to BGs. The problem with BGs is that there were no tangible items to fight over. It is impossible to ninja loot in a BG. Depending on the Battleground you could have anywhere from 10 to 40 people on your side, which given statics means you are bound to have some intelligent and helpful people to offset those who are “leeches”. The amount can vary and everyone has experienced losing a BG because people didn’t work together.

I think the old Horde cave camping in Alterac Valley is a great example of John Gabriel’s theory though. There was no accountability for people who decided to AFK in the cave and “leech” honor points off the backs of their fellow Horde friends.

Some people have said that Dungeon Finder breaks immersion in WoW and of course others have said that about Cross Server Battlegrounds for years. The feature it’s self isn’t what is breaking the immersion, or gaming experience for me, it’s the people using it. Both of these features give players the opportunity to be in John Gabriel’s words and Penny Arcade a “Total Fuckwad”.

So in closing no one or two game features Blizzard has implemented is ruining my gaming experience. It’s the people using these game features with negative intentions. Blizzard has given its players a forum in which they can act out in any way with limited to no accountability for their actions and still retain their anonymity.

I hope this is my last post on Blizzard for awhile, it feels like I’m beating a dead horse. I’m glad I did blog so much this last month. I don’t think I would have been able to really pinpoint my issue with WoW if I hadn’t. I would just be another anti-WoW person spouting off random un-insightful reasons for why it failed me.

I may or may not have a post ready come Monday morning. I don’t know what I’m going to play yet this weekend.


  1. The people are most definitely a problem. Not just the WoW people either, but all people. It is most definitely the internet fuckwad theory.

    The people making the connection to the Bg's though are not entirely off base. You touched on the bad being introduced (the anonymity) but there's more. This also destroys the good. The good being the sense of knowing the people you play with and having that immersion. That immersion would be broken even with wonderful people.

    It's like the player has been plucked out of the world for the sake of convenience. It's not really about being a character in a world and playing the adventure anymore. It has become about the single act of completing content. I won't get into whether that is inherently bad or good, just that I don't like it.

  2. I never bought the fuckwad theory. I know too many people online that act the same way in real life to think that anonymity causes them to become uncontrollable lunatics. Those that act that way online, are probably really like that in real life.

    The problem with the Internet is amplification and isolation. Online, bad people traits are isolated and amplified because of it. If someone complains a lot in real life, but are overall a decent person people around them all the time will see that. However, online that tendency to complain will come out and due to the on/off nature of the net, thats all you will probably see. Therefore, an impression is built of a complaining jerk, and the decent side of the person is never seen.

    The fuckwad theory, IMHO, has never held much water and is only helpful at explaining half the issue.

  3. If people in RL acted they way they do in /trade and /bg and pugs I would be scared to leave my house.

  4. I'm not sure the Fuckwad Theory totally explains this mentality but I think it is a step in the correct direction.

    If people had to be accountable for their actions the community would be better. I ended up playing my 80 Priest Friday night which I haven't played since August. It was nice being able to bitch the stupid people out in group without fear of being kicked.

  5. What about the old bnet community? I have never heard/read more indecent crap than on Starcraft or Warcraft 3 and that was a decade ago. I felt like most people thought that was part of the game, destroying your opponents army, then continuing on to devestate any self-respect the losing player had. This goes along the same theory of internet anonmymity, but it highlights the change over the years, or lack-there-of.