Posted on

Honour the game

Stubborn over at Sheep the Diamond  has continued the discussion on the WoW community, and how ongoing issues of asshattery and jerkism could potentially be addressed via finding ‘common ground’ . The most awesome thing I got out of his post was a new response to jerks -  in groups, and in general…

“HONOUR THE GAME”

It’s so simple. Any time anyone is a jerk, just reply with ‘Honour the Game’. You may be mocked, cursed or abused, but it says it all, and it doesn’t invite discussion. Check the post out for a more in-depth view – he says it much more eloquently than I can paraphrase here!

Posts and podcasts and tweets – oh my!

I’ve been sitting on this post for over a week now as I’ve needed some time to formulate my thoughts, but it’s been great to see how the WoW community has embraced this issue in the meantime – there have been posts and podcasts discussing it all over the interwebs.

Twizz from Twizzcast got the heads up on my blog from a listener, and discusses the issue in the last hour of Episode 29 – Icy Veins (you can download it free on iTunes). It seems my experience really riled him up, and he’s calling for a crusade on this kind of behaviour!

WoW Insider got wind of the situation via Stubborn’s incredibly cogent post, and it seems a few of their writers found it story-worthy:

Anne Stickney wrote Should players be in charge of accountability?

Allison Robert wrote Sphere of Jerkitude: That’s it, I’m outta here

Matthew Rossi wrote What does community mean in World of Warcraft?

The comments that follow these stories paint an interesting picture on the state of our community, and highlights that the majority of people are sick to death of fun suckers, that they mostly feel powerless to do anything about it as Blizzard haven’t provided the appropriate tools to deal with them, and that long-term players look back with misty eyes at the ‘good old days of WoW’.

Sure, jerks and asshats have always been around, but the community used to be able to better police itself before the advent of LFD/LFR and cross-realm zones. If you were a douche, you would quickly exhaust your avenues for group play, until you were sitting in a capital city guildless and trolling trade chat because everyone had you on ignore and your bad rep followed you everywhere you went.

So, how can we honour the game?

I’d like to share some things I learned as a baby toon from some great player mentors waaaaay back in 2008 that I feel help me honour the game. It’s these things that seem to be fast disappearing in the wider community, and I think the game is poorer for it.

As a guild member, it’s nice to:

  • Say hello when you log in, and say goodbye when you log off
  • Congratulate people on significant achievements
  • Keep a level head on your shoulders – many guilds have players from widely different gaming backgrounds and skill/experience levels – you’re NOT any better than them just because you raid and they don’t, or you have 300k HK’s and they run behind a tree and hide in BG’s – don’t be an elitist pig to the people you see every day!
  • Bother to get to know people personally – what their interests are outside of WoW, what they do for a living etc. You might find common ground for late night drunken conversations!
  • Ask people in guild if they’d like to do x/y/z before queuing up solo – you never know who else would like to help you out/come along unless you ask!
  • Respond when someone asks a question in guild chat, even if it’s noob/derp/stoopid/lazy (the last one tends to get the ‘Google is your friend’ response in our guild, but hey – at least you bothered to reply!)

As a player out in the big wide world, it never hurts to:

  • Buff a player of your faction when you come across them questing
  • LOOK around you when questing/taking on elites etc – there’s nothing worse than an asshat coming in and tagging your mob, then leaving you to kill it!
  • On the point above: if someone else is in your close vicinity when you come across an elite – WHISPER THEM and ask if they’d like to help out – two makes it faster than one! The other person could well have been preparing to engage when you swooped in on your flying mount (damn you MoP and making baby toons run everywhere!)
  • Respond politely and helpfully when a low level character of your class whispers you, complimenting you on your gear and asking for advice or tips – you never know where a new friendship could begin!
  • Offer to help someone out if you come across them and they’re dying/dead to a particularly curly mob. You might get abused, but you might also make someone’s day!
  • Be polite to players on your server, and foster positive relations between like-minded guilds. For us, this has resulted in a pool of players coming together under the <Insidious> banner after many years of friendship and drunken Friday night joint runs. Sadly, this has also been as a result of some great guilds on Nagrand disbanding, but we’re all on the same page, and that helps keep the game fun.
  • Let the leader/s of another guild know when you’ve had a bad experience with one of their members – you might get the kind of abuse I did recently, but any guild worth its salt will take it seriously and at the very least warn the offending player that behaving in that manner isn’t socially acceptable.

In dungeons/LFR, things go more smoothly if you:

  • Say ‘hey all’ and ‘thanks for the run’
  • Don’t start pulling before the group has zoned in/healer has switched specs/druid has done symbiosis (that 5 minute cast kills me) >.< A quick ‘heya – all ready?’ really does set the tone for the run, and makes it more pleasant for everyone
  • Ask if people know the instance BEFORE you pull – you never know what experience the pug you’re in group with has
  • Take the time to explain a basic mechanic that avoids a wipe
  • If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all (I’ve been guilty of responding to trolls in the past out of pure frustration, but my most recent approach has been to wait for the inevitable group kick then grin wickedly to myself)
  • If someone asks a question in a group, don’t respond with ‘DERP NOOB’ or even worse – silence – try and help them out. We were all new players once!
  • DO NOT QUEUE AS A TANK IN PVP GEAR!!! I’ve seen it so often, and my mana pool as healer off-spec hates you for it. Yes, you DO have threat issues, yes, you ARE going down like the proverbial sack of shit when you get hit by a mob, and no, your gear IS NOT just as good as PVE gear! On this point, always make sure you can see your healer’s mana – when they’re empty and you continue to pull then say ‘OMFG WHERE’S THE HEALS’ you’re not going to win friends and influence people.

As a raider, you should always:

  • Be prepared with your own flasks and food, just ‘in case’
  • Listen to your raid leader, and restrict ‘feedback’ to your guild forums unless asked directly
  • Research progression fights or at LEAST run LFR (a more recent tool) to have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into
  • Research your own class and spec, gemming, enchanting and reforging – it’s not everyone else’s job to tell you how to play your toon
  • Be ready for a well-timed joke that gets everyone laughing after the 50th progression wipe – it can break the tension and help lighten the mood, often with great results.

I’m sure there are plenty of ways of honouring the game I’ve forgotten about so I’ll pass it over to you. How do you honour this game we all love?

6 responses to “Honour the game

  1. Stubborn

    Talk about taking an idea and running with it! You’ve really come up with a comprehensive list of hono(u)rable behavior in a lot of different situations; I even feel like this is the start of a new player “good behavior guide” like they have for World of Tanks and League of Legends.

    Many of the best things don’t develop on purpose, but because someone makes an offhand remark and others grasp it and raise it to greater heights; while a lot of us have been talking about community until our faces were blue, your story mixed with Navi’s declaration of Anti-Asshat week I think got the ball rolling nicely across the blogosphere to at least revisit the idea of improving things.

    It’s easy to get bogged down in what seems like a Sisyphean task – improving digital relations – but the very act of trying to do so is winning half the battle. Thanks for this post; it provides a wonderful level of concreteness that I never seem to be able to find. Great job, and thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Community: An Unexpected Resistance « Sheep The Diamond

  3. Doone W.

    I no longer play WoW, but I can see this list being useful to other MMO communities. It’s very straight-forward and kind of fool-proof if that makes sense :)

    Still, your post as nice as it is for players like Stubborn and myself, amounts to “take more responsibility for your actions”. I think this advice will be a helpful reminder to those who tend to be responsible, but who slip from time to time. Is it practical that this can help change those who really need to heed it?

    It’s true that those who notice the problem should lead by example. The problem is that the game treats bad players and good players the *same* way. That’s an impossible community to police because there are no consequences. And in that way the examples become invisible while the bad behavior becomes on display because it’s so outrageous.

    The list is still very good though. I just wish I had ways of translating it into a method of changing bad behavior!

  4. Navimie

    Gen an awesome post! I love how the community has gotten on board and really influential people are speaking out. Honouring the game (and spelling it in a way that’s acceptable to my sense of Australian) is a concept that I really embrace and wish others would do as well. But I wish real life had this too – how many people still thank you for letting them in or acknowledge you when you are holding the door for them? Anyway I digress but thanks for the brilliant read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s