Seriously, I Don’t Get It

The Washington DC area is weird. I’m sure that normal children riding a school bus have arguments about the superiority of this cartoon figure over that, this advertised snack product of empty calories and grease over that, and so on. In the quiet hamlet where I came of age, children on the bus would scream “Yeah? Well, Republicans RULE!!” “Nu-UH, Democrats are the best!”

I’m trying to decide where politicians fall on the spectrum between cartoons and empty greasy calories.

Anyway, the OOC channel in an MMO is not unlike a school bus. Playing anything besides WoW is like being a Yellow Bus Democrat during the Reagan/Mondale election.

If you have watched people debating the existence of god in open chat, you are aware that nuance is not possible, but the pithiest and swiftest typists can get in a few zingers before the CSRs show up. So why does the question of superiority in MMO goodness never rise above “you suck- no you suck – no your mom sucks” level? Why does the question of superiority come up at all? You never see scrapbookers having face offs over “clean design” versus “ornamentation.” No. Scrapbookers are all together in one corner making fun of golfers. That is because golfers suck, a trick these so-called athletes learned from their mothers.

I can understand the defensiveness on the part of the people who have chosen the home team game to build friendships, create guilds, and acquire multiple characters with maxed levels and crafting. But why the psychotic rage on the part of the people who have invested maybe two hours in a new game, and decided they liked their old game better? Why the need to announce it in a crowd full of people who, by their very existence in the channel, probably have a different preference? And why is it that I have to hear it at least three times a night?

I’d turn off the OOC channel, but then I’d miss the existence of god debate. Last night, god was winning, but Puerto Rico and Oregon hadn’t reported yet.



  1. May 15, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Most are trolls/griefers, who have a thick skin and enjoy poking the beehive with sticks to see if the bees will swarm. A handful are simply ticked that they can’t get a refund on the purchase price, and/or wishing they hadn’t been quite so “honest” in their /gquit post when they left WoW. Maybe one in a thousand raises the comparison out of an honest (if, perhaps, unrealistic) hope of improving their current game. If you find that guy before the lynch mob does, you might have an intelligent conversation.

  2. Lore said,

    May 15, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    God’s not dead, he’s just waiting on Warhammer.

  3. Athryn said,

    May 15, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    And there are people like Lore, who think that the next MMO will be like the rapture, the 2nd coming of Jesus, who will heal us all and make everything better. ๐Ÿ˜›

    I think what it really comes down to (at least in this country) is people like their teams. Look at the fanatical worship sports teams get. I see that being easily translated over to an MMO.

    As for me, I think competition is a good thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Krinsath said,

    May 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I think it’s just an evolutionary mechanism run amok. Humans tend to identify with the familiar, and be scared of the unknown. Good survival trait, since the unknown is likely to be full of things to get you killed. So someone brings up something unknown or challenges our preconceptions and our instinctual response is one of hostility. We don’t really think about it, we just react. That in turn challenges the original person’s preconceptions and they fire back and that triggers someone else and so forth and so on until a good old fashioned flamewar has erupted.

    Obviously there’s also that small community that delights in saying things expressly to incite that reaction.

    So you have that “default” reaction to change and the unknown, and a bunch of people who are either genuinely immature (because they’re kids) or woefully ignorant (that they haven’t learned that humans are not a Stimulus -> Response animal…we choose our responses) and it’s not dissimilar from the oily rags near the open flame.

    My personal thoughts…feel free to challenge. ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. Brinstar said,

    May 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    You mean that having political “discussions” (“Bush [senior] sucks!”) at 10 years old on the playground isn’t normal for the rest of the country? ๐Ÿ˜›

  6. Khan said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Itโ€™s all about conspicuous consumption: โ€œI have to buy the coolest stuff that everyone wants and people that donโ€™t want the same stuff I want are therefore losers. In order to make people want the stuff I want, they must be informed of the alternative and that they are losers for selecting the option they have chosen.โ€

    Itโ€™s stupid, but there you have it. As if wanting something fewer people want is somehow bad. I think it stems from a lot of insecurity on the part of the hater. Not being a part of the herd is nerve-wracking so those that dare to stray need to be shouted down until they return to the flock โ€“ even if being in that particular flock is boring or stupid or has a history of being run off cliffs at random.

    So basically what Krinsath said.

    I wish I were a faster typist. :/

  7. sanyaweathers said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Wow. I must be getting slow. All of these are totally plausible and yet didn’t occur to me as I added people to my ignore list.

  8. Drakks said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t have a real comment. After reading the above I was just compelled to post saying:


    My apologies.

  9. Khan said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    @ Drakks: Hrm … huh … wha? *shifty eyes* Hehe

    @ sanya: Well, unfortunately, I think the /ignore adds were probably completely justified – reason has no place in MMO chat channels in any game – at least none that I’ve played*.

    *Pending the release of Socrates: Age of Exegesis MMO

  10. Krinsath said,

    May 15, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Pffft, Socrates: Age of Exegesis is for n00bs.

    Real gamers play Voltaire: Enlightenment Crusade. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    All kidding aside, MMOs go back to another maxim about humanity. Individuals are incredibly smart. Groups of individuals, paradoxically, are incredibly dumb. Or “None of us is as dumb as all of us” which explains so many facets of MMOs it’s scary.

  11. Calaruis said,

    May 15, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Iโ€™m trying to decide where politicians fall on the spectrum between cartoons and empty greasy calories.

    Cartoon characters are more believable.

  12. Aufero said,

    May 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I suspect many of the people interested in reasoned debate turn off OOC shortly after realizing that it’s possible to do so. In conversation as in currency, the bad drives out the good.

  13. Njal said,

    May 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Heh, almost my first action in most MMOs is to leave whatever general channel/s exist. I generally can’t take the amount of stupid that occurs.

  14. Fozzy said,

    May 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I’ll have to agree with Athryn. Politics have just become another sport. It doesn’t matter if one “team” or the other has a good idea. If that side came up with it, the other side *has* to call it stupid/bad.

    If only we could vote on issues and not “packages” that we call people. Our legislators can’t even pass a law without endless “earmarks” slipped in to raise their vote count or campaign contributions.

    With that said, I also get sick of the 2-way conversations in OCC/general chat. If you’re responding to a specific person… use a tell/whisper (or whatever it’s called in your game).

    n00b1: Anyone want to do this quest?
    noob2: Sure I’ll go!
    n00b1: Ok, why don’t you meet be at the bridge.
    n00b2: Sure, I’ll be right there. Want me to bring anything?
    n00b1: Bring some food, I’m hungry. Did you see the game last night?
    n00b2: Yeah, awesome!

    fedupguy: STFU already! Take it to tells or group chat!

  15. Tom said,

    May 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Hmm. LOTRO. Brandywine. Bree chat. Last night. Or am I wrong and the same /OOC discussion was happening in another of the many MMO parallel universes? It’s a small small digital world, and the vocal people in MMOs do not change the way they act, only their message. While I don’t need to see that sort of debate going on, it’s easy to ignore….mostly (ok I threw in a comment but it was aimed at the mechanics of the debate not the topic). Besides, it’s nice to have a topic other than WoW being talked about in chat…

    Maybe they just need to make a /philosophy chat where people can go to discuss which deity they believe in (including Blizzard or whatever).

    What a great game LOTRO is, BTW! Mucho fun.

  16. Lore said,

    May 16, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Totally awesome Warhammer jokes aside, I’ve certainly found a healthy application of the /ignore function to have a far greater benefit to my mental stability than attempting to participate in the nonsense in any way. The issue comes when you can’t use it. I had a good 50% of guild chat on ignore at one point; now I’m the GM, and I guess people don’t like it when they can’t talk to me.

    @Athyrn: I’ve actually got that design spec all written out! Now to land a Lead Designer position at Blizzard…

  17. fxds said,

    May 17, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Politicians don’t fall on the spectrum between cartoons and empty greasy calories. Both ends of that spectrum have at least some redeeming enjoyment value.

  18. poena.dare said,

    May 19, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    This blog, once again, is a slap in the face to all cavemen who wish to know How is Babby Formed.

  19. recoveringnicely said,

    May 20, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    It’s not just golfers vs. scrapbookers. It’s more like…

    WoW rules, Conan sucks
    Horde rules, Ally sucks
    Shamans rule, druids suck
    Elemental shamans rule …
    Tauren elemental shamans …
    Male Tauren elemental shamans …
    Male Tauren elemental shamans with big horns …

    Or you can go the other way.
    MMOs rule, FPSs suck
    Windows rules, Mac sucks
    PCs rule, consoles suck
    Video gamers rule, dicers and larpers suck
    Games rule, life sucks.

    Or you could just play. I’m just sayin’.

  20. Gojira Al-Kzin said,

    May 20, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    One of the very first things I did when LOTRO went to open Beta was move OOC to a tab in the chat UI marked “Drivel”.

    I’ve never once upon peeking at the contents of that tab seen evidence that it was in any way mis-labeled.

  21. =j said,

    May 21, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Every time I think of reactivating my WoW account, I remind myself that no matter how hard I try, I will end up in Barrens Chat at some point. The urge passes pretty fast.

  22. macster said,

    May 22, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    lollore… sorry had to do it…

    I also leave the any general channel as soon as I figure out how to do it. The trade channel in WoW is horrendous enough.

    Anyways. I find it goes back to the whole cool music thing. So and So’s band sold out cause they are actually popular now! I really hate that. If you go by that logic, any band that signed a record deal and put a CD out, is a sell-out.

  23. KC said,

    May 23, 2008 at 10:42 pm


    Long time no see. Email me sometime so we can catch up on life!

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