Monday, December 24, 2012

The Journey of One Thousand Miles Pt. 4: Don't be a Jerk

I've been on a bit of a hiatus over the last twenty days due to work and school, but with the onset of Winter's Veil and the end of my semester, I'm back with another installment of The Journey of One Thousand Miles.

We've talked about some of the finer points of being a new player, classes, and professions, so you're probably out of the starting area and grinding your way through the Shattered world of Old Azeroth. Which brings me to the topic of today's post:


World of Warcraft is an amazing game, full of vibrant, fun, and interesting people. It is also a shared-world MMO, which means that for every great player there is at least one rampaging jerkface. The offenses of this little known sub-Faction (you thought the Alliance/Horde were the bad guys, didn't you?) are as numerous and belligerent as these denizens of the interwebz are themselves.

Let's talk about some of these traits and what you can do to avoid/mitigate them after the jump.

The bottom line up front is this: DON'T DO TO OTHER WHAT YOU DON'T WANT DONE TO YOU.

WoW is both a cooperative and competitive game at its heart. We cooperate to take down PvE challenges, PvP Battlegrounds (both rated and not), Arena battles, and with our Guild members in various Guild activites. If you're a Role Player on an RP server, chances are good you cooperate withother RP'ers to make the stories and lore of your characters and Azeroth come to life.

We compete against players of the opposite faction (especially on PvP servers, for anyone who remembers questing through pre-Cataclysm Stranglethorn Vale); we kill them in the Arena, in the Battlegrounds, and in a multitude of different World PvP settings. We also compete with our own faction to be the best at our class on a server, the best geared, the wealthiest, etc. There's even a little-known, absolutely cut-throat Battleground in each faction's primary city called the Auction House...

But when does competition end and antagonism begin? When does "normal" play start to cross the line into the vulgar and unacceptable?

Questing Etiquette:

- I'm sure anyone who's played this game for any length of time can understand this example. You've been hunting for a quest item, one of those that just lays on the ground, sparkling, waiting for you to pick it up. Unfortunately, there's a pack of baddies standing around it that needs to be dealt with. Eyes on the prize, you run in and start blasting, chopping, shooting away... And just as you draw the enemy aggro, some raging jerkface rolls in, nicks the quest item (or node, or herb, or what have you), /lol's and flies off.

I don't do it to other people (heck, half the time, I let them tag all the mobs, and then I toss off some spells to help them out). I hate when it's done to me. Don't do it to others.

- If you  see someone waiting for a quest mob to respawn (not one that's quest tagged, where anyone can get credit for killing it, but one of the pre-MoP quest mobs), don't try to hit it first to steal the tag. Offer to group with them, and kill it together. You both get credit, XP, and loot, and you didn't have to be a jerk about it.

- Just because you CAN tag every quest mob in an area and AoE them down, you don't HAVE to. If someone else is questing through the area, tag a couple of them and be happy with that. Or, you can always offer to group with that other player just long enough for you to complete the quest. WoW ENCOURAGES group play (I know, it's a shocker).

Dungeon Etiquette:

- Don't NEED everything that you can NEED just because you can. That's why there's a Greed and Disenchant option. By all means, if you need a piece of loot that's the correct type and itemization for your class, go right ahead and do so. But NEEDING on something just so you can sell it for a couple of gold is just despicable.

- If someone's genuinely struggling in a dungeon, or playing poorly, instead of Vote Kicking them, you can try helpful (non-antagonistic) advice. That doesn't mean saying, "OMG Y R U SUB ROGUE, OMG U SUX," it means saying "Your dps is really low, what rotation are you using?" or "You're not doing a lot of dps, have you tried Combat or Assassination?" Of course as the game evolves, different specs vary in their competitiveness. If you told me last year that Frost Mages would be totally viable in PvE, I would have scoffed. Now they're competitive.

- If you're not Tanking/Healing/DPS'ing, ASK the other group members before Needing on a piece of Off-Spec loot. There's little in this game more soul-crushing than FINALLY getting that damn Tanking trinket to drop for you, and some Fury Warrior needs on it because he thinks he doesn't have enough Stamina. When I'm on my Warlock, and a piece of +Spirit gear drops that has more Intellect/Haste/Mastery or what have you drops, I ASK the Healer before I need on it. Why? Spirit does NOTHING for a Warlock, but it can mean everything to a Healer.

- Pay attention to your surroundings. There's little as frustrating to a group as a Hunter who Disengages right into a pack of mobs that you skipped, or an overzealous spell-caster accidentally tab-targeting another pack of mobs and blasting them with a Fireball.

- If you're not Tanking, you should probably let the Tank pull the packs. You should also let those mobs GET TO THE TANK before you pop cooldowns and impress the whole group with your amazing AoE trash pack DPS. Believe me, no one but you cares.

- If you're the Healer or DPS and a mob gets away from the tank and decides you look tasty, you should run TOWARDS the Tank, rather than away. #1: you will not escape it. #2: The Tank's AoE threat will likely pick it back up. You might also want to stop hitting that particular mob.

- If you're Tanking, and your Healer is Out of Mana, you might want to let him drink before your next pull. Your life bar is usually filled by your Healer's mana bar. You might want to keep that in mind before you eat a repair bill.

- If your Mage is Epic'd out and your Tank, who is in fresh-90 greens, can't hold aggro, it's probably YOUR fault, not his. The old rule of thumb is: DPS pulls aggro, it's their fault, if the Healer pulls aggro it's the Tank's fault.

Chat Etiquette:

- Racist, homophobic, or any other sort of aggressive hate speech is a violation of the Terms of Service. Blizzard may not ban you for it, but it CAN happen. So if you're a racist, or a homophobe, or you hate people from Zimbabwe, keep that crap to yourself. Chances are you won't though, since if you feel like that about other human beings you're probably a jerk anyway.

- If someone asks a question in Trade chat, it is NOT helpful to reply with misleading or hateful information. Maybe I'm a carebear, but if someone asks a legitimate question, I almost always try to help them (for which Prydain usually yells at me... I attract lost newbies like the crazy cat lady collects cats). Even if you lampoon them in /2 for a group lol, whisper them and answer their question, or at least point them to Icy-Veins, or Elitist Jerks, or Wowhead, or something like that. Believe it or not, not everyone who plays WoW immediately knows that there are sites like Wowhead (or this blog!)

- Don't beg for gold. Just stop. Don't do it.

I'm sure I've left out a number of points, but I want this to remain a primer on etiquette and not a rant. The first point I made is the most important one of all of this... Azeroth is just like real life: if it's hateful to you, don't do it to someone else.

Except for those pesky other factions. It's totally street legal to follow them around stealing their mining nodes.

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