It’s the end of random week. It was a good one with a guest post on managing community expectations, thoughts on MMO biological conditioning, random raid poop and balls, and I even got to sneak in an article on food. I actually had trouble for the closing post. Should I do a puzzling haiku? How about writing in an errant random matter? I could’ve started an all out attack against other blogs to find my nemesis. It’s Friday after all. All blogger sins are forgiven on this day. I had considered a post on random acts of kindness yesterday afternoon, but Suzina’s latest post cemented the decision. It is nice, after all, to have some synergy on our blogomerate.
Most devoted MMO players are protectionists. If a player makes it past Blizzard’s fabled level 10, the player starts to care about the game. The character gains some degree of permanence, and things start to matter. Then this feeling grows in step with the advancement of the character. Things like friends, guilds, and community start to become important. The road to becoming a fanboy is paved with progression mechanics. Eventually the MMO player becomes a defender of the realm. Her realm.
Yet, their gaze is outward. These defenders see gold farmers, cheaters, bad developers, and other MMO games as the enemy. They stand valiantly against this horde willing to protect their land wherever there is an audience. Most of the energy is simply wasted. The good developers are already drawing the battle lines, and they can do so with magnitudes more effect than the powerless player.
If these defenders of the realm just looked inward instead they would realize just how much power they actually have. Only instead of fighting the personified evils of the MMO world, they have to realize their power is in nurturing. The community is theirs to create (or destroy).
There are so many actions of random kindness the defenders can take, which are so simple, and can have such a resounding effect. A wealthy player can become a veritable Robin Hood to poorer players. A knowledgeable player can pass on wisdom so that player-students can learn the game without being ridiculed. Even the simple act of sticking around to help the next player with the boss spawn can lighten a person’s day.
This perfect world is but a Friday dream, but I have seen differences. In Syp’s recent Massively column for Lord of the Rings Online, his first reason for playing the MMO is community. Merric and Goldenstar discussed his list in their podcast, A Casual Stroll to Mordor, and compared the Lord of the Rings Online community to World of Warcraft’s, where they felt belittled at every turn. Can it be so simple that a happy community creates more of a happy community? Have MMO communities created an unsafe place where players are afraid to ask for any simple kindness?
I can tell you that I remember the time one of the server’s elite took hours of his time to teach my casual guild a raid. I cannot remember specifics to any rage-quit scenarios that left us with empty spots. I can tell you that I remember the time I gave a guildie half my gold so he could buy a mount because my gold was just sitting there. I cannot remember any time I needed help and no one answered, though I am sure it has happened plenty. I can remember how much fun it was to play Santa Claus to all the freshly minted players arriving out of the noob world.
This weekend, I plan on making more good memories.
my simple religion