In WoW, there are categories.
Categories of players, categories of guilds, categories of groups and instances and gear and all kinds of things.
Some of those categories are easy – This is a 5 man dungeon; That is a 25 man dungeon. This is cloth armor; That is mail armor. This server follows the PVP ruleset; That server follows the PVE ruleset.
Those are concrete categories.
Categorizing players, however, is harder. What is Hardcore? What is Casual? Does Hardcore mean “has defeated Yogg-Saron”, regardless of hours spent during the week? Does “Casual” mean “has never been in a raid”, even if that player is online several hours every day? And what about categories that “overlap”?
The subtitle of this blog is “Because Raiding and Roleplay are not Mutually Exclusive” – obviously I overlap in those two categories. I also spend some time every week PVPing. I have pretty good gear, and a fair chunk of resilience. Does that make me a PVPer?
Arguably, this kind of thing is what makes WoW successful. Whether you want PVP, raiding, small groups, instancing, alts, or just to bum around fishing with your friends, there’s a place for you in the game.
So Where’s the Problem?
The problem comes when one category of players decides that another category of players is “insert derogatory term here”.
Everyone has a category, to other players.
If you stand in Krasus’ Landing on your Rusted Proto Drake with your full set of hardmode epics… you will get labeled as a raider. And if you ask someone that’s never been in a raid before, reads the forums all the time, and hangs out in trade chat what that means? I’m pretty sure you won’t like their description of you.
If you’re not around in major “primetime”, do a few pugged instances, and try to give advice to a player in a high end raiding guild working on hardmodes, you might not like their reaction either.
You and they have different goals. You have different experiences of the game. And whether those category associations are right or wrong, we all butt up against them from time to time.
Unfortunately that leads to the point of this post – and something that really, REALLY burns my toast.
Ok – so maybe someone’s never met a high end raider that’s not an elitist asshat.
And so they make a huge blanket statement, in front of me or directly to me, about how all high end raiders are asshats that care about nothing but epics, and their raid leaders are all immature jerks that know nothing about the game. Most likely this is done with some kind of commiserative feeling, as though I will support them in this bashing.
I then respond “Well, I may not be in a server first guild, but I’m in a pretty high end progression raid, and generally I don’t think I’m an asshat that cares about nothing but epics, and I help lead a raid in which I’m pretty careful to either know my stuff or know who to ask about something I’m unfamiliar with.”
To which I get the reply “Well, not YOU Anna, YOU’RE not like that.”
Think about that for a second. So you expect me to take part in the bashing of a group to which I belong (raiders) and to vilify them further by making myself into some kind of raider but not-like-them raider?
It’s not a complement – and it doesn’t make the situation “better”. I raid. I spend 7 hours a week in a 25 man raid and 4-5 (ish) in a 10 man. I work my butt off during those hours, plus the time I spend outside raid helping with rosters and strategies and making sure I’m doing the best I can with my class to keep up with where we want to be.
I’m not going to turn my back on that to commiserate about how all raiders are jerks.
I’ve done a lot of things in this game. I’ve been a nub, a raider in several different “levels” of raids, a casual, a “hardcore” (timewise, but not raiding wise), a RPer, a PVPer, an alt-leveler, a pugged healer in an instance and a healer lead for a 25 man raid; I’ve played Alliance and Horde.
And guess what?
There is not one group that “wins” on being jerks, asshats, immature, inappropriate, epix-hording, ninja-looting bastards.
So when you find yourself face to face with one of those Immature, Jerkish, Inappropriate, Epix-hording, Ninja-looting Bastards? Take a minute, and before you tar everyone in what you think their “category” is (‘cause you might be wrong about that too), take a deep breath, and step back.
‘cause YOU certainly aren’t all of those awful things that other people say about your category.
Maybe you’re a casual player, but not a baddie. Maybe you LOVE PVP, but you’re not a competitive jerk that spams shit in the BG channel. Maybe you’re a great writer and RPer and you don’t engage in ERP/cyber. Maybe you’re a raider that’s part of a group of friends that laughs and jokes and has trouble with giving away loot because everyone is too concerned with making the group better and making sure other people get the best upgrades too.
Take yourself outside of your own experience for a minute – sure, you are absolutely right to get mad at and never group again with said ninja-looting dimwit. And if they are doing something particularly despicable, you should report them to their guild leader or to a GM depending. But your experience does not define the entirety of the game.
“I don’t like PVP because it’s frustrating and not very fun” is very different from “I hate PVP because everyone that does PVP is an immature, e-peen waving 12 year old.”
Raiders are people who Raid. RPers are people who RP. PVPers are people who PVP.
And PEOPLE are sometimes wonderful, and sometimes awful.
It’s not their category that makes them that way. It’s their humanity.
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