A Little Character

January 7, 2010 at 9:24 am (5-Mans, Real Life)

Character: the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.  –  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Given some of the current discussions over at Clearcasting and HoTs & DoTs, and by some of the recent behavior I’ve seen lately in pugs, this quote came to mind.  The apparent willingness of people to cast aside those who don’t meet their personal standards, or even bully others into leaving, has grown since the last patch dropped.  Where this seems most appalling to me is those instances where one or two members (in particular the tank) are far over-geared, and one DPS member (it’s almost always DPS) is outputting the 1-1.5K that was considered “standard” before Uludar is literally dumped out as quickly as possible.  Case in point, one tank went so far as to say “I have to wait 10 more minutes before I can dump this guy?” in party chat.  This imbecile wasn’t even caring enough to whisper his complaint; he felt the need to shout it out in the open.  The DPS was in a blue/green mix, and was apparently a fairly fresh 80.  He was doing a bit over 1k; I was doing over 4.5 without a huge effort.  (In fact, I tended to off-tank the trash, because the tank couldn’t keep aggro.)  We were clearing the trash efficiently, and I saw no problems for us clearing the dungeon fairly quickly.  In the middle of a trash fight, the tank began the kick-off procedure.

Why is this behavior so commonplace?  Well, with the anonymity of the internet, people seem to feel that their actions don’t have consequences.  In the real world, to treat someone so harshly would earn the scorn of others, at least in what remains of polite society.  (In fact, however, society, in particular American society, has become much coarser, with less emphasis placed on politeness and decency.)  Even in WoW, in the days before race and server changes, a reputation would follow someone around.  Being an asshat eventually caught up with you.  Now, everyone thinks that playing cross-server won’t hurt them, after all, the person being kicked isn’t from their server.  (Can anyone think of a time when they saw someone get kicked by someone from the same server?)

In many of these cases, it’s not the group that’s imperiled by the actions of a single member; rather, it’s that one member is inconvenienced by the actions of another.  They expect to speed through each instance, pick up their badges, and leave for another.  Prior to the LFD feature, you’d often find folks running heroics with their guild-mates, so to carry someone through the instance was considered the norm.  Now, those who might have to be in an instance an extra 5 minutes have forgotten their days as a new 80, before the wealth of knowledge they now have found its way to them.

What does this have to do with character?  Well, how you treat those who cannot help you finish the dungeon that much faster is probably indicative of your character outside the game.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are exceptions.)  If you ever find yourself in the position to kick, or are about to ask to kick someone, ask yourself this: how would you feel if you found yourself in a strange city, looking for a particular restaurant/museum/theatre, and someone came up to you and shouted, “Learn to navigate?  Didn’t you read a Fodor’s Guide before you came here?  Get out of my city, noob!”

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10 Comments

  1. koalabear21 said,

    Very well written. I think that you really hit the nail on the head.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to counteract this?

    • rustbeard said,

      Change human character? I don’t know right now, but folks like this have been around since before recorded history. It’s just that now, in game, they have been given a measure of power, and are asserting it. I’ll have to give it some thought. Perhaps another post is lurking around in here yet…

  2. Tirael said,

    Well my personality IRL is completely out of line with my post in “Another Voice” on clearcasting. I am a complete asshat…j/k lol.

  3. Torval said,

    Good post Rusty. As far as getting around this, I don’t know I can say there’s a way. While I don’t condone this behavior in something as simple as a Heroic, you can’t deny that Blizz requires dps to perform. Beating enrage timers is one of the only motivating factors for dps to step up in a raid. Tanks need defence to take the damage, healers have to heal through ice blocks and such, but dps needed something. The change needs to happen with those elitists and they need to realize it’s just a Heroic.

    • rustbeard said,

      You notice that you don’t often see tanks or healers getting booted off, but there IS a difference in requirements there too. It’s much easier for a DPS to assist the tank or heals (by shifting aggro, slowing down DPS, DPSing harder than necessary to burn down a boss quickly, etc.) However, it’s not nearly as easy for the tank or heals to do much in the DPS, unless a tree healers goes chicken when the tank is overgeared.

      No enrage timers were necessary in heroics – at the time they were introduced mana regen was good, but not good enough to fight a boss indefinately, and other fights (Nexus jumps to mind) had their own form of “DPS encouragement”.

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