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Ruminations on /bg in Messy Pvp by guest blogger Kaleedity

February 16, 2011

To Whom it May Concern:

One of the reasons this game is so popular is because it isn’t a single game.  Raiding is so bizarrely different from solo questing, so different from high end arena play, and so on.  Even though some of these obviously interfere with one another, these games can work out to be entertaining most of the time.  One of my favorite flavors of WoW-play has always been what I appropriately termed dirty or “Messy pvp”.

As much as I loved the organized competitive play I’ve been in, where my season 1 3v3 team would play rock-paper-scissors with the other top two teams of the battlegroup, I’ve always preferred dirty, disorganized play.  It’s really the same reason why I played counterstrike for all those years; I just want to have a perfect round, or an even better one than I remember having against worthier opponents.  But enough preamble rambling, I want to talk about what goes on in /bg.

In battlegrounds, of course, every participating player has access to the /bg channel, which messages everyone on their faction in that instance.  There are typically two types of messages that pop up in /bg.

A:  Irony-free style strategy discussion, and

B:  Jeering at team mates.

While this can be considered an extension of the internet fuckwad theory, what else is there really to discuss?  I mean, you absolutely could point out that the enemy flag carrier is heading through the tunnel, or that there are four or more heading to mill.  While these mildly more important pieces of information are contributed periodically, they’re definitely a lower priority for the average player.

The problem with the “A” comments, most often typed out once or twice during the introduction to any given battleground instance, is that they’re avoiding extremely important pieces of information.  They’re simplifications of the game, at absolute best.  The frustrating thing about them is how many of the most popular flat-wrong sentiments that have been around for years persist to this day.  Yes, ignoring everything and rushing the boss in Alterac Valley is a Bad Idea™.  Sticking blindly together in Warsong is rarely, if ever, the best idea.  Keeping five at three bases in Arathi is a mediocre if not terrible idea.  But these sentiments are what is known, and as they’re based on simple logic, how can you convince someone otherwise?

Even more frustrating is how excessively vacuous these “Strategies” are to actually winning a game, where winning fights periodically is far more important than how many players you have standing around any given flag.  Strategy is irrelevant when one player is capable of killing five others consistently in the same battleground due to poor character choices or weak gameplay fundamentals.

“B” comments tend to really only show themselves in abundance in losing games, but they can be a pretty harsh swarm.  I will not deny that I sometimes go out of my way to criticize the effectiveness of others as catharsis.  Sometimes, you just can’t ignore some behavior, especially when extremely poor performers harshly berate their much more effective allies.  Most of the time, these comments are a kind of a white noise, a kind of a manifestation of the willingness that the average player in random dungeons or battlegrounds has to flatly disobey simple requests.  Like the undergeared paladins tanking lower level instances and spamming exorcism — while being smashed by mobs gleefully ignoring what dodge, block and parry they have — that respond to requests to do otherwise by binding exorcism to every key on their keyboard.

Personally, I’ve made it my kind of goal in messy pvp to act as the straight man to these absurd outbursts, doing what I little I can to stifle some of the more mindless hate that gets out there for no reason.  I don’t expect to achieve much.

Thank you for your consideration,

Kaleedity (currently leveling a rogue with coworkers.  Subtlety is absurdly good before resilience gear.)

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