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The Things we Carry, Part 2

September 12, 2011

Dear Reader,

As we discussed in our last correspondence, age and experience are two of many things that each of us carries into our game world. Whether we’re young, old, have played many games, or only a few, our personalities, capabilities, and neuroses inform our game play at every level. Bravetank discussed in a frank and honest post her fear of upsetting people with the need/greed system. I found her post to be starkly honest and telling, and I felt it important for each of us to do a personal inventory of our own behaviors that can affect our game play.

I have plenty of neuroses. Perhaps because I was picked on so much as a kid, I developed a real bully-buster attitude. It causes me sometimes to escalate things that could just be let go, to sometimes jump the gun on someone I think is being a jerk who I may in fact have just misunderstood. Gevlon, another unique personality on the web (though putting unique next to a description of him would probably irritate him), admits to the same sort of thing. When you evaluate too heavily, whether it be for bad behavior (in my case) or bad play (in his case), you open yourself up to being the bad guy. I know on a couple of occasions I nailed someone who didn’t deserve it (or backed down in such a convincing manner that they fooled me).

Right along with my attitude goes my teaching.  It’s been discussed at length in the annals of this blog (is it fair to say annals when it’s been less than a year?), but it bears at least a quick mention again.  I can’t abide bad play, so when I see it, I frequently fall back on one of my most prevalent patterns, instruction.  Sometimes this leads to better play, sometimes it leads to being cussed out.  Regardless, though, it’s pretty clear where I come down on the topic of kicking or teaching, which was making its rounds about this time last month in our little sphere, which is strongly for the latter.

Those really aren’t enough, though, to follow Bravetank’s example.  Both are dressed up to seem positive, to seem like they’re bad but really are bragging.  No, I need more personal and embarrassing behaviors that I’d rather not share.

Okay.  This ties in with my first neurosis, but it’s the far darker side of it.  I’m a strong believer in justice, sometimes to the point of frothing diatribes at the TV when, say, murderous mothers get away with their crimes.  In dungeons, this translates to the brass rule, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”  When I see a player being an abusive jerk, I usually start in on them myself.  I can paint it in positive colors, saying that focusing their ire on my protects the other players, but it’s just as easily cloaked in negativity; that when I see a jerk I want to be a jerk right back to them.  I’ve had countless dungeon runs where I’ve been downright nasty to people who were starting up on someone else.  Part of this comes from the lengthening of the Vote to Kick option; if I can’t get rid of them with a clean break, I’ll try to get rid of them other ways.  It’s developed enough that my buddy used to see me getting ready to start up and ask me in a whisper, “Is this really worth having to run a spite dungeon?” meaning that we may end up being unable to finish or quitting and having to do another.  Usually his answer was no, but mine was yes.

The problem is that the vengeful behavior sometimes becomes petty.  I’ve done things in dungeons to people who weren’t being jerks but just exhibiting inconsiderate behavior.  People who inspected someone and made a suggestion about their gear, I’ve done the same to, just to make a point.  To Dps who want to hurry, I’ve slowed down or, if they got really annoying, I’ve stated I was going afk for 10 minutes; usually of course I just wait for them to drop then come right back.  Neither of their behaviors is really “jerk” behavior.  Sure, their both inconsiderate, but in reflective moments I wonder who made me police to Azeroth (well, the Dev team did, actually, but that’s just my bull-headedness flaring up again).

I’ve had people ask me why I had such a stick up my butt in dungeons, and while of course I gave as good as I got, afterwards, I can’t help but wonder if they weren’t right.  While I never would inspect someone’s gear – ever – in an instance, there’s not a great distance between that and my unprovoked instruction to someone about their play.  Both are hugely presumptuous, and it’s no wonder that some people have come back at me nastily; on a bad day, I might have done the same.

So there’s a huge hypocrisy in my play; I can dress it up any way I want, but in the end I do some of the bad things I get irritated in others doing.  My wife pointed out another just the other day.  As a tank, I’ve said to her on occasion (over and over, she’d say) that her primary job was to stay with me; that if the dps are lagging behind, that’s fine, but to stay with the tank.  Just the other day on my shaman (or was it my priest?  Things are getting mixed up in this 10 x 85 challenge) I was complaining about  tank who kept “running ahead” (it was definitely my shaman – we were in Gundrak and he ran into the room after the first boss and pulled three groups while I was gathering tablets for the quest on the other side of the boss’s room).  She reminded me that it was my primary job to stay with the tank, to which I could only begrudgingly respond, “You win this round.”

While I savor the irony of such things, even at my own expense, I also feel very guilty about them.  I don’t know if it’s my time with the game, or the fact that I’m struggling to stay interested (against better advice, I might add), or if the challenge itself is turning me into a worse player as I want to do things quickly and efficiently since I have so much further to go.  Most likely, it’s a combination of all three.

Those are some of the neuroses filling my embersilk bags.  Like Bravetank’s, all of them can be shown in a positive light as teaching, whether it be rotation or appropriate and considerate behavior.  However, also like Bravetank’s, they can be viewed with a more critical eye, usually our own, and seen for what they really are: psychological baggage.  And no matter how many times we drag them to the middle of the screen and type “delete,” we just can’t seem to get rid of them.


Stubborn (and reflective, at times)


10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2011 9:54 am

    I enjoyed part 1, but I loved part 2. Fear my baggage! SuperIssy, champion to the underdog and got at person, to the rescue 🙂 Defender of people who don’t deserve it!

    • September 12, 2011 6:05 pm

      Thanks for the positive comment. I, too, often view myself in exactly that fashion; I just sometimes wonder what it looks like on the other side. Usually my wife and/or buddy will tell me if I’m overreacting or out of line, but that doesn’t always mean I stop, either.

  2. September 12, 2011 4:36 pm

    Haha…a great read, Stubborn! now I wonder if I really want to venture down that road for myself; for all my exploration love, I’m not sure I should – there be dragons. 😉

    • September 12, 2011 6:08 pm

      Yes, but like many monsters, it may be more dangerous not to face them than to do so. Besides, we all want to know the gory skeletons that other bloggers are hiding!

  3. Coreus permalink
    September 12, 2011 9:14 pm

    I don’t really have anything to add, but I appreciate that you post stuff like this. I often find myself obsessed with “correcting” other players like this, so it’s nice to know I’m not the only person who does this despite having an acute understanding of how pointless and even hypocritical it can be.

    • September 13, 2011 9:17 am

      I didn’t really include the pointlessness part, but you’re absolutely right, so you did have something to add! (:
      I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my bad behavior, too, though I saw it again last night when I was being corrected in a BG – it was my first on my DK and was only an experiment (SotA I was great in, AB I was useless in), and someone pointed a few things out to me. So there’s a whole slew of us, really. Maybe it’s a fifth Bartle type, the teacher. Maybe not, of course.

  4. September 13, 2011 6:39 am

    So much to respond to. However, I’ll keep it short.

    Sometimes we get so focused on doing the ‘right thing’ by others and ourselves, we miss the bigger picture. Sometimes we bite ourselves in the butt. Sometimes we become fatigued and everything hits the fan.

    What I’m saying is that, sometimes, we may just have to let things be and press on. There’s not always a right way. In certain cases the solution, or closest to, ends up taking more time to formulate than it’s worth. Rather than just gritting through.


    I would like to take a moment to say thank you. “What for?”.

    When I first subscribed to your posts, you had a selection of posts being released which centralised around raid leading, being a member of a team and so on. Although I didn’t have much to implement at that time, I took on-board and adapted, to my preference, as I could. However, now that I have taken up the role as a Raid Leader (for a newly set of raiders in fact), I have had a a real chance to put my theories (which originated from your posts) into practice. All of which has gone down nicely. Learning more as we go.

    I’ve been made me see, how looking at the bigger picture is key.


    – Jamin

    • September 13, 2011 9:14 am

      You’re quite right, of course, and on my better days I can usually grin and bear it. I don’t know why on my average and worse days I can’t, which at some level really does prove the negativity of it all, I think.

      Also, you’re quite welcome. I’m very interested to see where your raid leading takes you (not geographically of course, as that I can guess). You’ll have to let us in on your dirty laundry sometimes, too, if your team doesn’t read your blog (I keep mine away from my online friends, except for the one who randomly found me anyway – you know who you are (:

      At any rate, I’m glad to have been of some help,and thanks for your comment!

  5. September 15, 2011 12:30 am

    I enjoyed reading Part 2 as I did Part 1, and it’s given me more to mull over. One thing – slightly off your main topic- particularly interested me. You said maybe part of it is because you want to do things more quickly and efficiently because you have further to go. Do you mean in terms of levelling alts – that because of the expansions etc this is now just a much bigger game & that is changing how you play?

    • September 16, 2011 9:11 am

      I meant mostly in terms of leveling alts. I initially gave myself this challenge because I was very disenchanted with the game and quite close to walking away from it; while there’s nothing wrong with doing that, lack of another hobby means that I really would have little else to do. I issued the challenge, then, to give myself a clear goal with a set of specific tasks I could do to achieve it. Unfortunately, my personality means that when I have a goal like that, I want to pursue it pretty vehemently, so I get impatient and so forth.

      I work to prevent this from actively happening in game, and I think on most days I’m good about it. Mistakes made in dungeons happen, so I’m quick to tell people who apologize not to worry about it. On the other hand, jerks who make “mistakes” over and over are then likely to get all the built up frustration about non-efficiency, whether they deserve the full brunt of it or not.

      Thanks for the comment!

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