Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Way that People Respond to Summer Madness

Well summer is here (apart from the horrendous storms we had last week) and it’s time for me to start thinking what I will do with my evenings and weekends that doesn’t involve being a hermit and sitting in front of a monitor. Well, at least until it gets dark anyhow. So what to do? Typically when the summer hits my playing hours drop quite considerably. I’m not so sure that will happen this time round though, as already I have drastically reduced my hours online since Emarald stopped playing MMOs. I can forsee lazy evenings on the terrace writing my book, probably drinking a bit too much wine, BBQs and drinks with friends.

When I was thinking about this I started to think about how you actually notice when different seasons come around when playing an MMO. It is felt a lot more keenly if you normally have an active guild, especially if that is a raid guild with a set raid force. Every year during the summer months the Inquisition and the Fraternity both used to take summer raiding breaks as there simply wasn’t enough of our raid force present to do anything of note. Then as always there would be the normal attrition rate and some would not return meaning the raid force would have to go recruiting again and if it was a key class, usually wait before full on raiding started again.

It’s a reminder that the people we play with have lives outside of the game and that got me to thinking also. Unless you really know someone well online and discuss your real life with them, you are simply another, albeit probably friendly, toon in the game to them. Yes you may be a friend in game, but think about how many folks you play with, then have a think about how much you know about their lives in real life. It’s kinda weird now I think about it. Knowing so many people on terms that I would state as ‘knowing them well’ but then realising that really is only in game. There is so much more behind the facade with each and every person in an MMO and that is one of the things that makes them so great.

Of course, it’s also easy to forget as well as remember and we have evidence of this pretty much constantly in chat channel 1-9 and on websites such a EQ2 Flames. The ferocity with which some people attack each other in game is pretty primal at times. I think it’s probably part personality and part forgetting there is a real person on the receiving end and part bravery by protection of anonymity. Whichever it is, or even if it is an amalgamation of all of them, it’s still a ‘brain out’ moment.

I used to read EQ2 Flames. It started with using the website as a tool as the class discussion pages are simply awesome with the huge amount of help you get on how to play your toon well. But then it kind of bled in to checking out the other forums and of course the cruelly named ‘Rate a Retard’ forum. I’m actually quite surprised my abhorrence for such bullying didn’t kick in immediately and I initially enjoyed the tit for tat back and forth wrangling. Yes there were some posts that were always bang out of order and as the threads continued (in to hundreds of pages) the attacks seemed to get worse. Some of the posts are like a car crash. You really do not want to look but just can’t help it. I have banned myself from those forums now aside from the class specific ones as I no longer wish to witness such bashings and it really does serve no positive purpose.

It’s a real example though of over the internet how peoples true inner being comes in to play without the worry or social stigma of being an arsehole affecting them. About the only folks who get away with acting like that in real life are politicians, the rest of us try to be nice for the most part as we actually like having friends. I think online it’s also easier to coerce those who would perhaps normally sit on the fence to join in with such antics. It doesn’t seem such of a mountain of conscience to climb when the person you are about to bully isn’t standing in front of you.

I’ve seen it myself. One particular person, who I didn’t really have a soft spot for, left our guild after a long ongoing dispute about how we raid. Now although I didn’t like that particular person too much I didn’t take part in the months of bashing and nasty tells/discussions behind the scenes that took place after they left the guild then promptly started stealing some of the ‘on the fence’ members to join their new raid force, obviously depleting ours. Yes, there were some underhand actions on both sides and it really did go on for a long time. I couldn’t help but thinking as some of my guildies were waxing lyrical to me about how they ‘need’ to be punished for breaking up our guild, that I must have missed the meeting where two wrongs make a right. I just don’t allow that stuff to sit well with me. Just because someone else is being an idiot does not mean I or indeed others should allow their brains to dribble out their ears and become bereft of reason and compassion. Have at it, let them get on it with it, but for goodness sake, do not get involved in a negative manner. I know it’s only a game, but sometimes Homo Sapiens ability to be frickin’ evil disgusts me to the core. I’m no angel, do not think that I am, but I have my own morals and I stick to them and one of the biggest is to ‘only do to others as you would have done to yourself’. Bullying in an online game because it seems OK as you are not face to face with the person falls in this category. Of course it does.

So, where do we stand so far in the post? Well, we’ve had my summer plans, consideration of population in game during holiday seasons and a rant about how I dislike others who use MMOs and the Net in general to be a complete spanner. I think that just about covers my crazy rambling mind for today. Summer summer summer time, in the summer time....

Be well.


  1. Unfortunately the anonymity of the net means people say and do things to others that they would never do in real life. Not much you can do but ignore it.

    We had our Summer over here in May. Looks like we are just starting autumn now... stupid messed up British weather!

  2. It's amazing at times that what we see on the net is actually real. I enjoyed reading todays blog & I get sad when I see that Ema has quit playing MMO's. Your plans for the summer sound like a blast!

    Hopefully you'll update the avid readers on your summer banquets & writing as I personally will enjoy reading it.

    EQ2Flames is where the morons who can't let go of the game but have no moral compass congregate, If you post/discuss anything EQ2 related it usually devolves into idiocy regardless of whether you allow yourself to be involved or not. Those %#@*&^! need to get a life..

  3. Cheers guys.
    @ Merecraft - Ahh, I do so miss the British summer (rain) ;)

    @Jahf - Great to hear from you matey as always. Thanks for reading and much love to you and your fine maiden!