Thursday, October 03, 2013

The First Time

It is often easy to forget that, for some people, this game is NEW.

Sure, it's not FIFA 14 new, or GTA5 new, but there are those for whom all of this is happening for the first time. I can still remember with an often painful clarity what THAT was like (getting stuck in Northern Stranglethorn and almost deleting my character because I couldn't get out and I didn't know I could use the Unstuck function to free myself) and I can only imagine what it must be like coming in at the start almost a decade since I began. Actually, I've been doing that quite a lot of late, because my eight year old daughter is beginning to make 'Mummy can I play a Mage with you?' noises, and for the first time in my life I find myself feeling that the 12 rating the game currently possesses isn't stringent enough. There's been a lot of talk of late about the issue of passive gaming and children, and I find myself ruminating on how much of the game you can reasonably play without the need to actually interact with anyone you don't know. Coming into this cold from any age means SOME contact with the outside world, surely?

Actually, if truth be told, you wouldn't need any contact at all. You could leave General and Trade without any significant impact on your play experience. Many people clearly never read Raid Chat in LFR, because if they did they'd not die so often standing in fire or miss the instructions that told them WTF to do. So, assuming you levelled just by the medium of world interaction, and you never spoke to another soul in that time, you could very easily reach cap and exist in a one player bubble. This, I realised a while back is why Blizzard won't remove LFR or LFG from the game, because there continues to be a bedrock of the player base for whom this will always be a one player game, regardless of the benefits we all know exist within the Community... if we're lucky. I also begin to realise just how lucky I am with the group of people I play with. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are two sides to every story. The Warcraft Community is fabulous, but it has its dark side. Jokes only work when you know the punchline, after all, and being on the outside looking in can be a very disheartening and damaging experience for many.

Insert caption here. Stereotyping optional.

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is up and running for the second time, in an attempt to encourage new people to write about gaming. For anyone, the prospect of jumping into a game that's been around longer than many people's marriages last (I can prove that with personal anecdotal evidence of two couples :p) is bound to feel daunting. However, we are all duty-bound to put our personal prejudices and issues aside when it comes to being open and honest about what to expect and the way things are. No really, we are. That means looking at both the good and the bad when running with randoms, not simply assuming everyone is out to get us in LFR (which has a lot to do with when you run it, a fact that can be impressed on other people) and finding practical ways to be helpful in not only how we blog, but how we interact with people asking questions on Social Media. Everyone can be a bit slow some days, even those of us who've been here from the start. You just need to remember that every day is a school day, that nobody knows everything, and what might be obvious to you may leave someone else utterly ignorant of the fact.

Treat people with kindness like this when they don't know what you do. Don't assume they're being stupid/rude.
Thank you Tzufit, your understanding was much appreciated :D

It is often easy to lose sight of the fact that helping someone isn't just about what you tell them to do: what you don't tell them can often be as big an issue. Without wanting to sound like a Pandaran here, there must be a balance between the good and the bad: just raving about how fabulous the game is will set up an often unattainable benchmark for many, especially if they are coming into it with little or no knowledge of what actually happens. That's happened to me with Hearthstone, as it happens: I'm surrounded on social media with people raving and telling me how fantastic/addictive it is, but my first experience left me cold and frankly wondering what my problem was that I didn't like it as much as everyone else. I'm going to give it another go now the servers are being updated, but the fact remains that to really enjoy something cold, there has to be a spark within you to feed the fire of enthusiasm. That's true with writing and gaming, and indeed anything else, and unless you can find that internal enthusiasm, nothing will ever happen.

At some point, everyone is new somewhere. It is really a good idea not to squash people's enthusiasm when they are, and to turn people away when they offer to help you. It just makes people feel more isolated and confused: the next time someone asks a question in a public channel and you're typing a sarcastic response, stop and think. Is it simply easier to default to the back foot and just go for the cheap gag? If so, might it not be a good idea to stop, think and consider that it is EXACTLY these types of actions that give the game the reputation so many people love to moan about? You can fix this yourself, simply by thinking before you type. Similarly, the next time you see someone new appear on your Twitter feed with a blog post, go read their work and give them a comment, encourage them if you are moved or affected by their work. Everyone has to start somewhere, and feeling alone is the worst thing in the world when you're trying to make an impression.

There is a first time for everything, after all.

1 comment:

R said...

"You could leave General and Trade without any significant impact on your play experience."

Going off on a bit of a tangent here, the first thing I've done in-game on a new toon since, basically, day one many years ago, is to turn off public chat channels. General for the new toon, Trade once it gets into a city for the first time.

Until late Wrath, that's how my toons stayed even at end-game. At that point, I re-joined Trade, but only on my auction alts. Still, no General.

Until Isle of Thunder. Heard some mention in a yell that Nalak runs and rare kills were being coordinated in General... now all of my toons joined General, didn't want to miss out on Nalak kills. That continued into Barrens with commander kills. That's continuing into Timeless Isle with rare and world boss kills.

Somehow, Blizzard has introduced content that has back-doored me into public chat channels and it wasn't until I read what you wrote above that I even really groked that it had happened. I'll likely keep General chat on for all my toons going forward even if there isn't specific benefit... I'm just used to it now. Good for Blizzard, getting me to join the social. And sneaky! But good.