Fun and Raiding

November 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Having read the posts of my more erudite and talented peers, recently there has been a few posts regarding behaviour whilst engaged in the playing of MMOs.  The marvellous and fabulous Arbitrary has a lovely post here, over at Spinksville, for example.

Personally, I blame the parents.  I really do.  Parents are both omniscient and omnipresent.  They are all powerful.  Especially where questions of plumbing and automobile maintenance are concerned.

That’s in later years, though.  In more formative years, the Parental Unit is usually there as a moral compass, as an arbiter of fairness, and as a method of injecting the youngster with the appropriate amount of manners.

Those building blocks form the part of our personalities, as well as providing the framework for most, if not all of our interactions as a member of society.

So how is it, with the Parental Unit being omniscient enough to know when ears have not been washed behind, or teeth not been brushed, and omnipresent enough to be there when they are really, really needed, can they have really messed up by not bothering to tell us how to survive the peer-pressure world of the internets?

When I were naught but a wee bairn, computers were large things that occupied entire rooms, replete with large tape reels and entire walls’ worth of flashing lights.  They would sit there and store customer databases for large corporations/banks, whilst idling between attempts to destroy the world (or just astronaut crews) and attempts at gaining their own sentience.

To put it another way, there was no internets when I was younger.  Even so, it was shoddy of my omniscient and omnipresent parents not to see the way the future was shaping, and impart upon me the required etiquette lessons to survive online.

Shoddy.  I am so disappointed.  They were *so* close to getting it *all* right.

Ah well.

As a result, I’ve had to muddle along.  Just like, I’m sure, we all have as we’ve partaken in the birth of a new culture.

Within that culture are further subcultures, of which MMO Gamers are but one subculture.

Into all this steps I, your genial host.  I started to wonder at some of these unwritten rules because I’ve been looking forward to getting back into raiding properly in Cataclysm.  I might well even make an effort at the Radiance Grind, and see if I can raid as one of the Free-to-Play Peoples.  Who knows?  I am a one-man raiding renaissance at the moment.

I have, of course, been pondering whether it’s possible to have fun whilst raiding.

Now, if you ask them, I’m pretty sure that 99% of all raiding guilds or (guilds that raid, if you prefer) will answer that “Yes, we have fun raiding”.  It’s only natural; raiding, just like any other game activity, is *supposed* to be fun.  At the same time, no-one wants to put themselves forward as the Moon-Faced Assassin of Joy, especially when they’re attempting to recruit more players.

In point of fact, the only 1 percenters I can think of are those po-faced guild websites I’ve seen, wherein one must be screamingly, ragingly *hardcore*, and everything else must be sacrificed at the Altar of World First.

Luckily, I don’t need to associate with them.  All the raiders I know are cool people, with not an MFAJ amongst them.  It’s not just my belief that it’s possible to have fun whilst raiding, *it’s my experience*.

Professionalism isn’t about being HARDCORE!  It’s not about being the online equivalent of “Po-Faced” Harry McGlum on a particularly grimace-y day.  It’s not even about treating the game as if you’re being paid to do it.  It’s about balls and attitude.

It’s about having the balls to think; “I can do that”, when faced with impossible odds.  It’s about having the attitude to continue on, even when the impossible odds seem to be winning.

Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is my sense of humour, and not just when gaming.

I’ve always felt that “professionalism” is about respect.  In MMO gaming, that’s about respecting your fellow gamers and seekers of entertainment; your raid team mates.  Turn up on time, with the right gear, in the right place.  And respect your fellow players enough  to take your turn on the bench when the situation requires it.

Not acting like a wanker is really important when it comes to having fun when raiding.  And yes, it can be really difficult at times for me to maintain that professional attitude.  What can I say?  Acting all wankerish comes naturally to me.

Now, there is a rather valid question to raise at this point; “When does the fun go too far?”

I’m terrible when it comes to practical jokes.  In most situations, practical jokes just seem to be a more advanced form of bullying.  Not only does the victim of the practical joke get to be ridiculed (usually in public, so everyone can have a good laugh at their expense) but if they don’t “join in”, then they don’t have a sense of humour.

To me, it’s a bit like having to thank someone every time they punch you in the gonads.  I fail to see why it’s such a harmless and funny activity.

To me, the fun goes to far when someone can end up hurt, physically or psychologically.  The line is easier to see in the real world than it is in an MMO; non-verbal communication makes up so much of our contact with other people that we struggle when it’s no longer there, and as a species Homo Geeksor is not yet capable of discerning the exact postion of The Line through text or voice communications, never mind be aware of how far they have crossed it.

To me, the fun goes too far, that line has been crossed, when someone is ending up having a bad time.  When the raid leader is frustrated at no-one else seeming to care about progression; when those on time have to wait for the laggards; when those with provisions have to cater for not only themselves, but the ill-prepared.

When someone is having a giggle at everyone else’s expense.

And there is an expense; time and effort aren’t cheap.  That’s time and effort that could, for example, have been spent with family and sundry and assorted loved ones.

So wasting time by doing something “funneh” that causes a wipe, or leaves everyone in deepest of deep doo-doo?  That’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s definately not a fun practical joke.

Yet I can’t help feeling; “No Wipe, No Foul”.  A joke cracked at the right time can not only lift spirits, it can make them soar.  Laughter is part of what makes us human, and such wonderful, creative, beautiful souls.  It shines a light on our frailties, and makes kings of paupers.

I worked for a company that, for a short time, banned laughter in the workplace.  No word of a lie.

And yes, it was just as stupid in practise that it sounds in concept.  Absolutely.

So apply that to raiding.  Are MMOs there to be taken so seriously that we’re not even allowed to laugh whilst playing?

Humour serves another function, and that is to remind others that “I am here”.  It’s easy to get lost in a crowd and raiders are, on the whole, part of a crowd.  It’s not a solo sport, it’s a team sport.  Yet everyone craves individuality, especially when it’s so easy to get lost amongst so many of our peers.

It’s easy for raid leaders.  They’re easy to spot.

Regular members of the raid need to rely on our personalities to get noticed, and no-one wants to be noticed for being a grumpy wanker.  Not only does everyone notice the funny member of the raid, but they’re always happy they’re coming along.  Fun begets fun, after all.

Sometimes it’s more about how we do a thing, rather than how well we do it.

Yet at other times, it’s about concentration, and putting our game-faces on.  I wonder how many times a raid team has had a last attempt of the night.  Orders from the raid leader are for serious attitudes, no unecessary chatter, no being silly.  One last do-or-die attempt before leaving our fantastic worlds, and going to back to our humdrum every-day world?

It’s a valid position to hold.  Work hard, make the most of it, because that evening’s raid is over no matter how it ends.  It’s that whole “going down guns blazing”, but for a modern, geeky audience.

We subsume our personalities into the whole, for when the whole succeeds, we as individuals succeed.  Or something.

Success.  Success brings fun; those heady and exciting moments where the boss hits the dirt, and it’s trez time.  It’s exciting, it’s joyous, especially when it’s the first time that big bad boy has dropped.

Is it worth removing all fun from the exercise, to have that fun later?  I think not.  Part of the joy of the thing is in attempting it, not just in the divvying up of the spoils of victory.  Even divvying up trez gets boring when there’s no challenge to gaining it.

It’s also worth pointing out that we are all beholden to each other, and ourselves, to have fun.  To ensure that the fun doesn’t go too far.  To not act like a wanker, and to not misinterpret a comrade’s actions as those of a wanker.

It’s about losing any judgemental attitude.  “Not in my raid” might end up with you being the only member of your raid.  And yes, I realise I’ve just lost 50 dkps for saying that out loud.

In the mean time, we can all muddle along whilst we try and sort out the rules of etiquette for our own weird, wonderful little subculture.

But, whilst we do, give the fun a break.


P.S. Well done to everyone who has got this far.  Here is a picture of a kitten.



1 Comment »

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  1. We’d also never have really become friends were it not that we both enjoyed having fun as well as playing brilliantly during raids ;p

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