As I prepare to scoot out of town for the weekend to visit my mom, this will be an ever so brief recount of a story from some recent meanderings in Azeroth.
I had a wonderful experience the other night when I was in Orgimmar. A player made a call in the Trade channel for a port to Stonnard. In doing so, she offered to pay 50 gold for the port. Before the flaming began, as is the wont of so many players out there, I whispered her and let her know that there is a portal in The Cleft of Shadow near the mage trainers.
We went on to have a delightful conversation. It started with a heartfelt thanks, at least as heartfelt as one can give via instant messaging. We then progressed to talking about the state of discourse and conversation in Azeroth. The player is a female, I know this because the guild she is in is exclusively female, and we got into talking about the treatment of female players, not only in World of Warcraft, but in games in general. But, our conversation focused on the level of immaturity that is finding its way into Azeroth.
The level of discourse that has permeated our culture seems to find its way in and out of all elements of our society. Azeroth is not Bill O’Reilly, nor is it Ed Schultz. Deborah Tannen, in her essay “The Triumph of the Yell,” observed in 1994 that discourse had left the tone of honest debate for simple yelling. As such, the conversation that happens in Trade chat is hitting a level of obscene immaturity that would even give the aforementioned pause. I guess this is an area where art is imitating life.
Watch any “talk” show on FOX News or MSNBC and you will see what I mean. Microphones are cut off, attacks are made on someone’s character in lieu of response, and subtle lies all make up what has become part of our daily discourse. Arguments end in either one person calling the other a Nazi, or a new tactic: “God Blocking.” God Blocking occurs when someone offers a quote taken from the Bible (or another religious book) out of context to refute an argument – and you can’t argue against God. In either case, each results in shutting down discourse.
This level of discourse is in Azeroth. Of course, it tends to be sullied with immature language and the like. I doubt you will see a God Block in Trade chat (though it is not of the question), but there certainly are plenty of people being called Nazis, Fascists, Communists, and so on.
Here is my request: Be good to your fellow inhabitants of Azeroth (actually, be good to your fellow inhabitants in reality, too). We are all in this thing together. Many of us use the game to escape the hubbub of the daily grind and don’t need to deal with immaturity and rudeness in the game. The game is meant to be fun, not a source of stress.
Of course, many take things a bit too seriously. Remember, it is a game. When an inexperienced player asks for help, no need to flame, leave that to the blowhards in the “news.” Rise above the level of discourse expected form the real world. Just be “good.”
What do you think of the level of conversation in Azeroth? Does it too closely resemble reality?
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