Thursday, October 29, 2009

The behavior of the anonymous

((This is the first quest post in this blog, written by my old friend and former 'guild master' of sorts, Azariel, whose opinion I have come to respect very much over the years I've known him. He wrote this 'post' as a proposition for a post of my own, but I think it has it's own merit in the form he sent it to me. After reading this I found out that there are some issues which I can -and will- comment in a separate post myself. 
Without any further ado, I present to you, Azariell, Undead Destruction Warlock, Thunderhorn EU)

I would like to start by posing a question, the same (well, somewhat the same atleast) as the one I asked last night in Guild chat which sparked a rather ferocious barrage of comments by several (loudmouth) guildies.

The question is this, well more of a hypothetical situation then a question: You are the raid/party/group leader and one of the members of said group is not performing according to the requirements. The ‘logical’ (yeah, that’s debatable, I know) next step would be to remove that player from the group in order to find a suitable player to try and advance.

The question now is: Would you find it acceptable to kick that player without further communication with him about possible reasons or solutions? In other words, would you have the courtesy to tell him face to face that it isn’t enough, or just press the kick button and be done with it?

Now that I’ve given you something to think on, I’ll explain the situation. It was my first TOC-10 man run last night. I’m not a raider as you might know and only do occasional raids (ow and before you think that I was the kicked player, I wasn’t). So I have no real raiding experience or anything of that order.

So, first TOC-10 man run, group was complete, we all moved there and after a brief tactics explanation by our tank (I’m a Lock btw) we started the encounter. The first DK tank died pretty quickly causing a wipe. Second attempt ended in the same manner: wipe. Next healer assignments were switched, and guess what, another wipe. Between the second and third wipe, there had already been some murmurs on Vent that one healers HPS was low. And within seconds of the third wipe, the healer was kicked, and a new healer was brought onboard.

The question that formed in my mind immediately was, did he kick him without saying a word? Or would he have taken the time to whisper him saying that it just wouldn’t work. I posed that question in the Guild chat, and was greeted with statements like “Of course he just kicked him, he didn’t perform, hence kick” and “toughen up Az, that’s the way it goes”. I responded to it that it was just plain rude and that we are playing a game afterall, which should be fun for all. That statement was counter by the responses “Then go play a Dora game” (children’s animation for those who don’t know Dora) By that time the fourth attempt was already started so I couldn’t respond anymore, which was a shame. But is it true? Did we let this kind of behavior become the standard in games?

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that if you want to advance, you need to know what you’re capable of, and when one person does not achieve, they need to be replaced to make the group stronger. If I would have been the player that was kicked because of that, I would have been fine with it, but just as long as they had taken the time to tell me politely what the problem was. Otherwise I would just have been offended by their rude behavior. I think not all guildies understood what I meant with my question. Luckily others did understand as one response was “yeah that was too blunt, but the healer really did have to go…”

Now, I’ve noticed this in more games I’ve played over the past. The internet brings out the worst in some people. Some people apparently believe that they can act any way they want as long as its online. Behavior they would never resort to in real life, all of a sudden becomes completely ‘normal’ online where they can hide behind their toon/account. I’ve been in games where leaders were back-stabbing each other at every turn, thinking up the most devious plans to ‘win’ the game, no matter the consequences.

So, what is it that makes ‘us’ change our behavior when we transcend our mortal existence and step into the digitized anonymous world? What makes ‘us’ go into a flaming frenzy where in the real world we might have just said “I do not agree with your statement”

I consider myself to be old enough to no longer be influenced by the behavior of people online. But what will it do to the minds of the young game-players, who are still learning what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’? Will they copy this behavior from the online world to the real world? Making the behavior of the anonymous the behavior of the individual?

Will the behavior of the anonymous one day be elevated to the behavior of the masses?