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Expectations and Beginnings

Unrelated screenshot of my Dwarven mage alt facing Duskwood; a long, straight way framed by dark, winded trees

There's a discussion of sorts (or a sequence of monologues) going on about what one could expect his or her fellow players to know about the game they play, games in general, roles and abilities, and so on. All of them appear to make the mistake of assuming that there is a certain minimal amount of knowledge, that qualified players at „not just lazy“. For example, players clearly would be lazy if they hadn't at least read the manual before starting to play the game. I think I've mentioned that before but it's been a long time since I consulted a gaming manual. Yet I would prefer not to dub myself lazy. I prefer jumping into the game, getting told how to control my character while actually playing the game. Back in the 90s, it would've been highly advised to look into a game's manual. That's where you would've found lists of a character's abilities and their keys. But times have changed. Today, we buy games as digital downloads which don't have a physical manual. The readme file is buried somewhere in some folder. That's a lot less welcoming than the manual of old and even then, many people didn't like pages upon pages of plain text. And that's okay, it's as okay as preferring films over books, or comics over either of them, or either of them over comics.

For some people, WoW is the first game they'll ever play. Or the first game after Candy Crush Saga. Why should they know anything about tanking, healing, and damage-dealing? How should they know that they're merely allowed to stay in one role in WoW and do we really want to teach them that's all they ever should expect from the game? People coming out of the theatres will know how Karazhan looks, what an Orc is, and that Azeroth can be a fucking uncomfortable place. In my opinion, that's enough to know for allowing them to start playing the game. People should be allowed to play a game merely because they got intrigued by the virtual world it offers.

For me, the game is about learning, at least a great deal of it. In Azeroth, I metaphorically learned to walk again, as I do in most games I try out, in some form or another (sometimes it's just learning which button would cause my character to jump or that my character can't jump although both his or her legs seem to be healthy enough). So I think there's too much of a focus on knowledge and not enough of it on a willingness to learn in this community, even its more considerate parts.

And if players of end-level characters can't play their class maybe that's just because they learned to play their class well enough for levelling and thought that was all. That's not that weird a thought in my opinion, from a newbie perspective at level 100 you're near the end of the game. Of course whatever you've learned until now should constitute the meaty part of how to play the game. It doesn't, but to understand that. You'd need to hit a wall and I don't think there were noticeable walls while levelling. On the other hand, I did noob out on that incredibly nerfed yeti when I started in Wrath, and even then people said there were no obstacles while levelling anymore.

I just don't want to google, I even hesitate to ask people who simply are more experienced than me because I have a desire to discover things for myself. I can imagine that there are people who're more hardcore in that regard, who want to find out even more things for themselves. There probably is a point at which your personal taste becomes too special to get accommodated for in random group play. Currently the prevalent opinions is that people got to cumbersome if they wanted to see cinematics, manually distribute loot, or in general do anything other than getting through the game in the fastest and most linear way possible. I don't think that's the answere.

AlternativeChat announced a blog post on that topic for today on MMOGames. (Addendum, Mar. 12, 2016: That here is the afore-mentioned article.)

At last, it shouldn't be neccessary, but for whatever reason it is: I'm criticising nice people here who spoke up about some of the nastiest habits in our community. At times, I may even be harsh on them. Yet I'm thankful that they started talking about it in the first place and I'm indebted to them for getting inspired by them in writing a blog post. My point is in no way that they were wrong, I consider my own work as merely refining points they made. After two years of blogging and being on Twitter, it is very clear to me that people don't get these fine differences between bashing and commenting on a person unless you point them out (which at least makes for a paragraph to which you can refer).