Thursday, April 29th, 2010 Article by Sanaa Khan

Play Nice Now

Saturday, April 24th

I have just gotten off a casual Saturday PVP WoW session. I was duking it out in the dungeons and grouping with people outside their normal circle of friends. Gaming is my break from life and a chance to work out my frustrations. I really enjoy it whenever I get a chance to because it is so therapeutic. However, on this occasion (and many others) I ran into very unpleasant people who ruined the aspect of social gaming. Yes, it is just a game, but there are real people playing, so one should not ignore his or her basic social etiquette when stepping into the virtual world.

An interesting dilemma presented itself when I was trying to get through a dungeon. I stepped away momentarily and upon my return an argument had erupted in my brief absence! One player took loot that another needed. They made an agreement, and the player with the gear traded the garment on good faith and was waiting for his payment. The player who recieved the loot took this opporutnity to keep it without paying since he felt robbed in the first place, due to the fact that the player who took it couldn’t use it. DRAMA! At this point I stepped back into the scene with tempers flairing and was being barked at from all different directions to boot players from the group. Normally, I would do what I could to help, but being utterly ridiculous in their petty requests, I stayed out of the players’ squabble.

Each genre of online gaming has it comparable social situations. Halo has its team member execution or left for dead leaving people out in the  mobs. Or this:

No one should have to put up with juvenile behavior when, based on statistics, the average World of Warcraft player is over twenty years of age. Sure the occasional boorish player can be excused, but I run into situations in which people behave inexcusably, more often that I should.  I would hate to think that the future of our online interactions are going to further deteriorate, and we would be left with a fantastical idea of social gaming and have nothing to show for it. So what’s the deal?

It began innocently enough when instant messaging started becoming popular; people shortened/abbreviated words to save time. In many “core” games today, where interfaces and challenges require much of one’s attention, internet slang is very appropriate to communicate with. With language being cut down to its bare essentials, players may have also cut corners in socializing. As a result, they create a hostile environment and, with the added security of anonymity, it becomes common practice to be abrupt, direct and self serving. Loosing basic social etiquette destroys the social aspect of gaming.

On the flip side, there are some exemplary instances of the potential of social gaming; one of those examples would be the guild, The Syndicate. You might know more about it if you have watched the documentary, “Second Skin” (a film I highly recommend whether you are into games or not). What is especially noteworthy and even admirable is that this group of gamers has not only made a pleasant experience online but have done so in the real world as well. This group has its own conventions and the members socialize in person!

All in all, I would like to say there is no reason why we can’t just get along. Our avatars are most likely going to represent us in the near future when the world has spun into choas and we’re stuck in the matrix. Ergo, we should instill good habits now so we won’t be alienated in the future.