Before you reach for your torch or pitchfork, let me assure you that this isn’t another one of those long, drawn-out articles warning you against jumping into the all-consuming void of Warcraft (mostly because I’ll be forever in that void, and I think they’re watching me…). This is, instead, a little commentary on my opinions about how this particular MMO has the potential to either make or break you – as a person and as a whole.
But first, let’s take a closer look at WoW, shall we? This massive multiplayer online game has had millions and millions of people hooked from day one. Now whether this is due to great game design or mass hypnosis, I will never know but, either way, there is something about this game that keeps people coming back to their keyboards. Could it be the great graphics that can be played on almost any computer? (is that an Alienware laptop I spy? No need for that here! Let me just take that from you…) Or perhaps it’s the instant gratification that comes with defeating a dungeon boss and getting your favorite loot? Whatever it is, it’s making this game highly addictive.
Many a gamer has pondered their favorite aspects of video games, whether it be the player-vs-player experience, the dungeons and teamwork, or even the quest lines and lore of the overall plot. World of Warcraft has all of these features, of course, but it also has the unique ability to bring out the true colors of anyone who touches this game. Are you a helpful ally, looking forward to leading your online friends into battle and willing to do whatever it takes to make your character become the best that it can be? Or are you a troller, hell-bent on causing chaos and destruction wherever you roam as you terrorize low-level starting areas and pick off the weak while out farming for supplies?
There are many different kinds of good guys and bad guys in the world, as we all know from watching any Game of Thrones episode, and this particular game has an endless supply of resources to test every characteristic you thought you had. For example, let me give you a little scenario with a few multiple choices for you to respond with:
There you are, that big, beautiful, elegantly armored hero that has finally trekked through this lengthy old dungeon to – no, not the elf. You’re the Orc. Look to your left. Your LEFT! Yes, that’s the one. Ahem, anyways – to finally reach the last boss that promises epic loot and undeniable bragging rights. You’ve teamed up with random strangers (because the members of your guild are naturally too busy to share in the awesomeness of this adventure) and you’ve all hacked and slashed your way past countless mobs of trash and bad guys.
The last boss laughs as you enter the room, giving a long-winded dialogue about why your team will not succeed where everyone else has failed (despite this being an older dungeon that you’ve conquered countless times with your guild when it was considered “current” content). You eye the boss with skepticism, swinging your weapon lazily as he finishes his speech. He knows why you’ve come here. He knows what you want. Though he says nothing else, he can tell you could care less about the fancy achievement, and you sure as hell didn’t come for the outdated gear. You want that little adorable baby phoenix pet that has a 1 in a 1000 chance of dropping, and his sinister smile tells you he doesn’t want to give it up.
The strangers that surround you, now comrades in arms, all position themselves and type frantically in the chat log, begging everyone not to screw this up (especially that guy who left his keyboard five times mid-fight, killed the group twice by not following directions, and just generally sucks).
Finally, the battle begins. You are like a graceful tiger, slipping in and out of enemy reach, cutting the boss to smithereens as he chokes on his pompous words. With one last swing of your mighty weapon, you and your companions bring the villain down, and the crowd goes wild! But a silence soon falls over your party. A dense hush. Loot is about to drop. Will your small fiery bird be among the debris? YES! It drops, and everyone who said they didn’t care about the pet instantly rolls their dice in a last-ditch effort to bring the phoenix home. You roll. A 96! Amazing! You’ve never rolled that high before and – oh but wait. That noob you’ve been carrying this whole time finally shows up at his computer again after ditching you guys for another round of milk and cookies. He rolls… HE SCORES! 97 beats you out of the game and Douchewaffle gets the pet!
Now here are your options:
1. Calmly accept that everyone participated, no matter how little, and that he won fair and square. Pat your comrades on the back and meet up at the same time next week to go again.
2. Protest loudly. Tell that Douchewaffle exactly how you feel, and encourage him to promptly destroy his computer or uninstall the game.
3. Light your apartment on fire and stand outside of the burning wreckage, flipping the world off with both hands as the fire spreads through the neighborhood.
As you can see, everything isn’t always black and white. By choosing option 1, you are definitely playing the bigger person, but by choosing 2 or 3, you may feel a little more satisfied on the inside (possibly the inside of a jail cell, if you chose 3). Any time you log on to WoW, or possibly any MMO, you will see countless people either helping their fellow players or purposely pissing them off. No matter how nice you are, someone (perhaps even a lot of someones) is going to upset you, insult you, or make you shake your fist in the air at the unfairness of it all. The way you handle these situations is going to help develop your own personal character, and that’s what you take with you when you leave the keyboard (unless you’re hardcore and NEVER leave the keyboard!).
You may have thought you had the patience and tenderness of Mother Teresa before, but just wait until you’re healing a random dungeon group and the tank fails his taunt, causing the whole group to die, and for some reason they all blame you relentlessly (and cruelly, with all that unnecessary name-calling!). You’re going to want to punch something fluffy in no time, and I don’t blame you. We’ve all been tempted to go a little Godfather on a cyber-bully, but keep this in mind: you can always challenge him to a duel. If he accepts, feel free to slap him around with your broadsword in front of all his friends. If he denies, well… time to get out the ol’ bloody horse head and make your way to Douchewaffle’s house.