Lets Talk “Community” #MMORPG

I have an issue with how people are using the word ‘community’ lately in discussing MMOs, in specific Guild Wars 2 and the incidents that happened yesterday during their live chat. If you weren’t around, there were many unfavorable and immature comments made during the chat, directed towards those hosting it.

Now, immediately afterwards came a whole slew 0f “wow if this is the community I don’t want to be a part of it!” comments – and the thing that bugged me, or rather, bugs me, is that when you’re talking about an MMO community to a game that you play or are contemplating playing – you are talking about yourself. You’re not just talking about those rude obnoxious people who disrupted chat, you’re talking about a whole.

Those people don’t represent the whole, and they never have. They represent a group of people who are able to speak louder than the ‘regulars’ that we see. Because the regulars, are people like you and me, who are calmly making blog posts and counting down until games go live. We’re the ones who are hyping up a game because we’re excited, even if that excitement doesn’t last.

THAT is your community.

What we should be doing is bonding together to raise our voices louder than those who are disrupting game play. Not giving them the satisfaction of having accomplished anything negative. Outweigh the balance, in other words.

So what can we do to counter this negative community that seems to form?

Patience. Have patience with every single person you come across, whether they are negative or positive. They’re just looking to get a rise out of you, don’t give it to them. Ignore their comments, and go about being the best person you can personally be. Help others, organize server events, make an effort to get to know the other ‘regulars’ on your server and not just the loud ones in open channels.

Understanding. People play video games for multiple reasons and you never know what a persons real life stance is. They may be a complete asshole in game, but are dealing with multiple things in real life and they have no method of coping. I’m not saying this is an excuse to be an asshole in a video game, but I am saying you just never know what someones situation is. When someone is being a jerk to you keep this in the back of your mind, and don’t let what they say get to you.

Be active. You can’t say a community is poor if you don’t get involved with it! If you’re never talking to anyone else, always group alone, never want to deal with another player – how on earth can you complain about those who are communicating (be it in a good or bad way). I realize that there’s all sorts of game styles and I’m not saying you have to be incredibly social all of the sudden, because I am certainly not a social gamer, but there are ways to get ‘involved’ with the community and push forward a positive vibe without having to leave the comfort of your play style. Some times you just have to put forth that little bit of effort to make it work. It is much easier for a small handful of people to put out a negative vibe that grabs attention than it is for a large handful of people to put out a positive one. That’s just the way things work (ie: bad news spreads faster than good news).

Just remember, when you talk about the ‘community’ of a game, you’re talking about yourself. You’re talking about every person who plays that game. There’s far more ‘good’ and ‘regular’ people who are quietly playing than there are the small handful who are creating noise. It’s up to us to be louder than them.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

3 Responses to Lets Talk “Community” #MMORPG

  1. Talyn says:

    I’ve asked this in G+ a few times and still wonder occasionally: at what point does one become “part of the community?”

    Perhaps I’m in the minority, or maybe even out in left field all by myself, but I do not consider myself “part of the community” simply by virtue of playing a certain game. I consider myself simply a player.

    Is it only when I become “active” (whatever pace that may entail, or perhaps simply when people know you by nickname?) in forums? If I blog about a game, am I therefore part of its community? Considering how many bloggers are One Month Wonders, I’d have to vote that one down unless they stick around.

    My own theory (I’m stuck for the word I’m searching for so I’ll just use that) is that it’s not until you become “known” or build some reputation, for good or ill I suppose, within the game somehow such as global chat or what have you, that you are now in the “community.” That requires being active in the chat, and being someone that the server (those who don’t automatically disable chat anyway) wants to hear what you have to say, whether you’re being a Good Guy (or Gal) or the Uber Troll that they love to hate so much they can’t bear to ignore you.

    So are we to truly consider the live chat trolls part of the “community” or just some douchebag kids looking for negative attention?

  2. Scopique says:

    Thank you.

    I have an intense dislike of lumping or being lumped into an all encompassing mass of disgust, as I suspect every does. I understand that it’s not intentional all the time. Stupid like the general news media doesn’t even bother, but around here, I chalk it up to people being so passionate about their stance that their fingers are on fire, and they aren’t at their grammatical best.

    I consider myself to now be a part of the “GW2 community”. We know many others who do as well. Being in this position, though, is difficult: we may be aggregated as “the community” when talking about the boorish behavior in the chat, and I find that offensive. Of course, I also find the behavior of certain elements of the community offensive, and realize that it DOES reflect badly on “the community” as a whole. It puts me on the defensive for myself and on behalf of those who are good in the community when someone makes a judgement about whether or not to participate, based on the actions of a few, by corralling all fans under one, ugly umbrella…intentional or not.

    But we’re not new at this. We’ve all played games which have had segments of community that have been known for their overt jackassery, and we’ve ignored it, brushed it off, moved on — or fought against it. I don’t know why THIS case is different from the myriad of others, why THESE jerks are being used as a proxy for the WHOLE of “the community”. They certainly don’t represent me, or the people I respect and whom I know would agree with me on this.

    GW2 will have an excellent community, but it will also have it’s jerks. Your gameplan is a solid blueprint to ensure that the good parts of the community grow, and that the less desirable elements are marginalized.

  3. Akely says:

    Many times I feel not part of the community. Simply because I don’t care enough to pipe up. I tried for a bit when I played EQ2. To get a bit active on the board, supply input, feedback and stuff to Devs. But I got the feeling that people like me, who normally are part of the silent masses, will always get outshouted by two kinds of people: the whiners that spam the boards and the bloggers who are part of the “in crowd”. So I stopped. Still part of the Community by your reasoning, I guess.

    What annoyed me the most is that Devs seem to not make the realization you talk about. To some extent they are in a tight spot though… they will not get much feedback and stuff from the lazy people like me that can’t be bothered to lift their hands to type.

    In Eve though I feel it is a little different. Not only are the devs very passionate, they are also much more social and open. Both regarding talking and listening. Sure, there are the same problems here with the shouters and the in crowd, but to a much lesser extent. /soapbox

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