The lovers sat under the trees in central Sanctum, purple leaves drifting about them, lost in each other's eyes. "Oh Pwnzoo, you are my hero!" coos the cleric, fingers resting lightly on her companion's +8 pauldrons.
"For you, my darling, I will slay Vile Judge Kromede a thousand times over!" The gallant knight puffs out his chest a little more. "I will fly to the ends of the Abyss, I will..."
"Ooh, darling, hold that thought, I have to log... " [logs to character select, then back on]
"Ooh, there you are, my sweet prince Castfast!" The ranger leaps into the arms of the sorceror waiting at the Mystic Spring of Anathe. "I have dreamed of the moment we can be together... Oh, whoops, I'll be right back." [logs out again, then back on]
The lithe spirit master peeks around the columns in Eltnen Fortress. "I have been awaiting our time together breathlessly, Ninjaarrow," she drawls as she bats her eyes at the dashing ranger across the way. "But our time is short, I am needed for a run at Kysis soon..."
For any who dare to deny that MMOs (Aion included) are drama-laced soap operas in-and-of themselves, I propose that they A) have never played in a guild/legion/kinship/corporation, B) have played in a very special solo bubble all of their online days, or C) are just plain delusional. Even those who eschew drama to the very core of their being see it around them like generator plasma balls in Dark Poeta and must employ superior evade skills to dodge it.
Stay tuned past the cut for some amusing episodes of Aion's own prime-time drama, along with some strategies for dealing with it.
To be or not to be...
One online dictionary defines drama as "a situation or sequence of events that is highly emotional, tragic, or turbulent." In gaming, this basically characterizes people who blow things out of proportion on an epic scale. As mentioned last week, they consistently overreact to or greatly exaggerate the importance of things. Those who engage in drama will try to IJ others into it; a drama-addict has an intense need for attention -- the more, the better. Sadly, the attention doesn't even have to be positive.
For those who want to increase their ability to evade drama queens and kings, here are some warning signs to watch for: a continuous series of serious problems; making a big deal over something unnecessarily; exhibiting extreme or frequently shifting emotions repeatedly; consistently sharing problems best left in a therapist's office; obvious tall tales; and always turning the conversation away from anyone else ("Oh, so you got that as a drop? Well one time I got an even better one... ").
Aion's own episodes
Despite what some may have you believe, drama is not relegated to simply the roleplaying community -- it thrives among PvP and casual gamers alike. Few things can rip apart gaming groups and hurt others as thoroughly as drama; how many have had the privilege of watching it tear at the lives and fabric of a legion? While some simply thrive on it as their daily mana, the rest of us -- who want only to enjoy time in game -- get sideswiped with errant, run-away drama. Sure, you can dodge and avoid it as much as possible, but like a pothole in the main road, it gets annoying. And there just comes a time when you actually need to read legion chat.
Although the exact details of drama may vary (a bit), the situations are pretty universal -- like storylines in soap operas. Perhaps some of you have watched the following episodes personally. Each of the following has been witnessed in Aion -- I kid you not.
Episode one: Leader's pet
The reigning cleric QueenHealy, oblivious to the repeated cries for help from her underlings throughout the day, lashes out with a tongue of fiery vengeance the moment her favored pet is not responded to immediately.
Ever watched as certain people in a legion get favored treatment and can do no wrong? Nine times out of ten, you will find that there is some thinly veiled love connection going on. The favoritism could be outright, or some leaders may have alts romantically linked to specific other players instead. This doesn't fool people; the rest of the group watches as the pets get favored status for groups, loot, and instances.
Episode two: The clique
Those who engage in drama will try to IJ others into it; a drama-addict has an intense need for attention -- the more, the better.
I'd like to think that a relic of the halls of junior high stayed where it belonged -- with those under 14. Hey, I can dream, can't I? Unfortunately, cliques are alive and well. Grouping together frequently as friends is one thing; specifically overlooking all the others in your own legion (especially if you are in a leadership position) and opting to not group if "your" team is unavailable is simply juvenile. Conversely, giving people a hard time because a member of your group dared join another also falls into this category.
Episode Three: If the +2 boots fit...
His voice lowered, the gladiator Pokeypole confides to his fourth companion of the day in the dark recesses of Heiron Fortress, "You wouldn't believe what I have to put up with! First you have the cleric's issues, and then moving on to the rangers... "
Just about the most amazing comment I have ever heard was "[name deleted to protect the innocent] creates drama, just like everyone else in the legion." Just, wow. Hint: If you are seeing a problem in everyone else around you, the highest likelihood is that the only person with the problem is the one who stares back at you in the mirror.
Episode Four: Whine and cheese
Collapsing on the plush cushions lining the wall of the crowded Eltnen broker, the young chanter Speedylips throws her arm to her forehead and moans loudly, "Woe is me! Woe is me! They expect me to carry three mantras at one time! Without stopping. Oh, the brutes!!"
You know the deal -- the moment you see a certain name pop online, you groan inside. Everything that happens to this poor soul is tragic, and she'll make sure everyone knows it. I can't get groups. I can't get this drop. No one will help me. I swear I have watched as carefully worded mistells "intended" for group chat, have ended up in legion chat, bemoaning how terrible things were. Now, if the person ever had other types of mistells, sure, it would be expected -- but whining about not grouping, then crying about having to group outside of legion... and then suddenly misdirecting chat only about how bad she is doing? Really, we weren't born yesterday. Maybe character-created yesterday, but not born.
Episode Five: Touchy touchy
Spittle literally flying from his mouth, Ninjaarrow rains a storm of expletives down on and publicly questions the moral fiber and intelligence of a travel companion. "What kind of complete [blankety-blank] imbecile calls them daeva when they are clearly Deava!!!"
It almost boggles the mind, but have you ever sat back and watched as someone blew a gasket over something insanely trivial? I'm not talking about different people seeing varying levels of importance in simple matters -- I mean blatantly unimportant things. And by gasket-blowing, I'm talking about both the public and private explosions. Some will spew their venom endlessly in public channels, while others prefer sending whispers with insults and threats for a trivial occurrence -- not to the "offender," mind you, but to the "offender's" closest friends in game.
Increase your "d" def
For the most part, I choose to simply ignore the drama that festers like a pus-filled boil. Rolling eyes, moving on, turning off chat channels, or even leaving legion are ways to evade the impending migraine that is drama. But have you noticed, sometimes the more you dodge, the more the drama queen focuses on you? Then it's time to employ a new defense skill -- parry. No, I do not mean responding to the drama (which really only feeds it), but instead, just laughing at it. Seriously -- laugh heartily at the wildly amusing and nigh-unbelievable antics of some people. After all, finding humor in situations is definitely a stress-reliever and sanity-preserver.
So tell me, what are some of the drama episodes you have been subjected to? This is not an opportunity to be vicious or publicly shame anyone, but to share amusing or just plain mind-boggling gaming experiences and the creative ways people have come to deal with them.