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WoW Rookie (End of the Semester Edition): Dealing with difficult people

Amanda Dean
May 16, 2008

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WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

I apologize for the late article. Being finals week and all, things get pretty hectic for a lot of us. You will appreciate that I'm writing as my students are busily completing their final exam.

As in life sometimes in World of Warcraft we come across unpleasant or stubborn people that challenge us. Whether it's in Guilds, PUGs, or just the environment, at some point someone will get on your nerves. Thanks to the perceived anonymity of the internet, people feel they can be much more brazen and offensive then they ordinarily would. I'm not asking you to let violations slide, but try to be mature about the situation. Let's talk about how to deal with difficult situations.

  1. Focus on your goals. Let's say you're in Dustwallow Marsh waiting for Goreclaw the Ravenous to respawn, but every time he pops up some pesky Rouge nabs him before you can tag. Rather than getting bent out of shape take a look at your quest log to see if there's something else you can do while Ms. Rogue has her fun. Sometimes it takes a little flexibility, but in this case it may be best to walk away.
  2. If at all possible, deescalate the situation. This time I'm not saying to walk away from the problem but with persistent online relationships (such as guilds), you might say something regretful in the heat of the moment. If you can remain calm and sane in a tense moment, you stand a better chance of resolving the issue. Remember that capital letters are perceived as yelling, so avoid them in tense situations.
  3. Prepare for difficult situations. Set up ground rules in advance for acceptable behavior in Raids and Arenas. Remember that when you're frustrated, it's likely that everyone around you is as well. Call it a day before things get out of hand.
  4. It's also handy to know what triggers your own emotional responses. Build tools to deal with them. While they may appear as pixels and text it really is another person on the other end of your dispute. They have emotional triggers too.
  5. Make sure you target your frustration at the true problem. I've been known to let out a string of curses that would make Eddie Murphy (NSFW) blush in the arenas or PUGs (though I try to avoid sending them over Vent). If you made a mistake, admit to it, learn from it, and move on. If someone else made a mistake, explain what went wrong and move on. Assign your ire to the problem, not the person.
  6. Carry your share of responsibility. Ok, so we can all spin a situation to where we are the victim and the other person is a nasty, good-for-nothing butthead. Rarely, however, is this actually the case. In most cases you are at least a little to blame with in-faction adversity. A sincere apology goes a long way.*
  7. Use official means to deal with the situation. If your guild has policies for conduct, appeal to them to resolve a dispute. The GMs are also a resource for keeping the game civil. Do not be afraid to open a ticket if the behavior is a reportable offense.**
  8. An eye for an eye is fine. An eye and an ear for an eye is acceptable. An eye and an ear and an arm and a leg and a testicle (or an ovary) for an eye is a bit excessive. Remember that no one is really out to ruin your day, and you shouldn't be out to ruin anyone either. While camping another player is not a reportable offense, most of the time it's still over the top. This is one of those "Golden Rule" situations, and Karma may just get the better of you.

Now if playing nice is not your thing or you're feeling a wee bit snippy. Here are some guidelines for successful verbal combat.

  1. Do not violate the terms of use. You agreed to them the last time you patched. As mentioned above this can get you reported which can lead to violations and suspensions. Really after all the effort you've put into a character is a little scrap worth losing it all? I will not hear the "Free Speech" argument here, WoW is not a democracy it's a rated T for Teen game that is moderated by a private company.

  2. Be creative. Insults to one's age, mother, and sexual prowess are played and boring as are phrases like "epic fail," and "stfu." Try something a little more eloquent like "You might want to check into Ebay's refund policy," or "I don't think you are an idiot, but what's my opinion compared to that of thousands of others." Seriously, have fun with it, at least it will lift your mood.
  3. Check your spelling and sentence structure. If someone has nothing else to attack the grammatical mechanics of your insults will come under fire. I don't recommend using the word "retarded" an insult, but remember the word is not spelled retarted.
  4. If you dish it, be prepared to take it. If you're going to be inflammatory and/or trollish you mush develop a thick skin.

By using creative insults, I've been known to make people apologize for ruffling my feathers. It's kind of fun.

Well exam time is over. Time to move on to bigger and better things.

* "I'm sorry you're mad" and "I'm sorry but..." are not sincere apologies. Trust me, once you learn things many aspects of your life will go smoother.

** Remember that every time we patch, we accept Blizzard's Terms of Use:

Naming Policies

  1. Belonging to another person with the intent to impersonate that person, including without limitation a "Game Master" or any other employee or agent of Blizzard;
  2. That incorporates vulgar language or which are otherwise offensive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;
  3. Subject to the rights of any other person or entity without written authorization from that person or entity;
  4. That belongs to a popular culture figure, celebrity, or media personality;
  5. That is, contains, or is substantially similar to a trademark or service mark, whether registered or not;
  6. Belonging to any religious figure or deity;
  7. Taken from Blizzard's Warcraft products, including character names from the Warcraft series of novels;
  8. Related to drugs, sex, alcohol, or criminal activity;
  9. Comprised of partial or complete sentence (e.g., "Inyourface", "Welovebeef", etc);
  10. Comprised of gibberish (e.g., "Asdfasdf", "Jjxccm", "Hvlldrm");
  11. Referring to pop culture icons or personas (e.g. " "Britneyspears", "Austinpowers", "Batman")
  12. That utilizes "Leet" or "Dudespeak" (e.g., "Roflcopter", "xxnewbxx", "Roxxoryou")
  13. That incorporates titles. For purposes of this subsection, "titles" shall include without limitation 'rank' titles (e.g. , "CorporalTed," or "GeneralVlad"), monarchistic or fantasy titles (e.g., "KingMike", "LordSanchez"), and religious titles (e.g., "ThePope," or "Reverend Al").

Communication Conduct

  1. Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above;
  2. Carry out any action with a disruptive effect, such as intentionally causing the Chat screen to scroll faster than other users are able to read, or setting up macros with large amounts of text that, when used, can have a disruptive effect on the normal flow of Chat;
  3. Disrupt the normal flow of dialogue in Chat or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users including without limitation posting commercial solicitations and/or advertisements for goods and services available outside of the World of Warcraft universe;
  4. Sending repeated unsolicited or unwelcome messages to a single user or repeatedly posting similar messages in a Chat area, including but not limited to continuous advertisements to sell goods or services;
  5. Communicate or post any user's personal information in the Program, or on websites or forums related to the Program, except that a user may communicate his or her own personal information in a private message directed to a single user;
  6. Use bots or other automated techniques to collect information from the Program or any forum or website owned or administered by Blizzard;
  7. Harass, threaten, stalk, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to any user of the Program;
  8. Cheat or utilize "exploits" while playing the Program in any way, including without limitation modification of the Program's files;
  9. Participate in any action that, in the sole and absolute opinion of Blizzard, results or may result in an authorized user of the Program being "scammed" or defrauded out of gold, weapons, armor, or any other items that user has earned through authorized game play in the Program;
  10. Communicate directly with players who are playing characters aligned with the opposite faction (e.g. Horde communicating with Alliance or vice versa); or
  11. Impersonate any real person, including without limitation any "game master" or any other Blizzard agent or employee, nor may you communicate in the Game in any way designed to make others believe that your message constitutes a server message or was otherwise posted by any Blizzard agent or employee.
Game Play

  1. Using or exploiting errors in design, features which have not been documented, and/or "program bugs" to gain access that is otherwise not available, or to obtain a competitive advantage over other players;
  2. Conduct prohibited by the EULA or these Terms of Use, including without limitation that conduct prohibited by Section 2(C); and
  3. Anything that Blizzard considers contrary to the "essence" of the Program.
Welcome to World of Warcraft. WoW Insider offers information and tips for players of all skill levels. Covering everything from character creation to account security, WoW Rookie is specifically formulated to help new players be the very best that they can be.

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