Anti-Aliased got steamrolled with your opinions, thanks to the linking from N4G, Kotaku, Reddit, WoW.com, and Joystiq and everyone spreading the word and telling their friends. Without a doubt, that was the most productive column I've written in a long time, and while some people may have written it off as a rant, the more important thing is that it started some great discussion amongst the community. Everyone who gave their view on things, from the people who agreed to the people who wish I would crawl into a ditch and die, thanks for giving your view!
So this week when I went out with a few friends to get a drink, one of them mentioned Darkfall. Of course when an MMO comes up in conversation, all of my friends turn and give me this long, dead stare. I sighed and recounted my time in Darkfall, but as I thought of it, I began to notice something.
I really sucked at Darkfall. Not just kind of sucked -- really sucked. The combat in that wasn't my thing, as I never really deal with pressure in PvP when something big is on the light. FPS games where I go to my save point when I die is one thing, but dying and losing everything? That's something different. I think I killed like 3 people in my entire month there. Although, when it came to crafting, I was a arrow machine.
But that got me thinking about sucking in general and how we as a community aren't very supportive when it comes to players who may not be the best at the games they play.
The Saga of Suck
How many times has a person dropped into your party only to not know what they're doing with their class or knowing how to handle a dungeon? How many times has a person jumped in with you in PvP only to die 40 gagillion times to an enemy's autoattack? If you've played an MMO for longer than 5 seconds, you probably have a story relating to someone sucking it up and how it frustrated you badly enough to make you plug pull just to get away from them.
But, we forget that it's a fact of life -- some people just aren't as good as other people. That's not something to be ashamed of or ridiculed for, especially if the person in question is trying to play his best game but just isn't making it. Yet the higher we go in an MMO's leveling system, the more pressure we put on other players to either play "right" or know exactly what they're doing.
Not all of that pressure is bad, of course
As a former raid leader, I can't come out here and say that all of the pressure we apply to one another as players is horrible. When you're getting all of your guildies together for a raid, the last thing you want is someone purposefully wasting time or not playing their best game. It's less about beating the challenge sometimes and more about beating the clock. When 15 out of 25 people in your raid have set times that they have to log off, you want to motor and succeed enough to at least get somewhere and not make the night a total bust.
But when we start applying unrealistic pressures on players, such as "go from nothing to something in the next 30 seconds" or "immediately understand this raid pattern that you've never seen before" then we're getting into the realm of unrealistic expectations. Doubly so if you're beginning to exclude people based on their skill level out of your party.
Anti-Aliased: I, suck
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