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Keeping perspective

Matthew Rossi

It's sometimes astonishing to me how passionate World of Warcraft players can be about the game. This includes myself: I have hot-button topics that absolutely flood me with adrenaline and cause me to rant (just ask my coworkers here at all about that some time), and later I'll sit back and be amazed. I'm still amazed I managed to put out a thousand-word column about Sentry Totem. (You have no idea how sad it was for me to not be working on shaman content the day they announced they were going to take Sentry Totem out. Lost a chance for a thousand-word eulogy.)

But as passionate and involved as we can get, and as excited about upcoming patches and new expansions and even sparkly ponies, sometimes we lose perspective. The infamous "slap in the face" forum ranting is based on a real mentality that X (fill in whatever you want) is the absolute ruination of the game. Downsizing raids to 25-man max is ruining the game. Arenas are ruining the game. The badge system is ruining the game, hybrids are ruining the game, pures are ruining the game, 10/25 variable raids are ruining the game, micro transactions, dual specs, what have you. The game has been constantly in a state of ruination since early 2005 when some realms were undergoing severe latency on peak nights and it was, you guessed it, ruining the game.

Frankly, sometimes rather than posting that comment, forum post, or what have you, we as involved, passionate people need to take a couple of deep breaths and chill out.

It's been argued that in our modern society we often feel the most strongly about the issues and concerns that have the least tangible impact, that with economic uncertainty and the various pitfalls of our lives, we invest the most energy and passion into hobbies and pastimes that have the least chance of actually causing us difficulty. Obsession about sports teams, fanatical fandoms about TV shows, movie franchises, driven and meticulous arguments about video games are all signs that these things are effectively safe to get angry about. I can rage about my tauren's DPS compared to other classes safely because there's no actual, quantifiable risk to me for doing so, especially in the semi-anonymous world of an online game. (Admittedly, if I do it on this site, you'll all know it was me doing it, but I'm actually expected to talk about the game here.)

It's fine and good to be involved in your pastimes, to enjoy them, to care what happens in them. I mean, you're paying to play, you should be engaged. Otherwise, why play? There's a line between enjoyment and caring about what you're involved in and going too far into myopia, obsession and even outright overreaction. A sparkly pony that doesn't fly any faster than the fastest mount you already have is not going to ruin the game. You're free to not buy it, and if you do buy it, it's a fun, cosmetic option only. It's a purely discretionary purchase. It provides no in-game benefit that in any way would change your gameplay.

If your class seems behind the curve as DPS or heals or a tank, if you really feel like the latest patch or expansion is going to hurt your gameplay, if you're desperate for a worgen paladin and Blizz just won't give you one, it's fine to be concerned and to express that concern. It's fine to care. But just as it wouldn't be fine to throw your hamburger on the ground and unleash a stream of profanities because they put pickles and onions on it when you ordered it plain, and it wouldn't be fine to call the cable repair guy a string of expletives and suggest that he fornicate with the reanimated corpse of a famous TV horse because you can't get TIVO in your area, it's not fine to froth at the mount because arms DPS is low, or Dispersal is getting a two-minute cooldown. You are not the Hulk, and even if you were? Going big and green isn't going to get you seated at a table any faster, Kalgon.

Now, losing Sentry Totem? That absolutely will ruin this game.

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