Lalalalala, I can’t hear you over the sound of “I don’t give a shit”
This Monday I picked my semi cranky kid up from kindergarten. There is nothing strange about her being cranky, most 1.5 year olds are when it is around dinner time. They are hungry, tired and not in the mood to sit still in their wagon while driving around with public transportation.
Unfortunately for me, this Monday there had been an issue with the metro, a signal failure, an fault with one of the wagons or something, I admit I wasn’t really paying attention because a feeling of dread washed over me when I heard that I would have to wait another 10 minutes for the next metro train to arrive.
If you do not have children you are probably shaking your head right now and thinking, “why is she making such a big fuss about 10 minutes?” If you do have kids, I know you will feel a lot of sympathy for me right now. Either way, when the train finally arrived my semi cranky toddler had transformed into a screaming, kicking mess and I had one single goal in mind, getting home so she could have dinner.
As you can imagine horror struck me when I saw the train. The entry points where you usually place wagons and wheel chairs was stuffed, people were hugging strangers and smelling armpits in there. But then I realized that the walkway was largely unpopulated. “Yay! We will make it” I told my toddler who had dissolved into angry tears and I enthusiastically pushed the wagon towards the nearest door.
“Please move down the walkway” I asked politely pointing towards the empty space, “I need to get this wagon in”. It would have been beautiful if the mass of people would have moved further into the train in one synchronized movement, my wagon and plea parting the sea of humans leaving room for passage for me and my child. The story would have ended with a happy toddler munching on sausages and macaronis before contently falling asleep leaving her mom a full evening of gaming.
It would have been beautiful, but it didn’t happen, instead nothing happened. Nothing at all! No reaction, not even a “can’t you see it is packed you lunatic?”. I won’t claim it was dead silent, after all there was a gazillion people with that train, but I haven’t felt that ignored since my 7th grade school party.
Gank the Rogue!
And it reminded me of world PVP. At least what world PVP has become in many MMORPGs. Back in 2005 when I started playing World of Warcraft (eep it has almost been 10 years 😮 ), I played on a PVP server. While leveling it was a rare day that I wasn’t ganked or at that someone at least attempted to gank me, but! It was also rare that someone in the zone, guild, general chat didn’t jump to action when that happened. I fondly remember 15+ people; guildies and randoms showing up, revenging me by repeatedly killing and camping the rogue who had been unfortunate enough to kill me in Blasted Lands. This then of course escalated as alliance players arrived to take vengeance against our group and in the end everyone had a ton of fun. Yes fun! Not what they had planned for the day and maybe not something that could be considered productive and counted in gold, experience or general progress, but they had fun. You know the reason for playing games in the first place..
That scenario is unthinkable today. Everyone are so caught up in the things they need to do, there are raid schedules, challenge mode timetables and of course the obligatory farming runs that are penned into your overflowing calendar. There is so much to do, that it is inconceivable to stop for a moment to help out a noob. And that is whether said noob is getting ganked, asking for 1 gold to get their first mount or if it is someone slightly undergeared joining your instance/raid. It is vote kick and goodbye Noob!
But it is actually even worse than that. We have all gotten so used to the state of affairs that it is not even a conscious choice anymore. Think about it, last time you saw someone getting ganked, did you even consider to help? Do you even remember when the last time was? Likely not. We are just happy that it wasn’t us who got inconvenienced by a corpserun. Even if it is us, we no longer bother complaining in general chat, probably not even in guild chat. Not just because people wouldn’t come, but also because it would be kinda annoying if they did. Then you would have to stick around to help gank that enemy player, you would need to spend time chatting with your rescuers afterwards to not seem ungrateful and worst of all, you would have to show up in the future if they got ganked. No! Then it is easier to just corpserun, and take a toiletbreak until your attacker gets tired of camping you. It wont take long, after all they also have raids to attend and farming to complete.
I really wish it wasn’t like this. Gaming is supposed to be a relaxing experience and MMO’s are supposed to be social, but we seem dead set on ruining things for ourselves, then conveniently pushing the blame on the developers with claims of them dumping down the game.
The journey guys, remember the journey.
It isn’t all on them though, let us take back the fun in games, by actually interacting with each other and by celebrating the spontaneous ingame moments. The unprompted dance parties, the impulsive PVP raids and the spur-of-the-moment player gatherings. Let us think a bit more about each other and not just about getting to our set destination as fast as possible whether the end goal is max level, epic gear or getting home after work. In the words of Ernest Hemingway:
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
I still have plenty of faith left that we can do it, both ingame and in the real world. And yesterday my faith was rewarded. I once again stood in front of an overfilled train, but this time something magical DID happen. A guy saw me standing there and he poked the person next to him and that person poked her neighbour and they all shuffled a bit further into the wagon leaving a spot for me and my tired toddler.
It only takes one person to break the apathy. Is that one person you?