Don’t Be That Guy: MMO Hollywood Hero
I heard her before I saw her, a bevy of frantic gunfire drawing my attention to a thin brunette amidst a swarm of giant moth-like creatures. She was outgunned and outnumbered, mere seconds from her doom. That wasn’t going to happen though; not on my watch. I took aim and fired, the creatures suddenly taking notice of the bomber jacket clad combatant with a stone cold glare and nothing to lose. Moments later the ground was covered in insect goo and her day was saved.
“Don’t worry,” I said “you’re safe now.”
“Thanks for stealing my kills idiot,” she said and ran off into the woods.
A Stranger in a Strange Land
My foray back into MMOs has been a lot of fun and has really altered my perception of what I thought being a part of those communities entailed. Yet, I still feel a bit like an outsider, not because people are outwardly rude or treat me like the noob I am. No, my issues stem from the fact that my in-game persona has always mirrored the action heroes I watched during the 80′s. A brand of tough as nails men and women who threw caution to the wind and always had the perfect thing to say at the perfect time. This, however is not always appreciated but my fellow adventurers and I’ve begun to realize why.
Outside of the above example, I’ve done a couple of things while playing massively multiplayer games that at the time seemed ultra heroic but ultimately led to those around me getting a bit frustrated. At one point during The Secret World, I was being chased by these funky occultist guys. I was in over my head so I decided to jump off a nearby cliff, thinking I could put enough space between me and my pursuers. The bravery was exuding out of my face at this point and I hoped that another player witnessed the scenario and felt inspired to pursue justice like they never had before. Unfortunately, I landed amidst a group of zombies and other baddies that another player was trying to stealthily navigate around. Let’s just say this started a chain reaction of events that didn’t inspire much besides disdain and anger.
A Thin Line Between Bravery and Stupidity
I recall a similar struggle while testing the waters of World of Warcraft about 4 years ago. While The Secret World has plenty of opportunities for satisfying solo play, WoW was at its best when rolling deep. My first mistake was playing as a hunter and focusing too much on how cool it was that I could bring an animal friend into combat with me. I figured that people would see my bear sidekick (MrRichard) and see us as the ultimate party members. What they actually saw was a dude with a janky build who got too emotional when his pet died. I didn’t help matters that I always rushed haphazardly into the fray, bent on revenge yet ill-equipped to attain it.
It’s not that I’m ignorant of the fact that MMOs require a vastly different strategy than the type employed by the John Matrix’s and Ellen Ripley’s of the world, but its a constant struggle. I sometimes feel like MMO gameplay is a healthy diet and the temptation to go “cinema loose cannon” is a plate of macaroni and cheese. It’s always there, easy to turn to yet ultimately destructive to my well-being.
Please Keep the Lines Open
Another issue I have (which is something that occurs regularly in The Secret World, Diablo 3 and a couple of online shooters I play) is the motivational rants and clever one-liners I often spewed into group chat. In my mind I was Bill Pullman from Independence Day, my eloquent lines energizing those around me. It has since been pointed out to me that my chatter clogs the chat stream, thus preventing the rest of my team from getting applicable guidance from the person who’s actually leading us into battle. I can be kind of a chatty Kathy the way it is, but I never realized how unbelievably counter productive this can be. It’s a good thing I never found an occupation that required me to perform stealthy operations with a team.
If I have any hopes of maintaining some sort of positive reputation in these worlds, I have to find a way to bury this behavior deep into the recess of my mind and reserve it for a game where it doesn’t affect those around me. While my heart may be in the right place, the infamy Leroy Jenkins videos and other examples of “trolling” aren’t commonly seen in this light. Becoming a troll is the last thing I want to do, so it’s time to shape up or ship out.
A Step In the Right Direction
Even though I don’t plan on fully dedicating myself to the MMO-scape, I’ve taken the time to actually learn how to NOT be the bane of the existence of other players. When asked what my specialty is, I say DPS as opposed to “shooting stuff and jumping away from explosions at the last second”. I’ve also stopped jumping into battles with other players unless they invite me or their health bar is in the red. I’ve done enough of those seek and destroy type missions to understand how frustrating stolen kills can be. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that hardcore players need to play these types of games with other hardcore players; my definition of hardcore is a bit different.
Don’t Be That Guy – Seriously, no one likes a stereotype and video games are full of them. In the best interest of taking gaming culture out of the shadows, we think it’s best that we leave some of these characters behind.