Some days I really hate the internet....

Just some notes before I begin: 1) I have omitted details intentionally out of respect for my friend. I will maintain that level of respect, so I do not want to give specific details or names. 2) I'm coming from a pretty passionate place on this, and I'd rather it be here than elsewhere.

"Learn to play noob!"

"What, are you retarded or something"

"WTF, why am I dead?! Who fucked up?!"

...and these are the mild ones. It's no surprise when I tell ya these all came from playing online with other people, and having the misfortune to die and be in the vicinity of someone like this. But, this story isn't about me. This story is about a random stranger I met online. Who started playing alongside me, taught me a thing or two, and up until this week, was playing the game. Let's go to story time:

Recently, I started getting back into an MMO I had been playing a few months ago. I found myself in a guild (a casual guild, since that's my style), where I met this person. I started running dungeons with them, raids, etc, and life was good. They'd tank, and I'd do the destruction mambo. Thing was, they were good at tanking, one of the best I'd seen. They knew the role inside and out, and knew every resistance, technique, etc. Heck, they even inspired me to try to tank (I normally play DPS - stand to the side, out of the limelight, and make things die. Don't say anything, just be the deadly wallflower). I learned a lot from this individual, and life was good. Nice person, helpful, silly in dungeon runs, and a better person than I.

However, I could tell they weren't accustomed to the "nature" of online gaming. People would lay into my friend from all sides with horrible attacks. Lucky for them, my guild look after their own, and the haters got it with both barrels. But, one can only stay resilient for so long. Recently, they sent me an in-game mail stating that they couldn't take the abuse anymore and was leaving the game for good, and wished me well. That's right, my friend quit playing a game they loved because a bunch of the community decided to be vile and hateful since there's no face to the name. As much as I wanted to beg them to return, I knew it wasn't fair to them to say "Keep getting abused because you're a great person and you're a very skilled player." So, I did the one thing I could. I wished the the best of luck and offered to provide RL contact info should they ever want to use it.

Things like this make me irrationally mad. When you manage to get people to quit playing just because "they can't stand the heat", you fucked up. I harken back to 2/10's Bombin' In The AM, where Jim stated something to the effect of "On the internet, they say you need a thick skin, but that's not impenetrable." As much as I (admittedly) disagree with Jim, we have common ground on that topic. Even when everyone says "Don't let it get to you" and all of that, it does. I've had my day ruined because I've had to let a person have it, and I don't like to just rage out at people. So, what makes a person rationalize that because they want a quick and easy game experience with random people (not a premade party), that gives them license to be a dick?

So, my friend is gone. A statistic to the Internet Rage Machine (so to speak). And yet, I still play. In fact, I got fucking inspired. I started tanking more, and I decided to be that better person they were. I get chatty in dungeons, crack jokes, help the new guys out, and try to create the "best dungeoning experience possible". I know I can't be as good as they were, but hey, can't we all just try to make a good impression on people you encounter? I'll say, it takes work, and I know it's an uphill battle, but my friend leaving the game rattled me, and even some time later, I'm still mad at so many people. But, I have to find a way to learn from it and make things better, to change the community from within.

Now, I didn't come here for sympathy. I didn't come here to vent. I didn't come here to execute vigilante justice on those who wronged my friend. I came here because I wanted to put the story out somewhere where I know people see where I'm coming from (Heck, Patrick's Dark Souls twitter post from this morning seems rather timely now that I think of it). This is one of the more rational gaming communities I've seen, and yet, I know out there is a damn minefield. Heck, I stopped playing League of Legends thanks to the amazing community they have. We've managed to marginalize all this to "That's just how it is." What the hell? We've managed to write it off so well, no one bats an eye when you see these stories all over the internet. I used to do the same, but it just got personal for me. If that means I can use that to make me a better person, and rub off on others around me, you better believe I'm going to do so.

I won't give you specific details (out of respect), but let's just say if you find a tank with a silly disclaimer, you know you may have found someone trying to make the game world a better place.

2 Comments