Posted Mon, Jan 02, 2006 by Boomjack
Happy New Year folks!
The first Loading... of 2006 is upon us. Many would write about what happened in 2005, but that's the past, history, old news, Martha Stewart if you will. Many would write about what is to come, the future, the hopes, Vin Diesel if you will.
I'll have none of that. There is a far more important issue on the stove and it needs to be addressed. Someone typed something in World of Warcraft general chat that made me think. Yes, it's hard to believe and yes, many of you are shrugging this off as a halucination induced by sleep deprivation, but you would be wrong. Some brilliant piece of work typed the following, spelling errors and all, into general chat, in the Barrens no less: " U can't raid in WoW inless u use vent or TS its impossible". On the bright side he didn't type "unpossible".
For those of you that have been in forced confinement the reference to "vent or TS" is a reference to voice communications. Rather than tapping away on a keyboard to communicate with the rest of the raid the players can communicate via voice. I have no idea how you enunciate "U" instead of "you" or "Ur" instead of "you're", but there you have it, and it's what all of the cool kids are doing.
Let's get the facts out first. I have never raided in World of Warcraft. I did raid extensively in EverQuest with one of the most efficient guilds going at the time. We did everything and we did it first. Perhaps World of Wacraft raids are an order of magnitude more difficult than EverQuest raids, but I have my doubts.
If the raids aren't more difficult then what is the problem? Why is voice communication required?
WoW players are a unique breed, or at least, many of them are. Many of them are unique, put that in your hat and think about it for a bit. WoW's success is partially due to the fact that anyone can play it. Unlike EverQuest or Final Fantasy XI or the slew of other MMOGs out there, World of Warcraft is a game in which anyone can find their groove. Whether you are a new player of MMOGs or a veteran, you can pick up WoW and play. This leads to an interesting melting pot of player types.
There is a vocal group that will latch on to the most inane saying and repeat it indefinately until they either pass out or hear another saying they prefer more. Enter Goldshire or The Barrens and you are sure to hear people blathering on about Chuck Norris, screaming FROST SHOCK in capital letters, or otherwise acting like Rainman. Definately not someone to group with, definately. Definately not someone to group with, definately.
There is another vocal group that was born with a gene that forcibly stops them from reading quest instructions. You will find them in just about all zones asking where a quest mob is. After asking, and being answered repeatedly, they will spout some gibberish about the game being too hard and that nobody in WoW helps anyone else.
You will also find the hardcore group lurking in the instances and gaining levels faster than Kirstie Alley fills her plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
What does this have to do with voice communications you ask? Here is my theory...
Before World of Warcraft attracted the masses, those that chose to raid were hardcore players who put the social aspect of the game behind the need for accomplishment. They understood that paying attention to the leader's orders, eyes glued to the chat window, was the path to success. They refrained from typing anything into the chat window, for fear that it might break the focus of the group. They had played together as group members to reach the highest level in the game, not necessarily because they wanted to, but because you could not solo. They were forced to become good group members and raiders by the mechanics of the game. They were forced to understand how their class fit into the group picture in order to continue playing. The game itself trained them to be ready for what was going to be thrown at them in the end-game.
Then came World of Warcraft, where you rarely see a group formed outside of instances. Players solo to level 60 and then attempt to raid. They have never built and refined the skills necessary to act in a group. When it comes to raiding they simply don't know how to act. Many of them simply don't care about the other players in their group or raid as they never interact with them outside of that environment. The solo mentaility has become imprinted on their gameplay style.
The game mechanics of WoW that take the player to level 60 are very different than the ones in place when you attempt to raid. The game trains players new to the genre how to be a poor group member and raiders, then throws them into the midst of the veteran raiders in a Frankensteinish soup that is destined to turn out badly. The old school raiders are forced to educate the newcomers in a freakish battle of ideologies. The mere fact that if you join a group and heal someone else they weep with joy and disbelief is testament to the mindset of many non-raid WoW players. I don't envy the veterans and their uphill battle to form raid competent groups.
Maybe the Barrens Monkey had it right when he typed that you can't raid in WoW without voice communications, but I am going to be very disappointed if I find out that he was right.
New Comic - We have posted a new comic titled, "Other Work".
Here's what's new on the network!
Now on to the real world. You can't make this stuff up.
As always, thanks for visiting TenTonHammer.com,
-- John "Boomjack" Hoskin