Updated Mon, Jul 25, 2011 by Saia
World of Warcraft is synonymous with drama. It can be all sorts from pug-related ninjaing to guild-centric tantrums. I’ve seen guilds fall apart because of GMs who just had to control everything and couldn’t delegate, just as I’ve seen dungeon runs collapse due to simple misunderstandings about loot or a roll for that shiny piece of purple gear.
Yes, drama is everywhere and it’s unlikely to go away. WoW is an MMO, a social game, if you don’t want drama, go play Oblivion. That said, you can avoid it or at least help to neutralise anything that crosses your path.
For the most part WoW is like life, it relies on your reputation. Say I pug - Titans’ forbid - BWD as a tank but ninja some gear and quit mid-raid. My character name will be noted on that internal list of people never to play with that all raid and guild leaders will have in their heads. If someone then goes and suggests my name in a future raid, a red light will flash and the klaxon will sound and there’s no way I’ll get an invite. Even worse, word will get around about my antics and no more tanking for me.
Reputations are amazing things but fragile and easily damaged. Oh and they follow you. For life, or at least a very, very long time. Good reputations open doors, bad ones slam them shut and the key is dropped into the Abyssal Maw, never to be seen again.
The best way I know to avoid drama is simple. Be courteous, be considerate, don’t rush raids and dungeons but instead research the bosses and the pulls. Be polite to those you play with and remember there’s always a human being behind that avatar. While at uni, a tutor of mine taught us that every act in life − even the boring and annoying ones like washing the dishes - should be savoured and experienced as fully as possible. So, if you’re washing the dishes, you’re supposed to focused just on that an nothing else. This same approach applies just as nicely to raids; don’t get stressed and anxious because you’re wiping or because you’re bored. Rather, give every trash mob and boss your full attention, it’ll make you a better player in the long run.
Where there is WoW there will be drama, especially on the forums.
The most important thing is to empathize with your fellow players. We all share Azeroth with other people, it’s one of the great things about MMOs. They’re not called massively multiplayer online games for nothing. Yet as we walk the roads and vales of Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend and Outland, it’s important to remember there are other people out there too.
Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else's shoes; to understand their perspective on things. During a fracas, people are too quick to place blame on other people. It’s much easier to step back, breathe and look at it from another perspective. Drama can be avoided if you treat other players as you’d like to be treated. Seriously, it works, even if you’re just typing and never even give voice chat a look. Treat your virtual friends and guildmates as you would the ones you meet for coffee or attend school and work with. A little courtesy goes a heck of a long way.
The other thing worth remembering - and this may sound like blasphemy - is that WoW is just a game. It’s not real, none of that gear is worth anything, not really. The only thing you’re losing is time, the cost of the game/expansions and your subscription costs. WoW is a game, for some people it’s more important than real life but for most of us, that distinction remains vital.
A game is a game is a game but it does help if you apply real-life niceties to it, for politeness’ sake. So, before you go off to put these words of wisdom into action, how do you avoid drama in Azeroth? Let us know in the comments box.