First, before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I'm going to make an admission... and no, it has nothing to do with "elitism"...
I admit that when I started this "priest" blog, I did not realize just how difficult it would be to come up with interesting, informed, and original posts about priests. Seriously... I've been wracking my brain for the last few days, trying to come up with something priest related to blog about. The way I see it, is the Priest class in WoW, has not really received any major changes in almost a year.
There really isn't anything to theorycraft about (imo) that hasn't already been beaten to death on other blogs/forums, there hasn't really been anything special about the ICC bosses (so far released) that requires anything different than any other raid boss out there at the moment, and so far, none of the gear from ICC (aside from T10 which I've already touched on) is really all that game-changing (aside from Rotface's Trauma, but I'm waiting until I actually get it to post about it).
So...... that being said, I figured I'd post about something else WoW-related that I've been thinking about.
Yesterday, MMO-Champion linked a video on their homepage from G4 called the "MMO Report." This is not the first time MMO-Champion has linked an installment of this report on their homepage, but for me, it was the first time I had actually watched it. Overall, it wasn't all that impressive. It was a rundown of MMO related headlines from the week, with a one-liner thrown in after each where the host tried desperately to be funny (and failed).
There were two WoW-related blurbs on this MMO Report, the first about some 16 year old kid who got a 40-something woman to meet him in some hotel, and the second which highlighted MMO-Champion's feature of the WoW-addon "Elitist Group."
The first story, aside from being a bit disturbing, I didn't really care about. The second caught my attention not because a member of my guild recently started using the addon mentioned, but because of the remark that the host threw in afterwards, which was along the lines of how "WoW-nerds" love to "verbally eviscerate" fellow players for "simple in-game mistakes."
I'm not going to try and deny that this type of behavior doesn't happen, because it does... sometimes, quite often in some cases. I'm sure that my guild members and I are guilty of our share of "verbally eviscerating" fellow players for "simple in-game mistakes." Does that make someone "elitist" by default?
In my opinion, no.
"Simple in-game mistakes" will happen, I (and probably most of the members of Parabola) understand that. They happen to me, more often than I like to admit. From my experience though, most of us are pretty good about letting a mistake slide without the "verbal evisceration" if that's what it was... a simple mistake.
Mistakes are meant to be learned from though, and if the same "simple in-game mistake" keeps happening over, and over... and over.... That's when the "verbal evisceration" usually comes in during our raids. There is a difference between a "simple in-game mistake" (which happens occasionaly) and not paying attention and standing in the Giant Big... over... and over... and over even after your name is called.
This post may (in some people's eyes) make me look like an "elitist," but I don't feel that I am. I simply have specific expectations from players who choose to raid with Parabola (and I'm not even the raid leader).
1.) Be on-time, and be prepared. This should not just apply to raiding. Punctuality is important in all aspects of life... why should it be any different for a video game? If you're raiding and you're late... you're either holding up nine people, or 24 other people. Take some initiative and if the raid starts at 6:30, be at the raid and ready to raid at 6:30... not logging on at 6:30 and asking for a summon.
2.) Pay attention to what's going on around you. Either in-game, or on vent. Pay attention to what's being said by the raid leader... most raid leaders don't enjoy having to repeat themselves 23 times, and can lead to some early "verbal evisceration" even before mistakes are made. Also, pay attention to what's happening to your character in-game. If you die due to standing in the Giant Big too long, don't blame the healer... blame yourself for not watching your feet and moving.
3.) Know what your role is. If you're healing, know who you're supposed to be healing. If you're a tank, know what you'll be tanking, and when. If you're a DPS, know what you're supposed to DPS and when, and manage your hate accordingly. Most important of all for this point... if you don't know or are unclear on something, ASK... hopefully it was not something that was said on vent already and you just weren't paying attention. You don't necessarily have to ask the Raid leader either... ask someone else of your same Role, and they may be able to explain something more role-specific than the RL did.
4.) Most of all (and this probably sounds like the most "elitist" expectation), know how to raid. Don't misunderstand me, this is not a "L2Play" expectation. There are very specific things that players need to know how to do in order to successfully raid. Every role in the game changes a bit when it is in a raid environment vs a 5-man. Be aware of what you need to do differently as your class in a raid setting. Things like paying closer attention to your surroundings, managing your mana and threat, or not going out of range of heals. Don't go into ICC without ever having running a raid in your life and expect to know what you're doing... There are reasons why other raids came before it. If your DPS/Healing/Threat is significantly lower than what you should be at for your gear level... chances are you may be doing something wrong and someone's likely to call you out on it. We're in IceCrown Citadel, and ICC is not the place to learn how to raid... that's what Nax, Sarth, and Ulduar are for. In most cases, it's nothing personal... but we are here to succeed, not carry people through content. If you notice that you're significantly behind someone of the same class/role with similar gear... ask them what you may be doing wrong. I know personally I'm much more understanding when I know that you're actually trying to improve vs just being content in being carried.
So... back to the original point of the post. Does "elitism" run rampant in WoW? I think it again comes down the different mindsets of the players who play WoW, and I made a post about this a few weeks ago. With 11 million people playing one game, you are going to have players of varying skill levels, as well as varying mindsets. It's a fact. Some players are more skilled than others. The folks in guilds like Ensidia and others getting world firsts... are far more skilled than most players. There are also those players (and we've all seen them) that can't seem to see the big flaming patch of ground they're standing in... who are less skilled than most.
In my half-decade of playing, I feel that "elitism" (or what appears to most as elitism) usually shows up when people of drastically different mindsets meet. This can either be within a group/raid, in Trade-chat, or even sometimes in Guild Chat. What most people (from what I've seen) think is "elitism" is actually just people having expectations (usually about raiding) that clash drastically.
I have no doubts that I would appear to be "elitist" to someone who does not have the same expectations about a raid as I do... does this mean that I'm "elitist" and think I'm "better" than they are? Absolutely not. I'm a firm believer that everyone should raid in whatever way gives them the most enjoyment. Having specific expectations does not make one elitist, as long as you don't expect things from others that you don't do yourself. I don't think I'm "better" than anyone because of the way I choose to play... I know and understand that the type of raiding I enjoy isn't for everyone. I love a challenge and think fast-paced hard-core raiding is fun, whereas others may enjoy a relaxed pace. It's nothing personal, it just all goes back to different mindsets and what people are playing the game to do. I feel it's better to set the expectations early, so all the raiders know what's expected instead of just "verbally eviscerating" people after they haven't lived up to something they didn't know they weren't doing.
"Simple in-game mistakes," like accidentally cleansing the Abom controller on Putricide (oops) or forgetting to taunt because there's a football game on TV, happen to all of us. They only really become a problem when the continue to happen and you don't try to make an effort to keep it from happening again.
I'm pretty confident that with 11 million players, there are just as many "lazy" players who never try to get better as there are "elitists" who actually think they are "better" than everyone else.