The Quiet Man
Jan 12, 2008 09:43:12

For The HordeThe Quiet Man - no, not the quiet man as in the movie from 1952 with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. I had more in mind "the quiet man" as in "he was such a quiet man...until he picked up an axe and killed someone". You know the sort of thing you hear in the news from time to time. There is a fist fight in the movie - a long, long fist fight for which the movie is known, wherein John Wayne plays an American boxer that has retired to Ireland. Now that fistfight would fit the situation right nicely thank you...

What situation is that you might ask?

Well, I have a friend...ah, it's always "a friend" isn't it? In this case it really is a friend. This friend is normally capable of dealing with so much stress it would kill a yak. Ok, a small yak. Ok, a small yak that hadn't had to deal with much stress before, but a yak all the same. As my friend has found, there is no way to deal with stress quite like escaping from it altogether in an MMO - sometimes. Just a couple of weeks ago, Scott Hartsman featured an article on his blog site he calls "Off the Record." Here is what he had to say:
"Things that we enjoy later are (relatively speaking) acquired tastes. I enjoy Sci Fi worlds a lot now, but I enjoy them for what they are - Crafted places of varying degrees of quality and fun - They don't have the same kind of difficult-to-define resonance that Fantasy does. They take effort to get 'lost' in." - Scott Hartsman, "Why Fantasy? (I'd love to be wrong)"

While I would certainly agree with Mr. Hartsman, there are times when MMOs can be too involving. On occasion I visit my friend I will call "player X". "X" is a classic example of the old rhyme - "there was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very, very good. When she was bad she was bloody well difficult to get along with." You can always tell when player X is in battlegrounds in WoW. I will be reading a book and from the other side of the room I will hear her pounding fast and furious on the keys - like a jackhammer with overdrive.

"What are you doing?" I will ask.

My reply, when I get one at all, is that she is giving out orders in battlegrounds.

"Oh so YOU are the person with all the annoying SCREAMING OVER THE BATTLEGROUNDS CHAT!" I tell her.

Every so often we read a news story about someone who takes their game seriously - way too seriously. A while back there was a report of a man in Korea who played World of Warcraft for a week straight in an internet cafe with only the occasional biobreak, and promptly dropped dead. Not long ago there was a couple in the U.S. who had neglected their children because of a "WoW addiction." Just recently there was a report of a man who set another on fire because he claimed he was a "fire mage."

The thing is, anytime you have 9.3 million eggs in one basket a few of them are likely to be cracked. As involving as the average fantasy MMO can be it doesn't always bring out the best in all of us. Sometimes it allows us to lose ourselves is a world or a role we wouldn't normally have, and sometimes it lets people lose their minds period. But if you somehow manage to lose yourself in an MMO to such an extent you are ready to actually harm another person, your brain was probably quick fried to a crackly crunch to begin with - don't blame Rob Pardo or John Smedley or any of the other talented game developers out there.

So for all of the rest of us who have our eggshells in tact, let me offer up a bit of advice in the form of an old rhyme (albeit rewritten). The next time life gives you your own personal stress test think of this:
Stressed-out Lizzie took an axe,
And gave aTauren 40 wacks.
When she saw what she had done -
She realized it didn't help the stress and she went fishing in Booty Bay instead.

See you online...just not in battlegrounds.

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Jan 12, 2008 09:43:12 CST (comments: 3)


'Teetering' by Leonai
Submitted on 2008-01-15 00:52:02 CST
I'm over here weighing in my head back and forth - do I agree, or do I not agree?

Truth be known, it's neither and both. I do agree that many people take the game a little too seriously and perhaps personally to the point of full-body frustration. When I say that, please join me in my picture of an 8 yr old little kid, playing a handheld gaming device, who gets killed by some mob, and starts throwing a fit. You know you've seen it or heard of it - or even that you yourself have done that at some point in the years. I've even heard of people who have to replace numerous controllers because even in their early adulthood (i.e. out of highschool, but just learning the ropes of life post-parents) they throw fits and the first turn into physically throwing controllers at walls, the television, or family members.

On the other hand, whenever life is getting to be too stressful, everything seems to be pulling apart, and every step I take seems to have a grey ominous cloud which follows me - I look to gaming to turn off the grey cloud for just a short amount of time where I can completely forget about "that life stuff" and enjoy a bit of fun. Some go out with friends and party - me - I game. The little bit of fun which I have in game carries over to the rest of my life.

I do find that people who tend to "YELL AT EVERYONE IN-GAME" tend to be those who are usually in more of a position of leadership, so when others aren't following their lead - which again, is something they're used to - then they get overly frustrated. It's like someone who is used to going out onto the front porch every day to sit on a particular chair. When someone takes that chair and replaces it - it's just not the same. Eventually the person either finds the old chair, or does something else. Perhaps a bad analogy, but I'm sure others can be much more creative, and still make the same point.

As you said - some people tend to just be a bit cracked. Some need the fun escape so much that it is truly like a drug, and once you've had that fun - which in many cases tends to be the only fun which the person has - then they fall into the trap of too-much-of-a-good-thing-goes-very-bad.

Moral of the story is - make sure you're having more fun in general. Don't put all of your "eggs" in one basket. ET was a great movie, and perfect for this use - the kid was luring ET along with many droppings of reeses pieces. Why not have fun in little drops and have a bag at the end of the trail as well, with work and stress in between?

'Thanks' by Julie
Submitted on 2008-01-17 19:03:49 CST
Thanks for the comment, and such a lengthy one at that. I appreciate your input. As for myself I don't ever recall having to replace a controller - keyboard? yes. But pound on anything for 25 years and it will occasionally have to be replaced; if nothing else, just to upgrade the technology. As I type this, the effect of several years of use have worn some of the keys like the "n" until the letters are not visible.

As for dealing stress I prefer meditation myself. In fact one time in Eve-online, when a "guild mate" found out I was a nun she demanded that I get off line and go meditate. Some people handle stress in different ways, but in the case of player X, battlegrounds never help.

There is a great deal of truth in what you say about what people are used to. My friend, in fact, is quite use to being in charge of things. That is perhaps why she trys to boss people around in battlegrounds. She often complains of a lack of coordination amoungst players. I believe if she had ever played Eve-Online in zero security space, as I have, she would have seen some first class co-ordinated pvp.

Thanks again,


'MMO anger=singing in the shower=dancing by yourself=yelling while driving' by coppertopper
Submitted on 2008-01-29 10:16:16 CST
I really don't see the difference. These are all things we do in the privacy of our own spaces.
What bothers me, more then the already clinically incompetant/insane who bring MMOs to the national and international news scene, is when people get off on affecting someone emotionally in a bad way through MMOs.

One of the quotes from this magazine just bothers me (from an Eve online player):
"The ability to inflict that huge amount of actual, real-life damage on someone is amazingly satisfying" says Houston... "It's impossible to make another person stop playing or quit the game unless their spirit is, you know, crushed."

Now I have friends who I've watched play games as they titter like 10yr olds having a tickle fight when they find a spot where kills are gravy, and it bothers me.

But when someone makes it a goal of their MMO gaming to demoralize other players....that hints at some serious emotional baggage that should be checked at the local therapist, before he/she tries to make a go in RL society. Does this same person run around to where everyone is hiding and yell and point during hide and seek? Does he/she publically point out some physical flaw of others or shared secret just to get some satisfaction out of "real life damage"? Yet to do the equivalent online in a determined fashion = /

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