Social Cripples of the World, Unite!

…or, how to be a complete douche in the online gaming community.

In this weeks post, I thought that I would highlight the douche-baggery that is par for the course when it comes to serious online gaming.

Like most people, I have a Facebook account that I check religiously. Part of my Facebook ritual is “liking” bands, books, movies and games that I enjoy. Most of these pages are run by the company or band themselves, or authorized representatives – this is nice because you get real information and can get involved in discussions happening on these pages. One of my likes is RIFT’s page: they’re pretty awesome about keeping the community updated on what’s going on either with the servers, game reviews, etc. A few days ago, there was a post entitled:

“So far, so good. Trion have managed to pull off something other MMO-devs can only dream about – they’ve managed to release a solid product, a MMO that for the first time in ages feels like it’s actually finished and ready for launch.” — Check out the review to see what else Gamereactor UK had to say about RIFT!

Like many people wishing to show their support for a well done product, I wanted to put in my two cents about my fantastic experience so far. As I read through the comments, I was sad to see so many people bashing the game just to be jerks and comparing it to World of Warcraft, “the first MMO. OMG RIFT copied WoW!”.

I would like, if I may, to make this point crystal clear: World of Warcraft was not the first MMO. It wasn’t even the second or third. It’s true that it’s been one of the biggest and most successful MMOs, but that’s what happens when you combine a tweaked version other people’s ideas, add some of your own, and cave in to a barrage of whining. After reading through 100 responses, many of which were from obvious social cripples, I’d had enough and decided to expand on my original congratulatory thought:

Despite how anyone feels about the game- good or bad, I have to agree with this review. I’ve played a LOT of MMOs over the years and beta tested most of them to boot. For the majority of them, once beta ended it was worrying to know that the powers that be were planning on launching the game a week or so later when there were clear stability issues as well as a LOT of bugs. One to two weeks is not enough time to fix serious issues, and I have never been a fan of companies rushing to put a game out JUST to beat the competition.

Regarding queues and server whining: One of the things I’m really loving about Trion’s efforts is the fact that we can “see” them working to resolve issues – the servers come down when something needs to be FIXED, rather than waiting a week and letting it get worse and/or letting other issues pile up. Also, the game has only been live for about 2 weeks. Of COURSE there are going to be queues when so many people are anxious to play a new game, and it’s no different from WoW back in the day. A forced 15 – 30 minute break is not the end of the world…get a cup of coffee, have a smoke, or take these few minutes and grow up a bit.

**Special note: I have not ONCE seen the world server crash, and I pretty much expected it to on opening day or during that major invasion during a peak hour. That’s “ready to launch” for you.

Anyway – I was seriously impressed with Rift when I started playing during Beta 5 – my only issues were minor bugs and the occasional “I need a little more clarification for this objective”, and I continue to be impressed with the game and community in general. Well done to the team at Trion, keep up the good work – those of us that TRULY want to be here are most appreciative. 🙂

In my opinion, if you’re going to complain about something AND want people to take you seriously, do your homework. However, doing homework is too hard for most people nowadays, so let’s look at a nifty MMO time line that I’ve researched for you. I’ve only included major titles + the release date, but this should get the point across:

  • 1997 – Ultima Online
  • 1998 – Lineage
  • 1999 – EverQuest
  • 1999 – Asheron’s Call
  • 2001 – Anarchy Online
  • 2001 – Dark Age of Camelot
  • 2002 – The Sims Online
  • 2003 – EVE Online
  • 2003 – Planetside
  • 2003 – Star Wars Galaxies
  • 2004 – World of Warcraft

As you can see, World of Warcraft is at #11. I would say that it’s a safe bet to assume that most of WoW’s developers played the majority of these games and based on their experiences had some good ideas on how to polish up certain aspects: game play, user interface, etc. There is nothing wrong with this at all…just don’t go around proclaiming that WoW was the first of its kind. All MMOs with the exception of the fore fathers have borrowed ideas from their predecessors, and this continues to be the case with games like Lord of the Rings Online, Hellgate London, Tabula Rasa, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Aion.

In regards to the title of this post, the people that I refer to as “social cripples” are those people, young and old alike, that have no notion of how to talk to other people in an online environment. In my experience it has been younger people that are most guilty of this, because a lot (not all) of my generation (Generation X) are less than stellar parents: it’s easy to sit your kids down in front of the TV or the computer and let them entertain themselves. Again, there’s nothing wrong with television and gaming in healthy doses, but letting the TV, computer and console act as a babysitter isn’t healthy.

So, with a generation of children growing up without playing outside with other kids and having conversations in general, you get the social cripples – kids to young adults that are incapable of talking to others civilly while online…those who come across as trolls even if it’s not their intention, because they just don’t know any better.

The other type of social cripple is more general -they just don’t know to talk to people, period – the setting is unimportant.

In either case, whether you’re deliberately trolling or NOT, we laugh at you behind your back, make jokes about your mother, and do not want to be your friend. We will not play with you and we will tell everyone we know about your winning personality, so that they too can avoid you like the plague. It would be safe to assume that once you’ve worn out your welcome, life will become pretty lonely…and there’s nothing worse than be ostracized by a community. Sure, you can change your name, switch servers or even go play something new, but because you’re socially retarded, the cycle will go on.


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