A disturbing incident

I spent the first few days of last week with newly rekindled interest in WoW, what with some of the 6.2.3 changes and the chance at some alt gear with the Timewalking bonus event. I was not the only one, we had a lot of returned faces amongst my guildies.

But for some reason, all that new energy was gone by Thursday. Guild actives were back down to 4-5 at a time, and even though I still liked the TW event idea and to some extent the valor concept, I was overcome by a wave of indifference to the game. I did not expect the buzz from 6.2.3 to last until Legion, but two days?? I did not even bother to log on all weekend.

Now clearly this is one person’s anecdotal experience, so perhaps yours is much different. I hope so. Compounding everything for me were some time-consuming real life issues with my stupid car. But I also had an in-game incident Wednesday night that for some reason really affected my whole outlook on the game.

I was running HFC LFR on one of my alt hunters, chasing valor for some gear upgrades. I got into a fresh Wing 3 run, and apparently both tanks and a few of the DPS were from the same guild, maybe they had joined as a group, I don’t know. Before the raid group had even completely formed, the tanks took off running straight through the trash, pulling everything that stuck with them into Iskar’s room. They dashed about killing the in-room trash and then immediately pulled the boss.

Some number of trash were still running around in the room, some raid members were stuck outside getting killed from external trash ignored by the tanks. I began madly misdirecting trash in the room to the tanks, and when that was on cooldown, distracting the trash to my pet then putting the pet on passive or even Play Dead so that the tanks in the area would pick up aggro. For my efforts, I earned a stream of vile invective from one of the tanks, who informed me, after first calling me a lot of really nasty names, that the tanks were busy with the boss and adds, and that it was up to DPS to quickly dispatch any leftover trash without bothering the tanks.

We downed the boss, and I expected there to be a short recoup pause to allow the locked out and dead raid members to catch up. Nope. The tanks and their DPS cronies turned on their speed bursts, zipped out the door and immediately engaged more trash as they ran towards the next boss. By this time, we had some players who had released and were running back, some engaged with trash that had been skipped, some dying repeatedly to the skipped trash, and a small group still in Iskar’s room trying unsuccessfully to get their loot which they could not because the raid was engaged in combat.

At this point I probably should have just dropped group, but instead I made what was apparently an unforgivable error and asked in raid chat for the tanks to finish their current combat and pause for regrouping and looting. I was ignored, so I whispered the same request to one of the tanks. No response. I made one more attempt in raid chat, and this time I admit I used caps out of frustration  and actually addressed the tanks as “buttholes”, as in “HEY BUTTHOLES, SLOW DOWN FOR A MINUTE WILL YA”. Not cool, I admit, and I regret losing my composure over something so stupid. However, this at least finally got their attention — and apparently enraged them — causing the tank and a couple of his guildies to respond in raid chat with what I can only describe as some of the vilest, most hate-filled, sexually-oriented, violent-toned language I have ever witnessed in WoW. And then I was kicked from the group, and a couple of them followed up with similarly vile whispers to me before I could put them on ignore.

Now, normally I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to LFR. I have not been kicked often, but it has happened, usually on an alt doing exceptionally poor DPS or maybe a new healer alt I was still figuring out. With millions of people playing you can’t always count on fitting with a given group. No big deal.

But this seemed different. This was a gang, a small group that hijacked LFR, apparently highly insulted that they were “required” to lower themselves to such a level in order to get valor points. They had only disdain for everyone but themselves. Everyone else was there to serve them. Those that failed to give the correct level of awed obeisance were to be given the worst treatment possible.

I was shaken, even though I knew it was illogical to be so. So shaken that I logged off. I logged back on the following night, but there was such a bad taste still in my mouth that I only stayed for a few minutes and did not even attempt to go back until last night.

I am trying to not give this much importance, because my thinking brain tells me it was a just a mini-blip, not worth giving a second thought to. I have played this game for years, and I realize there are some nasty sub-human predators who play it only to bully others. But I can’t deny that this LFR incident caused me to pretty much abandon the game for several days. And my response makes me wonder if maybe similar experiences are one of the reasons WoW is not attracting significant numbers of new players. Think about it, if you are new to a game and within a couple of days of joining you are treated to name-calling and ridicule, are you going to keep playing? If you are considering playing and one of your friends recounts their experience with rude players, are you likely to start?

As I have written before, I have noticed a coarsening of the game over the years, a move away from shared fun and socializing and towards polarization and incomprehensible arrogance over one’s ability to press buttons. It puzzles me. I just hope one of the unintended consequences of the return to valor points is not to further entrench that tendency. But honestly, after a couple of recent experiences, I am starting to think that is exactly what is happening.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

4 Responses to A disturbing incident

  1. Casually Odd says:

    I’m sorry that you had that terrible experience. I know you’ve had bad experiences before but they still suck. And yes, I think all the toxic behavior is hurting the game. I know I would never suggest this game to people and 90% of that is due to the horrible community. I know that there are good people out there, but they seem so outnumbered as to be pointless.

    Perhaps that’s not fair but it feels that way. And it feels like Blizzard doesn’t care enough to do anything about it. Other companies are making efforts to improve their communities but Blizzard hasn’t been hurt enough by it for it to matter.

    Here’s to hoping for better LFR and people in general

    • Fiannor says:

      I am not really sure what Blizz can do about this kind of behavior, if anything. It is not an easy fix, more of a look at game design that seems to promote wider and wider splits between the self-styled hard cores and the vast majority of people who are casual or “serious casual”. But that would require much more strategic planning ability and assessment than I have seen Blizz exhibit. But you are absolutely right that this kind of behavior is not something that seven makes a blip on their radar — they have not been hurt by it enough to care or even recognize it is there.

  2. Grumsta says:

    Urgh. We all knew this was going to happen, but the scope and depth of their ignorant behaviour exceeded even my jaded view of how this would go. I would have found this equally upsetting, and I share your concerns about what this says to new players about what is expected behaviour in raid teams and indeed the game.

    I’m seeing the obligatory “you’re obviously boosted n00b” taunts, but nothing nastier than that so far on the EU servers.

    It was a mistake by Blizz to “force” the self-proclaimed elite into LFR to pour their toxic behaviour and excessive repair bills on the poor souls just trying to dip their toes into raiding or pick up their Tomes.

    However that doesn’t excuse what these idiots have done: they can just do mythic dungeons or TW, there’s no need to step into LFR at all. I’m guessing they chose to do it and behave the way they did. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that they have recorded it and posted it to Youtube for the other leets to chuckle over.

    I consider myself forewarned, and if I see similar behaviour in any LFR I join I will report those using abusive language and/or behaviour and drop group.

    I’ve had a really positive, enjoyable, social experience since 6.2.3 went live, including most LFR runs, I hope some of that goes your way soon.

    • Fiannor says:

      In fairness, I have to say most of my LFR runs in 6.2.3 have been positive also. But I have not run that many — maybe 2 full HFC runs and one BRF on an alt. Of those, I have had only two bad experiences, so it is not the norm by any means. But both bad experiences were alike, in that they involved players obviously annoyed at what they perceived as game play far beneath them, and their response was to speed run through the wing, laughing at and ridiculing those who did not keep up or who stopped to assist the squishier classes dealing with skipped trash.

      This is a meanness that disturbs me. And in the incident I described in this post the meanness was amplified by what seemed to be pure unadulterated hatred. I am still shocked by the level of language used, and remember I spent several years in the Army, so I am by no means a prude. It was like a physical blow, and it took me by such surprise that I neglected to get screen shots or even names/guild/server. I will know better next time and at least report it, though I doubt if that will do much good.

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