Monday, March 23, 2009

The WoW Community - Black & White

I think I set the timer on the current poll too long. >> Oops. I'll wait for it to run out before posting the results.

So, through the course of the day today, as I was doing my usual forum trolling, I noticed that things have been a little more... hostile as of late. Maybe it's just me, but does it seem like people are constantly up in arms a little more frequently than usual? Note, I did make this observation before the unofficial class changes popped up and got people all stir-crazy, but it seems like little things have been irritating people a lot more than they would normally.

Now, before you point it out to me, I know the WoW community isn't the happiest sunshine-y place in the world. A lot of people have compared it to the /b/ forum on 4Chan, with /b/ being only slightly lower. As someone who steers completely clear of 4Chan in a desperate attempt to preserve what little sanity I have left, I can't make the comparison myself. But, the longer I stay active on the forums, the more I see it changing.

It's a funny place. On any given day, it's either full of hilarious or helpful posters, or completely rude and inconsiderate posters. Sure, there's a little overlap here and there, but it seems like there's an hour in the early morning that decides what kind of day it's going to be: angry or funny or helpful or whatever.

Why are the forums so black and white when it comes to topics?

As I have said before in many threads, the reason I post is to try to be a part of the community, and the way I try to be a part is by being that weird person who tries to bring something funny to the table. Yeah, it doesn't always work - I have my off days too, ya know - but for the days it does, for the times I get people quoting me, or sigging me, or general acknowledgement that tells me I've effectively done what I'm there to do - well, it's worth it. I like the idea that I made someone smile behind their computer screen. I like the idea that they come to the forums, filter through the drek, and find something to laugh about.

Maybe I'm unique in that stance, I don't really know. You can rest assured I won't be changing anytime soon. I guess I just wish I didn't feel so alone - there's definitely a group of people I goof off with, many of which were mentioned in my Forum Trolling 101 post. And I thank those for playing along with my shenanigans - and even more so, I thank the Blues for not banning me yet. =P

I'm hoping today was just an off day and the forums will get back to their regular way soon - whatever that is. I guess I just got spoiled with the streak of good feelings that went on last week...

But is it so wrong of me to want a good thing to stay?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Casual versus Hardcore

So I'm thinking Mondays for posting. Do Mondays sound good to everyone? I would pick Tuesdays, but Tuesdays I work during the day and raid at night. I'm not sure what would be a much higher traffic than Tuesday mornings (due to maintenance), so Monday evenings should make sense. I'll change the poll to reflect this question once the current poll ends. =)

(Of course, now I'm sure you're asking why this is being posted Tuesday morning - I started writing yesterday, but was abruptly called into work. Nobody's here yet, so I'm gonna try to sneak this out before the boss gets here.)

So, the topic today is casuals versus hardcore - basically, was it a good idea for Blizzard to have "dumbed down" content a bit to make it more accessible?

My short answer is yes. While I consider myself a hardcore, with a regular raiding schedule and a 100% raid attendance (barring personal disasters), I couldn't be happier that they recycled Naxx or made the content pretty easy to jump back into after a 10 level grind.

I will say I was disappointed with the nerfing of all the level 70 raid instances in some ways. Part of me wanted to run my head repeatedly into the Illidari Council until we got it, part of me wanted to tear my hair out when we finally got into Sunwell and couldn't get past Mu'ru, the guild breaker. It would have made me a better player had I been able to succeed past those things without the nerf. It took content that was challenging and fun and made it completely trivial. Granted, I'm also the kind of person who was against the attunements for instances being taken out - I've personally never downed Vashj or Kael because my previous guild was filled with people who did not know how to follow direction, and we skipped both those fights and immediately moved onto Hyjal and Black Temple... where we started skipping Archimonde.

It felt so very wrong to move onto the next tier of content without having completed the previous tier. That's the only part of progression that's been taken out that I really disagree with. You shouldn't move on to T8 content until you've finished T7 content. I really don't understand what's wrong with that idea. In my opinion, it's kind of like saying you should finish a 101 class before you move on to the 102 class.

I don't mind the idea of having some things be a little more accessible. Naxx is a fun raid and I'm glad a lot of people get to see it. I was one of the many that never got to see the 40-man iteration (truthfully, I never saw any of the level 60 raids at 60 - Eseten remains the only character I have ever managed to get to max level). So I'm glad that they took something they had put so much effort and work into and allowed it to be seen by a much larger population.

I can still stand out above the casuals with hard modes (whoot, go go Twilight Vanquisher - now onto Of the Nightfall!) and I think that's pretty cool. I think that's a good direction to take the game in - let the casuals have their fun to a certain extent, and let the hardcores still have something to work toward.

I will admit, however, that there is still that overall disappointment. I haven't seen anything in a while that could be considered "progression." It's been many, many months since I could say that. Working towards achievements is alright... but it's still the same boss with (in every case but 2/3 drake Sarth) the same rewards. All I get is a few achievement points that sit there and don't really do anything. I suppose they give me bragging rights, which is not all that different from saying "HAH, I've downed every boss in every instance, EAT THAT."

I guess I'm still a little torn on the situation. I suppose my argument is more that it makes sense why Blizzard did what they did. Is it really taking away from my fun, though? Does it hurt me directly that others are allowed to experience the same things? It would be a bit selfish to say yes to that.

But then, we're all a little selfish sometimes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Forum Trolling 101

So, some things have been changed around a bit.
  • New poll, please be sure to participate (since it seems not a lot of people have voted yet, I'll leave it up another week).
  • You'll notice, if you don't have some sort of ad-blocker, that there are ads now. As a starving writer, I figured it couldn't hurt. If they're too much of a nuisance, let me know and they'll be removed. (To be honest, since I have ad-blockers, I can't even see them myself.) Since I can't actually see my own ads, let me know if there are any offensive or questionable ads popping up, and I'll get them blacklisted off. I don't really want to be advertising for gold-selling or anything like that. =X
  • New name! Since I had to change my name when I moved to Gurubashi, Eseten has become my new online moniker. I will miss my old nickname of Pretty, but life in and out of the World of Warcraft goes on... I am now Eseten.
That should about cover it. Onto today's topic: A quick lesson in Forum Trolling.

Anyone who frequents the Official World of Warcraft General Forum probably knows me to some extent by now. I've gained somewhat of a reputation as a regular, though more often late at night than during the day. I'm probably not as recognizeable as the better-knowns, like Zmue, Rizz, or Stabby, but I like to think I'm somewhat infamous.

There's a lot of different kinds of trolls out there. There's friendly ones, outright rude ones, and then the ones who have multiple accounts due to frequent vacations. This is all a bit of a generalization, but that's more or less the gist of it.

Friendly trolls, like myself, tend not so much to be flamers and tend more towards the humorous or sarcastic posts. My toon, Eseten, has sort of developed his own personality as an insatiable flirt with a particular taste for female night elf druids. It was just sort of a random direction I took it in, and now it's become kind of part of my posting requirement: if there's a female night elf druid in the thread, I must let her know how sexy she is. Female blood elves of any kind are also acceptable.

Most friendly trolls have some kind of quirk like this. Waffletime likes her tauren, Sunila likes her male blood elves (we get along, if you couldn't tell), and Korozen likes... uhh... high heels. We specialize in derailing badly formed threads late at night, and running rampant with non-sensical roleplay. This infuriates some posters, and we revel in it. Since we usually post later in the evenings, we often don't get policed for our trollings. Slap on the hand at worst, or the deletion of a thread we didn't really care much about in the first place.

Rude trolls are the flamers. These are the people who enter threads for the sole purpose of telling you how much of a noob you are or how horrible your gear/arena rating/achievement points are. My theory is that most of them are either 20-somethings with no life or your typical 12 year old who's obsessed with his e-peen.

Friendly trolls often enjoy disguising themselves as rude trolls, but usually in the way of parody. In particular, I tend to become more of an insulting person whenever Zarhym, one of the Community Managers, posts. Ever since he altered my signature one evening, I have declared war on him. He's winning right now, but I'm still trying to master the art of being a bastard without getting myself banned. I never mean most of the things I say, it's more akin to picking on friends of yours. Granted, anonymous friends of yours, but friends nonetheless.

Vacationers are the worst of the bunch. They're the ones that do it for no other reason than shock value, and often get banned frequently for that purpose. This behavior confuses me. If you're doing it for attention and you get yourself banned in the process, then haven't you just defeated the purpose?

Some of the worst examples I've seen are the ones that simply don't give up after the first few bannings - there was a thread about a week ago where some kid challenged Eyonix to a fight at Blizzcon. What's funny was that he was trolled harder by the Community Managers than they were by him. 26 pages of hilarity later, the dumbass had three banned accounts. I actually suspect that the person who started another thread to try to continue it wasn't actually the OP, but someone who wanted to ride on the tail end of his glory. Needless to say, it failed miserably.

Admittedly, most forum trolls have to be full of themselves or desire attention to one level or another. Otherwise, why would we do it? I'm definitely one to admit when I'm being an attention whore (read: always), but at least I'm honest about it. I have my own quirks I've developed at this point that people on the forums know me for - if I were to abandon any of them, it wouldn't really be the same. If I didn't enter an Eyonix thread to hit on him, people ask why? If I don't sling a little mud Zarhym's way, people wonder if something's wrong with me. If I don't fetch Nethaera her coffee, she gets grumpy. And we can't have that, now can we?

The long and short of it is that the term "Forum Troll" means multiple things, especially in particular on the official WoW forums. At this point, it really just means a forum regular rather than an abrasive individual looking to cause trouble.

Though, I assure you, no matter how nice we may seem, trouble often follows behind. What can I say? You know I'm a stinker. ;)