Rash Generalizations or Why Are You So Defensive?

Englishman: I don’t really like the Welsh.  A nation of whores and rugby players the Welsh!

Neighbor: My mother was Welsh.

Englishman: Really… What position did she play?

-Paraphrased from Dave Allen at Large

I’m going to pick on Syp for a moment because he sent out a tweet that illustrates one of those basic problems we face when talking about games.

Of course, I’m a WoW player and felt I was being unjustly accused of being defensive.

Which made for a self-fulfilling prophecy as I was then feeling defensive for being accused of being defensive merely because I play WoW.

But I still felt he was wrong, tarring a player base of millions of people with a trait to which they neither demonstrably share nor hold any exclusivity over.

In this situation there is always the temptation to reply in kind.

Syp plays Rift!  And I am going to guess that this tweet had something to do with Rift and WoW.

Oh, and SynCaine plays Rift!  And so does Bhagpuss!  And none of them play WoW!

It is a conspiracy!

The Rift player base is made up of WoW haters!  I find it amusing how Rift players all hate WoW!

And look how defensive they are!  See those Rift players going after Tobold for saying he doesn’t want to play Rift.  Defensive! Totally!

And so on and so forth.

But that would just be demonstrating that the same silly coin has two sides.  And while it serves as a quick attention getting device, it hardly changes anybody’s mind about anything.

So, on the list of rules for being taken seriously as a member of the community, right after the one about not pretending you speak for the community as a whole, can we put in something about not generalizing about a given community?

Players of a given game are not a mass of like thinking/ like acting people.  If we were, we wouldn’t get on each others nerves so much in game, now would we?

Of course, this rule would be covered by the umbrella clause that allows use in special circumstances, such as attempts to make a point via humorous or satirical means. (Appropriate tagging is still recommended.)

We must, after all, protect our peers who eschew the simple declarative sentence and who choose instead to communicate solely via over-wrought analogy or heavy sarcasm.

21 thoughts on “Rash Generalizations or Why Are You So Defensive?

  1. SynCaine

    “Oh, and SynCaine plays Rift! And so does Bhagpuss! And none of them play WoW!”

    We have good taste?

    (And this is way too late for Friday Blog Wars btw, so double fail WoWbie)


  2. mbp

    I must put my hands up as someone who has recently accused WOW players of being defensive.

    Consider me suitably chastised for dismissing a group of 11 million assorted folks of different nationalities creeds and cultures as a single easily classifiable “type”.


  3. scotth

    Syp is complaining about WoW players?

    Not surprised.

    This does raise the issue of making news out of things that aren’t really news. Maybe a post on Charlie Sheen saying something crazy will follow.



  4. TheRemedy

    None of you WoW or Rift players have the skill or coordination to beat me in a game of Connect Four!


  5. Charlie Sheen

    The Warlock endorses this post. I’m sending you a case of tiger’s blood and a cardboard cutout of my goddesses.



  6. Syp

    And one of the basic problems we have when we talk about games is… you can’t make a light-hearted tweet without people getting up in arms about it? Okay.

    We are all gamers first, unless there’s someone out there who has never played any other game other than the MMO they currently enjoy. I just found it amusing that blogs had to attack other blogs for writing about something they wanted to talk about, just because it needled in on their sense of game superiority.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Syp – Unfortunately you did not give context in that tweet, you just tarred all WoW players alike in a different medium for the actions, according to that post, of a single blog.

    Since emotion does not transmit over text, and all the less so across Twitter, claiming “light-hearted” after the fact is a tough act.

    But I am curious, since you only got defensive (how amusing, in a light-hearted way… and didn’t I say up front that I was picking on you?) do you not agree with my point?


  8. Dril

    What if find incredible is that people are blatantly ignoring that this was, essentially, all caused by the Rift crowd.

    Back in the day (4 weeks ago) when I still thought Rift was worth my time and the forums were still vaguely interesting, what struck me was the sheer amount of, to put it bluntly, absolute fucking morons who posted *on the Rift forums about how they posted about Rift on some WoW forums.* And then they thought it was terribly unfair they got banned from said WoW forums.

    What’s even more baffling is that people go on the offensive and then get annoyed when people defend something. Do you really expect the passionate, intelligent and large WoW blogging crowd to sit back and go “oh yeah, sure, hate on WoW all you like?” If you attack WoW you’re part of the cool kids, if you defend it you’re a fanboi. If you attack Rift you’re a WoW fanboi, if you defend Rift a tide of love and joy will sweep over you. Hell, I don’t even play WoW anymore but I defend it and attack Rift.

    Oh well. When the tide turns against Rift (since it is, after all, a massive WoW clone, and everyone who’s indie, hip, and totally non-mainstream hates WoW)I’ll be chortling away at the hypocrisy of all the bloggers.

    On a related note: it’ll be interesting to see what Wolfshead has to say about Rift, if anything at all. If he likes Rift I’ll be absolutely flabbergasted.


  9. Bariwyn

    Were they really generalizing about ALL WoW players? Or do many just not realize that the word “some” is implied due to the character restraints of Twitter?


  10. Bariwyn

    @Dril: The “fucking morons” obviously have WoW accounts or they wouldn’t be allowed to post on those forums. So the people you are speaking of came from the very video game community you are defending.

    As for the tide turning, there are definitely the WoW-tourists in any game. I’m sure they will go back with the next WoW update that includes an innovative new world design where a large-scale PvE fight breaks out in the middle of a zone. Kind of like when they intro’d achievements after every other game had them.

    As for how Syp wrote the post, we are all responsible for our interpretation of events or even writing. You can choose to assume the worst and get offended, or like me, you can realize that twitter doesn’t allow full explanation.


  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bariwyn – You could have correctly interpreted that I was picking on Syp as an example of something that grates on me, the lumping of all players of a given game into one stereotype. And he could have said “Some WoW Players.” Or he could have referenced what he was referring to via a shortened link. But he chose to say, “WoW players” and, guess what, you have to live with your choices.

    I disagree with you that it is somehow the responsibility of the reader to excuse things written because of the medium. If you want to say something that is complicated or nuanced but you insist on using Twitter and your readers don’t get it because you only had 140 characters, blaming your readership seems disingenuous.

    And you, yourself, seem to get mad and blame the writer in this very thread both in your response to me and to Dril. You could have very easily read the phrase “some WoW forums” in your comment above as a forum that is focused on WoW besides the official forums, which is the only place I know of where you have to have a WoW account to be allowed to post. There are more than a few such other forums. Yet you chose to interpret it in your way and responded based only on that interpretation.

    Practice what you preach or go preach somewhere else please.


  12. Bariwyn

    My seeming to get mad was, once again, your interpretation. I have learned that only I am responsible for my thought process, in which interpretations are one. It would do well for many in this world to learn the same.

    I don’t preach, but have fun with yours.


  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bariwyn – Very nice words, but your previous two comments still demonstrate otherwise, unless you’ve decided to take the Humpty Dumpty stance and feel that your words mean only exactly what you think they mean, no more and no less.


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