Truth is, I haven’t been able to log onto WoW for the last week or so. Perhaps even a little more than that. I’d like to say that its something like the expansion blues – something nice and convenient like that. But it’s not. I’d like to say I’m ok, but I’m not.
I can’t exactly remember how long ago this happened…it’s all sort of blurry in my mind. To try and mix things up with my alt-levelling, I decided to give PvP a whirl at low levels. I rolled a hunter, a class I’d never tried before and queued up.
For a while, things were great. I could kill all those classes that haunted me on my healers and in a strange way, it felt as though I was exacting a healer’s revenge. And then came the fateful battle at Warsong Gulch. I ended up with the flag after a couple others failed and the horde came down hard on us. While some of the team was off trying to kill their flag carrier, couple horde descended on me while a bunch others stayed at our flag.
Somehow, I miraculously managed to stay alive and they killed the flag carrier. In the time it took me to try to jump down and cap the flag, one of the five horde camping the flag pick it up and ran off. Perhaps I wasn’t quick enough or perhaps I was just catching my breath at a bad time. But then the nightmare ensued.
Insults were flung and blame put squarely on me. I’ve learnt not to take a lot of these seriously, but something they said broke through. They said “die character-name, die”. And then they said it over and over and over again.
I didn’t care about the match or that the team saw it fit to squarely blame a single person for everything. But I could not come to terms with how people could so flippantly wish a person’s death. It is one of the most hurtful things that can be said to anyone and I would not wish it on anyone. The fact that more than one person said this was even more dismal and the entire experience just shook me to me my core.
I know that this is the internet. But seriously, I have to ask, what kind of community do we play in that people think it is alright to go ahead and say they wish a person died a million times?
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel at this point. It’s been a week atleast, and those words still haunt me. Am I really supposed to just be thick skinned and shrug it off, and hit the queue button for the next BG? And in all honesty, do I ever want to reach the point that I lose sensitivity to those kinds of things?
As with everything, my mind always struggles to reason things out. I know that my experience isn’t the only place this kind of abusive conduct and flippant use of insults happens. A lot of people in the game use the word “rape” without so much as a second thought or instantly add the f word to every adjective just to be cool and fit in. And so little thought goes into the actual meaning of what they’re saying.
I have to wonder, there is something I really don’t understand about the internet. Does anonymity really give people such a sense of freedom that they don’t feel accountable or responsible for what they say? Is that the new standard of what is acceptable?
I haven’t shared this with any of my guildmates – I simply don’t know them well enough yet to do so. And a part of me expects comments like “you shouldn’t let them get to you – grow a thicker skin”. But I don’t like to assume what people will say. I’ve seen my fair share of insults and nerdrage comments directed at me in my four years of playing but few of them have made it so I completely avoid the game. There’s a certain line and some things cannot be shrugged off. That line was crossed for me.
Perhaps I am naive about the internet, silly to expect a minimal standard from people and foolish to let this bother me. But I’m still upset by this, and I am who I am. I cannot see myself becoming a jaded cynic who expects the worst out of everyone.
My father always reminded me that “this too shall pass” whenever I was upset as a child, and I’m sure this time will be no different. I’m sure at some point, I’ll find I want to log on beyond my weekly raids and maybe slowly go back to exploring Azeroth. And when I do, I will be a little stronger.