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Editorial > WoWJan 6, 2021 4:00 pm CT

Please, be nice to other players — especially in LFG dungeons at the start of an expansion

I know it’s sometimes hard to believe, but when you’re playing World of Warcraft, the other characters in a dungeon with you? The ones whose portraits you can see on the side of the screen? They’re real people.

No, I don’t mean that Leothar the Holy Paladin healing your group is real, exactly. But there’s an actual person playing as Leothar — a person with a life, and feelings as real as yours, a person who has their own opinions and priorities. It could be a 12-year-old kid stuck in their house and just trying to eke some enjoyment out of life in a dark time, or it could be a bearded jerk who writes opinion pieces for a WoW site.

Although my Holy Paladin isn’t named Leothar. But still, you could get into a group and have me as the healer, and if you do, I seriously need you to throttle back the attitude. Now, it’s entirely possible that you’re a really nice person and you’re behaving really well in your pick up dungeon runs, in which case, thank you and this post is not really aimed at you. I mean, if you’re being cool to players who are new to a role, or just haven’t run the dungeon yet, that’s great, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for you.

But this is a post for the people who are throwing a tantrum when the party wipes.

How to play a game with other people

This is a post for the people who think we can and should chain pull every trash pull in Halls of Atonement like it’s the end of an expansion and we out-gear everything. We’re not there yet, guys. Relax, cool your jets, and let the tank and healer go at the speed their comfortable at. If you’re the tank and you die, don’t scream at the healer. If you’re the healer and that one DPS keeps messing up, try to be gentle with your correction.

In short, the other four people in your dungeon party are people. They are not AI characters put in Mists of Tirna Scithe so that you can run the dungeon.

There are several reasons for bad dungeon behavior. Some is just straight-up jerkitude from players who are suffering from some delusion or another as to their importance. You know the type — the tank who berates everyone constantly for any perceived flaw in their play, the healer who does the dungeon in a DPS spec, the DPS player who runs ahead and laughs it off when asked to stop. These are sometimes, but not always, players from high-progression guilds who are used to a certain level of coordination and performance and who, upon slumming it with us mere mortals, simply can’t wrap their heads around the idea that this group of level 54 to 57 characters running Plaguefall, largely for the first time, are not going to deliver the goods to the standard of his buddies who ran it on Mythic on day one of the expansion.

Treat others as if you might meet them someday

There’s not much you can do about this kind of behavior save vote kick them and hopefully get someone less toxic next time. Hopefully they’re not in the party with a friend who won’t vote to kick them because then you’ll need to drop group and wait for the Deserter Debuff to go away, and that’s just awful. It’s never fun to have to drop a group and wait because someone was just being unbearable and you have my sympathy if that’s happened to you.

But also, sometimes people simply don’t realize what they’re doing.

They’re used to playing with a specific group of people who all communicate really well, either via some form of voice chat like Discord or just through long familiarity. These players don’t mean to be disruptive, and you actually can get them to simmer down and comport themselves with a modicum of restraint. If you’re reading this post with a slow sink in your gut, wondering if you’re the person I’m talking about, then take heart — now that you suspect it, you can redirect it. You have it within yourself to give your group a break.

Possibly helpful steps to treat other humans like humans

Step one: Don’t rush them.

Yes, we all want to be done as fast as possible, but it’s the first month of the expansion — as I write this we’re on day 10. Some people don’t get to play as much as others, or have had specific reasons for being behind, or just plain aren’t as laser focused on doing all the things in WoW. Some people simply don’t know what’s going on in Theater of Pain yet. As much as it may be hard, try and be patient with them — it’s a video game, a diversion, a pastime we use to have fun. It’s not really us marching grimly through a Maldraxxus nightmare, a party wipe is a momentary setback and not an actual problem. Let people play at the pace they’re comfortable with.

Step two: Be forgiving of people’s mistakes.

We all make them. Yes, even awesome players like you and I sometimes do stupid things like back up into another patrol and suddenly we’re fighting twelve mobs at once. It happens, and getting furious about it just makes everyone feel worse. Typing about how awful everyone is at the game in all caps isn’t going to make them play better, and it’s been done, we’ve all seen it. No one cares how awesome you are. After that dungeon run, you probably won’t ever see them again. Throwing a fit doesn’t benefit literally anyone.

Step three: If you see someone being awful to someone else, call them on it.

That player who goes berserk with a tirade laced with profanity and even racial slurs or gendered insults? Tell them off. Support the person being attacked. Life is too short to let people treat a video game like Thunderdome.

Ultimately, in the words of a very smart man, it’s only a game. You’re playing a game. If you were playing, say, Settlers of Catan and you lost you won’t throw a fit or toss the board into a roaring fireplace — I hope — and you should try and treat World of Warcraft with that same level of awareness. This doesn’t mean you have to stay if you’re really getting mad at a bunch of wipes or you feel like the other players just aren’t learning from their mistakes — it’s always acceptable to make a polite exit. “Sorry, guys, I gotta go.” You don’t need to explain that it’s because the tank simply can’t hold threat and the DPS are all lunatics, just make your apologies and go.

It’s only a game, and we don’t have to be so mad.

Originally published 12/3/2020. Updated 1/6/2021.

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