Others have witnessed about the opposite – how easy it is nowadays to group in player heavy areas instead of fighting over a certain named, slow spawning mob, needed for a quest. People help each other because it benefits everyone in the long run.
Gevlon at the Greedy Goblin took another approach to it the other day, pointing out that there is no such a thing as a rule that you “earn” nodes or certain mobs. With his usual goblin logic he showed the futility in doing such claims. Not surprising he got quite a few comments on this post, including one from myself.
Something in me revolted against the idea that only rules that are written down and decided from an authority should be respected. Life – in Azeroth as well as outside of it – is full of unwritten rules, conventions and agreements people have made since hundreds and thousands of years. Of course some people don’t care about them, but most do, and that makes life a lot easier and more pleasant than it would have been if they hadn’t existed.
The idea that you “earn” a node by killing the mobs around you comes out of a feeling of justice, no different from real life. If you work you expect to get the fruit of it (with the exception of taxes of course.)
Now comes the inevitable question: how do I know what is fair? Well, I think I have a sort of inner moral compass. A feeling of what’s right and wrong, coming out of some kind of humanity dwelling inside of me in my brain, my heart or perhaps an organ yet to be discovered by scientists. And I think I share this feeling with many people, no matter of what beliefs they may have and not have. It’s not about religion. It’s about being human.
What I think causes some problems in the game is that for some reason the inner compasses of some players are differently tuned in the game than in real life. I doubt that the guys who grab the opportunity to snatch nodes from others would do the same thing if they were out in a forest picking mushrooms. “Hey, someone else found a spot of mushrooms over there, I’d better rush and pick as many as I can in front of their eyes. After all there’s no law against it”. You don’t see that often, if ever. But in the game you do.
Where does this difference come from? Well, maybe our inner compasses aren’t telling the whole story after all. Maybe we all carry more features of selfishness or even evilness than we want to admit, even to ourselves. There’s an additional arrow in our compass, pointing in another direction. And the game provides an anonymous arena where we can try it out, obeying those less flattering sides of ourselves. Maybe we need it, as an outlet.
This is an attempt to explain it – but still I still don’t think it’s a valid excuse for behaving like a moron. If you want to explore your aggressive and mean sides, you can do that in PvP and no one will whine about it the slightest.
How to handle it
However, even if I do disagree with Gevlon – in the aspect I think that we as civilized citizens have moral contracts apart from the written laws – I do agree with his conclusion:
Of course you can call the people, who don't follow your non-existing rule "asshats" or "jerks", but it does not change anything. They most probably don't even know what you think, and if you /w it to them, remember, you are just an /ignore away. Calling them anything won't stop them taking "your" node. It increases your blood pressure though.
How true isn’t this! Getting angry won’t change anything, it will only make you more miserable – and what’s the point about that? Stay calm. Turn your back to hate and blaming and keep your eyes open. When you least expect it you’ll find someone with an inner compass pointing in the same direction as you and it will make your day.
A true story
I’ll end this quite messy, ranting post (which I apologize for, for some reason my mind seems to wander more than usual today) with a sweet – and true – little story. It all took place in Sholazar Basin, where I was questing the other day. I was on a mission to make a quest where you’re supposed to kill an elite by using a ward, reflecting his nasty deathbolts. When I arrived at the spot the mob was dead and I saw another guy waiting there. Now this was a hordie, so we couldn’t group. Since he was first on spot I waited to see him take down the guy first. He didn’t. He died, even though I tried to help him. When he had died, the tag went over to me, but of course I died too. (This quest was a bit tricky until you understood the drill). Corpse run back, followed by a new try, which also ended up in both dying. The third time however I managed to help him take down the mob. Conversation was impossible, for known reasons but he thanked me in gestures and I happily hugged him back. Then this hordie stayed around and waited for the mob to respawn and returned the service, helping me out.
There was no written rule that forced me to help him in the first place. And certainly no law told him to return the service. Still we partied in the way we could, since our inner moral compasses were synchronized. And you bet the warm and cosy feeling I felt in my stomach after this short encounter was a much bigger reward to me than the xp, gold and gear that the questgiver gave me.
So my final words are: keep listening to your own inner moral compass – no matter what the formal rules of Blizzard say. Do what’s right and don’t feel as a looser if other players take advantage of you because you’re “soft hearted”. Sooner or later you’ll run into likeminded players and in the long run I think you’ll end up as a winner, one way or the other.
If nothing else you’ll have a warm tummy.