The Joy Vacuum

"If you're going to be serious about this, you need to take serious steps." "If you're going to move forward, you have to committ yourself to what needs to get done." "If you don't have that, you really have no right to be in here in the first place."

What do those sound like to you? A serious talk between professional corporate baby boomers? A fast food restaurant manager trying to encourage some level of professionalism from a modern teen? An acting coach or agent speaking to an aspiring performer? An editor addressing a writer on a submission? If only they were spoken in those contexts, those scenarios would garner some modicum of respect or even a bland acceptance; boss speak, manager speak, corporate speak, condescension, call it what you like. Only these sentences weren't heard by me in a boardroom, or a professional kitchen or in an office, this is how some raiding gear snob gamer addressed aspiring raiders in my guild the other night after a few wipes in some "older" level 80 raid.

I knew I was in trouble when the guild was assigned video homework in order to do a raid! -- as if the guild is somehow paying for the two accounts I maintain or paying me a wage or something. "Sorry boss, I can't come into work today, I have to memorize this raid." "Sorry honey, I know you made dinner, but you and the kids go ahead, this raid is REALLY IMPORTANT to get right!" "I know we were going to go out, but I had a real shot at those level 264 boots and I had to be sure I got my DPS rotation right" "I know I told you I would read you that story but you have to understand how important this video game is! I have to research this raid!" "I realize I have to look for a job mom, but c'mon! If I can get this raid right it will make the monthly subscription toally worth it!"

Now don't get me wrong, raiding is part of the game. Questing, Player vs Player and Raiding. Ya can't get around it. However, especially lately, Blizzard and their minions have made raiding a key part of the game if you want, like, really goofy looking cartoon gear with a purple heading and outrageous statlines so you can sit for 20 minutes at a time clicking your hard earned, well thought out rotation and smack the same monster over and over and over and over again while someone "heals" you. Oh this is HIGH drama and quality fantasy gaming we're talking about here!! Kind of like the emotional, intellectual and story driven action involved in a game of Space Invaders, or even Defender! What kind of gaming experience compares with standing within a graphic of a monster and hitting it repeatedly while monitoring a dozen "add-ons" that let you know everyone else is doing the same thing you are, or ensuring you can keep doing what you're doing.

But my bullshit tolerance was breached when the participating guildees and I got a lecture from some limp cock tank about raiding and moving the guild forward, about comittment, about time management and about being serious. My guts gave a small lurch when my guildees responded with sad, solemn humilty to this sad sack's diatribe and acted on it. Are you kidding me? Are people really that debased? Is it really that simple? Really?

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