Five Things You Learn About Humans Through Gaming


No matter how much you want to believe that other players these days are mindless robots with no feelings, there are people behind those computer screens. And if you’ve been gaming online for awhile, you learn a few vital lessons about the human race, some of which might not manifest as obviously in real life.

Being a nice person doesn’t always pay off.


Don’t be nice to these people though.

Just because you were nice enough to send a few hundred gold to a guild member to get them on their feet doesn’t mean they’ll say thank you for it. Oh, and that guy you helped with an achievement? He might not offer a thank you, and may even blame you if one of the requirements gets screwed up. That’s the last time you ever help anyone out, right?

Even though the reality’s depressing, the world has enough nasty folks in it.Keep being a nice person, because there’s more people out there who appreciate it than those who take it for granted. This is especially true in the gaming community – no matter which way you look at it, people can be absolute dicks. We’ve reached a point where a simple gesture of goodwill is met with genuine surprise, even for something as trivial as helping someone carry groceries to their car.

It’s entirely possible to go mad with power.

Ever joined a guild with someone you thought was pretty okay, only to find out that as a GM, they’re as ruthless and hard-hearted as any dictator?

At the same time, have you ever had a manager or group/project member who acted as if they were the only ones allowed to have opinions, assigned all the work, and wouldn’t allow anyone else to disagree with them?

Some people just aren’t good leaders. They might think they’re pretty well equipped to lead, but as soon as someone hands them a bit of power, they abuse it to a ridiculous extent. And no matter what you say to them or how many complains are made against them, they’ll never be able to see past their own perceptions of how things should work. Their way will always be “the right way”, and God help you if there’s a task that hasn’t been completed in the way that they’re demanding. The only way to deal with these people is to hope you never have to work under one, and to do whatever you can to get that person out of the position or out of your life before things get worse.

As far as online communities go, it’s a lot easier to just leave these people with their delusions and find a more positive environment. If they were a former friend of yours, it might be best to cut ties with them, especially if they refuse to listen to any suggestions or disagreements.

What you’re wearing will always affect how people approach you.

If I were to shuffle into a popular jewelry store in a downtown area wearing jeans, fingerless gloves, and a hoodie, you can bet people are going to be eyeballing me to make sure that hoodie’s not going to be used as a grab bag. Store employees wouldn’t approach me, and most customers would most likely look down their noses at me, as if someone dressed like me couldn’t possibly afford a $5,000 watch (not that it wouldn’t be a massive waste of money).


WoW’s transmog option even gives you the chance to change out those hulking shoulders.


But if I came in wearing dress slacks, a nice shirt, and some jewelry of my own, I’d more than likely be shown all kinds of sales and asked what my preferences are. In an online game, gear and possessions are  just as much of a status symbol as wearing nice clothes to expensive stores. If you’re decked out in top-tier purple gear or at least have a matching set of elaborate clothing, it’s an indication that you’ve been playing the game for awhile and you have the set pieces to look the part. And thanks to the ‘inspect’ option available in some games, other players can easily check you out and make assumptions based on your gear and item level.

This isn’t to say you’re not allowed to wear what you want, but be prepared for various forms of treatment depending on what you’re wearing on future shopping trips.

People don’t always grasp the concept of communication.

Random DPS: Hey, I’ve never done this fight before, can someone explain?

Random DPS 2: Sure. Alright, so the ranged needs to be on one side of the room while the tanks bounce the two bosses between them back and forth and-

Tank: We’ll be fine. *pulls*

This is the mentality that makes a raid or a dungeon take far longer than it needs to. Rather than wait for an explanation, players often prefer to dive in without speaking to each other – in fact, the very suggestion of open communication during a dungeon tends to piss people off more than anything else. It’s completely possible for a group to wipe multiple times with no one responding to questions or suggestions in chat, and then drop group once they’re tired of broken gear.

There are few things in life that genuinely put me into a state of frothing rage, but non-communication has to be one of the top most irritating things to experience. I’ve been in situations where a simple call or a few sentences would have prevented a pretty hefty misunderstanding that resulted in a week-long angry stalemate between friends, and the only thing that fixed it in the end was a few hours of sitting down and talking.

You aren’t always going to get an explanation, and you won’t be able to make people say what they need to say and get it over with. It sucks, but some people aren’t going to see that until they want to.

Relationship troubles affect everyone.

One particular guild I found myself in a few years ago was run by a man, his wife, and their mutual online friend. Things went well for a few months – we were getting members, building up a decent raiding team, and knocking out some achievements. Unfortunately, the guild imploded once the GM’s wife ripped her toons from the guild, thinking her husband was cheating on her with their mutual friend. It wasn’t true, but that incident appeared to be the straw that broke the camel’s back in a huge pile of unaddressed relationship issues that had already begun leaking into regular Vent discussions.

Just as one person can easily bring down a group, a conflict between two close friends within the same group can lead to its downfall. Nobody wants to be around that kind of negative energy, and people tend to take sides whether they mean to or not. It’s an awkward situation that sometimes leads to an inevitable group dissolution, and the sad thing is, it’s hard to stop it when it’s already started.

There’s a pretty good amount of depressing things you can learn about humans through gaming, but it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Avoid the toxic people in your life and learn the art of communication. You’ll be a lot happier in the long run, both in-game and in real life.

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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