Lemmings are awfully cute aren’t they? Most people don’t even know what a lemming looks like, despite all the jokes that surround them. The following depiction is a much better portrayal of the common image associated with this particular cute furry little rodent.
The thing with lemmings however is that their so-called “mass suicide” urges actually have nothing to do with wired desires to solve over-population issues via self-sacrifice. The idea that a lemming jumps off a cliff because the lemming before him jumped off the cliff is falacious. Actual lemming population control involves mass migrations, and while it is true that a lot of lemmings perish in these phenomena, this is really due more to facts like small furry land-based rodents are not designed to cross big rivers, which is what many of them end up having to do in their search for new homes. A lemming doesn’t decide to behave as if he was an otter in a previous life because his fellow lemming claimed that it was the case. Unfortunately, this most basic of animal instincts sometimes holds more merit than human logic.
A major issue with many WoW players over the years is that many possess the tendency to jump on a bandwagon. Oftentimes, they don’t pause to ponder what is presented in front of them, but rather accepts and endorses it because it came from a fellow lemming. I’ve never understood why this was a beneficial behavior, especially when people are not cute little furry that are trying hard to survive. In the end however, things that people decide to do with themselves is their own business, and I figured that as long as they aren’t reaching out to pull others down with them, then it really doesn’t have anything to do with me.
Recently, I’ve started reading various blogs. This habit started with peeking into World of Matticus. Matticus was a name that I’ve only been vaguely aware of. I used to be vaguely aware of his site being a pretty big go-to place for WoW players and I had once followed a trail of links to PlusHeal.com, but have not really thought about him consciously until relatively recently.
A few months ago, a healer happened to mention Matticus in guild chat. He was met with severe denouncement of Matticus by another guild member who is no longer in our guild. The anti-Matticus individual described Matticus as “a complete idiot who doesn’t know the first thing about healing”, amongst other unpleasantries.
It was pretty clear that this individual doesn’t like Matticus, however these statements also made me quirk an eyebrow. I didn’t know the first thing about Matticus. I wasn’t likely to play a healing class as my main ever again and thus it was likely that Matticus wouldn’t have anything to do with me. My guildmate is a lot more relevant in this sense. However, I found it hard to believe that a well-established and respected entity in the huge WoW community known especially for putting forth a place to go to for healing-oriented content would be mentally challenged and incapable of understanding the basics of what his establishments are founded on. Is it an act of disloyalty to one’s own guild members by questioning what they say about entities that one has never met?
I went out to World of Matticus, and began reading. I found the things Matticus wrote on the subject to be reasonable, well thought-out and in many cases tested thoroughly. I don’t know enough about healing so I hesitate to hail him as the All-Knowing One, but he certainly isn’t an idiot. At no point in time did I sense my mind being brainwashed and slowly taken ahold of a Cthuluoid creature. Honestly, and although this is harsh, Matticus isn’t even the most charismatic and compelling writer that I have read. In essence, I could not believe that WoM is popular because Matticus possesses some degree of power to compel others to his will, which would be the only explanation of the popularity of his site if he was indeed a disreputable individual. My experience coming out of this is bafflement; how could anyone actually stand behind his own statement of something so ridiculous when evidence indicates that he is quite simply, wrong?
WoM made me curious about other individuals’ efforts in helping the WoW playerbase. I started to look through different blogs, but quickly became frustrated. I found myself looking at a plethora of what almost seem to feature as their primary objective the conscious efforts to derail other players that are searching for ways to better themselves at their classes.
There is nothing wrong with using one’s own blog to write about one’s experiences and thoughts. However, at least for me, it doesn’t seem right when a person asserts that his/her blog is a place to go for facts on specific information and then to use that space to assert points that are not backed up by poor logic or non-fabricated and/or selective irrelevant evidence. In the end however, what an individual choses to say is entirely his/her perogative, but I feel it is important that we as readers take at least a little time to ponder whether the advice being delivered to us is worthy of taking, or at the very least if it makes sense.
It is not a difficult thing to do to pause and think for a moment. However, it is a lot easier for someone to do this when he/she approaches a subject matter from a distance. Whether we are conscious of it or not, most WoW players tend to just accept what a friend says without pondering it. It is human nature and not something that will change on its own. We can change it on an individual level by stopping to think for a few seconds before accepting something. Although a few seconds seems trivial, in the scheme of fighting against what we are naturally compelled to do it is actually very significant. If more felt that undertaking this effort is worthwhile, perhaps the cliqueyness and senseless rivalries that plague many guilds and realms would be less pronounced.
I’d like to offer a few scenarios to ponder, however as thought experiments they are inherently flawed because it is difficult for anyone to project themselves completely into these proposed situations. Most reading this post do not know me very well if at all. You are approaching my points from a distance, but the natures of what I ask you to ponder are a lot closer.
Say that your best WoW friend told you that a five year old raiding guild on your server, <I Can Haz Bukkets>, has a loot officer who uses a ridiculously complex loot system in order to route the most desired items to himself and his fellow officers first. Say also that <I Can Haz Bukkets> in addition to its longevity also does not have much of a turnover rate. Given these points, do you question your best friend’s information, or do you go on believing that <I Can Haz Bukkets> is a vile place that exploits its raiders? This is a scenario set in the current WoW scene, i.e. it isn’t a vanilla scenario in which decent raiding guilds are rare.
Now, pretend that a WoW friend that you have not actually played with but have interacted with over a long period of time through out of game means, for instance blogs and forums, has a history of vehemently trashing people that you do not know. Say that one such target individual has been in his guild for all of his raiding career and is not an officer. On the other hand, your friend has been booted from three guilds within a one month span. Does your friend’s tendencies and status quo come to mind at all when you are reacting to his statements? Would you side with his assertions that said individual is a horrible and ridiculously selfish person because you do not know this person, while your friend is your friend?
Final thought experiment. Your good friend leaves her guild asserting that everyone in her guild hates her because the GM dislikes her and thus told everyone in the guild to dislike her. What would you believe in this situation?
Overall these questions are pretty vague as I did not detail hypothetical propensities of each involved party. I’m sure that everyone has experienced scenarios similar to the ones I described, and as such would have different characters to fit into those molds.
In the end, the trait that all of the scenarios share is the question of how much you would believe your WoW friend, and if there is anything worthwhile for you to extend the benefit of the doubt to someone you’ve never met, and most likely will never meet due to faction/realm differences.
Do you feel that even if you believe incorrectly, that it doesn’t matter at all because it’s the internet, and a game on the internet?