Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Be Special, and Proud of It!

WARNING: I am about to swear a lot. You have been warned.

You've never seen my angry. I hope you never do. What you are about to see is not me angry; I've calmed down quite a bit since reading the post in question. Let's just say I'm glad this guy wasn't physically in the same room as me while spouting this bullshit. Because, seriously? Them's fightin' words.

To summarize his post:
"My name is Euripedes, and I'm very insecure. It makes me very angry when other people think they are better than me. This is because I'm so afraid that I don't measure up, that I have to adopt a life philosophy that says everyone is equal. I never saw The Incredibles or read Ayn Rand, so I never realized that if 'everyone is special, then no one is.' I think that I, Euripedes, am so special that I have to tear down anyone else who thinks they might be special. I am so special that I am the only one who gets to be special! Also, I blow goats."
First off, the very idea of specialness being a bad thing that needs to be stomped out makes me physically ill. I'm a Humanist, and humanity shines its brightest when you let it shine. We advance as a species because of special people, not because of the writhing mass of consumption and conformity that they emerge from, the mass that Euripedes thinks they should be mashed back down into without hesitation.

Secondly, let's look at two quotes from his post side by side:
"Let’s get this straight here, Ulduar raiders. You worked hard for your epics. You raided long hours, painfully wiped, had triumphant wins and bitter defeats. You dropped Yogg-Saron before the nerfs, beat Hard Mode X before Y was nerfed. People being able to get the same level of loot from much easier content in no way diminishes that. "
"You can try to say you are, act like you are, but you aren’t. You may be better than the majority of other players, be able to clear the hard content better and faster than 90% of the guilds out there. How does that warrant your skills being worshiped? How does that warrant keeping the peasants in-line and the grand overlords (namely, you) in positions of, essentially, royalty?"

Euri, you fucking hypocrite. So which is it? You can't say "stop caring about loot, it's just perception, it's not important" out of one side of your mouth, while the other side says "loot is so important that it makes you ROYALTY IN MY EYES, and the only way to rectify that is to give me the same loot for free!"

Again, for emphasis: you fucking hypocrite.

And how about this quote:

"An elitist attitude means you want to deny the lesser mortals stuff on sole merit that you are better than they are. Frankly, this disgusts me on a level I didn’t even know was possible."

You can't possibly mean this, Euri. You're saying baseball pros are elitist assholes because they expect to be allowed to play on the Red Sox while you are stuck in your work softball league. You're saying that Donald Trump is a douche (ok, he IS a douche, but for other reasons) for daring to think that he deserves his millions while you don't. Why doesn't he just hand all his money to you!? I just. Can't. Figure. Out. Why. Can you? Why don't we hand out Olympic medals to everyone who watches the Olympics on TV, and give trophies to all the NASCAR spectators while tsk-tsking the drivers for being big enough assholes to think they deserved something for actually running the race?

What Euri is actually saying is that he thinks he is entitled to everything nice no matter how little he works, and seeing other people have things he wants makes him jealous. The jealousy is exacerbated when others believe they have actually earned what they have. He is so insecure about himself that he can't handle other people having anything he doesn't have, but can't reconcile this fact with his own self-image. He must make himself believe that cutting others down is noble, because otherwise he has to face the fact that he's being a bitter, petty douche.

So everyone: ignore bitter, petty douchebags like this and let your fucking freak flag fly. Be special. If it makes you happy to have the most minipets, then take pride in that! Do not, under any circumstances, take Euripedes's advice and actually feel ashamed that you dared think you might have some quality that is rare in others.

Update 1: Larisa has a very thoughtful post up on this subject, where she espouses a more healthy attitude:
"You [geared-out 'elitist' raiders] weren’t very much noticed in the first place. At least not by me. You were faceless before the next patch and you’ll stay faceless after the next one, unless you do something about it." I'm very cool with that. I just don't like it when people go out of their way to care about it while claiming others shouldn't care. If Euri actually doesn't think gear matters that much, then I encourage him to stop caring so much about it.

Larisa also talks about how, if you want to be really special and "sparkle", you can do something original and unusual for your server's community, like organize a cool event. Or even just wear items for their looks rather than stats. Or, best of all, just be such an all-around-cool-person that everyone knows your name. Sounds great to me. If you do something to earn your specialness, then you deserve it. :)

UPDATE 2: In case there is any doubt about Euri's intent, or that I misinterpreted him, here's his clarification in the comments of his own post:
"I take issue with those thousands of raiders who are against this change solely because they think they should be the only ones with access to gear of this quality.

If you’re against it because it ruins progression, or this or that or the other thing, that’s fine, that at least makes sense.

But being against it only because it grants gear to those less skilled than you are?

It’s that attitude this post was directed against."

So his "clarification" is to say, flat-out, that he thinks gear should be distributed with a complete disregard for skill. It's a major stretch to interpret it any other way. He doesn't seem interested in leaving us room to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And just for the record, I do think that skill should be a factor when rewards are given out. I do think that only the best players should have exclusive access to the top quality gear.

So am I an asshole for that?

I do think that allowing someone to grind faceroll heroics and receive exactly the same reward as a raider got through skill, practice, effort, and other expenses is offensive. I am NOT purely against the idea that 5-man players or time-limited players should be able to advance their characters. I like the idea of being able to get higher tier tokens in 5-mans. I just have a quibble with the way the execution of the change rewards purely time spent grinding a mundane and trivial task, when it should be rewarding an effortful application of skill.

UPDATE 3: Aaaaand things get more confusing! Quoting Euripedes' follow-up post on his blog:

"This… doesn’t make sense to me.

Awarding “last season” raiding gear for easy stuff makes sense. I’ve iterated why this post and last.

But awarding current season raiding gear for the same (relatively) easy content?

That, to me, is fundamentally wrong."

So why is it fundamentally wrong? How is this consistent with your other statements?

In the same post, he also tries to clarify who he was aiming the post at. Here's a summary:

"The post was directed at a specific set of people who have an issue with the change, an attitude that was summarized best by occam99:

Funnily enough, the people who have that attitude ARE the ones who feel that they should be worshipped for their gear…and that’s what this is all about. “Hey, I have T8.5. Obviously I’m a better person than you, which means that you don’t deserve what I have”.

It is ass-backwards, and supported by the fact that in WoW, we are all anonymous. If someone says to me, “I have a Jaguar and you don’t, therefore I am better than you, thus you don’t deserve the same things as me”, I’m gonna punch him in the throat.

It’s THAT kind of raider the last post was leveled at.

If you are NOT that kind of person, then that last post wasn’t directed at you.

Is that clearer now?"

Not much. He still doesn't come out and say what he means. From what I can gather, he's mad at people who are assholes. I can get behind that. But he keeps saying it wrong. He keeps attacking people who think they deserve things for being better at something. Apparently, he means to attack people who are rude enough to rub it in others' faces. Not once does he say this explicitly, though. Which just makes me think that he's actually mad that other people have nice things and dare to think they deserve them and he doesn't, and he's just looking for some rational way to couch his anger so he doesn't look petty. This is supported by how inconsistent his other views are. He needs to clearly parse out that he's mad at the "asshole-superiority" part, and not the "deserving" part.

I don't think there's anything wrong with someone thinking they deserve better rewards for doing better. Now if you meant "better person overall because I have epics" rather than "better at the game and therefore I have epics" then that's a different story. He does quote the phrase "better person", so I can only assume that it's THAT idea that he is so mad about. When other people have something nice and think that therefore they must be better people overall than you? That makes them an asshole. I'm with him on that. You just have different priorities or skills, and put them to use in different ways. Doesn't make either of you "better people".


There's nothing wrong with them thinking they deserve the reward and you don't. Why attack that idea when supposedly all your mad about is the fact that they think having something nice makes them a better person? Separate the two ideas instead of mashing them uncerimoniously together, and it would get rid of the confusion. Make a post attacking assholes specifically, instead of adding in the junk about who deserves what. That's where the confusion came from, and why my criticism still stands.


Eury said...

It's cool to be different and yes, Blizzard has done a rather knock up job of homogenizing and normalizing this game much more than it used to be. So of course there's going to be some QQ'ing from people, but I don't think they all qualify as elitests. What I associate the word "elitest" to is the negative, condescending behavior; the UBER ego; and the general "my shit doesn't stink" attitude. Confidence is one thing, being an asshole is another.

Those that I consider "elitest" are the ones that take whatever it is that makes them "special" and rub it in your face every second possible. THOSE people that make you feel like shit because you didn't accomplish something or have a particular item or title. THOSE people who minimize others accomplishments by saying things in that bitchy, snarky way like "I've had that for AGES now" or "Whatever, that accomplishment means nothing now since the nerf".

Regardless of the achievement or item recieved or whatever, the person or group should feel proud when they accomplish it and NOT belittled in any way.

When I read both posts, it was THAT behavior I associate with elitests. THAT behavior will get a /gkick from me if not straightened out immediately. THAT behavior will get a "Shut. The Fuck. Up." from me as well. It's about the intent behind the behavior that gets under my skin.

But that's just my 2 copper . .

Hatch said...

I totally agree that those people are assholes, Eury (not to be confused with Euri).

Mainly I think Euripedes came at it from a bad angle. I took what he said at face value for me, but I see how it could be interpreted to mean only people who actually are assholes. I don't think he succeeded in communicating that, it takes some reading between the lines to get it.

I hate the attitude of entitlement that I've encountered in life and in the game, so I feel a need to get very vocal and go into naughty-language mode to speak out against it when I see it.

Kel said...

I agree with both of you on this one. I don't see anything wrong with trying to be out of the ordinary.

I started out with a long comment here, but the last part was so long it ended up with a blog post of my own :)

Jormundgard said...

While he does say this in BIG BOLD PRINT:

"Newsflash: You are not special, and never were."

... I think that focusing on it misses the larger message of his post. After all, he does praise raiders for their accomplishments (grep Yogg-Saron, Brutallus) and implies that they deserve special accolade.

Rather, he's reacting to the almost vitriolic attitude of many raiders who insist that endgame content should be as hard as possible, and that only they should benefit from it. "Elitist" is too broad to describe their subtly distinct position, and he is probably trying to similarly argue too broadly. But I'm pretty sure we can agree that there is something pathological about many raider attitudes on loot restriction. After all, isn't this very attitude suppressing your own efforts in 10 man raiding?

Ixobelle said...

le sigh... this whole topic just makes me sleepy. I said a similar thing in another post by Jong, but let me rephrase here:

as far as I'm concerned, I really don't care about ANYONE else's loot. I want good gear, but if that means running heroics for tier 76 then whatever. The fun in the game comes from beating an interestingly designed encounter, I hate rolling for purples, and I never look at anyone else's gear.

The day when I get tier whatever shoulders on my priest, then log in my warlock to find them there in her bags too, will be a happy day for me.

How awful is that? That's even worse than winning them in 'heroics'. I just want to win them ONCE, for ALL my toons. My luck with rolls, and needing to go back AGAIN and run the same content AGAIN hoping I win ANOTHER ROLL for my OTHER toon, is boring. Doing the content, and feeling powerful is good, but why do I need to kick myself in the nuts when I get on my warrior? Because I've only logged a billion hours on the priest and lock, but not the tank? So I suck?

meh... I dunno. I just want to fight the fights without needing people to PLS LINK ACHIEV AND WE WILL ARMORY SCRUBS GTFO PLZ ILEVEL 200 BLOOZ.

I'm a good player. The gear is irrelevant.

Hatch said...

I agree with commenters who say Euripedes was probably just railing against elitists who also happen to actually be real douchebags and try to lord it over people. I now believe that's what he thought he meant.

It's just not really what he said. I'd retract my vitriol if he clarified, or at least added some frames of reference so we know what he's talking about. I just don't like to see blanket anti-elitism like this go unanswered.

Also, Kel: I wanted to check out your blog, but clicking your name led to a "profile not available" error. Can you provide a url please?

Kel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
awakeninginprogress said...

Sorry about not providing a link. Here it is: http://awakeninginprogress.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/stop-throwing-tomatoes-at-the-wrong-group-of-people/

Hatch said...

Added some updates.