Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Expectations, and "More On Lowbies vs. High Levels"

We had a 12-year-old kid in our guild -- I failed his trial membership even though he was someone's brother* -- who thought that high levels are in the game to help low levels. That's, like, apparently what we're for. A few weeks after kicking him, someone saw him begging for gold to buy his regular land mount in Orgrimmar and I stopped feeling guilty.

I found a way to describe it so that most people, kids included, will understand.

It's like going to high school for the first time and expecting the seniors to do stuff for you.

New players are like freshmen. High levels are like seniors. And if you go into either high school or Warcraft with the idea that the more experienced kids are supposed to do anything for you, you're not just going to get laughed at -- you're going to get pantsed, beaten up, and tied to the flag pole.

When someone begs for money, I feel like a high school senior explaining "No, you can't have my lunch money." It's beyond ridiculous to me. That money might seem inflated in WoW, and lowbies may think we have cash to spare, but the truth is that our lunches are just that much more expensive at high levels. We're saving for stuff we need to function at endgame (and, yes, overpriced luxuries), not wasting cash on lazy freshmen.

In school, if you have a family member or good friend who's older, then yeah. You can totally expect them to help you. And not all of the seniors will help in pantsing you or even approve of it, but at the end of the day . . . people who don't know you just don't care. They went through being a freshman, a sophmore, and a junior to get to where they are, and they don't appreciate people trying to mooch off of them.

Freshmen should be willing to use what shortcuts are available. I'm a big fan of taking a month or two to save up gold and then using the recruit-a-friend system to level quickly (saving gold first because it's expensive to level that fast). I'm all over using your personal connections in the game to run you through instances or even pay a stranger to give you a run-through. I don't even care that much about people who pay to get power-leveled -- if you're willing to blow the cash, violate the terms of service, potentially get ripped off, and be kind of useless until you learn your class, then whatever. Not my problem unless you enter my guild or my battleground (feel free to join the other side, though).

But I hate begging. I hate the idea that some people have, and it's not just in WoW, that just because someone else has a lot more money, that person should give it to you. Just because you need it more.

Now, I'm not the kind of person who just writes off Real Life homeless as "Get a job, you lazy bum!" I realize there are people with serious difficulties who end up on the streets, and I sincerely applaud clean, respectable homeless shelters that give those people a safe haven at night. I helped take food to one a few times in college, and we talked with the people staying there, and a lot of them were just having a really rough time of it. I also know that not all homeless people are just down on their luck -- some really are just lazy and prefer mooching off the state. Some have psychological problems and won't take or can't afford medication and therefore can't hold a regular job. Some are even criminal -- it was a homeless guy who followed my friend home and hurt her.

But this is a game. It's a virtual world. Anyone willing to put in the time can do anything. There is no "down on your luck" in this game. If you get camped, log out for a while. If you die, run back to your body.

And it's to people in this game, I say, "Get a job, you lazy bum."

* He wasn't failed for begging but for persisting in bothering people who had already said no, and also for showing overt tendencies to view the people around him as resources rather than people, including but not limited to hoping "a friend" would quit the game soon so he could inherit all of his gold. Yes, he got a warning before the actual kick and the opportunity to flip his attitude around. Yes, his brother stayed and is a decent member and didn't mind.


  1. *stares wistfully at the 4 Mammoth Mounts, the Ploymorph: Black Cat tome, and various other high-priced items*

    It took me 5 months to save enough gold for epic flight, and that was 5k.

    T_T The things I want are like, 40k all told before Reputation discounts.

  2. Thankfully, not all kids are looking for a handout. Sadly, I don't meet many of those, as our guild has an 18 and over policy. It protects them from our members, and our members from them :)

  3. I'm an example of a kid (lev- erm, 14 years old) who doesn't ask for handouts. Despite not having my first land mount at level 50 (I hate being an altoholic), I still just worked for the money myself. I did occasionally complain about not having my mount, but I earned that cat! Now, at level 63, I'm once again working to get money for my mount, but this time it's way easier.
    I doubt I'll ever give a beggar on WoW money because of my work getting that mount.

  4. :) Grats!

    Yeah, I'd never assume someone to be a beggar just because of age.

    We have several 14-year-olds and I'm fond of them all. They're not particularly needy, though they are easily bored (more free time than most of the guild). I'm happy we have enough of them that they can band together to do things and don't get too frustrated.


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