How often have you been engaging in a conversation with someone, usually of the antagonistic variety, only to have them (or a bystander) belt out the phrase, "It's the internet", as a qualifying excuse for some behavior they were exhibiting?
This grand example of a 'no-shit-sherlock' has become the rallying cry of griefers everywhere. Mad at the guy camping your corpse? Let him know, and chances are he'll counter with "d00d, it's the internet, u mad?'. A heated discussion between guild members over someone acting like a tool shed in guild chat might be interrupted by one member's cry of "lol internets".
When 25 people (or more) have just spent a solid two hours (or more) on raid/endgame content, only to fail at the last minute for some foolish reason, these people are going to be understandably frustrated and upset. Don't let anyone else know, however, because odds are you are going to be accosted by that one mental giant with his intelligent offering of "GUH... IT'S JUST AN INTERNET GAME!"
Amazingly, these people see themselves as more mature than the rest of us, due, inexplicably, to their belief that they are prophets and apparently the only ones capable of perceiving that, yes, we are in fact all on the internet. The rest of us are stuck in the Matrix, while they are Neo, able to distance themselves at will, when it suits them. Never mind the fact that they just spent the last three hours there with the rest of us.
"Normal" people chide those of us on the "internets", decrying our chosen hobbies as invalid because they don't involve sports, booze, clubbing or sex.
Talk to a parent with a kid on the internet recently? That guy you've known on the internet for seven years can't be your friend because it's the internet. No females on the internet. We're all avatars, lying about our personal information for the benefit of... something or other. That girl (or guy) who posted her (or his) picture obviously photoshopped it because it's the internet. We all have fake pics. Everything is a virus, everyone you talk to is a sex offender and a stalker. Everything is and should be illegal and immoral, blah blah blah... etc.. etc.. etc..
The amount of ignorance spewed from otherwise intelligent people is astonishing sometimes. Don't believe me? Listen to the uproar in your guild chat the next time you get a new member who says that they're female. Matter of fact, let me save you the trouble, here's a transcript from every such instance EVER:
GuildLeader: Everyone welcome GamerWithObviouslyFemaleName (GWOFN) to the guild!
GWOFN: Hi guys ^_^
GuildMember1: OMG, LOL
GuildMember 3: Welcome.
GWOFN: Glad to be here.
GuildMember4: Hey new guy.
GuildMember2: OMG, LOL
GuildMember1: het dude, ask him if he wants to party w/ us
GWOFN: Um... guys, I'm not a he.
GuildMember2: Pics or it didn't happen.
GuildMember5: Tits or GTFO
GuildMember6: No girls on the internet:
GuildMember1: OMG, LOL!
GuildMember6: Get on Vent... VENT! I lust after you, oh goddess of girl gamers everywhere, please disregard this blatant attempt to begin an internet relationship which may or may not end in us meeting somewhere on down the line for wild monkey sex.
GuildMember3: Hey remember so-and-so? He said he was a girl when he joined but we found out he was a guy... I bet this is a guy too. Ventrilo immediately... also please disregard the fact that I most likely tried to cyber with said guy-posing-as-a-girl, and am now butthurt.
GuildMember7: lol internets
GuildLeader: OMG EVERYONE STFU RAID IN 10 MINS
TWENTY MINUTES LATER
GuildMember9: I remember Willie's best friend's son's old guild leader dated this girl on the internet and eventually found out that she was a "he" lol internets!
(Everyone agrees with GM9)
(Insert everyone's favorite anecdote about the guy they sort of knew who ran into one person pretending to be female on the internet, thus validating two things; everyone who claims to be female is male and everyone in this guild fails basic logic.)
The interesting thing is, most of these people will probably try to cozy up to her in PM at the same time this is going on. But I digress.
The point I'm trying to make is this; the reason you all like your favorite game is not because of that great gameplay feature, that awesome pvp system, that mass of endgame content, or the incredible customization, it's the community, the people.
We stay with the games we love because we've made friends there. The interactions we have while participating in our various online hobbies make the worlds of these games come alive. The friendships, the rivalries, the competition and yes, even the drama all serve to make these communities what they are, and that is simply this; capable of holding the interest of their respective player base for months and in many cases, even years on end.
That is why our respective favorite MMOs are our favorites. Period.
Sometimes I feel as though many people simply don't grasp the fact that they're playing with other PEOPLE in an MMO. This is the internet, and the internet is a part of real life. We all spend real time participating in real hobbies which are as valid as those of the slack-jawed jock who logs on once a week to check his shirtless myspace pics, while simultaneously sniping at all the "n0 lyfe nerds".
Make your MMOs come alive. Have friends and friendships, enemies, rivalries, girlfriends or boyfriends, drama, wars, all of the above if you wish and it suits your gaming experience, because let me tell you something, none of you are going to remember that idiot who squeals "lol internets" like he's the funniest little shit on said internets, but you will all remember your friends, relationships and enemies that make your chosen games; your chosen hobbies what they are.