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The List: Top Ways to be a Better Person in MMOs

Columns By David Jagneaux on October 20, 2014

Top Ways to be a Better Person in MMOs

MMORPGs are perceived as being full of awful and terrible people. Whether it be an elitist that makes you feel terrible for being new to a game, or just a simple troll that makes everything insufferable, it’s seemingly impossible to play a single game for than a couple of hours without running into some of these players.

But not all MMOs have to be like this. Today’s list is full of personal suggestions. Rather than trying to be a better player of MMOs, sometimes it’s more important to take a step back and consider how to be a better person in MMOs. You’ll probably notice that most of these suggestions could even pertain to real life – not just the virtual world.

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5) Treat Others with Respect

It should be obvious, right? If you remember that whole “Golden Rule” philosophy that your mother told you about then you’re on the right track. By respecting other players in games, it increases your chances of not only making friends, but of receiving respect in return. You know how it goes: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Of course, this isn’t to mean that if you’re playing an open world PvP MMO like Darkfall: Unholy Wars or something that you shouldn’t kill other players – that’s an integral part of the game. Just that you should show some respect. For example, if you see someone wandering around that is clearly a new player, instead of scaring them senseless by terrorizing them for an hour and stalking them across the map, give them some basic gear and advice. Little things like that go a long way.

4) Remember Your Roots

Just because you have all the best gear in the game, you solo end-game bosses with ease, and have more maxed-out alts with tons of legendaries, doesn’t mean you have to act like you’re better than everyone else. Even if you are, literally, the best player in the game, spare everyone else your ego and just be humble about it.

There was a time, back in the dawn of ages, when you were new to the game as well. You remember – going through the tutorials, figuring out the gimmicks of the game, getting your first kill – all of that stuff. You don’t have to pretend like you have no idea what’s going on again as that would probably come off as being even more condescending. All you need to do is understand that you were new to this game once too, so just think about that before you ridicule someone for not knowing how to kill that boss.

3) Players are Not Their Avatars

News flash: when someone is playing an MMO, do not assume that their avatar is supposed to be a representation of them. A perfect example of this is that lots of males play female characters, and lots of females play male characters. Of course, things get a bit fuzzier when you’re on a roleplaying server – the concept is roleplay as your character at that point -- but you get the idea.

This goes beyond just gender though but can extend to looks. Sure, that person in your guild may be playing the big tough Paladin that’s one of the best tanks around, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to fit the stereotypes of big burly warriors. Saying something like “Wow, ur hot” is idiotic – not only is it demeaning and stupid, but you’re not even looking at an actual person – it’s just an avatar.

2) Learn How to Communicate

It seriously baffles me how many people struggle with basic communication. One would think that  in the age of social media and constant connectivity, gamers, above all others, would be able to communicate effectively with one another – but that’s not the case.

Whether it be someone who just lacks the common sense to respond, isn’t respectful when typing, won’t get on voice chat, or any of the other various issues that could come up, it’s ridiculously frustrating. When you spend dozens of hours lost in a virtual world with millions of other players, the ability to communicate is paramount and it’s something everyone could afford to perfect.

1) Abide by Social Norms

Above all else though, just acting like a normal human being and abiding by societal norms is the most important thing you can do to become a better person in an MMO. This goes beyond just showing basic respect though and stretches into the realm of acting nicely and not being a giant bully. In real life, would you walk up to a stranger and make fun of them or walk up to a stranger and comment on their physical appearance?

Even more so than treating others as you would like to be treated, it’s ultra important to just act like a basic human being. Obviously the fantastic worlds that most MMOs take place in aren’t the real world and you aren’t bound by the laws of the real world, but you are interacting with real people – whether they play as themselves or otherwise.

Conclusion

That just about wraps things up. There are plenty of other ways people can be better to each other when playing an MMO, but these are great starting points. Ideally, everyone reading this already actively promotes all of these ideals as well, but that is unfortunately not always the case. We could all learn to be a bit more sympathetic about how we treat one another and it can only improve the games that we play. A little respect can take a community from being vile, offensive, and toxic, to being collaborative, friendly, and welcoming. Hopefully you choose to follow a path of empowerment, rather than one of degradation.

David Jagneaux / David is a freelance writer and full-time nerd. He loves to play, write about, talk about and think about all things gaming. You can find his work all across the interwebs. It's dangerous to go alone, so follow him on Twitter!