Community Spotlight: Carebear Stare!
Weekly Column by Jon Wood
Editor's Note: This is an edition of a weekly column by Community Manager Jon Wood. Each week, Wood takes to our message boards and examines a specific topic raised by our community. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
This week, one particular thread grabbed my eye. Normally when a thread stands out to me it's because it's unique, something about it sparks my interest and I click on ahead to see what it says. This time though, not so much. This time I clicked into it because it was something I've seen in one form or another over, and over again on MMORPG.com forums.
The title of the thread started by Darkalfx is simple enough. What are carebears? To someone outside of the MMO community, that might seem like a laughable question about childhood cartoons. To those of us familiar with MMOs, for the most part, "them's fightin' words".
To clarify, traditionally, carebear is a term that is used to describe someone who prefers playing in a Player vs. Environment game than a Player vs. Player environment. It seems simple enough in that context. The problem comes in with the responses that are often generated whenever the term carebear comes up.
"Carebears don't like to participate in PvP, or PVP related situations," says MajorBiggs in response to the question. "They completely hate being griefed and ganked (i dont blame them, but i like those kinds of games lol), and refuse to be ganked just to make another player happy for a few seconds."
In another thread, "The Main Characteristics of a carebear", srohek answers the question with a list:
A carebear is someone who would rather fight the computer than an actual person. A carebear is someone who doesn't like to lose. A carebear doesn't want to be penalized when he does lose. A carebear thinks he is better than someone else because he invested more time into the game than them. A carebear thinks that all PvPers are antisocial people who get their jollies from making other people's life miserable. A carebear does not prefer that player skill determines the outcome of battles.
It's this kind of answer that frustrates me. It seems as though any time anyone so much as breathes the word Carebear, someone feels the need to tear them apart. I'll be honest, I prefer my PvP combat in a controlled setting, and I don't like the idea of a game that allows players to kill other players any time, any place. There are just too many people out there who feel that it's their right to ruin the fun of anyone who happens to be weaker than they are. It's not everyone. It's a small number of people who ruin the idea of open PvP for everyone. Heck, even mainstream television has picked up on this. This year's season premiere of South Park featured the kids taking on someone exactly like this.
No, I don't want to be ganked "just to make another player happy for a few seconds". Honestly, I don't know how to respond to people who like to be happy at the expense of others. No, I don't want to be penalized for losing to someone who is obviously going to kill me. Does this make me a carebear? I suppose it does.
Our user Faur says sums up my feelings when he says "I have nothing against people who are against PvP. What does irk me is people who are out to prove how 'hardk0re' they are by calling anyone who doesn't want to fight them, a carebear. Just because you're awesome at PvP on the internet doesn't make you a bigger and manlier person."
I'm not disagreeing with people who enjoy PvP. PvP on an even playing field can be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of an MMORPG. I'm not disagreeing with people who like an open PvP game. I am disagreeing with people who feel that open PvP is the only way that anyone should or could have fun in an MMORPG. I am disagreeing with people who feel the need to personally attack anyone who does not share their opinions.
While I don't think that "all PvPers are antisocial people who get their jollies from making other people's life miserable." It's just that there are enough of them to make open PvP a truly rotten and frustrating experience.
I suppose I'm a carebear and I don't think that's a dirty word any more than I think PvPer is a dirty word. The bottom line here is that I think that it is possible for one group of people to enjoy one thing, and another group of people to enjoy another thing, without entire threads bursting into flames.