Virtual Obligation

An interesting tangent on a post I wrote up today lead to writing it into a Blog entry because, after all, truly interesting tangents are something I need more of around here.

Here's the scenario: You've a player on your team who has powers that can benefit you (in MMORPG lingo we call this a "buff") but he or she isn't using them regularly. You feel shorted and disappointed this player isn't granting you those buffs.

Not all related, here's a nice screenshot of a certain City of Heroes task force to break the monotony. (Avoid clicking if you're worried about spoilers.)

It's easy to call blame onto that player, but the reason you feel shorted is you believe that player is obligated to buff you just because they have this power set. That's an injustice because you're looking on that player as being the power set, and they're not, they're players who have their own will and ability to play.

Basically, working with skilled and diligent players is a privilege, not a right. You're not paying them, so don't be upset if they're not doing their job to your satisfaction. It takes skill and willpower on behalf of the player to do a good job. So, the next time you're getting healed well or buffed well, try thanking the player, and not the characters they play.

That said, I usually play my characters quite well because playing games is practically all I do sometimes. When I notice there's players in my party who aren't using all their given powers as well as I can, that hardly surprises me: Given the amount of time I've invested in the game I'm likely a much better player. I'm willing to cut them a little slack, perhaps offer them a few pointers, but I'm not going to cut into their enjoyment and mind getting upset that they're not very good players.

This is just another way in which an MMORPG can be made less enjoyable through lack of understanding amongst players.

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