A few weeks ago, I wrote about the trouble I was having engaging with Blizzard’s World of Warcraft forums. You can check out the post here. This trouble isn’t how to engage, or determining the purpose of the affinity space. The purpose of the forum is a practical one more so than a social, or collaborative one. I am not dismissing the value of the space as a place to find answers to questions, or as a reference guide for the game.

The forums provide a learning resource greater than that of anything available in the game. Players can usually receive a quick response to their questions, find groups to play with, and discussions about each character class in the game. I have been trying to put my finger on why I am struggling with the space. Maybe I expected something different. I don’t know.

The interesting discussions are far and few between. I stumble upon them while lurking through the posts. This post caught my attention because it was a relevant discussion about some of the elitist and jerk-ass players you inevitably encounter while playing the game. These kinds of attitudes began to turn me off from the game a few years ago. I could ignore them, but when trying to play through the challenges of the end-game raiding content, it became a chore trying to join groups within the guild and without.

The main thread of the argument is that Warcraft is just a game and there is no reason to behave like an uppity turd. Have fun, play the game and enjoy the company of others while doing so. Here is a sampling of the discussion from the forums:

Warcraft-Forum-Post Warcraft-Forum-Post-2 Warcraft-Forum-Post-3 Warcraft-Forum-Post-4

That last statement, “people create their own meaning, their own purpose” is telling of what an affinity space is all about. People create their own meaning individually and as groups. Most of the people that respond to people’s questions are detailed and helpful. There are the occasional comments that are uncalled for, but the community seems to effectively check that behavior.

Now back to my rant. I am in a venting mood. To be included with a group, you were expected to have the best gear and be the best player ever in the history of the game. It is similar to how most employers expect you to have a PhD in everything and have three lifetimes of demonstrable experience for an entry-level position. You can’t start from the top of anything. You have to start at the bottom and be afforded the opportunity to learn and to grow.

Watch the YouTube videos of the boss fights, learn the mechanics, take notes. What? Really? I will not remember what I see in the video with enough clarity to perform well. And if I have to distract myself to refer to written notes while in the midst of a battle, how effective do you think I can be? There is only so much a player can learn from watching rundowns of game mechanics and researching the forums and wikis and any other number of affinity sites.

Maybe I am just old, bitter and lazy, but I think that the best way to learn a game is to play the damn thing. Players can learn more by trying and failing repeatedly, each time doing something different, or being aware of something new. I believe we learn best through the process of experience. Doing and failing–rinse and repeat.

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