Greedy Goblin

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why be "awesome"?

Commenters on our realm first achievement have rightfully asked two questions: why bother at all to get a pointless "bragging right", and how is it different from personal "achievements" like explorer or what a long...? They are correct to recognize that an a-social person would not bother doing a realm first feat (getting to lvl 25 would happen anyway without effort just by normal playing in 2 weeks).

The answer for the first question is not derived from asociality itself. It's coming from my personal choice to not only live asocially but spread these ideas too. I'm fully aware of the contradiction between living it and talking about it, but everyone must make some unnatural efforts if he want to spread his things to the public. For example the meteorologists I know are not wearing 3-parts suit or full make up + designer dress when actually analyzing the data, but they make this show when they make the weather forecast in the TV.

I originally assumed that simply being more successful than the socials (measured in boss progress, gear/effort ratio, gold) is enough to turn them. They will notice: "look these guys are doing better than us, let's do as them". They obviously didn't. The reason for it lies in the "awesome" or "kinda cool lol" concept. They recognize some random crap as "status symbols" and consider earning them more valuable than actually useful stuff (both in WoW and IRL).

The whole "no-lifer" concept is coming from this: while the "no-lifers" are obviously more progressed then them, they demean and pity them since the "no-lifers" have no "fun", friends and sex. While it's not true, their beliefs in these are enough to keep them stay "fun ppl". In real life their nonsense can be stopped by the hard reality (the no-lifer has food and home, they starve on the street), but in a forgiving game they can carry on with their nonsense forever without punishment.

However there is a loophole in this system: the arbitrary crap they recognize as "status symbol" really bothers them. They really respect those "cool ppl" who get these and want to be like them. That's why they farm for "epixxlol". So, if I look up what nonsense is "awesome" this month and get it before them, I'll be more "awesome" than them and this gets to them. It force them to think up a solution.

Forcing them to think about their stupid way of living is not asocial. It's "long term investment into the mankind" at best and "altruistic" at worst. I can not expect anyone to do it. I choose to do it and by doing so I deviated from asociality. That's why I asked no one to help me get realm first. I paid them to do so.

The second answer is trickier. If I want to be "awesome" to make them listen to me, why do I despise personal achievements and mounts despite they are clearly "awesome" in their eyes? Because I'm just a guy in the crowd. If I would have all the mounts and the titles, they would never even notice me. There are too many people on whatever colored drake already, if I would spend all day blocking a mailbox with the most "awesome" drake even those who would bump into me would only remember "som cool duud" without recognizing me. When they read something from me, they will not remember that I was the "cool duud", they would say "I saw som cool duud on awsom drake and read some jerk nerdraging lol".

Even if I somehow force them to recognize my "awesomeness" by directly linking the "awesome" item or title, they could dismiss me as being an exception or even a cheater (gold-buyer, account-buyer).

Finally even if I somehow force them to accept me to be really "awesome" I achieved nothing besides them feeling bad. They can't be me. "Gevlon is better than me and there is nothing I can do about it" is not what I want them to think. I want them to think "Gevlon is currently better than me because he use better ideas than me and I should adapt his ideas", but it's way too complicated for them. Remember, they don't live by conscious ideas, they just do what "feels right", meaning "what fits to the culture that the peers around them have". They don't make choices so they can't choose to live differently.

On the other hand a group is more visible. There are only 10-15 real guilds on the ally side, not counting bank guilds and "me and by bro and a friend from class" guilds. Since socials like groups anyway, they will notice and remember the guild names. Special, interesting or outrageous things we do won't go unnoticed and will be linked to the guild name.

One guy can be exception, but a full guild? It's much harder to dismiss a guild made of hundredths of people than a single guy. Also, there is much less self-esteem defending scheme attached. A social will do every logical fallacy he can, to avoid the "X is better than me" conclusion. Accepting that "X guild is better than mine because we have some other guys who kinda fail" is easier.

Also, while one can't change himself to be me, can easily change his group title to "The PuG". Being awesome is just a /w away!

Of course one can ask what's the point in luring socials into the guild who will do nothing else but walking around like peacocks with their "awesome" guild tag and lion? Simple: they must keep the guild rules for 12 weeks to get exalted with the guild for the "awesome lion". Remember, they do what peers do and also solve cognitive dissonances by changing their beliefs and not their behavior. Pretending to be asocial for 12 weeks changes them to something that is surely not asocial yet, but close enough to make them able to start thinking.

And what if they can't behave? The asocial ideas are very robust against M&S intrusion. As no one gets boosted and "helped", if someone turns out to be a useless M&S, he is kicked without anyone having more loss than suffering his last action (that earns him the /gkick). So it's not like "we geared up, boosted his alt, gave him herbs and he even ninjaed the bank".

For the above reasons I'm determined to collect more "awesomeness". Check Saturday's extra post. Obviously I don't expect anyone to help me in this. For a simple member the guild is still what it always was, an asocial sanctuary in the sea of lolling below-healer worgenlols (not kidding, that's the new arthasdklol). They don't have to do anything unless they want to earn some gold I offer. They do whatever they want within the rules.

Finally a goblinish remark: collecting guild achievements are much easier than personal ones. You don't have to grind alone, most of the stuff happens on its own, the rest can be gained by the people who are most fit for the task (self-selected by accepting the gold offered).

If you try to defend TB, just lost ICG, WV is under attack and enemies are arriving Slag, you
  1. Rush to slag
  2. Try to stop the reinforcements coming from ICG
  3. Reinforce WV
  4. Surprise them at ICG
  5. Like these 5 hordies below, attack a siege moving on the road, away from Slag to the middle of nowhere
If you choose #5, you are welcomed on the morons of the week.


zenga said...

Would be interesting to know which part (%) of the 'm&s' (or at least the non m&s that are surrounded by m&s in the friendly social guild) that joins the pug makes it eventually past your 12 weeks bootcamp.

On a sidenote about the latest LFD news: a wave of m&s tanks are incoming ...

kelindria said...

Wow 64 Worgenlol's so far...only 58 arthaslol's though. Does that make Arthas less awesome then worgen?

Perhaps your next challenge should be to submit screenshots from people of how many M&S they manage to tank. My record is 7.

If you are looking for "awesome" ideas though perhaps paying a raid of pvpers to occupy Org for an hour or so might attract some attention. Particularily if it's advertised well.

Grim said...

Gevlon, how the hell can You still take yourself seriously? You are bending over backwards to prove that asocial ways are better and try to convert people to them with all the zealotry of a missionary trying to convert some tribals to christianity.
Its the "I have to save them!" mentality that I'm talking about.

You claim that everyone who tries to get drakes and epics (aka "whatever colored drakes" and "epixxlol") has a stupid way of life, and You, striving for the highest raidkills/effort ratio have the smart way of life. What if I called raidkills "deddragonzzlol"? Would that make them less worthy?

How is a killing Nefarian better than getting a violet drake? Because its harder? Because it takes skill? How does any of that make it better? Any objective one picks is his personal choice.

And its not necessarily peacocking either. One might brag about his "Saviour of shattered world" in /2 and another might silently count his drakes and feel good about them.

Being asocial is not the universally better way of life. Definitely not for someone who either through nature or nurture is social. Sure, he might reach harder goals by forcing himself to follow the asocial ways, but fuck if that's going to make him any happier.
It works in real life even more than it does in WoW. No-lifers and asocials might be happy with their 6-figure incomes and five PhDs, but a social would loathe having to devote so much of their time just to be "suxxezzfullol".
It has been proven that status and/or money are not necessary nor helpful in making a person happy, as long as he does not lag behind his friends.

A social is at his happiest just where he is - working as little as possible and spending as much time as possible hanging out with friends. Beer is cheap, friends are free, time is limited.

Socials don't need saving.

Azuriel said...

Awwww... I just knew there was a soft and fuzzy social inside that hard, albeit brittle shell.

But seriously, if asocial works, it works on its own. Trying to convert the unwashed masses is as social as it comes, since you are thereby not satisfied with your present asocial living conditions, e.g. the amount of "coworkers" around you. Are you looking for validation that your ideas are correct? Why? That's the ape brain talking, as you have mentioned before.

Gevlon said...

@Grim: "they are happy this way" is not an argument. If you think it is, then check this out: "changing and bashing socials makes me happy".

@Azuriel: Just because I'm OK with my current conditions, it doesn't mean it couldn't be better.

chewy said...

I find it slightly disappointing that you felt you had to validate your achievement.

What you did is noteworthy and stands as an achievement in its own right. Do I question why someone wants to be the first female to sail around the world single handed before I'll accept that it is an achievement ? No. Would I want to do it even if I were female, no. But it is nevertheless noteworthy as an achievement.

I wonder if some of your commentators, yesterday in particular, understand the difference between doing something unique (a server first is unique) that took effort (organising even paid people takes effort) and buying a cup of coffee from the coffee machine ?

The latter is not an achievement.

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean the latte is not an achievement

Michael said...

Gevlon, I've said it before, but I'll repeat that by trying to play asocially you are actually being exposed to all those things you don't like about more social gameplay. You're sabotaging your own play!

As a skilled player, you could very easily join a progression guild, and then ignore all the rest of the game world. By simply being pleasant to 20-30 other strong, non-slacking players, you'd never have to trade pug or even have general/trade/lfg channels displayed. You'd never have to use dungeon finder; you'd never have to deal with people who type extremely poorly or don't know how to play their classes.

You are playing in a contradiction. You say you don't want to play socially because of M&S, but if you were willing to play socially, you wouldn't ever have to play with M&S. It's only by trying to avoid the social aspect of the game that you get exposed to all the unpleasant people.

chewy said...

@Anon - Yes that would work too !

Aracos said...

So I've been following this blog since the "Ungeared" experiment you did during Wrath and even though I've stopped playing WoW myself, I find your a-social experiment fascinating from a sociological perspective. I've always thought there was the potential for some really interesting "research" in MMO's as far as examining human interaction. And while I don't agree with all your assumptions, I think you are right more often than you are wrong in terms of what motivates people, both inside and outside the MMO environment.

I am curious to see how many "socials" would join The PuG just to access those benefits. I'll admit that half the reason I join guilds at all is for the random chatter. I get lonely in MMO's. :P

Gravehound said...

Hey Gevlon,

I'm wondering what chewy was wondering: why do you need to justify wanting to attain this goal? Is a World First GLevel 25 somehow different than, lets say, killing Nefarian? They're both arbitrary challenges within the game that are only worthwhile if you enjoy them. What is it about the Nefarian kill that makes it seem 'legitimate' to pursue in your eyes - or, what it is about the world first that makes it 'pointless'?

Bristal said...

Take a wider view. Gevlon is a guy with a blog with a HUGE readership. He cultivates that. He works hard to produce daily posts that are quite fascinating. As one of the commenters verifies, many of his readers don't even play WoW.

How is that in any way asocial? He's a bit of a celebrity!

Now over the past few posts he's admitted that his real goals are to reach out to the world and better it by spreading his asocial ideals.

He freely admits that acting socially to spread an asocial ideal is a paradox.

So, he's worked long and hard for a "look at me" blog, long and hard for a "look at me" guild, in order to develop a platform to castigate a "look at me" social way of life.

That said, he's also clear that his M&S want, nay expect, "look at me" without working hard for it. There is definitely a difference.

The place for me where the whole a-social philosophy falls apart, is that it's a philosophy wholly based on doing the opposite of what others THEORETICALLY do.

I don't buy that a majority of people ARE M&S or socials. Everyone may have a bit of it in them, may act like it off and on, but there is no THEM. There's never truly a THEM.

Gevlon, I need more proof than a few random M&S screenshots or a brief encounter with a Cosmo-reading woman that there is a horde of M&S or "socials" out there making the world a miserable place.

I won't even mention that the majority of your evidence is found within a virtual world considered in some circles to be populated by those with limited social skills and/or maturity. Oops, mentioned it.

Without that objective proof, your ideas are really just a product of your own a-social outlook. Which may or may not be a bit on the pathological side.

On the other hand, I've probably read more words written by Gevlon than any other single writer in the past 2-3 years so the joke's probably on me.

Gevlon said...

@Bristal: Read the meteorologist example again. While I could (and did) live the asocial life, no one would see it. If I want to spread my ideas, I must reach out for those who are not there.

About "no M&S in the World": are you living in a cave? Subprime crisis (people took loans they can't afford to keep up with the Joneses) or even the religious fundamentalist terrorism somehow missed you?

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: Religious fundamentalist terrorists are arguably the raiders of the real world. Some are bads, but some work very hard and are very good at what they do.

Just because they think differently to you doesn't make them M&S.