Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who are you in WoW?

When I was younger I had a friend of a friend who was the most silent person I've ever met. I'm not sure if he was really shy, or just didn't like to talk. Over the 3-4 years that I knew him (then I moved and we "grew apart" and same old story) I think I heard him utter a handful of words, and that's not even a joke. He would answer direct questions with something that was a mumble of yes or no, and that was basically it. When you talked to him over the internet, like MSN, a game or something like it, he was like a transformed person however. Not only was he extremely talkative, which was totally against his off-computer self. He liked to express himself in a very strong and profane language. Every other word was a curse-word. If I didn't know for a fact that these two vastly different personas belonged to the same person, I would've never believed it true. I've never met anyone whos changed as much as this guy between off-computer and on-computer self, but it got me thinking. Some of us change alot between who we are on the internet and who we are outside of it. But why? Was this his "real self" shining through when he got on the internet, or was he someone else?

I like to think I am much the same whether I am on the internet or outside of it. I think people who know me would say I am much nicer irl than I let on to be in game. But I'm not sure if that is because you actually have to know me to see that I'm not just a stuck up besserwisser (or to realize that's exactly who I am). Most people over the internet, no matter how much time you spend with them, will never really get to know you. You spend most of your time in the same kind of setting, and that will affect what you do and how you behave as well. If you mainly raid with your fellow guildies they will mostly get to see your raiding self.

Next up I tried to think about friends I play with today and that I also know irl. Do they differ much in and out of the game? No, I don't think so, but on the other hand I could be what we in sweden call "home blind". Because I know these people so well, I don't detect differences as easy. Kind of like not noticing how much your kid changes over a course of years but grandma always says "my, have you've grown tall!". I've met a couple of people who I spent alot of time with in game, but very little time with outside of the game. Like guildies who you decide to go meet. What I generally feel differs is that people aren't as simple when you meet them outside of the game as you tend to ascribe them to be in the game. I can feel like I place people in a category, like "the wise guy", "the funny guy" or "the nerdraging guy". When you meet them outside of the game, in a completely different setting, I notice that they're probably not much like I thought they would be.

People are put into roles, or categories. How much do we play into those roles? This doesn't differ from any other setting of people of which we spend alot of time but don't really get to know. Like school. Most of us got fit into a role in school as well. On the internet however you have a chance to take the first step. You can decide what the first impression of you is going to be. Has this changed the way you behave? It's probably something of an self-enhancing circle. I can be bitchy so people put me in the bitch category, and their attitudes towards me might increase my bitchiness.

We've seen this happen with the "I'm a handicapped girl" attitude that sometimes pops up in WoW. A newbie, who also happens to be a girl, isn't performing very well. People put her in the "bad girl gamer" category and treat her that way, further enhancing her behavior as a "bad girl gamer". Thing is, she could be an awesome gamer anywhere else, but she just happened to end up in this category in this game and gets stuck there. It's really difficult to know what categories you're in. And it's possibly even more difficult to get out of those categories once you're in them.

If I were to assess my own category in the guild I'm in right now it'd be something like - "besserwisser bitch who thinks she knows everything but who we still respect to some degree because she actually is a good player."
Why do I say this? Because I know people can think I put my nose into things a little too much (and I probably am, I'm like Curious George). I know they would never ask me to become an officer or class leader because I'm not very diplomatic. Yet I don't feel like people dislike me, and I know they think I'm a good player or they would've said otherwise.

Does this fit with who I feel I am outside of WoW. Yes, to some degree. I am a besserwisser, I am completely undiplomatic, but on the other hand people have also described me as "too nice". So like I already mentioned, I am probably alot nicer outside of WoW than I am in game. The reason for this could simply be that the situation to be nice to people doesn't present itself that often in WoW, whereas the chance to gloat, boast or be randomly asshattish (inventing words ftw) is easy in WoW. Or is it just me?

How would I describe Love? Probably the opposite of me. He is calm, diplomatic, tries to find a solution that makes everyone happy but without being stepped on. He's also extremely scatter brained. But overall very easy to like. You might think I am biased since he is my boyfriend (so I happen to be among the people who like him). But the fact that he becomes an officer/role leader in guilds just some month after joining and has ten times the people on his friends list compared to me also says something (then again, I don't add people to friends list, but that says something about me too). Does this conform with how he is outside of the game? Perfectly actually (except he is alot lazier outside of WoW).

Who are you in WoW?


  1. I am different online (online anywhere, not just in WoW) and it's something I'm well aware of. But it's not a difference in the way I treat people or my core personality. I'm different in that in real life I'm very quiet, shy and have no confidence in myself. I usually expect to embarrass myself and think people may not like me.

    But online I'm chatty, I don't bother being shy (though I do get a bit shy in Vent) and I have more confidence in myself. I'm always cracking jokes and trying to entertain everyone.

    Part of the reason for this change is because most of my shyness irl stems from the fact that I'm not happy with my physical appearance, but when I'm online no one can see me. The other part is because irl I manage to say a lot of dorky things, but online there's a slight delay... I can type something in, then realize it's ridiculous, so I can quickly type something different in and no one's ever the wiser that I said something dorky first.

    I don't listen to American country music, but there is an artist named Brad Paisley that sings a song called "Online" where the tagline is 'I'm so much better online' and that's what I always say about myself.

  2. I dont agree with the besserwisser bitch part, awesome player, sure!, but not at all bitchy. I allways seen you as a very helpful and kind person, trying to help other players when possible. :) (I know a I got my share of help when it comes to healing.) I agree thou that love is very likeable. :)

  3. I think I'm pretty similar in-game and out. Though, that being said, I probably am not quite as shy in-game as I am in real life.

    In some ways I'm still shy in-game. I don't like leading raids if it's a PUG with lots of people I don't know and I have to talk on vent. I don't talk to random people much, but I will reply if they talk to me.

    Which in a way I guess is similar to real life. I'm shy and don't seek contact with others, but I will respond if they talk to me.

    Maybe I'm not shy as much as I'm anti-social? *lol*

    I'm polite to people in game and out. Once you get to know me I am really chatty (once I feel comfortable around you) - in game and out. So yeah, I guess I'm just me for the most part.

    Oh, and the besserwisser comment made me think of this little badge my sister used to keep on her blog. It said something along the lines of "I'm proud to be an insufferable know-it-all" ;)

  4. @Elfi
    The point you make about being able to think a little extra when using the written language is a good one actually, and one I value myself alot. If only I would use it better, since I often rush head first into an argument (even written ones) without giving my text the extra thought they often need ^^

    Aw thanks alot, that made me happy :) I will point the whiny people to your comment! Maybe bitchy people perceive me as bitchy ;)

    Shy or anti-social, good question ^^ I think I have anti-social tendencies (I don't befriend everyone like Love does), but I have shy tendencies as well (don't like to talk to strangers). They probably interact.

  5. This is really interesting Zinn. I, too, feel similar in-game an out but my other half recently pointed out that if I was as social and involved with people in RL as I am in WoW I'd be very well connected!

    I definitely have a wide anti-social streak, but for whatever reason I like having small clusters of people I'm close to online. Completely agree with Elfi that the written word allows for more forethought, which is maybe why I prefer it - I like people to think before they speak.

    Additionally I think I'm more laid-back irl but then I've got my raid face on the majority of the time I'm online.


  6. Interesting topic. I know three people very well online and offline, and all three are essentially the same... but certain character traits are really emphasised when they're online.

    My brother is a know-it-all offline; online he's a know-it-all who can never ever ever keep his trap shut if something's wrong. My ex is very opinionated offline but quite often wrong (he... tried to convince me that the tabletop RPer practice of 'rolling out the ones' was mathematically sound); online he is exactly the same but four times as bratty. My best friend is quite self-sacrificing and everyone who knows him seems to look to him for support; online he's that guy who does all the boosting.

    Thinking about it, best friend is actually the one whose personality differs the most. He's a bit less outgoing online but also a bit more assertive.

    Personally, I find my expectations of other people affect my online self the most. Offline, I never expect people to ask me questions about stuff I know well - it's not that I lack confidence in those areas, but usually my super-smart reply to these sorts of questions is 'huh?' because I'm so unused to it. Online, I know my stuff and I know other people are aware of that, so I expect people to come to me for help and can confidently hand it out.