Posted tagged ‘stereotypes’

Shared Topic: Eavesdropping WoW Conversations IRL

March 12, 2010

Overheard while in line for coffee at the University Center:

Guy: (to friend) I got my warrior tank defense capped!

My ears perked and I wiped around.

Me: (in an annoyed voice) It’s not a cap, it’s a minimum.

Ok, I lied. This never happened. And the fact that I fantasize about these kinds of conversations says a lot about me.

Anyway, this week’s Shared Topic was suggested by Oath from Dressed to Cuddle and it’s all about overhearing conversations about WoW in the offline world. Most of the stories shared so far are quite funny so I suggest you check them out by heading over to the Shared Topic forum at Blog Azeroth.

As open as I am about my gaming, I don’t come across other WoW players too often. When I do, it’s usually planned, as in, ooooo you should meet my friend/brother/cousin/dog, they play WoW too! The only random conversation I recall overhearing was, in fact, an unpleasant one. I was studying at the coffee shop when my ears suddenly groaned in pain.

Girl 1: So, my, like, boyfriend, is, like, playing WoW with his friends right now? Like, I don’t get it? Like, why would any want to, like, play a stupid video game for, like, hours?

Girl 2: I dunno, it’s, like, so stupid? Like, people get, like, so obsessed over a, like, game? They, like, starting playing and, like, that’s all they, like, do? I’d rather, like, have a social life?

No, I’m not exaggerating their speaking style. Their brain spasms probably retained my attention way more than the fact that they were mindlessly bashing WoW.

I could have jumped into the conversation. I could have told them that playing WoW is a hobby, no different from taking guitar lessons, or playing volleyball on Mondays, or watching TV on Tuesday nights. I could have told them that the average WoW player is an average person, with a social life no different from non-WoW players.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t see the point.

I hate arguing. I like discussion. I like being corrected, I like firing back with my train of thought, I like coming out of conversations feeling as if I’ve grown as a person. Arguing does nothing of that. When I argue, I quickly realize that I’m getting nowhere, that nothing I say is going to matter because the other person isn’t listening. I just get heated up and leave the conversation angry and feeling stupider than I was before.

The problem with preconceived notions such as “WoW = not a fun game, an obsession and must be aquired by trading in your social life” is that they’re not based on anything reasonable. Based on anecdotal experience maybe, based on “I heard that…”, based on old stereotypes. Trying to reason with that wasn’t going to get me very far.

I was reminded of a colleague I had, in the summers where I worked at a camp for children with ASD. There were other camps on the site, one of them was a DnD-style camp. The kids ages from about 9 to about 12, wore medieval costumes, beat each other with foam swords and acted out adventure stories. The type of thing I would have loved when I was 9. I told my colleague how much fun it that camp must be for the kids. She gave me this haughty look and replied with the most disgusted voice: “Really? I was just thinking about how stupid their camp is.”

Again, no reason behind it. She thinks it’s stupid for 9 year olds to get dressed up and play make-belief. There’s no point in arguing because she’s not going to hear anything different.

I was also reminded of this really weird guy I ran into at a party once. One of the first things he said to me was: “By the way, I hate your province“. Being a homesick expat, I tend to be very patriotic. I asked if he’d ever been there. His answer? “No, but I don’t have to be kicked in the balls to know that it sucks.”

I was stunned for a second, stuck somewhere between wanting to burst into tears and wanting to punch him in the face. He was obviously one of those guys who like to talk politics without actually knowing anything about politics. (He, also, sadly, was a WoW player, the type who reinforces the stereotype of the 20something scrawny looser with a bad haircut who can’t hold a job and lives with his mommy. When I meet WoW players like that, I kinda forgive the two coffee shop girls.) I just gave him a pity look and turned away.

So back to the coffee shop girls with the cliched notion. I just shook my head and wondered how many hours they’ve wasted on Farmville.