In Azeroth, as in the real world, a little kindness can go a long way. I’ve heard it said that the World of Warcraft community can be “toxic” and I have encountered my fair share of unfriendly players, but on the whole it’s usually a fun experience. I follow the old adage of do unto others as you’d have done to you, but always in a considerate and kind way. If I don’t have anything nice to say to a fellow player, I just don’t say it. Maybe I’m “old school” in that way.
Up until Legion when doing dungeons became a required thing to complete class order hall campaigns, I’d never done a PUG for anything. I was intimidated by the idea of running a dungeon I didn’t know with a bunch of strangers. I was used to doing things solo or with the one Warcraft friend I had or my oldest daughter when she started playing. But Legion forced me out of my comfort zone and I’ve been doing PUG groups pretty much ever since.
Nowadays with the experience boost still happening and dungeons giving a nice chunk of experience and some decent gear, I imagine most players are used to running with PUGs. A majority of the players I’ve encountered in these groups are either friendly or just don’t say a word. Many of them are probably on auto pilot by now as they level alts via dungeons. I know sometimes I’m on auto pilot so I understand where they’re coming from.
On the rare occasions when I encounter a rude or unfriendly player in a PUG, I either ignore them or leave the group if it gets too bad. I see no reason to subject myself to nastiness in a game that’s supposed to be fun. When I encounter friendly players who say hi, I say hi back and if one of them is on my realm, I may send them some money for repairs just because it seems like a nice thing to do. I’d love if I could run dungeons with friends every time, but that’s just not possible at this point, so I make the best out of the options I have.
Kindness in Warcraft to other players might not earn a player gold, a fancy title, or a special achievement, but even small gestures can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Maybe someone’s having a rough time and the nice thing you say about their mog or their playing lifted their spirits and helped turn things around. Maybe someone says they’re sorry because they thought they messed something up and you tell them an apology isn’t necessary for whatever reason. That person could’ve been in an emotionally abusive situation/relationship where they said they were sorry for everything to try and make others happy and you telling them they had no need to apologize helped heal their scars even just a little bit. You really just never know.
Sometimes I fear that my efforts at kindness come off as weird and make people uncomfortable, but I’m just trying to do something nice that I’d appreciate if someone did for me. I don’t expect people to reciprocate, that’s not why I do it, but if they do, I’m grateful and honored. On my Twitter account I try to like posts that maybe no one else has and comment on friends’ posts in nice ways. I tend to go through the lists of accounts I’ve made at the end of the day which means a whole bunch of likes might show up from me several hours after a post and that probably seems odd. But I’ve certainly been called worse than odd in my lifetime and I’m not going to cease doing what I feel to be kind gestures.
I’ve been in a variety of tough situations in my life and playing World of Warcraft has helped me through many of them. Either by playing the game or through the friends I met in the game becoming my friends in the “real world.” Even recently I’ve been faced with challenges that would’ve been a lot harder to deal with if I didn’t have my Warcraft fam to distract me, make me laugh, restore my optimism, and make me feel a bit better about myself. Warcraft and the real world are full of numerous solo quests but if we can all just manage to come together in a friendly and kind way in Azeroth and beyond, life can be a whole lot brighter.