Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't let me be that way

Please kill me if I ever start to act like someone who actually knows what I'm talking about. My blog, as with most blogs, ought to come with a disclaimer: "The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the blog owner, and may or may not reflect any actual reality or facts."

I'm going to single out another blogger today, which is probably a bad idea especially considering his blog is perhaps 100 times more popular than mine, but what the hell. I'm crazy like that.

Humans seem to be strangely drawn to violent, carnage-filled events such as a train wreck or multi-car pile-up on the highway. Some may go their whole lives without witnessing such events, but when we do, we all become gawkers and rubber-neckers. "Ooh! Look at all the blood and the dead bodies and the twisted wreckage of metal upon metal!" We find it curiously fascinating, despite (or perhaps because of ) its gruesome nature.

Now, imagine if you knew that every day you could go to a certain place at a certain time and be guaranteed to witness a train wreck! You'd be there every day like clockwork, would you not? That is why, every day, I tune in to read the Greedy Goblin. I sit back with my virtual popcorn-and-soda and stare in wide-eyed, morbid fascination as the carnage unfolds in front of me.

I think I happened across Gevlon's blog one day while searching for gold making tips. And while there certainly were a few good ones, at least in the beginning, the blog has since devolved into one sociopathic rant after another. It has gotten to the point that it is difficult to tell half the time if he is serious about this stuff, or if he is just trying to either (A) Use hyberbole to make a point, or (B) Get a rise out of his readership. In either case, he always assumes a tone of both complete seriousness and total authoritativeness, as though his opinion isn't opinion... it's absolute fact.

On part (B) he is always successful, and that's where the real fun starts. Just reading through the comments, watching the people who start picking apart his failed logic and meaningless analogies... and then some of the back-and-forths that ensue between commenters and author.

Gevlon has grouped all humans into two primary groups, those who are worthwhile members of society, and the "M&S" (morons and slackers). He occasionally breaks these down into further subgroups, but everyone generally fits one of this labels in his worldview. Many of Gevlon's posts are of the social commentary variety; some are even completely unrelated to WoW. But when you have a person who seems to understand very little about human social interactions and motivations attempting to paint others into specific social groups, only hilarity can ensue... and it often does.

Gevlon is very clear that that he has no use for "social" interactions. He interacts with others only when it benefits his own personal goals in a direct "goblinish" manner. To him, being social is a waste of time and energy. When presented with this opinion, most people would think, "To each his own." If being social isn't your thing, so be it. Gevlon, on the other hand, seems to believe that all socially-inclined people (i.e. most of us) are naturally inferior to him.

What's funniest about this point of view... well actually there are several things. The one that always comes first to my mind though is, "WHY ARE YOU PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT??" Seriously. It's "massively multi-player". In other words, social interaction is a primary facet of the game! If you don't want to deal with "morons and slacker", go find a good first-person shooter or some other single-player game. Online chess is a great choice: it requires tremendous mental acuity, and little to no social interaction with your opponent.

Another humorous notion is that Gevlon continually draws distinctions between in-game activities that he deems to be a waste of time, and those that are useful. News flash: everything you do in-game is a waste of time! Unless you are a gold seller, nothing you do in-game translates into real-world value in any meaningful way. Wait, I take that back: if you are willing to be social, you might pick up valuable people skills or leadership skills that could benefit you in other aspects of life. But crafting glyphs and selling them on the auction house is exactly as much of a waste of time as mining ore, farming elementals, or dancing on the mailbox while yelling, "Can sum1 give me 5 gold plz?" (If you fail to understand why, I'm sorry, I can't help you.)

So if you enjoy a good train wreck, I highly recommend Gevlon's blog. I don't however recommend that you let yourself get sucked into the discussions... unless you like trolling, in which case it is a perfect place to do it!


LarĂ­sa said...

I know you didn't mean any harm with your post - basically you just give Gevlon some link love. STill I want to protest mildly to the picture you make.

I think you're a bit harsh on Gevlon tbh. He's not a complete freak. We've often disagreed in our views, but he's always, always treated me with respect, never ever looking down on me. And unlike many other people he's not afraid to admit when he's been wrong. He's always up for listening to good arguments and has even sometimes rewritten his posts once he's been convinced that he had made some bad assumptions to begin with.

I can recognize myself in Gevlon very much. He's a bit like me 20 years ago (he's almost 20 years younger too, so that makes sense. :))
I too was once upon a time pretty black and white in my views. But the years have turned me grey in more than one way.

Zaphind said...

Oh, I'm often accused of being too harsh. It's one of my charms. :)Actually I think I'm a bit like Gevlon in that way... I tell things like I see it, without any sugar-coating. (Whether or not I'm seeing it correctly is of course open for debate.)

And apparently I haven't paid close enough attention to see him changing his viewpoints based on someone else's arguments. More often I've seem him cling to his original assumption with all the gusto of an NRA spokesman testifying in front of an arms control committee... facts be damned! Then again, that's exactly what I love about him. :)

inmysissyrobe said...

I am not a fan of Gelvon, in the fact that I don't find much to amuse or interest me personally in his posts. We just think about the game in a completely incompatible way. And I'm both a moron and a slacker so I suspect it's mutual disinterest :)

On the other hand, I think it's important to recognise that 'Gevlon' is a persona, rather than a person, and, as Larisa says above, you've been a bit harsh on him, especially because a large part of the 'Gevlon' persona is his rhetoric of success.

I just think you're on a slippery slope when you're criticising the way someone else plays the game - and I know it's entirely your pregorative to do so, especially on your own blog :) But what's fantastic about WoW is the way it encompass me, you and Gevlon and satisfy us all - and, as you say, everything you do in the game has only an internal value to it. Did it make you feel you acheived something, did you have fun while doing it. Otherwise there's no point in playing. It doesn't matter if this is gold-farming, PUGing heroics or taking screenshots of the elevators in Mulgore.

But you have to admit, although Gevlon is not "sociable" he is nevertheless dependent upon the activities of other players for his fortune.