Nov 132009

I was farming leather in Scholozaar Basin when a guildmate sent out a plea over guild chat.

“Can anyone help? I’ve tried to do this escort quest myself, but I keep dying.”

“I can be there in five minutes, is that okay?” I sent back, heading for the nearest flight point.

Helping out a guildmate trumps farming; that’s what guildmates are for. (At least, it is in our guild.) My guildmate’s character is level 26; mine is level 80. My character was vastly overpowered for the quest he was attempting. We blitzed through it in no time.

“Need help with any others?” I asked as we headed back to town. “I love one-shotting the mobs, I feel like a real badass.”

“Sure,” he said, listing several quests with (at his level) hard-to-handle bosses. “Let me just clear some bag space.”

About then another lowbie whispered me asking for help. Turned out he was on several of the same quests; we invited him to our group and sallied forth.

Before long I was herding a small bevy of lowbies through Redridge. We mowed down orcs and gnolls. We slaughtered big bosses. We finished all of their quests in the zone.

I don’t often hang out in the lowbie zones, simply because I do get flooded with requests for help from total strangers. I can understand needing help with a difficult boss, or getting through quests that are maybe just a little too high for the character. And a higher-level character in a low-level zone gets noticed.

And to be honest, most of the time I politely decline. Guildmates I’m happy to help out, and they help me out when I need it. Random strangers, not so much—I do have my own things I want to do, and I don’t pay $15/month to be Feathermoon N00b Herder. And often the request for help is either too demanding or borderline illiterate (or both).

[LazyNoob] whispers: can u help me
To [LazyNoob]: With what?
[LazyNoob] whispers: can u help me w a quest
To [LazyNoob]: Which quest?
[LazyNoob] whispers: can u help me
To [LazyNoob]: With…?
[LazyNoob] whispers: a quest

I never did find out what, exactly, he wanted me to help him with. I did know he was on another continent, and whatever he wanted would involve

  • stopping my own quests
  • traveling back to the capital city
  • taking the portal back to the continent he was on
  • traveling to his location

…and that would all have to happen before I could even begin to help with whatever it was he wanted. I thought the very least he could do, if he expected me to invest that kind of time in his quest, was to be clear on what it was he expected me to be doing.

Unfortunately, there are just as many entitled asshats in the virtual worlds as there are in the real one. I once wondered why these guys don’t ask their own guildmates for help. Now I suspect it’s because their attitudes have already alienated any guildmates who might have helped them, so they have to turn to strangers.

Fortunately, World of Warcraft has a wonderful feature called “ignore.” Put the asshat on your “ignore” list, and you never hear anything else he might say. It’s the opposite of the “friends” list.

And now and then I do run into a total stranger looking for help who is polite, intelligent, and converses with me for a moment before making his request. Those I’ll often help out, because they’re more fun to spend time with.

Let that be a lesson to those of you playing multiplayer games—treat the other players like human beings, rather than props in your single-player game, and they’ll be a lot more willing to help you out.

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