15 August, 2019
I think most people who have been around MMOs for any length of time are familiar with elitism: the idea that what someone is doing is more important than someone else. This often takes the form of elitism for raiders, seeing themselves and what they do as better than the rest of the playerbase. They are the pinnacle of Bartle’s Achiever motivation, demonstrating mastery over some of the most difficult content of the game.
But wait… wasn’t I talking about RPers this month?
Yeah, let that sink in a moment: Elitist Roleplayers And yes, they exist.
A lot of the same attitudes exist about them: they are better than you, their effort is worth more than yours. If your RP and theirs conflicts, then yours is “wrong” and theirs is “right”. And gods help you if you disagree with something they say, because then you become “the enemy”.
And it’s a bit worse than elitist raiders, because raiders still need to do something in game to be taken seriously. The elitist raider has to show enough knowledge and competence to down the latest raids if they want to be taken seriously. The elitist RPer, though? No, there is no RP raid you have to clear before you can be smug… just about anyone who joins the right “group” can do it.
A lot of it is from a poorly lead group. Leaders who want to be “hands off” for managing their group. Or leaders who have an ego that needs to be stroked, and builds a group around them to do just that. And for some people it’s fun to be in such a group, because you are reminded about how awesome everyone is in the group and how much better they are than everyone else.
The problem is that this type of disrespectful attitude can really hurt RP with other people. It’s great when your RP group is strong, but what about when you need to play nicely with other groups to expand your stories? Or when there’s larger community your group wants to become part of? That elitist attitude is going to cause conflict and drama when there’s the unspoken assumption that your RP is just superior by default.
In a way, I understand the idea. As I said yesterday, it’s tough to put your creativity out there in front of other people. Sometimes you have to deal with the idea that you need to improve. But if you have people telling you that you’re awesome, you can avoid some of those self-doubts that stymie a lot of other creative people. Of course, what happens when the crowd turns against you? When people decide your RP isn’t good enough because of some reason, perhaps some drama not even related to RP but just people being petty? Suddenly the cheers become jeers and you find it’s not so great anymore.
This isn’t to say that “all RP is wonderful”. Some people very poor at RP and need to improve, to be honest. But those people need to be shown how to improve if they will listen, not just tossed side for the sake of your ego.