Infamous

4 Jan

“What world are you living in?  I don’t need friends.  I need fans.”

- Jill Roberts – “Scream 4.”

It’s been a while since I have written a rant type post and this has been something that’s been grating on my nerves for a while, so I figured I would start the new year off right and get some of this off of my chest.

Last night, there was a kerfuffle on Twitter over some comments that a famous World of Warcraft personality, known for his YouTube videos had made about how women should be treated when they dress a certain way.  While his comments did ruffle my feathers a bit, I was more concerned about something else.  This is someone who has built an audience creating humorous machinima type parodies about things pertaining to World of Warcraft, but I wasn’t seeing any indication that this person actually plays World of Warcraft

Now most people who blog or host a podcast relating to a game that they enjoy will usually do something to indicate that they actually play said game.  You may find an Armory link on their blog or they may give their guild a shoutout on their show.  But this gentleman had nothing of the sort on any of his various pages.  I looked at his YouTube page and didn’t find anything.  His Facebook page and Twitter bio came up empty, as well.  Apparently, he likes World of Warcraft enough to use it as a means to build his following, but not enough to actually, you know, play it.

Something about that seems kind of wrong to me and maybe even a little malicious.  The sad reality of it is that he is hardly the first person to potentially be guilty of such a thing.  Take another YouTube personality, for example.  This person has built a following on looking attractive while they read various patch notes and giving out very simple tidbits of advice pertaining to World of Warcraft, but there is no mention of this person having a character or actively playing the game.  Sure, when they first started they would sign off by saying their name and their realm.  But, if you go looking for that exact name on the Armory now, odds are you won’t find that character anywhere.  You will, however, find a slew of characters with a similar name, but those were probably created in honor of said person and are most likely not that person’s actual toon.

Am I the only one that sees a problem with this?  In my opinion, this is no different than the current state of celebrity outside of the gaming world.  People have become famous for doing nothing at all.  They haven’t done anything to show that they have any reason to be talking about the things they’re attempting to talk about.  It would be like me going to work for ESPN.  I know nothing about sports.  I go to baseball games for the snacks, for God sakes!  I have no business being in front of a camera or behind a microphone talking about the player’s stats and which team I think should win.  It wouldn’t be hard for someone to notice this and to call me out on it and they would be well within their rights to do so.

Yet nobody seems to mind that the podcast you’re listening to, where one of the hosts is telling you how to raid has never done a raid before.  Nobody minds that the person ranting about Mists of Pandaria changes on their YouTube channel probably won’t even have a character at the level to explore Pandaria when it comes out.  People like them because they’re witty, or because they’re cute, but not necessarily because they have actually done something to warrant being listened to.  They just happened to be there at the right time and said or did the right things.

I wish there was a way to check people’s credentials before they decided to start some kind of endeavor like this.  You want to write a blog about PVP?  Show me that you PVP.  You want to critique the leveling experience of a new game you just purchased?  Wonderful.  Show me that you actually have this toon.  When I stopped playing a resto druid, I stopped talking about them, because I knew that I no longer had any business doing so.  Sure, I may dole out small (OK, maybe bigger than that) doses of snark about resto druids and my love/hate relationship with them, but any chance I had of discussing theorycrafting or more advanced topics pertaining to them went right out the window when I decided to become a priest.

And even now, you can see that I have a priest.  You can see what my character looks like.  You can see where I chose to place my talent points.  You can see that I’m practicing what I preach.  I am a priest who is raiding and seeing current content.  I have absolutely nothing to hide.  I have shown that I have a reason to talk about the things that I talk about and that what I talk about comes from experience.  I’m not telling you how to spec and then doing the exact opposite.  I’m not telling you how to heal a boss fight that I myself have yet to experience.  I talk about what is happening to me and to other people, as I understand it and as I have seen it.

In closing, I would like to see more focus placed on the people who are genuinely doing things to better the community and have shown that they are actually doing such things.  There are people hosting podcasts who are excellent at PVP or who are playing the game that you happen to play.  They really are guild masters and mothers, raid leaders and husbands.  There are people who record instructional videos that have actually seen the fights.  They have been there and they will go beyond that.  You shouldn’t have to settle for someone who is just telling you what you want to hear or giving you what you want to see, simply so they can have more subscribers or use their endeavors as a platform to something else, which has nothing to do with the very games that they used to become successful, in the first place.  I won’t settle for it and you shouldn’t, either.

 

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17 Responses to “Infamous”

  1. Rev. Ronove Unk #

    The person whom you’re referring to does still play WoW – at least as of Dec 14 – but it’s released on somebody else’s YouTube channel because it’s a co-op thing on a RP server. I personally don’t care for him, but some of his interactions cross over into content from somebody else I enjoy.

  2. Oestrus #

    This sounds dangerously close to a “friend of a friend” situation. You either have an active character that you play on or you do not. It’s like what Robin Williams said about Sarah Palin once:

    “And who knew Katie Couric was on the cutting edge of journalism, with ambush questions like “What do you read?”

    “Well, that’s a trick question.”

    “Not if you read, no.”

  3. Zse #

    As livid as the goings-on last night had me, THIS THIS THIS. (On top of the whole stop being a neckbeard you fucking idiot Crendor.)

    Thank you for articulating a thing that I was thinking but couldn’t find the words for. <3

  4. Jadissa #

    It’s a shame there isn’t some easy way to check people’s bona fides before you start reading them. I’m not sure my Armory or guild is linked anywhere on my blog, come to think of it…

    On the other hand, for people who become very popular on the internet for being a WoW personality, I can see why they’d not be publicly releasing character names. I have to imagine at least some people have gotten burned with it before and had people popping on their realm to talk with them/stalk them/etc. Just a guess, though – I’m still firmly on your side with this. I don’t talk about sports because I can’t even place which ball/puck/implement goes with which sport in most cases.

  5. Zse #

    The thing is, the upstanding (even if annoying) citizens of the wow community have no problem releasing their names. If you are doing something positive in the community, you shouldn’t have issue with releasing your character name. Sure you might need to get an addon to handle your whispers, but at least people would know you are legit.

  6. Carlos #

    Eek, my favourite blogger talking about my favourite “machinimator”. Fun!

    Anyway, I agree with you on some points, but completely disagree on some others.

    Agree: If you are going to talk about an specific topic as if you were a God when it comes to it, then yes, you do need to be good on that subject. So, if your plan is to make a guide about Moonkins in Dragon Soul, I’d expect you to have a raiding Moonkin with at least 7/8.

    Disagree: This guy’s videos are mostly humorous. He never claims that he’s amazing at WoW, so why should he be an amazing WoW player? He does play WoW, though. He has at least one video where he is playing with another famous “Youtuber”. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a big fan of him and I’ve watched most of his videos. In one of them, he says that the reason why he no longer posts his Toon’s name/Realm is because he would rather play the game whenever he has some extra time instead of being constantly PM’d by fans. Making videos is now his job, so he spends a lot of time in-game.

    I totally understand your point, but I don’t think it applies to this specific person.

  7. Oestrus #

    Hi Carlos,

    There’s a difference between asking someone to be outstanding at their character and asking them to simply have a character. That’s where I’m coming from. If I have to go through hell and high water just to find proof that you have a character, that’s a little fishy to me.

    And can you really have it both ways? Can you say, “Well, subscribe to me, and Follow me, and Like me on Facebook – but don’t approach me at BlizzCon, don’t whisper me in game, etc.?”

  8. Carlos #

    His toon may or may not be hard to find, but why would you NEED to know his toon information?

    The main focus of his channel is WoW humour. Take a look at his videos, do you even need to play WoW to be able to create those videos? No, just read the MMO-C forums for 30 minutes and you’ll probably have enough knowledge/material to create a video. It’s his way of focusing those situations what makes them funny.

    About the whole subscribe thingy. Making videos is his actual job. As long as there’s something that would help me with my job career, I would do it; asking people to follow him on Twitter/Fb/Youtube is something that REALLY helps him so I can understand the reason why he’s doing it.

    And I don’t think he HATES being whispered in game or recognized in public, but more like he would rather not to. I happen to have an alt in the server he plays and I’ve talked to him a couple of times. He has been really nice, but you can tell he’s a pretty reserved person.

    Again, I totally understand your point and I couldn’t agree more with it, but I don’t think it applies to him.

  9. Oestrus #

    Because you can’t sit there and go out of your way to appear relatable and to make yourself inclusive and then leave out the fact that you’re not really part of the club at all. If you’re going to make a huge show of it and go to BlizzCon and pitch yourself as being someone like me, you better be like me. Otherwise, you’re pulling my leg, in order to get me to tune into your channel, to like your videos, and to boost your own motivations. That’s incredibly shady to me.

  10. Rev. Ronove Unk #

    The person in question aside, I agree with most of the points you’re making here. It’s half the reason why my blog is a gaming blog and not a WoW blog. Though I do link to the characters I play on my site, it’s been about two weeks since I last logged in.

  11. Apple Cider #

    I specifically leave off my toon/guild name and have made real attempts at seperating my blogging persona from my “real” one because of safety concerns, but I’d feel bad for anyone that doesn’t realize that I’m in love with my main of six years that is a gnome mage. She’s right up there in the header!

    Having a recognizable personality/persona that relates to some sort of character in the game helps even if you aren’t at liberty to reveal what server you play on.

  12. Torian Cadera #

    God, you are so right about this! I’ve been watching other fakers pretty closely lately, trying to sniff out the assholes who make entertaining products while not actually participating in the activity they’re presenting.

    Did you know that Tom Cruise is not actually a secret agent? He’s got a big stack of lies clogging up my local theatre right now which I’m boycotting.

    Were you aware that the Members of Metallica are not, in fact, Sandmen? They have no means by which to transport one to never-never land! And yet they continue to request that you attend their concerts and purchase their compact discs!

    I’ve also got my eye on Oscar the Grouch. For a while I didn’t think he was actually a grouch, but extensive research has shown that he can be quite grouchy. I’m not unreasonable, I’m willing to forgive the occasional moment of loveableness, just so long as he remains a grouch if he’s going to continue to purvey that moniker.

    Thank you for looking out for us. We need to make sure that people with the talent and willingness to produce interesting material for our ever-ravenous consumption aren’t shadily trying to talk about something they’re interested in.

  13. Ophelie #

    If something is entertaining, I don’t really care WHO is providing the entertainment, as long as I’m entertained.

    Maybe I would draw the line if the person/company had horrible ethics. Horrible ethics make me less entertained.

    But a WoW machinima creater who doesn’t play WoW? As long as the machinima is good, who cares? I’m consuming the product, not the producer. If someone gets famous doing WoW stuff, they’re famous because they’re good at their art, whether their art is visual, comical, litterary, etc, not because of their gaming.

    For example, I’m a Turpster fangirl. I like Turpster because he makes me laugh (and he’s kind of cute). I don’t know if he really plays WoW or not, I don’t know if he’s a good person, and I don’t care. I listen to him because he’s funny, and it’s enjoyable to hear a funny person talk about WoW.

    If someone who isn’t qualified to be informative (like, to write guides or give advice or give their opinion on raids) tries to be, they’ll get destroyed pretty fast by people who DO know what they’re talking about.

  14. Tuna #

    You’re not differentiating between privacy and deception. Their motivation for hiding their own personal account/character isn’t to “hide their irrelevance,” its to avoid the hassle that comes along with having some measure if in-game “fame,” if you can even call it that. By the same token, to declare someone a liar or shady person because you don’t have access to their character history is immature and overly scrupulous. How is them not posting their character info at all relevant to the benefit they provide to the community, ESPECIALLY when they are strictly an entertainer or a commentator?

  15. Oestrus #

    Because I don’t feel that it’s too much to ask for you or anyone to actually partake in the events that they are building a following on and essentially using for their own personal gain – whether they’re trying to sell more products, or build a modeling portfolio, or what have you.

    Take Big Crits, for example. Let’s say you found out that one of the people on the show doesn’t even play World of Warcraft. But yet you see their face and you see a character which you presume to be theirs enjoying World of Warcraft and talking to you, as if they play the game. That’s the main thrust of the show. You can’t tell me there isn’t an expectation that the people you are watching on that show are who they say they are and are playing the game that they are trying to convince you that they play. I’m sure it would be much easier and I’m sure you could fill the show with seven or eight people that you found off the street, handed them some in game footage, and said “Here, be this character for a few months” and people may not know the difference. But we would know the difference and I believe people would not be happy if that were the case.

    In terms of privacy, I don’t feel that having your character name and realm be public knowledge is too much to ask. I would never expect someone to give out real life information, by any means. It’s awfully presumptuous to assume that people are going to have nothing better to do than to come find you and swarm you with whispers while you’re trying to do something. Look at all the examples you do see of people with public lives, relating to their gaming. You see countless blogs, forums that require you to post your character information (like Elitist Jerks), and other famous folks (again, Big Crits) and you don’t hear stories of “Gosh, they were just beating down my door to say hello.” I would like to believe it’s not that much of a concern as people are making it out to be.

    More importantly, 99% of the people I have met through being a part of the community actually feel the opposite. They want you to come say hello or ask for their advice on something or invite them to be a part of your podcast or blog. I think people who get involved for the right reasons don’t shy away from such things and genuinely welcome the contact and the social interaction.

    And like I said before, can you have it both ways? It’s like when celebrities complain when you ask for an autograph. Asking for one in the bathroom is one thing. But if you set out to be famous and you achieve that and you encourage people to Follow you, and Subscribe to you, and listen to you, etc. – do you really get to turn around and say “Yeah, but don’t whisper me, please don’t say hello to me, don’t approach me, etc.?” This is what they wanted. They opened the door for that level of interaction and I don’t think that’s something you can take back, once you start.

  16. Ironyca #

    I think having your character information out there for every fan to see is like a celebrity to have their mobile phone number published on the internet, any random person can suddenly log on and demand your time and attention on the spot.

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable that this machinima creator wants some focused and quiet playing time in WoW, I can’t blame him for that and demand him to be a 24 hour public person.

    You don’t want people who was once players to produce content about WoW as you think their credentials are then uncertain.

    The irony is, however, that I think -you- are moving into an area that you know little about yourself.

    If anyone remembers Chidori (WoW comic author), people still log in to ask about her and she hasn’t been actively playing nor creating comics for almost 3 years.

  17. Oestrus #

    The irony is, however, that I think -you- are moving into an area that you know little about yourself.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you expand on this portion of your comment, as I’m not sure what you mean by this. However, I would like to think I can certainly cover any bases or hold my own in areas that you feel I know little about.

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