“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.