Stolen Pixels

Stolen Pixels
Stolen Pixels #9: A Server Is a Way of Life

Shamus Young | 5 Aug 2008 12:40
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Take a look at your average Internet forum and you'll see a legion of chattering ninnies soiling the place with their trolling, first-post-ing, me-too-ing, Rick-Rolling, flame-baiting, fanboy-ing, gay-bashing, hotlinking, thread-jacking, sig spamming, topic-bumping, lolcat-ing, and pictures of David Hasselhoff. Their goal seems to be to raise up a new culture based on technology, illiteracy and calling people fags. The only thing more inexplicable than their fractured prose is why they bother participating in the first place, since they all seem to hate each other with such intensity.

At some point somebody got it in their head that while RPGs are fun, they could be so much more fun if you were locked in a room with all the screaming chimpanzees of the Internet while you were trying to play. Thus was born the MMORPG, a bad idea with a worse acronym that has ended millions of marriages, jobs, and college careers.

World of Warcraft is nice enough to offer several types of servers, so at least you can choose what kind of chimpanzee you want to play with. I really appreciate this.

I admit that today's strip greatly exaggerates the amount of roleplaying you'll see on roleplaying servers. The player names on these servers are just as infantile and stupid as the names on other servers. It's always the same collection of misspelled fictional icons and quasi-phallic puns. A vast majority of the people you meet want nothing to do with the roleplaying business, and they joined the server for the same reason you see people arguing over Linux distro packages in a forum for African-American cancer survivors in Spokane: Because people don't give two dead plague-bearing hamsters for your rules and guidelines, you pretentious forum Nazi.

On the other end of the spectrum are the people who actually are trying to roleplay, which sounds nice but really just turns places like Goldshire into a madhouse of overwrought teenage drama and Elf-on-Gnome cybersex. You might imagine a scene where players get together and enact a dramatic scene that borrows from the Warcraft mythos, but what you end up with is an asylum where each and every inmate is authoring their own unique and horribly demented reality.

It's ridiculous, it's childish, it's bad for you, and I really don't think I'll be able to quit without the help of a 12-step program.

Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found at

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