Nardi has a chapter dedicated to the role that gender played in World of Warcraft, in which she explains how it was like a “Boy’s Tree House” (152). This chapter interested me as someone who has played many online multiplayer games but not WoW specifically. Nardi’s description of the environment as mainly male dominated should be no surprise to anyone, but if you don’t know a lot about online games or haven’t heard stories from your friends, then it might surprise you how rude people actually are to each other. I can’t really understand what it is about this game in particular that makes people act this way, but from my experience in other games, Nardi’s description makes player behavior in WoW sound very unique and over-the-top. Reading some of your comments and posts it seems a lot of you have played Call of Duty, so using that as an example, I’m sure those of you who have played know that players can be quite obnoxious and rude in chat, using their microphone. Call of Duty is a type of game that allows you to mute a player like this, and you can continue on playing your game without penalty. WoW is a different sort of game to my understanding, where team communication is important, and it’s very hard to play, at least at a competitive level, without communication with your teammates. This leads players to join guilds and talk to each other on voice communication servers such as Ventrillo, Teamspeak, or Raid Call. Anything can be said in these channels without any moderation by game developers, which gives players a freedom to be be as rude as they want. Most players I know in games like these find a group of friends to play with and avoid such confrontations by sticking within their own group. Nardi writes about one such person in this chapter:
“Mrs. Pain reported that her daughter refused to play:
- [13:56] Mrs. Pain: my daughter tried playing but she thought the players were too rude
- [13:56] Mrs. Pain: I have certain ppl [people] I play with
- [13:56] Mrs. Pain: and being an adult I could handle myself” (155)
Specifically the players are rude to other female players, but i can’t figure out what it is that promotes this sort of behavior in this game. Nardi writes that this behavior isn’t nearly as present and certainly not as acceptable in-person, so I wonder if these players act that way even outside the game. If that’s the case then the person is just generally a rude individual, which we know some people just are that way, but then shouldn’t we see these people acting this way in-person more often? What specifically about this one game makes people so hostile, where as in others there’s much less hostility?
There is a certain freedom granted in language for online games, and some things that aren’t really acceptable to say in public places are commonplace here, but there has to be a spot where the line is drawn and is considered going too far. Nardi seems to have a bit of an “Old-Fashioned” view of things in that she seems to say that saying curse words in the company of females is an unacceptable thing to do. I think that using them targeting females is generally unacceptable, but more accepted towards males (in a joking manner I mean). I personally view females as any other person however. What I mean by this is that you learn to kind of curb what you say to certain people based on the knowledge of them that you gain by getting to know them. Most females I know however have no problem with cursing, and some do it even more than I do. Nardi does make a point though when she says the type of words used are different, and I have to agree that I’ve never once heard a female call someone a “homo” (although even in males I haven’t heard this word used in a derogatory manner since middle school). Males generally do use different jokes and different language when conversing with other males, but this is not a game specific occurrence, and more a societal norm. Overall I’d say that gaming has a kind of culture to it that’s all its own, and you can’t compare it to everyday activities in the ways that Nardi does. This culture however, does not include the berating of females as a universally accepted practice.