I’ve mentioned my social anxiety before. I don’t know how specific I’ve been about my particular issues, but they affect me daily, just as they affect my online gaming daily.

I can’t handle any confrontation or criticism (implied or directly stated), even when I’m just hearing something aimed at other people. These kinds of things leave me shaking and fighting back tears. Even a too-strongly-worded “wrong way” to the Huttball ball carrier can leave me near to hyperventilation.

Sometimes I even have to log off and cry, but that’s usually when the perceived attack is aimed at me. Other things can set me off too, like an enemy taunting me (even chaining /laugh at me really triggers me). A few days ago, an Empire character said to TG’s Vanguard “Your screams of agony are delicious [misspelled character name]” which really bothered me.

Because of all this, I was a little wary about posting my most recent post about how I’m just kind of over SWTOR. I knew that a surplus of fans would be at the ready to champion their game, just as I mentioned in my post. Fortunately I’m not very popular, so it’s not like thousands of forum-goers were going to show up and argue me back into the game.

So, I really wasn’t surprised when I got called out on Twitter by one person. I did delight a little in the fact that, even though I posted that I felt it was ridiculous to be expected to wait around for the game to get good, I was being prompted to just give it time. But, overall? It really stressed me out.

Nothing mean was said in the least. Even just that little of what I perceived to be an attack made me weak in the knees. I know many people would just suggest that I get a thicker skin before going online, but, really? Would you suggest someone with depression just be a little happier before trying to life?

I have mental health issues that affect all social interactions that I take part in. For crying out loud, I’m terrified of the checker at the grocery store telling me I slid my card through the reader incorrectly. TG has to do most of the shopping because of this.

I’m not trying to ask the Internet to treat me with kid gloves, but I think it would be nice for everyone to try to remember that there’s a human on the other side of that character who might be terrified to tears when you start trash talking.

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About Amanda

Amanda is a 20-something flailing gamer. While she loves MMORPGs, the company in them often triggers flare-ups of her social anxiety. Her all-time favorite games include Everquest Online Adventures, Eternal Sonata, the Animal Crossing series, Katamari Damacy, and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. She lives on junk food, and her favorite books are equally trashy. She doesn't believe in putting two spaces after a period, but she does strongly believe in the serial comma. Unfortunately, she has a penchant for starting sentences with "and" and "but;" hopefully you won't hold that, or her excessive use of semicolons, against her.

7 responses »

  1. Nick says:

    Hey Amanda and TG!

    I’ve been riding this TERA fever out, and I happened to stumble across your blog and was really taken in by the Google synopsis of your TERA beta impressions post — it was an excellent read, and all the things you said about the questing and scenery (I can just imagine being in that UE3-built world with all of its wonderful models and animations!); these are exactly what I’ve been looking for. The new combat system was something I feared was either going to be hit or miss, and it seems the consensus so far is that it’s been pretty amazing. It just sounds fantastic (albeit, I’m sure there are shortcomings somewhere that I’m aware of, but have been buried deep, down under my roiling desire to try the game…). My boyfriend and I have been super excited, and we usually duo through games with the exception of his brother joining in to fill the tank roll (I’m usually magic healer/support, while my boyfriend is magic dps; the three of us are usually a pretty set team).

    We’re both pretty into the PvE; the story, and the lore of the game (I like jumping into the PvP when he’s not around, though, hehe), so you can imagine how far we fed into the Star Wars hype of the voiced questing and Bioware-styled dialogue progression… but after getting to the end, and realizing that when it’s all said and done, the money just isn’t that obviously well spent (re: everything you said in your Star Wars post about alts having to the do that same side quests, and worse: the fact that the healer AND dps are the SAME advanced class line… and Ilum, oh geez…), we were pretty crushed. So regardless of any rebuttals by the pining champions among the SWTOR crowd, know that my boyfriend and I stand firmly with you on your feelings toward the game.

    I apologize that this has become both a repository for all my swelling feelings about the new mmos coming out/being released, and an amalgam of my own gaming life, but what I really wanted to get across was this: my boyfriend has a similar nature to you (one of the reasons we don’t normally PvP is he hates competition because he hates confrontation). It’s ironic in a sense because he’s critiqued a lot as a film actor, but I guess that’s another thing entirely. Anyway, I just wanted to say that you are right: the facade created by having a character in an mmo gives people way too much credence to act without consideration for the person on the other side of the screen. More often than not, when I feel my boyfriend “go silent” because of something unnecessarily aggressive or curt was said in a party, for instance, I know it instantly becomes uncomfortable and unenjoyable for him, and that it’s time to say my piece (to perhaps have that person think twice if ever we’re in a group again) and to leave. It’s simply not worth getting through a dungeon knowing that he can’t enjoy the experience. So, it’s definitely not a matter of you having to “toughen up”, or “get thicker skin”; it’s a matter of people being considerate, and in some cases civil. I realize it’s “a game”, but the attachment — the excitement, the enjoyment, and the time invested — are real. Society doesn’t just end when you log in, the system of social interaction we’ve created so we can coexist extends to all areas. This realization is what needs to happen, not forcing people like you or my boyfriend to become desensitized to confrontation or insensitive behavior.

    Alright, so, I’m sorry about the whole “writing-an-article-in-response-to-an-article” thing I just did, but you and TG seem amazing, and I hope you’re enjoying the time in TERA (I will definitely be following along!), and while I do hope SWTOR ~*gets better*~, there are some fundamental flaws that I, and my boyfriend, will forever find hard to ignore (which you wonderfully enumerated). Finally, the expression of your opinions is not something that should be met with a combative mentality to force you back into a game that you’re disenchanted with; it should be a means to open a dialogue of how we, as a gaming culture, view, value, and accept certain aspects of mmos in general, and how they relate to our overall experience.

    Uhm, I think that’s all. Thanks for the awesome reads!

    • HNtG says:

      Wow! Thank you for your wonderful comment. I have absolutely no issues with an article-in-reply-to-an-article comment. It, in fact, delighted me! I don’t think my reply will be nearly as long or well thought-out though, I hope you don’t mind.

      With regard to Tera’s combat, some people are a little put off by it. Most spells lock you in place, even if they’re listed as Instant cast spells. It’s the nature of the game, and it intends for you to make your spell choices carefully instead of just clicking like a madperson. It’s one of the things I like most about it, actually. I’ve been really craving in-game consequences (making choices matter) lately, and Tera seems to fill that role appropriately.

      I can definitely see where the SWTOR hype must have just been heartbreaking for you both. It’s so hard when a developer is so proud of their game, and, of course, they’re trying to make the big sales numbers, so suddenly their game is just 17 times what it really is. People are right though, the game needs more time; they just shouldn’t have released an unfinished game. Yes, an MMO can be “finished” at time of release and still add content patches and whatnot. Can’t wait until we see that day!

      Although, that’s another bonus of Tera, being that it’s already been released so long, but I’m getting off track.

      Thank you so much for sharing about your boyfriend’s issues with confrontation. It’s such a weird feeling. At least for me, I know, on a conscious level, that whatever has upset me isn’t a big deal, but I just don’t have the tools to turn off the freak out. We have largely avoided PvE because everyone expects to die a bit in PvP, but wipe in PvE and suddenly everyone is freaking out. Well, at least that’s been our experience (and probably mostly my fear).

      I hope the two of you are able to fall into Tera and come out loving it. I hope you like great big enemies and long battles. I know I do!

  2. p says:

    I’m totally not a gamer, but I know what you mean. I played kdice for a bit and the people on there are just mean. You’re not supposed to care, but how do you not care? I don’t know. I stopped playing.

  3. My brothers have been playing SWTOR but I haven’t given it a shot yet. I’m not into the MMO’s too much because people take it too seriously (and do tend to get very personal about their insults).
    I don’t know that this will help you but for me, when somebody says something hurtful on purpose I just think about what brought them to say that.
    I mean, if you were having an amazing day would you bother to say anything mean to somebody? And if you were having a bad day or were unhappy with yourself, you’d probably be more likely to say something mean right? Instead of being hurt by what they said I usually end up feeling sorry for them.

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