Today I want to talk about High School and how it corresponds with gaming social structure. For purposes of this conversation I will be using terminology that I understand, for many, in other parts of the country/countries some terms may not correlate. For purposes to shape this post, lets say the following structure is your last 6 years of schooling prior to heading off to college or university.
12th grade The Senior Class – Those that started in Vanilla WoW.
11th grade The Junior Class – The Burning Crusade Class.
10th grade – The Sophomore class – Those that started during Wrath of the Lich King.
9th grade – The Freshman Class – Those that started in Cataclysm.
8th grade – Those that started in Mists of Pandaria.
7th grade – Those that got their start in Warlords of Draenor.
There is no advantage to being a part of any one class as a whole, except for personal experiences, the “I can remember when we had to walk to the dungeon entrance, uphill, both ways, in the snow” being your Senior class, those folk that have been here from the beginning and in some cases beyond. They don’t remember when Dirt was invented but they can recall when it was given a name.
I am sure the majority of us recall High School, for some it was only a few years ago, or are still in school, for others like myself it was many many years ago. That time in our lives when we think we know everything, we are almost an adult, we have the world ahead of us, we can do anything. We have left elementary school and are now moving on to learning what we need to in order to set the course for the rest of our lives. It is a scary place, definitely out of the comfort zone. We may have some friends from growing up, kids we know from the neighborhood where we live. It is a place of new beginnings, excitement, perils, new friends, making boy friends, girlfriends, school dances, sports, classes, all sorts of fantastic possibilities. And we enter this new landscape of our lives as a blank page in a book that has only started to be written.
Much like going off to college, it is an opportunity to become someone new. In gaming, we have the opportunity to not only step out of our shells of insecurities but also to create different persona’s for different characters we play. So we go through the years of school/playing, we make friends, we leave friends behind, we make enemies, we experience many things, trying to find that one thing that we can grab hold of and say “Yes, this thing, I love this”
That feeling the first time we find a group of friends, or an aspect of gaming that speaks to us, says, yes, you belong here, you are one of us.
So how much more can the High School life relate to gaming;
The Varsity football team – Top Raiders, I could further say the top 10 world is more like Conference All-Stars
The Junior Varisty football team – your top server raiders
The Wrestling team – Your Arena PvP folk
Track and Field – Those that like Battlegrounds
The AV (Audio Visuals club) – Your Lore interested folk
Drama Club – Those that enjoy Role Play
I could probably identify a school sub group of any part of the MMO gaming experience.
So what does that all mean, well take all those groups and now place them in the Cafeteria. The Football team all sits at the cool kids table, the Wrestling team sits together, etc. We form groups of like minded individuals, we tend to congregate together and keep outsiders at bay by our presence and group size, people may be invited to become part of our group because they have some quality we like, but one does not just sit at the table uninvited.
And so much like being in High School gaming is also. Server transferring is much like moving to a new city and starting at a new school, you may know one or two people, it can be a jarring experience just like anyone that has ever had to pull up roots and start some place new.
yep, I was one of them in High School, someone that really did not belong to any one group, I was friendly with everyone, and a friend to many. I never tried to put myself above anyone or isolate myself to any one group of people, I knew a great many people in my small town High School, we had a graduating class of 112. Very small compared to many other schools in my area. We all knew each other, perhaps because of it we all treated each other with more respect since word traveled fast and if you acted badly towards someone you quickly found yourself with fewer friends. I am sure there were cliche’s and groups that socialized together and did not interact with others not in their group. Much like those that look down on others for not playing the game in the same manner that they and their like minded friends do.
What do I hope from writing all of this? For even just 1 person to recall what it was/is like to be in High School, how they were treated or treated others, to look at how they act today in similar circumstances under a different guise, and say, yeah, I was picked on in school, I did not like it then, so why am I doing the same to others now that I am an adult, or damn, you’re right, I was a jerk back then, why am I still being one now.
When we start doing anything, starting a new school, moving to a new town, making all new friends, starting a new game, whatever. We have a rare opportunity to recreate ourselves to be a better person. I will thank Gloriaboboria for having the same thought as I did this morning when I started typing this up.
But also remember to take time to be Excellent to yourself. Be a better human being. Don’t look down on someone not able to do things the same as you, don’t isolate yourself with groups of people and follow a herd mentality, degrading a person because the rest of the group finds it funny does not make it funny. Surround yourself with great people, respect others for their accomplishments even if they do not show respect in return. We all have one life, one chance to do it right. Don’t mess it up at the expense of another.