Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'I'm Just Sayin' and Other Words of Hate

Back in high school my group of friends developed our own language. It was not a conscious action; we never set out to create a series of ‘code words’ to hide our nefarious deeds from our parents or anything, it just happened over time. Like any language, the ‘lingo’ or ‘verbiage’, as we called it, changed over time as phrases and words replaced others. Thirty years later we still use it a fair amount when we get together, and I’ve even passed some of it on to my wife and kids. I’m not sure if I’m pleased or disgusted by that fact.

The World of the World of Warcraft has its own ‘lingo’, and, like my high school verbiage, it has changed and adapted somewhat over time. A word like ‘Mob’ which generally refers to ‘bad guys’ came from an old programming term – Mobile Object Block – that really refers to any moving NPC (and there’s another in-game phrase). Other phrases have been adapted by WoW players from elsewhere, such as the largely-awful ‘leet speak’, like the various ‘lol’, lulz’ and ‘n00b’.

As a new player who had no experience with MMOs when I started playing WoW, the in-game language was initially quite confusing and sometimes intimidating. By the time I was in my first 'serious' guild, I knew enough to know that MT = Main Tank. Whenever someone in my guild would type ‘MT’ in guildchat I’d assume they made a mistake, that they were addressing the ‘Main Tank’ in their party, and I'd sometimes type back 'Wrong Chat'. It wasn’t until someone actually typed out ‘mistell’ that I realized my error, and stopped my silly behavior.

Another one that confused me was ‘FTW’. I pored over this one in my head for several minutes until I realized that it could only mean one thing: ‘Fuck the World!’ This meaning, both defiant and victorious, was drilled home to me the moment I first hurled my Hammer of Wrath at a fleeing Southsea Freebooter in Tanaris. I cranked it up (1.5 sec cast time back then) and watched that silver streak drill him in the back: ‘Hammer of Wrath, Fuck the World!’ It definitely works this way, doesn’t it? As certain as I was of FTW, I was utterly mystified by FTL, and I just couldn’t figure it out. Like ‘MT”, it wasn’t until someone actually spelled out ‘For the Loss’ in guild chat that I understood. That was also the moment I realized how wrong I was with FTW. Of course, Fuck the World still works just as well (if not better) than For the Win.

As much as I like Fuck the World (and now you’ll never think of it quite the same, will you? Power of Suggestion, FTW!) there are three phrases/ words commonly used in WoW these days that I just can’t stand. Here they are:

I’m just sayin
I’ve seen this for quite some time in both trade/general chat and in various WoW forums (mostly on the O-boards), and I’ve never liked it. How much I didn’t like it was brought into sharp focus last week in ICC. We were clearing the hallway up to Valithria Dreamwalke for the first time, and we had just encountered Crok Scourgebane, Captain Arnath (who, if you’ve ever struggled through Alchemist Finklestein's daily, has some of the best lines in the game), et. al. After the first set of pulls, a member of our group says (in raid chat, he has no mic): ‘We should try and heal the npcs since they’re helping us. I’m just sayin.’ Why is it that it bothers me so much? To me, ‘I’m just sayin’ is typically code for ‘This is so obvious that any idiot should know it, what does that say about you since you didn’t?’ Is that what he really meant to say? I doubt it, yet it always reads that way to me. I felt like saying ‘Sure I’ll heal those 4 extra adds, but you’ll probably die. I’m just sayin’.

Whereas ‘I’m just sayin’ always rubs me the wrong way, ‘meh’ depends more on the use, but I’m still not a fan. At it’s best, it conveys a degree of ambivalence: “Hey, what do you think of the 2-piece T9 bonus?’ ‘An extra 10 seconds on my judgments is meh, I'm going straight for T10.’ That’s much better than ‘W00t! I just got [link piece of gear here]!’ ‘Meh.’ Used this way, meh just comes across as the ultimate dismissal. Here you have someone expressing happiness over getting a piece of gear or an achievement, and someone else taking a big, steaming dump on it. Thanks a lot!

. . .
I’ve had a deep hatred for this phrase since the first time I ever saw it, back in a completely disastrous Hellfire Ramparts run when I was level 63. It was deserved, I’ll admit, because I was completely awful, but the first time it popped up in party chat, I knew it was aimed squarely at me, and that it wasn’t good. Other notables that day were ‘I’ve NEVER had this much trouble here before’ and a real whopper:
[Party] [Pallytank]: O
[Party] [Pallytank]: M
[Party] [Pallytank]: G
In fact, I think the OMG might have come immediately AFTER the ‘. . .’ I really was that bad of a healer back then.

Fortunately I’ve never seen it directed at me since then, though I have seen it pop up in raids from time to time. PUG raids, particularly VoA, are prone to ‘. . .’ It almost always follows a wipe, and it generally means something along the lines of ‘OMG, this group is total fail, I can’t believe I’m in this group, did you all buy your accounts yesterday?’ It’s usually followed by ‘Player… has left the raid.’ Personally, I feel we’re better off with . . . out of the raid. Try to offer something constructive and give it another try. If the only thing you have to say is ‘. . .’ then good riddance. I’m just sayin.

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