It wasn’t too long ago that I was driving home from Georgia with my girlfriend. We were talking and she asked me a question. I answered in what I thought was a similar fashion to how I always do but she was certain I meant something else than the answer I gave. She said I had a tone. Why is this important? Tone translates directly into our lives as MMORPG players. It greatly affects how you interact with your friends, guild mates, and server community. You might be unaware of your tone but if someone else perceives it you can find yourself in a big misunderstanding.
Tone is present in verbal and textual communication. The biggest problem with the latter is that it is even harder to get a read on the person. This is why people will frequently include an emoticon to better convey their meaning. Everything is safe to say if you include a smiley after it! In some cases doing so just isn’t appropriate. Today’s tip is how to take your tone from that of an angry parent to a neutral, less off putting one. How many times have you been in guild chat or on a forum and witnessed text like this:
This encounter is stupid. The developers did x, y, and z wrong. They should change a, b, and c.
How about this:
Oh you put your points into build a? Yeah that isn’t going to get you the best DPS. You need to respec and go 50 a and 50 b.
I dare say that a lot of conversations occur in this fashion. There is something about being in an MMORPG that gives players the idea that they’re an expert and authority in numerous fields. In both examples the tone is fairly superior and somewhat negative. The second example also adds condescension into it. The worst part about it is that the player who said either may have no intention of being superior, negative or condescending. That is simply how they communicate online and the world at large has not corrected it. Lets look at a different way to say the first example:
I’m really not a fan of how this encounter works. This x, y, and z doesn’t really make sense to me. I’m not sure what the developer is after. I think it might might more sense if they changed a, b, and c.
And with the second:
Your points are in build a? I tried that build too and it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I’ve found I can get more dps with 50 a and 50 b. You could try that some time if you’d like. You might see more dps like I did but you might not.
Essentially you’ve got the same information as before but other players aren’t going to see you as someone on the attack. In the second example the player might actually be willing to try your specialization now. The key to remember is that most MMORPG players are adults and they don’t generally appreciate being talked down to. The same is true for developers. Remember that how you phrase your text and the tone it carries can easily sabotage what you want to accomplish. Sometimes short and to the point just won’t work. So the next time you’re giving someone advice or submitting feedback consider your tone!
For more advice like this check out The Guild Leader’s Companion.