Compassion – is it worth it?

I saw both sides of what compassion towards a fellow player can do last night.  And while the first one was lovely, and we all came out of it for the better, the second made me wonder, is it really worth the effort, when those you’ve just shown compassion towards have a tendancy to pure wankerdom?

You see, I’m both blessed and cursed with a heightened level of empathy. I buff passing lowbies sometimes, I’m polite, I try to answer questions pleasantly. I draw the line at gold beggars, to those I turn on my best strict motherly scolding tones and tell them not to be such a disgrace to Nelvishness, etc, and to go out and earn it. It’s the way I am.  Call me social, I really don’t care. I’d rather be me than not because I think it’s clever to be otherwise.

But yes, last night left a bitter taste in my mouth.

The evening started off pretty promisingly, with the heroic being The Orifice Oculus. Rem and I’ve run this enough to laugh it off. But one of our party confided in us that they hated it. And had never played a green dragon before.  Okay, that concerned us, but I was more concerned with letting them know they’d be okay, explaining the mechanics to them, and being gentle, and confiding back that I too had once hated it. We got through it, no deaths, and people asked if they could do another run with us. We were quite happy to, these weren’t gogogoers, they were chatty and friendly, and if they’d not been from a different server, they’d have gone on my friends’ list.

The second run was CoS, and that went pretty well, one of the party hadn’t got the reins, so we sorted that out for them, and then parted ways. Rem and I intended another evening of levelling our space goats (yeah, I know, I said I wouldn’t play one, but hey….I’m having fun, and this girl’s not going to dance naked on any mailboxes).

So off we trotted, in our horny little guises,  doing our quests and then we reached the little fella hiding out in a giant turtle shell, being besieged by murlocs. (Evil ones, big bad, scary nasty ones, sounded like they were the Siltfin tribe or something.  They were mean, Gerrad wouldn’t approve.) Things started off well enough…

And then a mage came along and buffed us, and we buffed him right back. And then he started to follow us around. Now we could have done several things. We could have invited him, but we were enjoying duoing, and he’d not actually asked us. It felt like he expected it of us. The first time he died, we rezzed him and healed him and rebuffed him. And he continued to follow us around. Still without asking if he could join. No hello, no communication except a couple of says…..”sit” and “follow me”. No please or thank you. Nothing. I rezzed him again at one point. And even though it was quite obvious he wanted to join, again, not once did he ask. I semi kept an eye on him, as he was getting more and more into deep water with the murlocs.

And then he pulled a shed load of murlocs onto us. And we wiped. And yes, it was my fault for being compassionate, and not ignoring him. But somewhere deep down, I felt uncomfortable. I suppose it was that little girl sat on the bench being the last one chosen during PE. Or the teenager watching her peers being asked for a dance, while she sat wallflowerishly, wondering if she’d ever be asked. But in the cold light of day, it wasn’t like that at all. This guy didn’t communicate with us, and we didn’t feel like sharing company. And it led to me feeling angry, and stupid and having let down someone who was genuinely adventuring with me.

Eventually the mage got the point and buggered off. I’d finally drawn the line at rezzing or healing him, he’d pissed me off enough to want to shout at him, and for about 15 minutes afterwards I was cursing myself and my stupid levels of compassion.It left me questioning myself.

Would I do it again? Probably not.

*watches her level of compassion wash down the plughole*


4 Responses to Compassion – is it worth it?

  1. Issy says:

    It’s a difficult one, isn’t it. I am _exactly_ the same, and usually end up being followed round by a horde of 13 year old boys for my trouble who ask for my age and then say *wow you’re really old* – yeah cheers 😛
    Really puts you off being nice 😛

    I would have probably done a *waves farewell* to mage after ressing him the first time so he got the idea that it was a private party thank you very much.

    • nowiamtree says:

      If it happens again, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

      Ow, I hear you about the age thing. Thankfully I don’t get asked that much, it’s really not pleasant being reminded of it!

  2. Tam says:


    As Issy says, it is a difficult one – I mean often the kindness of strangers can really make a game like WoW but I think there’s a marked difference between incidental kindness (buffing someone, being polite if they talk to you, talking them through the mechanics of green dragon usage) and active kindness (actually going out of your way to help someone, possibly at cost to yourself). I think the former is, y’know, the least you can do, and the latter is … very much optional, and ultimately probably earned.

    But we’ve all been here, and done this – so there’s no need to castigate yourself for it. As ever, you’re really being far too hard on yourself. I mean, yes people will likely fuck you over but if you never give them a chance, you’ll never know different.

    Also I’m not sure ‘compassion’ is the right word for it – I mean, yes the mage was probably new (?) and perhaps young but there’s a difference between what I read as the mage’s irritating sense of entitlement and the incidents of being socially isolated that you remember. And the difference, I think, is all bound up in the behaviour of the mage. I mean, if he’d said “thanks guys, sorry I’m new to WoW and I don’t know what I’m doing yet,” and you said “fuck off, we’re adventuring by ourselves now” (not that I could ever imagine you doing that) then the comparison would arguably be valid, but basically he latched onto you and seemed to EXPECT that you’d look after him, with no thanks or reciprocal care.

    And, actually, if the mage had bothered to talk you at all, I suspect you’d be blogging a very different story – not about your compassion going down the plughole but how you helped a new player out with some murlocs.

    In short: *cake*

    • nowiamtree says:

      *the sound of enthusiastic cake munching echoes around the forest*

      Yeah, that’s the thing, I’m sure if he had asked nicely, it would have been different, but you hit the nail on the head – he did come over as expecting us to party up.

      I shall listen to the wise words, and be kind where I can, but not overly so, unless it’s earned. And I know, compassion isn’t the right word, but I was struggling to find one. Soft-hearted maybe?!

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