Sprink Notes

Knowing Your Audience

Posted on: May 20, 2009

  • In: WoW
  • Comments Off on Knowing Your Audience

How Easy Is It to Talk About WoW with Non-Players?

Larisa brings up a very interesting point in her recent blog post about talking WoW with non-players.

Now, let me start this out by saying that I am very blessed to have the audience I do. I work in a computer repair shop, and most of my coworkers game of some sort. There’s the obligatory FPS guy, the guy that plays a variety of games that I can’t recall at the moment, and, surprisingly, a former WoW guy… and the boss, who plays nothing but casino games, but hey, it’s a start. Having people who at least vaguely understand what I’m talking about helps. A lot.

Let me also mention that not only do I play WoW, but I pencil and paper roleplay every Saturday. Exalted for those that are interested. And every Sunday is ‘dungeon day’ with the 5-man crew in WoW… people I actually know in real life that I spend a good portion of time between noon and midnight running around doing such things as, and I quote the boyfriend here, “paying $15 a month to run around a magical island throwing snowflakes on holy space goats.” (Holiday achievements make for the best lines sometimes.)

However, let’s get back to the whole point at hand.

What was it?

Oh yes. You have to know your audience if you’re going to talk about WoW… or anything, for that matter.

I’m not going to go up to someone on the street and tell them about what I did in WoW today. And I’m not going to tell the customers that walk into work about my little Exalted badass who wields a sword that gives a death knight a run for his/her OP-ness. I’m certainly not going to tell the boss that the reason I’m so tired today was because I was up until 2:30am trying to down Loken… again. Wait. Scratch that last one. I did tell him that one a while back. It didn’t get me off the hook.

Is it going to make a difference to anyone if I go into great detail regarding what things my roleplaying and/or WoW characters did over the weekend? Nope. However, that doesn’t make what I’m doing any less valuable to me as a person. Am I proud of what I’ve accomplished? Hell yeah! I’ve helped shape worlds. I’ve single-handedly annihilated every living being an a dungeon just to help my little sister get her alt on my server up a few more levels. It’s something I have a passion for, and I’m proud both of my accomplishments and that passion in and of itself. And when I’m passionate about something, I have to talk about it.

Which brings me to my point. You can talk about anything with anyone if you can get a feel for your audience. I’m sure nobody at work wants to hear me wax poetic about what my roleplay character did again. However, I keep it simple, tell only the funniest parts, and try to explain things as I go. It’s almost like I’m… selling it? I guess? I give just enough to make the story interesting, but leave out enough that if I’m asked further questions on it, I haven’t blown the wad during the story.

Part two of knowing your audience? Word choice. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about what you’re talking about, if you chose words that give a negative or boring connotation to what you’re talking about, you sound like you’re boring yourself. And if you sound like you’re boring yourself or that you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, no one else is going to care either.  Example: “We wasted half of Sunday trying to down Loken and still couldn’t because our group sucked and everyone had to go to work the next day.” or “After spending five hours fighting this really hard boss, we managed to get him down to 20% health before we had to call it a night. We’re going to try a new strategy next time though, and hopefully be able to kill him.” Which story do you want to hear more about? Which story do you think a non-WoW player wants to hear about? Or even hear more about? Throwing a negative connotation on what you’re doing is just setting yourself up for failure.

Part three of knowing your audience? Knowing when to zip it. It’s hard. I know. I will talk your goddamn ear off about how I think blood elf males (our “off” tank Llementas as a prime example) are sexy beasts, why Sprink is the most awesomest fireball slinger this side of Dalaran, and why I should lay off the Taco Bell this week all in the same sitting. If you try to draw someone into a conversation or relay a story and you see their eyes rolling back and a touch of drool at the corner of their mouth, reign it in. Know that you can’t win them all. It’s not a reflection of you if they’re not interested. It’s no different from how you can’t stand listening to them talk about… I don’t know… something you can’t stand to listen about. Politics or something.

Part four of knowing your audience? Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And again. Just not all at once. Let people know that there’s something out there you’re passionate about. If they’re interested in talking to you, they’ll, given enough time, find your stories at least amusing, if not downright entertaining. If not, their loss.

And now that I’ve gotten my self-help book-ness out, ya’ll can go read something else. It’s too late at night for me to keep making ya’ll feel good about yourselves. Get off my lawn. Stay in school. Don’t do too many drugs. Be excellent to each other. Live long and prosper. But mostly, stay off my lawn. ~_^

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  • Sprink: @Veng I still have to do the other side of the centaur, and I just stepped foot into Silithis, so I feel like I'm pretty much right on track for Kali
  • Tam: Wow, congratulations. I am far too lazy for this kind of thing - but I love the Darrowshire questline, it's beautiful. And, not being on a PvP server
  • Markus: Good luck! I think I am about 200 quests from completing the Kalimdor portion. Going back to Desolace for those quests just makes me want to hurl.

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