This is a rather rambly post, not a polemic.
Classism. It’s a word with a long history, but something I read in a WoW community elsewhere kind of gave me a little light bulb moment.
If you want to put someone down in WoW, do it based on their actions and behaviour, not on guesses about their living situations. ‘Basement-dweller’ as an insult takes on a new meaning when more people than ever before are unable to pay the rent due to unemployment. Folk who can move back in with their parents are the lucky ones – pooling resources in this economy is a sensible course of action even if you have been able to find work. If it was more practical, travel wise, I’d rather move in with my parents than apply for housing benefit.
Being single, or have a lower paid job doesn’t make an individual less worthy of respect. Saying thoughtless and horrible things, and ninjaing crap and being generally inconsiderate is what deserves our derision as players. While ‘basement-dweller’ is the traditional insult reserved for the stereotyped geek, today it just kinda smacks of classism. I’m not going to tell you that ‘basement-dweller’ is anywhere NEAR the level of ableist, racist or sexist slurs, but the attitude that drives the insult is worth thinking about.
(And if you like using similar phrases, no need to post to defend yourself, because I really don’t care.)
I ended up living with my parents for a while a few years ago, after suffering a breakdown. I wasn’t capable of living on my own. I had no money (I had debts) and no where else to go, because my partner had lost his job and we were facing time apart anyway. Once you’re stuck in a hole of unemployment, especially due to a mental health issue, it is desperately hard to dig yourself out again. I was playing WoW at the time. I owned a computer from when I did have some money, and my £9-a-month sub was cheaper than going out. For a long time, WoW was my only social outlet. Those few pounds a month were much cheaper than travelling to town to see a friend, and didn’t trigger my social anxiety (which was severe at the time.) Living with my parents was my only choice. I will admit that ‘living with parents’ as an insult did sting a bit then. I was young, I was supposed to be starting a family and paying a mortgage. Instead I was working my slow way towards functionality. I know better now.
I guess this is part of the reason that ‘no-lifer’ as an insult thrown at a raider so annoys me, but then it’s a pretty nonsensical insult all round. I know it’s part of the eternal cut-and-thrust that is the casual v hardcore debate, but really?
I was extremely lucky that I did have my parents, and my partner, to make sure I was safe. Some people don’t have that option. There are many reasons for one to be a ‘basement-dweller’, but it isn’t a true measure of self-worth. I should remember that.