Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog
Here we are after the introduction of patch 3.3 aka the patch that gave us cross-server grouping in 5-player dungeons. As much as it was a big change in gameplay and perhaps queue time to find a group for instancing, it also proved to test the patience of a lot of Argent Dawn’ers. Pilfkin at Moar alts! also wrote a post about this new Italian phenomenon: That reputation? Sometimes it is deserved.
A big discussion on our forum right now, is the italians that only speak in italian while being grouped with players from english-speaking realms.
In fact, Crushridge which is the home of many italians, is also a realm listed as EN – English. But the italians make out the vast majority of players, that it is now, at least by the italian WoW-community, instead considered an italian realm (the same story goes for the realm Hakkar).
The language issue annoyed people enough to start off a thread on the Argent Dawn forum called “Crushridge ruins our battlegroup” and reach 7 pages as of today. It is interesting that the Original Poster of said thread is from Daggerspine, another member of the Bloodlust battlegroup that both AD and Crushridge are also part of. The dispute can therefore be said to reach beyond an Argent Dawn vs. Crusridge fight. The thread becomes a discussion about whether or not it is rude to not speak english in a 5-player setting, where one or more members are not able to understand whatever alternative language the rest speak instead of english. This conflict unfolds with the focus on italian being the alternative language, but in reality, it could be any other language.
The arguments run from majority rules:
“Wait… one non-Italian speaker in a whole party of non-English speakers, and you think the onus was on them to speak English for you?”
To the rules of Crushridge being an english speaking server, thus they should speak english:
“Because we are all playing on English servers, using a PUG system. If there’s a minority language user who uses the system with players from all over Europe, they should expect to have to use English.“
To being about politeness:
“It’s not about rules or “laws”, it’s about common courtesy. It’s !%#%ing rude to not speak the realm language and use a language some or most of the people reading the channels don’t use. […]”
This had me wondering if the italians on Crushridge had a similar post about how silly the other servers were, after having grouped with them. I was to be surprised. Their forum was quite empty and the only posts that were mentioning of the cross-server issue, was people from other, often affected, realms. The longest and most heated thread they have on the front page of their forum, is a 13 page long thread named “Why Italians call for an Italian server“. It dates back to October 2006, so italians have porobably been aware of this issue longer than the rest of the Bloodlust battlegroup. The original post is basically a plea, signed by other crushridgers, for an italian server – originally written in italian. The Crushridge forum moderator Ommra said after the original post: “As long as there are no Italian servers you have to respect the fact that the only language to be used on the forums is English.“ And in the original posters edit he says: “And THX to OMMRA .. my friends that can’t speak english are not able to read now.“
I had to check out how the chat channels on Crushridge looked, and yes – it’s primarily in italian.
This explains why their forum is so empty, and perhaps partially why italians do not speak english when encoutering players from other servers. Some are simply not able to.
That is in fact a question someone else asked on the Crushridge forum in the small thread named “English” asking this simple question:
“[…] 95% off the Crushridge people I have encoutered will not speak english what so ever.
And I was just wondering, are they acutally not able to or just too rude to bother?“
The few answers are slightly mixed, some say it’s both, while some point to a supposedly faulty education system that has left italians lacking the skill. No one says it’s pure attitude, and that doesn’t come as a surprise to me. Sadly this sample are second hand responses as to if they understand, due to the simple fact that people who don’t understand the question, can’t answer it either. The active forum posters on the crushridge forum will have some proficiency in english, thus might be part of a less radical opinionated audience to this matter. The ones, that in fact are unable to speak english in the cross-realm pugs, can not represent themselves through the forums, neither can you communicate directly to them about this issue. So, we are probably discussing with italians that have no problem speaking english, and the ones that generally have the skill, but don’t use it. The ones that can’t speak english, are out of our reach (but within the reach of other italians through word of mouth).
If we knew they were purely unable, as the original poster states, we would be more understanding and flexible. But how to figure out who is rude?
Is it the english speaker, who wants italians to subdue to his language, who points out the fact that Crushridge is listed as an english server, and who believes common tongue is polite when forced to cooperate in a dungeon?
Is it the italian who speaks their mothertongue, either because they can’t speak english, or because they just express themselves better in italian when grouped with someone from Italy. Perhaps they define their server, not from what it is listed as, but from who plays on it – italians. Therefore the server is italian.
First – let’s look at when this problem is prevalent: Only in cross-server 5-player dungeons and battlegrounds, and that’s it. I’ll keep the focus on the 5-player meeting, since that is what seemed to have been the intensifying factor.
Let’s also look at what kind of meeting this party-pug is: I would guess a random heroic takes about 20-25 mins at average. This means the social meeting between players is very short, thus, after the 25 mins of shared playtime are over, you get ported back to seperate parallel universes, and the chances that you’ll meet the exact same people again, are rather slim. All you share with them is in fact 25 mins. Of course, when you then meet another italian group in your next heroic, the 25 minutes doubles, and that’s where people get annoyed. From the italians viewpoint, perhaps the 25 mins doesn’t matter enough for them to make the effort of switching language, and therefore continue in italian.
Nevertheless, even though it is only 25 mins – it is 25 mins of being excluded from the communication of the group completely. In a medium where practically all communication is text based, and thus the only channel we have, 25 mins (or more) of being left out and perhaps seeing your name mentioned wrapped in italian, which some of my server-folks have experienced, makes it a long and aggravating 25 mins.
I have tried it myself several times when me and my partner worked our way through rougly 30 pugs together. We had each other, and the excluding feeling wasn’t as strong as I believe it could have been, had I been alone. Still while being with a friend, my immediate reaction was that it felt uncomfortable, as if they didn’t care about our presence. Being excluded from the communication of a group can not only feel like inconsideration, but to some degree bullying, depending on how it is carried out.
Before i reach my conclusion, I would like for you to consider the following dilemma: You’re in a group of italians, and you ask them to speak english in party chat, which they agree to. But at the same time they inform you that the healer, also an italian, cannot speak a word of english, nor understand it whatsoever. Does this constellation make exclusion unavoidable?
I’ll fall back to the common curtesy arguement, to point out that in a mixed language group, working towards a common platform for communication can not only be vital for the success of the group, it can also avoid a tense atmosphere for one or more players.
My Conclusion to the titled question – is it rude? – is as follows: The polite thing to do in my opinion, would be for the italians to speak english when grouped with anyone who can’t speak italian – yes. But perhaps a situation can arise when it’s neccessary to speak both, for the sake of all group-members. To stubbornly insist that everyone should speak english, can be just as rude and rigid, as expecting that everyone can understand italian – when the consequence will be the exclusion of a co-player.