Monday, July 26, 2010

Why do we hate it when something we like becomes popular? When I was younger I was into Indie Rock, particularly the NJ Indie scene. I can remember going to see bands like Thursday, and Saves the Day in basements in New Brunswick and thinking to myself, “Man, these guys are good. They should be on the radio!” I remember sneaking into the Court Tavern, a few blocks from my house, to see E-Town Concrete and thinking “These guys should go on tour!” Yet, when they did in fact “blow-up” I remember thinking, “Man, I can’t believe so-and-so sold out.”

Despite the fact that I thought these bands were good enough to be national, beside the fact that I wanted others to hear them and know how good they were, I was resentful of having to share them out. That popularity must have come at the cost of some compromise, not out of a growing realization and through word of mouth that they were indeed good and deserved recognition. Even when I directly benefited from the explosive growth in popularity (I got my 1st apartment from Midtown band member Rob Hitt when he upgraded to go along with the growing success of his band), I felt somehow cheated out of a special secret that few others knew.

A parallel can be drawn in many ways I think, to WoW. A lot of the griping about the current state of the game grows out of those same root feelings held among the Vanilla generation. When the game was young it was much like an Indie Band, those small circles of folks “in the know” thought to themselves, “Man this is good. People should play this!” As WoW ballooned towards the 11 million subscriber mark, those same folks were left muttering “sell outs!” and pining for the days when they could go see their favorite band for a couple bucks thrown in when they passed the hat in some dimly lit ale soaked basement. They were left wondering what compromise was being made (and I don’t propose there weren’t any compromises along the way) and fearing that they weren’t going to be as special as they used to.

The same can be said about specs. A friend of mine played an Arcane Mage since BC. He swore up and down by the spec and proved he could be every bit the equal of the Fire Mages. Nowadays you can’t go 3 feet without tripping over an Arcane Mage, yet he switched to Rogue because Arcane “sold-out” on him. For myself, Svenn Pally tanked through BC when Pallys were not “real” tanks (Hyjal excepted). Once Wrath issued in the Golden Age of the Tankadin, I too was disgruntled. I switched to an aggressive Prot/Ret build, saw that it was good AND unique and thought “Man people are missing out. They should really try this!” Now, with the ICC buff up to 30% I am seeing more and more adaptations of that build as survivability can safely be traded in for more DPS…sold out again.

So, why do we hate it when something we like becomes popular? I’m not sure. I’m not even entirely positive it a conscious decision, maybe it’s more of a reflex action. In any case, even if the masses invade my inner sanctum of “RetProtadinism”, this time at least, I will try and enjoy the fact that something I am a fan of (read: DPS numbers from a tank) “blew-up”.


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