Are tonal spoilers for MMO zones actual spoilers?

I know I’m a slow leveler with less time to game than some, and so I’ve made my peace with the fact that everyone in Shadowlands would be at 60 and in the endgame zones long, long before I’d derpy derp derp my way there. And that’s OK all around. You game the way you want, I’ll do me, and we’ll all arrive at the same place eventually.

But the problem I had during the first week of the expansion was that the rushing ahead crowd (i.e. “everyone but me and maybe two others”) in our guild would not stop expressing very loud opinions about each zone they went through. It wasn’t so much story spoilers, mind you, but rather tonal judgments usually expressing what they didn’t like. Over and over again.

And that genuinely bugged me, because hey, some of us aren’t there yet. Some of us would rather form our own opinions rather than have them handed down to us by the advance wave. I’ve deliberately avoided reading spoilers, beta impressions, and the like from Shadowlands because you can only experience something as new precisely once without a severe blow to the head, and I wanted this week to be that.

So we kind of got into it a little bit in the guild over whether or not general reactions to zones and storylines — the “hate it,” “love it,” “made my skin crawl,” variety — constituted spoilers. I felt that it was definitely spoiling my experience and my expectations (a feeling which was not universal), and so I eventually had to leave guild chat entirely for the time being.

And that kind of stinks, because I would prefer to stay tethered to the community. Whether or not tonal spoilers are spoilers, a guild should be considerate in the first week or two of an expansion and maybe tamp down on openly spewing reactions where people can’t easily avoid it.

4 thoughts on “Are tonal spoilers for MMO zones actual spoilers?

  1. bhagpuss December 1, 2020 / 9:53 am

    “…maybe tamp down on openly spewing reactions where people can’t easily avoid it.”

    Except they can easily avoid it, can’t they? You left guild chat and the spoiling stopped. One of the first things I do in every new mmorpg I play is make a tab in the chat window called “Quiet”. I put all the NPC and UI channels I need to see in order to play in there and leave all the player channels out. Then, whenever I need to concentrate, or if situations such as the one you describe occur, I tab across and all the chatter goes Quiet.

    Open channels are just that. Individuals can’t censor them because they don’t like what they’re hearing (although you can block and ignore to get much the same effect). Guild channels are slightly different in that guilds can set rules and have the means to enforce them, so it’s possible a guild could ban open expressios of opinion on new content. I suspect most guild members would not find that a comfortable situation, though, and a guild with members who did find that kind of thought control comfortable might not be a very pleasant guild in other ways.

  2. Yeebo December 1, 2020 / 4:17 pm

    I agree with Bhagpuss. Plot twists and other details are perfectly reasonable to expect people to be a bit polite about. However, past some point you have to be the one to take active steps if you want to avoid *any spoilers whatsoever.* That probably means leaving world and guild chat in a game, staying off reddit and other closely related message boards, and perhaps even running around with your fingers in your ears yelling “I can’t hear you! ” in some settings.

  3. Eric Hawkins December 1, 2020 / 8:12 pm

    I found that my experience largely was unaffected by that of others in my guild. Someone hated Maldraxxus, most people seemed to really like Ardenweald. Bastion got a mix of feelings from people. Everyone had their own unique feeling towards the content regardless.

    That said I basically only did text chat with our guild and they weren’t very chatty the entire time I was leveling. I saw people in comms, I just couldn’t break away from what the NPC’s had to say to socialize.

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