Have you ever been called a geek, nerd, Satan Worshipper? Have you ever told a priest that you play Dungeons & Dragons and have him try to perform an exorcism on you: I have? But all of those things do not bother me as much as some of the hardcore gamer reactions to the rest of the populace that play D&D. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. I have played Dungeons & Dragons for as long as most gamers out there; over 25 years. I have gone into a gaming store, asked a question and have been rebuffed, ignored, and been brushed off. I play the game for many reasons: the social aspect, the fantastic aspect, the creative aspect.
I know that this game is a refuge and a place of acceptance for a lot of people and has been for as long as I can remember, and I have no problem with that. I am the first one to admit that I take solace in playing the game with friends and getting away from the bump and grind of my life. Unfortunately, when hardcore gamers are implicated, it can get very annoying, very quickly.
When walking into a gaming store, I sometimes really feel out of place. I am a 37 year old man who is kind of a Jack-of-all-trades; I like to do everything. I know a little of everything and master of none; gaming included. I am an avid gamer and game about 3 times per week. I am considered to be a Geek, by my friends and my wife. I am not the type of fan to shun people for not liking or even knowing about D&D. I don’t get angry when someone argues with me. It is usually resolved in a civil manner. We accept anyone to our Encounters group with no prejudice. Now back to the story.
I started playing Magic when I was in University. After a few years, a friend of mine invited me to a Magic: The Gathering tournament and I readily agreed. What a mistake!! I walked into the tournament and was wiped out in minutes!!! That was the fun part! The not so fun part was being told how stupid I was on every turn, how I did not know this or that about a certain card, and especially now long it took me to take my turn. That is the last time I join a tournament. This is not the first time that things like this have happened to me.
Why do some of the gamers out there have to be so unpleasant? The above example is only to illustrate a point, but it does happen everywhere. Whether it be D&D, Gamma World, Magic, BloodBowl, the gaming experience of beginners can sometimes be spoiled by the attitude of those people who think they know who should play and who should not. Who cares if Drizzt has a tattoo of Lloth on his right butt cheek, which he got before his rebellious nature caught up with him?
I am happy that Wizards is going the way they are; 4th Edition is probably the most lucrative product for the company in its entire existence. They have introduced LFR, GameDay, and D&D Encounters; and for better or worse: the gaming world will never be the same. This is a great move if you want to open up the demographic and generate more sales. More importantly, it is the inclusion factor that impresses me the most. Anyone can go play when they want and not feel anyhow.
Wizards have done a great thing with all the work in 4th Edition and the Essential line. They have raised the game from the select few, to the regular joe; have battled against the stereotype of Demons Worshippers and seem to be winning. I love it! I can now choose to play with normal people when I game, not just the anal gamers. I am glad that they are pushing to implicate anyone that has a smidge of imagination to come out and play.
With the advent of March of the Phantom Brigade Encounters: Season 4, I am looking forward to meeting, and welcoming all sorts of new people in the Dungeons & Dragons gaming World.
Please be kind to the new gamers!