I started playing way back in Beta (Ret Pally), and kept with it (even though after Release Ret Pally was the LAST thing you played) all the way up to about a month before BC released.
Left for about a year, then came back. PvP server, but great guild. Friendly, helpful, honorable in PvP (which blew my mind).
Then the top-end people hit cap. Raiding started hardcore. And the guild fell apart. All the nice, friendly, helpful people weren't welcome anymore, because being nice, friendly and helpful wasn't what made a top-end raid guild. Being ruthless. Being efficient. Being willing to effectively treat raiding like a second job. To be Number One was All.
I left again after that, staying away until just a few month ago. Pandaria was already done and done. Joined a RP server, of all things. At my age, and with early onset arthritis, PvP is a young man's game. Just don't have the twitch reflexes for it anymore.
I was blown away at the change in the community. As in there isn't one, at least nothing visible. Trade chat is a visit to the depths of 4Chan, with people that pay their monthly just to troll other people in chat. LFD is an experience in elitism, with what I've come to call BoA-Holes that genuinely do not care about the people they get put with. Let me clarify something here; I have grouped with many many fine players in BoA gear, but the vast majority of the time if someone is going to act like a elitist snob, or have no ability playing what is clearly their alt because to quote one, "so what dung dont matter lol get 90 so u can ply the real game"... it is someone sporting full BoA gear.
People whose sole communication with the group is to spam Recount totals after every fight so everyone knows they are doing all the DPS, even if they are heals. People who won't heal anyone but the tank, because if the tank is alive they are still advancing. People who try to kick hunters for no reason other than 'huntards suk lol". People who aren't tanking, the tank we have is doing fine, but keep griping that the tank won't 'grab it all' like their main who is a prot warrior could.
Guilds seems to have circled the wagons, staying quiet and out of sight if they aren't one of the premier raiders, and avoiding the main areas like Stormwind. Why? Because of the constant ridicule heaped upon them by the leet d00d guilds. This isn't just on my admittedly RP server. I rolled up noobs on other servers just to see if my server was an anomaly. If anything, the other servers appear worse.
When I returned I was greeted by non-stop guild invite spam. On a whim I started joining a few of them, just to see what they were all about. Apparently nothing. Just grabbing any warm body they can find to drive up guild XP. No chat, no community. I think the one that floored me the most was a guild that was already level 25, had roughly 150 members, had (at one time) 42 people online and playing... and no-one would speak in guild. No replies to anything. The only guild communication seen was the messages of 'X player is online', 'x player is offline', and the rotating door of people joining and leaving the guild. I honestly have no idea what guilds are even for now, other than perhaps just another edge, another tool to make the numbers on your character sheet better and more efficient.
I'm just amazed at how intolerant and spiteful and petty and hateful people seem to be now. Maybe it's the anonymity that allows the Inner Bully to flourish. Maybe it the culture of "We're the Best. You're the Rest."
I honestly don't know.
But I think it says something, when I read a story like the one that started this thread, and think that 9 years ago I would have been somewhat surprised, and that now I'm not surprised in the least.
Edited by Gizban on 7/11/2013 7:27 AM PDT