Etiquette for EverQuest
That may sound like a bit of an oxymoron to some: EQ Etiquette. After all, this is a game. Why in the world would you need to use some high-browed junk like etiquette?
Well, in a word, the answer is: Society.
In R/L (Real Life), we human beings have developed certain rules for conduct based on particular social settings. We generally call those rules etiquette. They cover such things as where to place a salad fork in a formal place setting, how you cough at the dinner table (into your unfolded napkin, of course) and how and when to shake hands.
Similarly, we use social rules to help us get along in EverQuest. EverQuest is a very social game. Players interact with each other almost as much, or sometimes more than they do with the actual game elements themselves. In this aspect, it is very unusual as computer games go. And so, it might be a good idea to share some basics.
A very good rule of thumb is to think about whether or not the action you're about to do (or not do) would be appropriate in a similar situation in R/L. If it would cause you to get mad if someone did it to you in R/L, odds are it will work the same in-game. Simply, avoid doing things that you would find rude. The Golden Rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" definitely belongs here.
Some specific examples:
Inspecting others' equipment
In general, it is a social "no-no" it inspect other players without first asking permission. It is considered similar in rudeness to grabbing the neck of a stranger's shirt to check the label to see if it's a "brand name" shirt or not or trying to look down someone's shorts to see what size underwear they have on. You don't touch other people without permission in real life, don't do it in-game. It may seem harmless but it's rude, nonetheless. Accidents do happen, so apologize if appropriate.
"camping" or "camping a kill" or "camping a mob" pretty much all mean the same thing; someone is spending a lot of their valuable time sitting in one place waiting for mobs to spawn. They may be waiting for one particular spawn, in which case they may have been there a VERY long time, or they may just be staying at a particularly lucrative spot, such as the Aqua Goblin camps in Butcherblock Mountains.
There are several rules that apply to camping. Some are etiquette, some are actual game rules spelled out in the Rules of Conduct on Sonys Everquestlive.com site..
What some people may not realize is that these rules really apply to sharing camp sites, not monopolizing them. That pretty much boils down to the fact that other than particular Named mobs that someone may be waiting for, there is no such thing as "owning" a camp site. If more than one group wants to camp a spawn site, like one of the Bandit camps in Paludal Caverns, for instance, there is no rule saying that either of the groups has more right than the other to be there. In fact, SOE's rules about camping state that groups must work such things out among themselves. SOE will not get involved in such things, even if petitioned, unless someone breaks one of the ToS rules, such as not working things out or actually kill-stealing the named mob someone was waiting for. It has to be pretty severe for them to get involved.
What this means is that, yes, others can come along and "ruin" your camp spot. And, if you choose to leave, giving up the spot, that's fine. If you choose to stay, you have to share. But, and this is important, you have no leg to stand on to demand the other group to leave.
Both groups have an incentive to come to some sort of an agreement because an agreement will help avoid hard feelings. If the first group tells the second group to shove off or if the 2nd group just barges in without even saying something, there will no doubt be problems and people will get bad reputations from it. The drawback to this particular situation is that there is no right answer. Every solution tends to leave a bad taste in someone's mouth. Even if both groups amicably split the kills at a particular camp, that means that both groups will now gain experience and level slower than the original group was. While it may be the best solution, it isn't perfect. In some cases, you may be able to ask to be put on a waiting list for when the initial group leaves. This often works in Butcherblock on the Aqua Goblin camps. If the initial group plans on being there an inordinate amount of time, well, your options are limited but I recommend simply peaceably moving on to another target.
Above all, the proper thing is to announce your presence and at least ask if the initial group minds you splitting the camp or seeing about a waiting list. If you have an option to avoid the problem entirely and move to an empty camp, that would be my vote. I would personally much prefer having another camp entirely to my group, even if it's a smaller camp, than trying to carefully share a single camp so as to avoid hard feelings. It's much safer. And, on Al'Kabor, thanks to the lower population, it's usually a doable choice as many, many spots are open on the server. For instance, in Paludal Caverns, Camp #1 by the entrance is usually camped. Camp #2, a bit more of a dangerous journey, is quite often wide open. A good group can camp there and farm XP for hours, as I have.
Shouting your lungs off
SOE's rules on the matter prohibit "excessive" use/abuse of shared channels, such as /shout, /ooc, /auction, etc. They do not define what "excessive" is, preferring to leave it vague enough to try and fit a variety of situations.
While there is no specific rule about how much is too much, etiquette would seem to require that /shout should be reserved for emergencies, such as announcing a Train to the Zone edge and such. This treats /shout like a 911 or emergency channel and people will be more likely to see the important messages that they need to see if that is followed . Regardless, /shout should certainly be restricted to "In-character" comments. Using /shout to auction items, call someone names, say "hi" to your grandma, or anything else of that nature should strictly be avoided.
Likewise, /ooc is meant for "out of character" comments. It is acceptable to occasionally ask for assistance, such as asking for directions or what a particular item is. Replies, if short, could also be /ooc but may want to be a /tell directly to the originator of the question. Like the other shared channels, long and involved discussions do not belong there. Take it to personal /tells or get face-to-face and /say it to each other directly but don't make everyone in the entire zone listen to your conversation, no matter how interesting you think the subject of raising orchids, or whatever the topic is, might be.
Consider such shared channels to be like posting flyers all around your neighborhood looking for your lost dog. You broadcast your need to everyone in your local area, hoping for a specific response. You get individual phone calls back from people either asking for more information or who might have seen your dog. You eventually get what you need or give up and life goes on safely and the fewest number of people have been bothered. Similarly, you post a single /shout or /ooc for whatever your needs are. Interested parties send private /tells (also called "pm"s, for "private messages".), you reply back with additional information and eventually you come to some sort of resolution and people in the zone were only bothered once.
Using/Abusing language and being Rude
While it is difficult to actually use profane language on EQ, there are many "talk-arounds", mis-spellings and the like, that can be used that very clearly reflect the intent behind the words. I will outright say that this is almost always a bad idea on the part of the speaker. Yes, you may feel strongly about something. Yes, you may actually use such language at home or amongst your friends or even, unfortunately, in public.
However, it is never appropriate on EverQuest. Why? Because this isn't your Free Speech we're talking about here, it is a paid service that is "family oriented", which means PG or PG-13 at best. Those are the rules and we all have to abide by them. Bust them and you could get banned.
A secondary reason, and actually the better one of the two in my book, is that how you speak to others is how others remember you. If you are rude and ill-mannered, then that is how others will refer to you and quite possibly treat you back. I much prefer to be polite as much as possible. It takes only a small amount of effort and is generally quite worth the effort. I find it quite disheartening to find that I am remembered at many restaurants and fast-food joints simply for my manners, saying "please" and "thank you" and being polite. I stand out nowadays. That's a sad commentary on our society in general. Please try to live to a higher standard while on EverQuest. Not only will you will be remembered for it, but it will lead to much more enjoyable experience for you and everyone else you deal with.
The important step here is that if someone else is being rude, obnoxious, profane, or what have you, simply politely remind them of the offense they are commiting and do not lead them on by making rude or obnoxious comments back. That stoops to their level and just eggs them on, actually lending acceptance to their behavior. Don't do it. Try to stay a notch above and everyone will be better off. Besides, you always have the option of using the /ignore command.
Remember, this is your society. You can act to make it better and happier or you can act to ruin and sully it. It's up to you. I prefer to work for a better tomorrow. And so should you.
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