I’m in the middle of playing through The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, so my reviews have come to a halt while I fight through the third act. But in my effort to reach this last chunk of the game, one giant draug was in my way. No, that’s not a vague game-related metaphor. The final boss for Act 2 was a draug pumped up on all the steroids in thirteenth-century Poland. He was knocking me down in three blows with an unbelievable variety of melee and ranged attacks. I thought maybe I was missing something obvious. Nothing had been this hard since the beginning of the game, and I couldn’t understand the spike in difficulty. So I went googling and happened upon the most, ahem, modest of people. Here’s what I found (with IDs and usernames redacted to save the embarrassment for the braggarts of long ago, i.e. 2011):
Now before I get raked over the Internet fire about free speech, I know my feelings are completely subjective. Think of this as my wish on a star for people to show a consideration for time and place.
Also for some perspective, I played this boss battle on stream and got so frustrated between the repeated dying and pompous nature of the forums, I quit for the day.
Now that I’ve done some examples, the requisite First Amendment disclaimer, and provided some context, let me now follow all that up with a hypothetical situation.
Say you are in a mixed group of people, some friends, some strangers, and you’re discussing training for an upcoming marathon. You’re having trouble hitting your stride while running long-distance and are looking for advice to help you bridge the gap between you and your fellow runners. After putting your situation out there, three people immediately jump in to tell you that they’ve run like that for years without an issue. No advice, no empathy for when they were struggling, just statements of their own absurd accomplishments like running to the moon.
To even continue the conversation, you’re stuck with an awful choice. You either continue to reiterate how much you suck until you get answer, or you sit there feeling bad for even asking.
Now how does this translate to the Internet? This hypothetical situation sets people up with a clear opportunity to brag a little (or a lot) on themselves. Whether you agree with it or not, you’d expect to get at least one person who can’t stop him or herself from screaming, “AREN’T I GREAT?!”
On the forums pictures above, you have to seek out these opportunities specifically. Not frequent post on even Reddit, forever a lurker, I don’t know often people search on threads on publisher forums, GameFAQs, Steam, and other corners of the web. If you do, comment below because I’m genuinely curious.
But the small sample I pulled for you above lit my blood on fire. I had lost my patience to the point I was googling live on Twitch for something that should be straightforward. Instead of vast amounts of help or suggestions of strategy, I was met with snobbery over Why So Braggy?quick player deaths and difficulty modes.
Maybe it’s my Southern sensibilities, maybe it’s my inability to properly talk about myself.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been met with people’s pomp and circumstance over their own prowess. It’s just the first time I became this incensed over it. I wrote this over the course of a few days, so I could at least write it with a clear head.
TL;DR The time to (humble)brag is not when someone is asking for help. Just answer the question and move on.
Does this get to anyone else? Feel differently? Let me know below!
Next up: The Witcher 2 review!