The resentment of giving

One of the few things I dislike about being a mage is the occasional times I get a random whisper from someone that typically reads about like this:

can u port to Dal plz

I usually won’t make any sort of reply to someone who approaches me for a port in that way. If I am feeling surly, I’ll reply with something along the lines of “10g.” But only if I am feeling surly.

You see, I dislike it when a perfect stranger asks me for something with no attempt at either civility or a sentence in proper English. Yes, ‘plz’ is what usually passes for civility in WoW among strangers, but there’s more I want to see from a person who is requesting my aid. I would like to see either a mention of them realizing that they are intruding on my time (a “pardon me” or a “if you are not busy” would suffice) or an offer of cash in advance.

To anyone who could manage every element I would like to see in their request, I would give a port for free and go out of my way to do so. (Hint: it reads thusly: “Excuse me. I am in SW and need a portal to Dal. If you have the time, could I please give you 5g in exchange for that?”)

Giving and receiving and resenting

I like to think of myself as being a fairly giving person in WoW. My guild will benefit from this far more than strangers, but even in a guild situation it is possible to have small resentments spring up from time to time.

In thinking about this – and in trying to determine how I want to respond to a potential situation – I have come to a conclusion.

No one should ever ask anyone whom they want to keep as a friend for anything.

A favor asked for and received here or there probably can’t do much harm, but only if the person receiving the favor doesn’t take their friend’s generosity as a welcome mat or open door for further favors.

It is too easy for resentments to grow when unequal exchanges are made.

Even the most giving of people (note here: I am not claiming I am that giving), will eventually start to feel put upon if someone is always coming to them with their hand out, whether it’s for gold or time or crafting mats. Or mage portals.

If I can’t ask, how do I…?

So if you don’t ever ask for anything, how can you possibly manage to pull together everything you need to be raid ready, for example? There are two options. One is to have a great many alts, all of whom are completely maxxed out in their professions. That is the way I aim for but certainly cannot achieve towards the beginning of an expansion.

The other way is as I mentioned above in my portal request example: Ask, but also offer. It is the offering that is important. It is the offering that will more than likely make most people who like to be giving willing to help you out from their own resources.

What can you offer? Depends on what you have. Offer gold, if you have it. Offer to gather the needed materials yourself and ask only for the other person’s skill. Offer an exchange of goods: “I will give you your next two leg enchants if you will craft that epic shield for me.” Or offer your time and aid for some project they can’t do on their own.

Even to me, this seems painfully obvious. But sometimes I believe other people don’t think about their actions appear. Sometimes I think a reminder is needed.

Careful what you ask for. You might get it and also earn someone else’s ire.


The resentment of giving — 8 Comments

  1. One of our guild mages charges 500g for a port for strangers, 0g for guildies if he doesn’t have to come to them, and 100g if they make him move and don’t ask nicely.

    Amazingly he actually gets the 500g from strangers at least once a week.

  2. I’ve run into a problem along these lines when dealing with new-to-the-game guildies (and usually RL friends). I want to be helpful and accommodating to people who don’t understand how everything works yet, but it’s hard to do that and not get taken for a vending machine. How do you help players who don’t yet have the resources to make an equitable exchange without giving them the impression that you’re going to give them handouts forever?

    • I’ve always held the opinion that I’ll help someone new to the game get started but once they start doing anything further it’s on their own gold and materials. Not having massive amounts of free time means that often I’m impacting my own game time by giving freebies. However, I do get uncomfortable if a guildie does me a favour and I’m unable to repay them immediately. I had a friend give me some truegold so I could make a shield and I spent the next couple days making more to repay her.

      I’ve also always had a free crafting, normal charge if you want it immediately policy – mainly because in wrath I was one of the few people on the server to have all of the Leatherworking Recipes and it just got annoying to have people pestering me to come and make stuff while I was doing other things.

  3. Giving is a dangerous business. Giving is the glue that binds friends together, and of course as you say, it has its perils as well. For people you don’t want to form a bond with, I feel it’s much safer all around to keep all exchanges equal. Money happens to be a great vehicle for keeping strangers at arm’s length where they belong. :)

    I had a long and rambling response that I was going to write here, but I’ll boil it down to a much shorter form: I completely agree. :) I might expand on that a bit more where it won’t clutter up your comments.

  4. Aye the dance of giving can be precarious and much better ‘in trade’, which is how I try to keep it for items folks have offered to craft for me in guild.

    I am happy to help others as I have a lot of alts and skillz to pay the billz. But for a straight craft, enchant, gem cut, flask make for guildies with the mats they provide, I have to admit I get royally ticked if if someone tries to tip me…Oi we be guildies! :)

  5. Whenever I am in need of a port, I pretty much always use a variation on:

    “Hello, could I trouble you for a port to Dalaran? Will pay.”

    And it’s usually if I see the mage standing in front of me. If I have to do zone searches to find someone around I’ll try to come to them or pay more if they have to come to me.

    I think I cover most the bases with that approach, and only have ever been turned down if they are in a raid or group that’s about to do something else.

    • That’s generally the way I structure it when I’m looking for a port from a stranger. Usually something along the lines of “Hello, I was wondering if you could port me to [Dalaran, Theramore, what have you] for [10, 25, X gold]?” And if they’re far away I ALWAYS try to meet them. The biggest annoyance to me is when someone whispers me asking for a portal and I’m in Stormwind and they’re in Un’goro or something.

      As far as in general, I do try not to ask for things unless they are of trivial value (mage cakes) or is something I can easily make up for down the road (one or two volatiles, a single gem) or if it’s something where I feel like an exchange has been established in another way (I ask Zel for flasks sometimes — I give her lots of volatile lifes fairly regularly that my scribe isn’t using).

      Earlier in the expansion, I felt like we were all more free with asking and giving. I know I had a LOT of metal smelted for me when I was leveling engineering (particularly by you and gnoble), and I also did a lot of free enchants. But it seems like that heavily cooperative phase is more or less over now. Which is a little sad.

  6. Ahh, yes the art of giving, too often confused with/ used in place of hustling. Let us be clear: if we are hustling, then let us dictate terms, prices, and punishments, if we are offering favors, let us be paid in advance, if charity, then the goodness of the feeling is it’s own reward.

    Hustlers don’t do charity. Favors are repaid in kind. Charity is a bitch whose throat must be slit so that the pups may live.

    World Peace!