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When Duty Calls

We play this game amidst a fiendishly selfish on-line society. Basic moral and social questions are not a matter of duty to one's guild mates and fellow players, but convenience and individual rights. We have imagined all sorts of rights for ourselves: the right to offend, and the right not to be offended; the right to get loot, and the right not to lose it; the right to raid invites, and the right not to raid.

While none of these so-called rights have any basis in our humble beginnings in this game, this does not stop guild leaderships from joining in on the charade. And whether it is the alleged right of guild masters to protect members from foul language in chat, or the alleged right of either the under-geared or the senior raider to get gear before the other, the simplest questions are framed as a matter of rights to achieve desired political goals while basic common sense suffers.

But having the right to anything means someone has an obligation to define and protect it. What has made guilds great in the past is not an ever-expanding list of rights that requires and ever-expanding list of rules to protect them, but a sense of duty. The duty to raid attendance should not be settled with wide-eyed statistics and formal penalties, but by good members who understand their obligations. The duty to proper looting in raids should not be a matter of competing individual interests, but collective responsibility and sobriety. And the loyalty to one's guild--the most noble of things a player can offer--should never be a mere plaything for transient trouble-makers who have no idea what duty truly means.

In short, duty means doing something because one knows instinctively that it's the right thing to do. No one really has the right to a weapon, a piece armor, a ring, a trinket, or even a raid invite. But we all recognize what likely should be done in any given situation, and what's more encouraging is that our consciences typically agree. That's why we are disgusted or feel betrayed when we observe someone else deliberately ignoring their conscience when they stand to gain some sort of ancillary benefit from doing so.

This is our inherent sense of duty. And when we ignore these duties, it doesn't just make us bad people; it makes for a bad environment. I think it's high time we all remember what some of us have seemingly forgotten: to do our duty.


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