After I got my Death Knight up to level 80 and properly geared, I started grinding instances. While I do play with at least one friend, I usually end up with a few random folks in the random instances. The usual pattern is that the randoms play in silence and leave as soon as the last boss drops. However, there are numerous occasions when a very angry person gets into the party.
In some cases, anger can be justified. For example, there are some rather annoying dungeons where knowing what to do makes all the difference between a smooth run and a total time wasting disaster (I’m looking at you, Oculus). When a player persists in ignoring the directions given by the other players and turns the instance into an exercise in waiting, pain and futility, then anger is justified. Also, if a person plays horribly or stupidly (like letting a pet aggro the room next door during a fight), then anger is fine.
However, there are cases when the anger seems completely unjustified. For example, we were recently running an instance when a player started making remarks about how people should learn to play their alts, making remarks about gear, and so on. As a specific example, he claimed I did not know how to tank because at one point I just pulled one thing rather than everything in the room. Of course, I did that because I wanted a safe chance to see how the group would play. Yanking a room onto myself and then finding that the healer is inexperienced and that the DPS cannot put out enough damage is not the way I like to play.
People also seem to get rather angry if the instance is not being run at high speed. Apparently, the idea is to treat an instance like an unpleasant task at work: you are supposed to rip through it as fast as possible, bitching the whole time. For example, people will demand that I pull everything at once and even do running pulls (that is, run through a couple areas to get all the monsters). As another example, people will be outraged that the DPS characters are not dishing out mega-damage and will spew hate to make sure that everyone knows what they think.
What is interesting about this rage is that it arises even when everyone else is playing fine and the instance is progressing at a reasonable speed. As such, the angry person is not angry because things are going badly-they seem to be angry because things are not going exactly as they would like them to go.
This, obviously enough, also occurs in “real life.” For example, in politics people are often rather angry because things are not going the way they wish, even though things might not be that bad. As in the game, people will work hard to find anything to pick on and will blow things way out of proportion. This seems to be a common pattern of anger.
Tied into the speed factor is also the matter of gear. In WoW, gear makes a huge difference. Unlike paper & pen role playing games, the characters are effectively identical in their attributes and base abilities. As such, what makes one level 80 better than another is the gear. While I do not have the ultimate WoW gear, I do notice the difference as I get better gear and I do recognize the importance of having the right gear. However, unless a person actually cheats and buys gear with real money for his character, a player has to slowly accumulate good gear by running instances to get it and emblems to buy even better gear. Despite this, angry people will often start an instance by checking gear and then spewing venom at anyone who is not tricked out with the most epic of epics. When someone points out the obvious-that you have to do instances to get gear, they merely vent more hate. The angry person has apparently forgot that people have to actually get gear and, as such, he will end up running instances with people who are there to get gear. Or maybe the really angry people just went to the questionable sites that will gear up characters for a suitable fee.
This sort of complaining and anger also appears in real life, often when people forget that it can be hard to do things. So, for example, when pundits spew anger about this or that, they sometimes fail to take into account that doing this or that might not be easy. Or that those involved are trying to do their best. Of course, there are cases in which anger is justified and in those cases it is obviously fine to be angry.