I’ve been slowly writing this post over the past several months, and after spending the weekend at Blizzcon I felt it was a good time to put in the time to finish it. Unfortunately life happened and it didn’t get done right after Blizzcon like I planned, but it’s done now, so deal with it.
If you’re reading this, then I’m going to assume that you, roughly, have an idea who I am and what I do. For those who don’t; I’m Babylonius and I’m the de facto leader of the Monk community, and have been for the past few years. I achieved this position after Calligraphy stepped down, and after years of slaving under her oppressive yoke, I was finally in a position to have my own oppressive yoke (see: #mist-lounge and their relationship with the bot).
Before Discord existed for the Monk Community, there was IRC, but pretty much no one was in that (not even I was) so our primary place for all things Monk was MMO-Champion. I was a moderator there for a long while, again after Calligraphy stepped down, and it was my job to make sure that the guides were kept updated, questions that were asked were answered, and generally it was a place where Monks could come and feel part of the new and growing Monk Community. This wasn’t always an easy job, my wife still talks about the Christmas incident of 2012 where half a dozen users decided to go absolutely insane Christmas morning and I had to spend the better part of the morning flying through moderator reports and tickets, issuing warnings and even a few mutes and bans. I’d like to think that for my time as its Moderator, MMO-Champion’s Monk forums were a good example of a productive and helpful community, even if that’s entirely biased rose-colored glasses.
But when Discord came out and I got the invite, I was one of the people that felt strongly about it becoming the new home of the Monk community. A place where anyone who wanted to learn about Monk, or just interact with others who played it, could come and feel at home. I was well acquainted with the “darker” side of internet communities… you know who you are, so I knew what I didn’t want to happen to this new thing we were creating so we decided to have the rules be a little stricter than many of the other places that were popping up for other classes.
The months went by and eventually Calli decided to step down from ownership of the team and passed it on to me. I’ve tried to keep that same vision that we started with and build the community as best we can, and I think we’ve done a good job. Since we merged websites and Discord and truly became PeakofSerenity, we have tried to make sure that we have the best information, it’s easily available, and if it’s not there then someone can help find it, and to that I also think we have succeeded.
Now the Thanks
So this article is all about how impressed and proud I am of the community we’ve created and it’s place in the world. I know stuff like this comes across as sappy and a little out of place on the internet that is too often ruled by the relative anonymity it provides and the luxuries that affords. However, I’ve always tried to stress on people that the other person on the other side is a person too; their question, while seemingly naive or asinine or ridiculous as it may seem, is the most important question to them at that moment, so it should be treated as such. Sure, we answer questions with “just sim it” or “read the guides”, but only because we trust that those tools are visible and available, and that we can reasonably assume that people have read them, or at least claim to have.
With that in mind, I feel compelled to thank all the people who spend time in the question channels answering things for others. It can be a thankless job, and it can be repetitive, but the people who have done it in our Discord over the years, have fostered other people doing it too, making it easier for new people to find information and get their questions answered. Being able to answer questions day in and day out respectfully and correctly is tough, but we have people in Peak that do it as well or better than anyone.
Next, the people who have done the above for long enough, and well enough, that it’s been noticed and they’ve been given the purple name color of a Veteran. This helps show that they are generally a trusted individual who knows how to follow the rules of the channels to help others. A simple name color can’t express how important these individuals are to the functioning of the Discord. Some of them went from being rule-breakers and general ne’er-do-wells, and became valuable members of the community.
Keeping with the colored names, the Moderators are another group that needs thanking. There’s a reason that many of these individuals have either been recruited into my guild, or I’ve been trying. They have shown ability and maturity that makes them a rare group, specially in an internet community. They generally get what we’re trying to do with the Discord, why the rules are the way that they are, and challenge me when I’m getting too strict. They help, well, moderate channels that can often include hundreds of personalities and keep everyone on common ground. They not only enforce the rules, but help people to understand them, which is why Peak runs smoothly.
Obviously, the individuals who help out with the website are an invaluable resource for the community. Whether it’s writing articles, updating guides, theorycrafting, or just checking my grammar, PeakofSerenity.com is one of, if not the, best class-based websites for any game on the internet. It’s been a labor of love for many of us for more than two and a half years, and something that we can, hopefully, all feel very proud of, I know I am.
The next group of people that deserve a special thanks are the Donors and Patrons of the Discord and the website. Obviously they get their own special name colors and private channel, but that doesn’t cover my appreciation. When we set out to start the site, we decided that we didn’t want to lock any content behind a paywall. Getting the information out to the people who want it was infinitely more important than turning a profit, and we’ve certainly done that. There were periods of time that the few extra dollars a month from Patrons helped cushion the expense of a infant in diapers. Sure, now the donations have dwindled due to the expansion cycle and diminishing population of the class, and they cover barely the overhead, but I am regularly impressed with the people who spend their own money to support something that they can get for free. So whether you currently donated to the site by supporting us on Patreon, directly with PayPal, or bought some Peak Apparel, thank you for your trust and support to help justify all the countless hours we spend on this content.
One finally group of people that I want to give a special shoutout to, are all the people that I met at Blizzcon this year. It was my first time attending Blizzcon. I was genuinely anxious about going and finally putting faces to the names, as well as putting my face out there too. For so many years I had been apart of these communities, but never really let myself feel like this was a major part of my life that I should be open about and share. When I took over Peak, I starts being more open about what I do in my spare time, and Blizzcon was the culmination of all of that.
A special thanks to Shrike for putting together the shirts that all of us wore, as well as all the Peak “staff” that got shirts or just met up together for a picture and to chat, or ask me for a “Catto” role, while my wife stood by completely confused. They helped me get immersed in the experience and understand that even things like discussing the merits of the numbers on an ability on a demo of a video game can all happen out in the open and naturally when you’re surrounded by people who are passionate about what I’m passionate about. Maybe it was being the only one in a red shirt, but I found a special comical satisfaction in the fact that when we all met up, they were all looking to me to organize something simple like a group picture. It was a special feeling of respect that I’m not sure I can get many places else.
Lastly, as great as it was meeting the people I’ve worked with for years, what really made it a special and memorable experience was all the people who came up to me and introduced themselves just because they recognized the name on the back of my shirt. It was something I theorized could happen, and not too deep down that validation was a driving factor for for the shirts with our names on them, but when it actually happened, it wasn’t something I can describe.
A few times it was the emphasis when someone asked, “Are you actually Babylonius?”, as if “Babylonius” was some figure that couldn’t be real, or that someone could be impersonating. Other times it was just the two guys that came up to me while we waited for the doors to open on the second day and just stood chatting for a few minutes helping to pass the time. Or the others who just wanted to shake my hand and say thanks or get a picture.
The two times that stick out the most are the first guy to recognize the name before the opening ceremonies, who I could hear his friend bolster him by saying, “I don’t know dude, just ask him”, before he talked to me, and especially the young woman who I was introduced to by her father because she, as he said, “was a 21 year old fangirlling too hard”.
These moments are ones that I will carry with me forever. Getting a digital “thank you”, or a donation of a few dollars always makes me incredibly happy, but there was something incredibly validating about these experiences that made me feel like I had really made a meaningful difference in someone’s life and their enjoyment of their hobby that we shared. It’s this feeling that is the reason I started WalkingTheWind over 5 years ago, why I work in public education, and why I push so hard for respect and inclusiveness in our Discord.
However, I’ll be honest, there’s also something special about a grown man needing his friend to boost his courage, or a young adult woman who needs her father to introduce her, that, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it, made me feel like some kind of celebrity that others were too nervous to approach. Not many people get to experience that feeling, but I know I’ll never forget it.
I don’t know if any of the people I mentioned, or the dozen or so others that I met will read this, but these words won’t be able to adequately express my gratitude. However if you are reading this, and we took a picture together, send it to me on Discord if you can so I can save it too.
So when I talked about this post, and some of the other Peak authors saw the draft in progress, some expressed concern that this was me saying goodbye. That’s not the case.
I may, currently , be playing Demon Hunter, but no class or community can ever replace the one that I’ve helped create and guide. I will continue to write guides, continue to answer questions, continue to drive the Discord, and continue to be appreciative of all of you, for as long as you’ll have me. And if Windwalker ever gets buffed back to mediocrity or higher, then I’ll be the first one to jump back on the Monk train gladly.
I hope that in the future we’re able to continue the high level of respect and helpfulness that has defined our community. Monks may be one of, if not the, least played class, but our community is known around as one of the best, dedicated to what we do and give one hundred percent, and I’ll do my best to keep driving the ship in that direction, so we don’t fall into the same negative category as some of the other Class Discords.
And again, thank you.