WoW: The Game

A lot of hubbub the other day over what is and isn’t acceptable DPS for fresh 80s in random heroics.

Which in turn spawned a response from an apparent elitist and triggered a rebuttal over at Dots & Hots.

This post is in response to that, but will not address it.

Not today.

First, I must lay the ground work – with a sports analogy!

Over the next couple of days we’ll talk about the game, attitude, skill, expectations, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Do keep in mind that the following discussions are primarily concerning random heroics, raiding is a separate beehive to poke.

And I would like to start off by saying that putting this post series together caused me to really assess where I felt my expectations of other people should be; a wake up call for myself if you will.

Just about everyone here in the states has played baseball at some point in their life.

We’ve got T-ball teams, youth leagues, the random kids at the park, the company-sponsored excuse to have a beer with some coworkers in the D-league, the minors, the majors.

There are some slight differences between the leagues, a few regulation changes, maybe your local field has a rule about where in the outfield the keg can be placed.

But for all the differences, the game is still conceptually the same: hit the ball with a stick and get back to the home plate before you get tackled. OK, so tackling may have only been in the games I played, we were a tad competitive.

Baseball has been around for quite a while. It’s considered out national pastime. Even if you’ve never played, chances are very good that you’ve seen a game, read an article about a player, and just generally have a clue about the sport in general.

If you want to know more there are hundreds of thousands of books, shows, magazines, people, etc. to pull research from. Statistics are readily available for win/loss records, RBIs, strikes, home runs, etc. As a society, we have a very large, accessible, and well-defined pool of knowledge regarding baseball.

Most individuals have a pretty good idea of where they fall in the baseball hierarchy. It’s very obvious if someone can’t hit, run, catch, or throw. The kid on the bench at his local park may have dreams of being a major league player. The guy on the company team knows the majors are out of his league. Skill, or lack of, is apparent and readily identifiable – even to scrubs like me. I know I have no business on a baseball field. Does baseball have cheerleaders? Maybe I could do that.

What if:

Technology advanced to the point that everyone could play baseball. A worldwide network is designed that allows you to log into a site and register your interest in joining a game. You select the position you are interested in fielding and wait for a team to be assembled. The system does a quick scan to make sure you have some clothes and a ball, bat, or glove depending on the role you choose.

In the blink of an eye, you find yourself standing at third base on a field.

Your pitcher is 13 years old with glasses slipping off his nose.

Your outfield is comprised of a housewife and a couple guys that normally play together on Saturday afternoons.

Your first baseman is Albert Pujols (I don’t know who this is but apparently he’s very popular in the Fantasy Baseball world).

The rest of your team is just as random.

9 people from all walks of life that have been thrown together because of an expressed interest in the same game.

Game.

That’s right, baseball is a game.

To the kids at the park, it’s something you do when your mom yells at you to get out of the house.

To the guys on the weekly team, it may be a hobby. They might even meet on non-match nights to hit the batting cages.

To the dedicated few in the minors and fewer in the majors, it’s a job. Their lives revolve around getting that last bit of performance squeezed out. They might *gasp* take performance-enhancing substances to get the extra edge.

But it’s all still baseball and it’s all still a game.

Anyone played Monopoly in the last decade? Like actually on a table with other living people in the same building?

How much research did you put into your Monopoly strategy? How many blogs influenced your selection of playing piece? What did EMJ (Elitist Monopoly Jerks) say about the comparative worth of getting Baltic Avenue to Park Place?

When most people pick up a “game” they don’t expect to have to do much more than what the instructions in the box say to do.

WoW is a game.

It is the intent of the developers that the average player should be able to install it and function just fine with the tools at hand.

There are no instructions that have you go looking on the interwebz to get an efficient leveling spec or learn how strength relates to attack power or to find out that agility does not, in fact, make you run faster.

There is no prompt, other than a person’s curiosity or advice from another player, that will make someone go looking for more information.

All this great stuff out here is not part of the game. It is not required reading. It isn’t even suggested reading by the manufacturer of the game.

I think the vast majority of the “baddies” out there aren’t really bad. They are playing a game. They log in, do some quests, log out. They follow the prompts from Blizzard and at 80 start doing heroics because that’s what the dungeon tool tells them to do.

Before the new LFG, we weren’t crossing paths often with people just playing the game. The previous dungeon tool was so cumbersome that many people couldn’t figure out how to use it or couldn’t be bothered to fight with it.

But now, it’s easy and convenient to get into a group. And so we have Albert Pujols and the guy that can play for an hour a week in the same party.

I play the “meta-game.” I do the research and push myself to be a better player. This is no longer a “game” for me, it’s a hobby.

I do not expect the “average” or “casual” player to have gone out and done research for a game.

For all my bitching, moaning, and whining about poor performance (I like complaining, what can I say), I honestly cannot expect or demand any more from a player doing heroics than what came with the box the game came in.

But I will admit, it’s highly frustrating to get grouped with a death knight that doesn’t use diseases, a melee hunter, or a “DPS” pally wielding sword and board with all points in prot.

I suppose what I am truly lamenting is the lack of drive to increase performance, the acceptance of good enough, the missing curiosity to discover how to make it all better.

TL;DR

  • Like any game, players will devote varying amounts of time and effort to the activity; ranging from game (no frills, out of the box), to hobby (research, time investment), to job (primary focus, high stakes).
  • WoW is a young game (compared to baseball or Monopoly) and is still in the process of becoming acceptable as mainstream entertainment. The average player is likely to be unaware of the tools that are available to him or her to improve their game and may not be willing to take the effort to use those tools when informed (game versus hobby). These tools are not advertised, supported, or endorsed by the game.
  • WoW does not have official tiers or leagues to separate people by, particularly when using the LFG tool, so players of varying commitment levels are being placed on the same teams.
  • The game does not have defined parameters of what is acceptable performance, good and bad performance is subjective short of failure to clear the instance.

Next post:

Skill and attitude.

Homework is still being accepted!

Go pug, varying levels if you can, and report back what kind of damage you’re seeing. Be sure to note what the instance was, the level of the player, class, and any extenuating circumstances.  Next week we’ll be looking at what average really is in the game world so we need lots of empirical data. Post your results here or email me at suprbrat@gmail.com.

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43 comments on “WoW: The Game

  1. Delerius says:

    *like*

    Haha, great post. Loved it. Sign me up with the Looking for Baseball queue.

    I had actually thought about writing a post like this a few weeks ago.. but you basically covered everything I would have said and more.

    One point I wish to disagree with though:

    “WoW does not have official tiers or leagues to separate people by, particularly when using the LFG tool, so players of varying commitment levels are being placed on the same teams.”

    Actually, it does.

    Neighborhood Baseball is to Major Leagues as Random Heroics are to Raiding.

    By the very definition, a PUG is a pick-up group. Much more like the neighborhood kids throwing together a few teams and slugging the ball around, that’s what heroics are like these days. And yes, there will be scrubs. Yes, there will be people *gasp* playing a GAME as opposed to a hobby or job.

    If you can’t deal with this, cannot accept that some people take your hobby/job as a game, don’t pug. Raid. In a raiding guild situation yes you can be picky about getting 2% more dps out. If you’re a jerk about it, I wouldn’t want to be in your guild. There are guilds like them. Go play with them, and leave me alone. I want to play my hobby.

  2. WTF says:

    Wow Arioch, this might be your best article that I have ever read from you.

    10/10.

    And btw…Albert Pujols is the man and I would probably have his babies if he asked me too. Just saying.

    But seriously…great read.

  3. Slo says:

    Really great read, thanks.

    It definitely made me think about how seriously I take the “game”

    One question – there has been alot of talk about heroics, not much about raiding, so am I to take that as an unstated agreement that the criteria for raiding is NOT the same? ie. much higher standards are placed on raiders than dungeoneers? (is that a word? well, it is now :p)

    To extend the analogy, is raiding more like perhaps the minors, or at the very least a field league, where extra research and effort are expected and required? Because to be quite honest, anything short of multiple unannounced AFK breaks is acceptable in a heroic, I’m only spending 30 minutes with these people. However, my tolerance for poor gemming, gearing, enchanting, and to some extent even tradeskill selection (for item bonuses) in a raid is FAR lower, almost non-existant. If you are going to do, do it right.

    Thoughts?

  4. Paul says:

    A good read! Newly minted lvl 80 DK. Only one Purple item so far. I do need to run instances to “hopefully” get more gear. My DPS output may be lacking in comparison to the serious players. I do see a lot of crying in the PUGs. “The healer failed” etc. Again it is just a game. When I get better geared I can hit the major leagues and raid with my guild on one or two instances that I can get a chance to learn (don’t stand in the frost etc.).

  5. Zarigar says:

    I don’t know how relevant this scenario is but here is my homework:

    When I heal, I really don’t look at recount or check and see what everyone’s dps is. I am busy playing whack-a-mole with their life bars. I may take a peek at the numbers occasionally, but my interest in them goes down a lot when I am not actively contributing to them.

    The other day I was healing H Gundrak and, to me, it was a pretty solid group. The first 2 bosses are the ones I hate and we had just gotten through them with no deaths so I was relieved.

    We had just finished the colossus/elemental boss when the tank pipes up, “Hey lock, nice dps.”

    I look over and see the lock is just above 1k dps total. His GS (I know–the devil’s add-on, don’t shoot me) is about 3500. Not too impressive, but if anything, my issue was with him not moving out of the purple poison spots.

    So it was interesting, to me, that he immediately blamed his low dps on the fact that the elemental spit posion on him the most and that he took the most damage. Wait? So you knew you were supposed to move out of it and didn’t? To try to salvage your dps? Which still wasn’t very good?

    One of the other dps (a pally doing about 2.2k total) chimes in and apologizes for HIS dps being low. The lock gets all huffy and lets everyone know that the tank calling him out originally was being SARCASTIC (yes, in caps).

    Instead of moving forward, the group has now become this big squabblefest and when the 3rd dps jumps in and asks the lock if he has Down’s Syndrome, I leave.

    We probably would have been done in the time it took for these strangers to bitch each other out. Instead of just concentrating on the game and enjoying the game, people decided to flash their epeen and the group most likely fell apart after I left.

  6. telanarra says:

    do we get a Basalt monolith and cool yet creepy classical music to set the ambiance for the revelation?

  7. Eury says:

    One of the better homeworks assignments I’ve had in ages! I am very interested in seeing what the results are.

  8. jong says:

    I kinda have to explain myself here.

    I didn’t mean to double comment. I first submitted “excellent”, but for some reason, the comment didn’t register. So, I wrote “very nice”, because I forgot what I said originally.

  9. koalabear21 says:

    Fantastic! You said everything my lack of writing ability was not able to :)

  10. Tirael says:

    I will say Arioch, this is some good reading. I will send you email with some observations/homework/etc.

  11. [...] mage — koalabear21 @ 1:26 pm Tags: fail mage, fail pug Seriously, go read Arioch’s post.  She says it so much better than my limited writing skills will [...]

  12. smart001 says:

    Ari-
    I know I have been lost in the blogosphere lately. AS has happened numerous times, I have had to prioritize the blog lower than everything else going on. I still take time to read yours, and I will tell you – Great Post!

    Not sure when I will get back to writing again, but I look forward to the rest of the comments and articles on this topic. Also, what a great conversation between Dark and Koala, if it matters, my opinion when I am healing is in between the two, and when I am dpsing it is closer to the elitist side, especially since my hunter gets extremely little play time now that I have a fully geared and (imho) bad ass resto druid.

    That is all.

  13. Hinenuitepo says:

    I’ve posted a time or two on the general topic too…. nice summary, and the metaphor works well. :)

    It seems we have the whinefest camp that says if you can’t hit 2k dps gtfo, and the camp that says, ‘chill, it’s no big deal.’

    Is it hard to hit 2k dps? Not at all. I took my rogue out of mothballs two weeks ago to run randoms and get a few saronites for my friend’s DK. I didn’t spend money on boes. I bought blue quality gems. I bought cheap enchants. Nothing that leveling to 80 wouldn’t buy. My first heroic – in greens and blues ranging from ilevel 141-200 – I did 2.2k dps. I did only the random daily. Over the next 14 days, I got three epic 200 items, and some more blues. I still have 3 items under 200 ilevel. I’m pulling 2.5-2.8k dps now. I got the northrend dungeonmaster along the way. Freaking easysauce.

    Do I care if I have a sub 1k dps in my group? Nope, not at all. If they’re open to suggestions, I might offer a few, if I feel like it. Otherwise, I just do my group with a ‘hello all’ at the start, and a ‘thanks all’ at the end. I can’t even carry groups per se on my rogue. On my shammy and DK I can literally carry a group. I’ve had only a few wipes – ever – on either of those toons despite the stupidity of some players, since the start of random pugs. Still, I don’t really care.

    It’s easy, it’s fun, and I enjoy the variety of players and abilities that come in. And as has been said before (most recently by Tamarind) it’s only 5 minutes out of my life either way. I’ll never vote someone out because they suck at dps. Ever.

    Enjoy the game! You’re in 5-mans for crying out loud! Have fun! Even if you’re Pujols. :)

    • Why do you perceive expecting someone to know the barest mechanics of their class as “whining”?

      You were able to do it with a class that you had not touched in a very long time. Why is it unfair to expect that of someone who’s been playing this class regularly enough to get it to 80 recently?

  14. Darraxus says:

    I lost “The Game”.

  15. Dark/Soth says:

    I’m joining the party a bit late here. Curse me for taking a day off work and missing most of the conversation.

    Interesting post, to say the least.

    I think I will start my own experiment and send results to you Arioch. Whenever I tank or dps a 5man heroic, I will put out enough threat or enough dps to match the lowest person in the group, with a minimum of 1k, which seems to be regarded as the entry point for heroics. I wonder what would happen and how the group mates would respond.

  16. So then this post would infer that the problem is not with the players who are “bad”, and that the problem lies with the game not giving enough direction.

    To revisit the Monopoly analogy, a Hunter using Spellpower gear is like trying to build houses on a property which you don’t have the full monopoly for. But while Monopoly explicitly says “you can’t do that”, WoW never does.

    Perhaps there should be dialog options on class trainers – something along the lines of “So what sort of equipment should I be on the lookout for?” – that informs the player of what kind of gear for their level range (i.e. 1-39, 40-60, 61-70, 71-80) works for their class, while also listing things NOT to use.

    • rustbeard says:

      And I see people compaining that WoW makes it too easy now…

      One of the beautiful things about this game it that it allows you to make your own path through the content. You don’t *have* to be decked out in certain gear that requires months of gameplay to enter a certain dungeon. It might be recommended, but if you want to try spellpower gear because it looks good on your hunter, you can – just don’t be surprised to hear a few comments. Once you start telling folks what they should and shouldn’t use, you’ve removed one of the discovery aspects of the game – heck, let’s just start everyone off with a full map, all flightpoints, and what the heck, a full gear set as well. Letting people have the freedom to learn is one thing, but what seems to have happened is that some people feel the need to lord knowledge and experience over others – through snarky comments, dropping them from groups without an explanation or recommendations (other than, “L2P Dumb-azz n00b”), and general asshattery.

      So, when Bliz goes and makes it easier for folks to learn the game, you hear bitching and whining from the elitests that they’re “dumbing down the game,” when it’s the same group of people that complain that people can’t (or, in their minds won’t) learn to play at their level. The complaints over Cataclysm’s removal of several stats are a case in point.

  17. [...] January 5, 2010 Posted by Arioch in Musings. Tags: World of Warcraft, WoW trackback Yesterday we started talking about WoW as a game and the expectations of an average player that a game comes [...]

  18. [...] like Pie! Their seems to be a tornado on the blogosphere in regards to tools like Gearscore, and Recount.  I’m old school, I’ve [...]

  19. [...] looked at the comments that started it all, the Apparent Elitist POV, the Game, the Community, Another [...]

  20. [...] really hit the nail on the head with her post about how this is, after all, a game.  And you know what? We had a BLAST! Yeah, we wiped once in VH. But we came back and beat it and [...]

  21. [...] of OK in UK, spawning a guest post by Dark/Soth and a rebuttal on DotsandHots which then lead to baseball analogies by Arioch, and even Jong’s point of [...]

  22. [...] then began a series of very well written posts here, here, and here, along with a guest post with another voice from [...]

  23. [...] I was trying to say in my post about elitists much better than I could. The first being Arioch of Clearcasting, and the second Saresa of Destructive [...]

  24. [...] WoW: The Game (OK, so I have mentioned up to here before, but without giving Jong due credit.. ARIOCH totally ripped off Jongs sports analogy… If Krizz can call people out, (tell me you read Kriz’s post… of course you did.. I think it’s so popular it got a mention on Fox (Fucktards Of the Extreme)  News…) it’s only fair I call Arioch out as well.. mmmm) [...]

  25. [...] uses a great analogy for the various levels of ‘core when it comes to playin’ [...]

  26. [...] heroics post chain starts about here and continues for a few [...]

  27. [...] the purpose of a game, more accurately in this case a hobby, is [...]

  28. [...] is when I wrote my “WoW: The [noun]” post series. The post that started it all (WoW: The Game) is still relevant in today’s raiding environment – perhaps even more so with the [...]

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