A lot of hubbub the other day over what is and isn’t acceptable DPS for fresh 80s in random heroics.
This post is in response to that, but will not address it.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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 email@example.com.