What, did you think I was going to spend a whole week waxing philosophical (and whining) and not offer a solution?
All last week we examined various aspects of the game and the gamers in relation to running heroics.
- People will range in commitment from game, to hobby to job.
- People will range in skill from bad to prodigy.
- People will range in attitude from really groovy to fuckwad.
- And in a random heroic, we will all be thrown into the same group.
Dark/Soth and I have had a running conversation about all of this for days now.
I just expect that heroic means you know what to do. I think I value “heroic” so much more because I did a lot of “heroics” when it meant something.
While he and I may not have been around in the days of grinding MC, we were at end-game to grind our way up to heroics in TBC.
Yes, “grind up to” heroics.
Level 70 was not a magical switch that turned on your ability to enter a heroic.
No, level 70 was the minimum requirement. On top of that, you had to have the appropriate rep at a high enough level to gain entrance (and that rep level was even nerfed by the time we were there).
And we had to walk uphill, in the snow both ways. And clams didn’t stack!
Now I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the days of grinding normal Instance X a gabillion times to get enough rep with a Faction Y to buy the key to let you into the heroic version of the instance.
But let’s take a second to consider the benefit that grind provided: you knew what the fuck to do and you had the gear.
Even if you only ran the instance on normal 5 times, that was enough time to learn the basic mechanics of the fights (which would be expanded on in the heroic version), the lay of the instance, and you hopefully got a few drops out of it. The itemization on some of those drops was fucking bizarre, but they were better than random quest rewards or green world drops.
With Wrath, they introduced the championing system with the tabards, which I love dearly. This was an awesome idea for getting the rep you needed without begging your friends to run Instance Q – AGAIN – so you could get the rep for your JC patterns.
But with the introduction of the championing system, they removed the specific rep requirements to enter heroic dungeons.
Level 80 became the only requirement to enter a heroic.
(The new LFG does do a very minimal gear check, mostly to make sure you’re not naked I think.)
The result is that in the Wrath-era, we have people muscling their way to 80 through RAF/BoA/leveling guides/questing and then immediately jumping into the heroics.
(Remember some are in heroics because they know that’s where the gear is and some are in heroics because that’s where the tool directs them at 80.)
So now the heroics are flooded with people that don’t know what the fuck to do and don’t have the appropriate gear.
How about we compromise between BC and Wrath?
Would it be so hard to require that a character run the instance on normal just once to unlock the heroic version?
I’m not putting this out there as a “this will fix everything!” bandaid. Because it won’t.
But how many times have you been in a heroic and someone finally admits that they’ve NEVER been in the instance, not even on normal?
A requirement of 1 run at least gives them a basic familiarity of the instance and a chance at drops to make the heroic version easier.
A requirement of 1 run should not radically slow down the individuals on their 5th 80 that are pulling 3.5k DPS 10 minutes after dinging.
That’s sort of a mechanical solution.
The other solution would be directed at the people.
If you can’t stand running with scrubs, don’t PuG.
If you have to PuG, take a deep breath and make the best of it.
(I’m counting on this system to bring me blog fodder for the rest of my days, I just can’t make up some of this shit.)
There was a lot of murmuring when the new tool was announced that it would kill guilds, especially small guilds that ran mostly heroics.
If anything, this has strengthened guilds.
An exposure to just how bad it can be out there has made our guild ties so much more valuable.
During my conversation with Dark/Soth, I inadvertently created a PuG mantra for him:
The key is to find the people that care as much as you do and stick with them. Everyone else doesn’t matter. =)
Guilds are our haven from the perceived stupidity of the rest of the player base.
(And if your guild is a nest of stupidity, well, that’s another problem.)
If you’re anti-guild, hopefully you have a friends list that serves the same purpose: connections to people that care as much (or as little) as you do.
And above all else, remember that regardless of your personal commitment level, it’s still just a game.
(That means you’re supposed to have fun.)
If we want to see the PuG environment improve we need to do 4 things:
Reinforce good skill.
I was in a WC group with a tank that wasn’t the greatest. But we had a mage that seemed to instinctively sheep every caster that the tank missed. You can bet I complimented that mage on their CC usage.
Reinforce good behavior.
Is a person asking questions? Answer sincerely. Are they friendly? Be a friend back. You don’t have to be BFF by the end of the run, but encourage a positive party environment. Don’t harsh the mellow, man.
Educate as appropriate.
I’m healing SFK. I’ve got a warrior in full BoA linking Recount after every trash pull.
Yes, we are talking Shadowfang fucking Keep. Yes, he’s on top.
He is not the tank, yet he seems to be doing a remarkable job of occupying the same space as the tank.
I ask him, what’s your main? (BoA indicates he’s got SOMETHING at 80.)
Oh, boy… you tank or DPS on that DK? (Maybe if he’s used to tanking he’s just used to being in front of the mob.)
“DPS but I don’t have him geared”
Mhm… would you like a tip that will make your damage go up and make your healers happier? (Obviously damage is important to him so that’s my primary carrot for him.)
Try standing BEHIND the mobs, you’ll do more damage and won’t eat so much cleave damage.
Would you believe he actually started doing it? He was clumsy as hell about it, but he stuck with it the rest of the run. And he stopped linking Recount.
Punish bad behavior.
Not bad skill, that falls under education. If we want to reduce the fuckwad factor we need to start holding the fuckwads accountable. Ask them politely to calm down, if they won’t, then group kick or leave. Be sure to add them to your ignore list.
If we continue to tolerate the behavior, not only will they get worse with the existing jerks, but new players will think it is acceptable.
I’m done talking about heroics.
They really aren’t as much srs bzns as we’ve made them out to be over the past week.
Now raids on the other hand…
We’ll talk about raids on Wednesday.