I read an article on WoW insider. It was about handling the problem with people asking help in guild chat. The person who asked the question wrote "eventually had to make an alt to hide on. If I logged onto my main I couldn't accomplish anything that I wanted to do since all I did was help others."
Scott Andrews, the guy who runs the column, gave some really good advice, like asking in /w or trying to find others who also need the quest instead of asking for help. But he also came up with the idea "I'll schedule a night [per week I assume] where I offer my services to anyone who needs it. I'll announce it in advance and will not turn down anyone, of any level, for questing, rep grinding, recipe farming, running any dungeon, etc. The trick is to set a solid time frame, say two or three hours."
I have to say I completely disagree with the whole philosophy behind it. He, and many others assume that helping others is right, somehow it's our obligation to do by decency, rejecting people asking for help is evil, lowly or simply being jerk. He merely found ways to perform this duty as fast and painless as possible.
I completely disagree with the idea and also with the philosophy.
First thing first: I managed to reach lvl 79.7 without any help. I quested. When I saw other guy quest there I suggested grouping. When I couldn't solo a quest or find anyone else to group, I went somewhere else and returned a level later. I PuG-ged the instances, sometimes with terribly noob people. If the group was hopeless I left, but usually we could complete the instance. If I needed gear of low droprate, I went to Alterac Valley for an S1 alternative. (Once upon a time there was a crappy gear called just "Gladiator's", because there were no more seasons). So, if I never asked for help, I never have to give too.
But there is more, a goblinish philosophy behind it. I strongly believe that "helping" is a bad thing (exceptions below) . Helping is merely giving resources (time, money, items) to the skilless and effortless players from the skillful and hard working. I believe whenever you help someone selflessly, you do something bad to the world. To prove it there are two arguments to break.
"Once you help, the other day he helps you". It could only be true if everyone would have the same potential both in skill and resources (in the game the latter mostly means gear). However the one asking for help is usually much weaker than you, therefor cannot return the favor, even if he wanted to. If he is just moderately weaker, than he can help you some times but surely less times than you help him. So at the end you end up with deficit. And above all, there is a system designed exactly to solve this problem: business. He could try to trade resources. A week ago I traded an Ebonweave for a Moonshroud. A warlock needed "help" for getting more Ebonweave, but instead of asking for help, he offered business. He was not weak, he had resource (the Moonshroud) to offer for the thing he needed. The only reason why someone is asking for help is that he want resource he don't want or cannot give compensation for.
"While helping others is a one sided thing, it helps the guild, we become stronger if he becomes stronger!" There is a reason why you have X DPS and he has X/2. Maybe it's lack of skill. Maybe you play more (effort). Maybe he doesn't care and plays PvP for fun instead of getting gear. Whatever the reason is, it's not going to change just because you give him Y resource (pass on gear, help him grind rep instead of doing yours, give him consumable). So the resource is taken from effective use (yours) into an ineffective one (his). The same piece of resource given to you increase your DPS by Y and his by Y/2! By helping, your loss is bigger than his gain, weakening the guild.
You can say that if you don't help him, the gear gap will be so big that you cannot raid together. It's true, but not a problem at all. You deserve to raid with people in par with your skill and gear. You shall not raid with that noob, you shall raid with other skilled people.
If it's hard to believe, just think of the possibility of giving gear to a guild member, who never-ever logs on again. It's a complete waste right? And if he logs on every second week? Not complete waste, but still a waste. And what about once a week? Twice in a week? You can continue the series but the bottom line is that giving him something is partially wasted. If he puts 0% of your effort into the game (complete AFK) than the resource is 100% wasted. If he put half the effort you do, it's 50% wasted. If he put 99% of your effort, 1% is still wasted. Theoretically it's true that if he puts more effort than you, it's good for the guild if you give him resource, but such feeding is usually not called helping but sponsoring a great effort.
We shall not forget the psychological effect of helping. It rewards a behavior of non-working by awarding an item for it. It's like a quest: "Do nothing and whine and you get X item."
What would happen if people would stop helping:
- The skilled people would have much more resources left, since not wasted.
- The skilless people would have to face their problems and work harder.
- The lazy people would disappear.
There are two exceptions for my strong never help anyone rule:
- Disaster/accident: while it's quite possible that the victim is responsible for his situation (like building his house close to a river with no dam), but if I leave him be, he will suffer serious losses and may not be able to learn from his mistake. Since in the game there are no serious risks (the worst thing is some ridiculous repair bill), there is no such case in the game.
- Learning: the only help I gladly give is information, ideas, teaching. While it cost time (=money), I noticed that those who ask for information are usually wanting and capable of solving their own problem and I think that attempt worth helping. And I also received lot of information, and while I found most of them by myself, someone had to write it down, so I did got some help from them which should be returned to the world.
PS: of course what I wrote is not about little favors and errands like "pls buy cheap Eternal Air when you see and COD me", or "pls bring some candles to me, when you come to raid, I forgot". These need little to none resources.