Greedy Goblin

Thursday, December 4, 2008

lol can som ppl help me :D

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.
So what is the goblin answer for "lol can som ppl help me :D"?

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.
Those who want no information but resource want you to solve their problems. /ignore indeed.

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.


Typhoonandrew said...

Levelling at the moment is full of players who are constantly asking for "help". However the help they want is not to join and work together, they want the easy ticket, or free ride.

I have partnered up with at least 5 different players who joined up, asked really stupid or basic questions, had not bothered to read the quest text, and finally did not contribute to the missions. Note to that mage from two nights ago - contributing is not looting. I did 75% of the damage and the mage was two levels higher.

These people are mouth breathers and knuckle draggers. Ignore them, and kick them from groups.

My current play style is to put myself on AFK or DND and continue to play. I'll answer my mates, but all else get the piss-off message.

A good indicator is somebody who cannot spell, or use "leet" speak constantly.

Cuthbert said...

You are the Neal Boortz of WoW.

I agree with you though. I am a guild leader of a struggling guild mostly because me and my officers don't help lowbies with quests. Either they are new to the game and need to learn, or they are playing alts and are lazy.

Leveling is ridiculously easy now. The most annoying thing that people ask is help to run a dungeon for specific gear. They should be able to level out of the gear in a few hours of play anyway.

krizzlybear said...

I concur with the teaching aspect of helping others. Charity is often a lost cause when it comes to material things, and it's very difficult to differentiate who will actually put the help to good use.

I say, take the goblin way. Offer your services for a price reasonable to you, and to you only. As one of the earliest mages to hit 74 on my server, I've made so much gold from porting the desperate and needy, charging upwards of 30g if I'm too busy questing.

Yzy said...

From the guy trading one resource for another to the guy doing "lol can som ppl help me :)" there is a huge gap.

Perhaps it helps if you think of it as an investment? Replying to a random querry costs you 30secs and a few pink lines on the screen and it could eventually wield an online game, an interested player in your gaming group or just someone who will do business with you because the knows your name...

Esdras said...

Your maybe in wrong guild or have wrong friends hahaha.

Im lucky enought where in our guild we all have known each other for a long time and no one really takes the p**s.

I do mostly all my self but would have no hesitations on asking a guild mate to fly quickly and help with a group quest or two.

As they know i would do the same for them.

2ndNin said...

I asked for help in Icecrown for a few quests, because you cannot solo them (and I tried :P), the words Group:3/5 don't make me stop.

I actually just left a guild over something like this, loot being on a /roll for people that it was an upgrade for, however one piece was assigned to an officer (T7.25 loot ftw :P) over /roll or suchlike. I basically commented that there are many improvements available for her in Heroics / Badges that she can farm solo / small groups giving a much better improvement to the raid if the item is given to someone (if we are assigning loot) who cannot physically upgrade loot outside of raid instances.

The point was brought up that this person does imba damage (way less than the tanks), and has done a lot for the guild. However they are not maximising their efforts to gear themselves in the time they have (Heroic badges can be farmed at 1 per 5 mins). I dislike favouritism, and more so people unwilling to work to gear themselves, I wouldn't have objected to a /roll on the item, however assigning it to someone who hasn't put in the same effort seems bad to me.

Its a systematic issue, those that reached 80 first did it solo, those that reached it soon after likely did similarly, yet now I see groups wanting 24K+ health tanks for heroics (20k + crittable for my first 10), I see people demanding help and unwilling to even try and solo a group quest or elite (and often 3-4 levels above the quest level). It is the same thing that annoys me about heroics, a gradual scaling of difficulty makes sense, instead we have "run in and aoe" heroics, and "run in and aoe" heroics. Even Naxx is stupidly easy, I haven't been much yet (something to do with no guild :P), but I have pugged 10 mans, and been in the 25 man, and the majority of wipes are still DIAFs. The game caters to all types of players, but when the response is hit 80 go heroics something has gone wrong, I never knew one of the trinkets I was after dropped on a normal level 80 dungeon because I never saw them, I hit heroics.

Asking for help is fine, but so often it is used simply as a get out card, and I tend to decline those unless I am bored (such as SM speed runs for the fun of it). Until the game makes people learn, and ramps up difficulty with players it will have problems with this, it needs more areas like the DK starting area to train people to use their classes, stand and spank only works for tanks because thats our job.

*vlad* said...

I got a whisper from someone in my guild who had joined a couple of days previously; they were about lv 13, had never spoken in guildchat, and I had never met them before.

"Im in ur guild, can u boost me Deadmines?"

My reply - "I don't boost."

No further converstion took place. The guy /gquit a few days later.

I was doing Quel Danas dailies after Wrath came out (why? that's a secret!), when this guy invited me to a group, and I accepted.

He had never been there before, and wanted me to show him all the quests. As 2 people can do most of the quests really quickly in a group, I agreed.

He changed looting to Free for All, took every loot drop unless I got to the corpses first, and once we had done all the quests, he simply dissolved our Party without even as much as a thank you.

More general whispers I get are like

"can u help me kill X?"

and then when I ask where is it, what level is it, it usually turns out to be a mob that is either deep within some fortress, or the guy asking is 5 levels below the mob he wants help with.

"lol can som ppl help me :D"

yes they can, but not me.

Anonymous said...

@ Cuthbert: Why would you invite people to your guild who are lazy or incompetent then ignore them? That might explain why your guild is struggling.

@ Goblin: You're not always the stronger party in a transaction. What do you do when you're weaker party? Do you have your own "lol can som ppl help me :D" approach (minus the semi-literate typing), or do you avoid or somehow re-engineer these sort of encounters?

- Rucker

Darraxus said...

While for the most part I read your posts and see a high level of douchebaggery, I do understand where you are coming from to a certain point.

I will help out guildies who I know can pull their weight. These are future investments that will pay off when you need someone for an instance, enchants, etc.

I will not help out the ones who are terrible. AKA DPS who cant do 800dps in the high 70s or 80. These people are incredibly lazy and probably AFKing.

I had an example at 70 of a full epicced Rogue who was doing under 500 dps in Kara. Turns out he was playing on a windowed screen and playing guitar hero. He was told that next time, he was going to perform or get booted. He decided to perform.

Devin said...

I play in a "hardcore casual guild" (raid two nights a week, but have full N10 and N25 clears already); we 'help' each other all the time. I make a special trip to Dalaran to craft an item for a guildie, a healer travels to Storm Peaks to help me kill a '5-man' world boss, I loan 2 frozen orbs to a tailor so they can make an item.
First: reciprocity. It just happens in my guild. I don't keep accounts, but I'm satisfied in general that the ledger is generally balanced in terms of who is helping whom. I'll get my orbs back, someone will travel to Dalaran to enchant my chest, etc. And second; if it's not quite even, I get psychological satisfaction in helping others who I like.
I do ignore most /w to me (and believe me, I've had a boatload - especially as I was the first ally DK to 80 and remain one of the most geared on the server) and random requests for help. As opposed to RL, I'll almost never help a stranger for the reasons you all have mentioned.
But my guildies and a few select friends are a different story.

Fish said...

I agree with your post to an extent. I HAAATE seeing people whine "Can you help me with Mor'ladim" or pretty much any other elite. Solo it, find a friend/someone your same level to help, or skip it.

I will say, I am not against instance runs. Personally, I enjoy running through killing tons of mobs. I solo black rock depths for fun, whats the harm of bringing a guildie along for the ride?

AJ said...

While I agree with your sentiment there is still a case that you didn't explore in your loot assignment argument. You assumed that skilled players would have a loot balance towards the higher end, and that is not always the case.

There are situations where by skilled players end up in inferior gear. In the early end of BC my guild took on a prot warrior with average gear and "Groomed" him if you will. Your argument is that we should have left him to his pugs and green "of the champion" gear because he wasn't helping himself, however we viewed it as an investment.

After all of the rest of the tanks in our corps had burnt out, quit, geared and left for greener pastures, our "Noob" was still there, committed to the bitter end, wiping on all of our progression raids, tanking every heroic every day for the guildies and giving back tenfold the effort we'd exerted. For every piece of gear we passed on for him we garnered 10 pieces due to us gearing him.

Goblin philosophy has it's place, however it seems that the goblins have a narrow view of what "Returns" are. Often the greatest gains are made on the riskiest of ventures (you know this) and when dealing with people and not products often the intangibles, the things that cannot be measured or seen at the outset of a venture like this are the real profits.

Gevlon said...

@AJ: I'm glad that your tank returned your "investment", but it was merely his choice. If he choosen to leave for a higher guild with your gear, you could do nothing about it. You risked and won! I'm happy for you, but I'd rather say it's a shining exception and not a rule.

Bristal said...

"While for the most part I read your posts and see a high level of douchebaggery..."

Ha!!! GG may be guilty of douchebaggery, but it's the sort of douchebaggery that I "greedily" anticipate reading every day.

I am one of those noob guild members. Spent the last 9 months playing strictly solo, have never even grouped a single instance. Decided I wanted to check out the social aspect of the game after I stumbled onto a guild website whose goals sounded pretty cool and laid-back. E-mailed an "application" and got an invite 2 weeks ago or so.

The only thing I have asked for so far is an engineer crafted quest item, and I thanked the engineer profusely and sent back a small token of thanks. It's kind of odd being the "outsider" of a group of players you imagine to be close, but even if I just get to monitor group chat while I solo, and get 15"grats Bristal" for leveling or the odd achievement, it's win-win for me.

Being a solo player for so long, how can anyone not be able to figure out a quest, or not know to go find another quest if you can't solo the target? Talk about your douchebaggery...

AJ said...

Correct, a calculated risk based on playing the big risk, big reward scenario. High potential to fail, massive rewards in the case of success.

The point was that the goblin advice in this case was never gamble on people, where as I'd say we gamble on people every time we join a guild or post on the AH. We gamble on the return that can only come because we believe 1) people on the AH are not that smart and 2) there are people in the world worth guilding with. A strict rule regarding people is no different to a strict rule regarding making deals on the AH, sometimes the rewards are greatest when we break our own rules...

pugnaciouspriest said...

My Tank friend and GM from my very 1st guild is now stuck at level 73 because all the lobies are asking for more help - and as a GM feels obligated to help.

I would rather help people help themselves by directing/assisting them in getting the tools to do it themselves - that way its a learnt skill not a bandaid

Gevlon said...

@AJ: the AH is bad example since you invest into "the people" in general and not into a particular person. The statistics rarely fail.

However the question how will a certain guy react is always uncertain, since free will of people.

The guilding is also a bad example since there is no "investment" done, except a little time. If they don't perform the way you expect (or you the way they expect) you can part in your first raid. However if you gear up someone, you invested a lot, which you can lose.

@pugnaciouspriest: completely agree