Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 2, 2009

Position on the meters

Larísa wrote in a comment "I'm not sure that all of those players who are superior at for instance dmg charts feel "used". Actually I think many of them enjoy it pretty much. How many times haven't I got happy, proud whispers from friends sending over the Recount charts after a PUG, showing that they did twice as much damage as anyone else? People love to excel, no matter if it's out of gear or knowledge and dedication to the game. I have yet to hear someone complain "damned, I topped the meters again, I've been used once again and tricked into boosting the other M&S for free"."

Well, you are haring me complaining about it all the time. Everything I do, I do for a purpose. I expect a gain from the activity, either material reward or "self improvement". Overcoming a challenge makes me a more effective person, gaining stuff give me the tools to overcome challenges.

The challenge comes from the environment. I don't really care (or even notice) that the same challenge is defeated by others or not. It's just me and the hill. If I can climb it, I'm satisfied, if I fail, I'm frustrated. I completely ignore the other climbers.

I've noticed that most people are not like me. However I never thought that their different thinking is more than something funny. I see that people want to "win", want to be on the top, even if no reward is given for it. I simply considered them silly. However you are right. Many can be motivated (at least sub-consciously) to boost M&S in order to feel "winner." While most of the material gain from the raid go to the others, he feels that he gained something important, maybe "respect" or "status". Of course the mentioned "resources" are not measurable, un-scientific, non-existent things.

I was annoyed every time when I outhealed others by a significant margin. I pulled more weight than them yet they got most of the rewards.

In the ape-horde the "winner" was the alpha male, with exclusive right to mate with the females. The subroutines are still in our head, giving good feeling when we win over others (as opposed to against the environment). The word "e-peen" refer to this, mentioning that the winner somehow will be more successful in sex.

We are not in an ape-horde anymore. No one will have a date because he topped the DPS meter. Actually the image of a video gamer is everything but "successful in dating".

Granted, material wealth attract a kind of women, though I have serious doubts that that kind worth attracting. But material wealth comes from reward oriented thinking and not by "winning".

If you are in top of the DPS/healing meter you are used. You pull weight for others. You may feel being a winner, but actually you are just a workhorse. You work, they loot.

If you want financial freedom in the game and in life, you have to do things that bring you material rewards. If you are seduced from such activities by ape-subroutines, you may top the DPS chart on Malygos or have 4 touchdowns in Polk High, but that does not save you from the shoe shop with many fat women. Think about that.


TheReaper said...

This post seems to contradict itself in some way.
In the beginning you claim to be looking for chances to overcome an obstacle, yet you get upset when you top the meters, because you feel you are being used by the other members of your group.
Sure, the most efficient group you can have for yourself is the one where you are at the bottom, doing very little work for huge rewards, but when you beat an encounter that way, did you really overcome an obstacle?
To use your mountain climbing metaphor, you didn't climb anything, others did and they burdened themselves further by carrying you.
I like topping meters, even though it probably means others will get more of a benefit out of the run, my primary motivation is beating an encounter, contributing as much as possible, climbing the mountain myself.
Either you get the feeling of having overcome an obstacle or you get lots of upgrades, you cannot have both.

Scallyphant said...

I agree with The Reaper. I think you would be very unhappy in your ideal group.

Your whole ethos seems devoted to the idea of beating other people in all sorts of ways - economically, socially, sexually. You would hate being last

Larísa said...

So... let's say its an ape subroutine. But that doesn't diminish the feeling of enjoyment of winning! Even though too much focus on the dmg list never is good (it can take away focus from other important tasks in the raid such as cc, decursing etc), it can't be denied that it sometimes is a little bit like a mini game within the game. The reward from topping the list is that you feel powerful. And that's also the reward from a lot of other games. For some reason people have always had fun measuring themselves against others. Be it the 100 meter sprint in the Olympics or the dps chart in Naxx. We like to perform better than others and don't think much about if we're "used".

Carra said...

I usually feel both ways when I'm on top of the DPS meters:
-> Glad I'm at the top. I'm doing my job well.
-> Wondering why some people are doing half my DPS with equal gear and why we bring those slackers.

Besides, when things are on farm, getting on top of the e-peen meter is a fun meta-game. Keeps away the boredom.

Anonymous said...

Skills rot when unused. The opportunity to hone and sharpen ones skills is an opportunity of some value, assuming you consider those skills to be of value, regardless of whether there are shiny purples in it for you. Whether that value is particularly high is dependent entirely on how much you value those skills of course.

Leah said...

I think I can see where Goblin is coming from on this one.

Winning feels great.

winning by default can feel awful - at least to me.

if I topped the meters because I went all out, blew everything I had, stayed out of the fire every single time and still did it - I'm satisfied. if I didn't top the meters but my dps was what theorcrafters suggest it shoudl be or better with my gear/spec - I'm satisfied.

if I topped the meters, to quote Gevlon, by a large margin - something is just fishy there.

I disagree that competition is bad though. competition is what often pushes you to be a better player, its a benchmark that gives you a tangible measure, a goal.

suceeding in a game, being the best doesn't turn one into Al Bundy. suceeding against people who are not even trying and holding it as some sort of great victory - that just might.

Esdras said...

Seems you need to just enjoy the game more it is not a job where you are doing other peoples work and getting no credit.

It is what it is a game, just relax get a group of nice people to chat with while playing no matter what skill/gear and just enjoy it.

Wokkel said...

I guess you don't like team sports.

Neil said...

If topping the meters is really that much of a problem for you, I have a very simple process to fix it.

The next time you notice that you're topping the meters on trash before a boss, kick from the group everyone whose performance is substandard. Fill the spots with new people, and try again. Repeat until you have a group you like.

Problem solved, no?

Wokkel said...

Something else that came into my mind:

I really appreciate and enjoy your articles, but from a Goblin point of view: what’s in it for you. You gain nothing from it, but some ‘status’ that is given by your peers. I see a similarity between the fully-geared, top-DPS dealers in a raid. You spend time with boosting our are gold income, but receive nothing in return.

Artorin said...

If you are not in the run to get some form of loot and you are topping the dps charts by far then I would say yes you could feel as if you are being used. You can't feel used though if you get even a single piece of gear or item from it.

As a healer I find the opposite true of your view point which is interesting. To me a group that excells well is boring. If I have a tank with 35k hps unbuffed and dps all pulling in 3k dps in a heroic... that is really boring. I play the game for entertainment. I get my entertainment in overcoming challenges. There is no challenge in healing a perfect group.

Am I being used in that case? Hell ya I am but I'm getting my challenge so I'm ok with it.

xxxiii said...

I've been topping the dmg meters in my runs since I hit 80, and yes, I've definitely felt this way. Why am I busting my ass in Naxxramas, gearing up schleps who don't even keep their consumables stocked, when fully-progressed guilds are offering me raid spots?

I guess you might say that I'm being used, and that may be true to some extent. However, knowing that the best guilds on my server want me gives me lots of personal freedom. I can join them and EZ-mode through the content and WIN, or I can take a bunch of "misfits" and help turn them into a team, and do things they never thought they could.

I ask my kids all the time why they use cheat codes in their games, and in my mind, joining a guild that's already done it all amounts to the same thing. I enjoy challenge - otherwise, what is the point?

That's my goal, my personal WIN, and what keeps me going. I want to take a group, help them learn to work together, and tackle challenges none of us have achieved before.

So, I work one-on-one with the dps casters in our guild, help them get their spec and spells nailed down, and teach them how to do their jobs. And in doing so, I've gone from being 15% above everyone else on the meter, to having 3 players on my 10-man team who now consistently keep me on my toes. Where they used to just blow me off as OP, they now compete with me on the meters. We can now challenge each other, share tips, discuss gear options, and we've become very efficient at working together.

I'd have to say that consciously choosing to overcome a particular group challenge, instead of just going around it on your own, doesn't seem very ape-like to me.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, there are other ape subroutines. Maybe the most obvious is to be king of the harem, having sex with all the females they want. Only a very few males are gifted enough to achieve in that strategy, and surely their genes will remain highest on the DPS meter. And I'm sure deep down we all feel those instincts to some respect.

Those males that got their butt's kicked became "satellite males" who needed to cooperate with one another in hopes of nabbing the occasional mating opportunity, but meantime they "hung out" and formed a peaceful coexistence to maxmize their survival and opportunities. No doubt females recognized and rewarded the potential of cooperating groups of males.

This "societal" strategy eventually succeeded beyond nature's wildest dreams (and melded with the harem leader strategy), and the rewards we get from simple human interaction in groups/families now often outweighs the ape subroutines (mate, kill, eat) with other needs (laugh, share, be included, be understood, be valued, help others, leave a legacy).

Dude, do you need a hug? If you're bored kicking everyone's butt in WoW, go do something with a bit more at stake, like stock trading or something. And use WoW to RELAX.

Hatch said...

I guess it comes down to why you play the game, which I think is the point of Gevlon's post.

Some people top damage meters because they want to show off their epeen and feel better when they are over others.

I top the meters because I want to overcome the obstacle and do the best I can. I get satisfaction from knowing that I'm playing well and I've "beaten" the *game mechanics* by figuring them out.

I would *love it* if *everyone* were right next to me on the meters!

I don't get any joy out of showing off how high I am on the meters over others. Other people doing well does not detract from my enjoyment of my own job well done. I hate being the workhorse that carries the people who can't run a heroic or craft an item/elixir or read up on even the basics of raiding with their class.

RedFox said...

Regardless of the particular usefulness of dps meters as an evaluation tool, they're used as such to assist you in assessing performance.

So... what you seem to be saying is that you don't like to "carry" people who don't perform well. Okay, granted. Nobody likes to pick up others' slack. However, if you don't want to perform well then *you're* the slacker who's going to be carried. That may be an easy route to material rewards, but that's no way to live.

Also you're bandying about the "morons & slackers" and "ape subroutines" labels again, which is short-sighting you. Ape-subroutines as you call them are nothing more than instincts and drives. And the desire to perform well, while it may not get you a date, will in fact get you invited to more groups in the future. And hey, that means more opportunities to score loot.

Fish said...

I somewhat understand your mindset but somewhat don't. I think the concept of damage meters is generally silly really instances are a black or white affair, did you "win" or not? I know meters are a tool to see who's pulling their weight and who isn't. Of course this is all from a tanks perspective and there really isn't a meter to say how effective we are (maybe healer damage taken?)

Anonymous said...

@ Fish

I for one entirely disagree.
There is a black and white aspect for any instance, but there is always room for improvement. If you can beat an instance without anyone dying, shouldn't you then beat it faster?

Do two instance in the time you previously took to do one. This way you still push yourselves to practice your skills and get challenged.

Playing my warrior, if I don't feel that I -need- my trinkets and other cooldowns on trash, then I'll pull faster.

But I guess that shows something about what I get out of wow. Constantly pushing harder and faster when possible.

Joe Nothin said...

You are all missing the point:

Its not about the position on the meters, its about the DPS itself.
The mountain is the DPS number. I dont care if i pass everyone on the team - If my personal DPS is 800, I'm not doing a good enough job.

In a group i do my best, and usually i measure myself in TPS, not DPS. But the position on the meters means nothing - the mountain is the objective number of damage dealt per second in battle.

Brian said...

I consider personal dps to be like advertising for raid slots.

It is an unfortunate fact that on my server (and I suspect most servers) that there is an overabundance of dps. I do my best to put out max dps in every instance and raid in order to ensure that my name is selected above any others when it comes time to put together the raid.

In this case, the reward is tangible - more opportunities to raid and therefore roll on raid loot.

Cailleach said...

OK, so this is a little late, but I just found your blog and am reading through stuff.

I get PISSED OFF anytime I top the DPS meter. My main raid toon is a Moonkin, and there's NO. WAY. I should top DPS in a 25 man freaking raid, ahead of locks, mages, hunters, ret pallies.. I should be (in my own mind) in the top third of the dps, but right about that point - less if I offheal or crowd control or battlerez. If I'm top, then everyone else is either massively undergeared or slackers, and either way I don't want to be in the raid with them.

Keep on feeling the way you feel, Goblin.

Yaggle said...

In some countries, the way the poor villagers catch monkeys, is they make a hole in a coconut and empty the liquid. The hole is barely large enough for a monkey to get its hand in. Then they put candy inside and set the coconuts out. The monkeys come and try to get the candy, but when they get the candy in their hand, then they cannot get their hand out of the hole. They will try and try because they want the candy so badly, but they cannot do it. When the men come with their nets to catch the monkeys, the monkeys will not let go of the candy. They want to run but they want the candy more. So then they get caught. A human being can have spend his or her life trying to be successful at their ape-subrouties, but they will find they fail at life over and over unless they learn to overcome these subroutines. I agree with Goblin 100% on this. There is more to his philosophies than greed.