Greedy Goblin

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who's the boss?

I'm 32 years old, so I'm supposed to know the basic things about the world. Well, I don't. Most probably 90% of you have already known what I've "revealed" yesterday. For that 90% I can offer nothing more than a good laugh upon my sorry butt. However I hope that there are younger people among the readers who could profit from this post.

There is hierarchy in the world, and also in WoW. There is boss in the workplace and raid leader in every raid. Like those stupid punks who throw stones to cops and burn cars, I thought that these leaders are useless to the society. They ascended by brute force, deception or simply by the stupidity of the others. They do nothing useful just reap the rewards of the work of others. Most of the punks believe in some self-governing commune, I simply believed in the live and let live coexistence of self-made men. Stupid punks and stupid me.

Wednesday (reset day in Europe) I organized a 10 man PuG to Naxxramas. I spammed trade "LFG Naxx10, full run. I check armory, we start on Patchwerk and I kick everyone below 2000DPS". I rejected legions of M&S with unenchanted greens like the one in the picture.

Some day I will be wise enough to know, how can someone be so stupid that he has empty gem slots, no enchants, green gear in a game where you can get blues for killing 12 lvl77 wolves. And why did someone boost the mentioned moron in HC HoL for the axe? But that's not the topic for today.

So I collected a group of properly geared people with achievements. I had a raid of good players. We went for Patchwerk's blessing. Everything went smooth. The DPS was so good on Patchwerk that I did not called for wipe, no one was replaced. We went further for Grobb, Gluth, Thaddeus. Of course there were wipes. A paladin decursed at Grobb, everyone DPS-ed Gluth ignoring Zombie Chews and such things. They happen. They cost some time but not much. We run in, res, rebuff, do it better.

Except... not. Most of the time was not spent on killing things. It was not even spent on wiping and rebuffing. Most time was spent on waiting. Waiting for some guy who wrote "brb". Waiting to the last one to run in. Waiting at the ready check. Waiting for some endless argument over "who is eligible for what loot".

We cleared construct quarter in 2 hours. Half of it was spent on waiting. When Thaddeus hit the ground I thought the curse is over. We cleared the hardest wing. We will clear the rest in 2 hours at worse. Except, a guy left with not a word. Than the next. And the next. Half of the raid disappeared. It was something that "does not exist" for me. I've seen "DCs" after wipes. I've seen and did "this group is useless, I won't waste my time here". But why would anyone leave after the successful clearance of the hardest wing, just before the easy farm of Loatheb and "I give loot and feign death" Maexxna???

My girlfriend looked at the clock and said: "he must be some kid and his mother ordered him to come to diner. " I asked the other one who left and he replied: "the wing took too long and after others left it was hopeless".

After one more hour the ranks were filled (have you ever tried to find a healer?) we were back in the instance. (see new crew here, no bullshit stories on this site). And the problems came again. The tank chain pulled although everyone spammed "STOP". Wipe. Why? "Because I wanted to hurry".

The retri pala bubbled the MT instead of himself. Wipe. Why? "It was my first mistake and now you all hate me and judge me, fukk you"

And on every wipe we had to wait for 10 minutes until everyone were ready. Often a "DC-ed" had to be replaced.

The problems were not with the players. They did not damaged low. They did not healed below the shadow priest. They did not pull aggro. Buffs were up, some of them even used consumables (sarcasm intended)! Of course they made mistakes, like eating fire at Heigan, but who does not?

The problems were with the people. They were lazy, they went to AFK, they went emo, they ignored instructions, they "DC"-ed, they demanded loot and so on. They had errors that no armory and Patchwerk test could reveal.

One of the guys were extremely lazy, causing more trouble than others. I was out of my patience and told "Because of laziness, no loot for X from the next boss". And as a miracle, laziness disappeared. Not only his, but also of the others. Suddenly the instructions became meaningful, the loot worth only a /roll and no word, and no one felt necessary to go AFK.

Too bad that after Loatheb I was too tired to continue. I was already doing it for 6 hours and the 19 mins Heigan took all strength I had left. I had to leave the instance. Apologized from everyone and logged out, fell into the bed. At the morning I went in and saw that they could not continue (try to find a healer...). I hope I could collect them and others and finish the instance.

Back to the topic: I remember being in M&S guilds in BC. Guilds that couldn't kill Gruul because everyone wandered randomly. Guilds that couldn't kill Magtheridon because they did not have 5 people who could click a box. Guilds that skipped the dragons in Karazhan as "incredibly strong". However I could not remember endless AFK, debate over loot or blatant ignoring of instructions (being unable to follow them is different). Why? Because those guilds had a boss. A guy who was not surely a better player than them, but was accepted as leader.

The job of the boss is not to stop the errors of skill. The job of boss, his service to the society is to prevent and stop the errors of the person. The errors what are not caused by lack of skill, but lack of care, lack of focus, lack of respect (meaning I don't annoy someone pointlessly, just because I can do it).

This is the reason why hierarchy of power survived all egalitarian attempts, despite the countless events of abusing of the power. Someone must herd the cats, or no non-individual effort will ever be done. The most cost-effective way of getting anything non-individual is to minimize my work, making others carry me. There must be someone who stops that behavior, even if the cost is that this someone does nothing else, and he also receive the result of the work.

I already found the mean to handle the errors of the player. Now I found the mean to handle the errors of the person: "You don't get loot if you AFK, don't release or otherwise behave bad" [and get loot if you behave well]. Simple reward and punishment. The basics of power.

PS: M&S = morons and slackers


Anonymous said...

First, a question: What does M&S stands for? I got the meaning, but i wonder about the phrase itself.

I allways have this disscussion with socialists, who hate the govenrnmant and all countries.

For sociaty to exist, a group must work togther. For a group to work togther, someone has to be in charge of making the bigger plan, not only making sure people do thier part. I allways though that the hardest task as a boss was finind and filling to correct slots. Getting people to do thier job, like you, i allwasy thought is secondry. I mean, if we all work in the best way we can, the loot drops faster, no?

A day ago i was running UK reg on my DK and we noticed a mage was AFKing and /following the healer [I noticed through omen and recount, otherwise i would just think 'damn, my tanking rocks!']. We kicked him but he came back and asked to be let bak into the group befor he self hearthed. We said OK and then kicked him right before the first boss died. He lost the dagger, continued to sulk through the whole instance after we reinvited him, but did admirable DPS.

Threats work, and its a shame they are needed. I think thier biggest use, however, is showing thoes who do put in the effort that it pays, it is noticed, and that they are contributers to the group. Its all ape subrutins, but there is no reason why we cant use that to our advantage, no?

EffroTool said...

Taking from my own life experience. I can say that if the group think alike, there is no need for a boss to hold it all together. But it works just for a small groups. At my brothers work they've got two managers. One is a nice person, you can ask him for everything, he will do everything politely. The other is all about getting things done right, he ain't friend with most of staff. But really if something has to be done, he's the only person that can pull it off. If the "nice guy" leads the workers for a longer period of time, everyone is just too lazy to do anything and things fail to work correctly. But the moment the "bad guy" is back, all begins to move smoothly and flawlessly. So really, you can hate managers and leaders. Think they are dumb and worthless. When it comes to achiveing something, the worst ones get it all done smoothly and without a word.

Panos said...

Your "does not exist" quote is quite popular in my country as a comment for things beyond comprehension. Made me think we are from the same place. Aided from the comment on kids throwing rocks, smashing things allegedly angry with those in power. Its an attitude I meet always in my real life these days.

Power seems to be treated as unnecessary, as something we could do without. Its falsely branded as 'anarchy'. Only thing is, pure and proper anarchy is based on the individuals ethics and morals, of constantly trying to do the right thing, or what is generally accepted as morally (politically?) correct. Smashing things in the name of `revolution' is not anarchy, its vandalism. Ofc all is done in the real world due to the corruption of the governments to a large extent, but that's a different subject altogether...

Likewise in wow. You form a PUG and everyone is `for himself'. They treat the leader with no respect, they treat their fellow raiders with no respect. Individualism at its more characteristic expression. People do not like to be bossed around, they prefer free rides. They prefer profit at the expense of others. I am not talking here about using the market in your favor. But for bluntly exploiting the efforts of others for your personal gain. For slacking when others do the hard work. And you getting rewards with minimal effort.

Leadership is a necessity. Its for 'managing' things. Its for eliminating randomness, for putting the right amount of resources in best use. Its for maintaining a good level of performance. Its for ensuring continuity.

Raiding is a group `sport'. It requires 10/25 people doing their best. There is no room for free riders, ninja-looters or M&S.
(Marks & Spencer? :-p)

But then again our world is filled with M&S who rather blame their governments than doing the right thing themselves. People do not pay taxes, people do not respect laws nor their neighbor and suddenly its their leaders fault.

Yes, everybody thinks they are an anarchist but their morals are non-existent. A leader then needs to keep the flock in good shape. Even by threatening...

David said...

When you pull together 10 random people with no social obligations towards each other, they will disrespect each other and the group (directly or indirectly), which makes for a terrible run. In a 5-man pug, usually there is often someone DC-ing or being a poor player and group-mate in general. But it can be ignored and played through as long as they do an absolute minimum of effort. For a 10 man, your problems are compounded and it falls apart easily.

This is where a guild has its value. Where social obligation has a value and its place in the game.

You can think of a guild as a semi-permanent group much like your 'screened' 10-man group. As a GL, you can add and delete to the group as you see fit. Kick the sub-performers and afkers. Keep the solid players. Give them a fair shot at lootz and dont take their efforts for granted. Smooth sailing from there on.

Easier said than done, but I think you need a guild-like structure if you want to avoid a lot of what you put yourself through in that Naxx raid.

Anonymous said...

Congrats GG - you just worked out why the rest of us are clearing heroic naxx every week, clearing 10man naxx in 3 or 4 hours. Killing malygos and sarth with drakes up.

While the M&S are sitting around in dalaran in their BoE epics shouting "LF1M Naxx - Healer!".

The difference is the people you surround yourself with. With friends of the same skill level as you. With a guild leader who can organise 25people for 4 hours a day.

This is the reason that WoW is a social game - that people behind the players are PEOPLE. You found that treating them as such (even treating them as children - "do x and you'll get y") worked.

I think the important distinction is that they did not offer you such respect.

Kevan Smith said...

WoW is not _society_. Not even a noticeable fractionable part of how we really live our lives.

If you are trying to draw lessons from WoW to apply to real life, you are on very dubious ground indeed.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your success so far! Best of luck as you continue.

I can't emphasize enough that well-geared =/= good raider. A necessary condition, maybe, but not a sufficient one. Examples from your own raid:

Leet DPS who doesn't know Grobbulus will drop the injection in a bad place, fail to compensate, and wipe.

Leet DPS who doesn't know Gluth is actually fail DPS when they allow his health to go _up_.

Leet DPS who can't dance on Heigan very quickly becomes zero DPS.

Leet DPS who are impatient loot-whore divas will leave (or cause others to leave) before you reach the really good stuff -- perhaps even prevent you from reaching the good stuff.

Obviously you want better-geared players, but that's only one issue -- probably one of the less important ones. The value of "community" in raiding (whether it's a guild or just a list of friends) is that you can build it out of people who not only put up good numbers, but also research fights, follow instructions, keep out of the fire, recognize bad situations and make plays to fix them, and so on. You can't armory that.

Believe that guilds are creeping socialism if it floats your boat, but we get stuff done much more effectively than a PUG ever will.

Knaughty said...

You experience with your "geared but still terrible" PUG shows you the advantage of having a guild.

I think you'd fit in very well in a hard-core raiding guild, perhaps you should consider it.

Carra said...

People who play bad should be punished, simple as that. But it's only fair to give a warning before hand or you will get people mad.

Had our tank go afk in the middle of a progression raid without notice. Raidleader told him that next /afk would mean being replaced. And sure enough, it didn't happen again. In this example, when there is no other tank around, you do have to find another punishment of course.

Anonymous said...

By nature, people take those actions that are in their own self interest and put forth the minimum effort required to achieve a particular goal. A geared raid pugger isn't so different than an boost-hungry M&S in this case. Either is likely to take advantage of whatever conditions might allow them to get something for minimal "work."

Better definition of the minimum effort required leads to performance more in line with your expectations so long as the puggers stay focused on their goal and the expectations don't outweigh the amount of effort they are willing to put forward to get loot.

BTW, the patch test is good for testing what DPS can stand in one place and mindlessly cycle through their rotation, but it stinks as a moron test as there's zero situational awareness required.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

@Kevan Smith:

I'd beg to differ about taking lessons from WoW. Only after playing, and running into the M&S and then seeing it in real life have I figured this out.

A woman goes into a clothing store and wants money back for a dress she bought 4 months before. This store allows for store credit but not money back. Woman also wants full dress price back, even though she bought it on sale. She of course doesn't get full price back, so she says, "I could've sent my daughter in here, without the receipt, and gotten more store credit". To which the manager says, "So you want to be rewarded for doing what you're supposed to do anyways, instead of lying?"

WoW, and the internet doesn't "change" how people act, there is no "greater dickwad theory" in action. People who act this way on internet and WoW act the same way in real life. They are the same person, and they are just as lazy and stupid.

Anonymous said...

See, this is what happens when all you care about is stats and not people.

"The problems were not with the players"
Wrong! The problem was exactly the players.

You say you don't put up with morons, but your description of the raid sounds like most of the people in your raid were exactly that.
Yes, they had good gear, they knew how to heal, how to tank, how to dps; shame they didn't know how to socialise.

Meanwhile my carebear guild full of slackers also did 10 man Naxx this week, and no-one 'DC'd (or pretended to, oldest pug trick in the book when you have had enough but don't have the balls to say so), no one left the raid without bothering to say they were going (no one left at all, actually), no-one said "Fukk you" just because they made a mistake.

Your solution that you only need to be strong and kick people who don't perform, or threaten them with 'no loot', is what I might expect from Nihilum-esque hardcore raid guilds, not some random pug.

This is no totalitarian society, where the masses have no option but to obey or be punished, this is a game that people supposedly play for fun.

Anonymous said...

"I think you'd fit in very well in a hard-core raiding guild"

I beg to differ. I would never invite a self proclaimed selfish bastard to my guild. We never wipe on trash, we never die on heigan, and we clear naxx in 3 hours. If you want to be in the company of people us, however, you have to make us like you. That is something the author seems unwilling to do.

Honestly, there is nor shortage of qualified and geared players, so standing out from the crowd by being an arse will just mean that people like us take one of your many competitors for a healing slot if we ever need to recruit or pug.

Anonymous said...

people in PUGs don`t care so much because they can`t be punished and since it`s a PUG they all consider themselves equal, thus they don`t respect the one that`s said to be the leader.
in a guild you can get -dkp, not invited to raids or kicked and that`s bad for the player`s status, a punishment.
the only punishment a PUG leader can do is what? kick from the raid and blog about it :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is a game where people have fun, but when you PUG, or when you do something that doesnt afect you wherever people do right or wrong, surprise things go wrong.

The "internet fuckwad theory" it works, simply because the assholes in the internet arent sociopaths, M&S, etc in the real world, but wihout rules and an enforcement of said rules, people start to show the worst side very quickly simple because they can and it wont affect them.

Search "Serenity Now" in Google or YouTube if you want evidence of that fact.

Syd said...

Ha, Goblin, you'll end up in a raiding guild sometime.

The beauty of the leadership structure in a raiding guild is that you establish it early, enforce it consistently, and after a while it just becomes automatic. Your players behave well because that's the culture, and no one wants to be the one guy--or girl--who owes a fine to the guild bank or receives a public criticism from the raid leader. With a pug, you have to establish new rules--and show you can enforce them--every night. The work of the leader is easier if the structure is long-standing. I know our guild/raid leaders (including me) have ample time to do whatever we'd like on top of being in charge.

Ken said...

You're highlighting a topic I've also been thinking about, and I break it down to Leadership vs Stewardship. I'm in academia now and have found myself under a few different department chairs, which is the rough approximation of a boss. Some of my chairs have been very satisified maintaining the status quo of the department...ppl were alowed to go afk, d/c, etc as long as the overall motion of the dept was similar to past chairs (meandering thru the raids relatively successfully). Other chairs have organized, focused and pushed the department...with incentives for good work and punishment for poor work. We hit new raid content, and moved up our server's reputation list, so to speak.

Ironically I find that most of life rewards stewards vs leaders. Stewards don't set high goals that aren't achieved, and they can make afk'ers and d/c'ers mad who then go to /general and complain. Although leaders can rise meteorically, they can also crash and burn just as hard, whereas stewards amble slowly foward. I suppose it's an amplified risk/reward thing.

Good post...I like your blog. :)

Marc said...

I pug a lot and I can completely identify with what you are saying. We spend more time preparing for the fight and waiting for people than actually fighting!

One thing though: in real life the identity of the person is known and that is a deterrent. In WoW the player feels comfortably anonymous and thus behaves poorly.

Anonymous said...

the thing about pugs and I'm very surprised that it didn't occur to you is that most everyone is an especialy greedy goblin when they pug. everone is in for themselves and they have neither moral nor social obligations to perform to the best of their ability to insure that the group as a whole suceeds. they have no moral or social obligation to stay with the raid past say 3 wipes. they have no obligation or desire to pay sizable repair bills they acrue when pugging.

so you have people who don't give their 100% becasue they simply don't have to. they don't know you from adam, you haven't earned their respect in any way, they have no motivation to perform (not even punishment is enough of a motivation). some might perform as far as the boss that "drops the loot they want" and then its curtains. being a greedy goblin yourself, someone who scoffs at helping/boosting the guild when you yourself are all done with your gear aquisitions - would you honestly expect your average trade pugger to behave any differently?

In my experince people who your pug from trade for your raid are in majority of cases people who are simply not good enough to make it in a raiding guild. they can do high dps on "sleep while you roll your had on a keyboard" patchwerk. but they cannot move out of the fire, they don't even wish to be situationaly aware, they just want free lewts.

Once in a while you get someone like me who already raided with her guild (and since we clear things in basicaly 2 days now, I have a lot of time to kill as well as more then one alt), who wants to run on an alt becasue I have a few free hours and most my guildies currently online are already saved. you'll take my alt in becasue my alts might not have the best in slot my main has, but they have the best heroics, reputation and crafted gear can offer - all gemmed and enchanted. and someone like me will leave your raid after several wipes that happened out of stupidity of other players becasue I don't have time or inclination to waste several hours of my time (and gold), wiping on content that my guild facerolls. its not productive and its not profitable and becasue I don't know you from adam, you will not get as many chances or as much dedication from me as people whom I like and respect do.

I don't subscribe to "the greater internet dickwad" theory either. I too believe that people act the same in a game as they would in real life if there were no consequences to their actions. and becasue of that, just like I myself would rarely go out of my way to help a stranger (especialy a stranger who's not in dire need -I'm not going to pass by someone getting assaulted, but i will not take extra time out of my day to help a stranger carry their bags either) I don't expect strangers in a game to do the same for me. if it happens - I take it as an exception to the rule and remember the person.

Anonymous said...

It may be something to consider, in your thorough analysis of this failed PuG, the Occam's Razor concept - that being, the simplest solution is often correct.

Applied to your PuG, you have the initial group, a bunch of players who left, and then a brand new group - what would appear to be a sum total of about 15-19 other players in this group. When it all goes horribly wrong, people start disconnecting, or otherwise failing - is the likely cause of this due to the incompetence of these unwashed masses, who at least had the wherewithall to gear, gem and enchant up to armory check standards, or is it the simple solution - failure of leadership to exhibit the necessary traits required to pull this group together, guide them, and convince them to follow you into battle?

Unfortunately, you're placing yourself in a position where you can expect to run with a similar crowd week after week, unless you get the magic PuG together by happy chance. That's because committed, disciplined raiders do their raiding within a guild - and these people aren't going to be around to PuG frequently. If they are, those *players* will be online with an alt - but because it's an alt, and they're investing the majority of their time into gearing and progressing a main, that alt probably isn't going to pass an armory screen because there will be some blues - and maybe even greens - present.

There is a WoW maxim that simply states Skill > Spec > Gear. Gear is important, sure. Spec is more important - and player skill is better than either. You can't weed out the 14 year lod douchebags with Armory, though - only by playing with them. that requires generating a 'friends' list, or joining a quality guild - but being misanthropic is working heavily against you in this regard.

Thus, you're left with another week's failed raid ID that may well have been ninja'd by now from one of 15 raiders and you're left with nothing again. The AH report may be rosy, but when it comes to personnel and human relations - you reap what you sow.

(also, I predicted this very fate a day before it happened. It's just part & parcel to the path that you choose to walk.)