Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Challenge anyone?

Tobold wrote a great post about the illusion of challenge. WoW, one of the most popular and definitely the most (financially) successful game ever was designed exactly to be not challenging. You can reach anything in WoW in matter of time. Not only you can reach top level by ganking monsters way below your level, but you can also reach any gear - one patch after they were released. While you needed very good gaming and organizing skills to get ilvl239 in 3.1, after 3.2 all you have to do is AoE some 5-mans.

Obviously Blizzard does it because it's good for income, so it's not Blizz to blame. It's the players. We could accept Tobold's statement that "the overwhelming majority of players constantly engages in behavior designed to minimize challenge while maximizing rewards". Actually it's much nicer than mine: "the overwhelming majority of players are idiots or lazy bastards"

However then we must explain why do Tetris exists at all? Why is the really challenging Rubic-cube is a best seller? The fact that people play them directly contradict the statement of Tobold and and seriously questions mine (as M&S have so little chance against Tetris that they must have given up after 2 levels).

The key was given by a secretary in the company where I work. It happened months ago, but I did not understand the meaning of it until Tobold's post.

Whenever I entered her office, she quickly minimized something on her screen. She did it fast, I couldn't see what she hid, but she definitely did. I became more and more curious about her secret, and my imagination filled it with Hollywood-inspired ideas what could an early-middle aged single woman hide. Gay porn? Lesbian porn? Sadist porn? Maybe bomb recipes because she is a serial killer after hours? The most sane idea was that she is selling corporate secrets.

I set up a plan to catch her dirty little secret. An afternoon I oiled the joints of her door, so it would open silently. Next day I could open it quietly enough to be unnoticed.

She was playing spider solitaire, a game that is implemented into Windows. She played it on the hardest difficulty and with enough immersion to not notice me for a minute. She was pretty surprised and frightened when noticed me. Our talk was pretty uneasy and was much like a police questioning than chat. She answered my question, in obvious fear of some terrible retribution. She acted like a 15 years old boy caught with porn magazines, although there is no policy against playing in the office in dead times between tasks, so she did nothing wrong. She did not get any more relaxed after I told her that I also play a lot of this game in my dead quarter hours, strike that, I stay in my office eating sandwich as lunch exactly to play or blog or read blogs.

- You must be thinking I'm stupid - she said.
- No, I also play it, it's not a stupid game, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
- No, I mean I'm terrible in it. I can do it with 2 colors, but never done 4.

I promised I keep her secret and did (this does not count as you don't know where I work and who she is). I did not understand her reasons until now.

People love challenge. People don't mind losing and trying again. But people hate others see them lose.


No one knows your tetris or Spider score unless you tell them (or they are psychopathic engineers stalking with door lubricants). It's you and your challenge.

In an MMO everyone see you fail. The problem is not stucking at lvl 40 itself. The problem is seeing others reaching lvl 50 and them seeing you stuck (and therefore suck).

I always bashed the "social" people for several reasons, but it's now that I found the other reason why they suck so much: because they never dared to take any challenge in fear of failing front of others. (The first is that they chain themselves to friendly M&S)

I tried out new talent specs in raid. I violated the written "protocol" of boss fights so many times that I can't remember, often with failure. I had a spirit-geared arcane mage in BC. My GF tanked Moroes-adds in Karazhan as hunter. Later she built a prot warrior with 13K HP and 60% avoidance when the canon said "stamina gems to every slot" and all the tanks had 19K HP, 20% avoidance. We never cared what they say about it. Now I'm planning something really crazy about raiding, and I promise you'll hear about it even if it fails miserably (except that case the names of other players involved will be grayed out). I won't mind if I get 50+ troll comments "You idiot how could you even think of it succeeding?!".

If you are social, if you care about other people's opinion, you avoid challenges as the inevitable failures reflect badly on your reputation. To speak up, risking being laughed at, to try even if you see only 10% chance of success, to think out of the box, you must say (and honestly mean) "I don't care what you'll think of me".

I don't tell that being anti-social is needed for success. But it helps. There is a reason why most top raiders are "assholes". Otherwise they couldn't bear others seeing them wiping 100x times.

People love challenge. They just love "being liked and respected" more.

55 comments:

duncan said...

@ gevlon
We could accept Tobold's statement that "the overwhelming majority of players constantly engages in behavior designed to minimize challenge while maximizing rewards". Actually it's much nicer than mine: "the overwhelming majority of players are idiots or lazy bastards"

People are M&S because they follow cost-benefit principle?

bobturkey said...

Nice post.

"If you do what everyone else does you get what everyone gets."

Most people are fairly risk adverse which is offent expressed, for example, as a general fear of change.

The not wanting to be seen to be different is quite interesting. If you are interested look into Peer-orientated attachement vs Parent-orientated attachment.

Gobble gobble

ZacharyPruckowski said...

"or they are psychopathic engineers stalking with door lubricants"

Sociopath and psychopath are two different things. You are the former, not the latter.

When you break it down, isn't most of the stuff you do while raiding designed to "minimize challenge"? I mean, most of the gear improvements and spec optimizations beyond what's mathematically necessary only really serve to give me more margin for error in downing a boss or doing an instance. I mean, I could do Heroic Trial of the Champion or Naxxaramas in blues, so doesn't "gearing up" before hand really just cut down on the amount of execution needed? I'm not saying I actually think that people should do Ulduar naked, but isn't most theorycrafting an explicit effort to do something easy (spreadsheet math) in order to make something hard (raiding progression) a bit easier? Isn't the goal of min-maxing to cut down on the number of learning wipes?

spinksville said...

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw

Brian said...

An interesting related point is that I think it's important for those players at the top to see other players failing at content the top players have beaten. The public nature of failure in an MMO is a double edged sword. While you have to be thick-skinned enough to not care if people see you failing at first, you are ALSO given a great opportunity to enjoy your success by looking at the people around you who haven't been so successful. And I think that is an important factor in WoW's success as well...WoW gives you a direct way to feel superior to other people, reinforced by daily, personal examples of people sucking at something you've mastered.

If it really was all about a personal challenge, NOBODY would care if content was nerfed weeks or months after top players beat it. Nobody would care if "old" gear suddenly became easier to obtain. But people care about those things...a LOT. Because while it might be impressive to have cleared Ulduar before conquest emblem gear and nerfed difficulty were flying around everywhere, you're robbed of your daily reminder of how much more awesome you are than those around you.

The thing is, players good at one or more aspects of WoW (including, I think, Gevlon) are just about the "social" aspect as the worst example of "M&S", just in a different way. While some people look for approval from others, "goblin" players internally feed their sense of self worth by demonstrating their superiority over others.

It might not be the "normal" way social interaction works, but it's still a very social thing. Top guilds like Ensidia might not be trying to impress anyone but themselves by playing very, VERY well...but the fact that are among players that aren't nearly as good no doubt helps them feel satisfied with their accomplishment. WoW may have attracted more "M&S"...but it's also attracted a lot of people who are very good at the game. There is a reason why...

Observ said...

Here is a story:
My girlfriend cares so much about what people think about her, about our relationship, and even about me that she is willing to do anything to make sure they think positive about us. But sometimes she even cares less about my opinion in some matters. I allways tell her that :
You shouldnt care what people say/think about you but rather care what you think about yourself, and care what people that you care for think about you.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me, what "M&S" means?

Kalle said...

Why do you call people who are after maximum gain for minimum effort idiots? Completely illogical.

Isnt that pretty much the goblin way?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous

M&S means Morons and Slackers... Gevlon often writes about these stupid and lazy people in order to downsize and ridicule people like you and me...

Gevlon said...

@anyone with "maximizing cost/benefit": The "reward" in the game is NOTHING. The "gear" and "achievements" are just pixels on some game server.

Want to maximalize your pixel/hour: download wow emulator and as GM you can give yourself anything.

The ONLY reward a game can give is spending quality time. The social people give it up to get pixels since they prefer the other people's good opinion over having good experiences.

CrazyEwok said...

Gevlon,
You do realise that the game is geared to be "M&S" compatible but still challenge anyone wanting. They make the harder elements of the game have high pop limits so that a full group of retards can complete it with enough time. You want a challenge try your level instances with only 2 players... maybe 3. This will make your talent choices matter. Not to mention your choice in equipment and stats. Your ability to balance your gameplay will be more than a basic spell rotation.

Anonymous said...

"@Anonymous

M&S means Morons and Slackers... Gevlon often writes about these stupid and lazy people in order to downsize and ridicule people like you and me..."

Ok, thank you.
But I'm not one of these people...

rapidresponceunit said...

Hmmm, people having self worth? People not feeling the need to have shiny purple trinkets to prove themselves to others? People not caring how other people got where they did and just being proud of themselves??

Hahahah, oh Gevlon, you comedian.

Anonymous said...

"The ONLY reward a game can give is spending quality time"

this is very true.

Your problem Gevlon is assuming that your definition of quality time is the only true definition of quality time, your way is the only right way.

in the end, it all comes down to one very simple fact. Enjoyment of the time spent. and if someone goes away happy, because they managed to get an easy purple - who are you to tell them that they are doing it wrong and they must be morons? you derive enjoyment from mastering the AH game or figuring out unconventional ways of playing a character - ways that when seen on a stranger, you would consider to be a sign of a moron and slacker.

Others enjoy relaxing passtime with easy virtual rewards. Do not assume that you know what their motivations are or that the only reason they do something is because they care what other people think of them. The only true morons here are people who are forcing themselves to do something they do not enjoy because its "the right thing to do" And that sort of moron shows up among both casual players and hardcore so-called "successful" raiders.

Desmentia said...

Very insightful post, you've really illuminated the rest of the playerbase for me.

I'm one of those rare people that does what they say they do, I do wacky things like clearing out Naxx25 with two people, or roguetanking, and I really didn't understand how most players thought.

I'll be taking the lessons here to heart for the MMO I'm working on, I had planned to sell it on the niche market of an actually challenging game, the concept may require some rework.

Roy said...

I think today could be a double post day for you. This comment is COMPLETELY off-topic, but I wanted to point this out to you...

According to wow insider, it has been confirmed that goblins will be a playable race for horde in 4.x. Would be interesting to get your thoughts on this since a major premise to goblinism is the fact that the "I dont care who you are fighting or why, I am just here to make money off you" phrase holds up. Now that Goblins will be horde... not so much.

Also - I want to vote that goblins get +10% loot (or -10% costs) like humans get +10% reputation.

Anonymous said...

There's a word that's conspicuously missing here.

That word is "fun."

World of Warcraft is a game. It's a large game, with many players, but the one absolute, indisputable rule is that everyone who plays it does so because they find it fun.

Your idea of fun may not be the same as somebody else's idea of fun. Which is why you can sign in, look around and see the game being played in many different ways.

Yes, you can make generalizations about what "fun" means to the typical person. You can talk about challenge or rewards if you want to. But you're always going to be a little bit wrong all the time, because "fun" isn't something that can be deconstructed and understood in simple terms.

If you could sit down with any World of Warcraft player and point to some detail of their game and ask "Why do you do this?" you might get a wide variety of answers, but they would all boil down to "Because it amuses me to do so."

Similarly, I could ask the author of this blog why he writes posts that often fixate on the notion that other people "suck so much," but whatever answer he gave me would just boil down to "Because it amuses me to do so."

Whatever floats your boat, man. Whatever gets you through the day.

Anonymous said...

Tobold's wrong. Minimizing challenge is not correct. He is assuming that you are established or have friends that are established. The normal player has to pug it for a while which make the challenge much higher. Try farming heroics in pugs with gear that's meant for heroics.

The lazy people are the ones that are established. Rather than clearing raids they farm heroics. They won't bring in anyone < T8 so no one can get better.

This whole argument that the game is easier is mostly to try to keep people from getting to end game to preserve their social clique of the raider.

The changes to the game are for accessibility not to make the game easier.

If you really think the game is not challenging -- try dinging 80 and getting gear w/o bribing people or begging your friends to boost you. I doubt you could do it.

And if you think you can you probably gear check everyone and kick anyone in starter blues for UK heroic. Which makes me wonder the kicker has the skills to do UK heroic in blues like you are meant to.

The Rokk said...

"People love challenge. People don't mind losing and trying again. But people hate others see them lose."

I don't think it's so much that people don't want to be seen as a failure in the eyes of others. Failure means that they've actually tried something and come up short.

People don't want to be seen as inferior.

If I had a quarter for every time I checked out a class forum and saw people asking for the "best" whatever, I could fill a sock big enough to bludgeon a horse to death with it.

For example, people wanting to know what the best spec. Despite the fact that most specs are situational, you still get people who just want to know what the BEST spec is, gosh darn it. They want to have the BEST spec, so they too can be the BEST. They won't know why the spec is the best, only that some people on a forum board said it was.

Therefore, by extension, THEY are the BEST.

As far as the notion that people do things to reduce the challenge, I think it's more of people wanting to do things to reduce the effort. You can overcome a challenge with enough effort (through research, improving gear, improving tactics, etc). That doesn't seem to be the issue.

They just don't want to have to try so hard.

Oh, and to clarify: when I say "people", I mean that in a general sense. I know it doesn't apply to every single player, so for those who feel the burning indignation at my all-encompassing statement, well I guess I wasn't talking about you there, sunshine.

Tonus said...

"People love challenge. They just love "being liked and respected" more."

Those are not entirely connected, however. People who succeed at challenges are also liked and respected (and sometimes even worshiped, no matter how irrelevant their achievements). Very few people truly don't care how they are perceived.

It's just that many people lack the confidence to try something difficult because they think that failure is final and lasting. Confident people aren't afraid to fail because they know that eventually they will succeed and that people will forget the failure.

And of course, too many people are concerned with impressing people whose opinion shouldn't count for much. If you become upset when some random person that you'll never know laughs at your "n00bness" then you need to find ways to become less sensitive.

One said...

Later she built a prot warrior with 13K HP and 60% avoidance when the canon said "stamina gems to every slot" and all the tanks had 19K HP, 20% avoidance.
I remembering that my warrior was going into Wrath with around 15k hp, and as far as i can remember that was pretty nice if you were not Raiding Bt or Sunwell. So this numbers sound a little bit made up.

However i got your Point und think your right in that.

Markco said...

Great post :)

dozenz said...

Either your anecdotal story is completely fabricated to help justify your opinion (my guess) or else you have some serious problems to go so far to find out what your secretary was doing.

Anonymous said...

"I remembering that my warrior was going into Wrath with around 15k hp, and as far as i can remember that was pretty nice if you were not Raiding Bt or Sunwell. So this numbers sound a little bit made up."

Sorry, you're completely wrong. I had almost 25k as we were clearing SSC ...

Debbie Adams said...

"People love challenge. They just love "being liked and respected" more."

Well said Gevlon! Will you come to the US and run our government?

Karl said...

@Anonymous - M&S are 99.9% of the world's population.

There's also another reason for the gear reset of patch 3.2. If you saw GC's remarks, that the next patch will have 31 bosses.. yikes. They need the lower-end to catch up, so the final fight can begin. I'm assmuing those 31 bosses are also the reason they added the extension of raid lockouts.

Malstram said...

wow gevlon. you hit it on the nail :)

Jeff said...

Please no, I have enough people with am imperfect understanding of economics and social engineering in our government.

Your double standards are really beginning to annoy me. It is perfectly fine to find the path of least resistance to make 200k+g but the path of least resistance to getting gear equivalent to yours is the path of an M&S? I call bullshit.

Wooly said...

Great post. Though I still like your statement best, even though they're basically the same.

Indeed, all people like a challenge, but also, like Rokk said, nobody wants to be seen as inferior.

In fact, nobody, and that even includes people with an inferiority complex, really thinks he/she is inferior. Everybody is born with the deep down inside feeling that he's special/good. Even humble acting people (those might even be so convinced that they just humor their surroundings). This is simply explained by the fact that you can't really disagree with yourself, so to yourself, you're always right.

Problems occur when the direct surroundings (this is where the social part comes into play), doesn't, or doesn't want to, agree with this at all. Your surroundings are important to you if you need them in some way, and you usually do if only by human nature. Disagreement is the same as hostility and that brings complexes, hatred, etc. The best way fo fix this is to proof that you're right.

In reality it might be true that everyone is good at something, might even be something that doesn't exist yet. But we're not just doing something, so we have to be good at this, or a part of this. This game. Warcraft.

There are several ways to show that you're good. That is the direct way: showing you're top dps in a run f.e. And the indirect way: showing your trophies, your loot (or achievement).

The last way is nicest, because it reaches so much more people. Even when the fight is over, the trophies still remain.

So about the challenge. Everyone likes one indeed. Everybody also likes to prove that they can beat that challenge: the trophy. In fact, the trophy becomes the challenge, because beating the challenge is just proof to yourself, getting the trophy is proof to the world. This makes the trophy more valuable, so it doesn't matter how you get it, as long as you get it. Complaining to the omnipotent ones not excluded.

To conlude: in wow, the better trophies were restricted to those that could really beat the challenge. Those that couldn't, didn't internally agree with the fact that they couldn't, because to themselves, the aren't inferior. If the mind doesn't want to believe the truth, it will find excuses, and there's always an unlimited supply of those. They were as good as those that could in their own mind, so they deserve the trophies too.

And now those that couldn't have them too, without the challenge, and they can show 'm off convinced that people will buy it as proof of their self proclaimed greatness.

And I admit: the reason why I don't like all the idiots having those trophies is because it makes mine lose value. I did beat the challenge, but my proof doesn't prove it anymore. This makes me social, which I know I am, and we all are if we like it or not.

Wooly said...

Oh, and last but definitely not least: the challenge is now much easier to beat also with readily available gear that was meant to beat the next challenge.

Yaggle said...

Not only do I agree that most people don't want others to see them fail, but personally, I can relate 100%. It's also that I don't want to let people down. I tend to stay to myself to avoid these things.

@Brian - I agree that WoW does fulfill many people's needs to feel better than others. And I think it fulfils those types of needs across a broader spectrum. Some have a need to fall into the top 50%(this is how I feel) and there are rare individuals who have to be better than EVERYBODY(look out for these people!). Some have no such need and you may see these types involved in some bizzarre RP activities such as walking at slow speed around town half the day talking to townspeople NPCs. Well, good for them, too!(weirdos *COUGH*)

@Roy - I am glad somebody brought up playable goblins here. I can't wait to play one, and am very excited to find out what classes they can be.

Anonymous said...

Doing Spider Solitaire with 4 colors is f'ing impossible. With the amount of dumb luck involved, doesn't matter how many moves ahead you are looking to, it'll end in failure.

Wooly said...

@Yaggle

I think they'll be an exact copy of gnomes. Those races have always been most alike in more then one way. So no hunters, no priests or anything faith related (shamans, paladins, druids).

I really hope blizzard includes more character slots per server next patch.

Sydera said...

I love both Spider Solitaire and Tetris. I think what's so great about these games is that your competition is your own best performance--it has the capability to be immensely satisfying when you get a good score.

I also like Freecell, another solitaire game. Now, every game is beatable, so I like to play the ones I've failed over and over until I get them. There's nothing quite that satisfying in WoW! Warcraft has other pleasures, mostly social ones (even in a hardcore raiding guild). I enjoy the content, but what gets me through a night of wiping on hardmodes is my enjoyment of the people I play with.

Yazilliclick said...

I can agree with this. I recently came back to wow and playing my level 80 healer got in a regular old Naxx 10 man. Well I made quite a few mistakes, which I was sort of expecting. What bothered me about making the mistakes though was that others were witness to me both relearning my characters and relearning the instance (couldn't read up before hand because which raid was decided last minute).

Beyond just the social issue of seeing others make mistakes however there is the problem that there could be repercussions in game for those mistakes such as being booted out of a guild or developing a bad name on the server. Those I suppose can be somewhat alleviated by not pushing into a guild that is beyond your skill level however that also makes it harder to learn as you're not playing with players good enough to learn from (above your skill).

Anonymous said...

Along a similar vein:

Socials, as a group, dislike successful people. Since socials themselves are not rich, rich people 'cheat' or are 'lucky'.

Likewise, socials don't like highly skilled people. These people, to them, are 'lucky' because they are 'smart', or 'have no life' because they spend their time excelling in their field.

They dislike people that excel in game for the same reason. They 'have no life' even though, quite paradoxically, the social spends just as much time in game. They're just 'smart or lucky', where in fact all they did was some simple research.

The social has an 'upper limit' of performance they cannot exceed. This limit is self imposed, akin to them saying to themselves "I have a life, and am not one of those lucky assholes that succeed, that is why I can't do better than this level." That sentence is not expressed in words, of course, just a firmly held belief.

The manifestation, then, is that the social cannot perform in game better than their self image will allow them to. No education, no training, no cajoling or threatening to kick them from the guild will work.

Anonymous said...

In addition to not mentioning "fun", I also note the lack of the word "responsibility".

I mostly solo. I would LOVE to group more, but for two things:

1) I hate feeling constrained by others, which I often am in groups, as they pursue different goals, take forever to organize, etc.

and

2) I feel significant responsibility to any group I'm part of. This means not doing #1 to them and also fulfilling my role.

For me the problem with public failure is not that I can be seen, it is that my failure has impacted others.

When I'm in a group that I make no meaningful contribution to (for example: an instance run-through) I am bored and bothered that I'm not contributing. When I'm in a group that I can contribute to I feel pressure to do so. Should a group NEED me to contribute, failure is very bad.

This leads me to take a slow-and-sure approach to groups. When I hit 80 (from soloing) I intend to group with some new 80s in my guild and do normal instances to get gear and learn my role with enough room to tolerate a few mistakes but not so much that there is no challenge. Then I'll do heroics for better gear. Then I'll be willing to raid.

I understand that others feel far less responsibility to the group and are willing to just screw up repeatedly until they do it right. For myself, I prefer to take on moderate challenge if others are depending on me. (Solo I'm willing to take on more challenge, so long as I have the ability to learn from my mistakes. Instant death doesn't tell me what I did wrong)

Anonymous said...

The problem is not being lazy or not wanting challenge. The problem is the logistics associated and the time commitment.

If you are in a solid raiding guild, everyone shows up prepared and ready to go and each run is a solid attempt, even if it's a progression wipe.

When you PUG, you spend tons of time waiting, making up for M&S that are also in the raid, etc.

If you cannot commit to the time/schedule requirements of a solid raiding guild, your only option is to PUG.

PUGs can often go either way, pugged into a decent OS25+2d, and we cruised through it w/o a problem. It was mostly populated by a decent raid guild and we did not zerg, but did it normally. The other night, pugged into a Naxx25 run that spent 4 hours failing in Construct due to chow kiting issues.

Stayed w/ the fail PUG because it's a low pop server and that was the only thing going and my availability to raid is not great, so I had to take what I could get with my available time.

It's not a matter of wanting the easiest path, or being afraid for people to see me fail, but more situational. I would not be surprised if I'm not the only one with a family and kids that has similar constraints. I'd gladly spend the bit of raid time I have doing Ulduar 25 hard mode attempts.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

When I'm in a group that I make no meaningful contribution to (for example: an instance run-through) I am bored and bothered that I'm not contributing.


Why would you be bored? How can you be bored while you are trying the hardest you can? That makes no sense.

If you're the ringer, obliterating the content to boost the scrubs, then you might be bored. After all, there is no challenge. But if you're the scrub being boosted, the only way to be bored is to not even try.

There is still challenge to be had. Do better DPS then you have before, heal faster than before, be more cogent of the environment (stay out of the fire) than before.

Dahkeus said...

Eh, I kinda see it a slightly different way. I think people like many different types of challenges. Sometimes people like the challenge of making things easier, if that makes sense.

Consider the times people have done stupid things like build inventions to get a beer from the fridge without having to walk over and get it. Obviously, making these inventions takes a lot of effort and their usefulness may not last long enough to displace the work of making the invention in the first place.

My point is that seeking out ways to make things simpler and easier doesn't necessarily imply the user to be a 'stupid idiot'. If it did, then any attempt at efficiency would be labeled as stupidity.

I think the definition is drawn as follows: The smart can take the complex and make it simple and easy while the stupid and lazy can only deal with the simple and easy. Both seek the easier path, but one is simply capable and willing to deal with more in this journey.

Carl Lewis said...

Good post

Anonymous said...

"Why would you be bored? How can you be bored while you are trying the hardest you can? That makes no sense."

Why is god-mode boring? Why is it boring to push on the wall (even if you push as hard as you can)? Why is it boring to use a water pistol on a candle when the firemen have their hose also trained on it?

I can work my DPS on a training dummy - and doing a raid/instance designed for 60s with a bunch of 80s is much the experience.

How can you tell how good you are? That candle is extinguished...was your DPS enough? Was your rotation right for a "real" encounter?

I'm sure others enjoy the run-through experience. They also have no problem leaping straight into heroics with no real experience on how to manage their class or anything beyond a wowwiki read-through of the bosses. I'll even admit that these people learn faster than me and are soon succeeding...I just don't enjoy that middle part where I'm either baggage or a drag. *shrug*

I'm okay with this (though I'd be much happier if WoW had a way for characters of differing levels to play together meaningfully) but I wanted to point out some perspectives that Gevlon had missed.

Anonymous said...

/approve this path! Looking forward to the followups

Nobs said...

Very nice post Gevlon.

Anonymous said...

@brain
"An interesting related point is that I think it's important for those players at the top to see other players failing at content the top players have beaten. The public nature of failure in an MMO is a double edged sword. While you have to be thick-skinned enough to not care if people see you failing at first, you are ALSO given a great opportunity to enjoy your success by looking at the people around you who haven't been so successful."


such as sitting in dalaran for hous on end on your rusted protodrake?

RandomHunter said...

"It's also that I don't want to let people down."

Pretty close to how I feel.

I made a comment on Gevlon's post yesterday regarding the fact that I have avoided joining an instance for my level. It’s less about a fear of "sucking" or being looked down upon. I know my first time going in that I am probably going to mess up. I’ll probably mess up to some capacity on my 10th time in as well. It is inevitable as I am imperfect.

My only real "fear" (for lack of a better word) is that others in the group will suffer because of my inexperience.

One said...

Sorry, you're completely wrong. I had almost 25k as we were clearing SSC ...

Unbuffed? I don't think so :)

A Sunwell geared tank, fully entchanted and gemmed for stam, with stam trinkets, with sdk + fortitude + flask + food + mdw + tauren racial + commanding shout would reach 27248.

So how would anyone reach 25k HP with gear thats so much bader than the Sunwell stuff?
25k HP would be even buffed a little bit too much for a Tank with pre bt/hdz3 gear

Anonymous said...

Every now and again I think you've gone off the deep end, and then you write up a gem like this one.

Bristal said...

The alleged secretary minimized her screen quickly simply because she felt guilty wasting work time, and feared for her job. You kind of read a lot into that.

Blizzard simply wants to appeal to as wide a range of players, playstyles, time available, etc. as possible. As well as allow all players to progress in the story and see the content they paid and continue to pay for (which is Blizzard's goal, after all).

The only way to do that seems to be to release content which is very challenging, then slowly reduce the challenge over time. Either by nerfing the bosses, or allowing players to gear up more easily.

Allowing easier access to uber-cool gear keeps a wide range of players happy, and stimulates the better players to progress yet again.

Despite the fact that you often reduce so many complex behaviors to M&S, in this case you've over complicating very simple behavior.

Michael said...

70% of men think they are above-average at sport.

In reality the average person sits at the 50th percentile ranking.

Most people can deal with not being in the top 1%, but they'd like to think they can be top 10-20% if they try.

I only stopped playing FPS games after doing some LAN stuff with my friends and getting beaten by everyone including later on by the guy who'd never played before that day. Instead I advocated changing to strategy games rather than twitch games.

Crucifer said...

As others have said, this is a really good post, and sums up the notion of "challenge" very well.

Of course, part of my endorsement of your post today is because the term "M&S" is now aimed at people who are "idiots" and "lazy bastards" rather than the broader term of "socials" that includes me.

:p

Thaumaturgos said...

There's an old selling addage that states that most people avoid trying something new in business due to FoF.

FoF is the acronym for Fear of Failure. And as you state, it is not failing in one's own presence (though a small minority have an issue with that): it is failing in front of others.

Successful salespeople have managed to resolve this issue - or never had it in th efirst place. The same is true for Raiders. Of course skill matters; but overcoming FoF matters more.

Ayonel said...

@ All the people critizing Gevlon due to M & S or his interpretation of the game:

You are absolutely wrong, and/or simply haven't read this blog enough to understand his perspective.

M & S: These are the people, not just like you and me, but the people that make WoW miserable for people like you and me. They are the guy who whispers me to see if I'll dps Naxx 10, then admonishes me that I'd *better* have 2k dps, not realizing, apparently, that in the guild raid (25 man Naxx) I was #1 dps, and he was #17. They are the people who can't be bothered to play well, despite the fact that playing well, as Gevlon demonstrates, doesn't cost anything, requires minimal effort, and by almost any measure increases enjoyment.

Sanity Check: Don't you enjoy a game or sport more when you win? I know I do.

Fun: Yes, the game is supposed to be fun. My sigoth plays for fun, and because of that, we are almost incompatible playin WoW. "Why are you specced like that?" "Why aren't you using this shot rotation?" Sigoth doesn't want to hear it. Just wants to have fun, and complain about how often death comes.

Now to my comment:

Last night I logged on to run the daily heroic. I let the guild talk me into a try at the new raid, even though it's an off night, because, "We need your dps". We wiped, and wiped, and wiped. There was no learning, no fun, no loot. We weren't making progress. Then they went off and ran Ulduar, which I declined, because, well, that is scheduled for tonight, and I wanted some sleep.

So to challenge: Yes, I like a good challenge. And I don't mind wiping alot if we are making progress. However, I, for one, do not confuse 'raiding', in which you assault the instance methodically and make progress, with 'repeatedly wiping on the first boss because your raid group can't handle it'.

As antithetical as it is to me as a semi-serious raider, I would rather run 1-2 heroics every night and get some emblems so I can get better gear than participate in a 'raid' in which no progress is made.

My idea of having fun in this game is playing my character very well. This requires having the best gear I can get. So while running chain heroics may not be challenging, it is necessary, and it is rewarding in the sense that you can get some remarkable gear from it.

Now if only those guys in my guild with the Tier 8 sets would break 1k dps, maybe we could down KT.

Vaelin said...

Gevlon,
You may be aware, or at least interested, that there's loads of sports psychology studies that draw similar conclusions.

One that I was actually interviewed about in my younger years when I was a fairly prominent competitor and coached classes at my university is fencing. Particularly the differences between men's and women's events.

There was at least one study involving how people sometimes care how they are perceived (even by their opponent), and how this affects their confidence, and how their confidence affect their ability... especially their ability to properly make their normal risk/reward snap decisions that are required in that sport (particularly epee).

Nils said...


Please no, I have enough people with am imperfect understanding of economics and social engineering in our government.

Your double standards are really beginning to annoy me. It is perfectly fine to find the path of least resistance to make 200k+g but the path of least resistance to getting gear equivalent to yours is the path of an M&S? I call bullshit.


Exactly. You need to reflect upon this whole matter a little bit more, Gevlon.

As a hint:
There is no inherent difference between beating a challenge and circumventing it.

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