Greedy Goblin

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"We are still rolling" fallacy

It's a kind of sunk cost fallacy, but not the same. I fell for it in the unlucky Ulduar run. You have a plan, a goal. Mine were clearing U25 including several hardmodes including firefighter. We invited the people at 18:30. We were 7. Ouch. 7 is far from 25. Yet the people started coming from trade chat, one every 1-2 minutes. With this ratio we could fill the raid by 19:20. 50 minutes idling in Dalaran, inspecting people, handling "lol im imba" people with empty/terrible gems and enchants. But, as I told, every 1-2 minutes we found an acceptable.

We went in. The RL talked to the wrong NPC, no FL+towers. Mistakes happen. We could leave and reform the raid as not saved, but hey, we already killed the trash. FL down, go to Ignis. People with terrible DPS, some died in fire patches. Do they have any chance to do firefighter? But hey, we killed a boss! Razorscale similar, go to XT. Heartbraker lost due to low DPS, but he died, and no one left, we are still rolling, right? Someone pulled trash and 2/3 raid died. Is it OK to ninjapull and almost wipe to old content trash? Of course not, but hey, we are still rolling! We didn't even attempt Steelbraker, the Assembly of iron is down in normal mode with 8 alive. But they are down, we are still rolling!

You see the running theme here: "we are still rolling". It is accepting (and continuing on having) unacceptably low positive results just because "giving up" is bad. The "quitter", the "guy who gives up" is a bad social mark. People respect the guy who keeps on going.

Did we still roll? Yes we did. We hit no brick wall. Every guild that did Ulduar hard modes did it first in normals. People need practice. Every boss we kill increase the overall knowledge of the people about Ulduar, increasing the chance of success next time. We did progress towards our goal!

The problem is that with that speed we'll do firefighter later than Sindy HM. The speed of our progression was very slow. Yet the fact that we are getting achievements (both as silly spam as in the real sense), kept us moving forward. If I wrote a sentimental post about it, we could even come out with positive reflections as "the guys who did not give up and finally succeeded". Except it would be a damn lie. We would be "the guys who spent 2 months in Ulduar when ICC has 25%". Our progress rate was damn low and we should have abandoned it. The "sry g2g" retards were smarter than us.

The big difference between "sunk cost" and "still rolling" fallacies is that the latter case the project itself is not lost, the current way is lost. You can find a new, more effective way. For example U25 can be done if we wait until enough lowbies grow up. They will be "undergeared" (still better geared than anyone was when I did hard modes with Windwalkers), but they won't be attracted to void zones like flies to a dungheap. Or we can run 10 man first, and plan every 25 man fight using the trade chat trash simply as power multiplier: "And you 10 always stack on the diamond and do what he does, you 3 spam heal on the raid".

You must analyze not just the success chance of the project, but its speed also. It's often worth to abandon and start over. Don't let the peer pressure make you "the guy who don't give up". The "stupid kiddie leaver" who "DC"-ed after the first Ayu wipe was doing something happy when we were 8-manning Hodir.

Time is money friend!

PS: the local M&S keep on giving us good laugh:


Drakenrahl said...

Don't confuse the local trolls with the M&S, one knows he's being an idiot, the other is suffering from an oddly faced shaped dent in his keyboard.

thenoisyrogue said...

Tell me that screenshot is a joke, please, I'm begging you.

Squishalot said...

I think it's exactly the same as 'sunk cost', but it's only a fallacy if you fall for it.

The sunk cost is the time you invested in the path you're taking, the 50 minutes idling in Dalaran, the wasted raid lockout. The longer you spend in the crappy PuG, the more time you're investing, and the bigger the 'waste' if you're going to need to come back next week with a fresh group to redo it all.

It still fits 'sunk cost' quite well.

Treeston said...

Actually, not everybody was doing "something useless".
I was in the instance for the Val'anyr fragments, and those drop from any boss, no matter how "bad" the progress was.
Even if I had quit the raid, there would have been no other raid to run that evening. And I was already saved to Ulduar 25, so the most efficient way to "progress" on Val'anyr was to keep going despite the retards.
Indeed, I got a fragment off Iron Council (the boss we 5manned in the end, ironically).

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: not exactly. The motivation in the classic case is to not lose the investment. Here it's the sub-conscious acceptance of a low progress and NOT calling it failure, just because it's "progress".

Klepsacovic said...

Some people enjoy the struggle. I don't, but that's their choice to make.

The "still rolling" thought process is, ironically enough, based on impatience. If they leave now, they are guaranteed to have to wait until the reset. Staying, they may move slowly, but surely faster than waiting a week.

Ultimately it's like any market: people work for the wage they'll accept. Go back a few days to your "I doesn't work on my server post", how people willing to work for lower gold per hour undercut those who work for higher. The same way, people who accept slow progress will take the place of people who leave for faster raids next week.

Bobbins said...

I haven't gone back to the guild rules but don't they discourage people 'deserting' half way through a raid period.
Badly performing raids will not get players to join them.

Raid leaders should have the ability to call a raid to an end early using their judgement.

@Treeston read your comments from the other raiders point of view. You seem to be saying you didn't care about how the raid went so long as you got your fragments. I know this is not what you meant and you organised the raid to succeed not to fail for everyone but yourself.

Nees said...

Blizzard is even enforcing this with the dungeon deserter debuff. As soon as I realize the LFG tool grouped me with a bunch of idiots (which usually takes from a couple of seconds, to a first pull max.), I quit the group and log off (unless I've got something else to do in WoW). I've got other things to do with my time than being stuck in a dungeon with idiots, even if it's only for 15 minutes.

ardoRic said...

Yesterday I had one of these moments.

Ruby Sanctum came out, you all might have heard about it, and my guild was planning on jumping in, on heroic if possible. While people were not online, I decided to go take a peek with my DK on a random pug. That was mistake number 1.

We cleared trash (with some people dying to it), and the mini-bosses (also, with a lot of people dying to them). On the mini-boss that clones himself and whirlwinds (sometimes both copies at the same time, as I came to find out), I ended up tanking both copies and we prevailed (even if half the raid was dead). We were killing stuff, so we continued.

Last mini boss has a debuff that takes away armor. The other tank was silent about it and when I noticed it he had it stacked quite a lot. We switched, he went to the adds with very little armor, he died. We managed, but as we were killing stuff (and it was all new stuff) we kept going, despite the obvious failures we were seeing.

Halion! Now that's a nice fight. Of course the other tank had no clue what "tank him sideways not with his ass covering half the space" meant, so after a few tries I was tanking him on phase 1. After only a couple of tries we were at phase 2, and even got through it. Didn't last long in phase 3 however. We then proceeded to wipe endlessly to failures on phase 2. Again and again. But fueled by the relative success of that early try we kept bashing our heads at it. Even I was failing a bit (having the debuff inside the Twilight Realm is not as visible as having it in the physical, so I was failing to notice it) once in a while, but we weren't going nowhere. Leader quits, we find a replacement. Didn't go much better. We needed to replace much more than just the leader. After a few more wipes to utter failures, the new leader calls it.

What a big waste of time that was. The only decent thing I learned was the trash and the mini-bosses.

After I was done there, my guild had enough people, and enough friends were online that we could head out to RS on our own. Attendance is an issue nowadays, so even with a couple of friends in we were missing a tank and a healer, so we pugged them.

Trash was a breeze, and so were mini-bosses. Of course I knew a bit better what was going on, but the first reaction to the trash was "oh look, that one has mana. I'm guessing he should die first", and after a couple of packs we even tried some CC to ease up on the pesky Invokers. On the pug people were AoE'ing and dying like flies.

For the fun of it, we started off with a couple of tries on heroic, and after getting Phase 1 down, phase 2 was killing us too quickly for us to learn something from it. Since it was late, we went on to finish him on normal.

Couple of tries in and we were on Phase 3 with a couple of DPS down which ended up screwing us. Notice that phase 2 wasn't that much of an issue, it was learned and executed almost flawlessly in just the first time we got there. Tank DCs and the pugged tank failing to notice his job was to go out on p3 made short work of a couple of our tries.

After our best try one of us had to leave, so we scrubbed it off for the night and will try to put the group together on Friday to bring Halion down. If we had time for a couple more tries, he'd sure be down.

Had it been the other way around, guild run first, pug run later, I am sure I wouldn't have sticked with the pug that long. They were just failing, wasting time on stupid mistakes. I had not seen how a decent group handled Halion, so that pug was the best group I'd seen at it and since we had killed stuff and had a relatively good try, I was under the illusion that we might have made it, so I kept rolling and wasting precious time. If I had ditched the stinking pug earlier, I could've started the guild group sooner and under the same time constraints we would've killed it since we'd have the time for those two extra tries.

The "we are rolling" fallacy screwed me yesterday.

ardoRic said...

Whoa... one of the post versions actually got through. That was having so many errors (due to how long it was) that I gave up. I imagine Gevlon saw a couple of equal posts, so I'm sorry for that mess up.

About your M&S pic, that's a very strange one. On my realm there was a guy obviously trolling: "LFM RS 10 hc. /w archi or no invite" (yes, "archi" is common on my realm as a short for achievement... don't ask me why)

If I were to make a 25-man RS pug, I would ask for the 10 man achievement of all puggers, so it's not totally out of line. There was a dude (the only one on my realm who can pug "hard" 25-man content) looking for people for RS25, asking for ICC25 hm achievements. His armory tells me he didn't kill. Either the requirement wasn't enough, or it was too much (couldn't make a group).

Your M&S seems to be making a real group (he's asking for specific spots) but he's asking for achievement. I really hope he was just a "smart" troll (one that goes beyond the obvious).

nonameform said...

Your local M&S who ask for RS achievement to join the run on the day of release are not that local, since I saw plenty on my realm too. I didn't bother to do RS yet, but I do plan to do it on 25 man heroic on Sunday with my guild. Wonder how much of a mess it will be.

I find it quiet annoying that after a month of Firefighter attempts, we finally downed Mimiron and went straight to Algalon who died in 40 minutes after we got our first key to the Celestial Planetarium while it was still relevant content, but we managed to wipe numerous times in ICC on easier bosses (not even on heroic) because we carried people who had hard time figuring out tactics. It seems that in Cataclysm I will be either raiding 10 mans, go to Alliance side, do a server transfer or quit the game.

ExpendableTank said...

"We are rolling" is no longer cutting it, although I think that was Gevlon's underlying point about it anyway, it will roll for only so long.

Been in a guild for almost a year now, a guild that has been known to be fairly competent and respected raiders. Some months(6±) back guild leader drops and hands off to another, majority of officers disagree and exodus. One of former officer over 'some months' siphons off people one at time.

It was during 'some months' where I have been trying to keep things together, 'still rolling.' ICC10's was going twice weekly for a while, mains and then alts. Having to pug some for the alt run which is fine. Then it happened yet again, Grandmaster Siphoner 450/450 skill, manages to take 4 at once, basically crippling the core team, just when I thought we were skeleton crew sheesh.

So after all this, still trying to keep 'rolling' can't even fill a whole raid team with guild members. Guild name is tarnished due to well known talented people having gone other places. Have up and comming newbies working, but stuck in a rut.

Stuck in a rut wiping on Putricide, Blood Princes and Dreamwalker, we can't keep a solid team to play together and have some cohesion, can't get new people that have any skill quickly enough to make it possible. And every post I see of Undergeared doing what my skeleton crew is failing at, I am definately seeing that something is wrong...not really rolling anymore.

So to point and to stay on piste,

What do you do when 'still rolling' stops working? I would hate to be a sheep and drop and leave.

Louise said...

That screenshot was a joke, it was me who did it to see who would reply, I can give you some screenshots of the people who did reply btw.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why people stayed if they came for hardmodes.

I don't normally leave, but if I come for hardmodes, and everyone's doing regular, I hope I'd leave.

If you came for hardmodes and got none, than I'm not sure what progress you're mentioning. If the progress is the amount of time you can stay online, might as well stand in dalaran and read trade chat.

Tully said...

The sunk costs are the time investment and the raid id. However, with the changes to how raid id's will function in Cataclysm, I see more people leaving poor pugs as they will have a chance to recycle the raid id instead of it being a one week lockout.

Moxter said...

@thenoisyrouge I don't think that the SS is a joke as there's lots on my realm Eu Ragnaros who says you need 5.8k gs and Achievement >.<

Amyiss said...

Actually, it occurred to me last night that your blue guild should try RS. Every single PuG group I've seen in trade is stuck on Halion (it is NOT because he does a lot of damage, actually he's quite pitiful - it's because no PuG pays attention to the giant purple beam that instadeaths the raid even though they get a 5 second warning from the default ui!), but I was able to direct my 10 man, who had never set foot in before, to kill him in three tries.

If nothing else it helps dispel 'you've done this content a million times before on mains'. Most of the WoW population is too stupid to kill it at all.

Anonymous said...

I think that the reason M&S don't try as hard as they could is because of the Curse of the Commons, i.e. if they try, they get 25/25 of the reward, but if they instead get a cup of coffee, they get 24/25 of the reward+coffee. It is a fallacy here, but then the M&S aren't noted for intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Progress is always progress towards a goal. The only way that "we are still rolling" is compelling is if your goals are vague or you compromise on them.

I went on a Naxx achievement run last week and we wiped fights where we failed to do what was necessary. It worked because everybody signed on to the same goal and knew that just killing the boss wasn't enough. This weekend, we're going for Undying and you can bet that we'll call it if somebody dies.

It sounds like some of your Ulduar crew were not as committed to your hardmode goals; given how long you stayed, neither were you.

Treeston said...

@Amyiss: Halion is dead.

@everybody: Please make sure any post from Treeston is coming from this account here (check the profile ID). Apparently somebody thought it funny to post under my name.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon's problems weren't due to lack of "Commitment". Over the past month, I've PUGged the entire meta, including Algalon in 4 three hour sessions, with about 8 regulars per raid.

I screened for T9 gear, and regular Ulduar achievements.

Some of those hard modes (Firefighter, Yogg) took 2 hours. However, after the first pull, I had no doubt that the group could do them - because (almost) everyone in the raid was capable of playing their characters well enough to meet the checks.

They weren't capable of executing the fight. However, it is quite possible to teach someone how to execute a fight over 2 hours.

It is quite impossible to teach someone how to stop doing 3k DPS in tier 9 gear, AND teach them how to execute a fight in those same 2 hours.

I'd have quit after seeing the group miss the Ignis achievement. Nothing short of "HC raid guild leader" approach to those people, their willingness to be subjected to it, and a few weeks of effort would improve them to the point that they'd be able to do the hard modes.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a healthy approach to take to clearing content. Some PUGs are dead in the water and need to be called early. A good raid leader will pick up on social queues and other factors to determine when this is necessary. However, you do not have a simple conditional expression to determine whether an investment was worthwhile or not. One factor in the complex algorithm of when to "keep on trucking" and perhaps the only important one, is whether you're enjoying yourself. Yes, this game is lucrative for those who exploit it in that fashion. Sure, you can extrapolate and theorise with the content as a source of inspiration. But the primary reason people play this is for fun. Skills developed in this game are rarely directly transferable to a real world scenario. If you're playing a video game to better yourself... Don't.

If actually enjoying yourself is less of a concern than something else, then take the example of Paragon. They spent in excess of 100 attempts, spanning hours, wiping on the Lich King heroic 25 before downing him, week after week. Other guilds have probably racked up more attempts on him without downing him. Perhaps they don't fit your criteria, but dedication to a team effort pays off eventually. Through increased understanding of encounters (which benefits members who will regularly run this content with you again) and also through luck with RNG crits, procs and spawns.