Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The PuG is getting more and more active in premade BGs and WG, preparing for the upcoming rated BGs. We win OK in premade BGs (where we are the 70-100% of the team), but in WG we win less than we’d like to.

As the guild leader and also as someone who don’t keep his opinion untold, I was very vocal in the /raid, offering strategies. Unlike the old times the victories rather felt “OK, it’s done” than victories, the defeats were very frustrating. On Sunday I had to log off after another WG defeat because I was too upset to be useful in the raid. I’ve lost WGs several times in my life but only lately (and in the late days of Inglorious Gankers) did it affect my happiness. Also several guildies became grumpy or passive-aggressive over it.

We discussed several strategies and the team obviously tried their best to follow the orders. I was open to discussion and always incorporated other people’s ideas into the strategy, knowing that a tyrannical leader is a bad one. Still we did not chain-win and we felt bad. It took way too long time to figure it out: it’s not bad leadership that poison our WG. It’s leadership itself.

The defeats themselves are on the M&S. You can’t win if half of the raid are rushing after the first red letters and spend most of their time in the GY, due to the combination of having 0 resi, no gems/enchants, keyboard turning and attacking 10 hordies alone „lol i haz tenacity i pwn”.

But the M&S is not new in any WG. Several times I was in a small team, holding the last tower and losing because the other 20 people couldn’t get in 30 mins (it’s hard if they build catapults). Several times I waited patiently in a hidden demo but some moron with a single catapult „assaulted” the same wall trailing a dozen hordies on me. Several times with a few guildies we held SR, just to see all other points lost and the 4 vehicle spots are occupied by catapults that hunt hordies. (Noticed the running theme here?). We lost in all these events. But never we felt defeated. Our little team did its objective. If only the others wouldn’t be morons, we’d win. It's like the tank and healer who are rightfully proud that no one died until enrage because of the "i haz life" DPS.

Introducing leadership, moving teams on the map increased our success a bit. Decreased our experience a lot. The M&S is still useless, but we are no longer doing one job well. We rush between objectives, trying to fill the holes that the mindless cata-drivers create. „Westpark ... turn back, EP now ... oh no, SR lost again get it back!” Our members are running around desperately trying to catch up with the situation while I’m spending more time watching the map and writing chat than actually doing my job. At the end, regardless won or lost, we are exhausted and frustrated. Especially me, the leader. After all the others at least can blame me, but who do I blame?

How could I motivate the M&S? The answer is obvious: I cannot. How could we pick up the slack for them: we cannot, it's PvP, the opponent is not a facerollable scripted mob. We can only hope that the horde have more lolling idiots drooling at the graveyard. However we can do objectives well, practice, do our part for winning. The rest is not in our hand. We get or honor points (useful for new members) and practice for rated BGs.

Leadership is taking responsibility for something big. It’s impossible to do it right, exactly because the M&S. No leader can make someone do something he cannot do. This is the reason of the heart attacks of managers: they try so hard to make unmotivated and incompetent people do something important that it kills them. Literally. And before they die, they make the life of those miserable who are actually doing it right, since they have to pick up the slack after the M&S and unjustly called "you morons" just because the other guys in the group are morons.

It won’t kill me. And I won’t make my guildies miserable. I will not give any more orders in WG and BGs. No one should. I will make simple macros that help true newbies understand what’s going on. We’ll make small teams that discuss non-conflicting jobs like „we hold south”, „we hold SR”, „we attack from BT”, and all will act on its own, focusing on the task at hand. Doing something that is doable but hard, needs skill and immersion is flow, fun by definition. They can be victorius in their task even if the other crucial tasks fail, due to the M&S doing them.

Intelligent people don’t need leaders, all they need is some organizing to not double cross each other. They know their own job better than any leader could. M&S don’t want and can’t use leaders. The problem is not bad leadership. It’s leadership itself.

Leadership does magic with socials who are not M&S, but without a leader have no motivation to do anything productive, as their natural motivation is to ape-groom each other. So if I assume that the guild contains socials who need such motivation I has to be a leader. But hey, if I assume that the guild contains socials who need such motivation, I can disband it now as it failed all that it was created for. So no more leadership! I hated it when I was lead and hate it when I lead. So why should I do it?

Note: administering objective rules like kicking lolling guild members is not leadership. It does not need decisions, just the ability to read the rules and compare them to behaviors. A bot could do it.

Before you'd start commenting that "a good leader could find the way to motivate those people who I wrongfully dismiss as M&S", please look at the specimen that Treeston found and think again:


Wildhorn said...

I totally agree with this post Gev. Just like my last 2 AB games, I was not telling people what to do (they would not listen) but I was capping LM and from there, using my hunter skill to watch from distance every nods (while defending LM when needed), calling the amount of horde at X node and how many was incoming to Y node while calling any of our nod left undefended. Believe it or not, we won both of these AB with 4/5 nodes. People were acting according to it, allowing us a win. Leading PvP never give good result, but being tactician and keeping your troups informed of the battlefield situation helps alot (when they are not M&S of course).

nonameform said...

I remember that one time in WG when I almost "soloed" it. While rest of my raid was fighting Alliance on the west side of the fortress, I came from the front and managed to get the fortress door (the one that's near relic) to 10%, but we lost anyway, since there was no defense at south.

WG turned into a complete waste of time. I was getting upset after almost every battle and so I stopped doing it several months ago, even though I probably had more victories there than most of my guildies at the time. However, almost every single time (except for weekly resets) I've spent sitting at the south and trying to hold the towers. Some times it worked and we won just because we had that one tower at 5%, but many times it failed, as we had Alliance going from all sides, shooting at towers from under the hill etc.

On my server we are badly outnumbered, but we still won against the odds. Lag is a real nightmare, but even with 5-7 second delay it is possible to win.

However, trains and constant "go west" - "go east" and "let's rush" strategies make WG battles quiet annoying. Several times I've seen people asking for a promotion, so they can post tactics and after they received promotions they just spammed raid warnings. Needless to say "don't go south, just rush" rarely worked, but after yet another loss all they said was "let's try next time. we almost won now."

That "almost won" strategy relies only on "luck". Most of the time they hope to get to the relic before the train is outnumbered by Alliance. In 10 minutes time no one has a chance to get to the fortress from the west side since Alliance players are already at the workshop. By the end of battle, if no one was defending the south, Horde is pushed back to the starting spawn point.

Riryoku said...

I agree there Wildhorn, when facing a near equal opposition, a good tactician can make a difference. People don't take orders (why should they) but keeping them informed in the right way, is almost as good as giving actual orders. I can't count the times Stables/Farm are left undefended after the initial cap, or the times we get a leader that goes for the "cap 3 and defend" which is a losing strategy as it leaves you open for zerging.
I also make a habit of checking the raid levels in AB, when you get 5 70s 3 71s and 3 72s, you know you're gonna lose, at least you can try to make the best out of it.
Gevlon, when you want morons to stay away from the stealthing siege, you have to make the rest of your team focus all attacks (lie if you have to) or have two stealthing sieges (one at the front gate, one west) or make your group stay together.

Foo said...

I saw the picture. So what?

How to teach those that don't want to learn

Leadership can be painful, frustrating and time consuming, or it can be rewarding and enjoyable. It works best given time.

It may be obvious that you can not lead the lolkids, but that speaks as much to your leadership style as it does to the kids themselves.

Appealling to someone's rationality when they are in an emotional space seems somewhat counter-productive.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has different ideas of what they enjoy and what they are good at. But I am sorry, but this post is what a M&S of leadership would say.

The best guild on your realm and the worst guild on your realm had access to the ***exact same people.*** Just because most of the people could be dramatically better, does not mean that leadership doesn't matter. A leader can't change human nature or gravity or the speed of light. But good leaders can accomplish more than bad leaders with the same people. It is not easy and it is not a science. But some people hire engineers and make an iPod; others make Zunes.

I remember TBC AV and people were talking about the optimal strategy. The optimal strategy is what is the most that can be accomplished with the players in the BG. Not a guild premade; Not what some M&S leader wished they were, not what they could be or should be but what they are.

BTW, your "never felt defeated" seems like another M&S comment. I am sure the M&S you accidentally pug with similarly never feel defeated; it also is always someone else fault: raid leader, tank, Blizzard for making fire too hot, no lifers. Feeling good about your performance and performing well are not really related.

Visalyar said...

@Foo you missed the positive part of the feedback...
In terms of the BG & WG problem. The most succesfull strategy is, like Wildhorn already pointed out, giving information. No matter if it´s basic or the enemy´s movement.
I know the depressing look of an 16´s catapult swarm in the last 5 minutes of WG. On my server Alliance is 1 to 3 superior to horde in WG most of the times (yes I´m playing horde). The bigest chance to win is by splitting into small groups of experienced players aiding the "casuals" in forming little herds of zerging players at the right places.
Trying to be a "Leader" in the classic term just makes you vulnerable to M&S via the raid channel.

Anonymous said...

"Do as thou wilt, that will be the whole of the law."

How very anarchist of you.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: I'm not anarchist. I acknowledge 2 type of leaderships:

* democratic: the leaded ones elect a leader to prevent endless discussions
* capitalist: I pay your salary, I tell you what to do

WG is neither

Derrek said...

That's why I don't get along into WoW, I mostly play solo content. There are way too many retards. Trying to empathize with them is frustrating and annoying - it should be avoided. This also applies to RL!

A good leader can make a difference no matter the quality of people he leads, but being the teacher for the lolkids? Well, no thanks, I'd say...

Visalyar said...

I´ve got a little question about the retarted players on your server(s). I´m from a german server and in normal LFG-Tool there´ll be 5-10% of retards. ~ 60% casuals and rest raiders. 60% of these types are assholes and flamers spread ofer the whole quality spectrum.
In BG´s we get 50% of useless scum 50% of at least motivated players & serious gamers.
In WG alls comes together and you get about 25% serious PvPers, about 50% PvE but eventually motivated ans 25% useless catapults-classics.
I´ve read the whole M&S-fun stuff at your Blog and I´m honestly shocked about "that´s the way I roll" spellpower-DK. Well okay at the start of WoLK this typ of casual was wide spread. But today i´d see 1-5% of our 80´s serverpopulation in this area. I don´t count the slightly misspected and misinformed here (not hitcapped, experience rating and missing raidtools in skilltrees).
Is ist really that bad on UK realms? you have my honest simpathy at that point.
(a bit off-topic I know ans apologizing for that "misdirected" comment)

Iris said...

A few years ago I was in an AV and at the beginning someone posted a macro with directions. Group 1-2: Does x. Group 3-4: Does y. Etc. It worked like a charm and we won in record time. I'm not sure if it would always work (guess it depends on the level of organisation of your opponents too), but it was a whole lot better than everyone running around like headless chickens.

Anonymous said...


These 2 types of leadership can't work if morons do not exist though! Think about it!
(Different Anonymous)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are taking the wrong approach (for your sanity and for your chance of winning). Traditional leadership works fine when you have a competent team and can count on everyone to fill their role with skill.

In BGs you have no such guarantee. In fact, you must count on the fact that 90% of the team is M&S and plan accordingly. Choose a task that 1) will never be performed by M&S, and 2) will increase the probability of winning. Then gather any competent teammates and perform that task well.

For example, in AV, while everyone else fights mid-field or wipes endlessly on the enemy commander, you shall capture a tower and hold it (all alone, if need be). It isn't exciting or glorious, but it increases the probability that the M&S might manage to defeat the commander while mindlessly zerging.

Anonymous said...

@ Riryoku

Hold 3 and defend isn't a losing strategy in AB, it's by far the best way to beat an equal or better team. If your opponents resort to zerging (i.e. 10+ players going for 1 base) then they should lose badly. We quesd Ab as a group of 5-7 people all day yesterday and qued into 4 full premade groups. Our record was 3-1. The one loss was to a very well geared and organised team that was aiming for we had it all along, they won the bg but we easily prevented the achieve. The other 3 we had comfortable wins by 3 capping farm, lm, bs. Defending in AB is the strongest position (due to the respawn points). By calling incs on vent we were able to reinforce any position that was zerged, defending the healer at each node made it impossible for them to wipe the group or cap before the 30 second spawn window and if they overcommit to a node we can not only stalemate them there we can also snatch other nodes (not with the intent of holding it but to deny them the points until they recap it). The biggest mistake people make in AB versis an equal team is to overstreach their forces and get wiped in multiple locations.

Campitor said...

Throughout life I've noticed there are basically 3 categories of workers:
1. Self motivated and willing to learn on their own or by seeking guidance from those that are experienced.
2. Neutral - not self motivated but willing to take direction and/or work hard.
3. Unmotivated, not willing to learn, reluctant to do more than what is absolutley necessary to keep employed (and sometimes not willing to do any work at all).

I don't begrudge those who fall into category #2 and I wouldn't consider them moron or slackers. I think they are people who haven't been exposed to self motivation or cognitive techniques that show them how to break down a task/objective in order to complete it successfully. Once shown these techniques they move into category #1. Category #3 can't be taught, will give any excuse to justify their laziness or unwillingness to learn. They will often spout lines like "It's not my company - why should I care?" or "I'm getting paid the same regardless if I work hard or not". They are unwilling to accept that hard work/self motivation has benefits; they feel those working hard are either "kissing ass" or "suckers".

I believe the M&S label appropriately belongs to those in 3rd category, and is incorrectly used for those in category #2.

@foo - you cannot motivate people in category #3 - sorry but your Jedi mind tricks will not work on them if they are unwilling to learn and accept any criticism even if given in a positive format. Some people just don't want to pull their own weight or get beyond being barely acceptable in whatever environment they are in.

If #3 could truly be turned into #2 or #1 types then the private sector would have eliminated them all and their occurence in the workplace would be rare. But since management is also filled with #1/2/3 types they will try to force people in category 1to improve those in #2 and #3. So the type 1 workers get burnt out because it is not possible to motivate #3. Trying to elevate the performance of #2 isn't so bad but it's still extra work added to your own workload. Training people takes effort.

Gevlon had appropriately identifed the problem and the solution. #3 in BG's will never try to learn so why keep trying - better to ignore them and keep trying to improve your own game and strategy.

Tonus said...

There is a player on horde side of our server (which has a big imbalance in favor of the alliance) who tries to organize WG whenever he goes, and has had success over time because the only time the horde win are when he goes. Even most of the M&S listen to his instructions now, except for the occasional idiot who complains about it, then shuts up when horde win in under 10 minutes.

What you have is a lot of M&S who are waiting for someone to show results so that they can jump on the bandwagon and share the success. Until that happens, they make no effort of their own to win, preferring to run around like idiots and whine in raid chat.

Joshua said...

I've been thinking about your un-winnable WG scenario due to the stress of leadership. I completely agree with your statements with the exception that the only solution is to have no leader. Surely there has to be a Goblin way.

My initial thought is to abuse the M&S mechanics. "lol i has life" people don't play for victory but rather social praise; "I validate you are awesome complete stranger!" To abuse this you only require a certain number of people in a BG premade pointing out people doing stuff wrong, but commenting in a social way. "lolkid you need to defend the LM" "why is lolkid sucking so much" "Lolkid don't you know how to play AB?" "Lolkid aren't you able to understand english? Guard LM" Multiple comments from different people in a BG at the same time should create enough social pressure/consensus that they must bend to the will of the mob or rage quit (at least that is my theory). Really they don't even have to be good they can just stand there and present a target for the enemy so the real players are able to assault a defense with less chance of being directly attacked.

WG provides a more direct method of gaining compliance. Possibility of reward. If you offer the possibility of gaining entry for high preforms into your 25 man VoA after victory (regardless of whether you are actually doing one) may gain compliance. Again it requires some magic threshold of people aiding in negative comments for non-compliers and probably positive comments for those who remain as target dummies for defense.

I really need to give this more thought, there may be some fine tuning needed or another solution which I'm missing all together. The main concept is you're not "leading" M&S but abusing their innate mechanics.

Enk said...

Intelligent people don’t need leaders, all they need is some organizing to not double cross each other. They know their own job better than any leader could. M&S don’t want and can’t use leaders. The problem is not bad leadership. It’s leadership itself.

Completely disagree on this one, Gevlon. In a battle, leadership is essential. The problem is, most people suck at leading, and some people just suck at WoW (M&S).

We’ll make small teams that discuss non-conflicting jobs like „we hold south”, „we hold SR”, „we attack from BT”, and all will act on its own, focusing on the task at hand. Doing something that is doable but hard, needs skill and immersion is flow, fun by definition.

You've already got the right idea here, but you're missing one level of intelligence. Don't micromanage the small group leaders - trust them to make wise decisions. But use that overall information from the small groups to make strategic decisions above the level that an individual group can. And the right strategic decision may be "too many M&S in this BG, just focus on your objectives." But it could also be changing the objective of a small group, organizing a feint, or even reorganizing groups on the fly. If you do it well, the other team, which has no overarching intelligence, will not be able to react.

Then again, you may decide it's not worth the effort. But that's not because leadership is a problem. You just may not be a good leader, or you may not have people worth leading.

Wilson said...

When I go to a BG, I am there strictly as my own agent. Sometimes I am in a mood to contribute somewhat effectively towards my faction's victory, and I do so. Sometimes I am in a mood to find the biggest scrum I can and go berserker until I die, and I do. Sometimes I just feel like fishing, and I do. What I never do is pay attention to the orders (and insults) spewing out of the raid channel. If this is contributing to the grumpiness or passive-aggressiveness of others, then I am truly overwhelmed with a sense of not giving a damn.

Yaggle said...

My WoW account has been inactive for almost 2 months. And yet I find this post very interesting because your Wintergrasp sounds a lot like where I work and your take on why managers die of heart attacks made me laugh quite a bit because it's the same thing the managers say where I work( work middle of the night stocking at a grocery store by the way). It is true that the managers make the non-m&s miserable by asking them to pick up the slack. It is also pretty miserable just having to work with management and other non-m&s who are miserable. The current strategy my manager is using against the M&S is by rotating everybody's job assignments and posting everybody's productivity reports. This makes the m&s try harder because even if they don't care what the manager thinks about them, they care what the other m&s thinks about them. Of course it is annoying to the people who were already working hard to have their job assignments rotated, also. But I see my manager trying every day not to have a heart attack so I understand.

Anonymous said...

Unfortuantely, job rotation has a negative aspect on the worker. Why invest time and effort into a job when you can be moved out at any given time? All that work and personal investment into something, and suddenly you're out and the person rotated in benefits. And due to them being M&S, the place goes to shit. All your work for nothing, end you don't even benefit from it, let alone take pride in a job well done.

Rotation ruins jobs. You just get workers who don't care that much, because they know there is no long-term benfit to them.

Kuckuck said...

"...while I’m spending more time watching the map and writing chat than actually doing my job."

Is it possible to have someone not in the wintergrasp raid to fly over the battle and monitor the map for changes?

Anonymous said...

1st Anonymous here:

@Kuckuck "...while I’m spending more time watching the map and writing chat than actually doing my job."
This is actually a symptom of the problem. You need someone leading who is good at it and that almost always means they enjoy it and value it. I remember IBM use to have a rule that managers at a certain level were forbidden to ever code. They were doing something more important, more leveraged (good managers can have a much higher impact on their organization than good technical workers ) than their technical past and this helped focus them on it. I.e., being a good leader in WG was a more important task than whatever DPS he could be doing. It is not a task Gevlon, or I, would enjoy. If Gevlon wants a "fun job" then for him that means no leading, then like all the rest who spend their $15/month, he can decide what he wants to do.

Dàchéng said...

This is yet another "It's not my faliure" post, and confirms that you, Gevlon, are just not very good at management. I think your leadership style is part of the problem. You are unable to motivate people.

However, it's also apparent that you don't really value leadership, either. For instance, this statement:

"I’m spending more time watching the map and writing chat than actually doing my job"

I should have thought that if you take on a leadership role, then watching the map and writing chat very much is your job. But you don't value it as much as you value whatever DPS you can do.

Some of the world's great generals also enjoyed "getting stuck in", and that was part of their motivational style of leadership (Alexander was a great exponent of this style). Others (for example, Napoleon) have a different approach. But one thing is for sure: all of them realized the value of looking at the map, and communication.

As many have already pointed out (including Ten, in "It's not my faliure"), leadership is difficult in a situation where you do not start as an acknowledged leader. But it isn't impossible. Leadership is the art of the possible: "what can I achieve with what I have got?" Not "what could I have achieved if only I'd had better".

Moreover, leadership is just about the only skill in WoW that's usable in the real world.