Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"For fun" switch

Leveling an alt to complete Stay Classy opened a door to a new level of idiotism. Despite theoretically being good for XP/hour, I'm now afraid to join a random BG or a random dungeon. The problem is not simply terrible gameplay, like damaging below the healer or yelling "ffs get the flag" in EoS when we don't have a base. The problem is this terrible performance being the accepted norm. I can rarely kick anyone from a dungeon group even for obnoxious gameplay. They get protection from tolerable players, all under the flag of "itz a game we play 4 fun". Well, I don't have fun when we wipe because the tank did not know what CC is (literally! He was honestly surprised when he saw a monster in a freeze trap), or when we are losing 1600:150.

It seems, that the standards of 5-man heroics and lvl 85 BGs do not apply to "lowbie" (lvl 70+) places as "itz 4 fun". Of course the "standards" are not high in the mentioned places either.

However it's not a QQ post. Actually I noticed that these people are really deriving some sick sense of "fun" from losing terribly (masochism? passive-aggressive punishment of their team? felling freedom by "i do what i wanna and no1 tells me whattodo") . Verbal abuse really upset them. In BG it's not hard to make a flag-moron to start spamming "u nolifer #$%$ go #@$ ur mom u looser" (why there are always two "o" in "loser"?). It's also very easy to mock a below-healer DD or a "letz skip packz" (and pull 3) tank into dropping dungeon. They do care! They are not just too lazy to play well. They want to play that way.

No, I'm not suggesting to actively bully them out of our groups, they are too many, we just get another M&S. I suggest Blizzard to set a switch to the game, a flag like PvP: "play for fun" or "play for progression". This is a voluntary switch and "fun" is the default. Hey, they can use a socially negative term for the other option like "play for gear", "elitist playing" or "unfriendly playing".

LFD and random BG only matches people with the same switch. The effects:
  • in "fun mode" both in BGs and LFD there is a "report player being a jerk". If someone collects like 5 reports a day, his flag is forced to be "elitist", to prevent "elitists" who "nerdrage on fun ppl" from joining "fun" BG/LFD again that day. You can only report people who wrote something visible to you, to prevent reporting bad players.
  • in "elitist" BG there is votekick option with 2 minutes cooldown (that affects the whole team)
  • in "elitist" LFD there is just 5 minutes votekick cooldown, you can kick even in combat (to prevent chainpull-griefing)
I'm sure that implementing this would greatly increase the gaming experience of everyone. I'm only worried about the long-term effect. I mean there is a risk that the "fun ppl" will think "yea this game iz lot of fun but the dungeons r hard we often wipe and cant get purplz". I'm not sure that their need for "fun" (whatever it means for them) outweigths their "need" for status symbols.

There is one more problem, players may consider one of the options "cool" and from that point everyone chooses it. It can be prevented by making the switch invisible to others and allow 4 options: "always fun", "prefer fun", "prefer progression", "always progression". The "prefer" parts means that if you queue up with a group, then you accept the decision of the group leader. So if you set your option "prefer progression" and your friend queues you up with any of the "fun" switches, you'll get into a "fun" group and no one will ever know that it wasn't your preference. The only way to be exposed is to choose "always progression" option, which case if your group leader choose any of the other types, a "cannot queue because X wants progression group". Of course you are also exposed to your LFD groupmates but hey, they all set the same, so won't judge you.


Dzonatan said...

Segragation sounds good on paper but when it comes to practical part... well... Locked Exp BGs.

Magma said...

"I'm not sure that their need for "fun" (whatever it means for them) outweighs their "need" for status symbols." Truer words, my friend, truer words.

Squishalot said...

Didn't you suggest this recently, or was that a random Wowhead thread I passed across?

Blizzard will never cater to the casuals by creating a 'casual' flag, because of the stigma associated with such a flag. By the same token, you could argue for the creation of an 'elitist' flag, that allows you to penalise for mistakes, but nobody would choose to flag themselves. Moreover, if you force elitists into elitist groups, I don't think you end up with much better people, because there is a strong correlation (I believe) between people who QQ/votekick others and poor personal performance / standing in fire.

Having said that, although the earlier quests are changing to become more educational, there's no real reason why the leveling player base is expected to be knowledgable about all aspects of the game. Most tanks don't have a CC ability, so why is it surprising that they don't know what forms of CC are available? Why should a Warrior or Paladin know what a freezing trap is, much less how it should be used?

In the past, the only knowledge of a game you had is what you were able to determine from trial and error. Today, there is an expectation from people like yourself that to be *allowed* to play a game like WoW online, you should somehow be aware of game mechanics that:

a) Aren't in the manual;
b) Aren't in the tooltips;
c) Aren't a part of your own class; and/or
d) Haven't been encountered before.

Expecting your L40 Warrior tank to understand how a Freezing Trap works is beyond the knowledge that a leveling player should be expected to know.

It's not that their performance is 'acceptable', it's that your expectations are unreasonable. They play the game for fun, you don't have to play with them. If you feel that wiping and losing BGs isn't worth it, then your XP/hour is probably lower than by questing, so do yourself and them a favour and stay out of LFD/random BGs.

Grim said...

I am currently leveling a healer and doing a lot of LFD runs along the way and have not really had much problems with M&S.
While I agree that there are a lot more of them in lower levels, it seems that it is still practically impossible to wipe (at least up to lvl 52 and BRD where the char is atm).

The part that worries me is that early game has been dumbed down so far, that now it actively dumbs down players.
As a healer I dutifully try to learn all the synergies of my spells and talents and when to use what... except its always "use the most mana-efficient crap".
At one point in RFD I got so bored I asked people to ninja-pull or something, to make healing the least bit challenging... the pally tank responded by charging into a few mob packs and popping shield... I still didn't even have to remember what the hell I've bound flash heal to.

Tanks get to do the most, while dps barely even need a pulse to finish dungeons.

When every low-level dungeon is rewarding mindless zerging and zero tactics with faster runs, new players getting to Cata content are in for a nasty surprise. And so are the old players who will meet them in LFD and tradepugs.

Samus said...

This post conflicts with other posts you have made about how Blizzard has smartly tricked the skilled players into carrying the M&S. The entire LFD rewards system is in place to make you group with random strangers. Despite how much the "fun" people complain about "elitists," they could not complete basic content without them.

Jumina said...

They don't have fun when they wipe but someone reminding them they failed is much worse scenario. This behavior is common between many players not only M&S. I knew players who were saying there is no need to worry about wipes and overall performance and were proud about position on wowprogress at the same time. Every people want success but every people don't want to be said they are doing wrong.

Marz said...

Without a friend to pair up with, doing a healer/tank combo (and often the tank being the highest dps), we found PUGs almost always frustrating and most players idiotic.

That's if you're even playing against real players!

We encountered so many bots (Or players so moronic you can't believe they're real?). These "bots" would not say a word, they would usually run ahead of the tank/lag behind, sometimes auto-shoot or just stand in the fight not doing anything.

Often they would run off a ledge and stand at the bottom with mobs, their "program" completely derailed from the normal. After dying they wouldn't res. After a few minutes they would just leave the group or get kicked. They usually also need on everything.

Judging by the strange behaviour and lack of response, we called them bots. Whether they are the lowest of the lows, or really bots, we never could determine, since they never respond to the accusations.

Not really worth it... in the end.

Zazkadin said...

I have to agree with Squisalot that a player-selectable option probably wouldn't work, because one of the options would be considered cool and the other wouldn't and it would force people into choosing the option that's not the best for them and therefore not the best for everyone in their party.

Perhaps Blizzard could implement some sort of Artificial Intelligence, that determines what kind of player you are, by monitoring (objective) qualities about your play style, e.g. whether you enchant and gem your gear, whether you do reasonable dps/hps/threat for your ilvl, whether you initiate votekicks of underperformers et cetera. Then the LFD tool could put like-minded players together in a team. so that the elitists are paired with other elitists and the fun people with other fun people.

Gevlon said...

@Zazkadin: text appended.

Anonymous said...

People who are challenged in the area of literacy (can't upset them by calling them idiots, can I) put two "o" in "loser" because of how the English language usually works: "o" in "loser" is pronounced roughly the same as "oo" in words such as "noodles"

Some people encounter noodles far more often than they encounter dictionaries.

Ayonel said...

You have gotten to the counterargument to this yourself, and recently:

lolkids want to be in a group with 4 'elitists' so they don't worry about losing. They just want you to shut up about their sucking and let them collect their loot.

Almost no one would intentionally join a group where they might *not* be the worst player. Therefore, everyone would select progression, unless they didn't know about it.

Moreover, Blizzard would not intentionally create a public rating system that allowed players to effectively stratify themselves into carrier/carried, because it shatters the illusion that carried players just need better gear.

While this is an interesting think-piece, you have contradicted its underlying principles and rendered it invalid yourself.

Riptor said...

@ Squishalot: The only exeption being the Toons that run araound in Account bound gear.

What i have encountered recently on the German EU Servers are low Level Players that specificaly state at the beginning of a LFD Dungeon that this is their first Toon in WoW, that they are very unexperienced and would appriciate any help or advice that can be given.
It is nice to see how most Groups react as they try to educate the Newbie in regards of Gear/Playstyle/Mechanics and so forth.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon - your appendment and Zazkadin's idea is different - he's proposing that it's a server-based calculation that puts you in one of the two groups.

By having a personal switch, you still have the problem that either 'fun' or 'elitist' is cool, and everybody toggles it anyway.

nextweek said...

There is such an option within Halo Reach for the Xbox. You can select your preferred play style as Lone Wolf or team player. It will try and match you to your preferred play style.

I cannot imagine Blizzard going with your idea as they want you to boost people. However changing the setting from "Play for fun" to "Prefer social groups", then "Elitist" to "Prefer progression groups" and finally the default as "Don't mind". That might meet Blizzards requirements for allowing socials that want to boost others to do so.

If you end up with a M&S that didn't select, then you can tell them they should have picked social groups. Your doing as Blizzard wants and teaching them something.

Caramael said...

How about a "hardcore" mode where tank threat generation is decreased (or the other group members' threat generation increased, or both)? And perhaps a minus x% dps/heal zone debuff. Kind of like the way it was in vanilla WoW, where no cc and dpsing the wrong target meant serious trouble.

Michael said...

You're such a social gamer, Gevlon! You run into all these people in game I never see. :P

I have to confess, I haven't run a 5man in a few good months, since I replaced my last green, but if I were to queue for a random, I'd definitely select 'for fun' over 'for progression'. People that still run 5mans for progression are those who are too bad to get into good raiding guilds. Meaning that they're either too horrible at their role, or too obnoxious/annoying to be around.

Really, you can't join a random pug and have that high of an expectation of success. A huge chunk of being able to overcome an encounter is being able to trust the people you're playing with. Even if strangers play well, you could still fail from lack of familiarity. I'd think anyone who has brought in a knew off-tank or kiter to your raid group would agree with that. XD

With low expectations all around, I'd rather end up grouping with random people who are more pleasant than more progression focused. 70 valor isn't worth having to deal with obnoxious people.

Anonymous said...

Do you this that adding some kind of switch would drag the wait times on LFD even higher? As a healer I find my wait times to be anywhere from instant to 15 minutes on a bad day. DPS I think runs from 30-45 mins. If separated automatically or by choice one side is going to be lacking in roles I would think.

Sheldon said...

Blizzard would never do this, not because they cater to socials or morons or whatever label you believe in, but because it wouldn't work. What you are asking for is a method to sort people so that you end up always being grouped with people who are acceptably close to you in terms of skill, experience, personality, play style, and goals. But "acceptably close" is completely arbitrary (unlike level or gear). Even if they were to add in these options you seek, either you or someone else who find that they sometimes end up with a someone who isn't acceptable, and would demand even more options and more sorting, and it would continue until nobody could ever get a group.

Gevlon said...

@Michael: or they are alts, or new players.

@Sheldon: NO! I want a switch that allows me to play with people with similar ATTITUDE. I gladly play with the newbie who says "guys I'm new, and will make mistakes but not intending to do them twice, please give tips". I also gladly play with a topguild member who says: "your gear gives 78% stats of mine, so you'd better damage at least 70% of me".

But I DONT want to commune with mr "lol idc cba gogogogog".

Anonymous said...

A tank or any player that has never seen a hunter trap is someone that may not be M&S and is likely just a new player learning the game for the first time. Why not teach him what CC is? You have trained yourself to be instantly intolerable of anyone making any mistakes yet a new player would have no way to know where to go to read up on how to tank or boss fight strategies. He may not even realize its neccessary at this point.

Wilson said...

Call it what you like - attitude, play style, personality, goals - it's still just an arbitrary "close enough to me that I am satisfied" parameter. Adding a system that worked to your satisfaction would just increase the pressure to add more filters to please people whose preferences are different than yours.

Johnny said...

I believe instead of mastery, Blizzard should have new mastery at 80 where people choose between PVP (+resilience), PVE-Raid (+hit or +dodge), and Casual (xp bonus for alts). I think fun mode would be the last one and all your that switch stuff could apply. Then you could actually see their choice on inspection and figure out what to do, as no Raid group would ever take casuals, etc.

Anonymous said...

@ Johnny - should the PVE healers take the +hit or the +dodge?

Yaggle said...

I think my solution is way simpler, way better. Never ever EVER use dungeon finder, or whatever it's called. Dungeon Finder = Stranger Danger.

Anonymous said...

This cant work because it requires a self-reflexive act of thought from people who you define as distinctively stupid ie. not self-reflexive.
Given a switch with x options, the members of the group called m&s/lol-kids/etc will distribute themselves in x similar sized groups, each for one option, as the reflexive work that is needed to assign oneself to the correct group is, by definition, above their possibilities.

One option would be segregation by computerized quantification of playstile.
The thing is actually allready ingame, in form of the arena with its mmr rating. A similar rating could be assigned to each dungeon-grinder, based on his dps, death/run, time/run etc in relation to other players. This could even lead to some competition in becoming a better player.

Espoire said...


They have that; just play the day of, or a very short time after a new release. 5mans and raids were much harder ~30 hours after Cataclysm went live, when our guild had just barely had the time to level enough people to 85 and for those people to get some sleep. Running Omnotron in gear that wouldn't let you queue for heroics definitely had reduced healing/damage/threat.

Azuriel said...

Gevlon, why do you feel entitled to success for pushing a button? Why are you not using your free market principals to find groups within the social contacts you have available (e.g. the PuG)? How are your expectations any different from M&S expectations? You expect Blizzard to match you with people like yourself to increase your chance of success, without taking any responsibility (in an MMO!) yourself. "I am a good player! I deserve the good XP/hour for merely being!"

Your BG QQ is especially telling. Do you only have fun if you win the match? Nobody enjoys losing per se, but if you aren't having fun in the individual components of the larger battle, you perhaps need to reevaluate why you are even playing MMOs to begin with. Some of my best BG experiences happened in games which I lost - heroic last stands in AB, kiting 4 DPS as a healer with the flag in WSG, breaking a GY camp, getting a pocket healer and wrecking faces mid-field. Have you never experienced the joy of getting targeted by a superior player and prolonging your death for as long as possible, undoubtedly causing immense frustration by proxy? Playing my mage or rogue, I always Sheep/Sap the best players over and over and over until DRs start in, even if my own death comes swiftly afterward. These games were probably over before they even began (no healers, etc), so you may as well get any enjoyment out of it as you can.

In any case, your segregation scheme would never work. Instead of getting grouped with players like yourself, it is infinitely more likely you would never be grouped up at all, outside of perhaps high-traffic times. This could only be solved via market forces if you made your time more valuable than other people's, such as paying extra subscription fees or in-game value like gold or whatever. Otherwise, get your own groups or stop complaining like just another M&S.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a recent (month?) blue post where Blizzard was apologizing for a Blue being rude; the customer complained about a lower level PvP issue and the Blizzard employee said "just get to 85". Blizzard has explicitly said that they don't really worry much about PvP balance before 85. I.e., if you are PvPing before 85, you should expect an inelegant experience at best.

For unrated PvP a 1600 to 150 loss is *much* preferable to a long but inevitable 1600 to 1300 loss. In fact in AV, I prefer an extremely quick loss is preferable to an extremely long win.

I also think questing or leveling has a much better risk/reward than instances prior to 84. How much better are you able to kill Lady S because of some extra time in Scarlet Monastery?