Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You can't help people connected to you

People believe that "with their love" they can "save" or help others. It is well known to be wrong, but I've never seen any proof that it's impossible. So the naives can believe that where others failed they will succeed. I think I found the reason why such attempt cannot be successful. No it has nothing about feelings, it's merely about goals and possibilities.

I haven't been in Tol Barad for long. I'm honorcapped, have enough stuff on my hands and also got enough of the drooling M&S. However when we went for realm first lvl 25 we needed all the Tol Barad inner quests to be prepared. To do them you need Tol Barad. Since the patch Tol Barad is easy on attack. Well, not easy enough if your teammates have the thinking ability of a moderately elaborated piece of rock.

Mind you, the horde on Sunday early afternoon isn't a bunch of Napoleons either. They did a pretty dumb strategy: circular zerging. They all zerged ICG, then WV, then Slag, then ICG again. This is more or less the recipe for defeat. Yet the battle was on for 22 mins and we still haven't win, because the M&S could neither think for themselves, nor follow orders.

They had ICG, we had WV and was capturing Slag. Most of them left ICG to zerg WV as usual. Our zerg was moving to ICG. We captured ICG, they took WV. However I managed to collect enough people to break the circle. These people did not join the ICG zerg but held Slag. This is the standard win procedure that works 99% since the patch. 20 people can hold a 30-35 men zerg long enough to capture the last base (since if we have 2, we have capture bonus).

So when the horde zerg left WV for Slag, I wrote "/rw ICG people move to WV". Nothing. I wrote again. Nothing. The horde zerg arrived to us, but was weaker than expected. They still seriously outnumbered us, but we could hold Slag for 3 minutes. In this 3 minutes about 2 stray allies arrived to the empty WV. I /rw-ed some more but they still did not move. Finally one of them wrote "STFU ICG is being zerged lol". When I opened the map, I saw about 15 players where the blue dots are on the map:
I should have told: "Dear players at ICG. I fully accept that you feel like zerged at ICG, but you are not. You are at the south entrance of ICG, which means you pushed the horde out. If you wouldn't be winning clearly, you would be pushed back to the west entrance (where the green dots are), or if you are pushed back and bad players, outside of the gate. Also, I see only 1 player standing on the ICG GY, proving without doubt that ICG is not zerged, but harassed by 5-8 hordies. 8-11 of you can safely leave ICG and go to WV. The reason why you wrongfully believe in being zerged is that by pushing the horde to the south gate, you got close to the horde GY, so the dead hordies arrive to the battle quickly, while the dead allies must move longer. If you would retreat to the west gate, the dead allies could arrive in 8 seconds, while the dead hordies would spend 20 seconds riding. Also, now the horde healers are safe on the road, healing their buddies without problems, while at the west gate they would be forced to move closer by LoS and could be attacked. I hope this will assure you that you won't lose ICG and it's safe to move to WV, which is advised because on Slag we are fighting 30 vs 20, already pushed to our graveyard and the capture slider is already moving. Thank you!"

I'm sure that if I'd write this, several bad players would have learned something and become better. However I had no time for this, as I was healing Slag. So I just spammed "/rw ICG morons, move to WV NOW!!!". Some did. Not enough. We lost the assault. When it was hopeless, I spent the last seconds calling the ICG defenders "mindless animals" and "complete retards". The result: while of course none of them accepted responsibility for failure (or even understood why did they fail), being harassed is not fun for a social, so they did not queue up next battle. We won in 4 minutes. And I got a GM warning for harassment. Did the realm first worth a warning (that means I have to watch my mouth very closely as the next will be a 3 days ban)? Of course it did. Is it a viable long term strategy? Absolutely not.

Did I changed these people? Did they become any better? Do they have any clue now? Clearly no. In the best case I achieved that they won't queue up TB or if they do, they fallow orders blindly to avoid being harassed.

Why did I choose the wrong communication form then? Because right there the 5 minutes long typing of the logical explanation above would mean sure defeat. By the time I finish typing, Slag is lost. There was a chance that due to being yelled at, they move. Some did. I needed their cooperation as I needed TB for my purposes. I was a participant, not a distant observer and teacher. I was connected to them, for better or worse. If my aim would be to teach them, I would hide in the corner of a base and would just write to /raid. I would logically explain why their current activity is bad, tell them that "if you keep going that way instead of this, WV will be lost in 1 minute", and one minute later it would be lost. They would start to listen. Slowly.

If someone needs help, he is doing something wrong. Meaningful help can only arrive in the form of changing him. You know, teach a man to fish. However it's a long process, as a social always defend the "I'm right" idea. You must be understanding, subtle and logical, for long-long time. It is possible if you are an outside observer, if the negative outcome of his stupidity does not affect you. However if you are connected, you are harming yourself by not doing the activity right. So you will either fix what he messed up (and make him be very sure that it worked because and not despite of him), or you will force him to change, making him hate you and passive-aggressively sabotating just to prove himself "no one can command me".

You can help people. But only distant people. If a social person is connected to you and doing things wrong, you can only boost him silently, break him into blind obedience or sever the connection. Anything else is pointless drama.


Andru said...

The circle zerging strategy was effective in the beggining when there was no bonus for two bases. It was easily executed, easy to follow, and most importantly, it was conductive to being a sheep.

Right now, it's not as good, but it still trumps any kind of 'stupid-friendly' strategy the attacking team can field. (Which isn't many, seems they always boil down to Smash all towers, then flail around desperately.)

In any case, it's not true that the side with the best strategy wins.

Most often, it's the side that has the best strategy for stupid people that wins.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to hit them in the head with asocial ideas right away.

You are saying that in order for them to listen to you, you have to break connections. This is wrong. All you have to do is take baby steps. Explain to them and persuade them about the more "acceptable" aspects of asociality (without naming it as such), put doubt in the most obviously illogical aspects of sociality. Then move to more and more advanced things.

In the end, they will reach the conclusion themselves. I did the same with my previously deeply religious brother. He is now an atheist and in the process, we never broke relations. Actually, when he announced me that he was an atheist he was apologetic because he didn't know I was one too!

The reason I compare that with "converting" someone to asociality is because they are similar. Illogical beliefs, based on faith (right feel), absolution of responsibility etcetera.

Ps: sorry for any grammatical mistakes, I am typing this on an

Anonymous said...

Of course you can help social people connected to you. When I hit 80 on my mage back in ToC times, I had no clue but wanted to raid. So I went and googled a bit and got a "cutting edge" frostfire spec.

A more experienced mage in my very social guild took one look at my less than awesome dps and told me that as a matter of fact there're things called patches and though my spec might have been something in Naxx I should now be arcane. So I respecced.

Thinking back now makes me smile a little - I was a complete newbie with no clue, and someone explained to me how things work. And I did get better.

Now, if he had called me a retard and mindless animal, I'm guessing I would have been very hurt and discouraged, maybe quit trying.

I don't understand your justification that calling people names earned you realm first 25. and that realm first 25 is good because someone might join the guild because you have it(?). I know when I see someone behave like a jerk in TB, I always check the guild and definetely not because I'm impressed, don't think stuff like that helps your recruitment any.

Just saying that no-one will take you seriously if you behave childishly and throw a tantrum when things don't go your way. And I very much doubt anyone got so scared of you that they would have skipped TB because you called them a bad name.

People get mad and burst out - nothing strange with that. But trying to rationalize that later as something done for the good of your guild is a little... amusing.

Leeho said...

Thanks for this post. I'm currently in real life situation that you described fully and deeply in your post. I'm connected to someone stupid enough not to see his mistakes. Your conclusion helps me a lot both in making my own decision and talking to other people involved.

Anonymous said...

One item that is overlooked here is the gearing effect, yes getting into TB is very random, sometimes you're just simply out geared attacking an enemy in 2200 + arena gear and 125k+ health with your sides just hit 85 and sub 100k health, sometimes you get the luck and you have Arthasdklol in his greens trying to kill you whilst you heal everyone and their pets up to full before throwing a Hot on yourself and continuing to ignore the DK.

The decently sized guilds can and do make a difference in TB esp when they can get enough people through the random queuing that is TB.

Anonymous said...

I would disagree with your conclusion. You can only help people that want to be helped. The only reason any attempt will succeed is if they have reached that point. It might be your lashing out that tips them over the edge, or it might be a gentle "Hey man, this would work better."

Your argument about only distant people can help is irrelevant. Any person or method can help, if it happens to occur at the right time and in the right way for the individual who is doing something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Noone can do two things at once as well as he does one thing only.

The problem with helping is not one of distance, but simply lies in the battleground system, where everyone has a job todo allready.

Some games offer different kind of jobs in the battleground system. For example, there could be a dedicated commander, who cannot fight on the field, but has a good overview of the map, so he can devote his time to giving commands. Players would be inclined to belief him.

Grim said...

Actually a BG commander would be a great idea. At least for rated BGs.

And if it would be somehow possible to make sure the commander doesn't go AFK, it might even work for random BGs - M&S would be less likely to take the post because you can't pwn noobs if you can't fight.

I believe Savage had something of the kind, but I have not played it myself.

WoWMidas said...

It should not surprise you that many (most) don't know what they're doing in any given BG. Some tiny fraction may study the strategy of the place; more will have learned from experience. But many are simply too casual, ignorant, or uninformed. Fifty percent of people are below average. That doesn't make them incapable; but they can learn quicker with effective instruction.

You obviously understand many key strategic issues about TB - put them to a bunch of macros and spam them as appropriate. If there's insight in them and you're polite, lots of people will read and learn. That way, you don't have to waste time in BG.

Calling people morons - some of whom may have been first timers in TB and couldn't be expected to know what's going on - didn't get you the result you wanted. If you had won, your post might well have been a self-congratulatory pat for being offensive.

You can certainly help people that are close by calling their BS. The problem is that it is difficult for most people to "level" with others they are close to. Emotions can get in the way. But it is certainly possible. There's a difference between confronting someone with reality, and pounding their head in with it.

Fex said...

all of this is missing the point guys, gevlon's argument is, you cannot afford to teach in a time strained environement if you have the same mutual goal as the ones you try to teach.

Sure you could be polite, explain everything, allow them to learn from mistakes, ans slowly increase their respect for you and your knowledge to the point where they are willing to listen.

That is not a process that will work in the limited 20 minute BG that is Tol Barad. Next to that there is the fact that the que is randomn so you aren't actually teaching a fixed group but rather new guys all the time.

And the drooling idiots that don't understand anything about TB are usually the same guys that will /y STFU NOOB i haz 2300 resi and pwn in bg`s. Or some other comment that disputes / countermands your advice. IF he even takes the time to read it in the first place.

The only way that you can "win" against those players that unluckily form the majority of the playerbase, is to yell louder and with moar EPIXZ as they have, they measure the respect due a player not for his politeness, or the quality of his advice, but rather based on epics. Usually because they could not distinguish good advice from bad if their life depended on it, since that ability requires them to actually "know" something about what the advice adresses, and even that basic knowledge is lacking.

Having the realm first lvl 25 guild, will most definately make that class of players listen more carefull, since it is something they are at least qualified enough to distinguish between.

Babysteps, and social engineering them only works over long time periods, and those are unavailable if your intention is to win the current TB battle.

Ask yourself, this, would you out of spite not follow a proper strategy if it was mentioned in RW during a battle simply because you didn't like the way it was presented?

M&S will, but then they can't understand that advice if it is presented with reasoning behind it anyway, so avoiding to give that explenation doesn't change a thing about its effect.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think, that training people is no different from training animals. Can you imagine training animals with punishment as a main tool? Reward is what makes them work for you.
For people money is not the only acceptable reward. Public "thanks" goes a long way most of times as well. So why waste time calling people morons, if you can use the same time to thank those, who worked with you, enforcing "right" behaviour and hopefully next time having some of the "morons" already at your side, following the orders.

Trelocke said...

Most of my play time is on a pve server which means the average TB is a 25 min grind won on attack only if the defenders are complete clueless idiots. Here are some of my observations/tactics for dealing with all the morons.

Defending TB seems to be a good environment for getting people to listen. People tend to go where they are told as they are looking for the "ressers go slags" type directions. If you're paying attention to how the attackers are attacking, it's pretty easy to defend by directing where people go and mixing up where you hit.

Attacking TB is painful on a pve server. gogogogogo zerg is a common /raid theme, which only ever works if the defenders are completely clueless and have zero organization. I've long since stopped trying to explain why that doesn't work and now simply subtly direct our own troops to defend a base they wouldn't normally defend by calling out a big incoming before the defenders are even on their way there. Stopping people from running to the next base because they think the one they are just taking (or maybe have already taken but haven't left yet) is about to get overrun again has allowed me to direct several wins we never would have gotten otherwise by positioning a defense at a base long enough to allow the zergers to take the last one. Not everyone stays, and sometimes you have to do it for several minutes before you find a base where more than 2-3 people will stay (ICG is usually best due to the handful of people arriving mid-fight), but it does work more often than not.

Sometimes out-thinking your opponent isn't enough. Sometimes you have to out-think your own team too.

Michael said...

I don't really follow your example because I don't deal with any of that pvp nonsense. I truly don't understand why people enjoy specifically trying to make other people lose, instead of trying to make everyone win, like in pve.

But I still disagree with the idea that you can't help people to improve. Isn't that basically the idea behind progression raiding? At the start of learning an encounter, people aren't appropriately handling the abilities and aren't executing well. We work at the encounter for a while, error rates go down and familiarity goes up, till we've improved enough to win.

Like last week we were working on magmaw and we kept losing this one hunter to his slam attack which kills anyone in half the room. Pure execution failure. After fail meter called it out a few times and he got yelled at by the ranged dps lead, he became more careful and stopped getting hit. You CAN improve people who are making mistakes.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Gevlon, there is merit in what you say, but the example of Tol Barad is such a weak one. I cannot imagine a looser effort than sticking some random people together, limiting communications to anonymous text on the screen, and telling them to win Tol Barad.

Real life endeavors tend to be much more meaningful, and will involve face to face or at least voice communications. Often there will be a monetary or other real life-worthy goal at stake, so people will have more of a vested interest in a successful outcome.

Kids learn in school and college daily. Work projects are carried to fruition, with people learning from mistakes and from the advice of others along the way.

I am just not getting your conclusion that helping people is pointless.

Aracos said...

The comparison to education is an interesting one. We continue to pump money into schools with no discernable result, and our first reaction is to blame the teachers. Well I have certainly seen my share of less than competent teachers, but I have also seen a far greater number of incompetent students. As another commenter noted, you can only help those that want to be helped. Many students in our classrooms are just like the M&S in Tol Barad. They don't WANT to be helped. They want to be "carried" or "boosted" by having others do the work for them or having the content "nerfed" to their level of competence.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Of course you can only help people who want to be helped. Some people want help, some don't. Obviously, don't waste your time trying to help people who do not want help.

But to say that you cannot help people connected to you cannot be true. People help people they are connected to daily.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Anon. who said "I would disagree with your conclusion. You can only help people that want to be helped."

If a person claims they're 100% perfect, know-it-all and need no advice, they'll only get upset and offended if you try to change their behaviour, therefore, you can only deal with them by punishment and not caring about their "hurt feelings".

But if a person wants to learn, they can learn or receive advice even from people they're emotionally connected to. Same how a child is emotionally connected to a parent, yet learns the most things in first years of life from parents.

P.S. Leeho, I feel for you. I had two (now ex) BFs who had the attitude "let's sit and wait for a miracle", they didn't want to make effort to pursue their dreams or goals, and I indeed couldn't help them at all, they just wanted world to cater to them instead of them trying to cope with the world as it is. Now I have a 3rd BF and he's so different, and only he showed me that me being previously tied to people who sit and wait for "luck" and blame others for their lack of satisfaction from life was my mistake. Now I see the difference between trying to hopelessly pull someone out of a ditch and climbing the slope together as a couple.

P.S.2. If we can't stand someone's downsides and nasty habits, never delude yourself time / marriage / true love removes them and makes everything perfect. What else do you believe in, tooth fairy? When pairing as a couple, be sure you like or at least tolerate "unreasonable habits" or one another instead of hating them with passion.

Anonymous said...

Those morons don't learn the 300 food rush. It's the same tactics. If die a lot, then reinforcement would come faster. In that way, the rush is just only a small amount of units that perpetually die.

Remember the 3 to 1 rule. One-third force can defend a place for some time, not forever. Teach the players this 3 to 1 rule, then they will have not problem with Tol Barad.

Bristal said...

"You can help people. But only distant people. If a social person is connected to you and doing things wrong, you can only boost him silently, break him into blind obedience or sever the connection. Anything else is pointless drama."

I think you are confusing "helping people" with "making people act the way I think they should".

The limits of communication in Tol Barad are huge. But somehow you come to the conclusion that all the players are idiots because they aren't obeying your anonymous profanity-laced directions?

Every Tol Barad I've run has at least 3 of those. How do I know any of them has any idea what they're talking about?

The only people you can truly help ARE those close to you. But you can't make them change or bend them to your inflated ego, you mostly just lead by example and give advice when asked.

The "pointless drama" that you so eagerly avoid are called emotions. You cannot lead or influence others without at least having some passing understanding of them.

Gevlon said...

@Eaten by a grue: no, people BOOST others day by day. Boosting is giving him freebies, fixing the current symptoms of his stupidity. Of course without our presence he'll fall back where he was.

Helping is changing him into something that doesn't have the mentioned problems.

Azuriel said...

Gevlon, the notion that your name-calling when defeat was inevitable somehow led socials to not queue again is unbearably asinine. TB games are 2 hours, 20 minutes apart. Not only that, but it is significantly easier to win within the first four minutes of a TB game because not everyone who eventually gets into a TB game gets in within the first 5 minutes. It is entire possible for there to only be < 20 people inside TB during the first minutes of the game, making capping bases way easier, especially with a small, organized (and geared) force.

You are correct in saying that a long, detailed explanation as to the reasoning behind your strategic /rws would not be particularly useful. In fact, I doubt anyone would read them for the same reason you couldn't type them, e.g. they're busy doing what they are doing. You are incorrect in believing calling someone a moron in a TB raid has any effect on them whatsoever - for as asocial as you claim to be, you have this absolutely irrational conviction that people take your childish bullshit to heart. If socials feel bad anytime some random person calls them a moron, they would have quit WoW after two BGs.

Jen said...

I am reading your blog for a very long time now.

And i am really surprised that with all your "social" and "a-social" theories you still haven't figured something.

You are obviously trying to get something from a random group, i believe you have the intelligence to understand some of the habits of people you call "social".
So if you understant it, and want something, the solution is easy : give them whay THEY want to get what YOU want.
Yes, right, i am talking about manipiulation.

Right now you are not using your cleverness at all, i mean, you are going right into the wall if you think calling peoples "morons", "total retards" and such things, is not going to help you with socials.

Manipulation IS the only tool you have to use with social people.
You don't need to teach them, just manipule them !
After all, what a goblin wants is result, isn't it ?

I'm serious. You need to be sneaky, i know what i am talking about, i'm a girl, girls use manipulation all the time on guys. Hell i am sure your girlfriend use manipulation on you all the time and you don't even notice it. i bet you can ask her some advices, manipulation is an art... And for now you seems to not be really good at it (and no, manipulating people with gold is not a real manipulation)

And it's not "you cannot help people connected to you" it's "you cannot help people that you love". It's really different actually.

Andru said...


I disagree, gevlon seems perfectly adept at manipulating people, only that he needs a vested interest in making it subtle, otherwise it's transparent.

Back in WOTLK, he manipulated the WG crowd quite well, but that was a long project with somewhat a clear purpose.

But bear in mind that manipulation is dangerous. While it works on socials, it rarely works on asocials. And it's completely counterproductive on anti-socials.

While an asocial will corectly point out that he cannot be manipulated and then /care, and antisocial will take proactive steps to inflict vengeance on you for trying to manipulate him/her.

And you really don't want an anti-social throwing stones at you and raising the crowd against you when you're trying to CC a crowd of socials. Chanses are that you won't be able to reason with him, and he will take glee in pummeling you in front of the social crowd.

Socials just love 'evil' people getting bled in front of them.

Bristal said...

Gevlon doesn't just want to get his own way in any particular circumstance. He wants (and thinks he can) CHANGE people to THINK his way.

You cannot manipulate people to do that. You have to convince them, prove to them, that your way is better. With results.

And he is trying to accomplish that with these interesting social experiments within a virtual game, and blogging about it.

Helping someone is not changing them into your likeness. Helping is assisting another with THEIR agenda, not yours.

An example. A man is moving a load of bricks from point A to B.

Helping him would be carrying a few bricks.

Your version of help would be to try to convince him that he really needs to get someone else to carry those bricks, because clearly carrying them yourself is not very efficient.

Really, who other than M&S would want to carry bricks? And look at all this interesting data I collected that PROVES carrying bricks is just not the best way to use your time.

Dude, he just needs to move some bricks. He's not looking for a life lesson.

Jen said...

@ Bristal :

I understand what Gevlon is trying to do. And even if i understand what he is doing, that doesn't means i agree with everything he is doing or everything he is saying.

You CANNOT change people, i know it's sad, but you will get to that idea after trying to make people change.

I think gevlon is smart on his way to do, like, when he pays people to accomplish things : boost raids, guild achivements, and other things. It's actually very smart, the win-win thing is working pretty well.

Now, where i have a problem is, when he is trying to change people, i am sorry but that won't happens. You cannot change people, and the sad part, is that 95% of people are morons and WON'T change.

Since you cannot change people (you can try hard and lose your energy on it if you want) , the only way to actually make them do what you want is either : pay them (even if you don't pay them well, after all it's smart), or, spot what would make them move their ass to do what you want to do (and i call that manipulation).

What you can do, and i think it's what Gevlon is actually doing, is to get the 5% of people that are not morons, but are nice enough to be stuck in bad situations (like helping morons because they are friends), and make them do the things they should do, in the case of wow : Raiding.