Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The no-lifer wife of Tobold

Tobold mentioned several times that his wife found leveling in WoW too easy/fast. He also writes that "if somebody applies the typical hardcore effort on a task not requiring that sort of effort, the task becomes trivial". It doesn't take a genius to combine the two: if leveling is too easy for his wife, she must apply hardcore effort to leveling, so she is a no-lifer.

On the other hand he describes his wife as "ultra-casual" and "doesn't participate in any form of group content, neither dungeons, nor raids, nor PvP". Now that's weird. I mean if someone is so casual that she doesn't run 5-mans, how can anything be trivial for her little effort?

The solution is that while she is putting very little effort to the game, she is not a moron. Tobold dismisses intelligence being a factor in gaming success: "lot of determination, practice, and motor skills, but little or no intelligent thought."

The problem is that Tobold (being a scientist) consider lot of intelligent actions trivial. There are many occasions when you encounter something new and must figure it out, but the right answer is so obvious to Tobold, that he doesn't even see them as choices. He is right. Anyone who would mess these choices up is a moron. Someone with either very little IQ, or lack of meta-skills to use his IQ.

Let me show a very common intelligence-related problem in WoW: lack of gems. Somewhere in Outland you will receive an item that has something that you haven't seen before:

What shall I do with it? Look! It writes "Shift-right click to socket", let's try that:
The interface is originally empty in the bottom, and the "Socket gems" button is grayed. However it has a clue: gems are needed. If I look at the "gems" folder of the AH, I can see lot of gems. When I put it in the socket, the button lights up, showing that it's the solution.

When you see someone with no gems at all in his several sockets, you see a moron and slacker, someone who was too lazy to ask anyone "what is this socket thing" and too unintelligent to figure it out alone. Alternatively he can lack basic human skills like literacy so unable to read the above clues.

Same goes for spells. If someone levels a priest, at lvl 4 he gets Shadow word:pain. Its tooltip text says "X damage over 18 secs". Someone with basic intelligence can figure out that this spell needs 18 seconds to complete its effect and should be used if the target lives that long or its effect is decreased. A moron is unable to do it. He casts it and say "lol it suxx its weaker than wand". The trick is that he is right that SWP damages less than continuously wanding. However he is unable to figure out that he can cast SWP and then it is ticking on its own so he can keep wanding or casting other spells. The reason why leveling is "facerolling" is exactly that Blizzard found that there are too many morons who couldn't figure out the "SWP first then wand until death" rotation, so the monsters are made so easy that you can kill them with any combination of spells. If someone is not a moron and figures this rotation out, he finds leveling too easy, just like the Tobolds wife. Again the "illiterate", "unable to use basic maths" or "thinks that if wand worked up to lvl 4, there is no reason to even consider this new thing" are also possible explanations, however someone with lack of so basic meta-skills is indistinguishable from moron.

The sad fact is (what Tobold refuses to accept) is that many fellow human beings are too stupid (or illiterate) for a video game. However the fact is that as IQ has the mean of 100 and normally distributed, the amount of 90 IQ people is equal to the 110 ones. The amount of 80 IQ is equal to the amount of 120 ones. The amount of 130 IQ people is equal to IQ 70 ones. And IQ 70 people are officially retards.

On the top of that, we have functional illiterates, kids who strongly believe that studying and thinking is lame while brute force is cool, people who can't understand the servers language and others who lack such basic skills. While they are not medically retards, they are just as hopeless.

26 comments:

Squishalot said...

The gemless person can also be someone who considers the cost of gemming (in both gold cost and time cost) to be not worth the benefit gained. For example, I won't bother gemming something that I'm going to replace in an hour's time.

Having said that, I do agree that the levelling experience has been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. However, I don't see that as being a problem.

A problem with your interpretation of Tobold's blog is that there is a separation of issues between levelling being easy vs fast - the issue isn't that monsters are being killed quickly, the issue is that you run out of content before being at an experience level to move to the next zone. If you read his comment in the line before what you copied:

"Blizzard would basically have to double the time to level cap to reach a speed in which people don't outlevel zones before consuming the zones' content."

You see? The issue isn't the fact that his wife blows through monsters trivially. The issue is the fact that you can't finish all the quests in a zone before they turn low level green/grey.

Azuriel said...

By your logic, there shouldn't be anyone complaining about lack of enchants since there is neither an interface or a message prompt that enchants exist or are actually something useful to have on gear.

Indeed, while you are quick to assume everyone without gems is a functional retard (with a credit card and $15/month MMO subscription), I would attribute most if not all lack of gems/enchants on bad interface design by Blizzard. World of Warcraft is the most popular MMO in the world, and it stands to reason that this is most people's first MMO and/or RPG experience. There is one random "tip of the day" that talks about gems, and then absolutely nothing about them from 1-60 at least. Then you get some gem quest rewards in Outland, and then nothing again from 68-85. Even if someone asked about what they're supposed to do with the empty sockets, Gevlon, you are immediately leaping to the M&S conclusion instead of:

A) They asked and nobody answered them and/or they got trolled.

B) They got told to use the AH, but it is entirely possible to go 1-85 without using the AH or even knowing what it is.

C) Even if they know and use the AH, Cata gems cannot be socketed in TBC gear (ilevel requirement) so it's possible there aren't any gems to even socket in the gear. Or if there is, they are likely ridiculously priced (for a new player). Nevermind how useless gems are in TBC gear that will likely be replaced in an hour anyway.

D) So you have a game where gems and enchants don't matter from 1-85, and what is there to suggest that gems/enchants matter even AT 85? It is entirely possible to come to the intelligent, rational conclusion that gems/enchants do not provide enough of a benefit (to a solo/LFD player) to justify time spent farming the gold to buy them. Performance improvement is not a necessary goal to "win" the baseline WoW experience. I imagine a lot of people gem/enchant for entirely social reasons, insofar as to avoid total strangers calling them names.

For as much as you talk about science, you seem to leap to illogical, unproven conclusions at the drop of a hat.

I agree that leveling is easy, but I do not see any evidence that it has became easier than before. Maybe faster, but I do not consider that to be the same thing. Nevermind how weird it is to complain about leveling getting easier after having done it several times, but whatever.

William Mayor said...

In defence of Tolbold's wife:

http://openparachute.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/humor-penguin-logic.jpg

Sometimes, easy things do not require a hardcore effort; they are just easy.

chewy said...

There's a very simple experiment which could be performed that would prove your point. If, as you're implying, WoW isn't any easier it's simply populated with the mentally subnormal then it will be impossible to level a character by deliberately playing badly.

If one were to raise a paladin for example and dress them only in cloth, with the wrong stats, use all the wrong weapons, obviously don't enchant or gem items then you wouldn't be able to level them.

I suspect you would be able to level them and hence, as others are saying, the game is now a two tier experience - end game and everything else, regardless of relative intelligence.

Zazkadin said...

I doubt that most of the players with ungemmed gear did not gem them because they were too stupid to discover how gemming works. You already describe yourself how the game is too easy, so gemming is not needed: Not gemming saves gold, so it can be an intelligent and rational decision not to gem.

You can level to 85 without ever gemming a single piece of gear and at worst you would be slowed down very insignificantly.

You can successfully run LFD heroics and /2 raids without any gems. As long as you do not wipe the group continuously or do not have very substandard performance (for which the lack of gems would not be the root cause), noone will ever bother to inspect you.

Only when you apply to a HC raid guild someone will look at your gear and confront you with your lack of gems. It's only a minority of players that strive for HC raiding and for those players gemming is a necessity anyway.

I also agree with Azuriel above, that many players that do gem, do it for social reasons mostly: they still do not care about the little extra stats, but they know they carry the stigma of M&S unless they enchant and gem their gear.

Gevaen said...

"The issue isn't the fact that his wife blows through monsters trivially."

"I agree that leveling is easy, but I do not see any evidence that it has became easier than before."

Well, I currently level up my 2nd toon (a war) and i'm positively shocked by how it's easy to kill monsters. I was told war is one of the most vulnerable class, especially against multiple opponents, but i just manage to kill lvl+6 mobs (ok, one by one in this case) quite easily. And if i stuck to area of my level, the game is just ridiculously boring. So i only have 2 choices : keep with area of my level and do the quests semi-afk (boring) or go kill level +5 mobs (more interesting) but being unable to pick up quests (i'm too low level!).

If i can share another example, i also level up a resto druid, only by doing 5-man with my 2 brothers. And again we are a little... disapointed, because either we blow through level suited instances (and we're 3 and not 5) which is boring, or we do more challenging instances (ie level +4-5 elite mobs, and we're still 3 of us) but we can't do the related quests.

So I would say there's definitely an issue with levelling difficulty.

(NB.i suppose my sentences above make pretty obvious that i'm not an native english speaker, so please excuse my english)

vicart said...

I find it ironic that the reason I like Wow is that to play it well it requires reading on EJ etc, yet you are completely correct the amount of morons playing the game is unbelieveable and as for the illiterate kids... I blame the parents, I like to play wow however I also realise how addictive it can be, there is no way I'd let my child play, it has an age restriction for a very good reason. They'd be better off learning to read.

Ephemeron said...

"The gemless person can also be someone who considers the cost of gemming (in both gold cost and time cost) to be not worth the benefit gained"

Or, for that matter, someone who was inspired by the Undergeared project and set out to 'disprove the myth of gemming' by beating all Cataclysm content in a guild with no gems and enchantments!

No, really. It could happen.

Squishalot said...

@ Ephemeron: "Or, for that matter, someone who was inspired by the Undergeared project and set out to 'disprove the myth of gemming' by beating all Cataclysm content in a guild with no gems and enchantments!

No, really. It could happen."


Indeed. I'm sure there are still people who aim to go from 1-85 without talents, along with the pacifists, the nakeds and so forth. It's all a project. 41 points in a single tree could be the same.

Anonymous said...

@Azuriel

I first started playing 2 years, and before I even started I was on google looking for the right toon fit for me. As soon as I got my first coin from quest rewards, again I was on google to learn how to make more gold for the least amount of effort. When I got my first piece of gear in Outlands with a socket, I was again on google to work out what an empty socket was and found out about the wonderful world of gems and jewel crafting.

If people want to improve, they will do their own research to improve.

Anonymous said...

"Nevermind how useless gems are in TBC gear that will likely be replaced in an hour anyway."

Socket bonus > gem. Any matching, cheap gem will do.

If you are fully heirloomed in a level 25 guild I would not suggest to gem Outland and WotLK gear unless you are twinking or going to stop levelling at lvl 70 for TBC raiding, or lvl 80 for WotLK raiding. It is a waste of time and money to gem in such case since the item will be replaced very soon after. While this has always been 2-3 levels, reaching the next 2-3 levels has never been so easy and fast. For a new player without heirlooms a cheap gem can do wonders if not only for the socket bonus. It also depends on class and role. A hunter, for example, already does sick DPS whilst levelling. Even without heirlooms.

Personally, I believe it is good to make levelling harder with more puzzle elements. Heck, the very term 'experience' (XP) would get some value back.

"So you have a game where gems and enchants don't matter from 1-85, and what is there to suggest that gems/enchants matter even AT 85?"

For PvP, every single digit matters. Personal experience (having many alts) proved that even a single ungemmed/unenchanted gear greatly influences the performance of the character. Role does not matter in this regard, except that a failing DPS can be easier compensated. Once you get enough ilvl unenchanted/ungemmed/unforged matters less assuming you are not overgeared yet; currently a full or near full ilvl 359 character is overgeared for normal raid content). If it is farm/zerg it allows you to finish the content quicker to get what you came for (e.g. VP). Unfortunately, for some people it means they can slack more.

"If one were to raise a paladin for example and dress them only in cloth, with the wrong stats, use all the wrong weapons, obviously don't enchant or gem items then you wouldn't be able to level them. "

Yes you would, the game is that easy. See the example of the hunter who stacked intellect and spirit from a few days ago. One can easily level with BG and LFD. A paladin in full cloth can be an excellent healer. You cannot assume the moron does every stat wrong. He probably mixes up various stats. For example, I had a prot paladin who stacked some strength, some tank gear, some intellect gear who was having a lot of fun but who failed to keep me, a fully heirloomed druid tank with tank spec, alive in SFK normal. Yes, he failed to heal me and yes he queued as healer. He got kicked... at the last boss. People said: "that paladin was pissing me off since the beginning". He still got a lot of XP from the fight.

Anonymous said...

"[...] I was told war is one of the most vulnerable class, especially against multiple opponents, but i just manage to kill lvl+6 mobs (ok, one by one in this case) quite easily."

Who told you that? Warrior is easy to level up. Any time you kill anything you get victory rush proc which heals you for an insane amount. This lowers downtime. Just go to a BG, pop Lolstorm, pop Victory Rush, and you're done. The few seconds charge stun make a warrior deadly at low level BG, too.

The class which was traditionally hard to level up was priest: you had to go shadow till level 40, then gather a lot of gold for dual spec. Meanwhile, you have no AoE or CC. You'd have to pull carefully, one by one.

Even healer classes are easy to level up without dual spec now: they all have PvP talents, some of which you can use for soloing. A resto druid has some moonkin offensive modifiers and a discipline priest can get a smite spec to name a few examples.

"And if i stuck to area of my level, the game is just ridiculously boring. So i only have 2 choices : keep with area of my level and do the quests semi-afk (boring) or go kill level +5 mobs (more interesting) but being unable to pick up quests (i'm too low level!)."

If you want to kill enemies +5 level above you, you are far from being hit capped. Yes, your victory rush would fail on them, so no self-healing for you in such case. Instead, you should go to the area where you can still quest but are lower level than the content. You can quest _and_ kill mobs there, and get a lot of XP from doing both.

"[...] It's all a project. 41 points in a single tree could be the same."

The chance of such is zero compared to the chance its a M&S. If its a project the experimenting person would express this, else he'd be kicked. He cares. M&S doesn't. M&S is happy he got in the instance. Every XP earned is a gain for the M&S.

This way, people are more challenged to learn their class well before they reach level 85 and end-game content. Although this would not work well with LFD and BG system: you'd then get these morons there. They should abolish this whole LFD and BG system anyway, and allow people to form dedicated groups a-la raid browser. There, you can flag who you'd like to play with and who you don't like to play with. You assign a leader, and off you go. Soon, the M&S will realize they need to improve before they can join such groups.

Backthief said...

You are half right.

The learning curve of this game is broken, because its an old game and a lot of things don´t work like it should, for example:

- Even a new player, with no knowledge or heirlooms will outlevel any map before its finished.
- The ideia of value is totally screwed. The level 1-10 quests gives you copper/silver. But you will see people spamming "WTB guild sign 50g". Imagine you kid suddenly in hands of boxes of chocolate.

In the end, its the community fault for pushing this and Blizzard fault for not policying and arbitrating it.

Anonymous said...

A few people here have claimed that while leveling all gear will be rapidly replaced and that, therefore, it doesn't make sense to gem.

I have been leveling a priest from 1-80 over the past few weeks and did not find the fast gear replacement claim to be true in the case of gear with sockets. I leveled with a fairly balanced mix of questing and dungeons. As soon as I hit 58, I started doing BC content and was lucky enough to get the 3 socket cloth legs from Ramps. I had some cheap +int gems, so I socketed the pants. At level 80, I finally replaced the pants with a green that I bought off the AH because I hadn't gotten anything better in the intervening period of time. Basically, BC gear with Wrath gems can last you 20 levels.

Squishalot said...

@ last anonymous - how were you levelling? I gemmed a rogue's helmet at L60 with three sockets with +20 agility each, and it was still replaced around L73 or so by questing alone. That would've happened earlier if I'd run dungeons at all.

Camo said...

"[...] and was lucky enough to get the 3 socket cloth legs from Ramps. I had some cheap +int gems, so I socketed the pants."

Ahh yeah, but that's instance gear which is on par with greens a few levels above - without gems. Adding cheap +12 Wrath gems in sockets made for cheap +4 gems from TBC is such a huge Int boost that a TBC quest item can't provide.

I think the reason why people complain about "out leveling zones" is the new quest flow.
In low level zones the quests are chained togehter and you will find even that last quest if you follow the grey quest chain.
In vanilla the quests some times had those breadcrumb quests that would lead you to the next hub but how many quests were in small hubs that could only be found through exploring the zone?
You would finish the quests you had or would encounter and move on without knowing that you only did part of the zone quests, there wasn't even a way to track completed quests without an addon.
Cutting the total level time decreased time in a zone, too.

"Tobold dismisses intelligence being a factor in gaming success:.."

"Scripted raid encounters in which your success depends on perfect execution of predetermined moves you can watch on YouTube does not require intelligence."

That's true, if you can blindly memorize what to do on an encounter and follow it like a sheep, there isn't much intelligence needed.
On the other hand it is crucial if you are in a position where no videos or strategies are available but those people are just the players that race for first kills either on live or even on the PTR.
Intelligence is important too if you play a complex class (not sure about Cata feral cats but Wrath was pretty complex how to spend combo points compared to a paladins first come, first served faceroll style).
Intelligence makes a lot of tasks easier or even trivial because you see (or don't see them at all) which options are moronic and choose the best one but as Tobold said in an comment to the article:
"Furthermore what I am saying is that there is already a strong business incentive to displease the top 10% to please the middle 80% (the bottom 10% not being affected). I don't think any company can afford to displease the middle 98% to please the top 1%."
The consequece is that WoW moves more and more in a direction that caters for those that are unable to make complex decisions on the spot which leaves the intelligent players with less things that are challenging.

Anonymous said...

At long last i really feel you touched the core point of all your posts about "M&S"...
You do play a game with most of the lowest common denominator out there (i mean on people playing the game on your server not the people in your guild), and no mater how hard you try you can't play without them, you can "beat or humiliate" them but you can not make them go away, you are there with them and bare with it...

Anonymous said...

"Intelligence is important too if you play a complex class (not sure about Cata feral cats but Wrath was pretty complex how to spend combo points compared to a paladins first come, first served faceroll style)."

For feral kitty, SR is less important now. Every DPS class now has a priority-based rotation. They're not evenly easy or hard, they don't all provide the same utility, but I'd say the difference between a faceroll class (arcane mage, retri paladin) and a hard class to play (even with bad DPS outcome like enhancement shaman in WotLK) have been made smaller in Cataclysm. Which is a good thing since it adds to "bring the player, not the class" paradigm.

Anonymous said...

"When you see someone with no gems at all in his several sockets, you see a moron and slacker, someone who was too lazy to ask anyone "what is this socket thing" and too unintelligent to figure it out alone."
I disagree.
I have several alts who are unenchanted/gemless. I just entered BG's to get a bit of a starterkit and did some arena with them. I played to get a quick 1800, so that I could switch class if I ever felt the need. I have been contacted at least 50 times by random players in BG's. Some (i can recall at least 10 occasions) even explained how much my stats would increase and where to get/buy them.

From personal experience I can safely say that it is not being able to/willing to listen to the advice of other players rather than not being able to find out things by yourself. The information is provided by the community, if you want it or not.

Anonymous said...

The sad fact is (what Tobold refuses to accept) is that many fellow human beings are too stupid (or illiterate) for a video game. However the fact is that as IQ has the mean of 100 and normally distributed, the amount of 90 IQ people is equal to the 110 ones. The amount of 80 IQ is equal to the amount of 120 ones. The amount of 130 IQ people is equal to IQ 70 ones. And IQ 70 people are officially retards.

On the top of that, we have functional illiterates, kids who strongly believe that studying and thinking is lame while brute force is cool, people who can't understand the servers language and others who lack such basic skills. While they are not medically retards, they are just as hopeless.

This sums it up.
It's all due to statistical chance that you play with less intelligent people at times.

Blizzard avoids (or has made steps to) making intelligence a large factor of the game to appeal to a larger demographic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above that with current leveling speed gemming in not worth the cost pre-85 - time as much as gold - to bother with. Which is why I always thought no glyphs was much more damning in your moron pictures than no gems/enchants on what could be transitory gear.

It is unfortunate for me that intelligence is so little rewarded in WoW. To the extent anything is required, reflexes will benefit you more in Cata # 85 than IQ.

Wrathebe said...

I myself being a man of brute force, I am by no means dumb.

I just use my brute force doing things the studying people cannot do, an example is physical labor.

On the other hand, the studying person can make my physical labor easier by developing more efficient tools etc.

Azuriel said...

As soon as I hit 58, I started doing BC content and was lucky enough to get the 3 socket cloth legs from Ramps. I had some cheap +int gems, so I socketed the pants. At level 80, I finally replaced the pants with a green that I bought off the AH because I hadn't gotten anything better in the intervening period of time. Basically, BC gear with Wrath gems can last you 20 levels.

Without gems, the Lifegiver Britches from Ramps can get replaced by the TBC crafted green Tailoring pants that there are likely less expensive than finding Wrath gems on the AH. Even WITH +16 Int gems in all three slots, a quest reward in Zul'Drak gives an direct upgrade at level 74. And regardless, a fully gemmed Lifegiver Britches gives a +36 Int, +12 Spirit bonus over the crafted BoE pants. Hardly necessary for any of the leveling content.

Anonymous said...

"I agree with the above that with current leveling speed gemming in not worth the cost pre-85 - time as much as gold - to bother with."
How much could it cost you, few hundred golds (which by the lvl cap you should have at least 10-15k), or a few minutes searching on AH....you are the obvious example of all that gevlon is talking about...

Stubborn said...

It's a very common mistake to assume that people think the way you do. Everyone does it, all the time. It takes a moment to step back and realize that others might view things differently, and sometimes a moment is more than one can spare.

That said, I don't disagree about your biggest points (that a lot of people are bad at the game). I do disagree that IQs follow a bell curve; bell curves virtually never exist in a non-manufactured environment, but that's not really an attack on your point, just the method you use to back it up.

Leveling is certainly much too easy; I got to 38 without a single death having made many, many mis-pulls and the like, and that really shouldn't happen.

In the end, I think our major disagreement is on whether or not it really matters. Sure, if "dirty morons and slackers" are interacting with you in some way, then their being unsocketed or mis-geared could be very upsetting. If not, honestly, what difference does it make? Sure, you can throw broken windows out there, but the honest truth about the "World" of Warcraft is that it's a caste system with little interaction between the social statuses (what an ugly word - to look at I mean, not in meaning. Statuses - ugh). Perhaps that's worth a post.

On a different note (and I hope this doesn't get my comment omitted), I miss your old "morons of the week" posts. You mention one now and again, but I can't tell you how many laughs and groans I got reading those. They were a lighter touch to this otherwise sometimes frustrating (and other times ingenious) blog.

Eaten by a Grue said...

This article starts out with a logical fallacy. Just because applying hard core effort to a task not worthy of it results in said task becoming trivial, does not mean that every trivial task is a result of hard core effort. Some trivial tasks are trivial because they require hardly any effort at all, much less hard core effort.

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