Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wait your turn n00b!

Wow Insider had an interesting post yesterday. The writer and the commenters are speculating about game mechanics change to prevent node- and mob-ninjaing. I did not understand what is this. I know about ninja-looters, who, usually as loot-master take a raid loot. Also heard about guild bank ninjas. So ninjas are thievs who take what is not theirs.

However these people (the post writer and vast majority of the readers) are referring to "ninjas", who "steal" the mining node or collectable quest item or rare monster that somehow belongs to them. These people seems to strongly believe that these resources are rightfully theirs and any other person taking it is a thief.

Even more surprisingly most of those who disagree with the post seemed to agree with the philosophy behind it and instead of arguing it, came up with lame excuses like "how am I supposed to know that you really want that node and not just grind there". This is obviously a lie, if someone fights on the top of a mine he definitely wants it.

However I'm completely surprised how vast majority of people can believe that things belong to them just because they want them. The idea of "I saw it first, so it's mine" is completely stupid, not because it's impossible to tell who saw it first but because seeing something does not have magical powers. Just because I see a car, I can't take it, I have to buy it.

In the game the way of obtaining is going there and picking it up. Everyone has the same right to do it. The first one who pick it up gets it, it's that simple. If someone else takes it, than bad luck.

However there was another idea in the comments. Since the node has monsters nearby, they have to be defeated. If someone already fighting these monsters, you can easily take the node. However most of the people seemed to believe that fighting these monsters make them "earn" the node and the other one is a thief.

Let's cut the game-technical thing out of the way: Every class has the option to somehow keep the monster busy while he is picking up the node. You can fear, stun, sheep, freeze, cyclone, pet-tank the monster. If you try to kill it next to a node, you are simply a bad player. If you cry that someone else take "your" named monster, you should open the macro interface, type
/target name_of_the_monster
/cast [target=exists,harm,nodead] some_instant_spell
and put the icon of the macro to your action bar, and when you see the monster appearing, press the button.

The point is not this. The point is that there is no such thing as "earning" it by some magical process. You take it by picking it. Period. Just because you killed all the monsters nearby, you have no more right to take it than anyone else.

Update: AJ in a comment linked an official Blizzard statement, that taking nodes is OK and killing nearby monsters does not entitle you to have the node.

Of course there are rules in the game and also in real life. If you don't stand in the line in the supermarket but push your way to the cassa, the security guard will escort you out. But it's not a magical process. It's a rule set by the management of the supermarket. They don't want slow or shy people to wait too much because they would leave and not come to the shop again. Since the management rules the shop, they have the power to demand you to wait your turn, or don't come in. It's the management that makes you wait in line, and not the other people. Same in WoW. The management set rules like "no racist comment" and "no botting". If you violate them, you get banned. Not because you have no "right" to do it, or other people have the "right" to get no such thing, but simply because Blizzard said so. It's their game, it's their way, or the highway. Good example: in China, the anti-government comments are also banned from the game. Why? Because Blizzard said so (obviously because on the demand of the local authorities).

All organizations, including countries set up rules. Some of these rules defend the members of the organizations from other members. However, believing that this defense is magical, somehow you have the "right" to be defended and anyone who violates it is "bad" is complete nonsense. It's the organization management who decided to defend you (most probably because you are a valued member), but this defense is coming from them. It's their "gift" or "payment" for being member (or they just defending their asset), but not some natural law.

Simple example: if you violate the laws of gravity, like walking in the air, you will fall down. Walking in the air is impossible. However robbing a bank is possible but banned by the country laws. One can rob a bank! Of course the law enforcement agency will attempt to catch the robber. However if he gets over the border, into a coutry with different laws, he may lives happily ever after.

There is a rule that says "wait for your turn" in the shop. However there is no such rule in WoW. You can ask Blizzard to implement such rule and they may agree it. But until that happens, you can't expect people to respect a non-existing rule! Just because you believe that the rule should exist it does not.

Of course you can call the people, who don't follow your non-existing rule "asshats" or "jerks", but it does not change anything. They most probably don't even know what you think, and if you /w it to them, remember, you are just an /ignore away. Calling them anything won't stop them taking "your" node. It increase your blood pressure though. Going somewhere less crowded or being faster helps.


Larísa said...

Even though there aren't any written policies from Blizzard about this issue I don't think there's necesserily a chaotic state where anyone grabs anything. There are lots of "unwritten rules" in the game as well as in real life. As a matter of fact those "rules" - even though they aren't laws and there's no penelty for violating them - are quite necessary to make the world a decent place to live in. If we find ourselves in a totally new situation where there are no such conventions we tend to invent them ourselves. We need them to stay sane. Some "unwritten rules" are rubbish, I admit. But many of them make sense. On the contrary to you I think most players deep inside know that it's wrong to snatch a herb right infront of someone who is about to kill the mob "guarding it". Some players snatch it anyway. Maybe they get a kick out of it. They wouldn't rob a shop in real life, this is some kind of strange substitute, what do I know.
But I've found that most players are decent and goodmannered, thanks god. They wait for their turn if there's a mob spawning rarely and they don't "steal" nodes. They even may help you if you're in an emergency situation. And those players make Azeroth into a much nicer place than it would be if you strictly followed the "goblin way".
(another rant from Larísa the good-hearted :))

Tal said...

So why is someone who grabs loot a ninja (i.e: thief) and one who skins a mob you just killed not? The "loot ninja" also acted within the game's rules.
As Larisa said, there are some unwritten laws, or rather customs. Although Blizzard won't do anything to you if you ignore them, the "community" might - getting your name associated with being a ninja is not too much fun, making it harder to find groups and getting accepted to guilds. If Blizzard decides to actually change the game mechanics to prevent these sort of things, great, but all in all I think the General/Trade channel work pretty well. :)

Cuthbert said...

I think the Goblin makes a good point. Obviously it is silly to get angry as a miner if you are busy killing a mob instead of tapping a node. It also sucks when you kill something and someone else skins it. (There are mechanics to deal with that particular situation. If you don't loot it then it can't be skinned.) There is opportunity cost though to that kind of activity. I think the goblin way may also take into account the negative social consequences those kind of activities cause. It doesn't look good for your guild, or for your character in particular to engage in that kind of activity. On my server over half of all enchanting mats are sold by me. If someone I "steal" a node from also goes to the ah to powerlevel enchanting, I may have cost myself a good amount of revenue. (I commented on your post about not being able to make money from enchanting)

Your competitors in some arenas can be your consumers as well. The argument against that is that most people are stupid and would never remember that kind of thing, but you never know what sticks with people when you piss them off. How do you think that meshes with the goblin way?

Gevlon said...

@Larísa, Tal: the loot ninja violates the agreement (sort of law) of the group. You all agree that the loot, gained by common effort is distributed via /roll (or some other system). The ninja could leave the group if he disagree, but he don't, accept the rule and violate it.

In an instance miners usually take turns. They are in the same group, they have agreement to make the run smooth.

On the other hand, in the ourside world I have no agreement with the other guy. I've never promised him anything, I owe him nothing, there is no point giving up the opportunity to compete for his node. Rules come from either a higher power or from agreement. Here neither exists, all men for himself.

@Cuthbert: for those noobs, who don't buy from you just because they dislike you, you can set up an alt "competitor", who sells higher than you. So your "enemies" pay MORE than decent folks.

Anonymous said...

@ Larisa - Amen, with the exception of the "most players are decent and goodmannered". The ones I run into don't seem to be. :)

@ Tal - The "ninja" may have acted with the game's rules, but not necessarily society's. It's completely with "the rules" to rob a bank. I have that right. I also have to accept the consequences. In the case of WoW, that's the stigma of being a "ninja".

@Cuthbert - Agree it's silly to get worked up about it. It's a game. I laughed for two hours the other day while mining in the Basin watching Horde and Alliance alike mine a node and sit there before looting it because someone else was waiting to try and ninja it. I watched two Horde and an Alliance fight over a node, laughed at them, moved on to find a Titanium Node not far away. Laughed harded at those idiots because one of them would have gotten it had they just moved on.

@ Gevlon - I see your point, but I disagree in principle. I don't "ninja" herbs, nodes, etc. You talk about rules from higher power and although I'm not the most religious person in the world, I still try to follow "The Golden Rule". I accept others won't. I don't get worked up about it normally. I figure what comes around goes around.

Anonymous said...

The more I read this blog, the more I get the feeling the poster has no moral sense of right and wrong. Thinking someone stealing money from a guild bank is justified, stealing nodes from people is totally fine because "you can do it." There's such a thing as being within the "spirit of the rules." Many WoW players seem to have the mind set of nothing is wrong as long as I can do it.

What people get upset about is when you are actually mining a node and someone flies in and starting mining the same node. Sure you'll get the first loot but then because of lag or luck, the next tap is up in the air. That is obviously wrong and the reason more people don't complain is because this only happens to miners. If herbalism required you to pick each herb individually and people started stealing nodes mid-herb, more people would complain.

So my question would be, is tapping a node someone else is already mining okay, after all, you can do it.

Gevlon said...

@kyrilean: lol, on "higher power" I meant Blizzard in the game, or the lawmakers of your country.

@eino: it's NOT your node. It's just a node. However if you are already mining, just keep the loot window open and don't take the mineral. As long as the loot is taken, the mine is "used". Go, make a coffee, Alt-Tab to read some blogs. He either leaves by the time, or got tired waiting and when you finally take the loot, he won't be able to react fast enough. So all the minerals are yours with a bonus of /laugh, on the noob.

Darraxus said...

I dont really agree. If I see someone fighting near a node, I assume they are trying to tap it. If they finish fighting and dont tap it, then i will take it. I expect the same be done to me. If someone takes a node I was fighting for, I will follow them around and ninja theirs.

There is such a thing as common courtesy. You dont take a dump in public just because you can, and you dont steal somebody else's node just because you can.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to an herb node then yes someone fighting a mob over it is a bad player... but when it comes to a mine alot of classes don't have a choice. Sure you can fear or stun but alot of classes will only get one swing before the mob comes back after them and if you feared there is a good chance with friends. I've had it happen to where I get a swing off and temporarly cc the mob only for it to come back and have no choice but to kill it. Then someone comes along and starts minning it.

Its sad that so many people have a sense of entitlement when it comes to gathering. I saw it therefore its mine. Even if someone else is there too.

This really reminds me of the trees in Skettis where if you are there kililng them there is a good chance that you are there to herb them. Yet people come in and try and herb the tree you spent time killing. There are no rules in place so therefore they don't feel like they are doing anything wrong. I don't understand how people can justify this kind of broken morality but they do.

Oh I know with the trees you just don't loot and eventually the person would give up... but you shouldn't have to do that to protect your investment.

AJ said...

The "Higher Power" in this case Blizz has already decided that it's fine for people to "ninja" the nodes and they don't care.

My decision to act on a higher moral step than that required by the authorities is my decision, however it's the old debate on whether it's right to force your personal beliefs onto other people.

I don't expect anyone to "respect my rights" to a node, because according to the gods of this little universe of WoW it's not mine, it's first in first served. My decision to adhere to a moral high ground and leave someone to their node is just that, my decision. If they go on to ninja my node straight after, I'll get over it.

Besides, there's more ore out there than anyone can farm, move on and leave the "ninja" to their node... Farming, for the most part, is an inefficient way of making cash anyway, and it's not very fun...

Happy AH antics to you all =)

Victor Hollo said...


Long time reader, first time poster. Thank you so much for this post. I think you hit the nail on the head. I always look forward to your useful help and hints. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Victor Hollo said...

Also, as a followup I did not realize you were Hungarian. I too am a proud Magyar - my parents were born and raised, and I've learned the language, studied, and lived there over the years, but i live in the states.

Gevlon said...

@AJ: thanks for the link!

@erc2: thanks

Anonymous said...

What we're dealing with here is the question of decency and doing the right thing. Someone who clears the path to a node by killing the handful of mobs that surround it doesn't technically "own" the node. But a person with a functioning moral compass would respect what the other player had just done and leave the node to the person who put in the work to get to it.

Not immobilizing the mobs so they can farm the node doesn't make them a "bad player." To assume that they didn't freeze, fear, or sap the mob because they weren't a good enough player to do so is nothing short of ignorant. For nodes just barely within reach, failed attempts are frequent and would require a second or third attempt, rendering the crowd control method completely inefficient. To send the mob running in the opposite direction or frozen in place knowing that it will eventually return is pretty noobish play. But it buys you the extra few seconds you'll need to beat the next guy to the node, right? Onto my next point.

Had it occurred to you that perhaps they're just a decent person; the type of person who would leave a node for a fellow player under the same circumstances? But, according to your theory, they're either a "bad player" or stupid.

The node ninja is a small part of what's wrong with this game. The philosophy that you present here is a small part of what's wrong with this world. Applied to real life, this is exactly the type of thinking that got a seasonal Wal-Mart employee trampled to death by a mob of ignorant Black Friday shoppers. Whoever got to the deal of the day first won, to Hell with the guy who lost his life. There were no "rules" to govern who could stake a claim to the best deals in the store. These types of stories sicken me because people are so Goddamned stupid and disrespectful of their fellow man because their own selfish needs come first. This is a perfect example of that ignorance on a microcosm.

Khraus said...

On a PVP server, you can kill the member of the opposite faction and take a mining node, that has happened to me a few times :).
While making my loop in the basin, its easy to skip a node that someone else is working on and move to the next one. Many a time I didn't fight over a node and the very next node is a titanium node. The reality is, if it isn't in your bag, it's not yours.
I can understand the desire to have order or custom to make the game "enjoyable". Some sort of common ethical code so that if you are a miner and fighting next to a node, people will not stop and take the node while you are fighting. But the reality is, you have an action bar full of hurtful actions against players and mobs. You show up to an area with mobs with red tags, and you systematically kill men, women and dogs for a bit of silver. It's hard to argue the morals of node-ninjaing when you didn't get to 80 by doing only FedEx quests. You kill other players and you kill mobs.

Gaelex said...

Rules are made by societies, the gamers in WoW form such a society.
If the majority of the gamers consider that taking of a node while a player is cleaning up around it is stealing/ninjaing then it is so.
You can bitch all that you want here, Blizzard can put all the crap they want because they own the game and still the society of the gamers is the one that decides what is right and what is wrong in its view. So they have every right and the freedeom to call you ninja or thief.
The point of view may differ, especially since it's good for Blizzard because ninjaing means you have to play more to get what you want. Meaning they charge you more play time.
Simple as that.