Greedy Goblin

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sweet stories about sucking

Against my better judgement, I've followed Larísa's link to Ixobelle's blogpost. I've first "met" him after some reader directed me to a blog where he wrote a pretty hateful comment about me (lost the link). I've peeked into his blog finding nothing useful or informative about WoW. I forgot him until Larísa's link. The post was about great adventures into VoA, where they wiped again and again, until he broke his MH weapon, because reparing is luxory and the little yellow man icon is just for fun.

He got some comments and while there is no reader count on his blog, I assume he has several as he is pretty well-known among bloggers. The question is who the hell cares about such sucking? Why does anyone reads that crap? Why would anyone care for someone's opinion who does not care at all about performance?

Then it hit me. Every time I chat or talk with WoW players, the most positive feedback arrives not on reaching goldcap, or downing FL+4 or being able to raid according to my own schedule, or having 2K+ subscribers on my blog. The responses for these range from "meh I guess it's nice" to "it's not all about achievements you know, you could have some fun too".

If I want real, honest cheers, laughs and "yeah dude, that's how it is", I tell the fishing pole story. It goes: "I fished up Lurker since no one else could fish him up. After the beast arrived it was all a mess and I had to heal quickly. I recognized that I'm still having my fishing pole up after the fifth wipe on Vashj".

At first: the story is a lie. I recognized it after the first Lurker wipe, analizing the recount. When I saw my average lifebloom ticks, I immediately knew that I miss some gear or buff. Secondly I've never had a try on Vashj. I was in a social suckguild (and it was my fault being there). The story was true at first time but as time went on, I kept expanding it. Finally I could talk about it for five minutes including a very lively and empassionate sub-story about desperately trying to keep up the raid at Karathress but somehow my heals were too small and I had to chain-pot although I was always proud of my mana regen. I could talk about my feelings during that cursed raid (that never happened) while I was fighting with my magically decreased healing power.

The longer, the more colorful the story was, the more appreciation I got, so the story got longer every time. The story was a networking tool to get into the hearts of social (WoW-playing) people on social occasions.

Why was it so popular? Because social people hate success stories. The goldcap-story or the FL+4 story tells that I'm better, or just as good as them. Even if they have Yogg-3, they hear "I'm catching up on you, I'll reach your achievements before 3.2".

On the other hand the "I suck" stories are subtle ways of telling "you are better than me". This make the social person feel good and more attached to me. So if you write about "I suck", you'll have social readers who like the warm feeling they get while reading the story.

I don't want to spread warm feelings. I want to spread my ideas. No more sucking stories here.

If you see them somewhere else, be advised that you are just being "networked", subconsciously forced to do something stupid (waste your time on the site, increasing its reader count).

If you want something to read, seek success stories (like this great one) that proves that anything can be reached if someone is trying hard enough and has more than a lifetapping warlock and a holy pala in his brain.

And my success story for the week: Steelbraker is down. It is done by 1.4% of the raider population. We are included. I am too. This is a typical "DPS can win it, tank&heal can lose it" fight. 40K fusion punches and 30K normal melee on the top of the 3K on everyone nature damage. He shoots chain lightnings on 3 ranged DPS, increasing nature damage taken. On the top of that if he kills someone, he gains HP and damage, so when some DPS dies I can't agree with Runemaster Molgeim about "the world suffers yet another insignificant loss". Oh one more thing: in every 30 secs he surely kills the tank, needs to be taunted, tank ressed, healed and buffed.

On early tries tanks died upon resurrecting. Glyph of rebirth on. Then: tank died, tank died. OK, I have a tankhealer talent, let's do some tankhealing. Ranged DPS died, ranged DPS died. Back to raid healing. Tank died. Tank died. (we had more than 50 tries on him). Every tries I conjured up some change in healing. On some tries I blindly spammed rejuv+WG almost reaching the #1 superspammer druid on the meters (tank died). On some tries I kept LBx3, all HoT, Nourish-spam on tank (random raidmembers died). On every try I get closer to the optimal. On the last I reglyphed to regrowth (+rebirth+WG) and kept RG on tanks and the 3 ranged, otherwise rejuv+WG, and tranquility on the tank transition. And he went down.

Does it looks like I did the key job? For me it did, though it's surely not the case. If the shaman would write this entry he would tell a similar story about CH, LHW, HW. The tank would have his story about using his mitigation CD-s better and better to avoid fusion punches. The ranged would have his stories about balancing lightning mitigation and DPS. The rogue would have his story with balancing anti-heal poison and DPS.

Everyone would have his story about adapting to the situation what changed every tries due to the changes made by others. And all stories would end with a dead Steelbraker. My story is not better or more true. It's just mine.

How about you? Are you making the first steps into your success story, or waiting for some "freindly heplfull ppl" to do it for you?


Brian said...

You know what's really interesting about your success stories? You're not "apologetic" at all about them. You did a good job with something, you're rightfully proud, and you say so. While you obviously bought your way into a raiding guild, your raiding accomplishments can't be done by a great guild dragging a crappy player through the content, you're clearly doing your part.

What's interesting is that your presentation of the success stories is considered "Goblin" at all. The "correct" response to people failing is ALWAYS "don't worry about it", or "I've done that a million times", even if that is a lie. Similarly, the "correct" stories to tell are ones that make the story-teller seem more average or even dumb. It's considered bad taste if, at a party, you tell a story about how awesome you are.

I admit I'm far from being a Goblin, but even I think that's a little strange. Why is lying about your failure more acceptable than being honest about your success? Is it that people don't like being reminded of their own lack of success, and would rather everyone be like them?

And more importantly, what does it say about the story-teller? I don't stand on the wrong side on Thaddius, I don't get hit by the flame walls in OS, I haven't been frozen on Hodir since my first try at him. Those things are easy to do, yet every time someone I know fails to correctly do one of those things, my response is always that "I've failed at that myself". I have the failbot addon installed, but I only have it report to myself instead of publishing in raid chat because I feel bad about it. Why? I don't want to make people want to kill themselves or anything, but seriously, if you're failing at stupid stuff, it's NOT OK, and you should try to fix it. Why do I lie to make them feel better? Why do people tell stories designed to do the same thing?

A better example is my performance as DPS. I'm a druid, and my main spec is healing...but I have a decent off-spec feral DPS set. And by "decent", I mean that in most runs I'm in, I do top DPS on boss fights...even when running with people with better gear who are main spec DPS. When they ask me about it, as they always do, I respond with some BS answer like "cat DPS is kind of over-powered right now" or "I guess I just got lucky" or "I have pretty good gear". What I really should be saying is "Even though it's my off-spec, I put in a lot of time and research optimizing my spec, my rotation, and my gear...maybe you should try doing that." For some reason I think of that as "rude", even though it's not really, and could even spur some mage into action so he doesn't get shown up every night by an undergeared off-spec feral druid.

I disagree with Gevlon about almost everything, which is why I read his blog (reading people who agree with you is so boring), but on this I'm with him 100%. Stories about epic success are the way to go, and I hope he keeps posting them. They are an inspiration for some, and an uncomfortable prodding for others. And while other bloggers may get fans by talking about how they accidentally healed with their fishing pole, I take comfort in the fact that Gevlon is trying to help REDUCE the number of those people in WoW. We have enough fail, we don't need to encourage more.

Anonymous said...

I think you might have come to the realization that you're a misanthrope. :)

Thunderhorns said...

Grats on Steelbreaker.

So on hardmode 25 Steelbreaker's Chain Lightning can't be interrupted and Fusion Punch can't be dispelled? I know we dispel Fusion Punch and interrupt Chain Lightning on 10 man fights for those mobs that can cast it.

Pretty lame that Chain Lightning and Fusion Punch can't be interrupted and dispelled on hardmode. I always like it when they have more coordination required than just "Heal, heal, pop tank cooldowns, dps as fast as you can".

Stabs said...

I think there's more to Ixobelle than you seem to have seen at first glance. He's a very good story-teller and can be extremely entertaining. Look more at the sweet stories and less at the sucking if you want to see his appeal.

Congratulations on your latest conquest. What I found particularly interesting was this:

"we had more than 50 tries on him"

Tenacity is what differentiates the best raiders from the rest of the pack more than any other quality.

I got very burned out leading raids on my Death Knight as people expected to everything to run perfectly. Very few of the aspiring Naxx raiders I've seen around are prepared to wipe.

It's great to see bloggers promoting tenacity and determination as those qualities are really rare in many who pride themselves on being "raiders".

Thunderhorns said...

Tenacity is what differentiates the best raiders from the rest of the pack more than any other quality.

Agree 100%. This is the attribute that separates the pack more than anything else.

I'd also add in patience and a tolerance for other personalities that fill a guild. To many guilds fail because they allow petty interpersonal conflicts to destroy them rather than keeping their eye on the prize.

And the traits needed to succeed must start at the top and trickle down. Thus a determined guild leader is the base ingredient for a successful guild.

hound said...

I don't know. Maybe I'm just tired, but this could be the best post of yours I've read to date.

So often I read about how one person in a raid changed what he/she did and suddenly the group found success.

This is a great reminder that the learning curve in raiding is a group long as everyone is putting forth their share of the effort.

I haven't raided since before Lich King was released. This post makes me long for it fiercely.

Sven said...


"I don't want to spread warm feelings. I want to spread my ideas. No more sucking stories here.

If you see them somewhere else, be advised that you are just being "networked", subconsciously forced to do something stupid (waste your time on the site, increasing its reader count)."

Whist it is true that "I suck" stories are a form of networking, so are "I'm great" stories. They're just telling you different things about the person. What's more, what that story tells you is dependent on the culture the storyteller hails from. So, for example, an "I'm great" story from an Englishman might be a sign of insecurity, whereas one from an an American might be a sign of confidence. Why? Because there are different conventions in the different nations about the appropriate way to respond to success.

A concrete example. Over the last couple of nights we tried to re-visit Heroic Sethekk Halls in the hope of picking up the rare raven mount. On the first run, we had four people, 3 of which were the kind who tell "I suck" stories and 1 of which was of the kind that tells "I'm great" stories. We had tremendous difficulty because the reality was that Mr "I'm great" wasn't and persistently over-aggroed and tried to solo mobs that killed him. On the second run, we returned with the 3 "I suck" people and cruised through (as we should), despite being one DPS down on the previous attempt.

Ultimately, I'd rather work with with people who understate their abilities than those who overstate them.

Kreeegor said...

"What did people say at times like this? Ah. Yes.
Later on they taught him a game that consisted of a table with holes and nets around the edge, and balls carved expertly out of wood, and apparently balls had to bounce
off one another and into the holes. It was called Pond. He played it well. In fact, he played it perfectly. At the start, he didn’t know how not to. But after he heard them gasp a few times he corrected himself and started making mistakes with painstaking precision; by the time they taught him darts he was getting really good at them. The more mistakes he made, the more people liked him. So he propelled the little feathery darts with cold skill, never letting one drop within a foot of the targets they urged on him. He even sent one ricocheting off a nail head and a lamp so that it landed in someone’s beer, which made one of the older men laugh so much he had to be taken outside into the fresh air.
They’d called him Good Old Bill.
No-one had ever called him that before.
What a strange evening."

Terry Pratchett - The Reaper Man.

That sums it all. you can achieve much greater networking access by telling I suck stories.

SilentJoe said...

I can't say for others but what I am looking for in posts on WoW is information about the game that I could use. Reports of various in-game experiences like boss encounters, performance evaluations, thoughts on stat allocation, comparisons of items or profession bonuses, thoughts on ways of attaining achievements, interesting ways to make money, PVP strategies, etc, etc. Preferrably with some kind of analysis, numbers and screenshots. I am much less interested in social chit-chat like "this guild did that, gz guys" or "god, there are so many scrubs, WoW is getting worse by the day".

This blog seems to be a bit better in that respect than others, but there still is *a lot* of room for improvement. This particular post I am commenting under is a good example. The only bits of it that are of interest to me are two paragraphs starting with "And my success story ..." and ending with "... And he went down." Everything else if fluff.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

Larísa said...

Ouch. Long time ago two of the bloggers I love and respect most, two bloggers with very different styles and temperament, both excellent in their own nieche - Gevlon and Ixobelle - clashed into each other on my blog. I think David at Alt Fanatic was into it as well. I don't even remember any longer what the discussion was about, but I remember that I finally had to say: go and have that fight somewhere else, asking for some peace and quiet in my inn, since I love you all.

And now it seems to be time for another crash. Well, since Ixo is currently on the move, without access to any computer, it's possible that it won't get to warfare this time. He really can't defend himself. If he even cares, I actually doubt that.

Anyway, as you probably suspect I don't agree with you on this one. Of course I too like some success stories once in a while, but often failure stories make a much better read.

You know... humour... self irony? It's probably not a goblin thing, but it's quite entertaining, which is a purpose of a blog that is as worthy as being informative. It's just a different genre.

Anyway - I think I'll be back to this in a future post of my own. I'm passionate about this kind of stuff. How to inspire people, how to become a good writer, how to tell a story... What I like and what leaves me cold.

So expect this to be continued at the PPI!

Anonymous said...

A lot of people only read blogs because of the useful helpful information they give. Many bloggers write blogs because they want to seem important or good at what they do, but the reason people keep coming back is the advice we give them.

I have committed to one post per working day, and since there's not always a guide waiting to be written, sometimes I post about stuff that's not helpful- but it's the guides I write that drive my traffic. The rest of the stuff is just filler. I write it because I want to, but people only read it because they trust I'll post another guide soon.

Wooly said...

I actually think success stories are much more interesting for most socials than the I suck stories. I suck stories can even get annoying to them after a while, as they want to hang out with awesome people, because that makes them look awesome too (they think). There is no room for losers. I suck stories are only accepted from higher up the social ladder for the reason you mentioned. There's some very popular guy on trade on my server that does nothing but brag about how awesome he is. He does does this a bit over the top so it seems that he's joking, but he's loved very much by a lot.

The usual M&S I run into, also tells nothing but success stories: "WTF, I pwn ur suckz dps XD wut" (I don't know if this means anything, I'm just trying to make it look genuine ;)), etc. They love to tell their "pwning" stories in /s to each other in crowded places in major cities. And like each other for it... The idiots.

Anyway, if there is anything I learned in life so far it's that you are usually seen as you see yourself. If you're good, but insecure, people think you're not that good, only because you don't appear to know exactly what to do, making them worry (eeewww). If you're not good, but think you're awesome, people will gladly let you do a task, as you make them think they don't have to worry about that (and the feeling of worry is far worse to most people then things actually going bad, this is seriously fucked up ape-shit-behaviour that always applies!), and even when you fuck up majorly, they often doubt their own correct judgment of you for a while. Probably because their feeling of security with you keeps focus away from you. So, unless you say something so completely retarded that it takes away any doubt, like "I'm can't dispel that, lolz, I'm dps spec", you can get pretty far with just attitude. Worst thing is that this stupid human behavior teams up pretty well with the Dunning Kruger effect for maximum mess.

So, I'm sure it's all about how you appear to be. And I'm also pretty sure that socials love success (hell, I think nobody really dislikes it), and mostly the feeling of having successful/interesting people around them. As long as those people are clear about accepting them (by talking with them f.e.), so they feel they're part of that success (same as fans of some sport team, they've done crap, yet the feel like "they" won).

The blog you're mentioning (haven't seen it) is probably popular because in the eyes of a lot of people this is still a successful guy, doing more then they will ever do. Having a broken item regularly is probably quite normal to them. Then again, social behavior will never be as easy to explain as I would like, sometimes someone being complete crap can be liked just because he just takes it very lightly (again: the no worries thing I guess).

I'm quite convinced that the main reason why you're still experiencing so much hate, while you're clearly successful, is because you spread it. You are clear about who doesn't belong to your "kind", so those people will automatically think of reasons why you are bad, as that relieves them from having to worry that they're actually bad. By your definitions that group should be pretty large too. To those that feel (most important part) that they belong to your group, you are quite popular. but I guess you know that very well.

Zaph said...

I'm with larisa on this one. There's so much more to WoW than just success stories. Writing styles have to differ or we'd only need one writer. Gevlon can be the Don Rickles of motivational gold making, and everyone else can be whoever they are. Telling stories about failures is just honest. "Experience and knowlege are what you get right after you need them the most"

Bell said...

I've always thought "I suck" stories to be more for the author than the reader. A catharsis by way of writing and ranting that just happens to have a comment section attached.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather read an entertaining story about someone sucking than a boring list of hard mode achievements.

Tristan said...

I'm one of a very few who have and will ever have Ironbound Protodrakes. I guess that's a success.

Yaggle said...

Stories about sucking or success are not necessarily better than the other. And besides, success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. However, I can't really blame you for changing your money-making blog into a raiding blog, since nowdays money is less useful and easier to obtain than ever in WoW, and thus blogs about attaining money aren't very interesting any more.

Orgalia said...

Excellent post. Always good to hear about successes on hard mode before it gets nerfed as always so people can see "new content" without the amount of effort taken originally.

Anonymous said...

Good job Gevlon, not only did you figure out how to maximize the amount of gold you can get from the M&S out of free will, but you also figured out how to make them appreciate you as a person (the evil greedy business man) at the same time. You can rule the world now ;)

MLW said...

First of all, you got a lot of praise when you reached 2000 readers. If you didn't see it as praise, it's because those who congratulated you probably resented your assumption that they agreed with your philosophy.

Second, maybe people like Such Stories because it is a reminder that we all make mistakes and can overcome them. Is it really some social "ape-subroutine" to gain some context on the average success rate?

Ewber -US Azgalor said...


Your blog is great.

I came here for the wow-economics posts...

Yet I stayed for the interesting point of view offered.

When I first came here I had probably ~10-15k gold. Now, about 5-6 weeks later, I'm sitting comfortably at 115k and increasing that amount daily.

I wouldn't really care to read anymore about how to make money in wow (It is frankly too easy, and most of it is automated by addons anyways)

Your posts now are quite interesting even if some do go to one extreme occasionally.

PS: I agree, who would ever enjoy reading a crappy/fail story about something I could witness in an Emalon pug??
Might as well replace that blog link with: "LOLZ I BROKE DAGGURZ AND KEPT RAIDING NOONE NOTICED IM M&S LOLOL!!11!"

Jacob said...


You can interrupt chainlightnings and they should be. What Gevlon ment is that Steelbreaker does a thing called Static Charge on a ranged which will do some extra damage and increase nature damage taken for 30 seconds or so.

Fusion punch can still be dispelled, but the initial hit goes up to like 40k towards the end.

Zea said...

Some of you guys are nice guys. And you try to tell people it is okay to get hit by avoidable damage. (like what Brian mentioned) Even though he himself never get hit by it. I am not that nice. And pretty much an ass when it comes to that. I point out names of people who get hit by such things and make sure the raid leader of officers know who is screwing up the fight.

I proudly announce my shitty latency of 500-800ms and still proclaim that I do not get hit by flame walls, void zones, flash freeze, rockets etc. On top of avoiding all these environmental hazards, I top the dps meters.

Some people learn faster, some learn slower. Some practically have problems pressing their strafe key even after seeing that big red circle beneath them with a huge towering column of red light. To me, it is unacceptable.

Everyone in guild knows I am really rich (in wow), but instead of asking me how did I manage to earn it, they asked me jokingly for gold. (well, at least a few did consult me)

Syrana said...

Against my better judgment, I followed Jong's link here. But, bloggers and readers are a diverse group, so there isn't one-blog-fits-all.

I think part of the apparent appeal of "I suck" stories is the way they are written. Generally, "success" stories are written in a fairly boring way as yours is up above. It's great for giving facts/info, but low on entertainment value.

"Suck" stories tend to be higher on entertainment value and sometimes include some information that may or may not be helpful. Sometimes it helps readers to analyze what went wrong to make suggestions to the author... sometimes it is a way for an author to forewarn of "stupid/silly" mistakes to readers.

Larisa writes wonderful stories, which is why her success story was enjoyed very much. She put more than just "I did x spell y times and The Big Bad died." She shared the EXPERIENCE.

.. but there is also another theory that people are just really into a strange sense of voyeurism on the internet and fulfill this guilty pleasure by reading of other people's failures... which in turn makes them feel better about themselves.

Who knows? /shrug

Anonymous said...

"Because social people hate success stories."

Nope they don't hate them. Depending on how they are communicated they either don't understand them, don't feel they have any relevance to them (such as discussing something unatainable for them), or, as someone said above, find them boring.

Both the gold cap story and the FL+4 are impressive things to do, but unless the stories are told in an interesting way (how interesting is reaching to gold cap going to be really?) the most people won;t find them worth reading in full or discussing.

Gobble gobble.

Alfonsius said...

Let me get that straight: you skilled fishing? That's kind of .. slacking ;-)
It doesn't give a passive bonus on anything, and it makes only money from farming, which is wasted time.

Anyway, as I commented on Jongs blog, different people have different opinions. I go with Larísa picking those informations that are useful for me, skipping the rest.

Hatch said...

I finally figured out what makes Gevlon the way he is...he has no funny bone. He's just clinically incapable of detecting humor. So everything is deadly serious to him. Think about it. It explains a lot.

Sue whatever doctor gave you that funnybonedectomy, dude.

Rob Dejournett said...

Good story, thanks. That's pretty much how I tell my stories; I always did thing X and that made the difference. Although, it's probably 25 people doing thing X that does it. Anyway sure is fun to down a new boss for the first time, isn't it?

*vlad* said...

"Does it looks like I did the key job? For me it did, though it's surely not the case. If the shaman would write this entry he would tell a similar story about CH, LHW, HW. The tank would have his story about using his mitigation CD-s better and better to avoid fusion punches. The ranged would have his stories about balancing lightning mitigation and DPS. The rogue would have his story with balancing anti-heal poison and DPS."

Exactly, and this is why it is not acceptable, as you once said, to do 'just enough'.
Bring your best to the raid, and if everyone else does too, you win, no matter how hard it is.

Sydera said...

You actually downed Steelbreaker without a set healing assignment?

How is it that you were able to swing from one job to another?

We are working on this boss as well, but we settled out the best healing arrangement after a few attempts. At this point, we just need to make some adjustments with the tanking after the first is killed. Tank death from fusion punch is common at this point, and we've got one geared main tank and two, well, newer ones in Naxx gear. We've either got to gear up our new raiders or get our full best team on the field and we've got it.

Anonymous said...

Most impressive.
Success stories do have thier place, as do Stories of failure (provided they are about other peoples failures).

Our guilds success is starting to show. Along with many other guilds we wiped horribly at some places in ulduar. But last night felt good, real good. FL+2 down, and got XT, Kolagarn, Aureya, Freya, Thorim, Hodir & Mimeron down within 3 hours. Few deaths, Tight group, Very solid dps.

It felt rewarding to be good. And to top it off my gold has exceeded 50k now.

Im a Pally Tank, offspec as ret.
Ellifain @ Khaz'Goroth