Greedy Goblin

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm a proud cog in the machine

Serial ganker left Darkfall because he couldn't be competitive. As all the losers, he blames something out of his control, something "bad design". It's the standard: "no lifers win, new players have no chance" QQ.

I always watched M&S on the bridge of AB, attacking players instead of demolishers in SotA, ganking at the graveyard in WSG while losing 0:3 and so on. I simply thought they are too stupid to comprehend the point of the BG, unable to understand the basics. Many commenters told that if they have internet connection and a computer and prefer a computer game over Oprah and a six-pack, they cannot be complete retards but I lacked another explanation.

Serial ganker gave it to me: "I'm very competitive in these games. I don't want to be a cog in the machine. I want to contribute. I want to win." He wants to be a hero! Except to be hero, you mostly have to die. Sometimes a hero's death makes his side win, but mostly does not. They are remembered and celebrated but at the end of the day they are dead and they have lost.

Being a hero, being competitive are mutually exclusive with winning. The machine always wins over the lone hero. Serial ganker knows exactly how could he win: by teaming up with other newbies, acting in group. He just doesn't want to. He wants to individually win. He wants to personally matter.

I don't. I can't care less if 50+ morons comments "lol ur DPS suxxs" after undergeared posts. I know that extra mitigation, perma-sheep, slow-CS, decurse mattered more than DPS. People call such job "dispel-whore". I assume "whore" is the opposite of hero and being one is "not fun" to any social. I also miss the "fun" of massacring hordies in WG when I do the lonely job of pummeling a south tower with my demolisher (faster than siege and I can cast without CC from the gunner seat).

In both projects I'm no hero. I'm a little cog in the machine with "no fun" according to the "fun ppl". But at the end of the match I will smile on the "you won" screen while all the "fun ppl heroes" will spend the following minutes insulting each other for losing. "Lol ur DPS was low", "lol u have no gear", "lol I have more killings than u scrub", "come to org duel I show u who haz skillz". They blame each other for not being big enough heroes while they lost exactly because they were all too big heroes. The machine has defeated them and they never had a chance.

It all comes down to the marshmallow experiment: can you do a little "not-fun" action (guarding LM, destroying south towers) now, to gain a much larger gain (the victory with all its rewards) later?

If you prefer to be a cog in an always winning machine than being the last hero standing in an utter defeat, join Undergeared or Inglorious Gankers.

PS: one of the reasons of the success of WoW is that the questgivers call everyone a hero. And if someone is dumb enough, he believes them, just like to the marketeer who calls everyone "valued customer".


Anonymous said...

Can't agree with you more Gevlon.

I tend to be - first and foremost - the guy who sits on post duty. And when I call an inc and people come back me up after I survive for a minute or two and the location isn't recapped - or I stun the guy long enough that the FC can't make it out of the tunnel...

I am a cog in the machine but we win. And when we win, well its better than a loss.

And AFKers can go fuck themselves.

Klepsacovic said...

Could you explain the distinction between being part of a winning machine and the social behavior which you described in 'On death penalty': "Even worse if he calls a friend to fight back you enforce social beliefs: "While I was defeated, we won"!"

Armond said...

The marketer never tells you how much you're valued, though - just that you're valued. A company values any sales it can get.

Likewise, though, the NPCs never tell you how big a hero you are. To them, a hero is anyone who steps up and kills kobolds for a starting area quest.

I guess humans are just dumb and attention-seeking, and feed themselves on undue amounts of praise.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to make this point in Arathi Basin once, but the M&S&S are to dense to get in into their thick skulls. Where PVE can most of the times be narrowed down to "Amagad I haz moar DPS LOL", in PVP its about achieving battleground goals.
Doesn't matter that you top the Damage charts if you let the enemy capture flags, towers and strategic NPCs, you're gonna lose.
My rogue may be at the bottom of the damagecharts, you can bet I've capped flags, defended others and frustrated the enemy to tears.

Cirian said...

Successfully accomplishing the goals of the BGs and working towards the success of the team is not actually mutually exclusive with superior individual performance, it just requires that you prioritize the victory rather than the personal glory.

As has been mentioned, any time when I am running a BG for example, I always do exactly what is required to win the BG, not to score highest on the meters or anything of the sort. However, when your opponents are being idiots looking for personal glory by milling around on the roads in AB or fighting in the middle of the map on WSG, etc, you are content to leave them be idiots and have just a few people sacrificing themselves to keep them occupied for your victory.

Conversely however, if they ARE working towards victory effectively, you can no longer leave them be and have to respond appropriately to stop them. I said all that as though its from our point of view, but really it is theirs. I always find that if I am capping bases, carrying / defending / returning the flags in WG, etc, the opponents always muster at least enough of an attempt at stopping me that I can end the battle with perfectly high scores as well as the win.

One of the things that I notice M&S doing very regularly to make themselves look good but to no real effect is padding damage meters, particularly in PVP. Not all damage is effective damage, unless the opponent has no healers, or you have some crazy damage buff like high stacks of tenacity, AOE damage is not generally the way to go in PVP. Healers have no difficulty dealing with random AOE damage and the high meters will account for nothing. The mage standing there rocking the top of the damage done charts spamming blizzard is not much more than a glorified hunters frost trap.

At the very least if you are interested in the meters the important metric should be killing blows, and if you are going for them it should be in the appropriate place at the appropriate time - kill the people guarding the base so you can cap it, or kill the people trying to cap the base so you can defend it - whatever you need to do to win, but at least that way you are contributing to success.

Kaaterina said...

Being a hero does not exclude playing with your team.

On countless occasions I have mounted up and ran through the horde lines to the back while people behind me capped the flag.

It seems opponents HATE heroes too. While, from their perspective, a paladin charging though their ranks to the back, dismounting and bubbling at 10% and continuing to run (without healing, the trick is to make them tunnelvision you. Making shiny lights while running through helps too. Consecration is ideal.) is heroic, but stupid, for some reason, NO ONE seems to e able to resist this red herring. EVERY TIME.

While I will die, whoever was behind me capped the base. And your stunt will make the opponents notice you. (I don't know, I think there's a certain appeal for people to tunelvision protection paladins.)

However, I sent you an e-mail a while back about Sirlin's book, 'Playing to Win'. You should read it. The gist is that some people derive fun from winning. While some people are 'lol m8, chill taek it ez, is only game' which makes them perform in a halfarsed manner and do all kinds of wet and wild stunts with little effect.

I don't know, sometimes I think that most of WoW's players favourite game ever was Lemmings.

Camiel said...

BG pugs in WoW are like young children's soccer: evrybody wants to be the striker and chase the ball and noone wants to be the goalkeeper.

Taemojitsu said...

It was a confusing post. When I read it, I skipped over the mention of 'cog'. It seems that the Darkfall problem is simply the one of "everyone is expected to compete on the same level", which is a perception problem. The skills that people use have the effect that is intended, it's just that the challenge for them to overcome is greater. In a game with enough complexity in combat, this isn't really a problem; only the presentation aspect would need to be improved, maybe. Maybe the FFA PvP game type is too different.

Anyway I am confused, so I will just link a PvP movie:

Unknown said...

Mostly in WSG and AV, after shitting bricks for 20 minutes and we win because of my doing, BG screen pops up and I see myself getting 1000 less points than the graveyard campers, I feel like I'm the M&S. At least the tides turned in AB and EOTS thanks to the honorable defender buff.

Inquisitor said...

You've got a Prisoner's Dilemma, is the thing. I expect you've met it, but do look it up if not. Fascinating class of game.

If *enough* of your side do the not-fun tasks that help you win the BG, then you win the BG, and that's nice for you.

If you, personally, do what you find fun (and that may well be 'pwning n00bs' in the midfield), then that's nicer for you than if you did something not-fun.

The best possible for you is if other people do the not-fun things, while you get to pwn - and the worst possible is if you do the not-fun stuff while *everyone* else pwns, so you still lose, but don't even get the fun of pwning.

Therefore, at first glance, the rational thing to do is whatever you feel like, since that option ('defect' in Prisoner's Dilemma parlance) nets you more, no matter what, and the chance that your cooperation would tip the scales is very small.

Also, 'Tragedy of the Commons' - similar principle, more players. Might be even more relevant.

Inquisitor said...

I guess the other part to that is that winning the BG isn't everything to all people - this being a game people play because they enjoy it, it's possible to rationally value 'I spent my time doing what I enjoy' higher than 'the scorebaord says we won'.

Gevlon said...

@Inquisitor: I wrote about it

However this post is not about individual choices. I'm not doing the "good thing" alone. I'm part of a like-minded team, everyone doing his job.

Kaaterina said...

"I'm part of a like-minded team, everyone doing his job."

Is this goblinish? Sounds more like a social communist machine.

Gevlon said...

@Kaaterina: absolutely wrong. In a social-communist collective everyone works "according to his abilities", meaning leeching.

In a well organized "machine" everyone works or replaced. Rather borg collective.

Kaaterina said...

But isn't individuality a requisite to be a goblin? If you're a cog, a part of the machine, you're part of something and only exist while being a fraction of that something.

Sounds too "social" to me. Maybe I'm reading it wrong.

Kaaterina said...

And again, the last Kaaterina is not the real me. The first was, the second not.


Should anyone need to confirm that what I'm saying is true, feel free to reach me on Twilight's Hammer.

On another note, I disagree with what the fake Kaaterina says. Last time I checked, the socialist commune doesn't work because the parts of the machine DON'T want to be there.

It's not even a borg commune, since they had no free will. Technically, the best machine is the one in which each cog WANTS to be there.

Anonymous said...

This article is very true and one of the reasons why battlegrounds are so frustrating for me. I would much rather be in LFD as tank when I have control of the situation for the most part. Of course, I have had the dipshit hunter or rogue that insists on pulling or trying to solo the instance. So I take a seat, ask the heals not to heal him, and post a message in Party that "Random Dipshit" will not be healed or protected by the Tank, he gets to spirit run back and will be kicked when his 10 minutes expires and he will be replaced within 30 seconds after leaving our group. Please focus on Skull and run to me if you get aggro, roll need on all Boe blues and contribute to the success of this run. Thanks.

The difference between LFD and BG's is that Random Dipshit is in control.

Gevlon said...

@"fake" Kaaterina (not deleted because question is valid, though should have your own name): socials are part of a community because of feelings. They can stay even if useless.

Being alone is not goblin, it's a crash survivor fighting to stay alive.

A goblin is in a group. But he CHOOSES his group (as opposed to born there) and changes group when it's benefical.

Tonus said...

This is why I always prefer to PVP with a group of friends or guildies, and never really enjoyed PVPing alone. I'm not that good at PVP, but I work well with a group (I run a healer most of the time). When I PVP with a group of people I know, we can use simple and effective strategies (ie, defend resources, do not fight on roads, attack as a group, etc). The rest of the BG may or may not play smart, and we cannot control that, but we give ourselves a chance to win by working towards the BG goal and not just trying to pad stats or show off.

Inquisitor said...

@gevlon: If you are going to be part of a *successful* machine, you need other people to cooperate. Not all of them (taking a group of three into any BG that isn't 40-man seems to be enough to make a real difference to the outcome, and it's what I've been doing a lot of recently), but some of them.

I agree with your assesment of 'heroes' as source of people who defect, and lead to losses - but I don't agree with your associating it with the marshmallow game.

You contend that if they engage in non-fun, objective-focussed behaviour (guarding a base, say) that is a small loss now (less fun), for a large gain later (the 'You win' screen).

I disagree. I think that for many people, the largest gain/loss is 'was I doing something I enjoyed for those 20 minutes?', and the 'oh look, I only got 2k honour, and it says we lost' is a much smaller factor.

And... well. How is 'I spent 20 minutes guarding a base nobody attacked, but look, my Statistics shows a really high win ratio in AB' better than 'after 30 hours of grinding elementals, I can afford my Mammoth?'. You can respond to both with 'well, I spent my evening doing what I enjoyed, and I happen not to care what the Statistics page says'.

(Honour stops being useful after... erm... about 20 hours worth of BGs, this patch, so it's not like the rewards for winning actually mean anything, if you're doing it a lot.)

Nielas said...

Personally I get great enjoyment out of being part of a well-working team. I just really enjoy the feeling of 'the whole is bigger than sum of its parts' that this generates. I can accomplish something much bigger than what I could do on my own.

The primary reason I do random PuGs is because I look for the feeling of having a random group of people come together and act as a team. PuGs being what they are, it does not happen as often as I would want but it's worth it when it happens. Similarly it is a beautiful thing to do a raid with a group that works well together. My guild's first ICC10 Saurfang kill was a thing of beauty because we meshed together so well that day.

By being a 'cog in the machine' you can also be the hero. I once singlehandly won(or at least prevented a loss) in a WG by staying behind on defense when everyone rushed forward to chase the Horde. Some hordies tried a sneak attack and would have captured the fortress except that I was able to slow them down enough using a single cannon.

Kaaterina said...

Gevlon, i don't know if you have answered this already or not: don't you a think a group it's stronger when the fidelity of it's members goes beyond simple cog works? Isn't a group more effective when group members can trust each other instead of being suspicious that other members may desert when they get a chance? Smaller groups have defeated big groups this way.

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

I believe you have nailed one of the problems with a lot of raids, too.

I can't tell you how many times I've been in raids with healers that never decurse, only doing the casts that add to that all important "Amount Healed" column.

Of DPS that stay in the fire and cast... assuming you'll heal them because otherwise, they might drop down in the meters a bit.

The other primary raid failure, I believe... is distraction. People put their computers in the middle of the action, and are subject to a never ending series of distractions that prevent them from concentrating on the game.

Anonymous said...


I think the main reason that a 'social' player, and I guess I qualify for that, burns out doing what you suggest.

Let me briefly tell you that I used to play a stealther in a different game (Dark Age of Camelot).

While the majority of people were at a tower setting up a defense in the frontier, i was stealthed sitting by the border keep (the frontier in DAOC was a huge non-instanced battle area) where enemies would respawn after death. For about an hour I sat out there calling out numbers and movement. Now, ultimately, what was my reward besides the satisfaction of seeing my side win? 0. No realm (honor) points. No parade. No mount.

This is the core of why I liked the WoW system (before PvP became in my opinion about 1 second burst kills) - you can, if you know what you are doing, make a contribution and be rewarded for it.

Chris and Cathy said...

I often wonder who is the behind the computer of the toon that camps the graveyard in WSG when we have no group for flag retrieval or continually goes for the flag in EOS when we have no base.

I consider myself a sensible player, a team player and as Nielas mentioned ..that you do things for the greater good.

As a healer I don't defend until we have a secured position but I would never leave a base unattended.

Battlegrounds are a strange beast where you see personalities shining through of those that are organized and thinkers and those that just want blood on their hands. I think I can all it all. Work as team, have the blood thirst and help be part of a victory.

Wilson said...

Gevlon bounces from one "I'll show the world" project to another - I don't think I've ever met anyone who wanted to be a hero more. The idea that he wants to be an anonymous cog in the machine is absurd.

Of course, Serial Ganker doesn't understand what "cog" means either: "I don't want to be a cog in the machine. I want to contribute." Cogs do contribute, SG - it's kinda the whole point.

Nowhere in all this does Gevlon discuss the meat of SG's post - that Darkfall's mechanics are broken. in the comments, even Syncaine acknowledges the problem of insufficient health as a "major system that's broken" but never fear - it'll be fixed in the next patch. In other words, SG has a point. But Gevlon insists he is a crybaby for not continuing to pay real money for a broken game. I thought this blog was about not wasting money.

Anonymous said...

Heroes lead. I'm the only guy in the AV tower (who magically somehow found a way to run by everyone without getting attacked - discretion in movement?) while everyone else is fighting at the GY before it. I'm off on my own doing my own thing. If everyone else followed my lead we'd be winning games.

Battles are applications of power. Working as a team means assigning power correctly throughout the battleground.

Unknown said...

"It all comes down to the marshmallow experiment: can you do a little "not-fun" action (guarding LM, destroying south towers) now, to gain a much larger gain (the victory with all its rewards) later?"

This works in real life, where survival is all important. Peoeple will go to great lengths for that. But in a game, is spending every WG doing something 'unfun' worth your time? It's not a little unfun either, it's the entire match, and from the sounds of it, every single time you're there.

I suppose in the light of your ganking project it might be worth it, although i think you overestimate the frustration you're causing. I play Alliance on a Horde dominated server. the most people care about wg is "lol we lost again", and that's it. No big deal.

Bristal said...

Bull pucky. Your "fun" is in designing and organizing the project, then writing about it. The doing of the project is research.

Other's "fun" is trying and dying 25 times, then trying again and making that exhilerating kill with 25 HP left.

Being a dispel-whore in a BG is rarely "fun", but it can be if you are in a coordinated group with higher goals.

Few are in coordinated groups with higher goals.

Anonymous said...

I was taught from a young age to be outstanding, to strive for excellence and that I could be anything I wanted to be.

This is precisely what we should be teaching! Strive for the stars and be happy if you "only" reach the heavens.

It would be a terrible thing teaching "you dont need to be good, just be a cog". Should we be satisfied as cleaners? As retail drones? As "check-out" chicks?

I say no.

Nashian Equilibrium ftw.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post, for still competitive games. WSG graveyard camping at 0-0 is dumb. Not in Life, but in game my belief is that if it is 0-2, the other side has the flag then graveyard camping is the correct strategy: a bit more hk, over a bit sooner, no effect on your winning chances. Even more so in EoTS & AB & SOTC where it is more time based.

Yelling at people to get out of the middle when it is 1400-400 is not only going to be ineffective, but wrong.

Being a good cog not a bad prima donna hero is doing the people stuff well, even if it galls you. Yelling at people and calling them M&S during the game might make you feel better and superior, but calm polite instructions are much more likely to help your team win.

N.B.: if you are going to coach your team, the most effective advice is to encourage them report AFKers ASAP; a stupid hero at the GY is still far more useful than an AFK.

Kristophr said...

Warrior = Hero

Soldier = winner

Soldiers fight together using a concerted strategy to win. They are unglamorous.

They eat warriors for breakfast.

Andru said...

@ Next to last Anonymous.

Were you taught to be a maverick too? To cut your nose in order to spite your face? To go against everyone just cause?

No one cares just how excellent you are, if there's no one alive around you to see that.

Worse yet, I can't imagine how someone who wants to 'be the best' can find defeat satisfying.

Losing for me is the most anti-fun someone can have.

No one cares if I can single handedly defend a flag against an opponent train zerg.

That is, no one but ME. I do not have to be observed 'excellent' by other to know it's true. If I know it, it's enough for me.

I am the most important person in the world. Personal perceived excellence is way more important than social perceived excellence.

Andrux51 said...

@Kaaterina: Sirlin's book that you mentioned (which can be read in its entirety for free on his site reads like someone who gets banned from mmo's for purposely exploiting bugs, then goes to other game tournaments and tries his best to get everyone mad at him for playing like a punk.

That's probably the longest diatribe I've ever seen from someone bitching that people whine too much. I sincerely hope you didn't pay to read that.

@Gevlon: Keep up the good work, people need to understand that going into BG's and WG is about winning. To everyone who claims that people are going in "just to have fun" and don't care about winning or losing, those people are ruining others' chance to win as well. This is why losing should have consequences instead of reward. It got bad players out of arena, maybe the same can be done with BG!

I've had many games where my team would have been better with AFK-bots than people who want to play the hero. 5+ reds guarding a flag is like a hornet's nest. Leave it alone and they won't realize they're losing on the other side of the map.

Anonymous said...

"This is why losing should have consequences instead of reward."

It's the reason why WoW is mostly played in 'arcade mode', and allows every kid to fuck around and ignore everyone else while playing.

And I think it's also the reason why you (Gevlon) think Serial Ganker is "QQ", because you're looking at his problem from a WoW perspective (where losing doesn't have any consequences at all, as opposed to Darkfall).

Anonymous said...

@Andrutard " like someone who gets banned from mmo's for purposely exploiting bugs," if the programmers are M&S (like they are in wow) then exploiting their failure to do proper code is the 100% correct way to go, even from a pure goblinish pov.
Less being Morning, less slacking from the programmers -> proper code that can't be "exploited".

Andrux51 said...

Haha, look, I'm attracting my own trolls now!

Seriously, the guy writes a book bemoaning the fact that you can be banned for acting against the developers' wishes in a game that is constantly being developed.

To pull a direct quote from his book "If you break your line of sight with a monster, he often has trouble getting to you, which allows your friends to kill him much more easily. Smart play or grounds for suspension? Answer: grounds for suspension. If a monster is chasing you, you can go into a lake where he can’t follow and wait for him to give up. Smart play or grounds for suspension? Answer: that one’s smart play."

Where he fails to make the distinction between what should and should not be bannable from a developer's point of view, is that the first one AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE and rewards players with a kill (and loot of course), where the second situation results only in saving yourself a corpse run.

Whoever "Anonymous" is, regardless of if it was the person I was replying to previously, fails at providing a point. Furthermore, name-calling is something you should have grown out of at a young age. Read the Terms of Service, when you sign into WoW you agree to play by their rules, not just by the "game world limitations".