Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching soul shards

Larísa is closing to the end. She didn't make a decision yet. She doesn't want to leave. She feels she has to, she's burning out. No, it's not the guildies and fellow bloggers leaving. They were leaving all the time. You can find more blogs up and running now than a year ago. Of course many of the one-year-ago bloggers have quit. But for every quitter two new enthusiast take up the keyboard. For every guildy who leaves for Rift a new recruit joins.

It cannot be the game itself. ICC was boring at the end, but Larísa never quit. We have much more content than we had a year ago. There is so much to do, so much to explore, so many pigmies to smash!

The problem is not belonging there where she is. She left her guild for good reasons: "We aimed for the hardmodes and we wanted to come to those and to progress through them fairly quickly. This was announced early in the expansion, and we also were told that our performances would be followed and noted and that players who couldn’t live up to the requirements would be removed, regardless if you were an old-timer or a new recruit. Fair enough. A month or so after this “evaluation period” had been declared, our GM gathered a bunch of players to a special meeting on vent after a raid. He wanted to have a discussion with the players who were considered to have “issues”, the players who were most likely to be removed from the guild in case we would have to give up on 25 man raiding altogether, cutting down to a 10 man guild. And yes, I was one of those players."

She couldn't follow her guild to hard modes. Is it because of "being old" or some other reason? Doesn't matter. Larísa recognized that she isn't good enough to follow them to the top raiding. It doesn't mean that she isn't good. If you check her profile, you see a full 359 mage with 2p set bonus, perfectly enchanted, gemmed and 10/12 progress. Better than I have that's for sure. Top 10% of the players (18K guilds, about 360K players out of 5M killed Cho'gall). But the guild aims for top 1-5%.

So she left for the good reason. But then she re-joined because of a bad one: friends. She got gifts, invitations and offers to boosting (what else "help me work out anything that could be missing for the hardmodes, if it so would mean that he'd had to buy an airplane ticket to Sweden" is than blatant offering to boost?!). That's very nice and clear proof that she is loved.

But love isn't enough for anyone who is not a complete M&S. Intelligent people want to matter, want to make difference, want to contribute. She doesn't believe that she can. She fears that she'll be a carried dead weight. She has lot of posts where she tells she isn't good enough, even when she should be celebrating victory. Finding out that there is truth in her deeply rooted fear must be hard.

There is way for you to find happiness in WoW again Larísa, (and many others, that's why it's a post), but it's not an easy way. You shall quit that guild and find one where you are not in the top, nor in the bottom 25%. A place where you are the average player. Being both in the top and the bottom 25% means lack of ambition. The top 25% guy should be trading up (unless there isn't any up anymore), he is staying because he prefers to be king of the trash heap than average guy in a better place. Being in the bottom 25% longer than in a newbie-period means being boosted, being a leech. Larísa has lot of ambition. She traded up several times when her previous guild was "too casual".

Now a harder way is ahead of her: trading down. Instead of being a carried member of a HM guild, be a normal member of a 8-12/12 guild. I gladly offer my guild, because we are exactly at the perfect progression point for her (9/12), but it's not the point. You should be among equals. And when (close to 4.2) a hard mode boss dies, it will be true victory. It will be defeated by you. It won't matter that your old guild is already 5/12 HM. Those hard modes would never be yours, as you would be carried there.

It sounds like "ignore friendship and go for progress". However it's not an anti-social post. The truth is that finding friends isn't hard if you are friendly. In any guild you go, you can find friends. I'm not saying friendship doesn't matter. I'm not saying you should have no friends. I'm saying you can have friends everywhere, so it's not criteria. I mean saying "I don't leave X guild and move to Y because I have friends here" is like saying "I don't leave Seattle and move to San Fransisco because I have air to breath there". Believe me, there is air in San Fransisco. Maybe has a different smell but it's just as good to breathe.


Azzur said...

It's true - a personal first-kill is nowhere as close as good as a guild first-kill. Since I'm a more casual raider, I didn't go to many raids and was not part of some first-kills. Being carried for my personal first-kill was only midly satisfying. However, participating in my guild's first-kill of Nefarian was amazing.

Dàchéng said...

Gevlon, I'm afraid you really don't understand the nature of friendship. If you think you can drop friends in one realm and quickly pick up new friends in another, you are mistaking friendship for something else. Friends are not the same as colleagues (at work or in a sportsclub, for instance), nor are they the same as acquaintances. Colleagues and acquaintances can become friends, in time, but most of them won't.

Gevlon said...

@Dáchéng: I understand your definition of friendship, but if we accept this, we shall see that "some guy I`ve never seen in real life and know only as a dot-spamming undead" does not qualify. WoW "friends" are acquaintances.

Azuriel said...

Not that it's especially my business, but what makes you think she 1) wants to join a GDKP, fail-penalty raiding guild, and 2) would find friends/be friendly in a guild where she can't even acknowledge other people in guild-chat?

These posts (you have done more than one of them) show the soft, fuzzy social side of you that would not seem to be tolerated in the PuG proper.

Krytus said...


I think you are the one mistaking friends for colleagues. If you believe that 90% of your guild is your friend you are just fooling yourself.

If your "friend" needs you to log on WoW in order to be your "friend", then he/she is a colleague.

Kewi said...

I'm not questioning your way of guild organization but I don't think that she would join some "police guild" where casual chat in /g is forbidden. Because that's exactly how you make friendly and positive atmosphere. Imagine that one of your bet raiders leave, how many responses would he get that are similar to the ones that Larisa got?
Your way is OK, you have organized guild that have nice progress and all but you are missing that friendly aspect that would make bonds between players.

pippen1001 said...

@ azuriel

I was in the pug in Icc was on the first of many kills and its awesome. i made several "friends" but in wow terms friends are just that, i quit the game because the summer season was over and i didnt have any time after that. I havent heard from my "friends" since then. And btw the pug has like my old guild of 5 years an ooc channel, (i used to be on a rp realm and if you talked anything out of character in guild chat you got a warning and next time you would get kicked. But our ooc channel was really nice. On Rp realms the only way to raid was to join a group of people cause people still wanted to be in their guild so we had alot of these big groups that raided 10 - 15 different guilds in them. and to communicate we had a raid chat channel a raid healer channel a raid dps channel a raid tank channel a raid chitchat channel a raid officer channel text based. So i´ve never really used the guild channel ever)

Ðesolate said...

The playstyle concept of WoW can get pretty boring / annoying. If you switch between melee / caster / healer / tank you can keep up some feeling of freshness, but that's it.

Concepts can bore quite as content. Rejoining a boring concept because of "online pals" is social in a very bad way. This will keep depressing you a pretty long time. If your desicions of personal interest are made by online social bounds something is running quite wrong.

If you can not keep up a "friendship" with a "WoW-Friend" without beeing online you should think about your definition of the word "friend".

Do you really think you loose someone important who measures your friendship by not joining a game (or leaving it)?

That is the part I like most about this blog. Challenging the bad concept of over-socialising with other online players.

@Kewi: you count more on fact than on speculation. Our casual channel replaces the social chitchat in /g quite well (maybe personal pov).
But anyway socialising in /g does not make friends anyway. If someone likes your opinion or your art of expression he is far from beeing a friend. He is someone who likes your text lines. Maybe I'm a bit too mouch of a nerd bit the concept of friendship should have a bit more consistence.

TBTSan said...

If she is leaving WOW, she is leaving all those friends from old guild behind anyway. So, Gevlon's proposal is on spot - get into new guild that matches your personal game's goals.

Perdissa said...

I actually agree that Larisa would be happier in a guild that is lower on progress ranking, but where she would be making more significant contributions.

But the framework of your guild may not be too attractive to her, even if you are looking to bring her in as a guest star and attract more talent to the guild.

Riptor said...

In my Opinion many Players leave because Cata is more or less what WotLK should have been. Unfortunately instead of changing to many things, they were only redone. I heard it a Netcast the other day and I wholeheartedly agree: Cataclysm is a Renovation and not a Revolution. While this Statement may not be correct for all Classes I find it especially true for DPS. While most classes got new Talents that changed their gameplay significantly at the Beginning of WotLK, the Changes that came with Cata were not all that significant. Most were very easy to learn and while at the very start of Cata it really looked like DPS got a new Challenge it soon proved to be a false perception as only a few shiny epics were enough to render very enrage timer useless. The same was true for Hardmodes. In full 359 Gear there were no huge Challenges left for DPS. The Raid would just be stacked with as many Range DPS as necessary/possible and then there was nothing more to do than nuke and not stand in fire. If you check how many of the former Top Raiding Guilds have broken/split you know there is something wrong. Especially since, as opposed to the Start of BC/WotLK, the Players do not reform themselves into new Guilds but usually 75% of the Guild just quit while only a small proportion continuous raiding somewhere else.

Katka said...

I read Larísa's post yesterday and I don't feel her reason is her performance in guild runs or something like this. WoW is not the game it used to be and maybe Larísa is losing her motivation to play it. Yes, friends ang guildies is strong motivation to stay, but it can't be the only one. Not for player who want to play (and not only use WoW like social network).
Game was changed, not only when Cataclysm arrived, it changing through all its life, so maybe now its not just our cup of tea.

Dàchéng said...

Gevlon, I agree that most of my intercourse in WoW is with acquaintances and colleagues, but I don't agree that it is impossible to form real friendships in WoW, and I think Larísa is exactly the sort of person who could indeed do so. When you are in a situation where you converse with such people, rather than just treating them as dot-spamming undead quasi-NPCs, friendship can eventually develop.

Krytus, just so you don't have to make any assumptions about me, I have no friends in my current guild, only colleagues; but I do have a few friends from a previous guild. They are certainly not my closest friends, but they are closer than any of my current work colleagues, for instance.

Bronte said...

"@Dáchéng: I understand your definition of friendship, but if we accept this, we shall see that "some guy I`ve never seen in real life and know only as a dot-spamming undead" does not qualify. WoW "friends" are acquaintances."

I couldn't disagree more. Friendship is what you make it. Some of the closest friends I have made over the years, people whose personal disasters I have lamented and person triumphs I have celebrated, I have met through an MMO, and in a lot of cases never even met in person. The connection matters in the end, not the proximity.

Larísa said...

There's some stuff to comment on here. First a small correction: my gear is even better than that. I got enough vp to get my trousers last night, so now I've got the 4 piece bonus. Not that it matters that much for the issue we're discussing here. Because it's not about the loot; It never was. But I think you're a bit on the wrong track with your analysis about why I'm running low on soul shards.
One thing is that I'm not so sure that I'm one of the 25 percent worst players in my guild or that I'm a carried leecher. Sure, I didn't qualify for the 10 man hardmode version, if that would have become the future. But now we're doing 25 mans and I don't have the feeling that I'm the one holding us back from progression in those, at least not where we are now, doing normal modes. What happens in the hardmodes, I can't tell now of course. Currently we've got so many new faces, due to the turnover we've seen lately, that we can have about 10 trialists in one raid. So even if we're doing fine, considering that many players are new to the encounters, I think it will be a little while before we can start banging our heads against the HM. For now Alak'ir works just fine as a brick wall. :)

The thing is that I think that you and I approach the game from slightly different angles. And there's nothing wrong about that. To me a lot of the enjoyment is to progress as a group, to come together as a team, to overcome challgenes, to wipe and whine, to go through the stages of hope, dispair, frustration and triumph in the company with people who I've played with for many many hours, people I've talked to on vent - *gasp*, shockning isn't it? - rather than wtih complete strangers in a pug. When those people leave as well as when bloggers leave they take a soul shard with them. And for some reason it's not as easy to create new soul shards after four years of playing. Perhaps there are diminishing returns, I don't know.

I'm not sure how meaningful it is to try to distinguish between what is a friend, a collegue, an aquaintance etc, putting up labels and definitions. All I know is that some players leave a big hole in my enjoyment of the game as they leave; I miss them. I guess that's a sign of some kind of friendship?

This was a very long comment. What I'm trying to say though is I don't think I'd get more soul shards by transferring to the PUG guild. I think you're doing an awesome job, it's just that this kind of raiding isn't my cup of tea. I'm now absolutely convinced that the day I'll decide to leave the game, I will do it as a proud member of Adrenaline.

Anonymous said...

"We have much more content than we had a year ago. There is so much to do, so much to explore, so many pigmies to smash!"

Are you playing the same game we are playing?

At 85, once you have done the quests/normals/heroics to get raid ready, exalted with all factions, maxed your tradeskills and probably done all the dailies you need to, except the Jewelcrafting one, what else is there to log on for except to raid?

And probably most mains had done this within a month of Cata being released, and I may add they have also levelled their alts too.

Most people are burned out or just plain bored already, just read the forums on various sites to see this, even from the people who usually contribute the most to these sites.

This expansion tbh has been disappointing. Revamped Azeroth won't be visited by 85 mains and I doubt many would roll yet another alt just to level in the revamped areas when they have 5 or 6 alts already at 85. Only new and worgen/goblins rerollers will.

Even when all the content for Cata is added, it will still be seen as only half an expansion with the 5 levels added. Blizzard have run out of ideas, hence why they are regurgating old dungeons to make the casuals happy.

I think Rift has come out just at the right moment for some WoW players. There seems to be a general apathy among a lot of players at the moment, not just because the expansion is poor, just the general state of the game.

Our guild has had a lot of people leave recently, some trying out other games like Rift or DC Universe, or just plain bored of WoW, but we're also seeing it in signups for raids, all this within 3 months of a major expansion?

Whether Rift is a long term alternative is neither here nor there, but I think a lot of people are just trying it out because its something different to play.

Anonymous said...

I agree that many people delude themselves "I can't leave, I have friends here". They aren't actually your "friends for life" who would take care of you when you're sick or help lifting new kitchen furniture to your apartment on 10th floor. But they WANT to believe they "have friends", they want to shoot the feeling "I have no friends, I have no life". I don't know is it their innate feeling they need to "prove" they have friends (to themselves) or is it another form of "keeping up with the Joneses".

Changing guild where you know no one? So what, you can GET to know these people. Sticking to people nothing connects you with anymore is just a crude fear of change. Sorry, world changes all the time, people come and go.

People who treat me as a lesser being, for example "you're not good enough to raid with us", don't deserve that I cling to them.

If you have REAL friends you wanna stay in touch with, that's what for Real ID was invented. The rest, I won't miss them when I leave, and they won't miss me. But people wanna delude themselves they have "real bonds" when those bonds are just "you're wanted as long as you can be used, then you'll be thrown away like an old toy".

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Larisa's situation reminds me of something... I joined "wannabe hardcore" guild at the beginning of Cata. They started complaining on me "you ask too many questions, you pull too slow, you're the weakest of our tanks", they started benching me, in the end they offered that "I can stay as a social rank".

I left that guild and found different one, that was supposedly more relaxed, that for example we still have attendance rules but we raid less days, we don't extend raids because "we must have a kill tonight, we must beat X guild on wow-progress".

What did I find? A nice group of people, with sense of humour, friendly, while in previous guild the atmosphere was always full of blame "we wiped, because we have too many scrubs among us *cough*".

The funny part is the difference in progress between these guilds.

Old "super pro" one is 4/13 heroic.
New "we play for fun" guild is... 2/13 heroic.

There is no "either elitists jerks or M&S". There's always something in the middle.

Bristal said...

IMO, except for a few tweaks, the game itself in Cata hasn't changed much.

What's changed is how people play it.

In Wrath, some people were hyper-prepared to level quickly, get server-first this and that, and start the endgame as quickly as possible. A lot of the community thought this was odd, and often made fun of it.

That was a "hardcore" way to play, not really experiencing the content.

In Cata, nearly everyone leveled at warp speed. The information mined from the Beta was nearly complete. The blogging community celebrated and encouraged it. Every blog had a "how i'm preparing for Cata" post before we even had a release date.

Players are now consuming content as quickly and efficiently as they possibly can. That's now the way you play the game. It wasn't always that way.

This is related to this post because when the way people play a game changes in an MMO, it's going to affect how the game feels.

Larisa is now a fish out of water like Gevlon says, but it's not because of Cata, it's because the people around her have changed the way they are playing.

And I think to some extent, a lot of people are feeling that with WoW.

Coralina said...

The problem with the "moving down" option is that you go from being "average" or the "leech" to being the "booster". Experiencing for the first time the frustration of wiping repeatedly despite putting in a perfect personal performance yourself can be a huge culture shock I am sure. Dying on content you previously face-rolled would also be demoralising and have you running back to your old guild.

I have the opposite problem with the game though. I was a hardcore raider but changes in my real life led to me cutting back and joining a social guild with real life friends. I was happy there despite the frustrations mentioned above. At least I was in Wrath...

Now Cataclysm and its tighter tuning have put me in a situation where if I want to raid at all I need to move. I would need to leave my friends. "friends" and "team-mates" are two different things to me and the latter are less valuable for me personally.

These days I choose my friends first and the content second. My friends quit, moved to Rift and I followed. I didn't want to leave WoW but I think you have to go with your priorities.

Gone are the days when I would say "my goal is to clear content X" and then I would look for the people I needed to achieve that goal. Now I say "who do I want to play with?" and then I find the content/game that allows me to play with those people.