Saturday, July 20, 2013

Getting Ahead of the Curve

  I'm taking a happy break from boring anyone who actually reads this. I'll continue proposing 4th specs later and get to what I really care about: Killing Lei Shen before 5.4. (Which I did, Thursday night.)

  The way this expansion is going, it seems to be analogous to clearing ToC in Wrath, or Firelands in Cata. It's not the end of the game, it's not the beginning, it's just that middle raid that breaks up the weak teams that couldn't clear the first raids until after nerfs and higher ilevel gear come out. As a casual player with a varied work scheduled, I happen to fall in with these teams at times. I don't like that. I'm no elitist, but I do want to play with people who don't give up easy, who accept criticism (or even better, self-evaluate), who are on time and ready with gems, enchants, a good reforge, who have looked up the fights and know what they should do, and who are willing to do something different if something's not working. I like players that are dedicated and have what I personally call scientific humility.

  Humility is too often, I think, defined in a self-effacing way. To say "No, I'm not that good" when in fact, you are deserving of whatever praise comes your way, that's false humility. Real humility must include honesty, so when someone compliments you, just thank them and move on. Also, when you think you know better, have courage and speak up. Humility is not remaining silent, it's offering solutions or other useful information in a dispassionate, matter-of-fact way, then letting raid leaders do with it what they will. The focus should be on the fight, it's mechanics, and how your team can meet them. Usually people define humility as "Put others needs before your own." I define it as "Face the facts with honesty. The truth is bigger than you."

  These two qualities, determination and real humility, are necessary qualities to a successful raid team. They need to be present in each raider, too. If a raid leader lacks humility, they restrict the raid from offering new solutions to problems. If a raid member lacks humility, they're prone to finger-pointing, may be resistant to criticism or different strategies for a fight, and may not come prepared, thinking they can wing it. If any raid member lacks determination, they hold the team back in many ways, especially on 10man, often in the form of low DPS or heals, or low performance mitigating damage as a tank.

  There are a few warning signs to a bad group that I've noticed. I think calling it quits for any of these reasons is justifiable:
  • The raid leader takes an unannounced hiatus, especially if they're a tank. Don't bother gearing up an alt to replace them, since they'll shortly return from hiatus and assume their old spot. Just find a team with a more committed raid leader.
  • A consistently under performing raid member (i.e. less than half the average dps of others) is a friend of the raid leader, and never improves no matter how much gear they get. Good performance comes first from skill, then gear. If you don't have skill, you cannot ever perform well.
  • The raid leader calls the night early after only a few wipes on a new boss. That's just being a quitter. Don't follow a quitter.
  • You consistently go 10+ minutes between each attempt on a new boss, without any productivity. You should not be taking time out of your day to be at a lazy raid leader's beck and call.
  • A lack of progression is blamed on Blizz or the WoW Devs, or the changes in MoP. This frequently coincides with "How much better it was in Classic/BC/Wrath." Call bullshit on people who are unwilling to stick with it and learn something new. I played Classic in 2006 and Wrath from 2010 up to now. Classic sucked. Walking everywhere sucked. Leveling by grinding mobs sucked. Simple rotations sucked. Talent trees sucked. Hybrids sucked. 40man felt epic sometimes, but it mostly sucked. Farming 5 hours to prepare for raiding for 8 hours sucked. Reagents for 2-10 minute buffs sucked. Ammo and Soul Shards sucked. Wrath sucked. Arpen and +defense sucked. Bloated talent trees sucked. Spamming AoE in frenzied heroic "Pull the whole instance" runs sucked. Reagents, Ammo and Soul Shards still sucked. The game has been consistently getting better and better, anyone who says otherwise is probably too lazy to keep up.
  • The healers stop healing you, specifically. (Not including when you intentionally wipe it up.) Use an addon like Deathnote that tracks the actions leading up to a death. If you receive nothing other than splash heals (e.g. Atonement, Echo of Light, ect.) for 10-15 seconds before dying, something's probably wrong. If you think healers have given up on you, start gathering data, and when you are confident with your data, either bring it up with a raid leader if you care to before quitting, or just quit. Don't expect healers to change their mind, though. Even if a raid leader corrects them, just face it, they've given up on you.
  • You get passed over on gear without discussion or a roll. Quit on the spot. No good can come from staying with people that don't value your participation enough to let you even roll on gear you can use. This is not rage-quitting. This is facing the fact that you aren't wanted. Don't stay, because you will get passed up again.
  • Horribly offensive speech and/or bullying. Personally, I draw the line at being called a faggot. That's a very generous line, I think, and crossing it is the mark of a total douchebag. To be precise, it doesn't offend me to just hear the word, but to be personally called it is unacceptable. To hear others called it, or to hear objects or situations called it, i.e. "Garalon is being a real faggot tonight" or "This shit is so gay", all this wears my patience thin very quickly. I will immediately quit if I am called a faggot. I will eventually quit if I hear the word too often and in particularly bad ways. Draw your own line, and announce it if you have to. If it's crossed, leave. If you keep pushing the line back just to avoid quitting, you're in for heartache.

  To counter balance all this negativity, I also propose some tense moments not to quit over:
  • When someone loses patience, yells, blames one or a few people for the last 5 wipes, or otherwise acts like an asshole for a moment. If it's just for a moment, fine. Take a deep breath and don't let it bother you. If it's not typical behavior, just a little outburst here and there, take it in stride.
  • When someone wipes the raid 3 times in a row due to the same mistake. It happens. Be patient. WoW has moved from lots of performance based fights (DPS/healing checks) to mostly gimmick fights (dance around a little, click the button, fly around a little, burn phase, run away! run back!) Sometimes it takes a few tries to learn.
  • Not horribly offensive speech and/or teasing. Teasing is often slightly offensive, so just be tough and hit back. It's a team building exercise of sorts. If you're really not cool with it, though, just say something. Good people will know to stop. Also important, I think, is that the difference between teasing and bullying is that we tease the people we love, but we bully the people we hate.
  • You get told to shut up on vent. I get told this all the time, because I love discussing minute details of all the things that interest me. I'll talk all night long if a raid leader doesn't tell me to shut up and pull. 

  These lists are by no means complete, just what I can think of off the top of my head. I'm open to criticism on any of these points, of course, or just differing opinions. I always strive for real humility.


  1. Good lists. :) I feel very lucky about my own team and guild reading about the weird stuff going on around the World of Warcraft...

    Oh, and grats on being Ahead of the Curve! :)