Thursday, February 10, 2011

If I Was a GM: An Interesting Look At Raid Personalities

I've had a few days off work recently and have consequently found myself getting bored quite a bit. Turns out a day takes a long time when you don't have much to do. I've been looking for new blogs to read and in my searches I came across the World of Matticus. I'm sure I've read this blog before; in fact, I know it's a pretty big, well-known one. After having a quick read of the Tough Call post this week though, I'll definitely be adding this blog to my bookmarks again. I have no idea why I took it off in the first place.

The author, Viktory, has an intriguing take on how to classify raiders into three different types: those with natural ability, those who have to (and do) work hard, and "trained noobs". Follow the link above to have a read of it; and it's worth reading the comments too, for clarification purposes.

The reason I found this post so intriguing is firstly because I have known and raided with at least one person who matches each of those descriptions. In fact, I would bet most people have. If you're going to broadly classify raiders, this seems like a pretty accurate way to do it. Obviously there are plenty of mitigating circumstances that will mean someone doesn't fit into any of these categories. And of course, there are many reasons why stereotyping people is bad. This is the second reason I found this such an interesting topic.

I've met only one Native Speaker in my raiding past. This was a mage whom I raided with when I was also playing my mage, in one of the high-end guilds I've been a part of. This mage always topped damage meters. Every. Single. Fight. Without fail. And without pulling agro. It didn't matter if we had to constantly move during the fight, or if he had to respec to frost for utility, or even if it was his very first attempt at a boss he had never seen before. He always knew how to get the best out of his mage. I was constantly in awe of him, and so grateful that he was a nice guy and happy to help out his fellow mages. If we were pulling sub-par dps on a fight, seeing this guy top the meters as usual encouraged us to do better. This guy was a huge asset to the guild.

I have known many Fluent Professionals over the years, and many Trained Noobs. Back when I was raiding fulltime I would consider myself to be a Fluent Professional. I had some natural talent, but nothing approaching the Native Speaker. I had to work hard and practise to do well. Many of my friends and fellow raiders were the same, and they were always the backbone of the guild. The hard work we all put in kept our guilds running smoothly.

The Trained Noobs, however, were like the dead weights dragging us down. They were the ones that did what you told them to do fine, and pulled okay dps or did okay heals, but as soon as something didn't go according to plan they would collapse under the pressure. They didn't really understand what they were doing, so as soon as they had to go beyond their routine they were lost. I agree with Viktory when he says people like this need to be carefully weeded out of any raiding guild looking to be successful.

However, this is not to say that every "Trained Noob" is an idiot and should be written off; here is where the whole stereotyping-is-bad thing (and the whole elitism thing) comes in. Plenty of people that could be lumped in under this description are also the ones who will be endlessly loyal to your guild and work their arses off for it every day. Sure, you might have to spend an extra 10 min explaining things to them and maybe wipe a couple extra times while they learn the fight, but you would never have been able to provide consumables to the whole raid were it not for their hours of herbing.

It's hard to make a raid. I've only done it a few times in my life, and I've found it difficult to choose who to take along. There are quite a few people who are arseholes but do their jobs really really well, or lovely people who always mess up. It's hard to decide whether you want a successful, but probably less fun, raid, or a really fun, less successful raid.

I actually think if I were a GM making a guild raid it would make it easier than someone trying to get a pug raid (or a casual raid) going. That way, I would be able to choose the people who would provide for the best long-term experience for the guild. Who's to say those Trained Noobs won't turn into Fluent Professionals if you put the time and effort in to helping them?

So in conclusion: this was a great post. Really interesting, and got me thinking. But... I disagree with it. You just can't classify people that easily. And if you do try and set up your guild raids that way, you're almost certainly losing out.

The nostalgia was nice though. :)

<3 Jayd

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The LFD Tool Still Needs Work (Or The Most Fun PuG EVER)

Yesterday my boyfriend and I decided to run a couple of random dungeons with our lowbies. We've been levelling using the LFD tool for a couple of days and because we have the Recruit-A-Friend bonus and he tanks, meaning we get instant dungeons, we've been dinging like mad. 25 levels in two days, it's insane. Brilliant fun, but insane.

Yesterday, though, the rhythmn stopped for about an hour while we attempted one particular dungeon.

It was the ogre bit of Dire Maul, Gordok Commons, and we materialised next to another hunter, a priest, and a mage. We grabbed our quests and my bf and I said hi (to no response, of course, but that's par for the course so didn't bother us), and without further ado the hunter pulled.

Oh yay, I thought to myself, we've got a huntard. Used to this sort of thing, my bf grabbed the mob off the hunter's pet and tanked away. The mob went down, and we all moved down the ramp to the next pull which was a group of three. The hunter pulled again, and of course, completely lost control of all the mobs. One ogre started eating the mage so I set my pet to Growl and grabbed it off him, while my bf ran after the other two mobs.

Instead of feigning death, however, the hunter continued to try and tank with his pet. And the priest healed them both, to the exclusion of my bf - the tank - who died. And was then told by the hunter that he was a crappy tank. At this point the mage left (I don't blame him). In retrospect, perhaps we should have done the same, but we were a bit annoyed.

I responded, blaming the hunter who had pulled, who then came back with something along the lines of 'well the tank should be able to hold agro and me and the priest duo dungeons all the time.' This, of course, started an argument. Finally we agreed to continue as normal, and moved on to the boss.

Again, the hunter pulled. My bf grabbed it off him again. And the priest completely refused to heal him. My bf healed himself like mad but ended up dying anyway. The boss went down after being bounced around between all of us because the pet couldn't keep agro. When we called the priest on not healing the tank, he had the gall to say that he was healing the tank because the tank is defined as the one who has agro and the hunter's pet had agro. So he had been healing the hunter and his pet.

We had had enough. Thoroughly pissed off by these idiots, we decided that if they wanted to duo the instance, fine. They could duo the instance. And we would be happy with the free xp they gave us. We calmly sat down within range of xp but out of range of any agro dumps, and waited.

This seemed to perplex the two idiots - let's call them Dumb and Dumber for the sake of convenience (if not originality). Dumb and Dumber wanted to know what was going on, so we explained that if they'd like to duo the instance they could go right ahead and we would be happy with our free xp. Predictably, they didn't like this idea, and started trying to provoke us. Apparently we were noobs and didn't understand that they were doing it right. We happily sat there, silent for the most part (although we did make fun of their English at some point - apparently I needed to work on my "grammer").

Eventually Dumb and Dumber decided to try to duo the next mobs - a pair of ogres. We sat back and watched as predictably the pet couldn't tank both of them. After the pet was eaten, the ogres killed the priest and then went after the hunter, who feigned and they reset. At this point Dumb and Dumber must have finally realised that they couldn't duo the place after all, and started trying to requeue us.

We were way beyond being diplomatic at this point - and we knew that as soon as they brought in another member it would be a 50/50 chance of us getting kicked rather than them - so we continually declined. Yes, after all the griefing they had done, we finally gave in and griefed back. We sat there calmly, silently, watching as they tried to provoke us by throwing insults at party chat. All of us knew we were at a stalemate, and it would be either them or us before the dungeon could continue.

Before you say anything, yes, I know, we were also in the wrong here. We should not have griefed back. We should have taken the high road, left Dumb and Dumber to their own devices and queued for another group. But there is something deep down inside of me that refuses to let the bad guys win without a fight.

Finally we realised that griefing was getting us nowhere. We were having fun wasting these idiots' time and getting a little revenge for their arse-hattery but we knew it couldn't go on forever. Besides, we had more dungeons to do. So when they tried to requeue us again, we agreed, knowing we'd have a 50/50 chance of getting booted. As soon as the new person came in, we attempted to vote-kick the priest for refusing to heal the tank. This failed. The priest then attempted to vote-kick my bf, which also failed. We explained our reasoning to the new person in party chat, explained what had happened, and tried v-kicking again, but it still failed. The new person told us he just wanted to get on with it, which we agreed with, but the next time Dumb and Dumber tried to kick my bf, it succeeded. I shrugged to myself, wished the new guy luck, and left the party.

What have I learned from my experiences? Well, not much. It was really just another day in Wow. You get your good pugs, and you also get your bad pugs. We had had a good run. We were bound to get some bad apples sooner or later. And really, I enjoyed the experience. Sure, we could have run another dungeon in the time we were getting to know Dumb and Dumber but would it have been as fun? I doubt it!

Nope, no lessons here. Just a bit of fun and a good Wow war story.

<3 Jayd