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Simply Stated

April 29, 2011

Dear Reader,

Working towards the conclusion of this “live event,” our look at the community, the problems behind it, and some potential solutions, I wanted to make sure we took the time to clearly and simply state what our goals for the WoW community are.  I’ll list some of my own today, and I hope to get some comments with other goals that I’ll feature and discuss on Monday (though of course that’s out of my hands, dear reader).

Before I get into “goal-stating,” I want to state some goals of our goals (how iterative).  I want our goals to be short and direct, without a lot of florid language or corollaries.  The goals should be unable to be misunderstood (a correct double negative FTW).  Lastly, the goals should not suggest how we achieve them, though a brief discussion afterward explaining what’s preventing them, how to achieve them, or why we need them would be excellent.  Keep the goals just goals.

Here’s my first:

Players should feel invited into the community.

I feel a lot of players, both new and old, no longer feel welcome.  Either jerks are trolling them, they can’t get good answers to their questions in-game, or “better” players are looking down on them.

A brief story (but with a happy ending for a change).  I went into LFD again yesterday with my buddy to try out one of the new dungeons.  I also asked a former guildy (a current friend) to tag long (in that he’d be carrying us with his heals); that covered our tanks, heals, and one dps, so we’d only be reliant on 2 PuG dps.  We get into ZG at the first boss, and low-and-behold the first thing that happens is one of the PuGs criticizes my buddy for having a veiled (hit) gem, claiming shammies don’t need it.  Now that may be true; I don’t know, but neither my buddy or I have played in a month or so, so to open up with that was another gut punch (after Easter weekend’s dungeons).  We ignored the guy and pulled.  He got killed by the poison maze or something of the like and then made a glib but veiled (how coincidental) statement that I think was directing blame at the healer; I don’t remember precisely what he said.  Now there’s no way this healer made a mistake; if he’s alive, everyone else who’s not actively getting themselves killed is alive.  All the same, another jerk.

We wipe and run in, and the guy doesn’t even have the common decency to take the 10 seconds to fly back in.  I ask him to twice, to no response.  I already tried to kick the guy when he first started acting like  a jerk, but got the “This group cannot initiate any more dungeon kicks,” message.  Then, miraculously, a kick vote comes up.  My healer friend apparently could kick him, and he was gone.  Paladin healers can perform miracles.

Shortly thereafter, my healer friend sends me a tell saying, “I agreed to run a random with you to prove to you that not all LFD groups have jerks in them, and we get that guy.”  I laughed a bit, but really I was fine with how it turned out; he was able to remove that guy for his callous, selfish behavior.  That’s not always an option, and that is the problem.  How can I feel that WoW’s inviting when at any moment a total jerk can make moves to ruin my day and the only recourse I have is to stop playing?

Okay, I promise all the goals won’t be that long in explanation.

#2: Good behavior should be supported;  misbehavior should be dealt with quickly and effectively.

I think this goes without any more explanation beyond what we’ve discussed all week.

#3 All play styles should be equally supported both within the game and within the community.

That’s not to say you have to do them or like them, just that they shouldn’t be torn down or made to feel inferior than others.

I’ve never discussed Orcish Army Knife before here, but I think what Rades  does is amazing and fascinating.  His knowledge of lore, the connections he makes, and the discussions that follow are incredibly intelligent and entertaining.  Should he be looked down upon because he doesn’t spend all his time looking at mechanics in the game?  I don’t think any of us here would think that, but there’s certainly in-game behaviors that would support such discrimination.  It should be stopped.

#4 Diversity is a key to survival.

As many of my commentators and I myself have suggested, increasing the differences between players and characters makes the “one spec fits all” mentality a little harder to manage.  I realize Blizz works to combat such ideas by trying to make equally attractive talents, but in the end the theory crafters always figure out what is “best.”  More diversity would make that impossible.  Which genetic sequence is the “best?”  We won’t know for a long, long time (god forbid we ever know) due to its complexity.  While I don’t expect anything of genetic complexity from Blizz, something a little more complex than 31 points to spend would be pleasant.

Okay, that’s it for me today; I’ll give a slightly shorter-than-average post to counter the rest of the week’s slightly longer-than-average ones.  Perhaps I’ll come up with a few more over the weekend, or perhaps you, dear reader, will leave some for me to think about.


Stubborn (not ready to give up yet)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2011 12:51 pm

    I been thinking about this for quite a bit of time. No matter what we suggest, Blizz will do or NOT DO what will give them the best profit. The community that you speak of is almost utopian in nature and no game mechanic can really prevent stupidity or asshattery. I live in almost a bubble. I think you may as well. Here’s why. We have supportive guilds.

    We WANT them to do the right thing to promote a bit of harmony. We cant force them though. No game mechanic can force them either. For every game mechanic that comes out to regulate, players find a way around it. Point in fact, they exploit or abuse it.

    Now I’m not saying loose hope. I am saying that responsible players should do their best to band together with other responsible players. If someone sees something really stupid or abusive in Trade chat, then dammit get after them. Show them the behavior isnt accepted. Believe it or not, I have gotten people to shut up when I see them blathering stupidity on the open net. How? Start a conversation privately, show them with logic not emotion why what they are saying is offensive. I usually get about an 85% success rate just by doing that.

    For Randoms, thats a bit tougher, because randoms now drop JP for me, I actually have to get in there and do them. Most times though, I get at least 2 guildees to run with me so we have the weighted vote if asshattery ever ensues.

    BG’s are a lot more difficult because you can’t kick someone for poor behavior. My solution, I let them die, a lot. They get the hint when I broadcast I won’t help them, good thing to know when your a feral druid.

    My point is, no amount of policing that Blizz does will come to much. I have had success with reporting spammers and honest to goodness abusive behavior. However, like the old saying goes, “It takes a Tribe to raise a Child”. In the end we as a community good or bad are responsible for the end result of the overall community health.

    Just some thoughts.


    • April 29, 2011 1:29 pm

      I actually agree with basically everything you said; I’m a big believer in another saying, that “Evil thrives where good men fail to act,” which supports your idea that it’s really our job to police the community.

      Where I’d like to have a little support from Blizzard is in the area of motivation. I feel like the “good men (and of course women)” of the WoW community are feeling more and more apathetic, tired, and ignored than ever before because, as another commentator pointed out, the jerks have had years of practice being jerks, and we’ve had years of practice ineffectively trying to prevent it.

      I know I’ve had many conversations in LFD groups like the one you mention about general chat, and whereas I used to have a pretty good success rate, even from something as simple as “Let’s just get focused and get the dungeon done,” nowadays (meaning the past few months since I’ve not been playing much) it’s been less and less effective.

      I never really thought about PvP jerks, since I usually just ignore them (it’s easier I guess to ignore them in larger groups), but I can see how that’s a problem that might need addressing, too.

      Anyway, thanks for the thoughts, and we’ll have to see. I, like you, don’t expect anything much to change or any support from Blizz, but it can’t hurt to talk about what we want, how we might get it, and what we can do.


  2. April 29, 2011 1:59 pm

    Silence is the worst failure even if discussing ideas won’t bring about the end conclusion.

  3. Imakulata permalink
    April 30, 2011 4:19 pm

    1. Players should be invited to the community.
    While this might be disputed, I would say that I agree that the game (WoW or any other MMOG) and its community should make (new) players welcome as existing players will eventually leave, even if it’s for reasons unrelated to anything in the game. Without new players, the game would die.

    2. Good behavior should be supported; misbehavior should be dealt with quickly and effectively.
    I’m not sure whether anyone disputes this but it’s hard to get people to agree on which behaviour is good and which is bad and how the bad should be punished.

    3. All play styles should be equally supported both within the game and within the community.
    Not quite. Many areas of WoW gameplay – e. g. questing or instances – force the player(s) to perform at certain level or better to succeed. In those, the “let’s try and see” and the “be effective” styles don’t mix well; if both are in the same group, one has to give way. How would you find who has which playstyle so you can keep them separated? Many players are not aware of their own style, how would you make the game aware of it?

    4. Diversity is a key to survival.
    Quantity is not diversity. To the contrary, quantity brings either balance issues (if a single talent/skill changes, it influences a lot of other talents/skills because the players are able to replace it with the other talents or vice versa) or lack of diversity (i. e. the developer will cut the meaningful choices because of the balance issues).
    Diversity would be for example enabling the players to perform in an off-role at the expense of their main role or something that gives them an advantage and a handicap at the same time. (Both assuming the encounter design supports something like this.)

    • April 30, 2011 11:22 pm

      Interesting points. There’s not much more to say about #1, I think.
      For #2, you’re exactly right, and perhaps that’s what we can talk about next here; what behaviors we want to see in the game and which are undesirable.
      #3 I don’t think we’re actually at odds here; I just believe they should be supported, not that they’re compatible or should be forced to play together. In one of my old guilds, the argument “we don’t tell people how to play,” was constantly used as a reason that the raiders shouldn’t be asked to improve. I never disagreed with that, but the corollary to that is that I, too, can choose to play a certain way, which ended up being not with that guild. I also completely agree that a lot of players don’t know their style, and that’s fine; learning who you are and what you like is part of the reason we play anything at all, WoW included. I certainly don’t want to brand people, and there will always be disagreements about what WoW’s “about,” but I’d like to see the disagreements be supportive discussions, not vicious attacks, like they sometimes are.
      #4 I also agree wholeheartedly here. My point here is tied to my third point. The more “acceptable” styles of play, the more “acceptable” talent specs, the more “acceptable” gear sets, etc, the better the game will be.

      Once again, thanks! You make some really good points and have helped me develop this idea (:

  4. May 5, 2011 12:21 pm

    #3 All play styles should be equally supported both within the game and within the community.

    I agree with this so much. Whether it’s hardcore raiding, being obsessed with lore and history, roleplaying, or heck, even simply playing the auction house and making gold, who is to say that their preferred game motivations are “better” than anyone else’s? Why not just be happy for them that they’re happy and content doing their own thing? Or at the very least, just leave them alone and let them do whatever they want.

    For example, I’m the only one in my raiding guild who’s really into the lore aspect of the game (others simply don’t spend time learning about the lore, while others are completely disinterested) but they never scoff at my interests or roll their eyes at me. Quite the opposite, actually – sometimes while raiding they’ll idly remark at something, some strange architecture or offhand curiosity about a boss, and then expect me to fill them in about the who/what/why of whatever they’re talking about. 😉 Or if they ask me why I’m in Blackwing Descent during non-raid times, and I tell them I’m taking screenshots of a boss, they just go “Oh, haha, well have fun.”

    People will always have different interests, but it’s silly and cruel to ridicule others whose preferences don’t align perfectly with your own. It’s really just another form of bullying.

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