Monday, April 6, 2009

Burning bridges over achievements

X has left the raid group. X has left the guild.

It came out of the blue yesterday night, during a wipe recovery mid-raid. Not a single goodbye in the guild chat from this warlock on trial. He just left and my jaws dropped. I’d never seen anything like it before. What was all that about?

It turned out it was about achievements. Some of us love them. Some are obsessed; others just think they make the game play more fun. Some are quite indifferent to it, but will help out the poor lost souls who just “have to” get them. But then there are those players who really can’t see the point in them. They will take every single gold coin paid in repair bills due to unnecessary achievements as an insult. And he obviously was one of those guys.

Bringing entertainment
I think it’s the lack of lack of raiding content in WotLK that brings guilds to go for achievements. Or rather: doing achievements is the raiding content that currently is offered to us. Without them some of the raid encounters are slightly more interesting than doing daily quests.

This week our guild was in a new situation. We were done with the progress encounter, Sarth+3d, only one hour into the first of our three raiding nights. If we didn’t want to cut down on raiding nights, we had to make the raids last a bit longer. So after Sarth, we only did one wing in Naxx and then called it night. Yesterday night was our second night this week. Now the idea was to knock off a few 25 man achievements. That would prolong the raid a bit, we could leave some content for the third night, and above all: it would make it a bit more interesting, challenging and thus entertaining.

And this was what we were doing when this guy just disappeared. We had called two wipes on Loatheb, which we were going to take down without touching the spores. That’s harder than you may think if in the first place. It’s not hard to kill him; the hard thing is not to hurt the spores whatsoever. You have to recall and remove any kind of ability that may cause aoe damage. The first time we failed it was because a warrior hadn’t thought about his reflecting abilities. And the second wipe was called since our GM and raid leader accidently had applied a living bomb, which will cause aoe damage and kill them. (He was cursing at himself much more than he would have yelled at anyone else doing this, and leading a raid is rather stressful so I really don't blame him.) Anyway, two volontary wipes was all this guy could take before he had had enough of the raid as well as the guild.

Shared values
The different views on achievements have become a tension in some guilds. Sydera at World of Matticus wrote about the discussions going on in Conquest.

Now, I sincerely hope that Conquest has worked out those problems. Considering the writings of Matticus and Sydera I think they’re good enough leaders to know what to do.

But in the long run I think that a guild can’t survive if there are too big gaps within it And I’m talking about all sort of gaps - gaps in ambitions and desire to beat hard encounters, gaps in skill and dedication or gaps in how many playing hours we have available for raiding and improving the toons out of raids. And gaps in how we look on achievements. We don’t all have to love them, but at least we have to be able to accept that some other players will want to have shots at them when there’s an opportunity.

Love and friendship may carry us a long way, but eventually you’ll hit a wall. All those gaps will only cause us disappointments and pain. Tobold’s struggles on Malygos is such a typical example of it. There’s always room for some differences in a guild; differences is actually good to some extent. But there will be a point when they’ll become a burden.

The warlock obviously didn’t share our ideas about what good raiding is about. We shrugged and pushed forward. We had a few tries on Shocking but didn’t nail it this time. Then we did And They Would All Go Down Together. It was elegant rather than zerg mode, requiring some coordination, and I had much more fun at that encounter than I’ve had for a long time, and I don't think I was alone, listening to the comments on vent. I ended the raiding night with a big smile on my face.

Doing us a service
The leaving lock had another perspective though, and he took the consequences. I can’t help thinking: “good riddance”. To leave a raid in such a manner is really not OK, to put it mildly. He could have asked to be replaced – there were reserves hanging around, so that wasn’t any issue.

But at a second glance I actually think he did both himself and us a service, taking this quick decision and acting accordingly. Even if we could have worked this raid night out, would he be happy in our guild in the long run? Probably not. The gap was too big. Now he didn’t go around sulking about it, suffering silently or whining, being a pain to the officers. He left, just as Gevlon suggests. Quick and painless, both for him and the guild. He can surely find a guild that raids the way he wants them to, where he isn’t ordered to kill his toon deliberately in order to get an achievement. And we can keep working towards perfection just because it’s fun.

Actually I think a lot of the unhappiness and guild drama we read about in the blogs could be prevented if more people acted like him and just let go when they found that they didn’t share the values with the guild. Leaving mid-raid isn’t a great idea, but at least he burned the bridges properly. I've got to give him credit for that.


Carra said...

---Miswrote this comment in the other thread

Well, we had a trialist warlock leaving the guild before the run finished two weeks ago... It just might be the same person. He didn't seem to enjoy all the wiping.

As for achievements. I'm personally not a big fan. Some part of me thinks I'm just wasting time when doing them as there is no reward. Some people need the loot carrot in front of them to be motivated.

Scotty said...

Its a tough balancing act for guild/raiud leaders, some people will leave because of going for "just 10 achievement points" whereas others will leave because of NOT going for achievement kills....

Personally, I'm in the camp that wants achievement kills, and if that means wiping on easy farm bosses, then thats fine...its more interesting that way :)

Leaving mid raid without a (public) word however, is not something I can condone....burning bridges is something I cant personally see any benefit in....

Gevlon said...

Whoa, what a coincidence! Once again we wrote about the same things.

*vlad* said...

The guy was not a team player, as can be evidenced by his lack of commitment. He obviously wasn't concerned that there were 24 other people in the raid, and leaving mid-raid is pretty pathetic imo.

I wonder how people like that would have coped on Vashj or Kaelthas?
Maybe it's a symptom of Wrath's 'easy loot'.

DeftyJames said...

@larrisa. I both agree and disagree with you. I think that making a quick judgment and leaving the raid and guild without sulking is a good thing, if, and this is a big "if", the player truly and sincerely knows what they want. But often people make snap decisions out of fear and frustration only to regret it later. You have presented a neat, logical, and orderly excuse for the behavior of the guild member. I just wonder if it's true or if it's what Larissa wants to be true.

One thing I need to remind myself quite often is that a lot of kids play this game, even as young as nine years old. These young people have no conception of who they are dealing with on-line or what they want. They are just being kids. Both the magic and sometimes the frustration is that you have no real clue as to who is behind that toon. As a consequence, I keep an open mind about what's actually happening; in a world where everyone's identity is by definition fake, perceptions can be deceiving.

Goshon said...

Question I have for you Larisa, is whether the nature of the guild was explained to the applicant ahead of time. I don't think there is any need for a player to throw a hissy fit and just gquit as abruptly as he did, but I can empathize to an extent that the guild's goals may not have been in line with the player's.

One of the things my officers and myself (as GM) do when interviewing candidates is discuss what our goals are, such as achievements, and we inform the candidates that yes, we'll wipe the raid, not only once, but as many times as it takes. We also tell the candidates about a great many other things, as we want to make sure that the person is not just applying with us as a place to see the content and get gear, we want to make sure they understand the tenets that our guild operates under.

In the case of your departing warlock, it just seems to me that with the glut of guilds recruiting on all servers right now, he felt that your particular guild didn't meet his play style. The downside of him leaving in such a exposed way is that your other members had to see it.

Game Dame said...

I think the guy was just rude. I /ignore rude people in the game; I don't care how old they are. (If you are playing a game with adults, you need to learn to act like an adult, not the other way around.) I disagree with giving this guy the benefit of the doubt. What he did was childish and selfish. It will be interesting when/if he gets married how he attempts to "work things out" or if he just /mquits.

Larísa said...

@Carra: I have no idea it it was the same one. But yeah, there are some people out there who aren't built for wiping.

I know there are different opinions on the reward of wiping - I guess I've written about it before. The thrill and the exciting in succeeding is enough to me, although I must admit that the title (which I had completely forgotten about) was an additional bonus at the Twilight thing.

@Scotty: Nah, I don't recommend that behaviour either. I find it rather odd. But this time it didn't hurt us really. There wasn't any outcry or any feelings of a big loss. We shrugged and moved on, staying focused, chainpulling as crazy...

@Gevlon: well it isn't exactly the same things. Just couldn't resist to use the burn-bridges thing. But honestly in our case I seriously can't believe he thought we were a guild of M&S. It was rather a case of different goals and ideas about what good raiding is about.

@Vlad: Well, since I didn't know the guy I can't say really if the problem was that he was loot motivated. There could have been more stuff behind it that I didn't know about. But yes, I think that leaving the raid after two "unnecessary" wipes is rather childish and you're right, it's definitely not team oriented. You can stress enough how much of a team activity raiding is. You can be as skilled as you like but if you're not a team player it just won't work.

: you're right that I tend to see things and people through pink glasses. I believe only the best about other players until it's been proofed over and over again that I'm wrong. Actually I asked after the raid if this guy was young (we have a couple of teenagers in our guild and I thought that he might be one as well.) But it turned out that he was in his mid-twenties... Yeah, mental age and physical age have nothing to do with each other.

@Goshon: Since I'm not an officer and not that much involved in the recruitment procedure (apart from that I as any other member can read and comment on the applications as they're posted on our forums), I don't know exactly what was said before he joined the guild. But it can hardly have come to him as a surprise that we do achievements from time to time. After all, Sarth+dragons is another of those achievements, right? During offnights, achievement runs in 10 man have been arranged a number of times. And we've done 25-man achivements as well, althogh I'm not sure if it happened during his rather short stay in the guild.
Anyway you're right that it's important to make those things clear as early as possible. It isn't just that the guild needs to know that the applicant is a good fit. It also works the other way round, the applicant needs to get a good and honest picture of what the guild is about. Considering how careful we are in the recruitment, I doubt that our officers would mislead or leave anyone applying in doubt about such things.

Larísa said...

@Game Dame: Well, I guess my glasses are a bit too pink, as stated above... I don't have any single player on /ignore. I've never felt the need for it. But about this guy - yeah, I would definitely hesitate to pug with him. Who knows when he suddenly desires to quit the group?

Erinys said...

I'm really beginning to hate raid achievements. We were trying an immortal run this reset, got all the way to Kel'thuzad without a single death. In the last sub-20 percent of his health, one of our shamans dies (tank was a little slow on his taunt after a mind control), shaman alt f4s and when we all logged in the next day, said shaman has deleted every single one of his characters without a single word. No one said a word to him, he was obviously just so upset that he overreacted. But because of a stupid achievement, we are down a nice guy and since no one has been able to contact him, we are all just hoping that deleting his characters was the limit of his self loathing. And all that over what?

On the other hand, some of our new recruits for Ulduar have come primarily because we do raid achievements, so obviously its a really hard balance to achieve. Once an instance is on farm, what else is there to do, other than to try harder aspects of the fight. But I do think there are a lot of negatives involved, especially with the current incarnation of the Immortal.

More than ever, everyone in a guild needs to be on the same page. Which is mostly fine if you are a hardcore guild but if you are more relaxed but still want things like the achievements, I think there will be lots of similar instances to the one you describe here.

*vlad* said...


I can't understand anyone deleting their characters becuase they failed an Achievement.

A wipe on Kelthuzad when you are going for Undying or Immortal is annoying (it's happened to me), but I mean really, if you don't do it, it is no bif deal, or shouldn't be.

wowgoldworld said...
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stabs said...

I don't really like achievements. I do like hard modes but not achievements.

I will tolerate wiping to do content that I don't want to do if other guildies want it but yeah, it would be nice if raid guilds started listing whether they are achievement runners or not.

Rubymelon said...

I think it is easier to understand that he just left because he was a trial. However, I still think he should have probably told an officer that this didn't fit his style and then left, rather than just a no comment /gquit.

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