Monday, January 11, 2010

What´s Your Cheerscore?

“LFM ICC 10. No achievement required, min 5k Cheerscore. PST for invite.”
Is this something we’ll see in the LFG channel in the future? Maybe. I don’t know if there will ever be a Cheerscore. But we need something more than just gear evaluations to make grouping with unknown players a bit smoother.

Different expectations
Recently there have been a lot of blogposts about the use of Gearscore and about the sometimes rather unrealistic demands that l33t players are making on their fellow PUGers. Once again we’re reminded about how the community consists of millions of players with wildly shifting expectations on the game, more or less successfully trying to coexist side by side in peace.

The problem isn’t new, but the new random dungeon system is bringing matters to a head. Some players are in this only for the badges, measuring the success of an instance run in the ratio of minutes/emblem.

Others are Looking for More, wanting to see some sort of group chemistry or even intimacy to not feel empty and unfulfilled.

Just like any other online dating service, Blizzard is trying to match players who they think would fit nicely together. However the matching so far seems to be based mostly on gear level, just like it already is.

The Gearscore addon has been popular for quite a while now as an instrument to quickly evaluate potential party members to try to make the best possible match. Spinksville wrote a very thoughtful and intelligent post about the reasons for using it. It isn’t necessarily the root of all evil, but actually quite handy.

But the majority of the recent voices in the blogosphere have expressed their utter contempt for not only this specific addon, but the mentality that it represents.

Matching mindsets
I believe that we partly can blame the rather clumsy matching and grouping system in WoW for those clashing worlds, the lack of group chemistry and the differing goals and expectations that create unnecessary conflicts. Gear’s fine, but it definitely doesn’t say everything about a player. Being social or not hasn’t got anything to do with purples.

There are extremely achievement-oriented, rather impatient players who don’t put up with less than perfection from their party, but are totally uninterested in a friendly banter, imba players who have blue gear, since they’re currently speedlevelling the new tanking character that their guild desperately needed. Or perhaps since they just admire Gevlon’s Ulduar adventures, considering overgearing a waste of time.

And there are players decked-out in purples, who are more social and chatty than they are hungry for boss kills, who happily would like to spend two hours whipping in a Hall of Reflections-pug as long as they had a good laugh doing so.

The challenge is to make sure that those different sorts of players aren’t grouped up together, but matched with other players with similar mindset. The question is: how do you make it happen?

The Cheerscore solution
Dw Redux is sick and tired of the silent runs where the only answer you’ll get if you write something in the party chat is “gogogogo”. He suggested an extra tick box: “looking for friends” or “willing to chat”. Maybe that’s the easiest thing to do. Let the talkative people play with each other and let the emblems/hour people have their fun.

But I’m also playing with the idea if it would be possible to make an addon to help you evaluate the social side of other players as easy and quickly as you can get a rough picture of their gear through Gearscore.

Everything we do in the game, every little piece of action we take, is recorded and kept in the seemingly endless Blizzard data base. Just look at the statistic page of your own character and you’ll get the picture! Would it be possible to make a rough picture of the play style of another person from some of those numbers? Maybe.

Let’s have a look at the social page for instance. Admittedly there isn't much information on it for the time being, but at least there is some. Until now Lar'isa has given out 175 hugs but she has never ever done a facepalm and only lol’d 11 times. It probably says something - and I'm afraid my own Gearscore would be far higher than my Cheerscore. Probably there are more social statistics available than the ones currently displayed. Probably they know very well not only how many hugs we've given out, but also how many we have recived. Those reciprocal hugs, shouldn’t they increase my Cheerscore? What else could be measured? The numbers of friends list you’re appearing on? The numbers of times you’ve sticked around after a wipe feast? You can probably come up with better ideas than I.

The question is of course: would it really matter in the end? The Gearscore mentality is widespread to say the least. Are there still enough Cheerscore people around to form a pug raid based on it? If you could choose between a highly rated Gearscore raid respectively a Cheerscore raid, which one would you pick?


Khaelie said...

if i am playing with people on my own server that i could actually add to my friend list i would prefer the chatty, have fun kind (although i would still like them to have a clue on how to play as well).

i know it seems kind of cold to you in a random LFD pug, but the reality is that you will never see the vast majority of those people again, so I like so many others choose to just get in there and get it over with. this leaves me with more time to joke around and play with my friends.

Magma said...

A little half and half for me.

Klepsacovic said...

BRB, stealing your idea. :P

Grim said...

I greatly anticipate Cheerscore Farming Groups. We'll all form raids with fourty strangers standing in a big circle. On our action bars will be macros for /hug, /cheer, /love and similar emotes, and we will spam them incessantly upon eachother 'till our Cheerscore is maxed out.

Miss Medicina said...

I love this idea!

Mike Schramm noted this add-on in one of his recent posts on his blog - check it out and tell us what you think; it made me giggle!


Leah said...

the other night, I queued up for random heroic on my DK as a dps, becasue I really didnt feel like leading and setting the pace (And that's concidering that I generally love tanking on her and she was always meant to be a tank, so her dps set is.. ummm shabby to say the least).

after obligatory dps wait - I got a group that I ended up chaining heroics with. sure we killed bosses. and while we weren't silently speeding through the instance we weren't lingering too long either. somehow we found a way to be friendly AND play and we all liked it so much we didn't want it t end until all of us felt too sleepy to go on.

yes please, add the cheerscore or a "wishing for a friendly group" button. Because having an option to choose what sort of run you're going to end up with is a damn good idea IMO.

Tessy said...

*giggles at Grim - I can actaully see that happening if Cheerscore is implemented :D*

I have found that randoms with nasty or oppressive players affect me a lot more than I would care for, even after the run is over, so I would definitely go for a Cheerscore run with players of my own mindset.

Larísa said...

@Khaelie: What I wonder is if socializing only is meaningful if you’re expecting to establish a long-time relation. Couldn’t the socializing as such be enjoyable – just as enjoyable as a speedrun, but another sort of enjoyment?
Like those unexpected meetings when you’re travelling… Chatting a bit with the one on the next seat to you on a plane or a train. You don’t expect to see those again either.

@Magma: yeah, I’m probably los half-half. It depends a bit on my mood of the day also. Sometimes a silent run is all I want, sometimes I’d prefer it to be more of a social activity.

@Grim: haha, I wouldn’t be surprised tbh.

@Miss Medicina: I had no idea about this. But I think Cheerscore is a better name for it!

@Leah: oh it sounds great! One of those parties you wish you could save for future reference… and now you’ll probably never see each other again. Maybe that will change in the future.

Dw-redux said...

@lar, it will change in the future. Soom (tm) you should be able to add crossrealm people to your friendlist, and the /w function should already be working!

RatherNotSay said...

I vote no. There is already too much for me to be judged for. Now people want me to be happy?

However, I agree there should be some way to sort better than the current method, because it does not really work all that well. How about a grumpy or cranky score? I would do much better there.

Tam said...

Tam just isn't very affectionate - hence I've hardly performed any cheers, hugs, lols, facepalms or other cute little actions I could, at some point, have performed.

Possibly *I'm* just not very affecionate - I don't hug people all that much in real life, so I don't in the game.

Maybe they ought to instigate a grumpy bastard tracking mechanism.


Carra said...

There seems to be little benefit from a "looking for friends" option. The people in your pug are on another server and you'll never see them again.

When I run a pug I just want to finish the pug asap. Maybe chat a bit but above all finish the damn run. I'd much rather have 4 imba players who don't say a word than having 4 incredibly cool players who can't play if their life depended on it. For social activities, I'll just do a guild run.

Anonymous said...

You could probably use achievements in some way for this as well. Don't put somebody with say 'Champion of Ulduar' with somebody who's done Loremaster for example.

It's not foolproof but it does give an indication of where a player's focus lies.

Khaelie said...

Larisa - i suppose my response is not clear. i still like chatty nice people even in LFD, i just don't expect it and hardly ever get it anyways. i also greatly overgear heroics and want to be in there for the smallest amount of time possible. that being said, the other day i was in a group and one member had to AFK so the rest of us started pulling out pets and chatting and it was nice. I think i even ran a second heroic with that group just for fun.

Fremskritt said...

In my experience the "chatty/laid back" people also are pretty good players as well, not the best ones by a long shot, but they all know their stuff well enough.

I've never met a 1k DPS jackass who was sociable apart from blaming everybody else for his/her failures.

So perhaps a decent Gearscore means a decent socializer as well? Unless he/she is using Gearscore as the end-all. (Or even using it in the first place to evaluate players.)

Leah said...

friendly doesn't automatically mean inept. I've been in friendly groups that have blown through instances in 20 minutes or less and I've been in silent groups where I wanted to tear my hair out in frustration.

sometimes you just want to silently speed through an instance and just get it done, and sometimes you want to relax and have a bit of interactions and no guildies are available/interested in running something at that time (what, that happens)

wouldn't you want to have an option of deliberately picking a quick, efficient run? Haven't you been in groups for, lets say old kingdom where all you want to do is skip every optional boss and just get to the Herald for your frost badges, but the rest of the group wants a full clear? Can you imagine a situation where someone is an an Alt and would like a full clear achievement at least, but the tank decides that they are skipping and you are stuck with half finished instance?

in its current incarnation, lfg system groups too many people with not only conflicting gear levels but also conflicting instancing perceptions and goals. wouldn't it be good to be able to pick the type of group you prefer in advance?

Leah said...

@ Larissa, yes, I wish I could friend them.

you know what would be great? if system would not only allow you to friend people cross realm, but if it would also recognize the people on it and if they happen to be in lfg at the same time as you are - it will group you with them as opposed to throwing you with whoever was closest in line first. you could even schedule instancing together that way.

G-Rebel said...

I would definately go for something along the lines of a Cheerscore. Allow people to click:

LF other Jerks like me.

LF chatty, funny people who don't care if it takes a bit longer.

LF shy, silent types (as long as they are also tall, dark and handsome).

LF Gearscore obsessed, because that's all I care about (oh, wait, you can always click the first option, LF other Jerks, just like you!)

Yeah, a cheerscore would warm my heart.

Larísa said...

@Dw-redux: won’t it be sweet if you could whisper them, inviting them to a dungeon party? And with that possibility available, maybe people will bother to get to know people in x-realm pugs? I have a dream…

: haha, yeah, why not? If you find cheerful people unbearable you could have a Sneerscore, as cleaverly suggested by Tam below as well. To grant you to run the instance as soon and silent as possible.

@Tam: hm…I think you can be social without actually hugging people. Your blogposts show this very well. We just need to find a way to measure it.

@Carra: well… since all guildies are already tied up in random dungeons there isn’t much option but to go for one for yourself. Sometimes I’m just fine with the silent efficiency of them, but sometimes I feel something is lacking.

: hm… that’s an aspect actually. The achievements could definitely be indicators contributing to the score.

: yeah, it definitely isn’t black and white. It’s just easier to put it that way.

@Leah: actually I think Klepsacovic made a good suggestion there in his follow-up-post where you could indicate for instance if you wanted to clear all of the instance or not.

@G-Rebel: yeah, maybe it’s as easy as that. Just by categorizing players in three types you could get rid of some of the tentions.

Vorne said...

Lol , sounds like my guild, when we do a run together you can bet your butt 80% of the run were in hysterics on vent.
So our cheer score would be high.
And no matter what when i pug i always say hi to the group, even if i get no response i feel i have done my best to be social :)
and polite lets not forget that one maybe we need a polite score as well :)

Taeraresh said...

Sounds like it's time for someone to implement 'whuffie' (from Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom") as a WoW addon. It's sort of a social currency, for those who haven't read the book. You basically get more of it for having people say good things about you when you do things to help them.