Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let´s foster a new generation of raiders

Anna at Too Many Annas had a great post the other day, where she discussed how we should approach the new raiders that will enter Azeroth for the first time with the arrival of Cataclysm. How will we work with them? Are we prepared to follow the DBAD-rule (Don’t Be a Dick)?

She gives examples from her own raiding career – negative as well as positive.

As a newbie hunter she was almost scared away from raiding for ever due to the utterly dickish behaviour from a fellow hunter – who wasn’t even an officer and had very little reason to criticize or bully her, which was what he actually was doing. His constant picking on her can hardly have resulted in any improvement in her performance whatsoever.

Later on when she did her less-than-successful debut as a resto shaman, her raid leader gave her honest and constructive feedback and quickly managed to put her on the right track. Within a week she was on par with any other healer in the raid.

Two different approaches. Two different results.

My personal WoW teachers
When I look back at my soon to be three years of raiding in WoW – from my first wipes on the trash before Attuman to killing LK 25, I can see that I’ve been lucky enough to see very few – if any at all of the dick types. On the other hand I’ve been blessed, running into some absolutely fantastic veteran players who gently and generously have given me guidance on how to improve my game play and understand what raiding is all about.

I remember for instance one guy who promptly took me to Dr Boom when I just had joined his guild. (Boom was the dummie like mob in Netherstorm we used before everyone became too lazy to ever take a step out of the major cities. In case anyone has forgotten). Within the course of 30 minutes he had revolutionized my rotations.

Or that raid leader who refused to let the warlocks summon me up when I had fell down into the waters of SSC through the noob trap (a glitch that everyone who’s been around for a while knows about and can avoid). I was completely lost down there, but he refused to let the warlocks summon me up. Instead he jumped down and showed me the way, knowing that I’d never ever again get allow myself to get lost down there. I returned the favour with a loving blog post.

And then there was this game friend of mine who was a mentor, a personal trainer for me for years, until he eventually got bored and left the game. He went through the weblogs with me and didn’t hesitate to call my attention to things that were bad. He helped me to grasp the BT tactics as we watched some videos together and he commented on them over vent.

Not to speak of my missed ex guild leader who built me a brand new UI after realizing how horribly clotted and dysfunctional my current one was and how hard it would be for me to figure out a better one on my own.

To all of you who took me under your wings: I can never ever pay you back, only give you my thanks, coming straight from my heart.

Becoming experienced
Coming from this, I’ve always thought that I would like to pay it forward, help out a clueless, newbie Larísa-type of player I may encounter in the future.

My biggest problem was that I didn’t really see what knowledge I had that was worth sharing. I pictured myself as something of an Eternal Noob, doomed to be a Tourist in Azeroth, unable to grow up and become a Real Raider.

But maybe I am one after all? In her post, Anna gives a few examples of the kind of knowledge and experience that you gather and incorporate with yourself as you raid, without taking much notice about it:

“There are skills you learn, certainly, and boss fights. But you also learn group coordination, what to expect when you show up for a raid, how things usually work, what it’s like to wipe on a new boss for hours or weeks. You learn how to read patch notes, look up strategies, and learn to be effective at your class. You pick up raiding jargon (like tank, crowd control, adds, line of sight, DKP) as well as picking up on little jokes that later become Raid Tropes to refer back to and laugh about. Some jokes become universal – The Safety Dance, Don’t stand in fire, Merely a setback, IN THE MOUNTAINS, 50 DKP Minus, Many Whelps Handle It, Leroy Jenkin. […] Every one of those little jokes, bits of jargon, raiding skills and coordination skills get filed away in your brain under “Raids”, and you become an experienced raider.”
All the stuff she talks about is so very familiar to me – everything except “In the mountains”, which doesn’t tell me anything. (Explain, anyone?)

Yeah. I suppose I’ve been around a while. According to the statistics in Armory, my main has entered 294 25-man raids and 118 10-mans. I’m not sure if this includes the raids we did before the statistics page was launched. Regardless of which – it adds up.

Anna says:

“Everyone who runs raids right now in Wrath will become an “old” player – we’ll be the voices of experience, even if we don’t feel qualified.”
OK, Anna. I hear you. As long as I've been playing WoW, I’ve been the newest kid on the block. I’ve rarely been in the position to guide anyone but myself: as far as I can recall it only happened once over all those years. But if I ever get the opportunity to be the teacher and the guide again, I promise I’ll grab it.

Reasons to bother
Why you may ask? Why should you bother? Why should you make the effort to share your experiences rather than being a dick? It might take your time and energy and effort after all.

Well for me it’s simple. You get a better feeling in your stomach. It feels better to be nice than to be a dick. There are few experiences that beat the one to see someone else grow, improve and succeed, as a result of your guidance. That goes for WoW as well as for real life. Proud mentor is proud. As simple as that.

Another reason is very egotistical: I want there to be good raiders around, people that I want to play with. Older players drop off eventually and if we want decent replacements we have to work for it. They don’t spawn ready-to-raid. They come as unwritten cards, and we have the opportunity to influence what kind of players they’ll become. We have every reason in the world to grab it.

It’s time to foster a new generation of raiders.


Steve Hall said...

Darn...came here hoping to find out about "in the mountains" myself! :)

Shintar said...

I always enjoy sharing knowledge with people who are genuinely new to (some aspect of) the game, because they are generally interested and grateful for any tips you can give them. Unfortunately there are a lot of in-between-ers these days who think that they know everything because they know something and don't want to hear anyone else's opinions. But with a game that's always changing as much as WoW does we all have to keep open minds, because what's true today might not be true anymore after tomorrow's patch.

Oh, and IN THE MOUNTAINS is part of Thorim's speech in Ulduar. ("You! I remember you! In the mountains...") For some reason people really loved that line - I didn't quite get the appeal myself, but after our own main tank started shouting "in the mountains" all the time it became hard to not get dragged along after a while. :D

Syrien said...

Personally I really loved Thorim's speech for two reasons, firstly I like the voice of the actor doing the voiceover, secondly I really like that moment considering the quests that lead up to it. When questing, we were duped (by Loken, whose "real" mythology counterpart's trickster role always were part of what I like best about Norse mythology), but now our eyes are opened, and it is up to us to get Thorim out of the mess we (!) landed him in.

Actually, together with Drakuru, Thorim/Loken stands for me as some of the best storytelling of Wrath, precisely because we f*ck it all up and have to fix it. And then, Thorim does remember us, there is a chance we can save him! "I remember you! In the mountains.."

(Would be cool to hear why others like that line or find it funny, no idea if this is the general feeling :)

Furnurgler said...

Another point to this is what raiders are learning as they level. Even moving into lvl 80, we so far out gear and talent dungeons that the reason that they were created is completely being missed. I go back to when I first started raiding, I rememember doing a 25 man raid boss and thinking "Oh that's how boss X, Y or Z worked in XXX instance".

Having just started tanking and seeing how people react to certain situations I am absolutely astounded at the lack of situational awareness that there is these days. Mobs right at the start of DTK drop void zones which hurt. I can't remember the last time I've been though there and not seen someone die. (Void zones in alot of raid encounters). Mobs leading to last boss in AK throw up the shadow bolt crystals just like General Vezaxx in Uld. I have never seen anyone move from them.

Yea it's great that we power through instances these days and get to level 80 quicker, or get more badges, but what are we learning from the experience......not alot. How does this then transfer to raids.........very very badly. You get new raiders that haven't learnt anything from levelling becuase it been completely muscled through.

Is teaching people about situational awereness in a raid after a wipe the best place to do it? Or should instances be used for what they were intended...learning the abilities to survive in later content or should we just forget that and try and teach people the basics in raids.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm happy to give newer raiders pointers but if it's things that they should have learnt from previous experience, or if it the 10th time I'm pointing it out then I'm going to start getting a bit short with my advice.


Redbeard said...

I'm with Furn on the situational awareness.

From the standpoint of a quest guy, Blizz designs quests and monsters to help you later on in your adventuring career. If you're a Blood Elf, the first taste you get of the DIAF effect are the undead trolls in the Ghostlands. You kill them, they drop the toxic cloud, and you'd better darn well move quickly or you'll end up having a nice corpse run instead. That's a classic WoW event, and it should be ingrained in anyone who reaches 80, whether they raid or not.

That said, I've also seen plenty of tanks stand in the void zones in Drak, even though the melee DPS move out and are no longer within range. Sure, if you've got 50k health you can do that, but it's still not smart training.

I find myself enjoying the 5-man LFD runs with a bunch of newish 80s in there, because they tend to follow the tactics better than the severely OP players. Today, I just had PoS run with two DPS who'd never been in there before; we took our time and they learned a lot with mentoring from the tank.

Klepsacovic said...

One doesn't need a good feeling to help others. Knowing that person will someday be part of the raiding pool should be enough incentive to nudge them away from failure.

As I've heard "in the mountain" explained, Thorim's speech isn't entirely understandable (especially to hyper raiders who just want to kill something), so eventually all we end up hearing is "in the mountains".

Anonymous said...

re. Mountains: in our guild, people would usually start to sing the 80s hit "In the Dutch mountains" (by The Nits).

Andy said...

I want there to be good raiders around, people that I want to play with. Older players drop off eventually and if we want decent replacements we have to work for it. They don’t spawn ready-to-raid. They come as unwritten cards, and we have the opportunity to influence what kind of players they’ll become. We have every reason in the world to grab it.

What Klep said - we need to help these people because they're The Future, and the more good players there are, the better it'll be for us and everyone else.

Gevlon said...

It is completely impossible that you have not encountered dicks. They are so common that you must have met with dozens of them. You could just handle them. You did not even notice handling them.

"the dick" exist only in your head. He cannot harm you. He can only "hurt" you if you give him the attention he wants but don't deserve.

Rhii said...

What will be the meme from ICC I wonder?

My guild keeps repeating... "That's no ordinary gas cloud!" through all our raids now.

And Larisa, I think yes, it's finally time you admitted to being an experienced raider. I remember looking at your armory link months ago, seeing your Ashen Band of Exaltedness and wondering how long you'd go on thinking of yourself as a noob. It's lovely that it gives you such a sense of wonder but you also underestimate yourself!

Dwism said...

was at one point used to refer to thorim being in broke-back mountains, because gay-jokes never do seem to get old.
Think that is why that one stuck with people to begin with. That and what Klep said.

the sentence originates with Thorim remembering *you* from the quest-chain you (supposedly did) in the mountains. But too many lol-raiders never payed attention to back-ground stories, and never understood that this was Thorims consiusness almost breaking free of Yogg-sarons grip.

Anyways, teaching team-play, coordination, rotations and sitational awareness is something anyone can help 'new' raiders with. As long as they are willing to learn.
I think you need a healthy enviroment to do so. PuGs may not be the answer there though.

Dwism said...

For my guilds it "hope vains" or "shall I lay down frostmourne" Think i've heard those repeated in ts and /g so very very often after a wipenight on LK :)

Larísa said...

@Steve Hall/Kestrel: plenty of answers in the comments, I hope you’re pleased!

@Shintar: ooohh. I should have known. I’ve done him so many times. But I suppose it says something about how receptive I am when it comes to RP speeches when I’m raiding. I just can’t take it in or listen. My ears are set to listen to my raid leader and my focus is on “what am I supposed to do next”. I’m afraid story telling mostly is pretty much wasted on me. I wish it was different, but that’s how I raid.

@Syrien: Oh dear. I’ve missed a lot never paying attention to this. I really should have listened.

: I think you’re very right. I’m for instance grateful I learned about cc:ing in the TBC heroics and I hope I’ll brush up this knowledge in Cataclysm – and that the new players will learn the foundations of group play properly. The 5-mans are the best places for learning basics. Not 25 man raids.

: that sounds like such a pleasure. Unfortunately it’s not often that someone bothers to be a mentor in LFD groups. But it’s great when it happens.

. /sign on that. And yeah, I’m probably a hyper raider who just want to kill something! I didn’t even hear “in the mountains”. Sad.

@Andy: Yep.

@Gevlon: As a matter of fact you’re probably right. I don’t tend to go around sulking over random dicks I’ve ran into. It doesn’t stick on me. I would probably take it worse and more personal if it was a guildie that behaved like that. But I can’t recall ever having such a person in my guild.

With one possible exception, but he wasn’t really that sort of dick. He was just stupid and extremely annoying when he was drunk, which unfortunately was often. Saying stuff such like “women are terrible players and can never become as good as men.” This finally made me put him on perma mute, and I also avoided to group up with him, since he was a ridiculously bad player when he was drunk. The worst I’ve seen. Oh, the irony.

@Rhii: Everything is relative. Compared to my guildies who raided 40 man instances back in vanilla I’ll never become anything but a newbie. But I have to remind myself that there nowadays are a lot of players who never raided in TBC and with the arrival of Cataclysm a new bunch will arrive, who never saw Northrend instances. Compared to those I guess I’m something of a veteran.

@Dwism: oh, more details on Thorim… I think I get it now!

Jen said...

One more reason for the In the mountains meme is this video:
(Annoying as hell is you ask me, but oh well.)

Copra said...

Larisa, You've been playing the game for a shorter time than me and yet you are raiding and I'm not. Don't you dare to say that you are a noob after being in those raids and seen those things yourself!

The dickiness starts from the fact that the raids expect you to know everything right there, right then and if you don't have the required gear you are not even accepted. It starts from mystifying raiding to the extent that people start using the achievements as a measure of the players skill. It starts from generating mechanics which encourage the dividence of raiders and other players.

Oh, it's there. Only the strong survive, those who cheat, steal and con themselves into raiding or know someone who can get them in.

Shit I hate myself for being so nice, honest and time restricted.

C out

Redbeard said...

Larisa, you can click the option of "I know enough to assist others" when you queue up for LFD, and then you can ask when the group starts.

Usually the new folks are easy to spot, especially in the ICC instances: they're the ones running the quests. If I see one freeing slaves in PoS, for example, I ask them if they've done the instance before. Sometimes they have -they're running another alt- and sometimes it's all new to them. This is one of those times where something like GearScore actually is beneficial, because you can tell fairly easily if someone is a new 80 or not.

River said...

I'm going to be the Devil's advocate I know go figure.

a few reasons I don't help others usually in terms of raiding.

1. Competition - In PUGS, Why should I help the competition. He's out to get my gear. If he does a piss poor job, the PUG leader will more likely remember the good job I did, and may ask me to go again.

2 No one helped me - I did my research, I was working on Haste before haste was cool. I look at gear of better mages, read strats. etc. etc. Why should they have it easier then me.

3. People rarely ask for advice - If they do, I'll give it to them, if not let them be bad.

4. Know your job - If your hired to do a job, and you don't know what your get fired.

5. I take raiding serious, you should to. - Your lack of knowledge tells me you don't care enough.

I'm not here to babysit, If your to dumb to not stand in the fire (Unless you got Incanters Absorption..then your excused), your not worth my time. If you want to be a carebear, The RP server is that way >>

Copra said...

"5. I take raiding serious, you should to. - Your lack of knowledge tells me you don't care enough."

This kind of attitude is exactly what I meant in my former comment. I can only speak for myself and my brothers saying that we take our gaming seriously: that's the only way for a honest person to advance in the game. Currently it's neigh impossible to get into a raid with a new, even properely geared character without an 'acceptable' gs and achievement for anything the PUG is about to attend to. I wonder when they start asking for Insane or Explorer or Loremaster achievement for the job... Dungeonmaster would be too obvious, right?

What I'm saying is that the current raiding scene (at least on the server I'm in) is either done from within the guilds, which recruit only seasoned (gs, achievement, connected) raiders from other guilds rather than foster their own casuals to fill the spot, or in PUGs in which the people who have not fit into the most recent guild run form the raid which cannot fail (because they ask for outrageous gs, achievement, dummy dps and tactics recital). The newcomer -or the one who has never raided- is completely out of the scene, obviously.

There is no incentive for the seasoned players/raiders to mentor the newcomers or inexperienced people in the game. That is a big lack in the design if we consider WoW being a 'social' MMO.

Back to me and my brothers: we do read about our toons, we ask advice and discuss about our classes. Its not because of we aren't serious or haven't done our homework.

It's because the raiding is currently a very inside business of ICC roaming people.

Think about it: when have you last seen a completely newcomer in a relevant raid content (that being ICC)? As a newcomer, he's bound to to mistakes, so do you thing he'll be accepted to the next run? And as a newcomer, do you really expect him to even know what to ask in the overwhelming situation?

reality check, people.

C out

Jairo said...

"In the mountains" comes from Ulduar, listem to Thorin's engaging speech as you Start the arena gauntlet and you'll get it.

There are a few others that my guild use a lot that neither you nor Anna mentinoned and I tought it might be worth mentioning here:
"YOU ARE NOT PREPARED" (in this one i recall our first wipe with our main tank dying because everyone was watching the scene and noone healed him)

Of course most of our Leroy quotes comes either from myself or from "Emitsabah" while we run up to pull something before the tank because he's taking too long (those pesky Gnome mages)


Jairo said...

Oh, and i forgot, of course we use a lot of: "GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!"

Best Regards

Bronte said...

Its not always about being willing to help improve a follow player and following the DBAD rule. The system actually has to work both ways.

Having led an endgame guild for over 3 years, I have come across more than a lion's share of terrific and terribad players. The Terribad players further fell into two categories: 1) players who listened to feedback and tried to improve, 2) players who hated criticism, choosing instead to hide behind a plethora of excuses as to why their performance was never up to par. This second category, I fear is what drags WoW down. This inexplicable conviction that you are the best player there ever was and no one can tell you otherwise or offer hints for improving. My guild-leading career was filled with these people, and not only did they make an already thankless job less fun, they also compromised raid integrity.

The point is, fostering a new generation of players isn't just a one-sided affair, they too will have to be ready, willing and able. Here's to hoping!

Larísa said...

@Copra: I think you always compare yourself to the ones in your immediate surrounding. I play mostly with people who have played longer than me.

But I disagree that only jerks can get into raiding. Do you suggest that I've cheated and stolen myself into raiding?

: That's a nice way to use Gearspot. Not as a way to look down on people but rather to identify those who might need a bit of extra attention.

@River: Yeah, why should you help others? Why hold up a door to a stranger? Why greet someone you meet in a far distant place with a nod and a smile? Why let an invalid have your seat at a cramped bus? They never did the same for you, right? Maybe because we're civilized? At least we're trying to. Maybe because such a thing as love actually exists? Maybe because we'd rather live in a world where there are such things as carebears than in a world void of them?

@Jairo: oh yeah, I can absolutely understand why jaded leaders finally dispair. But if we give up on the new players, leaving them out, I'm afraid that we risk to eventually run out of players to play with.