Yesterday I helped a noob, trying to teach him a little bit. In the comments Stabs talking more about teaching, ending with "And lastly we all learned to play because at some point some better player was kind enough to take time to improve us." I honestly can't agree with this as a blanket statement. I don't remember anyone teaching me.
I'm not going to pretend to be some self-made man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and did his own theorycraft out on a farm in Durotar, digging up numbers by hard work and a lazy Sunday meant a sermon at Elitist Jerks to see what they had to say. I'd be lying if I said that. I didn't do theorycraft. I didn't know it existed. I didn't know Elitist Jerks existed. Maybe it didn't. I also won't pretend to be old school old school. I never saw warlocks in leather or rogues with bucklers, but I was a grown up level 60 troll shaman (or close enough that my memory blurs it) when the AQ Farm Festival started. I've played since about this time in 2005.
All aboard the nostalgia train...
We were different back then. For starters, I was a complete noob. Worse. I rolled need on a SP trinket as enhancement. This was that one off the rare spawn in UBRS that you NEVER SEE because he NEVER SPAWNS. Fortunately for all involved, it went to someone useful. I still remember running around with WF and no concept of aggro control, thinking it was funny that I could burst so much that right after being rezed I'd attack in the next pull, get aggro, die, and have a res timer. These days I'd be kicked from the group for ninjaing and sucking. I don't recall anyone saying much about it. We just went along.
Oh it wasn't happy bunny land. There was still some flaming, but it wasn't like now. We didn't care so much about gear levels. We knew blues were RARE and purples were epic; which back then meant 1% drop rates off end bosses or drops for the one class that isn't there from a raid that your guild is too small to do. You'd wipe on the core hounds anyway because you're all in greens and the tanks don't know to turn them around and Horde doesn't have fear wards and tremor totem was fail back then and... Sorry.
Not happy bunny land: We didn't help each other much. We weren't hostile, but we weren't much help either. We learned on our own. Slowly. As in, what we'd expect someone to know after a couple weeks took me months, maybe a couple years to really get the concept of theorycraft. Still, when no one flames, it's easier to learn on one's own. There's no defensive reaction, so we remained open to the bits of knowledge that we found. It's not like know where it's all "l2p" and when someone tries to offer advice you can't tell if they're just the next asshole, so you block it all out.
It was a different sort of learning. Now we learn actively, searching for or being given information. Back then it was more like classical conditioning: green puddles make me feel pain, strength makes bad things die faster; simple stuff.
I also learned a decent bit from the forums. They were terrible back then. I won't let nostalgia say they were better. It was a different type of terrible, one I am more used to, but terrible nonetheless. This was how I learned to control feared mobs, learned to go against the almost universal "don't use fear." Still, it took some fail, some epic fail, some corpse runs, but I learned.
So how do you learn? How did you learn?