Accomplishment vs. Exclusion

| Friday, April 30, 2010
Remember when epics were epic?

I remember when the loot system was terrible.
I remember when raiding required too many consumables.
I remember farming and farming and farming for resist gear.
I remember when epics were epic in the sense that they were incredibly hard to get. Perhaps too hard? Maybe?

Here's the fundamental problem: we all want to be unique heroes. We want to save the world. We want to be awesome. But everything is relative. When I save the world, I feel awesome. When you save the world, I lose some of my unique awesomeness. Objectively what I did is the same, but comparatively I am worse off.

Those at the top like stratification. It's what puts them at the top. Those at the bottom tend to not like it so much; or sometimes they don't mind it, but they wish they could move up. Mobility though, that makes the top vulnerable, they might stay at the top, but it will be crowded.

Vanilla had a pretty lonely top. WotLK has a more crowded top. BC was somewhere in the middle. Those at the top get angry as they see others rise to their level. They often did the same thing, just a little bit slower, but still, they were once the inferior and now they are not anymore. That's a hard adjustment.

Maybe it's impossible to balance. We all want to be at the top and we all don't want to be at the bottom, but with no bottom there is no top. We can't all get what we want on a relative scale.

This has led to the great irony: As WoW became more casual, I've seen more and more elitism. People used to know where they stood. They were in a raiding guild and that meant something; their guild had killed C'thun or KT and that meant something; they had a PvP rank, especially a high one, and that meant something. No one needed to say anything, so often they did not. It wasn't some enlightened time with no conflict, there was plenty, but we didn't have such urgent need to put down the other person to prove ourselves.

These days there's not quite as much to distinguish us. Everyone has done Naxx, or at least I imagine anyone who has cared and tried. Ulduar, people have cleared mostly (I've never killed Yogg-Saron or the general guy). The distinctions between players aren't so clear. So we make up new ones. We have gearscore and achievement links and we obsess over tank health and healer mana and we desperately try to prove that we are better than the next person over.

No one is immune to this, some just choose different paths to assert their virtual superiority.


Inquisitor said...

Go back and finish Ulduar.

With current gear, and willing friends, it's still an interesting challenge - and those really are some of the most awesome fights out there.

Our prog bosses, right now, are Firefighter, BQL and Sindy - and Firefighter is by far the most fun...

Sven said...

We often casually throw around phrases like "everyone has cleared Naxx" (and I'm as guilty of this as anyone), but I wonder how true that really is. states that approximately 70% of their 140K listed guilds have cleared Naxx regular. That's approximately 1M out of the 12M WOW players.

So even the lowest level raiders are in the top 10% of players, already an elite group. How elite do people want to be?

Klepsacovic said...

I keep meaning to go back to Ulduar, but then I realize I'm not good at forming raids, especially not if it's going to take more than one run.

I did add a qualifier, caring. I have some friends who are perpetually low level. Their guilds will never clear Naxx, and it says more about them than about raiding. An activity isn't really exclusive or elite if the main reason most people don't do it is lack of interest.

But that does raise a problem with the data: does it account for leveling guilds? Bank guilds? I could easily see half the guilds in WoW not clearing a single raid only because they don't exist for that purpose. If a raiding guild wasn't clearing Naxx, that would say something.

Cassandri said...

Very perceptive. I'm in the middle of trying to write a post about the perceived "prestige" of being in a progressed 25 man raiding guild.

I'm pretty confident there really isn't any. Except for what we make up in our own minds.

Keeva said...

I don't put very much stock in the reports that say X% of people have done XYZ encounters.

As mentioned - we don't know what's included in that. Along with bank guilds, there are plenty of PvP guilds, roleplaying guilds, casual guilds, levelling guilds.

And in terms of just characters, how many people do you know with 1 main about about a billion level 80 alts? I know a lot of people like that. I have one alt who has stepped into raids, but the others haven't. I don't care to raid with them. Are they being counted amongst the raiders who apparently "never got a chance to see XYZ raid boss" ?

I always take these things with a whole lot of salt.

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