Can NPCs make us feel better?

| Monday, April 12, 2010
For my most recent random BG I got Strand of the Ancients. It's not my favorite, but I enjoyed it more than expected. Except for one thing: The DK who kept whining about heals. Then I want to play Team Fortress 2 and kept hearing people thank the medics no matter how often they died.

Does TF2 have a better community? Are DKs just antisocial fucktards? Maybe.

Or maybe it's that no one ever said anything at all to the medics. I didn't see a single typed word or anything on the voice channel (tough maybe I just wasn't in it). Nor was I hallucinating.

Instead it was the automatic response of the characters. When they get healed up, they thank the medic: "hey thanks, doc", "you're a great doctor!"

Is this an incentive for healers to heal? Certainly it helps that medics are terrible at offensive action, but no one has to pick a medic. Could the simple responses of the characters actually be a reward for those who play medics? They know it's automatic (at least I think they mostly do; I know I didn't for a while), so it's not as if they are thinking "this person was appreciative enough to say something." But people can respond to that which appears human.

Should BGs have a random "X loves your healing!" emote? Would that encourage more healing, and help to reduce the impact of that DK who wouldn't shut the fuck up?

I am leaving out a significant factor: medics heal by continuously firing their healing gun onto a target and get kill assist credit on the players they heal, meaning that they can easily rack up huge assist counts while staying just behind the front lines.

9 comments:

pugnaciouspriest.com said...

Positive reinforcement will most always work. Stroke my ego, I feel good, I want you to stroke it more.
so I guess as Gevlon might call it, A Ape subroutine is that we want to please others - we want people to appeal to our vanity / ego.
I would certainly a little better about playing a spec If I felt appreciated, however - eg I'm only doing my 'job' and your just spewing platitudes then your pandering/brown nosing, and makes me doubt your sincerity - and thus any praise is meaningless - and you won't get more heals. There's been some discussion in the media about rewarding or praising mediocrity - and nah praising someone for doing their 'job' or only what is required will have a negative affect - they will only do what is required to be 'rewarded' and not try and do beyond their job.

Dwism said...

Don't be like that, please.

"DK who wouldn't shut the fuck up?"
"The DK who kept whining about heals"
The Dk the Dk the Dk.
It's the player who is a moron. DK's are played by people too! We are more than just the revitalized brute force of former Arthas employees. We are good people who where done bad things too. Some took this better than others. Some chose to play the new class with the cool name. Others because they thought it was easier than mages n Locks.

Most of us are nice people, but none, NONE, of us are our class. That was a dickhead asking for better healing, not a DK. Stop the hate.
Don't hate the class, hate the player.
(also; what do you mean by derailing threads??)

Dwism said...

But yes. I think forced /w with "i love the way your heals make me feel" could work very well tbh.

Gevlon said...

It's possibly the other way around. Since FPS is "anti-social" (how many times they blamed FPS for RL murders), an FPS player can be honestly surprised that someone heals him instead of pwning.

On the other hand the 1 tank 1 healer 3 DPS PvE setting made people got used to someone holding aggro for them and other healing them.

"Getting used to" = "feeling entitled to" for socials.

Klepsacovic said...

Have I mentioned that the healing is really easy? You just pick a target and fire your healing gun. There's no mana and if someone got burst down, that's just how things go. It's not boring though, since you still have to worry about things like all the bullets and explosions; people really want to kill you.

@PugnaciousPriest: Praising mediocrity is certainly bad. What about "meets expectations"? Probably not. There is a balance to be struck between making praise accessible (if the reward is impossible, why even bother?) but not trivial. Actually I think TF2 does this pretty well with the medic: there's the "doing your job" praise of just healing and then the increased praise/reward from helping someone kick some serious ass.

@Dwism: Excuse me, do I go on your blog and point out that you're senselessly stereotyping?

@Gevlon: It it worth remembering that the incentive system for healing is much better than in WoW PvP. You get huge kill assist counts, which do actually show up on the charts, and the kill report actually lists the killer and the healer.

People tend to think within the system they "grow up" in. It's completely reasonable for a PvEr to expect heals. Less so for a fire-standing DPS. But in general, WoW teaches that death is preventable and either you or the healer was supposed to prevent it. It's not stupid that this lesson is carried over into PvP and we expect that the default is not dying rather than dying.

I'm pretty sure the DK wasn't a social anyway. Socials are, you know, social. He was just a classless dickbag: think goblin sociopathy without goblin capability.

Ngita said...

I was in a wsg, Horde cap their first flag. The standard cry goes, we are losing because we have no healers. I point to the score board where I am clearly no 1 healer with 160k healing done. He comes back with, my recount shows you only healed yourself...

Funnily it might even be close to true. I went into the flag room with a 50k hp DK, He picked up the flag, I beaconed and shielded him and then proceeded to fight the horde in the flag room for the next minute. He got 5 or so kills, I kept him alive until of course the full weight of the horde descended on us and it turned into 10 vs 2.

Only 2 people and heals on me where also on him? Most of my heals would have been on me.

Dwism said...

@klep; NO you don't, and thats the problem!
If there is one thing the green guy taught me it is this: post ridiculous arguments with extreme PoV's and you will get big time bloggers and commenters to visit your blog, and post there. It is an amazing and powerfull tool, because we all know that if your reader count is high, maybe dad will love you again.

Klepsacovic said...

@Ngita: Aha, you have met the meter whores! The ones who cannot see that a 5k heal on a flag carrier ten feet from the cap is worth far more than any amount of healing in midfield.

@Dwism: I've tried ridiculous views. They didn't seem to be ridiculous enough.

Dàchéng said...

I must say, it's usually a DK that's whining in a battleground; never a mage, never a healer, never a paladin or warrior, rarely a hunter. What is it about DKs that makes them so whiny?

Dwism (the DK) goes on to whine that

"DKs are played by people too".

I don't think that can be true! They are played by monsters who were happy to follow Instructor Razuvious' instructions, who were fine with killing prisoners in Acherus, and who zealously killed innocents in New Avalon. No wonder the Scarlet Crusade hate them so.

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