"that would have struggled to strike a balance between useless and mandatory"

| Sunday, June 20, 2010
This snippet by Green Armadillo caught my eye. It's not a new thing to say. I've heard it before. But the way it was said, and perhaps the timing, made me think about it some more.

We always blame Blizzard. Why? Let's be honest, there will always, for a given situation, be a best way. DoTs will win when we need to move a lot and direct damage will win when we need burst. Snares will win when we can snare the enemy and need to while pure damage spells will win when we need pure damage. Flavor comes in two flavors: situational and aesthetic.

There is no balance between useless and mandatory. And it's our own damn faults. We've let theorycraft and min-maxing take over. We find a 5% DPS tradeoff to be shameful. How dare someone pick a build which works better while soloing. We're in a group, so we must give 100%. No, 110% Fuck reality, we want more than can actually exist! You'll grind ten hours in randoms for a 20 DPS increase and you'll like it.

Why? Because at some point we became scared shitless of... well everything. Wiping? Challenge? Each other? I don't know when it happened, maybe it has always been. But there was some time, some inflection point, some tipping over, when we ceased to trust each other as players. We didn't trust that the person on the other end was anything more than a drooling idiot. So we went nuts with the min-max and theorycraft. Maybe they can't move out of fire, but maybe we can at least make sure they are pulling max DPS in the seconds before they burn to death.

I'm being too critical. It makes sense that we'd want people in a group who are doing the most they can for that group. To give an inch may mean a mile, because once you let the mage keep his 10% lower DPS spec that he likes for world PvP and soloing instances, why not also bring in the rogue who goes afk during fights now and then? He's the same 10% DPS loss.

It seems ironic though, that a game which has gained so much success for being solo-friendly, has a community which doesn't give any concessions for soloing.

Useless and mandatory...
Change the color of your spell and we call it useless. Change the color for a 1% DPS change and we call it mandatory, or for noobs.

My sombrero is now mandatory.


Shintar said...

I wonder if it's related to the higher accessability of raiding? I mean, once upon a time the very idea that you must min-max quite so hard was pretty much restricted to the high end, but now everyone seems to think that they must play like that, even if it's really not needed for the content they are doing.

We Fly Spitfires said...

MMOs are competitive and people are obsessed with being the "best" and making sure everyone else around them is also the "best" they can possibly be. Very few people actually just play for the sheer hell of it or truly roleplay their character because it's more fun to have a strange spec rather than the vanilla, cookie-cutter max spec. It's an unfortunate side affect of the online nature of these games.

WoW is particuarly bad for it and things like Gearscore really make me sad. They just sum up everything that's awful about the community and the whole min/max culture.

Klepsacovic said...

@Shintar: You might be right. Now that 'anyone' can raid, players need a way to filter out getting just 'anyone'.

@Gordon: I don't mind min-maxing and theorycraft on their own, but the way they've spread to the rest of the game, even to those who don't enjoy them. I don't imagine people would like it if they felt huge pressure to RP every boss fight. No, instead we all got bored and ditched CoS until Blizzard let us skip the dialog.

Codi said...

I'm in favor of min-maxing in end game (all raiding and PvP), but I can understand the viewpoint that it is too much to expect everyone in a 5-man to be min-maxed. One of the problems is that min-maxing is so -easy- now, much easier than in the old days. There is a ton of information out there about how to maximize your play, so people who don't utilize it come across as lazy or willfully ignorant.

Also, as a RPer myself, spec/gemming have -nothing- to do with your character. LOL How you play in a game mechanic sense has no baring (or should have no baring!) on how your character is played. :)

Inno said...

Min/Maxing are all well in good in my opinion "if" you're wearing the best in slot gear. My understanding is that the sites that people drool all over for the perfect specs also take into account that you have access to the best gear. I haven't tried to really look up anything that mentions "proper" speccing options if you're not in maxed gear but I can easily find stat weight tools. I think that I prefer what "feels" best for me.

Klepsacovic said...

@Codi: Gemming I could see, but how can spec be totally unrelated to RP? My rogue isn't combat. She hates combat, thinks its stupid. Maybe she's losing DPS because of that, but rogues are meant to use daggers!

@Inno: The ideal spec often changes with gear; so getting a certain set bonus can shift the balance toward another spec. Spinks recently wrote about this, the way specs scale with gear and how that can cause sudden shifts in the 'best spec'.

DKS said...

I play with hardmodes and consider anything below them to be a joke and thus, anything below, I won't even flask sometimes, though it depends on the situation.

But someone might be wiping on normal modes 10M and that might be the whole of end-game for him. For him, the same applies.

To me, min-maxing implies respect for people around you to do the same. You don't just excuse a Tank who's not def-capped, there's no way around it. So why would I not smack down a DPSer who comes in PvP build? Or Solo build?

Raids are not down with people simply moving in and hitting buttons. For me, this is true for 25M HM, for someone else, it's for UP HC. It doesn't matter the setting. The gear restricts us to content. You need to get over it. There's no "acceptable standard", there's only the bet you can pull. I'd take a full-blue, gemmed, enchanted, properly specced member over a full 245-252 epic, no chants, no gems, PvP spec, 7/24.

Why min-max? I really have a hard time answering this question. Why not? MMOs about grinding your char to be better. If you just want to see content. one can always join Gevlon's Undergeared and rock the world. But raiders compete among each other and with other guilds and enjoy being "better". This is a fun, pissing contest. What's not to like?

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