Because it's easier to target an ultralisk than eleven million zerglings

| Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Green Armadillo over at Player vs. Developer has a post up that you should read. Short version: Klepsacovic is wrong because he blames cross-server when the real problem is the lack of focus (by the devs and therefore players) on anything beside loot. Certainly a legitimate point.

Cross-server groups are not the cause of forced integration. Nor are they the cause of people wanting to hurry through instances. But they are the cause of other problems: social problems, or more accurately, the loss of social factors which helped to moderate some of the loot-caused problems.

What did same-server groups ever do for us, anyway? Beside aqueducts.

Let's go through a scenario of a really awful, miserable PUG. Zone in and, oh look, that guy has terrible gear. These days that means he's going to slow you down. But what if instead that meant a potential guild recruit? Invite him, throw him some otherwise disenchanted scraps, and maybe you've gained a member. Not guaranteed, but there is that little mitigating factor, so maybe we're just that much less annoyed by his gear.

Someone has screwed up and now you're all dead. Frustrating, isn't it? But look, some people have stayed. Hm. Perhaps the person who doesn't ditch an instance on the first wipe might do the same in a raid. Worth seeing if they need a guild. Again, not a guaranteed gain, but a slight possible benefit from what would currently be a purely bad situation.

Did that other guy just ninja all the loot? What an ass. Thankfully, since he's on our server, we can at least flame him in trade chat. I've seen people get gkicked for that sort of behavior. Of course now there's zero ability to retaliate. That lack of ability to retaliate, that lack of consequences, encourages future bad behavior.

What is going on here? Are players forgetting about loot? No. Never. But what is happening is that there is some degree to which future loot is dependent on behavior now. Reputations can matter when we're not all perpetual strangers.

Social factors are not a cure-all. They will not perfectly fix related problems and will have no benefit at all for unrelated problems. But they can have a positive effect. A limited effect, perhaps, but it would be folly to simply ignore them because they are not the entire problem.

Of course the big problem remains the loot-obsession, but I don't see that getting fixed ever in WoW. It's the foundation of the game at this point. Maybe it's not even a problem except in the eyes of a vocal and whiny minority.

Let's pretend we get to fix one big thing. What are we going to do? Beside loot, there is the problem of what to do to give raiders something to do if they aren't raiding. Apparently not logging in isn't a solution.

But whatever the solution is, I'm going to be looking at the developers to fix it, not the players, since it's easier to target an ultralisk than eleven million zerglings.


Green Armadillo said...

I'm one of relatively few players who actually got a lot of use out of the old LFG tool in the patch 3.0 to 3.2 era. I'd sign on, flag myself as looking for Heroic UK, Violet Hold, and whatever the daily was, and I'd go do quests until either someone who was LF1M invited me to a group or Wintergrasp happened. I don't recall ever encountering the same players multiple times, but I suppose there was theoretically some social construct in place because we were all on the same server.

That said, the thing that stood out for me was the jump from 3.1 to 3.2, when the daily dungeon quest started handing out Conquest emblems from raid content two tiers above heroics. Before that time, the groups I would meet would be filled with alts and newbies in blue gear who still wanted emblems of honor. After that time, we started to get players with the Algalon kill title who could practically solo the instance. This was what started us down the path where 3K DPS went from unreasonably high to unreasonable low for Heroic dungeon mobs that remained the same.

I definitely agree that there is something you lose when your server ties diminish as much as they have. That said, I think the player who is pulling 2K DPS in an overgeared group of 5K DPS players would not make it onto those players "invite back" lists, even if they are technically a member of those players' server communities.

Klepsacovic said...

I have to agree, that somehow I didn't run into the same people much in LK. More so in BC, more so in vanilla. I don't know why.

"I think the player who is pulling 2K DPS in an overgeared group of 5K DPS players would not make it onto those players "invite back" lists, even if they are technically a member of those players' server communities."
That's actually the point. If you play poorly, people can filter you out. There's less desire to trash talk someone when you can more easily ignore and not invite, and never get forced into a group with them.

I wish there was one single, simple problem and solution. Alas, there are the loot problems and the social problems and a thousand other in the middle and none are easy to solve. Though possibly easy to create.

Thorann said...

I agree completely with what your saying. I remember back in BC every guild I ever got invited to was thanks to doing dungeons.

I also recall it being very easy to pick out the ninja's and trolls and such when forming groups.

Also like you say most people were willing to stick around even after a few wipes which hardly ever happens in today's pugs. But I suppose that could be attributed to the difficulty of forming a group.

P.S. I'm not sure how many people caught it, but I loved the Monty Python reference there.

P.P.S. Long time reader, first time commenter. Love your blog man, keep up the good work.

Sthenno said...

I think undue powers are attributed to the LFD in terms of ruining the community. I'm pretty sure the big problem was giving out top tier badges for doing heroics. Honestly, I started to feel the impact of that problem in BC. As soon as they started selling BT-level weapons for badges you had a new class of players trying to do heroics: people who really didn't want to be there but felt they had to because of the reward structure. And then those people bred an even newer class of heroic players: people who start thinking they are awesome because they get carried through some heroics by raiders and then talk down to other players who are similar to them in terms of skill and progression when the heroic isn't easy.

When some jerk who thinks he's a lot better than he is calls out the lowest dps in the group for making the group fail and then the group fails, people are just as likely to blame the lowest dps as the jerk, when more of the time the jerk is the problem.

Of people who were not in my guild, I remember precisely one person I ever met doing a dungeon. While I'm not the most social person out there, I don't feel like being restricted to your server made much of a difference.

Klepsacovic said...

@Sthenno: The disproportionate loot is a problem, I won't deny that. I wish there was some sort of consistent buffer from gear, so that if you farm to death tier X, you will be a little overgeared for X+1, a little under for X+2, so that with farming you can compensate a bit for a lack of skill (or whatever other problem), but tier X won't boost you up to X+3, as we saw in LK, and a bit in BC as you point out.

I tended to blame the jerk. Of course I also use to have the power to back that up, thanks to my favorite tank lie "give me lead so I can mark." Then I'd kick the jerks.

It just shows how experiences vary: I found more than a couple of my guilds from meeting them in groups. If that doesn't sound like many, I tended to stick to guilds for a while, so overall I'd guess at least half came from groups.

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