Pay attention to something other than your gear, such as yourself

| Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Once I learned anything at all about gear there was never a time that I was not making fun of what people wear. I was provided endless amusement by the rogues in spirit gear, the non-troll warriors in spirit gear (back in the day a troll warrior who stacked spirit literally never needed healing). Sometimes I'd offer very basic advice on what to generally look for. Most of the time I'd just laugh to myself. But I did not insult them about it, unless they had revealed themselves to be worthy of insult, because I don't believe in being a useless jerk.

When it all comes down to it, it's their character.

Of course once they try to join a group with me then it is in my best interests to be sure that they aren't poorly geared, or worse, poorly played. I'll overlook a gem or a clearly outdated reforging, since I sometimes try to not be a hypocrite and those things are minor oversights, not fundamental problems. And what are a few ilevels between complete strangers?

It was a long time before I looked at a character and cared not just how they had geared, but also how much they had geared. I knew about better and worse gear, of course, but I also knew that content was designed for a particular level of gear and that level tended to be lower than what people had, particularly early in progression. I knew that player ability and attentiveness mattered more to the group. I was that person who would yell at people for watching TV while raiding.

In part, this may have been because gear could only go so far. If someone couldn't beat content level X, then they could not gear much higher than tier X. There were always ways to get ahead a little bit, but you couldn't get very far ahead of what your next boss dropped. I knew that gear wasn't the fundamental problem: the player's behavior was. Not the player; I don't like to separate players into good and bad. Of course there is variance in reaction times and visual perception, but I think the game is generally tuned such that those are rarely an issue. It is behavior that matters; checking out a fight ahead of time, paying attention to the fight, being mindful of how everything fits together.

Focusing too much on gear, demanding a particular gear level, runs counter to this. When people fail they blame gear, rather than behavior. One of those can change before the next attempt, the other cannot. In the short term, worrying about gear is pointless. While neither of these commands are diplomatic, surely "Pay attention!" is more useful in the long term than "Gear up!" After all, gear eventually comes just from playing, but paying attention to one's surroundings is a conscious decision. Gear will sort itself out, but only players can fix themselves.


Unknown said...

Back in the day, my guildies and I had a phrase for this: nice enchant. Though usually it was specific to the way another player had poorly enchanted their gear, it could also be used with bad talenting, bad gearing, etc.

We often used it to shame one another into not being lazy. New weapon you've been dying to get? Oh, that better have Mongoose on it in the next hour, or you'll get spammed with 'Nice enchant' until it does.

It certainly contributed to an elitist culture, but, with few exceptions, it was largely elitist in the same way that belonging to a club might be. Our club was fair entry, you just needed to know what you were doing and a want to improve your performance.

I think Gear can be an indicator, at least of the Player's commitment to excel, but ultimately it comes down to performance. Gear also doesn't tell you a whole lot about the Player themselves.

As long as you understand that and you treat other people like human beings, a little elitism is cool.

Klepsacovic said...

I recall more than a handful of people who would put terrible enchants on legendaries, such as spirit on Shadowmourne. It's a wonderful form of trolling.

Unknown said...

"nice enchant"
"Dude I don't have the money"
"Then you don't deserve to equip it yet, plebeian!"

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