Matt had a great thought provoking post over at World of Matticus this morning, the kind of post that gives you lots of fun internal dialogue. I’d link to it, but Matt is bigtime… my new work blocks his website. FIXED!
Essentially… he asserts that some of his raiders are perfectionists, some are slackers, and his guild benefits from having both.
I made a joke about it for my post title… he used ‘slacker’ as his label for a person that, once he achieves a certain level of effectiveness with his gear, is happy. They will of course still enjoy getting new upgrades… but they can play and enjoy themselves just fine without that next incremental loot drop that increases Agility by +2 overall.
He was pretty clearly NOT trying to be offensive by using the term slacker. I certainly wasn’t offended. Better make sure I get that across, don’t want to unintentionally start a war. :)
I don’t know how he decided to land on that label, but perhaps in Canada they don’t have the same cultural baggage. Here in the States, some well established negative connotations of slackers are portraying them as lazy, shiftless buggers that surf all day, blow off school, and wear neither shoes nor shirt while smoking weed in a VW van in the school parking lot between classes.
Not that I ever saw “Fast Times in Ridgemont High”, you understand…
So let’s just move past the Slacker label thing. You can call it whatever you want, his description of the player is what I resonated with.
He used Perfectionist and Slacker as labels. Let’s keep his meaning, and just use different, non-value laden terms.
How about, just for the purposes of losing those negative connotations, we call them Performance Oriented and Goal Oriented, instead.
The Perfectionist is our Performance Oriented player. His playstyle is to always be seeking to squeeze that last little bit of improved performance out of his character. He isn’t quite satisfied, ever. There is always an area that he feels could be improved to boost performance.
The Slacker is our Goal Oriented player. He determines what level of performance he needs to attain to achieve his goal, and once at that point, he relaxes a bit and further upgrades are welcome, but are not the key focus of play.
I am totally a Goal Oriented player.
Matt talked a bit about the kind of attitude that gives rise to being Goal Oriented. I’m not going to try and rephrase his excellent writing.
Instead, I’d like to talk about actually being a Goal Oriented player. It’s the point of view I have. In many ways, his phrasing things in this way has helped me to define why I’ve chosen the topics I write about, and how I approach the game.
See, many people I talk to clearly believe that a true player, or perhaps a better way to phrase it is a dedicated player, can never be satisfied with their gear. It often seems that some folks believe you must always be fighting for the next drop.
And for a Performance player, that’s going to be true.
But I am a Goal Oriented player. Hehe… I’m a “Goalie”.
My intent, when playing in a group, is to be able to effectively perform my role in the group.
If I’m a healer, I need to be able to keep everyone alive, throw down extra buffs and cleanses, and also provide a healing cushion to deal with emergencies and prevent low health based panic.
I’f I’m DPS, I need to be able to provide strong enough damage output to do my fair share (and hopefully a bit more) when taking part in any fight that has a hard enrage timer. Such fights are based around the idea that you must be able, as a team, to do a certain amount of damage in a certain set amount of time. I have to be able to do my part in that, plus a bit. In addition I need to be able to provide what special services my class can offer the group, whether that be buffs or CC or mana or health regen or purges.
And for tanking, I need to be able to avoid enough, mitigate enough, and absorb enough damage of all different types that the healer is not so overly taxed in keeping me alive that she either runs out of mana before the end of a fight, or has no extra time to spare to heal others in the group or provide other services than healing. Almost all of a tanks’ goal is focused on reducing the burden of the healer. The secondary consideration is to be able to provide enough threat on all enemies quickly enough to stay ahead of the max threat output of any DPS, because that lets’ DPS go as all out as they are capable, within the limits of Energy, Rage or Mana.
So for a Goal Oriented player, we need to know our class and the content challenges well enough to plan our gear and stat levels needed to reach that goal.
When we are still struggling to reach our gear goal, we can look for the challenges we know we can handle… or work with friends who are willing to take a chance on harder challenges for the sake of fun, even if you’re a bit under geared by your own standards. This is where you don’t want to try and pug raids or content you know that, by your own standards, you are undergeared for, because it’s unreasonable to ask strangers to have to overperform to make up for your shortcomings. Your friends, on the other hand… well, abusing them is what they’re for, right?
With a gear goal reached though, we can freely volunteer to join a group, even a pug, doing anything we planned for, without worry that we won’t be able to pull our weight or do our fair share in terms of gear.
Whether you’re SKILLED enough to do it is a different subject entirely.
Every time you get an upgrade that pushes you further past your goal (without hurting something else), you can enjoy knowing you are overgeared for what you’re doing, and may even be getting close to ready for encounters you never dreamed of attempting.
Even better… once you’ve hit your gear goal, and you are satisfied that you can perform your role in a group, you are free to begin working on another character, whether it be an alt for fun or a different class that you’d like to raid with.
That’s what I do. I don’t worry about ever becoming the best geared Bear Tank evah. It is meaningless to me. It is, truly, without meaning to me. I am not competing with other Bear Tanks to see who is, like, the Bear Tankiest.
What I worry about is being capable of doing my part in a run well enough while playing with friends that I don’t let anyone down. And if I’m well enough geared to help support a healer or DPS through difficult content who isn’t yet near their own gear goals… BONUS!
I think that, in some ways, how competitive you are in the game has an impacton whether you are Performance or Goal Oriented.
Going back briefly to an earlier post, competitive play or teamwork… I personally want to have fun playing in a group, a grop of successful happy folks… so if loot drops, and my own goals have already been reached, then even if it’s an upgrade… I don’t actually NEED it. Someone else in the run may get more out of it.
If I were more competitive about how I played, more about wanting to be better than other actual people in the game rather than the content, then I’d probably desire those upgrades quite a lot more.
I love knowing that my tank is a solid tank… and I love knowing that, even though she’s got a mix of blues and epics, my Hunter consistently provides comparable DPS in 5, 10 or 25 man content. Not the best DPS, but a decent and reliable amount providing a solid contribution to the success of the group.
And I love feeling that I can play my Shaman, leveling and improving gear, without worrying that I’m abandoning an unfinished toon. I’ve got two that, at a moments notice, I can say “Oh, you need a tank? Sure, hold on.” “Oh, you need one more DPS? Sure, hold on.”
Someday, I’ll be able to say the same about a Healer. :)
I love reading a post that encourages me to think. Thanks Matt, I appreciate it, buddy.