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.

23 Responses to “I am NOT a slacker!”
  1. ARA says:

    Hehehe nice! I have to say I’m the opposite, but thats a great way of wording it. Btw, us performance players we dont fight each other for drops: we have a very civil dkp system :P And yes we compete with each other in effectiveness, but my god, you should see the result of such competition. When I switched guilds to a more hardcore one, the first thing I noticed was how high the dps was …. and yet the players had idendical gear & identical specs. This has enabled us to complete some astonishing feats I never thought possible: Malygos in 5min30secs, killing shadon in Sarth3d *before* vesperon lands. I love not just beating all the content, but smacking it hard!!!!

  2. Jack says:

    “. . . 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.”

    You say that as if it’s a bad thing. :)

    Which, of course, it is. Don’t smoke pot, kids.

    You also make slacking . . . the goal oriented slacking you do . . . sound like a lot of work.

  3. Moondancer says:

    I definitely like your terminology better, slacker isn’t looked at too favorably here in the USA but I get Matt’s point.

    Once I achieve, a certain goal for my toon I move onto a new goal. I don’t like letting people down, so I have done a lot of research and gotten the skills, gear, practice needed to ensure that doesn’t happen.

    With my Holy Priest I reached my goal gearwise so it’s time to move on to another goal. Which in my case is leveling up additional toons. Like yourself; eventually, I would like to be able to bring any role if needed to a group. Why do you think I have so many alts in your guild. ;-)

  4. I mostly agreed with Matt’s post, but thought that the terms he used were loaded and wierd. I was about to post some suggestions of my own when I saw your reply, and your suggestions are brilliant so it saved me the trouble.

    I’m not sure what I would classify myself as. Back when I played I was in a special situation where I more or less had no competition when it came to loot (the only active raiding holy paladin in guild). Probably goal oriented if I had to choose, but I can relate to both extremes.

  5. WoW Druid says:

    Well said. I’d throw in for the slacker path…do you job as best you can and have a good time doing it! When a better option/piece of gear comes along all the better. Btw, first “Fast Times…” reference I’ve heard in a while…nice!

  6. Bellwether says:

    You never struck me as “goal oriented,” Bear. Especially after you forced yourself into doing something like PvP in order to improve effectiveness in TBC for those shoulders, that seems far more performance oriented. After all, you were already tanking well and clearing the content you wished to. You had achieved the level of effectiveness you desired, especially as you did not seem keen on progressing past the areas you were already in.

    This of course just makes it clear to me that dividing people into only two groups is too simplified and clear-cut for people who are incredibly varied based upon situation.

  7. Minos says:

    I’m a “Goalie”
    Ask anyone who plays soccer or hockey, they’ll tell you goalies are all a bit crazy. It takes a certain mindset. It occurred to me recently that the same can be said of those of us who enjoy tanking. In fact, I suspect it’s much the same mindset.

  8. Jacemora says:

    I think I am both.

    I do what I can to get best in slot for both Cat and Bear and I spec Hybrid. I go all out on every fight even since Naxx has become easy mode. I still Bear OT Gluth for example and switch to Cat when the MT has him, going behind him to DPS and switching to Bear for a taunt when he gets a 3 stack. I consider this being pretty performance based and trying to gather best Bear and Cat gear is quite a chore. I just posted today on my blog about all the different sets I wear to min/max depending on the fight and role I can play.

    However, both Malygos and Sarth 2D have best in slot upgrades for me ( Bear Pants, Cat Chest) but I am not freaking out about getting them at all. A matter a fact I don’t think twice about them and I feel my gear is good enough starting in Uldar soon. Of course having best in slot gear for Kitty and Bear everywhere else doesn’t hurt but I never stressed over it or worried about getting it.

  9. bigbearbutt says:

    Actually Bell, I was still goal oriented back then… the goal was just higher. I was aiming at being the most effective main tank for SSC/Gruuls/Mags Lair raiding that I could be.

    The PvP shoulders specifically filled a place that was one of the weakest Bears had to deal with prior to Tier drops in Gruuls. Gruuls? High King shoulder drop. Think I’m remembering that right… wow how fast I flushed memory of that stuff.

    That was when I was in a raiding guild that pretended they were casual, of course. So I kept trying to please friends… that just wanted to raid and to hell with you as a person.

    With an actual guild of friends, when Lich King came I did my analysis, looked at the numbers… and was amazed that I felt I could hit my goal without a single Naxx drop. Just crafted, Emblems and Heroics. I set my goals, I made my lists of gear, and went and hit my goals. From that point on, I have never ever felt undergeared for any content that I’ve run with Sidhe Devils. So I’m happy.

    Like I said, I’m pretty sure that my theorycrafting posts and gear analysis and things might have led folks to think all I ever wanted was more power, MOAR POWER… but they were actually ways for me to determine what those goals should be. Gotta have a firm understanding of how the system works, right?

  10. Bellwether says:

    I could have sworn you were totally in Sidhe Devils at the time and were out of the raiding scene, only concerned with ten mans. :P

    If not, my bad. But I still say dichotomies are tricky things and pretty inefficient and categorizing other people…

  11. dorgol says:

    I’m definitely goal oriented. Cleared all of the end-game? Check. Completed all the heroics? Check. Next goal: Glory of the Hero. Sadly, the people I tend to run with are MUCH more serious about the game and are working towards finishing Heroic Glory of the Raider. Convincing these people to run 5-mans is a little difficult. :)

  12. Leah says:

    You know, I first started to type a reply, stating that there should be a third category for people who switch playing styles depending on which characters they play (I’m a lot more driven to min max on my hunter main, then I am on my other characters). And then I realized – my goals for my hunter are just higher. but they are still definitive specific goals :P. Otherwise, I’d still be farming herbs to get by darkmoon card and would be sporting very nice and shiny boots of 25 man Malygos (which I refused in favor of someone’s alt, because it would have been too much headache to regem and renechant to gain my hit back)

    you are a very wise bear.

  13. Echo says:

    So what do we call people who are motivated to achieve based on the need of the people who they run content with? Need another term. :)

    I find that I am in many ways an externally defined goal oriented player. Entry level Heroic gear makes most solo content a laugh…so my progressive gearing requirements are mostly a function of where my Guild is in progression. If I can do my part in that role, without making someone else pick up my slack, I have neither the need nor the drive to be the first, biggest or best.

  14. bigbearbutt says:

    And now Leah and Echo lead us to the path of asking ourselves… who is the motivation for the goals we set?

    Are you setting your own goals… or are you looking at what your friends want to do, and setting your own goals to match theirs?

    What if someone IS setting their goals to try and make their friends in the guild happy and help get them to that content… but they really don’t like feeling that they HAVE to keep grinding for Emblems or Rep or Heroic drops? Does that person start resenting the game because it feels like a job?

    Goals are great… as long as they are self imposed. Work ain’t work if you’d gladly do it for free. :)

    Ah, I love having something to mull over, I’m just merrily buzzing away.

  15. Soldieroffortune says:

    Interestingly enough, I have become more gear dependant as I’ve become more goal oriented. I have an 80 bear tank, 80 rogue, and an 80 holy paladin. All are geared well enough to take on any encounter in the game (though I may need some work on one or two before taking on Uldar). I leveled and geared one of each because I want to be able to fill whatever role is needed and to lend a hand where I can. Similar to BBB, I like the social aspect of the game, so I’ve leveled and geared myself to focus on being able to put myself in situations where I can play socially (not sit around Dal all day trying to find that group that still needs an “X”). But the thing is, getting the most out of each of these characters takes SKILL. As focus on my healer, I play my rogue less, I focus on different parts of my UI, I rely on different skills, and, what do you know? I hop back on my rogue, and my dps has dropped by a couple hundred. Not a big deal, I still put out enough to get us through the enounter, my “share” and a bit more, but I don’t have the same cutting edge ability as I used to. Same with the tank. Yeah, a lot of WOLK is easy, but some of the encounters are just plain HARD on a tank. they take skill and practice with your cooldowns, etc. As I play dps and healer, some of my tanking edge is lost. Back to my point starting this, though, with better gear, I can get away with being a little bit sloppy. So, yeah, I’m goal oriented, but in order to meet my goals of being all things to all people, as the situation demands, I do still want that next piece of gear.
    Hope you are better at balancing the demands of “alt-itis” than I am John. Semper fi (I’m old-school Army, but I helped drag a bunch of Marines through Airborne school back in the day, and they made me an honorary enough Jar-head that they granted me the privilege of being faithful and making that aaaoooraaah noise that passes for a whooa! amonst the lesser beings, lol)

  16. Pix says:

    I too am a Goalie. I relate to this statement so well that I had to quote it: “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 want to be good at my job. I want to be efficient, effective, and I want to be a beneficial part of a team. I don’t care if the neck that just dropped has 6 more spirit than my current one… I’ll be just fine without it and I’d rather see it go to someone who can make better use of it. Upgrades are always nice, but it’s nice to progress as a group, not just an individual. =)

  17. plainsrunner says:

    I definitely agree that you cannot label it in just two categories

    I, personally, would love to be in a slightly more hardcore guild than what I have been set to in all my time on WoW. However, I work night shifts which generally leaves me raiding odd times and in place with a more “casual” guild and by casual, I really mean casual. As in havent even cleared naxx casual. Because of it, you end up defining yourself in different ways…I am the part perfectionist guy because there has to be a level of “structure” placed on the raiders or else there will be no progression, but at the same time have to be understanding enough to back off and be an goal oriented and happy area because, well you are not going to grab that next piece quickly and you have to understand the reasons behind it. You still need to progress and thus the goal oriented side, but if you stay at a perfectionist mind frame….well you will burn out in that environment too quickly.

    But what about the alt perfectionist…the person who sees a certain point in gear who says that a solid level and is happy with it but continues to hone the craft that is his class….not a slacker by any means…this is where casual raiders have to find their happy medium, I think.

  18. bigbearbutt says:

    Well, I did say they were labels.

    Labels when actually USED are for people too lazy to think for themselves and learn about the people you meet one on one. Hardhat, anti-authoritarians, computer geeks, jocks, liberals, conservatives… labels are for lazy people that want to have some predetermined way to think of you… without thought.

    Sorry, I made the mistake of assuming that everyone was with me on what a label is, and that we were just looking at how these two descriptions of behavior can encourage us to look at how we enjoy our game a bit differently from what we’ve usually seen.

    Everyone certainly does not fit into either one or the other of these two categories.

  19. guin says:

    From the point of view of another Canadian, we definitely do not have the cultural baggage associated with the word slacker. In my mind, it’s synomynous to satisficing. As in, making sure goals are met, but just barely meeting the requirements. With that cultural understanding, his use of the word slacker matches exactly his intent.

  20. Awlbiste says:

    I would say I’m some of both. I like the fun of gearing up, within the content that I’m able to do, and try to figure out and achieve the best gear I can get within the content I am doing. Like right now I just returned to the game a bit ago and hit 80 yesterday. I’ve already got some good crafted epics and am looking at how I can be the best I’m able within the guidelines of crafted gear, boe things (within my price range) and 80 5 mans/heroics. It’s fun so long as I don’t feel like I’m overtaxing myself.

  21. Durathor says:

    Maybe he should have used the term ‘satisficer’ rather than slacker. That applies for someone who is happy once they have an item that is good enough, rather than someone he needs to maximise (max-min?) to get the absolute best

  22. Othiane says:

    Hee hee… Bear Tankiest! Guess I’m not a Goalie… I REALLY want to be the Bear Tankiest.

  23. Merkat says:

    I foist off gear to guildies when it’s a bigger upgrade for them. I suppose I’m a slacker! WOO HOO

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