This is something I’ve thought about a lot over the years. It’s a topic that I’ve never seen anyone really address, and my instincts say most folks choose to avoid it with a ten foot pole.
I’ve mentioned ‘ten percenters’ before, but I’ve never really come right out and talked about it.
There are folks in this world that aren’t as fast on the uptake as other people, or who make choices and decisions that seem odd.
Call them (or me) stupid, or whatever, or say we’re all challenged in different ways, I don’t care what labels you put on it.
Some folks do not learn, process information, react to changing circumstances, improvise, adapt or overcome sudden obstacles at the same rate of speed as other people.
Physical? Mental? Lack of caring, lack of focus, cat ran across the keyboard every pull, degenerative nerve disorder, stupid as a suit made out of tacks in an inflatable inner tube factory?
Not my concern.
I’m concerned with results.
I am on one side of a keyboard, staring at a monitor screen. I do not have any idea what is going on behind the screen of anyone else’s monitor.
For all I know, your character is being controlled by two cats, one moving the mouse and the other controlling the keyboard, working together to farm goods to sell on ebay to afford iPad butt warmers and chicken livers.
What I see is what the other characters do in game, and what people type in chat. And, occasionally, what people say in vent.
Sometimes in random groups or in LFR raids, I see people do stuff, and I think, “What a stupid son of a bitch.”
I have no way of knowing what is really going on with that person. I don’t.
Half the raid is dead, and someone runs forward and pushes the big red button to start the next boss fight, initiating a wipe.
Intentional troll? Ignorant player? Stupid son of a bitch?
In the Marines, I had a Sergeant who used to say, often, that being stupid wasn’t something to be ashamed of. If you were born stupid, there isn’t a damn thing you can about that. Algernon had a special treatment, but we don’t. And if we did, much like for Algernon, I doubt me it would last.
But if you’re ignorant… well, he had some seriously direct things to say about ignorant people. Ignorance can be corrected by education, by effort, by study and practice. If you’re ignorant, there are definite things to can do to correct the situation. The sin is in refusing to do something about it.
So, do you blame someone else for being slower than others, if they’re trying like hell but just aren’t getting it?
Well, do you really know they are trying? As I said, how do you really know what is going on behind the other keyboard?
If you don’t know… if someone keeps doing things that screw up the group, make mistakes, react in the wrong way, move too soon or too late, make the wrong decisions, you have to start wondering.
Is it a troll? Is it someone who doesn’t know what to do, and could have gone and watched videos and read strats, but didn’t? or is it really someone trying like hell but who can’t quite get it?
If you just don’t know, hopw do you handle it?
This really is something that is important to me, because I feel stupid. A LOT.
I have days where I just feel like an idiot. Things don’t click. I feel like I’ve got all the pieces right there in front of me, but I’m not putting them together right.
Someone will say something, others will laugh, and I’m wondering what I missed, what connection didn’t happen in my brain. Was it a pop culture reference I didn’t get because I don’t watch that show? Was it a play on words that I wasn’t smart enough to tie together?
Other days, I’ll feel pretty sharp. Those days are a mixed blessing, because I love them so much at the time but I know I won’t feel that way for long.
Like I said, I think about this stuff a lot.
I feel like an idiot a lot, and I’m not immune to peer pressure. When I spend time playing with other people, I don’t want to be the one making mistakes.
I don’t want to be the one person in a ten person group making mistakes or doing the wrong thing. Whether anyone says anything or not, I’ll be the one thinking, “Everyone else moved out of the Cobalt Mine before it went live, why the FUCK can’t I move out of the way fast enough? Everyone else is able to do this, so what is wrong with me?”
Or with the Stone Guard, and Jaspar Chains. I don’t want to be the one where, oh look, Jaspar Chains on me, and I didn’t even notice that I’m killing a melee player because I’m so focused in on pew pew pew that I’m oblivious to everything else.
“Oh shit, run in! Whoops, sorry, too late, I wish you hadn’t died like that just because I was too slow to react.”
Here’s the thing. Mistakes happen, yes I know, especially when what you’re doing is coming at you live and fresh like on the first few hours of a new boss.
But what do you do when the whole group tackles a challenge together, and there is confusion the first few times… but some of the group starts to get it, and others just don’t?
What do you do when you’ve got someone in your group that is not coming along as fast as everyone else. Someone who just does not get it, hasn’t had the encounter ‘click’, hasn’t gotten that flash of insight that suddenly brings everything into focus.
I just don’t see this question answered out there in the community, I don’t see it addressed.
If you’re in a raid group, what do you do when someone doesn’t get it, and the ones who do and think they should be able to kill it and move on get frustrated?
Worse yet… what do you do when you’ve got a raid member that isn’t consistently bad at just one thing, but seems to screw up all the time in all sorts of different ways?
And the capper – what if the person is in your guild, and is a good friend (or family member) of yours?
I have had days where I knew exactly what I was supposed to do, and the simple fact is, I could not get it done.
I mentioned Jaspar Chains earlier. Let me go into Stone Guard in more detail.
I had a raid pull a few weeks ago where it seemed like I did something wrong every single time I took a step. not per wipe, per step.
I knew what I was supposed to do, but I could not actually DO it right.
I have chosen Talents so that my Deterrence is on the shortest cooldown possible, and I take the least amount of damage possible when it’s up.
I did it specifically to be of more use on the Stone Guard for the Cobalt Mines. When you pop Deterrance this way, you can run over and trip Cobalt Mines when it’s not the Cobalt petrify phase, and you take seriously reduced damage AND you don’t get frozen in place.
The idea here is obviously to pull minesweeper duty on the Cobalt Mines whenever you need to, not just during Cobalt petrify, freeing up the work space if you have to deal with the Amethyst Pools as well.
Now, that’s nice. I did that on my own, practicing in LFR, worked nice. But Deterrence is only up for 4 seconds. I figured it would work best if our Healing priest Disco were to spec into the Talent that increases run speed when bubbled.
So the idea was, I would announce that I was popping Deterrence in two secs, get a bubble from Disco, and run faster, letting me cover more ground and pop more Cobalt Mines in a tight span of time.
Disco was gracious enough to change Talents just so I could do that.
So I ask you, how many times do you think I remembered to give her a two second warning in vent before popping Deterrence?
If you were to say “only once in a four hour span of wipes”, that would be pretty damn accurate.
I just couldn’t seem to move in on Jaspar Chains, pew pew the correct dog (the one in a group of two, NOT the solo one), avoid the purple puddles, pop Cobalt Mines, break things when the correct petrify was up, AND remember to give Disco a two second warning.
If I remembered to give the warning, I popped Deterrence and cleared Cobalt Mines that weren’t actually in the way. Or I stood in Amethyst for 5 seconds before going, “huh, dying, wtf” rather than getting the heck out of the way.
I tried my best, but I just kept making all sorts of stupid mistakes. The kinds of mistakes that are scattered around, and make it hard to point to one thing and say, ‘I need to do that better.”
Instead, it was the kind of pull where I had to point at myself and say, “You need to take a deep breath, and chill. Because that crap ain’t funny. Pull it together.”
You know what I mean? Just an entire pull where I was a day late and a dollar short.
Now, I’ve gotten a lot better since then. I’ve seen the fight often enough now that I can move properly for some things without having to focus extra hard on it. That frees up some of my attention to more judgment-oriented tasks.
But what if I didn’t get better? What if I came back, week after week, and I just kept being a spaz with no improvement?
I mean a spaz like “We are not progressing past this point because out of ten of us, this one person keeps doing stupid shit every damn week, and I’m sick of wiping for two hours.”
I see people talk about practicing, and working with players by going over recount, or World of Logs, or reforging, or rotation help, etc.
What do you do when you can ‘coach’ until you’re blue in the face, but they ain’t getting it?
More to the point… what do you do if the person is a friend, like in a friends and family guild raid team, and you can’t just say, “Sorry Raider X, you’re not getting it, so we’re benching you for someone that can.”
Does someone really have a good answer for this?
It’s one thing for me to look at a complete stranger in LFR doing something, and think (NOT SAY), “What a stupid son of a bitch.”
That is a private judgmental thought that hurts nobody but me and vents a little steam, because the person has no idea what I’m thinking, and they will never see me again. And again… it’s an unfair judgment because how the hell do I know what was happening on the other side of their monitor?
But it’s something else entirely when the person knows you, you know the person, you want to do this thing together as part of a team and to build shared experiences and have fun together… and now friendship, ego and pride are all tied into something like raiding progression pressure while one of you is doing stupid shit.
What do you do? Do you put progression before friendship, and tell them they aren’t welcome just so you can get a win?
Or do you put friendship first and stick it out together, even if that means wiping for three weeks straight without a single boss kill, holding your group together against the frustration because yo’re gonna get it together, or you’re not gonna get it at all?
I wonder about this a lot. Like I said, I have days I wonder why the hell I pretend I can raid.
I have days where I strive for brilliance and have to settle for competence… and wonder if I’m fooling myself.
I wish I could say that everyone would of course put friendship and family first, that what is truly important is the bond we have with the person behind the keyboard, that is the only thing that is real in a digital world.
But I see LFR, and I see the intentional trolls, and wonder what guild they are in? Who chooses to have them as members?
I see people who don’t give a shit, and afk follow through LFR, and bump into walls because they can’t even be bothered to pay enough attention to walk straight. People who click the ready checks, and then stand there immobile through the entire fight, not even auto-attacking, as if to show they are too good to lower themselves to play in LFR with the likes of me.
Where are they guilded? Do they raid? Do they show that level of don’t give a shit with their friends?
And I think about how damn hard those of us who do feel like idiots try to learn and do better, so we don’t drag the group down with us… and I wonder how many people I play with wish they were on a team with someone who didn’t fail quite so bad.
There are stupid people in the world, and I often suspect I’m one of ‘em. And we’re in your game, standing in poo.
What do you do?