Apparently, it’s railroading time in the blogosphere.
The current topic on many bloggers’ keyboards are Addons.
Oh, and I’d call them Matt and Vonya, but frankly I don’t want to presume by name dropping… I might not be that cool.
Anyway, it was interesting to me that the subject of raid healing and Addons came up twice in rapid succession, and that both of them took stands against players not being able to raid without Addon assistance if necessary on short notice.
As I don’t play a healer anymore, all I could do was hearken back to my days of 40 man raids, playing my resto druid (before the existence of Treeform) and staring at 40 unit frames in the default raid UI and being grateful for the assistance of Decursive… and wondering what settings people kept talking about when they said it one button healed for them, since it sure didn’t do that for me.
Of course, back then I was following the story on the official forums about how Decursive was about to be destroyed by the upcoming Burning Crusade patch because they didn’t want an auto-heal that did your thinking for you. Apparently, I didn’t know how to configure it properly to do my healing for me. Alas, I had to suffer through with clicking on those unit frames myself and choosing what I felt was the most mana-efficient heal powerful enough to not overheal to fit the situation.
I decided to trade staring at 40 unit frames for staring at a big bear butt in BC, and never looked back.
It took rolling a Hunter to finally see what the hell we’d been fighting all those years.
Today Slashhug (/Hug) posted kind of a rebuttal to both posts, where most of the things I idly thought at the time were highlighted and then discussed.
Slashhug calls it an angry rant, but honestly, what came through to me was simply that he felt very passionate about the subject, and that while he agreed with many of the points made about being careful when relying on Addons to heal, the things he disagreed with were mostly the reasons for not approving of someone that is not prepared to heal if they find that at that moment, suddenly, the Addons they were used to stopped working.
I thought that it was a very good article, it came from the heart. And both Matt and Vonya are great people, somehow I don’t think they are going to go into a tizzy about being pulled into a conversation about it. It’s a damn good topic, with plenty of points of view, Raid Leader expectations, skill at playing a class with and without Addons, level of content being faced, etc. Lots of meat for the discussion.
At the heart of itto me is really the question, if you rely on something other than built-in Blizzard UI functionality to play the game, how prepared are you, or should you be, to play without them if something happens? Should it be an expectation that you be ready to perform at your normal skill levels both with and without your Addons?
Is that even realistic? When some Addons cut down on the very time it takes you to react to a changing situation, is it possible to perform at the level your raid leader expects?
Earlier this week, Banana Shoulders wrote a post that damn near made me stand up and cheer, about NOT being a twitch gamer and doing just fine, thank you.
It all ties together, doesn’t it?
It’s a video game, and we can play it however we want, but when we choose to play the part of the game that makes us interact with others, and when we tackle together a challenge that requires teamwork, skill and coordination, someone will choose to judge the performance of the others based on their expectations.
We all do it at some point, and to some extent, because when you are responsible for the success of a joint venture, you assume the duty of verifying that everyone is ready and prepared to take part and help the group succeed. Whether you want to or not.
And if you play with only good friends, who wants to be the judgmental one that says, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are ready just yet to main heal that raid. We can give it a shot, but I think we need to run some more stuff to get you better geared first.”
No matter whether you are raid leader for a 40 man zerg, or the person taking charge of a three man effort at a group quest, someone has to make sure everyone knows what to do, and is prepared for what is to come. Poor bastard.
For me, as the guild leader and raid leader and leader of plenty of 5 man Heroics in my small, itty-bitty casual friendly guild, one of the most important things to recognise is that each person is a player with feelings and an equal right to have fun. Telling people that they aren’t prepared or performing at the minimum level needed to succeed as a group, that they need x, or y, or are lacking in z, may be true for one particular situation… but it needs to be said from the heart, and not as an indictment of a person’s value as a friend and skill as a player.
The next most important thing is to keep in mind that your expectations must be appropriate to what your challenge is.
My way of doing things or my understanding of how a role can be performed is not necessarily the best way, is certainly not the only way, and it is not appropriate for me to tell someone else how to play their class or spec or fulfill their role.
It IS in my opinion appropriate for me to set certain goals, thresholds that I should reasonably expect someone to be able to reach, that are at the level of the challenge we intend to face.
If as the raid leader I research a boss fight, and it is clear from a 5 minute hard enrage timer that will wipe the group and the 4.25 millionhealth of the target that the DPS we bring must, as a group, be able to provide a sustained 1400DPS or we will simply not win… well, that to me sets a goal taht I feel justified in sharing with the team. Whatever else the DPS is doing, together they must reach that individual goal. If, through running more often than others, some can bring 2200 DPS, than that to me means some of the others can get away with less, and I’ll share that in case some folks are stressing about how to reach the goal. I’m not a hardcore raid leader. I’m concerned with winning and having fun, that’s all.
The goals I set for myself will be a LOT more challenging. For myself, when I am going to play my character, I am doing my damndest to prepare myself to the utmost of my ability to overgear anything we will face. But I don’t set that expectation for anyone else. Because it’s not really necessary or right to tell someone their Hunter can’t run a raid or Heroic until they get the Epic Nesingwary 4000 or the Bow drop from Heroic Utgardt Keep. Because it’s NOT. I see plenty of Hunters doing massive DPS with blue guns in the 115 dps range.
Just because some fights in Naxxramas, like the Abomination wing and Patchwerk, are a DPS and healing race against a hard enrage timer, and require a certain amount of sustained DPS to take him down before he enrages and wipes the group, does NOT mean that the standards appropriate to that fight for DPS are the same standards you apply to a Heroic.
You may like 2200+ sustained DPS when powering through Heroics, but setting that as a mandatory minimum of who you’ll let run with you says more about your priorities in the game than anything else. In case thats unclear, I’m saying that if you put someone’s DPS total as being more important on a run than if they’re your friend, your priorities in playing a recreational game are out of whack. Judgmental? Hey, I’m 40. I’m giving in to the Cranky side. I play with friends first, end of story.
And on Addon support…
Just because someone prefers to perform their role for a large group when they are at their best, and they feel their ‘best’ is when they are using the Addons they are most comfortable and confident with, it does not make them a poor player.
On the contrary, to me it says that they care enough, and respect the other players enough, that they want to be sure they can do their absolute best when playing so they don’t let the team down.
They don’t want to fail their friends.
And if they need an extra 5 minutes to reload UI or reboot to clear up an Addon issue… well, so?
Maybe the level of the challenge is low enough that they could use the default UI, and power through it and succeed anyway.
But go ahead and reboot, and get your computer set up the way you like, and thank you very much for caring enough to bring your very best.