I’ve been feeling a trend. Not among the game, no.
Among a part of the community.
I was listening to last weeks Convert to Raid podcast when it hit me the hardest.
Preach was a guest on show #99, he has a Youtube channel where he posts vids about the game. He was there mostly to talk about a recent vid he’d done about game accessibility and community apathy. As an experiment, he took a level 90 bank alt, geared up through heroics and LFR, with a twist.
He intentionally did zero dps, and as a capper,he stood in the fire. All of the fire.
Supposedly to see how a brand new player would see the game, what the game was designed to teach them to improve their performance, and also to see how the community would welcome such a player.
The hosts were gushing all over Preach, and all I could think was, “This whole thing reeks of bullshit.”
Preach made some points about how horrible it is that he would make a level 1 alt, and he would immediately get invited to a guild, such guilds wanting nothing more than to take advantage of new players who don’t know that guilds want low level players for no other reason than to have levelers feed their coppers into the guild coffers.
Another point made was that, as a level 90, by using every trick currently in the game for gear boosting and factions, he was able to get from 90 and no gear to having completed Throne of Thunder on LFR and killed Lei Shen after just a day. To paraphrase his point, “I saw everything the game had to offer in just one day at the level cap. Why bother joining a guild or trying to do normals? If you describe a normal raid, it sounds too much like work.”
Hey, so you’re a player who knows nothing about the game or how to play, but you’re also a player that knows every trick to gearing up and getting to the next LFR gear threshold fastest? Fucking bullshit.
And the final point… he was doing zero DPS, and standing in every horrible thing to be an active pain in the ass and make healers suffer, and nobody ever, ever said anything to him about it. Nobody offered any suggestions on how to be better, nobody raged at him, everyone ignored him completely… even in heroics. And that means the community fails.
My opinion is, this was nothing more than a way to get attention and buzz and get people talking about him, so I guess congratulations, because here we are.
The underlying assumptions are just bullshit.
His conceit requires we assume a player who has reached level 90 with no idea how to play a character at all, no idea that standing in things is bad, no guilds, no friends, nothing but a single player game of WoW, isolated and alone.
And then this player, having reached level 90, now for the first time asks in trade chat “How should I prepare for raids” and then follows the only advice he is given, to “Gear through heroics, then do LFR.”
Underlying assumptions. If we start with them weighted heavily enough, I guess we really CAN prove whatever the hell we want.
You know what I did?
I decided to test the first underlying assumption. That the community is full of apathy and nobody will help anyone, and those level 1 guild invites are evil.
I made a level 1 alt on a different realm, chose a name at random that was vaguely fantasy-ish, and started playing. No heirlooms.
Within 10 minutes, I had a guild invite and accompanying whisper.
I accepted the invite, and was greeted in a friendly way by several people.
I said, “Hi! Thank you. I’m really new to the game, um, can anyone tell me where I can find something to tell me what these buttons do?”
Holy crap, did I get a lot of help.
It turns out, people seem to know an awful lot about this game, and shocker! They are not only willing to share that knowledge, but they seemed very happy to be able to give advice to someone that didn’t already know it all.
I got suggestions of visiting Wowhead.com to be able to see what my specific abilities do, a suggestion to visit Tarou on Youtube to see many guides to current content, a warning that most of the videos were guides to help make gold in-game but lots of other stuff too, suggestions of MMO-Champion for the latest news, and one person took the time to take me step by step through my Spellbook and teach me how to see what I have, what specs and Talents are, how to move them onto my bar and move them around, and finally, a suggestion that I pay attention to the level 3 quest I will get that has me test an ability on a training dummy, and how I should remember that because when I get new abilities, I can put them on my bar, go to one of those training dummies in any city, and try them out.
I was also introduced to addons, DPS meters, and where to go, the Curse website, to find them.
So, an anomaly, right? I just happened to find the one guild that invites brand new players that is helpful, normally they are all evil and such. It was a fluke.
Maybe it was because I made a Draenei Hunter, and everyone loves more Hunters. Or knows they need all the help they can get.
Maybe there is a Hunter Outreach Program, people who watch for new Hunter players, and intercept them to stop the noobs.
Stop the noob. Almost sounds like a public service announcement, right?
So I went to a completely different server, and this time I made a Night Elf Warrior.
Within 15 minutes of normal playing, I got another invite to a guild.
This time, I didn’t take it. I was noobish right from the beginning, asking what the invite was for, what a guild was, etc.
They were patient, talked to me for a bit, assured me they were helpful to new players that were leveling, and I accepted the invite.
Same thing. Bunch of people, this time over 25 people online in the guild, many of whom said hi to me and ‘Welcome!’.
I said hi and admitted to being brand new, asked for help/advice, and was again drowned in a deluge of link suggestions, Youtube guides, and websites.
Amusingly enough, one of the suggestions was I should visit Preach Gaming to see his guides on how to play your class at max levels for a good idea of not just abilities, but their use in the game, addons and UIs.
So, what do I get from all this?
I get that if I were indeed that level 1 brand new player, and I did get that guild invite, and I didn’t have a preconceived impression of such guilds as selfish or evil and discarded them out of hand, if I actually gave them a chance because I wasn’t trying to build a completely bullshit point by ignoring inconvenient facts, then maybe I might get some interesting suggestions on how to learn more about playing the game. By talking to new guildies and interacting with the guild, its even possible I might make some casual acquaintances that would like to run stuff WITH me.
They might even grow to become friends, and allow me to enjoy some of what an MMO can be.
So what about the other end? What about helping people in LFR who aren’t doing as well as others, the lack of outreach, community apathy?
Here is the thing.
If I see someone in LFR, and that person is doing zero DPS, I know that in order to do nothing, nothing at all for DPS, that person has to be working hard to intentionally not touch anything.
It’s not a question of not knowing what to do. Unless that person played as a pacifist to 90 and only did Fedex quests, they have buttons that eventually kill things. To do zero, they are either on follow, which breaks on damage, or they are actively choosing not to use them to be trolls.
I have seen players like that before. I’m going to make a wild and crazy assumption; you have too.
I don’t offer them helpful suggestions, instead I put them on ignore for the worthless trolls they are. not even one point? That takes skill, yeah, um fuck you troll, bah bye /ignore.
That’s not even taking into account seeing him standing in ALL the fire.
So that just throws out anything he did in heroics or LFR. Why would you do that, and assume anyone would reach out to you to help you perform better? You’re being an asshole in a way that takes an effort. Completely worthless results.
It was only when he started to do Rogue DPS without poisons and to Rupture to be on the meters but low that he started getting any data worth a shit, and even then, how many runs were those? And again, why does he think that other players are responsible for watching what the fuck HE is doing instead of focusing on their own performance and duties?
Do you do that? Do you spend half your play time in LFR looking at each person on the meters to judge for yourself how he or she is playing their character, looking for people who need you to tell them how to play?
If so, please put Bigbearbutt and Buttflame and Beartrap on Azuremyst-US on ignore. I never want to see you, in any content, ever. You are an asshole. Focus on playing your own character, unless of course you think you fucking know everything and exist to tell other people how to play, which again, put me on /ignore.
I liked how he had to make the point that other people were lower than him on the meters. /facepalm.
To buy into what Preach is selling you have to agree with his underlying assumptions… and the key assumption to me was, new players are too introverted and shy to ask anyone in an MMO anything. Ever.
New players apparently need someone to be assigned as their friend, to tell them these things.
Worse, in Preach’s world new players aren’t capable of finding anything for themselves. They don’t look anything up, they’ve never heard of Google, they don’t look for guides, they are oblivious to anything and everything having to do with WoW, except for the login screen.
Is it that he does videos where he teaches everyone how to play their classes? Does donning the mantle of the great teacher mean everyone else is an idiot? Does he get so many stupid questions that he thinks everyone but him are stupid?
The thing that struck me the most about it was how the crew of Convert to Raid just thought it was the best thing ever, so awesome, they couldn’t stop gushing about it.
I have a big problem with so many of his conclusions, but the one that annoys the most is that the community within WoW has failed him and let him down, because nobody else took the time to see what he was doing, approach him in the LFR raid, and offer him advice on how to improve his DPS. To point out that if he equipped poisons he would perform better. Nobody took him under their wing and helped him to fly.
It is Looking For Raid. It isn’t Looking For Friends.
It is not Blizzards responsibility to build in a Looking For Friend matchmaking service.
Despite that, they actually DID take a stab at this in the recent past, or is it inconvenient to the narrative Preach is selling to recall the Guild Mentoring Program? If that wasn’t a “Looking For Friend” trial program, well, it was the next best thing.
It is not the responsibility of Blizzard to help new players make friends. Blizzard makes the MMO, and if anything, tells people “If you bring the friends you already know into the game with you, you get rewards like boosted leveling, teleporting and mounts! So go get your friends hooked too!”
You know what I took away from his video?
What I learned was you can be an intentional troll, and in some LFR groups some people have stopped spewing forth the venom and hate of Cataclysm, and instead they grit their teeth and work harder to get a victory despite your trolling.
People are indeed focused on accomplishing the mission and moving on in LFR, because it is a place where you are there for yourself. You are presumably not there with friends or family, and you are not there for progression. You enter LFR to obtain Valor, item upgrades to help in progression raids, to keep pushing on your Legendary questline and to hone your skills and improve your own game, unless you think you already know it all.
If you’re going into LFR looking for opportunities to teach other players how to play their classes, well, just damn.
LFR is just not the place for that. A huge go go go mission focused environment? A place where, just as Preach said, people are there to get the job done, and are generally moving too fast and are too successful to even leave a minute or two free without something being pulled.
That’s not a situation where you even HAVE the time to open a dialogue with a complete stranger from another server to broach the topic of playstyles and potential improvements.
You need a place where, after the raid, you can talk to the person you’d like to help in a non-stressful environment, and do so without being accusatory or threatening or derogatory.
Oh shit, look at that, Flex Raiding incoming. How about that.
Flex Raiding, easier than normal, harder than LFR, and designed for you, a group of friends, AND any pugs from your server that you’d like to bring along to help because loot isn’t competed for, it’s individual.
Guess what? By making it a mode that is good for forming pug groups on servers, it provides an opportunity for new players who haven’t raided before to join a group where people could actually see them, talk to them on the server after the raid is over, and have a lingering conversation on improving performance without publicly calling someone the fuck out.
I will say it one last way, and hope I get through.
If your expectation is that the player is not responsible for trying to improve their own skills, if you expect that the game and the experienced players within the game are responsible for seeking out under-performing players in the wild and take the steps to approach them and coach them, then you’re fucking delusional.
Helping other people is nice, but it’s not your job. Your job is to have fun on your own terms without hurting other people. Anything beyond that is gravy.
I’m going to conclude this with facts.
I went to Google, and typed in this simple search phrase; “New Player Warcraft”.
World of Warcraft Official Forums New Player Help and Guide thread.
Yeah, it’s so damn hard for new players to find information about how to play the game, or get better. It’s just terrible.
Oh, if only a new player had a resource on the internet to help them! Oh, if only someone would make a website! Or a Youtube channel! Or a twitch stream, or a twitter account, or an official forum, or guilds, or or or…
Fucking get a grip.
What are these new players…. Amish?
If you require Amish to play the game to fulfill the requirements of your argument, I think it’s time to fall back and regroup.