WoW vs Rift: Cross-Server LFG/LFR isn't the only problem - Big Bear Butt Blogger » I Have Met the Asshat, and it is Dalra

Please note, there has been an update to be found at the bottom of this article on April 14th, 2012.

So, you know how I was amazed at how bad that LFR run in Dragon Soul was as a healer?

Yeah. Second round was even worse. I blame Red, I went in for more healer gear.

What we had tonight could have been a good run, except for one thing.

A single player held the fun of 24 other souls hostage… and that players name was Dalra.

Yes, that says Dalra of Icecrown US. 

Would you like to see a picture of Dalra, proud enhancement shaman, in action on the Spine of Deathwing?

Just in case that is difficult to make out, here, let me zoom out a bit.

There in the center you can see the raid group on the Hideous Amagamations in the center, up and down the line.

And there, up in the upper right hand corner, you can see Dalra, all on her own, killing a tentacle. As an Enhancement Shaman. All there, all alone, killing tentacles. Spawning adds. Lots and lots of adds.

You see that title she has? Destroyer’s End? Yep. Solid Enhancement Shaman DPS. Dual wielding, got 4 piece tier, yay.

Too bad she queued as a HEALER.

The whole Spine of Deathwing fight, Dalra did nothing except single-handedly destroy tentacles, spawning endless waves of Hideous Amalgamations and the bloods that follow.

And here is something I didn’t know. If all the tentacles are dead, a new tentacle spawns, so there is no chance of your ever accidentally killing every Hideous Amalgamation and being left with no way to nuclear blast the plates off to expose the tentacle.

I. Did. Not. Know. That.

But now I do, and I have Dalra to thank for that. So, thanks!

24 people in a raid trying their best to win and move on, and those 24 people are subject to the whims of one person, a person who has the achievement and the title of having completed it on normal, who knows what it is they are doing, and who chooses to try and screw everyone else intentionally.

For fun, I guess.

And there is nothing anyone can do about it. that is the point of this post. Once the boss is pulled, that’s it. The group has no control in any way over the outcome from that point on.

You’re done. Wipe it or push on, beat it despite them, and give them their ‘fair’ chance at loot.

Once that boss is pulled, that player is free to do whatever the hell they want for the rest of the fight.

I want to be clear on this.

The issue is not Dalra. Dalra is nothing.

Nothing unusual or special or even especially irritiating went on tonight. If Dalra logged off with warm fuzzies knowing they got a second Deathwing Axe and relic drops tonight (according to the Armory) by queueing as a healer for insta-queues, doing enhance DPS while the group was down a healer, and even intentionally screwing people by trying to wipe the run if what she wanted didn’t drop… well, most people didn’t even notice.

Apathy and expectations are so low at this point that nobody really cared. It was just faceless, nameless asshat number 45862. As the picture shows, the tone of comments weren’t outrage, just tired acceptance. “No joke, I’m tired of morons in LFR.” That’s not nerd rage, that’s apathy and acceptance that stupid is just stupid.

We went on with some other faceless clown in LFR, and finished the run. Most people, I imagine, don’t even realize that it was on purpose. They are probably so used to stupid people by now, that if anything, they just pegged Dalra as being another in a long chain of incredibly stupid players, and went on with their lives.

I know better, because after Monday night I went into Spine looking at all the tentacles to see if I could identify another asshat and get some screenshots for my own fun. AND I DID. I watched while healing my whack-a-mole frames, as Dalra didn’t even start on the normal group tentacle. Right from the start, they went to an untouched one, destroyed it very fast, went to the next, destroyed it, and so on until all four were dead. Then kept killing tentacles as they respawned. Then, when the first plate lifted, killed more tentacles. As fast as they could pop.

There was no mistake, no confusion. It was a dedicated attempt by Dalra to wipe a raid from the second it triggered Spine. And I caught it early, notified everyone, began asking for Dalra to stop right away. There was nothing anyone could do to stop her. Just watch, and do our best to heal and kill.

If anything, anyone in the guild Shining Star Crusaders should feel ashamed that Dalra is carrying your torch, representing you. I don’t know anything about Shining Star Crusaders, maybe it’s a guild on Icecrown famous for shenanigans and being trolling asshats. Maybe it’s just some dude in a basement that is so ineffectual in real life that they have to do stuff like this to feel some kind of connection with someone else. Some kind of desperate bid for attention, any kind of attention, to rise out of the meaningless morass that is their pathetic excuse for a life, something to try and prevent themselves from feeling so cold and alone in a world that hates them. And they’ve got a personal guild full of their alts. I don’t really care.

My take is as likely to be accurate as anyones, and mine at least is based on personal experience seeing one of their guild members at play when they didn’t know they were being watched somewhere that it might turn up in public later.

Update: Some folks in reading this thought it was an actual slam on the guild mentioned. I thought I had stressed in the post, fairly bluntly, that I was speculating wildly on the kind of guild that had Dalra as a member, while at the same time knowing nothing whatsoever about the truth of the guild. That I was speculating like this or ‘musing aloud’ to prove the point that Dalra was serving as my only window on the kind of guild SSC might be, because in LFR cross-server activities, I didn’t have any way of knowing anyone in that guild prior to seeing one memeber in LFR be an asshat, which is entirely UNLIKE the old style single-server runs where guilds could form lasting recognizable reputations. In point of fact, after this post went live and word about Dalra got out, SSC took immediate action, removed Dalra from their roster, and took further action to make it clear that kind of behavior was not representative of their guild in real life. Clearly, in real life the guild SSC is not actually a single kid in a basement. Some of the responses (on each side) also showed me pretty clearly that a lot of people fail at reading comprehension. At least, they do where imagined insults and direct attacks are concerned. End of update, I now return you to the original post.

Dalra is not important. This post isn’t really about Dalra.

I am simply USING Dalra as my little bitch to make a point about an extremely serious issue in live LFR.

Just over a month of Rift has convinced me that it *isn't* just random cross-server LFG that has made the WoW PUGging community so toxic. (Went back 1 month for Cataclysm, levelled AGAIN from 1-85, unsubbed and never want to go back blah de blah.)

I used to think that cross-server LFG which was 'after my time' (I first unsubbed for 2+ years at the end of TBC), was the main reason for the utterly horrible experience of the WoW community that confronted me on my short stint back for Cata. It was so bad I started trying psych experiments on my PUGs. =P Results, inconclusive due to sample size, but still kinda interesting, detailed here:
http://nugget.posterous.com/priming-consistency-cheating-and-being-a-jerk

Other folks are welcome to try it!

But the thing is, Rift has almost exactly the same mechanic and people are so damn POLITE! At the very *least* they are civil 95% of the time. On good runs, they are kind, considerate, and sometimes even funny and charming.

Even though they've more or less duplicated WoW's LFG system.

This in turn convinces me that the horror that is the WoW community (PUGwise) is a lot more to do with a) evolution of that community, and b) existing culture influencing the behaviour of new folks.

Or rather, of turds seeing other turds act like turds and thereby feeling happy in knowing that their turdiness is the acceptable norm.

From what I can see, there's no reason Rift PUGging shouldn't be the cesspit that WoW's is - but it just isn't.

Same with the arena-based PvP and general PvP culture in Guild Wars. Yes there is a certain degree of elitism, some might even say a lot of it. But I will say that as a scrub PvPer, Guild Wars PvPers are in general incredibly civil. GW was the first place I ever saw the opposing team thank their opponents for the match. See them say 'GG (Good Game / Good Going)' and not have it be sarcastic.

More studios need to see that the culture of their community matters, and address it throughout the life-cycle of their games.

Cataclysm was *beautiful*. Sylvanas never looked so hot. Blizzard obviously put so much love into it. And despite that, I'll never touch WoW again with a 10-foot pole now. I left TBC thinking I could go back someday and maybe, maybe like it, if I had a fresh start. Cata made me realise that for me, in WoW, there's nothing to go back to.

Ghostcrawler: The Role of Role - World of Warcraft

Model Two – Everyone has specialties and you match the spec to the situation
Under this model, we would establish spec specialties. For example, Arcane could be good for single-target fights while Fire is great at AE fights. Some of that design already exists in the game, but we try not to overdo it. If you really like playing one mage spec, or really detest constant spec swapping, then this model isn’t going to be to your liking. Furthermore, we don’t want to overstrain our boss design by having to meet a certain quota of AE vs. single target fights and movement vs. stationary fights and burn phase vs. longevity fights or whatever. It is also really hard to engineer these situations in Arenas or Battlegrounds (for example, both mobility and burst are extremely desirable in PvP), so in those scenarios there still may just be one acceptable spec.

The problem I see here is that WoW is way too limited in what DPS can bring to the table.

Since Ghostcrawler used a mage as this example, here's a mage (elementalist) from a Guild Wars perspective.

Water is good at defending the party, and shutting down both casters and melee (not very good at damage).

Fire is good at burning burning burning. Masses of things, or single things. BURN! Defence? What's that? Shutdown? Well there is about one spell, otherwise, the best shutdown and defence are BURNNNNN THEM ALL.

Air is good at single target spiking (conceptually, the best single target ele damage), shutting down physicals, and to some degree, casters.

Earth is good at defending the party (though not as good as water), but does a decent amount of aoe damage (not as much as fire), and an equally decent amount of shutdown. Not so good at single target.

*pokes simplified GW elementalists* *ponders WoW mages*

...poor buggers really don't have much of a choice at all.

The Villainy of Galrath (Hard mode)

For the route to Galrath, see the The Villainy of Galrath. He is surrounded by several groups of level 30 bandits. Careful pulling of these mobs is essential to avoid being overwhelmed. Be aware that the mobs tend to aggro simultaneously, so be prepared to conduct long pulls to string them out.

While I wouldn't exactly say this quest is horribly hard, it is horribly annoying.

Oh look! A bandit! And a bandit! And another bandit! And yet another identical bandit! Over there! A bandit!

...what, they all have different classes and skillbars?

XD The worst part of this mission was watching for the healing skills and then trying to CLICK ON THE RIGHT BANDIT after identifying it as a pesky healer.

Quest difficulty rating: Somewhere between LOL and sheesh!

Forsaken World - It seems bizarre, but I love that FW is cash shop based.

Which is rather odd, coming from someone whose other MMO 'love' is Guild Wars - which is pretty much at the other end of the spectrum. Where what you get, you pay for with skill.

More specifically, I love how FW has built the entire game architecture around its cash shop.

Yes, it's Pay2Win, just like any other CS game.

You want the BEST gear? The BEST character? Pay for it - either in cash, or in scads of time. And it works beautifully.

It works beautifully because you can indeed pay for it in scads of time. Unlike other PWE games, there really is no NEED to use the cash shop. If you play 18 hours a day, every day, you most certainly won't need to use the cash shop. This is rather different from say, Jade Dynasty, where if you wanted to play 18 hours a day, every day, without using the cash shop, it would be so agonising as to be impossible. (Yes, I know China's JD doesn't have cash-shop-fuelled, PWE-approved bots. I don't even want to think about what JD would be like without those bots - or espers, as they're called.)

By 'pegging' the prices of RL currency to in-game currency, and further balancing that by making mobs and quests give untradeable currency, PWE has solved the inflation problems that plague this genre in one fell, elegant swoop.

And it isn't just the triple currency system which makes it shine. It's how they've thought out and integrated every single thing that has anything to do with economics, the game economy, and currency. They haven't just limited their economic controls to their trio of virtual currencies, one of which interfaces with real cash. They've elegantly tied crafting, consumables, gear drops and the player propensity to trade and hoard stuff into the system as well. And they've even created a crafting system where the crafted items are valuable at least half the time. Sometimes extremely valuable - and sometimes even more valuable than 'set' pieces even with their special bonuses. It's really nice to be able to sell the stuff you make for a decent price, to other players, and at least break even from crafting, if not always make a profit. (Gear is in the Diablo/WoW style, with both randomly statted pieces, and set pieces with random stats and set bonuses.)

What's more, it's because of this thought and integration that every single piece of gear in FW is BoE. No BoP gear. Ever. There *is* BoP stuff... but this BoP stuff is advanced crafting materials used to make potions and consumables. And it's bound because they want people to join guilds - and guess where these things can be bought? Ayup, higher level guildhalls.

Guilds (or more specifically, guildhalls) in FW require daily tradeable gold to maintain, in addition to other various point system scoreboards. For those of you who've MUDded, it's very much like the old 'rent' systems you'd find in some MUDs, with the main difference being that only guilds pay rent - players don't.

But back to the pure-BoE gear.

Even with gear being pure BoE, people do still run instances for gear because it is, after all, cheaper than buying it off the auction house - if you don't count the time you spend in instances hoping that something with stats you can use / the set piece you're looking for will drop.

What it means, though, is that you really, really, REALLY don't need to kill something(s) over and over again with people you can't bloody stand, just to get more/better stuff so you can... rinse and repeat.

But what, you ask, are you paying for, O gloriously juicy one? Are you pimping your yous out with your wallet? Should you not be buying crispy battered chicken instead?

Nah, I'm not paying to be THE BEST. On the level of cash shop whales, where spending goes into the thousands, and sometimes even tens of thousands, I have neither the means nor the desire to compete. What I find myself spending money on is mostly (lol) bags for my packrattitis, and stuff like that. Since I started playing FW slightly over 6 months ago, I've dropped US$50 on it - and I haven't even spent most of it yet. Meaning, I've bought the currency, but I think I've only actually *used* US$15 of that $50.

I do like earning my in-game tradeable cash by myself, even if it only exists because *other* people are spending money. It isn't the 'I'm too leet to cash shop' mentality - it's more of the, 'I currently don't feel any burning NEED (unless I'm feeling really lazy)'.

At levels 70-80 (my highest toon ATM is 60), I have a feeling that I *will* drop a bit of cash on my gear to bring it up to a standard of passability that satisfies me. However, PWE has designed FW so well that I know that I don't HAVE to spend that cash...

...if I play 3 times longer than I do now. XD

But hey, put it like that, and I'm suddenly very sure that I'd much rather drop the cash on it!

Interestingly, because of the odd mentality in CS games, people are somewhat more easygoing in instances than they are in subscription games, and CSing is NOT seen as being compulsory if you want to get into groups. There's a curious ambivalence when it comes to players who CS, not least because there are arena rankings as well.

On the one hand, people are happy that things die faster (as long as the things aren't themselves), when they're with a CSer. And on the other hand, there's the desire to poke one's nose in the air and say, 'All people who use the cash shop are clueless nubs, and not leet like meeeee...' But the end effect is that people in FW are pretty forgiving of gear that isn't all that good - vs gear that is poorly chosen but expensive. Poorly chosen expensive gear is met with vocal derision, due to the CS dynamic, and of course - envy! He blew all that cash on his gear, and it's stuff that's totally shit for his class? NOOOOOOOB!!!!

All in all, I'm surprisingly - and incredibly - happy with Forsaken World, despite its being the polar opposite of Guild Wars. Never thought I'd say this, but I love them both!

Ahh, someone with my definition of 'casual' player in MMOs. <3 Armond Warblade

"the three humans in my group are all very casual players. We were doing some Nightfall rushing to get my mesmer to DoA" You realise you contradicted yourself right there don't you? NF Rushing to get to an elite mission is hardly casual play. Yu Takami 15:49, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure "casual" implicates how often one plays, not what one plays or how well one plays it. Besides, elite missions are some of the only content in the game worth playing; "normal pve" is boring to me after the first time. -- Armond WarbladeUser Armond sig image.png 03:13, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Incidentally, this is something I always had trouble explaining to a majority of raiders in WoW. ;)

Introducing the Melee Vekkinator Mark 2.0 a.k.a. the Ultimate Hero Terratank (E/D)

Good damage, highly durable, enchants up 99% of the time, no micromanaging necessary (though initial micromanaging by locking him onto a target in the centre of a pile of mobs, then waiting for him to run in yields best results). Run this, and you will never use a warrior hero tank again.

Yeah yeah, it works with all elementalist heroes - but after you've seen the Vekkinator charge into the fray... none of the other elementalist heroes come close. XD

*thunder* *lightning* *drumroll*

Behold the jointly tinkered and stitched together mutant baby of Suicide Granny (Winter Firestorm), and the Nugget (Wren Brownfeather):

The Melee Vekkinator Mark 2.0 

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Skills
Earth Attunement
Aura of Restoration
Grasping Earth
Shockwave {Elite}
Crystal Wave
Shield of Force
Aftershock
Mystic Regeneration

Stats
Earth Magic [11] + [4]
Energy Storage [12] + [1]
Earth Prayers [6]

Gear

  • Superior Earth Magic rune
  • Blessed or Stalwart Insignia
  • Major or Superior vigor rune
  • Vitae runes to finish off 
  • Any melee weapon (felblade looks hilarious) with hct and +20% Enchanting + shield with Fortitude and -5/20% physical damage. 

Campaigns Needed
Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall, Eye of the North (duh, it's Vekk! plus the skills, of course)

How to Use

  • Give the Vekkinator 2.0 a melee weapon. Being a very enthusiastic little fellow, the melee weapon ensures that he'll charge up to his foes and start beating them about the head with his glorious weapon, between PBAOE casting
  • Lock the Vekkinator 2.0 on a target, preferably one in the centre of a pile of mobs (just like you'd use an AOE spell)
  • Wait for the Vekkinator 2.0 to charge in and start stomping on stuff
  • Kill everything
  • Rinse and repeat
  • Seriously, that's all there is to it. The Vekkinator 2.0 is self-running, so if you can't be bothered/don't want to micromanage him past the initial pull, there is no need to.

Variants

  • None - this is the version Winter and I came up with after quite a bit of tinkering.

Counters

  • General Caster Hate
  • Not giving the Vekkinator a melee weapon (no, spears are not melee weapons)
  • Massive enchant stripping

Additional notes

Where have you tested this?
Winter has tested this just about everywhere. Vanquishes, HM missions, Elite areas, you name it. It's great.

Can humans use this?
Yes. It's pretty much dummy-proof, and unlike other terratank builds, doesn't require excellent timing. Just faceroll 3-4-5-6-7, renew 1,2 when needed, and 8 when taking a lot of damage.

A hero tank will NEVER be as good as a human one!
I think what you mean is they'll never be as good as a good human tank. ;) However, as a hero, this is pretty much the best tanking I've seen - and that includes most of the human tanks I've run with, terra or otherwise. And c'mon, Vekk melee = win!

 

Mutual need does not guarantee mutual respect, nor does the reverse guarantee contempt.

When players don’t need each other it breeds anti-social behavior and it results in the devaluation of other players. Players become nothing more than advanced NPCs.

MMOs were originally designed to be shared social experiences
Wolfshead Online

Not true at all. Guild Wars has an amazing community, despite the fact that if you have the third campaign (Nightfall) or the xpac (Eye of the North), you effectively don’t need people at all, except in PvP.

There are player organised events, supported by ArenaNet. Most recently, Pink Day in LA:
http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Pink_Day_in_LA

They set out with a goal to raise US$1337 for the Canadian Cancer society. They ended up with US$11,000. A totally player-organised event, for something outside of the game, which ArenaNet supported by introducing a totally new dye colour.

Official site here:
http://pinkday.grimforge.com/

And here is my take on Pink Day in LA 2010:
http://nugget.posterous.com/pink-day-in-lions-arch-2010

(Please note, I’m not affiliated with these guys in any way. I was just lucky enough to catch the event by chance, and I thought the whole thing just rocked.)

There are a wealth of other player-organised events, and during ArenaNet’s festive events, especially Canthan New Year, guilds and/or alliances team up to ‘sponsor’ districts, so that everyone has a very good chance of getting prizes. Sponsorship can involve playing minigames, or collecting scavenger hunt items and handing them to NPCs, etc. Sponsorship is totally free. People do it because they want to. Because they enjoy it. I took part in helping my guild/alliance with sponsorship this Canthan New Year, and I really liked it.

It’s not a unique thing. It’s not something done because people NEED each other. It’s done because people simply want other people to be happy in a game they enjoy.

For a game where you can play 95% of the PvE content without ever grouping with another human, Guild Wars has a damn good community.

You could, however, argue that GW is an outlier. That its gaming structure so unique within the MMOverse, very much like EVE and ATitD, so much so that the normal rules don’t apply. I’m not sure if that’s so, but I do allow that it’s possible.

Cynical nugget writes stuff praising human nature, whoda thunk! =)

[Originally a spammy rebuttal comment, see the full original post over at Wolfshead Online. It's possible you'll think a nugget is being too optimistic!]