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:

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:

And here is my take on Pink Day in LA 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!]

Invasion of the Body Coolers!

While I'm usually very admiring of PWE's nefarious marketing schemes, I think they've failed with HotK's CNY celebrations.

... technically, if you kill these snowmen, you get a chance to get a card. Collect all 5 cards, get some kind of shiny. Usually, players would be all over them. Only... the snowmen take about 2-3 minutes to kill, and you can only gain 4 cards per hour. Snowmen cages, however, load in player inventories every ?hour? or so. As a result, there's a massive invasion of snowmen that players by and large are totally uninterested in killing.

And then there's the New Year Statues.

This is a case where 'less is more' would have worked a lot better. These New Year Statues require the purchase of a US$1.75 lottery token (or key, as it's called here) before you can 'open' them.

Now, if PWE had limited them to oh, 5 tokens per character over the entire duration of the event, I'm sure they'd be worth a lot more - and more used.

As it is, I get 1 every hour (I think) that I'm online, and afk. Which strangely, has the effect of making me utterly uninclined to use them. When I only had ONE of the things... I was tempted. Now that I have 20, I'm not tempted at all. It's just easier to leave them in my inventory until the event is over. You can't even sell the things, no one wants them. I see some people trying to sell them. I see no one buying.

Add that to the fact that HotK just had an update... which bugged out the combat and made everyone hit like non-ninja bunnies - that means even MORE people sitting around town spawning even more snowmen that no one wants to kill while accumulating more New Year Statues that no one wants to buy... XD

And why, you ask, is everyone sitting around AFK instead of just logging off? Well, PWE likes to reward you for staying logged on no matter what. They don't care if you're AFK. They don't care what you do. They just want you to stay logged on. And because of that, every 30 min for the duration of this festive season, characters get a token that they can right-click for about 30% of their level's worth of xp - it scales. As well as other rewards.

And so, the snowmen slowly take over the Middle Kingdom. Hee!

TL;DR: DPSMetres Encourage Selfish Play

DPS metres!

Something I’ve gone back to really enjoying not having to deal with.

DPSmetres are… horrible things. Or well. A single factor that can turn slowly into a Horrible Thing. One of the glaring differences (and Recount was always one of the first addons I downloaded!) I’m seeing now in GW, after a month to see Cataclysm then going home is… what a horrible effect DPSmetres have on mindsets.

With DPSmetres, suddenly being good is doing more damage than everyone else, and damn the consequences. No! Can’t waste time CCing or anything, can’t buff anyone else, because that might take away time from my almighty DPSmetre score!

Yes, I’m exaggerating – but that DPSmetre stuff is also something that particularly struck me about WoW, and WoW’s entire combat architecture, when I was running Domain of Anguish with 2 friends in GW last night.

That is, even though WoW encourages team play on the surface, the very construction of the classes and builds encourage solo play. That is, everyone plays as an autonomous unit within the group, caring only for their own cooldowns and buffing their own roles. Tanks and healers too.

I’m not explaining this very well, I’m afraid. But it’s things like… how GW has a spell called ‘Splinter Weapon’ that when cast on a target, makes each of their physical attacks hit 4 other targets, for x number hits. And the damage/DPS boost is attributed to the target, not the caster. This sort of spell is VERY common in GW. And really, all you have to give up to bring it is one slot on your 8-skill skillbar.

In WoW, the only thing I can think of that comes readily/easily to mind, that buffs someone else, and gives them the benefit in terms of numbers, is Power Infusion. And you have to go pretty deep into the Disc tree to get that. Basically, (I don’t think) you would have that without being a Disco-preet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is one of the things I didn’t like about WoW was how, when it comes down to the actual nitty-gritty of it, team play is NOT built into the system and NOT encouraged on a truly fundamental level. (Bear in mind, I played WoW for 3 years – Vanilla to end of TBC – before moving to GW.) And it’s this very obsessive individuality built into the system that, paired with DPSmetres, encourages mindsets which are counterproductive to achieving team play and spirit.

This is something inherent in the architecture itself though, and there’s no point or purpose in railing against it. Either you can accept this kind of play, and enjoy it, or you can’t.

Hope this gave a slightly different perspective as to why DPSmetres can be da ooky. =)

DPSMetres tend to encourage selfish play.

*waddly nugget waddles off, leaving another crumbly battery wall of text in her wake*

Long spammy comment I wrote on the whole Social Responsibility of tanks and healers storm in a teacup that's been storming around in the MMO portion of the blogosphere recently.

I spammed up poor Spinks' place, then realised my readers might perhaps be interested in the perspective, too.

Priming, Consistency, Cheating, and Being a Jerk at The Psychology of Video Games; My Basis for Social Experimentation with WoW's LFD Tool

Bargh, Chen, and Burrows also did another experiment where some people unscrambled sentences with words related to rudeness (bold, bother, brazen) and some worked with words indicating politeness (patiently, courteous, unobtrusively). All subjects then walked in on a staged scene where they had to interrupt a conversation to get some needed information. Those in the “polite” condition waited 9.3 minutes on average. Those in the “rude” condition jumped in after just 5.5 minutes on average.3

These are examples of what psychologists called “priming,” which is basically getting people in a particular state of mind or getting them to think about what you want them to. It’s a staple of advertising and surprisingly easy to do. I’ve been thinking for a while that game developers should take better advantage of it.

What if, for example, certain words of phrases were thrown around on loading screens between levels or in the matchmaking lobby for a multiplayer shooter? Would simply showing words like “sportsmanship” or “communication” or “fairness” prime people to behave themselves during games? If you didn’t want to be that transparent, you could include little stories, vignettes, or even comics or movies that included those words or illustrations of them. Or maybe you could use real data, like the number of heals provided by players in the previous game or awards for best defense.

This makes me wonder...

...I think I shall now try greeting every crappy LFD group (by now, I despise the dungeon finder) with some happy, perky bounces, and see if that works with priming the groups to act more decently in general, thereby improving my LFD grouping experiences.

I do usually try to greet people with at least a, 'Hullo!' However, for the purposes of this experiment, I think I'll try to be a little bit odder, and work in 'polite' words for killing everything in sight, and see if that works better.

E.g.: Woohoo! Hi guys! Lettuce go forth and politely divest all the mobbies of their tasty loot with civility and gentleness!

(Assuming they have a certain level of mastery of the English language, it should at least be 'ha, this person is odd' even if it's not actually amusing - and it will hopefully, prime everyone with polite words.)

Certainly, when I made mistakes when I started tanking again (even though only low level) for the first time in 2 years, and I explained exactly that, the group was a lot more forgiving than it would have been had I said nothing.

Pair that with how apology has the tendency (if perceived as sincere) to cancel out the effects of annoyance...

...I shall run my little social experiment and report back inna bit!

More observations:
This is the line I've been using. I've had to macro it, because groups are so gogogogogo these days I don't have TIME to type it... and I type really fast.
/p Hi guys! The PUG runs I've had from LFD lately have been great. Good, polite folk - let's hope this is one of them too.

Unfortunately, I can only do this once per run. This is a problem because of folks dropping out / being kicked, etc, and it would be suspicious to keep saying it every time someone new shows up.

Only have one sample so far, so can't really comment - off to get more!

Samples (I may split this off eventually or this will get awfully long)
With Priming
1) RFK - good
2) RFK - good
3) DM - good

4) ZF - good
5) BRD - neutral
6) BRD - bizarre. group was really good. tank was really bad. pally who would not consecrate 'it takes too much mana', could not hold aggro, and ninja'd a haste cloak from me because 'it has stamina' XD
7) BRD - neutral - tank dropped group when Angerforge didn't drop her item
8) ST - bad
9) BRD - bad, tank pulled whole bar way over thaar, while we were smashing barrels. then had a hissy fit. also, another pally tank who wouldn't ever ever EVER consecrate. Not even when I was tanking all the adds (healer).
10) BRD - good - great tank, great group, some loldeaths in the bar, but really nice in general
11) Ramparts - good
12) Slave Pens - good
13) Blood Furnace - good (all three by same group - so could be skewed here)

Without Priming
1) DM - N/A incompetank, didn't have time to hit the macro, didn't stay past the first 2 pulls. Yes, that bad. 
2) ST - Good
3) BRD - bizarre. So many wipes. But people were good natured. Accidentally pulling Drakkisath cause tank didn't SEE him... is classic. XD
4) Ramparts - Good... but - idiot WotLK babies for DPS. Tank was the best I've had in 60 levels, and she was only 59. Extremely tough, amazing aggro (idiots pulled boss, no problems), and she was marking kill target as it came up. Professional. And they were making fun of her for it.
5) BF - Good
6) BF - Bad/bizarre - incredibly INCREDIBLY squishy DK tank. Like healing a mage. He needed shield AND renew at all times, and penance always on CD, with flash heal spamming as well. Couldn't hold aggro so good - I kept being silenced because he wasn't holding the attention of the silencing mobs. And to top it all off, he was wearing a skirt. A skirt. Blizzard doesn't put tanks in skirts, that I remember, unless it's druid leather... So glad I got gear upgrades and talents. -_-
7) UB - Neutral
8) AC - Good

...going to have to stop this for now. the BC section, and I'm told WotLK section is so faceroll that I never run out of mana no matter how stupid the group is being. Makes it very hard to judge.

Greedy goblin - WoW Cynicism at Its Finest

As I wrote, Blizzard designed an ingenious mechanic for heroics: there is huge pressure on tanks and healers to do great job, while little pressure on damage dealers. While good damage dealers can speed up the fight, killing the boss before healer is OOM, can avoid damage to make his life easier and watch aggro, if they don't do it, the immediate reason of the wipe will be healer OOM or healer unable to keep the party alive. So arthasdklol, while wipe to red, can maintain the self-image of "l33t guy" who just wiped due to that noob healer. The same way he can't raid but blame the tanks and healers for not being in his guild or leaving it. Arthasdklol will keep playing as he feels good about himself while losing (and feels bad about the healer or tank).

...I wonder what it says about me, that I agree with him.

So I've started drinking coffee...

...even though I don't particularly like the stuff.

I've always been more of a tea person. Teas! I have so many teas!

So why is the nugget being coffeefied? Weeeeeeell...

...our new office has this super spiffy coffee-making machine, with lots of shiny steel surfaces and sleek black appurtenances and dials and buttons and lights and...


I'm drinking coffee I don't really want, in copious amounts, because it's so fun to watch it gloosh out of the machine.

I'm sure there's some relation to MMOs and grind here, I just can't quite figure out what.