Noobing Along in MMOs - Too Easy Can Make It Hard

The real issue is that the game throws you all over the place, speeds you through everything, and never teaches you a damn thing.

While the Grumpy Elf is talking about WoW here, I find it applies just as much to Forsaken World. Levelling has become so fast at low levels, and even faster with 'mentor' stuff that PWE has put in. With 'mentor' stuff, highbies are rewarded for running lowbies through instances and stuff. If you're a real newbie, and if you take advantage of all the mentor things available - you'll probably have real trouble learning to play your class properly and effectively.

This is exacerbated by the fact that most highbies don't actually WANT to mentor. They just want to get their rewards at the end. This is based on the newbies feeling like what they've asked for has been accomplished - and it usually works. The instance gets run, the goals get finished, the newbies get gear. But do the mentors TEACH? Rarely, from what I've seen. Nor do the newbies expect actual imparting of knowledge vs imparting of quest completion and gear. This is no way to learn.

And so, both parties go on their way 'satisfied', but I'd say the real newbies are hardly ever well-served.

FW's instances are decently challenging as far as Dance-Dance-Revolution games go *if attempted at the proper level, with that level of gearing*. They remind me a lot of vanilla WoW, without anything quite as innovative as Dire Maul Coffer Runs. However, mentoring just turns the whole instance setup upside down, since as a newbies, you're basically just standing to the side looking pretty while the high levels gank everything.

If you're a high level and for some reason you've never done this content at the level of er... level and gear it was designed for, you, too - have never learned the skills and the lessons taught in the content.

And some of these skills you're expected to know later on, in level cap dungeons.

It's a vicious cycle. O.o

That being said, the whole mentor thing is wonderful for more experienced players who just want to level alts fast for whatever reason...

For these players, the learning curve is much easier if you've already played one talent tree of a class, no matter how different the talent trees (possible exception, switching from DPS to healing). But if you're totally new to the game... Oh dear.

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:

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.

Forsaken World & World of Warcraft - It isn't always about the price.

One of the things I've noticed about the F2P model is that some peeps seem to think that F2P (P2W) games are inherently inferior to subscription games - and that the only reason why people could possibly be playing F2P games is because they haven't got the cash for a subscription.

<.< Let's ignore that F2P games can cost a lot more if you aren't careful.

I'm not playing Forsaken World because it's F2P.  I do use the cash shop - but I make sure that I don't spend more than a subscription would cost (in fact, I spend less right now, but that's just me).

The thing is, even if FW and WoW were both subs, or both F2P, I'd play FW over WoW in a heartbeat.

I am, however, a jaded ex-raider, who won't even pick up an MMO if it has 'endgame PvE raiding' as a feature. I'm also self-reliant to the point of neuroticism in MMOs. XD

So for me, FW is better than WoW. Not just 'better because it's free'.

Outright better.

Oh yah, for those who want 'support' for my statements about WoW... I played it for 3 years, starting in Vanilla. Stopped for 2 years just before WotLK came out. Had 10 70s at that point. Some very geared - since I mention raiding, that's a given. Went back for one month when Cata came out, levelled a holy priest from 1 - 85 on a fresh account. Cancelled after that one month. So I'd say I have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to WoW. ;)

Big Bear Butt Blogger » No One Told You When To Run

Cluebot: If they’re not willing to group with you and help you take advantage of Recruit a Friend to get you to max level so you can play with them… well, they’re not really a fgood riend, understand? They’re just people you know that said, “Hey, why not pick up the game and join us, it’ll be cool dude.” No, this is more about you wanting to get yourself to max level so you will be worthy of joining them in what they’re doing. Friends are usually at least a teensy bit interested in spending time with you, no matter the level, especially if it’ll help you get to play with them and their max level characters faster. 

Ah baar, you are so wise. And yet, you forget, environments change people. :( The Stanford Prison Experiment isn't just a university experiment.

Gamasutra - Features - World of Warcraft and Life After Cataclysm

"One of the primary reasons I stopped playing was that I felt like so much of what made raiding interesting and fun was that elite end of the game where you have access to content that only a few people every get to see," Doug Thomas, Associate Professor at USC and co-author of A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, said. "Systematically, I felt what Blizzard has done is taken their high-end game content and made it increasingly accessible to larger group of players."

"Even if you couldn't get the high-end Epics, you could get something that was pretty much equivalent through token systems. That kind of thing kind of eroded one of the core dynamics about what was fun about the game for me."

Translation: There are always more people who would rather wave their peens in other people's faces, rather than get better at using those peens privately.

Thus, if you remove the option to have the rarest, biggest, purplest pixellated peen, those peeners would then rather quit than continue.

...what do you mean the sex is the fun part?

Wise Goblin Idiot Control Methodology

Earlier the direct effect of criticism was minimal. Practically the M&S only stopped doing his nonsense when he was a true newbie totally oblivious to TB. In every other case I got "lol i do what i wanna" or "whysosrs lol" or "welcome to my /ignore". Of course there was a long-time effect, they usually stopped doing the same nonsense or showing up at all. It's simple sub-conscious method, he "plays for fun" and being criticized is not fun, so he (without being consciously aware of) avoided things that attracted critical comments.

But when I called them out with guild name, I started to get "sorry" or some lame excuse and immediate fixing their behavior. I was totally amazed. Took some time figuring out what's going on

It works!

It really, really works!

Tested in Guild Wars and Forsaken World. It WORKS!


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!]