Manners — epic fail

There are a lot of things I feel I understand very well — networks and routers, gardening, small unit military tactics, laundry, organizational logistics, clay, my dog, grilling bratwurst, Civil War campaigns, algebra, the scientific method, retrieving hidden and deleted data from a computer — well, you get the idea.

But humans? Not a clue. Oh, I have a vague intellectual grasp of behavioral principles and developmental milestones, and I have been trained in cultural norms and differences. I have friends, I am close to my young nieces and nephews, I function quite well in most social circles.

But often — too often, in my opinion — I am completely bamboozled by people’s behavior. And yes, of course what set me off on this are a couple of incidents in WoW over the weekend.

The first one happened in our weekly guild alt run. On Fridays we gather our “main alts” and clear the normal version of whatever raid tier is current. We do it mainly just for fun, and also to get some gear for alts we play fairly often. A couple people may bring their mains (or switch to their mains on especially hard bosses), which is a good thing because usually we stink on our alts and they help to carry us. We have a good time and tend to laugh a lot.

This past Friday we were a little short on people, so the RL decided to pug a few healers and dps. We had the usual number of rage quits, sudden unexplained disappearances, and extremely low-damage players, but eventually we sorted it out and cleared through Argus. When we finished, a warlock that had joined us for about the last 5-6 bosses had this to say to the raid (paraphrasing, but this is the gist), “U r a fail group and need 2 lrn how 2 play before raiding”. I was surprised enough by the comment that I whispered him, “If that is your way of saying ty for the invite, yw. Ass hat.” He of course unleashed a volley of crude vulgar hate-filled invective on me before I dropped group and effectively silenced him since he was from a different server.

So here’s the thing: In my wildest excursions into meanness and incivility, I would never even consider trashing a group that had invited me to run a raid with them. If I thought the group was terminally bad, I might drop out of it before the end, giving some excuse or other. But if I finished the raid — no matter how bad I thought the people in it were — I would always at least say “ty for the invite, guys”. Even if the group had been rude to me as a pug, the most I would do is drop out with no comment. It’s just inexcusably piggish to do otherwise. And I do not understand the motivation of people like this pug — he cannot possibly gain anything from his actions.

Another example: late on Sunday, when there were only a few guildies still logged in, one of our members asked if anyone could help him finish a quest that required him to get something from a dungeon. One of our always-helpful officers spoke up and said he could do it, and I said I could, too. It was a trivial thing, the three of us entered the instance (Maw of Souls) in normal mode, and rapidly killed stuff to the point where the guildie could get the quest item. We asked him if he needed anything else, to which he replied he would check and hearthed back to Dal (I am guessing — at least he left the area). That was the last I heard from him, and after a bit the officer said he thought that was it and we disbanded the group. After several more minutes the guildie said in gchat, “Thanks, [name of officer]”, but the officer had already logged off. Rather pointedly, I said “yw”, but it seemed to not faze the guildie. I didn’t even get so much as a sheepish apology and late ty, in whisper or gchat or anywhere.

It is true the help we rendered was trivial, but the fact remains that both of us dropped what we were doing, flew to Maw, summoned the guildie, and helped him do his thing. He could not have done it without us, as his original chat request stated he had been waiting over 30 minutes already for an auto-group and really needed guild help. Yet he couldn’t even trouble himself to thank both of us?? Clearly, he is an ill-mannered clod whose requests for help I will henceforward ignore, but sheesh! Does no one learn basic civility or manners any more?

I suppose, as I have opined before, that the relative anonymity of the virtual environment permits people to indulge their inner turd selves, and many leave behind them the social niceties their teachers and parents and peers have worked so hard to impose on them. They are secure in the knowledge that no one is going to report their churlish behavior to their mommies or their pastors. They are the lower strata of humanity, which I suppose is sad for them if they are aware enough to realize it. After all, decent people do the right thing, the kind thing, even when they think no one important is looking.

Still, even in the virtual world — especially a place like WoW where you take on an identifiable persona — there can be consequences for cloddish behavior. The warlock will probably never be invited to join one of our guild pugs again, and the selfish guildie will likely receive no further assistance from me. I know those are not big consequences — pretty sure neither of them cares — but they are still consequences. Which means the behavior that led to them was in both cases against the self-interest of the individuals, so I really do not understand why they would do/fail to do what they did.

Manners are not complicated, nor are they superfluous in almost any social interaction you can name. They are the grease that helps civilization continue to function.

And I am still perplexed by humans.

Heroic Coven of Shivarra — bring your bookie

Last night our guild took another stab at Heroic Coven of Shivarra in Antorus the Burning Throne. It was our second venture into it, and we were unsuccessful. It’s not like we have run up against a brick wall or anything on this boss — think we only have something like 25-30 Heroic wipes so far. And I suspect we will kill it next week. But there is something about this fight that just feels wrong — a frustrating powerlessness that makes it more akin to a game of chance than the kind of tough boss fight Blizz used to design.

For those who have not been on the raid, Coven is a council-type boss fight, with three bosses that switch out so that you fight any two of them at once. At intervals, various types of large adds appear around the room. The adds are quite powerful, and failure to deal properly with them will wipe the raid, as will failure to deal with the various continuous damage powers of the bosses. At any given time, the raid is dealing with 3-4 or more simultaneous mechanics, and it can get quite hectic.

This in itself is not bad — kind of standard fare in modern raids. What strikes me as different about this raid is the extent to which raid composition and pure luck play a role in success. Yeah, I know there have been other tiers where certain boss kills were somewhat dependent on luck, but Coven seems to be in a class all its own for its dependence on these factors. Two examples:

  • Location of safe spots during the storm AoE. This AoE will kill you unless you are standing in one of several randomly-located safe spots for the duration. If most or all of these safe spots spawn on top of other one-shot mechanics, the raid will wipe. And this happens regularly.
  • Order of adds. Certain types of adds are much more difficult (ok, almost impossible) to survive if they spawn at certain points in the fight (Norgannon adds during Storm, for example, or during the targeted freeze mechanic or during the mass-slow mechanic). There are only four types of adds, so the chances of drawing a raid-wiping combo of them are pretty high.

The above are the major RNG factors, but there are a ton of minor ones, too. If a player gets more than one random targeted debuff — which seems to happen with distressing regularity — and happens to not be at full health when they hit, the player will almost certainly die. If a player happens to get the frozen debuff during Norgannon adds, that player will almost certainly die to the adds. And there are countless other debuff combos that will insta-kill you, all of them the result of random targeting.

Also, as I mentioned, the raid composition heavily influences your chances for success. One that is heavy on melee has almost no chance of killing this boss, and in fact any raid that is not nearly all ranged will have significantly more difficulty than one that is. Classes with shorter defensive cooldowns are at a distinct advantage over ones with, say only 1 or 2 long defensive cooldowns. And druids and DKs are really the classes of choice for their exceptionally efffective cc abilities for the Norgannon adds. Blizz is once again rewarding us for bringing the class, not the player.

When you add all this up, you get a raid boss that seems — more than any other thus far in the game — to require more luck than skill to beat. (Interestingly, in Mythic — so I am told, I do not know it firsthand — the order of adds for this boss is fixed instead of random. Can’t be introducing uncertainty for the professional players, can we now? After all, they are the primary target audience for this game.)

As I said above, we will almost certainly kill this boss within a week or so, and eventually we will outgear it so that we can roflstomp through. But that is not the point. The point is, that while the mechanic design for this boss may have been relatively decent, the RNG implementation of nearly every aspect of that design — along with the cascading effect on raid composition — is terrible.

Most raid teams consider Coven to be the most challenging boss in the raid, harder even than Argus, the final boss, another indication that it is badly implemented. Sorry, but I belong to the camp that still believes the final boss should be the most difficult one…

I have complained before about what I consider to be Legion’s over-reliance on RNG for nearly every aspect of the game. But the introduction of large-scale randomness even in a raid boss seems to be approaching a jump-the-shark point in the game. It is not fun™ to be put in a position in a boss fight where you know either you as a player will die or the raid will wipe and there is nothing you can or could have done to prevent it. You can ignore it to an extent if it is an exceptionally rare occurrence. But when it happens with the frequency it seems to in Coven, it is a worrisome trend. This is not the WoW raid design that drew me to the activity in the first place.

When Legion is in our rear-view mirrors, will we see its RNG pervasiveness as the point where Blizz recognized they had gone too far, or as the jumping-off point for a new genre: the Massively Multiplayer Online Game of Chance?

On that low note, it is time to start the weekend. See you on the other side.

Legendary follies continue

There are times when you almost have to admire Blizzard’s steadfast commitment to major blunders. Even when they publicly admit certain designs were mistakes, their response is usually to not only keep the bad design but also double down on it. (Think of WoD’s garrisons as a perfect example.)

It’s like there is a corporate attitude, when faced with the consequences of an obvious design mistake, of going big or going home. They seem incapable of any semblance of organized retreat, all they can do is cram the mistake down our throats.

Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Legion legendary gear. As I have written before (here and here for example), I consider the Legion legendary design to be one of the worst Blizz has ever done. Even Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas has, on more than one occasion, begrudgingly mumbled something about maybe they could have done a better job implementing the idea.

My main complaint about Legion legendaries is that Blizz tried to do too much with them in terms of their gear effects, and in the process they created a number of “must-have” pieces for a lot of specs. Sometimes these “good” legendaries were just bandaids to cover over bad spec design, sometimes they had effects that eventually turned out to be super powers for the spec. Bad enough, but then add in the whole RNG aspect of them, and Blizz created a world of player winners and losers based almost solely on luck. Eventually, even the RNGeniuses at Blizz realized this and made some tweaks designed to even out the relative values of legendaries. They were not entirely successful — there are still some “must-haves” for a couple of specs — but the endeavor met the new Blizz corporate standard of Good Enough.

Another fallout of Legion legendaries is that they made it difficult to easily swap to off specs, or to develop alts to the point where they were geared sufficiently to be fun to play. (And yes, I know I will get responses from some of you out there claiming you had no problem getting 6 legendaries each on all your druid off specs as well as on all 10 of your alts, and you did it in a weekend. Shut up. You’re lying.) Worse for unlucky players waiting weeks to get off spec or alt legendaries, Blizz’s claimed “bad luck insurance” algorithm apparently only goes so far as to increase the odds of a legendary dropping, it does nothing to help an unlucky player actually get a useful one once it finally does drop. (Yeah, Ion, nothing more fun™ than an RNG drop of a useless legendary and knowing it will be weeks before you get another chance at the lotto.)

For those few players who managed to get every legendary for every spec in their class, Blizz dipped once more into their Suggestion Box For Ways to Screw With the Players and came up with this: if a character has all possible legendaries for all specs in their class, the next time you win the RNG lottery, you will get — hold onto your hats —

A totally random legendary for a totally random class and spec you may not even have as an alt!!! What fun™!!

I am not even going to go into the doubling down actions Blizz took when they added a special raid-only set of non-legendary legendaries to the current raid tier. Or the fact that Blizz cheesed out and refused to upgrade our old ones (as they did in WoD) when the new ones rose in ilevel, instead opting to make us grind for weeks to get the stuff to upgrade each one individually. As if the mess they had made thus far was not enough.

And now comes Patch 7.3.5, and Blizz’s next installation of making the whole legendary mess worse and then shoving it in our faces.

On January 6, CM Lore grandly announced that Patch 7.3.5 would give us an additional way to obtain legendaries: we could use the same stuff (Wakening Essences) we now collect in order to upgrade our old legendaries. For the price of 175 of these things, we could get a token that would award a legendary appropriate to the class/spec of the character earning the essences.

OK, might be kind of cool, we all could see some possibilities there.

However, in typical fashion, this idea arrived half-baked. Some players immediately began to try to get 175 essences on as many characters as they could. They discovered that, if they had been diligent and already upgraded all of their legendaries, they could not obtain the quest to collect essences, thus they could not work on their 175. On the other hand, characters that had not rushed to upgrade legendaries still had the quest and could keep renewing it as long as they kept at least one legendary at 970 level.

This seemed like a bug, so a few players complained to Blizz.

Blizz did a double-take, because apparently it had not occurred to them that we sneaky players would actually try to collect essences before 7.3.5 went live. I mean, the very idea gave them the vapors! So they went into emergency session, and on January 8, CM Lore announced this:

A few additional details on the new Legendary token:

  • We’ve just pushed a hotfix live that makes Wakening Essences drop for everyone, regardless of whether you’re on the quest or not.
  • We’ll also be dramatically increasing both the number of Essences required to purchase tokens and the rate at which you gain them in Patch 7.3.5. The overall time investment needed to purchase a token will stay roughly the same, but this will minimize the benefits of stockpiling Essences ahead of time.
    • Note: Emissary bags earned prior to the release of 7.3.5 will still give pre-7.3.5 numbers of Essences. There is no benefit to saving Emissary bags until afer the patch.
  • We also plan to add Wakening Essences to your first Battleground win of the day in 7.3.5.
  • The tokens are bind-on-pickup, because we don’t want to overly encourage players to farm Essences on alt characters in order to feed Legendary items to their mains. However, if you purchase and use a token on a character that already has all of the available legendaries for their class, you will be given a random BoA token for another class.

Really, Blizz? Really? After all the legendary angst you’ve inflicted on us for more than a year because of your slipshod design and half-assed implementation, you have the balls to begrudge us the tiniest semblance of control? And pardon me, Mr. alt-phobic Hazzikostas, but could you kindly keep the voices in your head from leaking out? What the hell do you care if I or anyone else wants to have alts that send gear or mats or gold or enchants or gems or whatever to my main, or indeed vice-versa? It has no appreciable effect on the game as a whole, and frankly it is none of your goddamn business how I choose to use my alts. (And not for nothin’, but I suspect most players who care at all about legendaries would likely use their main to supply this gear to their alts, not the other way around.)

The vast majority of players are not in a position to “take advantage” of the first-announced 7.3.5 change in any meaningful way — they do not have the time, or they do not have sufficiently equipped alts, or they simply do not care about their gear level or their legendaries any more because it is the end of the expansion. So the latest move to stop what Blizz believes would be a heinous gaming of the system is in fact aimed at what we now must admit is Blizz’s only important customer base: the less than 1% of top tier players who aspire to competitive fame.

Blizz, do you really think the game would disintegrate if, this late in the expansion, you gave us BoA legendary tokens (both from the essence trade-in and as a result of getting one after you have all the ones in your class), ones any character could turn in and get a relevant legendary? In fact, what would it hurt if indeed these tokens allowed us to actually — better sit down for this one — choose our desired legendary?

WoW used to be a game for the masses, but now it is designed for the elite. It used to allow millions of players to shape their own play style and enjoy the game in their own way, but now the Blizz Central Committee dictates a smaller and smaller range of permitted play styles and personal objectives. What a shame it has come to this.

2018 – My year of alts?

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I certainly did, but I won’t deny it is good to be back to a routine. The house is back to its normal non-decorated self, all the bad-for-you Christmas cookies and fudge and such have been gobbled or otherwise disposed of, the relatives have gone home, the parties are over, and there is no need for constant cheer.

O, comfortable rut, how I missed you!

Anyway, I did get in a lot of WoW play time while on break. Mostly I took the opportunity to develop a few of my alts that have been so badly neglected this entire expansion. It occurs to me that our raid team will soon — probably within a month — be done with Heroic Antorus TBT, and then things will essentially be set on “coast” for the remainder of Legion. Sure, we will still raid a couple of times a week, but after progression it is mainly just fun runs and getting Ahead of the Curve for non-raiders, along with some gear. I doubt if we will be doing any Mythic attempts, as once we finish Heroic (currently 8/11) it gets hard to corral enough core raiders to get to 20. So I am not holding my breath on that, and honestly I am kind of looking forward to a respite.

I think we are in for a pretty long “content drought” this year — typical end-of-expansion doldrums. It seems unlikely that we will see Battle for Azeroth before Blizzcon. We do not even have a hint of an Alpha much less a Beta yet, and we are probably still a month or two away from Patch 7.3.5. Also, I cannot imagine Blizz going into a Blizzcon without something big to hype. So my main bet is that we will have Legion for most of the rest of 2018.

Still, I have to admit that Blizz has surprised me with their delivery of Legion content. I may quibble with their definition of the term, but I cannot deny that they have carried out the exact schedule they promised. If anything, Legion has given us too much to do. It is because of this recent history that I think there is a (slim) possibility that Blizz has a surprise or two left for us in Legion. Also, I do not think Ion Hazzikostas wants to risk players leaving Legion with a bad taste in their mouths because it dwindled to nothing for months on end.

I hope they are not banking on everyone being content to level their new allied race character for 8-10 months. (Although the cynic in me says that slowing down the leveling process while at the same time offering new races to level is absolutely not a coincidence…)

If there are Legion surprises (and remember I think it is a long shot), what they may be are anyone’s guess. After 7.3.5 there could be one or two small “fun” patches before we get 8.0 in preparation for BfA. These could offer some quality of life fixes, some new scenario-type activities, maybe some new timewalking stuff, maybe even a mini-raid.

Additionally, I think there is a tiny chance that all the WoW prognosticators and pundits are wrong, and we will get BfA much sooner than anyone expects. I have no real basis for this, but it still tickles at the back of my brain that there seems to be a very fuzzy line between BfA and 7.3.5 development. Patch 7.3.5 may be a Trojan horse of sorts, a way to sneak in a lot of BfA design and testing without actually admitting that is what is going on. If Blizz can limit the new things that a Beta has to test (and remember they have said that BfA will have very few major class changes), they might be able to bring the new expansion to live servers faster than most of us anticipate.

But as I said, both the “Legion surprise” and “early BfA” theories are extreme long shots. What is more likely is that we will have Legion for nearly all of 2018, with only allied characters to keep us busy. Which means I will have a nice long time to immerse myself in my favorite part of every expansion: the “content drought” period most people hate. With that thought in mind, I spent a good deal of my break time playing my alts.

Anyway, back to my alts. I am not even close to being an altoholic. I have basically a main and 7 alts, plus a bank alt and usually one or two low level alts that I play for a few days and then delete. Of my 7 alts, all but one are level 110, with varying gear levels. All are Alliance and all are on the same server. I have tried Horde alts from time to time but just do not enjoy that whole fantasy. Also, I have no dwarf or Draenei characters. If I had to pick a favorite race, it would be a tossup between Pandaren and Night Elves. All but one of my alts are female. My alt specs are either damage dealers (slightly more ranged than melee) or healers, no tanks.

My holiday surprise came when I spent some time on my mage. Regular readers will recall that I have struggled with mage play style forever, and that I tend to have a sort of love-hate relationship with the class. I stereotype it as a stand-still-and-cast class, and cloth-squishy to boot. So imagine my delight when I discovered that my fire mage is very mobile, and that she has some considerable defensive abilities. I am having a blast with her, trying now to get her gear level to a point where I can jump into a few of our guild alt runs in Antorus. I have always said I think fire mages have the best visuals in the game, and I think that even more now that I am actually playing one.

I get enormous satisfaction from a streak of Heating Up and Hot Streak procs, and these happen very frequently. Thinking about it, the absence of that is one of the things that makes BM hunter play so dull — you just do not get any fun procs to really get your adrenaline going. Back in the day, the thing I absolutely loved about SV hunter was getting that Lock and Load proc — it was pure joy when it went off and BAM! you knew you had a chance to do some very significant extra damage. It just never got old. The puny, yawn-inducing almost-unnoticeable procs you get on BM these days do not even come close. Thanks again, Blizz, for sucking the fun out of huntering.

I actually hope Blizz takes its time with Battle for Azeroth. I will be perfectly happy to play a lot of my alts for several months. As my game time is usually limited to around 20 hours a week or so, I have not so far had the luxury of both maintaining a raiding main and doing end game play on my alts. I am hoping 2018 allows me to give my main a rest and spend most of my game time on some of my favorite (and possibly even new) alts.

Holiday break

I am taking a three week holiday break. Look for me back in this space on Monday January 8 2018.

Many cultures and religions have some sort of celebration around the winter solstice, and nearly all of them serve to give people reassurance and hope — that in the darkest and coldest days there is light from love and warmth from friendship, and a certainty that spring and the season of growth will soon come. With that in mind,

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Thanks to my readers for a great year. I wish you all the very best, and I will see you all in three weeks, cranky and ranting as usual!

Proc you!

A forum post caught my eye yesterday, and without a trace of sarcasm I can say it really tugged at my heart strings. Some poor hunter had been tracking Arcturis, the spirit bear, for years. Finally he comes upon this coveted pet, no one else in sight, and he casts Tame Beast, heart pounding.

Then one of his trinkets procs and kills Arcturis.

The player describes himself as “pissed”. Yeah, I think that choice of phrase shows admirable restraint. Speaking as someone who also hunted Arcturis for years, I can absolutely feel his pain. This bear has a long spawn time — I don’t know what it is, but it has to be close to 12-18 hours. He spawns in a tiny area near Amberpine Lodge in Grizzly Hills. And, of course, since he is a sought-after prize, there are often other hunters there (many from other realms, thank you CRZ) as well as despicable players whose only goal is to kill him and deny him to hunters. The only way I was ever able to get him is, to be blunt, pure dumb luck. I do not have the patience to actually camp rares, so for years I would visit the spawn area at random times 3-4 times a week, and finally one time there he was. My heart was pounding, and I was terrified I would screw it up with a mistimed auto shot or some other blunder, but all went well and he was finally mine. If one of my trinkets had suddenly proc’ed and killed him, I would have been far more than “pissed”!

At any rate, this unfortunate player quite rightly felt robbed by Blizz, so he put in a ticket. Still, his mind had clearly been affected by the traumatic experience if he actually expected assistance in righting this obvious bug. Because what he got from the GM was a slightly-more-polite version of “Oopsie we should fix this, meanwhile sucks to be you! Just go tame it again. Have a nice day.” To add insult to injury, he actually got a Blue response when he posted his experience in the forum, and the idiot Blue blithely said the equivalent of “My, that’s unfortunate. Next time take off all your gear first. Problem solved!”

I guaran-damn-tee you if the problem was a mage sheeping something and it triggered a damage proc, Blizz’s response to mages would not be, “Take off all your gear before you sheep a target.”

The first thing that hits me about this is — once again — there seems to be no one at Blizz with enough understanding of hunters or the hunter experience to give even a half-assed empathetic response. The responses were about as tone-deaf as someone cheerily telling you “Well, you can get another one,” in response to hearing that your beloved cat or dog died — zero regard for the depth of emotion you are experiencing.

Blizz, I double-dog dare you to name one dev in this game who actually mains a hunter, has done so for any length of time, and has a voice in influencing hunter class development. Prove me wrong and I will happily and publicly eat my words. 

The Tame Beast spell for hunters is basically a modified damage spell, or probably more accurately a variation on a cc spell. When it is cast,  you see a sort of reverse damage bar. It generates aggro, but instead of seeing a target’s health go down, you see a “love bar” with little hearts emanating from it. When the bar fills, your taming is complete and the animal switches from a hostile mob attacking you to a standard hunter pet.

There are some number of these “nice” spells in the game, these pseudo-cc spells. They certainly are common enough to be routinely factored in when contemplating new damage-dealing processes. But there seems to be no organized mechanism for staffing/brainstorming significant changes to discover conflicts. When Blizz decided to add trinket damage auto-procs to gear, any dev who was familiar with the class of spells like Tame Beast should certainly have raised a red flag. Did the gear developers talk to the spell developers? I do not know of course, but it seems like they did not. They just went ahead and put in a bunch of these damage-proccing trinkets, conflicts be damned.

This was a completely foreseeable conflict. By saying “Just take off all your gear before you tame anything” Blizz is telling us, “Yeah, we actually didn’t do a thorough development job on these, but you should absolutely be familiar with our shortcomings and take steps to avoid the problems we introduced.”

Late edit. Hotfixes for Dec 14, published late last night, indicate Blizz is testing this fix: “Tame Beast will no longer trigger trinket procs, such as Caged Horror”.  I am glad they are actually fixing this, but it does not change my opinion of their dev process. Basically they would never have done anything about this if someone had not made a pretty big stink about it, in spite of the fact that the bug has existed for a very long time now, was entirely predictable, and had indeed been noted by other hunters.

Which brings up my final point: do you have any idea how all your procs interact, or for that matter do you even know what they all are? I am betting less than a fraction of a percent of players do. I know I don’t. There are so many it is virtually impossible to know when they have activated, much less make intelligent decisions about a rotation to take them into account.

It’s one thing for a piece of gear to have an uncontrolled random passive effect like temporarily increasing a primary stat or enhancing crit rate or giving you an absorb, but it is entirely something else to have gear that randomly — and uncontrollably — sends out damage. I don’t care how many of the latter Blizz has implemented in Legion, they owe it to players to have done their homework and anticipated — and fixed — obvious problems before they go live with them.

Collectively, these random-proccing pieces of gear result in a significant loss of player control, which I suppose is in keeping with the new Blizz slogan, “Bring the class, not the player.” Obviously, I am not a big fan of having my gear decide for itself when damage will be unleashed, I kind of feel like that is my job.  I like it even less when the gear’s decision to act overrides and in some cases negates my conscious decisions in the game.

With that cranky tirade, it is time to start the weekend.

There is an “I” in “raid”

I have previously expressed my dismay at the extreme class pruning that has resulted in hunters having a diminished role as an all-purpose raid utility player. In both Mists and WoD, I loved being the raid DLJ (Dirty Little Jobs) player — the one who always either volunteered or was voluntold to take care of extra duties like flamethrower duty in Highmaul’s Brackenspore or belt duty in Siege of Orgrimmar’s Siegecrafter Blackfuse.

But even if hunters are no longer the automatic go-to player for these extra jobs, I still like doing them and will usually volunteer if given a chance. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to do something extra for the raid team, not to mention the chance to break from what can often be pretty boring pew-pewing? Well, to my surprise, it turns out that many damage dealers avoid these duties like the plague — when the raid leader asks for volunteers, there is often deafening silence, and you can almost see people studying their shoes and doing anything they can to avoid virtual eye contact with the RL.

I am, as I have mentioned several times, quite naive about a lot of things, and this is one of them. It turns out that some significant number of damage dealers do not want to do these extra duties because it can diminish their DPS numbers. These are the same players who want live logging because it allows them to immediately and compulsively check their ranking after each boss kill, who humble-brag about their numbers by sending DPS results out in raid chat and “complain” they only barely edged out the number 2 guy or their numbers are slipping or whatever. They demand certain team assignments when the raid needs to be split up, based not on where they might be most effective due to class abilities but where they can maximize their personal damage numbers.

Now, of course there is an argument to be made that maxing out DPS is the best contribution to the raid, I get that. And there is certainly a very understandable desire to be the best you can be. But this is different — this is a pure ego thing that places personal performance above all other considerations. This is the equivalent of the ball hog on a sports team, the high-paid star that demands to be the one who gets the carry over the goal line or refuses to make a sacrifice bunt.

I bring this up because of the now-infamous actions of one Adois, a mostly-benched healer on Limit’s Mythic raid team. This pathetic person actually DDOS’ed other healers on the team so that Limit was forced to call him off the bench for some of their final Tomb of Sargeras kills. Limit management was quite indignant about this heinous breach of trust and — I presume — kicked him as soon as they discovered what he was doing.

But there is a rather ironic what-goes-around-comes-around aspect to this. Limit is doing a good imitation of Captain Renault in Casablanca, in that they were “shocked, shocked to find out” cheating was going on there. Uh huh. This is a guild that had had its Helya mythic kill disallowed for pretty blatant bug exploitation, and that actually withdrew from world-first competition for Mythic Tomb of Sargeras because, in their own words, they had had too many of their raiders banned and/or quit the team as a result of being caught in the big selling-carries-for-real-money scam. Sorry, but when you promote a culture of cheating, you should hardly be surprised when one of your cohorts does it better than you do. I am in no way condoning Adois’s actions, but honestly he and Limit kind of deserve each other.

Please do not get the idea that I am equating a run-of-the-mill DPS whore with Adois, but I do think their motives are similar: me, me, me, always and only me. It is a mindset I can comprehend intellectually, but which I cannot understand at the gut level. I know this is a particular bias of mine — I am almost exclusively motivated by internal ideas of right and wrong, honor and responsibility, caring little for the approval or adulation of others. Though I pay serious attention to criticism, I do it from a desire to improve my internal compass, not because I care about others’ opinions of me. As a child, I did not need the affirmation of parental approval or good grades or awards, and in my adult life measuring sticks like performance appraisals have likewise never made much of an impression on me.

All this is by way of scratching my head over people who place their own goals over those of a team, or over what may be the goals of their teammates, in a computer game. My experience in this game is that people actually revert to their true selves in it, that many feel free to act without the normal social constraints present in real life. We are free to indulge our inner toddler, I suppose. I don’t condemn the DPS whores out there, or the braggarts who insist on advertising every high damage number or piece of luck-derived gear they get, or the shirkers who never volunteer for extra jobs in raid. I don’t condemn them, but I think less of them, they are not the kind of person I would ever trust to have my back in real life.

Meanwhile, I will continue to volunteer for extra duties, and I will happily go wherever I am assigned. Oh, and I promise to refrain from DDOSing anyone on my raid team.