Wipe on, wipe off – how pro guilds get world firsts

There’s a saying in the kickboxing world, originating from Chinese martial arts, I think. “I do not fear the ten thousand kicks you have practised once. I fear the one kick you have practised ten thousand times.”

Excellence in any field demands a LOT of practise – like, insane amounts. Malcolm Gladwell quotes the number as being 10,000 hours – or about 10 years of full working weeks – to achieve “genius” level. Most pro musicians are probably practising 4 hours or more a day, every day. Professional writers refer to the “million words of crap” that you have to write.

And pro guilds, as Jinxed Thoughts’ fascinating blog post explores today, are no different. Paragon just downed Heroic Ragneros – and in spite of them being some of the most skilled players in the world, it took them over 500 attempts:

…That still leaves 250 wipes with no other explanation than good old human error. That still leaves 10 wipes per person in the raid who just went “woops, I killed you all due to my failing”. My guild has a three strike rule, meaning that if you fail to the same obvious mistake three times in a row, you’re out. Admittedly we don’t follow this rule very much, but it’s there. And even if you fail to ten different things, most people would get cranky when you fail at the fourth. Somehow it seems like Paragon players wouldn’t be allowed into our raids (although of course we fail way more often than that each fight, but we still have that rule).

Now, I know Paragon players are better than probably everyone in my guild, definitely myself included, but you know what they’ve really got that we lack? Patience.

This is a really interesting exploration of a part of WoW excellence that is rarely talked about – the ability to stay together, calm, focussed and not get disheartened even when someone’s just stood in the magic black nastiness for the 35th time. It’s hard to do. As Zinn says, most guilds start bitching about Wipe #50 – one tenth of the wipes Paragon went through. And he goes on to explore the other patience needed – the patience to watch a sixth video even if you think you got everything from that last 5, the patience to sit and practise movement routines in Durotar when you’re not even in the fight, the patience to do all the grinds to get all the buffs that might give you a better chance in a raid.

I remember when Herding Cats finally downed the Lich King, it was after 6 weeks of twice-a-week wiping – probably 130 or so wipes in total. About a third of the wipes in, we had to adjust the way we were thinking to consider all the wipes as positive things, learning experiences. I remember repeating the “ten thousand kicks” mantra then. Eventually we did it, and it’s one of the proudest moments in my gaming career – because we managed to overcome not just the Level ?? Lich King, but also the Level ??!!!!!!! Frustration and Boredom.

What do you think? Should an imba guild never wipe? Or is wiping part and parcel of playing?

_Quote taken directly from Zinn’s article.

Find Jinxed Thoughts’ homepage at http://jinxedthought.blogspot.com/_