LFR Perspectives: Of Anxiety And Class

LFR will go down in MMO history as the topic of conversation this month, and probably for many months to come. Blizzard have done something audacious and arguably crazy here – build a system which matchmakes 25 total strangers in an environment known to be socially hostile to attempt to cooperate at a task. It’s fascinating, it’s sometimes very fun, and it’s often a trainwreck.

Today, we’ve got two perspectives from the “trainwreck” side of things.

Firstly, The Reluctant Raider talks about something that has been concerning several of my guildmates too – the creeping likelihood that LFR will gradually become a mandatory part of guild play, and just what we can do about that

“When I started to hear rumors of the upcoming LFR system, I thought that this was a great idea for the people who work weird schedules or have kids to take care of or just don’t have a guild to run with. However, now that it’s out, I’m seeing more and more of my guildies say “Don’t forget to run LFR this week and get some upgrades!”

Honestly, this has my heart in a vice grip. The idea of going into a group where I know (at the most) 4 or 5 people makes me want to scream and then cry. I have said “I don’t want to go, thank you” but now I’m sitting on the side lines watching my best friends and my husband get their “Fall of Deathwing” and it’s killing me. In our raid group, the only person who doesn’t have “Fall of Deathwing” is me.

Am I bringing my raid group down because I can’t LFR? If I want to progress, do I need to have a panic attack over a video game? I don’t know. “

There are echoes of the Valor Point Capping debate of earlier in the year here, and indeed a meta-debate that has been going on for years now. At what point does our involvement in a social game force us to do something that may be unpleasant or even actively harmful for us? And how can we avoid or mitigate those problems?

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Aldous the Boozekin raised one gin-soaked wing for a hilarious account of how he internally translates the activity and dialogue of a standard Looking for Raid run – which rather illustrates the Reluctant Raider’s point

“This next gentleman is far too friendly. What a jolly old chap! Not only will he only be harming you once every thirty seconds, but we’re also going to be providing you with a unique ability that will allow you to completely avoid the damage that he attempts to inflict upon you. It’s almost as if this gentleman wants us to defeat him! Far too simple, I say, far too simple.

Well that first attack didn’t go very well. My friends, please remember to activate your special abilities, lest you wish death upon yourselves…

ok LOL seriously? click button it’s not hard.

ugh okay it’s just not worth the heals. HEALERS PLS DON’T HEAL DPS THAT FAILS AT BUTTON

come on guys almost got it gogogogogogogog

uuuuuuuuungh well of course we hit enrage, not enough dps in this group. L2 NOT FAIL NUBS

What’s in LFR’s future? Amusement, nice feature, or horrible trial by fire?

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Do you feel rolling “need” is greedy?

We’ve all felt anxious about rolling “need” at some point, I’m sure. Maybe we weren’t certain it was an upgrade, maybe we knew one of our guildies wanted the item too.

But for some players, I’ve noticed, rolling “need” is a much bigger thing.

Terishelly at Bravetank has a – yes – very brave post up today, talking about her experiences with anxiety and the “need” button. It’s a fascinating read, dealing with an aspect of the game that I suspect many more people suffer from than we might realise – the anxiety of, even in a computer game, risking seeming selfish in a social setting :

“My worst fear though was accidentally rolling need myself. I was terrified of that. I did not know what I would do if I did it. I knew I could just apologise & offer to roll again. But I also feared I would not get a chance to explain myself. I would be the object of hatred and vitriol from the moment I clicked the button and my guilt ridden typos as I tried to apologise would not help (“I am so sorry” would inevitably come out like “It’s mine all mine!” combined with cackling laugh. Bloody typos).

So my first few dungeons I was petrified. My OCD reached new heights as I found myself checking & doublechecking before clicking. Sometimes I used to wish no loot would come up at all so I could relax (even thought I was running dungeons for better gear …). The mantra I recited was “It is ok to need if it’s an upgrade”. But that didnt’t help. How did I know if something was an upgrade? It took me ages to find out you could hit the shift button over the item to compare it to what you were already wearing. I used to think people had memorised all their stats (some probably do) and knew in an instant what was an upgrade or not. I used to hate myself for not knowing this. I cursed my short attention span. Sometimes I forgot what character I was playing and made dire mistakes (no one respected my mage who thought she was a healer). If I could do that I could never remember what particular level chestpiece I needed.”

I’ve known people in the past who have been very reluctant to roll “Need” on items, sometimes even to the point of absurdity. I had a fair idea of some of the reasons behind it, but this post really lays it out in a vivid way – the fear of appearing as you’re not, the drilled-in message (particularly for women) that it’s not OK to want for yourself.

It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking read – well worth a look.

Do you feel fear when you reach for the Need button?

Quote taken directly from Terishelly’s post

Find Bravetank’s homepage at http://bravetank.wordpress.com/ .

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