Should Blizzard introduce a secret police force?

The Grumpy Elf has been advancing an interesting argument lately. A few days ago, he proposed that the real thing that killed Cataclysm was nothing less than the behaviour of the player base of WoW. And today, he’s making a bold assertion – that if WoW is ever going to repair its community, it needs active, in-community moderation.

An in-world police force, in short

“What blizzard needs to do is adopt active moderation and actually have the balls to back it up. They need to have people watching trade chat and banning people, not waiting for reports. They need to randomly pop into instances and check on things and ban people when it is needed. They need to be active about it and not wait for reports. They need to do something and I do not even mean anything really harsh, but something that shows people will be held responsible for their actions.

People posting [anal] in trade, three day ban from posting in trade. Someone asking what the best raid spec for a hunter is at the moment and having people answer arcane because they think it is funny to troll them, three day ban from posting in trade. People going on rants with insults all over the place in a random, three day ban from using the random system. Someone rolling on something just to trade it later that speaks up in raid and says that is their intention, three week ban from the looking for raid.

If the community they let get out of control starts getting in trouble for their actions, if the anonymity does not protect them from getting punished, in time people will start to behave better because they never know when someone is watching.”

Grumpy makes a pretty good case here, from both his experience with community moderation and what we’ve all seen of WoW and the various LF* tools. He touches on current problems and how this would fix them, and his suggestions seem plausible.

On the other hand, it occurred to me after reading this post – and saying “yes, yes” – that essentially, he’s talking about a secret police force. Always watching, always judging. He even mentions the power of fear as a tool that will suppress the unruly elements in the community. And even in the examples he gives, we can see the potential for abuse, miscarriages of justice, and similar problems.

I honestly don’t know on this one. Should we be encouraging active, silent moderation – or is that a bridge too far toward real-life situations none of us want to emulate?

What do you think? Should WoW bring the secret police to the ball?

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Checking In: Scroll of Resurrection

We’re catching up with some of the current blogosphere discussions today, with the first one being the Scroll of Resurrection. Last week saw the revamped Scroll hit the Internet, and discussion has raged about its many features ever since.

Today, we’ve had two more fascinating additions to the discussion. Firstly, Green Armadillo of Player vs Developer jumps in with a really interesting point – that the Scroll highlights the growing tension between MMO as game and MMO as world

“For the players who primarily see the MMO as a world, all of these answers are the entire reason to play the game. What is the point of playing a game where everything you have worked so hard for will be given away for free as the next promotion? For the players who want to play with their friends, all of theeeese answers are what’s keeping them from playing the game. If there is fault in the new system, it’s that it’s still too limited – current players need not apply, while even the fortunate former subscribers must grind out five levels and whatever gear they need to join their friends at endgame.”

This one goes straight into my “I never thought of that!” file. In hindsight, it’s an obvious point, but I’d not even considered it until GA brought it squarely to my attention. As WoW ages, and particularly as Blizzard struggle to maintain subscriptions, they continually shift the balance of WoW from “world” to “game”. LFD, the Scroll of Resurrection, and more all flow into this change – and I wonder if the rebalancing also reflects the change in mentality between the “Team A” that designed Vanilla and TBC, and “Team B”, which was responsible for WoTLK, Cataclysm and now Mists.

Meanwhile, Beruthiel of Falling Leaves and Wings writes a personal post, as she describes how the Scroll of Resurrection brought her back to wanting to spend all day and all night playing WoW

“I was really looking forward to the alliance experience and seeing where things differed in the quest chains. But I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do Hyjal or Vashj’ir. I knew that picking the right zone was going to be important to my follow through of this project, so I had to get it right. I started asking around to some of my alliance friends for their opinions, and ultimately ended up going to Vashj’ir. Largely because the music and scenery there is just so beautiful and tranquil, that is just felt right.

And it was.

By the end of Friday night I was 13 of the way through level 82 before I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I woke up Saturday ready to go – I got a cup of tea, found some breakfast and hunkered back down at the computer. Starting my weekend morning at the computer is something that I haven’t done in many months. I started the morning running a LFR with Brade, and then swapped over to my SoR project. I was half way to 83 by the time we stopped and went out for dinner and to run errands. As soon as we got home I ran through my hand exercises, tossed on my magic gloves, and was going “83 or bust!” before bed. I made it, but only just.”

This post has made me curious about firing up the Scroll of Resurrection, more than anything else I’ve heard. It just sounds so fun – even if I know that many people will be twitching at the very mention of Vash’jir.

So, what do you think of the Scroll? Have you Resurrected anyone yet?

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WoW dungeons with no idiots? A solution to low-population servers? Plus, WoW through new eyes

I’m really not sure I believe it, but it would appear to be true – has LFR removed all the idiots from WoW dungeons? Are Blizzard planning radical changes to the server architecture?

  • Klepsacovic is still rampaging through WoW on his return from a year’s break, and he’s discovered something uncanny – apparently, all the idiots have left LFD“I actually found myself having decent experiences in the random groups. At this point players seem to be overgeared enough that things feel approximately as trivialized as they did in late LK (post-LFD). But the players aren’t acting the same.”
  • Azuriel at In An Age is musing on a particularly fascinating Blizzard nugget – the “bold and spectacular plans” they have for sorting out low-population servers“We can imagine that instead of always logging onto Auchindoun or Earthen Ring or wherever, you simply log into a server. Once that server starts to fill towards capacity, people will start logging into a new server. This essentially eliminates low-pop and/or faction imbalanced servers entirely, aside from very last server booted up.”
  • And Big Bear Butt offers us the latest installment of his young son’s adventures through WoW. For anyone feeling a bit jaded, this is the perfect MMORPG unicorn chaser“He was controlling the dwarf Theldurin and punching his way up the Scar of the Worldbreaker, punching through rock walls and Earth Elementals, and he says to me, “I like punching rock guys. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine.””

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SWTOR in the controversy spotlight – An LFD? Financial success?

SWTOR’s straight in the controversy headlights at the moment, with the bloom coming off the rose of the first month of release, and two major controversies raging around the game right now.

Firstly, there’s the LFD issue. We’ve already talked a bit about it in previous days, but it’s really blown up on the blogosphere in the last couple of days. In short – SWTOR has no Looking for Flashpoint (their instance equivalent) tool. It’s also quite single-player focussed. As a result, even the hardcore anti-LFD amongst us are starting to wonder if it needs an LFD tool after all:

  • Syl at Raging Monkeys is amazed and aghast at her own transformation into someone who wishes for an LFD tool“In no conceivable MMO-future could I picture myself among those who actively ask for LFG; that would just be utterly bizarre. Unthinkable. Outrageous.Or wouldn’t it?”
  • Gazimoff analyses just what in SWTOR makes it feel so much like it needs LFD“Looking back on the early days of Warcraft some six or so years ago, zone layout consisted of a collection of quests followed occasionally by an instance at the end. The quest chains were laid out to drive players to the instance, making sure that they were aware of them and that they should take part.”

And secondly, we come to the big question – is SWTOR failing to meet the high standards of success it needs to recoup its huge budget? A LOT of people are weighing in with some quite surprising opinions:

  • Tobold isn’t quite ready to call SWTOR a failure yet. Not quite.“I can well see myself becoming bored by soloing, and quitting because I can’t find enough group content. Whether I am an unique snowflake or just one of hundreds of thousands of players who thinks that way is what will determine the future of SWTOR. And maybe of the MMORPG genre. “
  • Azuriel of In An Age points out the logical errors he believes people who are predicting SWTOR’s doom are making“It is important to have a discussion about what “success” really means – just like with “casual” and other loaded terms, having some kind of idea where people actually stand would reduce the effects of talking past one another.”
  • And Gazimoff (yes, him again!) analyses the likely costs and needed profit for SWTOR to succeed“There’s also customer support requirements. Again these are likely to be an expansion of existing EA facilities rather than dedicated BioWare installations, although SWTOR support might be made up of a dedicated team. Even with a team of 100 staff on an average salary of $30k per year the overall support cost would be $3 million per year.”

So, is SWTOR going down, or doing fine? What do you think?

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Does the solution to LFR woes lie within ourselves?

The LFR experience, it’s safe to say, is not getting very good press right now. And LFD’s lack of community and percieved unfriendliness have been getting bad ink since the Dungeon Finder launched.

But today, we’ve got a pair of very interesting posts from bloggers who are arguing that, perhaps, the solution to awful PUG problems lies within ourselves.

First up, Tzufit of Tree Heals Go Whoosh has a suggestion – that we can be the change we wish to see in PUGs

“The idea that moral behavior is pointless in MMOs is only true if we allow it to be. Do you want to see a friendlier, more helpful environment in PuGs? What are you doing to make that change possible? How are you making every group you step into decent place to spend half an hour? Are you greeting people? Are you showing patience when someone asks a question about an encounter? Are you aware that WoW is not universally easy or simple for everyone who plays it? Can you imagine that perhaps someone in your group has only recently leveled to 85 for the very first time? Can you choose to /ignore a player who is acting badly, rather than rising to the bait?

I’m not naïve; I recognize that there will still be players who are having a bad day and decide to take it out on strangers. I know that trolls exist and will continue to frustrate the rest of us for the life-span of the Internet. But the only behavior we can change is our own. The only perception we can change is our own. If we want to see a shift in attitude, we must start by changing the dialogue.”

It’s an interesting challenge to everyone running PUGs out there – and also a pretty challenging message. I can imagine that Tzufit’s going to get some negative comment, but it’s a brave and worthy stance to take.

On a similar line, Windsoar of Jaded Alt recently had a very positive experience in a dungeon with a returning player, and as a consequence she’s challenging the suggestion that LFR destroys community

“Play the game. Talk to people. Be willing to accept that maybe not everyone left in the virtual universe you inhabit is a total dingbat before they say “Hi.”

Community isn’t created by developers, and it can’t be destroyed by them either. Community has been, and always will be in the hands of the players. At their root, guilds are tools to facilitate group play and communication. Maybe the newest tools, LFR and LFR, don’t fit your expectations, but that doesn’t prevent you from utilizing it to make connections, or even eschewing it all together and forging bonds in a completely different way.”

It’s a fascinating post, and with the upcoming BattleTags system, hopefully interactions with good players will become more meaningful and positive once again. Certainly, I’m unwilling to share RealID details with most people in game because I don’t want to directly connect my WoW characters with my RL life, and my signed-up email is the main one I use IRL. With Battletags, that’s no longer going to be a problem.

I still think that there is a problem with the LF* tool – the social environment it engenders is biased toward the insult-filled, unfriendly interactions we see so much of, particularly in Looking For Raid. But nonetheless, it’s inspiring and interesting to see a movement toward, to borrow a famous quote, beingthe change we wish to see in our games.

Do you think we can change LFR and LFD by changing ourselves?

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Bravetank on whether WoW can make you a better person, LFD and anger, and more

We’re rounding off our week of interviewing with someone who’s very new to the MMORPG blogging scene, but who has already made a name for herself: Bravetank .

Bravetank is best known for her funny, honest posts discussing not just the mechanics or the numbers of her gaming, but the emotional experience of play – confidence, self-doubt, anxiety, elation. We talked to her about why people feel the need to get so angry at a game, whether WoW can make you a better person, and more.

LFD and angry people

Hugh Hi, and thanks for agreeing to be grilled by the Pot!

One of the things I love about your writing is that you’re very emotionally honest – you tend to address the feelings and thoughts surrounding your gameplay in a way many other people don’t. I’ve seen other people say that talking about strong emotions in a WoW or gaming context is “taking it too seriously” or “being overly sensitive” – what would you say to that?

Bravetank Well on the one hand I do think people take it too seriously- and I mean in particular the people who lose their tempers in dungeons and are rude and obnoxious to people who have made a mistake. It’s totally unnecessary. There are real problems in the world, it is just a game, we can all run back in the dungeon and do it again, and anyone who thinks its worth abusing someone over needs to get a grip. I feel very strongly about that. In our lives we should be growing as individuals by doing good in the world which includes being kind to people – even when it’s hard to be (personal view obviously!). It is not achieved by losing it in a dungeon (I’ll accept it’s a different situation in real dungeon if you’re trying to escape someone holding you hostage or something!)

But… in real life I take a lot of things seriously that I shouldn’t, I am guilty of ranting when I should be a bigger person and more philosophical. I do try my best & on the whole people probably think I am too forgiving but I know there are some things I let irritate me. So there is a bit of me that does understand that people losing it in dungeons are just at a different point on the same spectrum as me- I lose it too in real life so I’m no better. So that then makes me philosophical & depressed about the whole thing (can you see how I overthink things to a ridiculous degree?!) Basically I just wish we could all be better people than we are.

Going back to the question – the minute you have real people in a game you have real emotions – for good or bad. And to say that we are taking it too seriously then is to say we take life too seriously (& yes there are world views that say that & I’m not saying I don’t fundamentally agree but we do and we will even in the game world unless we have some great moment of enlightenment!) So yes I wish people generally would remember it’s just a game – myself included – but it’s hard when it involves interactions with real people.

But I can say hand on heart I have never taken any of my in-game deaths too seriously (no real life memorial service everytime Bravetank falls off a cliff), never wept over the death of Hogger or became depressed at the current state of Darkshore (it’s such a mess though). I don’t take any of that seriously. But I do take seriously my interactions with people, my feelings and the insight into myself and people this game has given me.

Hugh Why DO you think some people get so angry in WoW? I wonder about this occasionally, and I’d be really interested to hear what you think.

Bravetank For some people the instance or mechanics are really easy – probably because they’ve done it so many times- and they just don’t understand that someone could be new to it all and so they think the person is just an idiot and that angers them. Also I guess it’s frustration – they have no control over the behaviour of the other four people and so all that leaves is rage. I think in today’s society generally people can feel very helpless and out of control of all the big things and that impotence can lead to aggression and misdirected rage. And also time seems to be an issue – people want to do everything (in life & in WoW) quicker these days. Not only do people not stop & smell the roses they trample all over them in their haste to get to wherever they are going. This speed is destructive to a lot of things I think are important- patience, kindness and good manners.

Hugh Agreed. I’ve been guilty of the “oh, let’s just get this over with” run myself, but it’s never a fun experience.

As you say both here and in your blogging, LFD can be quite a hostile place – what do you think Blizzard could or should be doing to combat the fact that LFD can be a very hostile place? Any ideas to improve it?

Bravetank I wrote one post a bit tongue in cheek about a player rating system & another about a special realm for certain types of players. Both were lighthearted of course but I do genuinely think something along those lines would be good. We should be able to vote/score on behaviour in dungeons in a way that is meaningful. There has to be consequences. Perhaps low scorers could end up in groups only with each other? But I’m ever the optimist- perhaps we could then have a rehabilitation programme of sorts – low scorers get a chance to be in a good group & for good behaviour get awarded with points, and get themselves out of the “bad groups”. I think I should have had a career in the prison service! At the very least Blizzard should deal strongly with players who are reported for bad behaviour – and as a community we should take responsibility and report them.

Also though – ideal world time – I would like more options in LFD so you could for example say that you’ve never been in the dungeon or you’re learning a new class or you want some guidance etc, and people who want to help others in those circumstances could select say a “tutor” role – that would be fantastic! I’d probably never leave though!

Being a new blogger

Hugh You’re a newcomer to the MMO blogging scene – how have you found your first steps in the blogging world? What have been the best and worst parts about it, and would you recommend starting a blog to others?

Bravetank I’ve enjoyed it all. What has amazed me is how friendly the community has been. From my first post in Blog Azeroth to my latest post on my own blog everyone has been so encouraging, supportive and helpful. I like the Twitter/blog interaction as well- that just introduces a sightly different dimension to it all. I was totally starstruck when I saw people like Ophelie on there as I loved The Bossy Pally. And then I started feeling part of it which was a wonderful feeling. There haven’t been any worse parts really – I get excited and nervous when I get comments because I’m always fearing something really critical – my skin is so thin it’s transparent. But apart from  two occasions (which were awful I have to say) it has all been great. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to write about WoW- whatever the particular focus. But don’t do it – or at least stop doing it – if it ever becomes a chore. I think it has to be somethig you really want to do & enjoy. I am going to sound completely over the top but blogging has helped me feel better about a lot of things in my life outside of WoW – it’s given me balance at a time when I was very stressed and anxious. It’s also let me write about things that I find funny and I really enjoy that. My husband also reads it & laughs a lot (even at the parts about his healing – he has no argument really – he knows it’s all true!) and that makes me very happy.

Hugh You really seem to have taken to the WoW blogging community like a fish to water – any tips for other bloggers who might be struggling a bit?

Bravetank Basically keep writing about what you want to write about. For me I know when I’m doing that when the words come easy- I never draft or plan my blog posts (probably very obvious!) – I just think and write and reread as I go along and they take shape naturally. And I really enjoy that. So go with the flow & enjoy it. And don’t be disheartened by low visitor numbers. My first couple of posts were only read by my husband- at one point I was down about it (I’m very impatient- I’d probably only done 2 posts!!) & he said I had to keep going even if it was only him who ever read it because he was enjoying it! He discovered a different side to me through the blog & given we’ve been together 20 years that’s no mean feat.

I also read a lot of the stuff on Blog Azeroth which I found really helpful. Also- and I know lots of people say it but it’s true – reading other blogs and commenting on them is good & will help you discover the type of blog you like and the type of posts that resonate with you. And when you post you often get visits back and that’s lovely. Celebrate the milestones! I remember my first ever comment – from Gladiola at The Ready Check – and I was so grateful that someone was actually reading my blog! Then I got followers on Twitter (because of Vidyala who was really kind & mentioned me)- all amazing. Then you picked up my Need and Greed post and I was just euphoric!! So if you are struggling don’t give up and enjoy each step of the journey. But always write about what you want to write about- that’s the key.

Being a woman in WoW

Hugh Obviously, you’re a woman playing WoW – do you play as a female character, and if so have you found that your gender had an impact on your game experience? Good or bad?

Bravetank I do play female characters. I had one male characteer once though – a rogue called Swedgin (from Al Swearengen in Deadwood – I was obsessed with that show)- the best thing about him was the name and I never got him past level 7. I like playing female characters because I do see them all as awesome versions of me!! I don’t think I could identify with a male character. That’s why I struggle with Frip my female Tauren – I don’t see what we have in common – I don’t even like milk. Even the names of three of my main characters show their connection with me – Terema (a version of my middle name), Flossy (my husband’s pet name for me) & Luxmi (my old Mud gaming name). My characters are never blonde & I think this is because I have dark hair (although I and my characters sometime go wild with a bit of red) and I just generally see them as a pixel version of me!!  Not saying this is a good thing- probably just shows an utter lack of imagination. Even my orc female character looks a bit like a relative (not saying who!) Bravetank’s name is probably the most descriptive and imaginative of them all, but appearance wise she is my typical female character!

In terms of gender impact on my game experience I’ve had nothing good or bad really – all neutral. No one has ever behaved inappropriately to me (I sound like I’m from the Victorian era don’t I?) & nobody has ever dimissed me as a tank for being female (no “get back to the healing, woman” type of thing!) But my husband did have a female character once and was invited to an all female guild & he felt awful. Obviously he didn’t join! He felt bad enough though that they assumed he was a woman- as if he was fooling them in some way. So he stopped playing that character!

Can WoW make you a better person?

Hugh You also talk quite a bit about your own growth and development in WoW. That seems to me to link into the use of games and roleplay in therapy to a certain extent – I’d love to hear your thoughts on WoW-playing as a way to grow as a person in general, and specifically whether WoW can, in fact, make you a better person?

Bravetank Hmmm- I think we bring who we are into the game – I’ve written quite a bit about that. That in itself has been a huge revelation to me. I thought I could be a different “me” in the game but I’m exactly the same. I don’t feel liberated because I’m anonymous. I am me – my values, my morals, my standards – they all still apply. Although that said it has made me grow as a person because it’s made me reflect on things like that & understand myself more. But just playing the game itself didn’t – it was just that I found myself reflecting on it – and that’s also just typical of me – I’m a reflector. So I think WoW could be used in therapy as a way to reflect back your attitudes/behaviour in the game to yourself and to see what insight that gives – definitely. But you have to do that consciously. Gaming itself can be a “switch off & just do it” experience – nothing more, nothing less. It can only be more if you want it to be and choose to think about it and your behaviour and feelings within and about the game in that way.

Should less confident people try tanking?

Hugh As the name implies, you primarily play a tank. Tanking’s well-known as the role in WoW requiring the most assertiveness and even arrogance (ahem career tank here), and from reading your writing I’m guessing that you’re not exactly a classic Type A! So what made you decide to take on this very demanding role, and do you think that other people who, perhaps, aren’t super-confident shouty types should try playing a tank too?

Bravetank It’s weird. In some parts of my life I’m very confident. Once I know something and believe in my knowledge I will speak with passion and assurance on it to anyone. I lead and manage and try to motivate and inspire – I take my career very seriously and I’m very focused and driven. It was the same thing that made me become a tank that made me go for a big promotion a couple of years ago. I looked at the people doing it and I thought “I could do that.” So I did.

But I am not a shouty aggressive type as you say. I have a quiet confidence & I put the work in behind the scenes to be successful. Some of this works but sometimes things happen out of our control – in real life & in the game. And that’s where I struggle & get flustered. I like to be in control. I am more confident in writing than speaking – not because there’s anything wrong with my speaking (very Welsh accent aside!) but because I can cover everything in my writing & control it all. In oral dialogue you have less control and I particularly hate coming over as aggressive or defensive when I make my point. I find it hard to interject (my timing is always off for some reason), & if I have a fraction of doubt about my facts I hold back. So… that leaves me uncomfortable and tense in certain circumstances, but confident & assured in others. It all depends on how much preparation & control I have.

This leads nicely into the tanking question. If I know a dungeon well I’m fine – I know what to do & I’m confident in my abilities. If I don’t know it well I try to read up about it beforehand but I do find it hard – it just doesn’t really stick unless I’ve actually done the dungeon a couple of times. So tanking seems to be something you get better at by doing whereas I usually get better at things by reading and studying. And therein lies the problem. I have to be unsure and uncertain to get better at tanking and I hate that bit. That’s where I struggle.

For people like me I’d say go for it but be prepared for it to be hard. Because it is. But I don’t want that to stop me because I think when something’s hard for us it’s important – so I’m not walking away from this. But my confidence issues are not really to do with other people – it’s more to do with myself & how in control I like to be. But I admit I like to be perfect & I like people to like me – again in my real life hardwork and friendliness and helpfulness can usually achieve that. It doesn’t always work in the game – no one can see how hard you’re trying when you screw up and no one can see how nice you are just by party chat (I try but I think I totally overuse the smiley face – it’s starting to get sinister).

So as I say therein lies the problem & therein lies most of the angst that drives the Bravetank blog!!! But I am learning about myself by doing it & writing about it & I do hope that this in turn will help me grow as an individual and maybe find ways to change the way I learn and lighten up a bit & be prepared to sometimes get it wrong without the world crashing down on me and my whole sense of self being destroyed forever! Who’d have thought an online game could help me with that!

Hugh It’s interesting that you talk about real-life impressions vs WoW impressions there. In the next ten years or so, I’m pretty certain we’re going to totally change the way we play games, to the point where you’re interacting much more physically with the world – the game will read your facial expressions and transmit them to your character, you’ll probably be interacting with full-body motions so people can see your body language, and so on. How do you think that would change the game, both for you and generally?

Bravetank Not sure I’d like that at all!!! I practically crawl on the floor whenever my husband is talking to his brother on the web camera & I’ve never used anything like vent. My characters reflect me – as I’ve said – in behaviour & loosely in appearance (ok – I admit- even my Tauren from certain angles) but it’s all in a colourful Azeroth way that has real distance in terms of my actual movements (I’m normally nibbling chocolate as I play) & my expressions so it still feels like an escape. To see myself in terms of movement & expression actually in the world would in cross a line. I think I’d feel more restrained & self conscious.

Having said all that I once played that police arcade game where you have to physically move around, duck down and shoot and all that in a busy arcade and I was freely throwing myself all over the place because I was so engrossed in the game and wanted to win. So it’s always possible. But I can say for certain the behaviour side of things in terms of how I interact with people and how I like them to interact with me wouldn’t change – I just would actually be smiling at people rather than typing smiley faces!

Hugh I know that if I’m typing a smiley there’s a pretty good chance I’m smiling too :)

Thanks very much for your in-depth answers – and as always, looking forward to your next blog posts!

For more Bravetank, check out the Bravetank blog .

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Do dungeon mechanics make us nasty people?

There are a lot of arguments floating around as to just how the Looking for Dungeon tool in WoW manages to foster such a remarkably unpleasant atmosphere (at least at times). But today, The Grumpy Elf has a really interesting suggestion I’ve not heard before – that the cause of the most egregious abuse, upset, and ragequits is actually not anything to do with the tool, the game or the community, but the nature of the fight mechanics

“Putting different people in different stages of their learning of the game into the same mechanic based fight you are bound to have problems and those problems bring people to start to hate other people.

When all there was to complain about was bad DPS, bad aggro, and bad heals you just complained about bad players. It might have bugged you but it rarely put decent people into a rage.

Now, I’ve seen decent people break down into a rage of anger and hate against people because they can not take one step to the left. Because they got sick and tired of explaining the same thing over and over. Something that now seems second nature to them they can not imagine someone else not being able to do.”

I’m honestly not entirely sure how exactly the Elf’s hit the nail on the head here. Certainly, I don’t think that mechanics are the only reason the LFD tool can be so poisonous – I remember some pretty remarkable LFD groups back in Wrath. Other issues such as anonymity, lack of consequences, lack of choice , and so on also have an impact.

But I’ve seen the Blackrock Caverns groups where one person can’t do the beams, too. I’ve seen how people go, frankly, crazy. And I wonder just how much this effect will be amplified in the Looking for Raid tool.

What do you think? Are mechanics forcing the community’s patience downhill?

_Article Source: The Grumpy Elf – grumpy maybe, but always interesting.

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Greetings and the LFD tool


There’s a power to greetings. They humanise you to others, and others to you. They signal a non-hostile approach in a manner that probably dates from before we had spoken language. There’s a reason fast-food chains have employees wear “Hi, my name is _____” badges – they simulate an essential part of human contact and conversation (and probably measurably increase takings in each branch).

Today, Bravetank is talking about greetings in LFD: who does, who doesn’t, and how either case affects your group

“This greeting business matters to me. I am amazed at how often people say nothing. Why are people so rude and ignorant? I can normally tell how a group will be by the number of hellos you get back.

None -Is there an echo? No not even that. You’re on your own friend and if you’re the tank god help you because even the healer has taken an instant dislike.

One- Aww bless – there’s a dps in the group clearly scarred by a recent low recount posting and desperate for a bit of love. A possible ally if it gets nasty later although these types tend to stay out of the debates knowing they are soft targets for the bullies in the group. Build up their confidence by sending them frequent and encouraging whispers – they won’t find this disturbing at all.

Two- almost a threesome if you include yourself – they are meant to be fun so try to get involved otherwise these two will inevitably bond and leave you out in the cold with your your little Hello dying in the wind.”

As always, Bravetank’s writing is fun, honest, and focussed on the people behind the screen. And she’s commenting on phenomena I’ve observed, too – a group that doesn’t say “hello” is also likely to be a group that shouts abuse, pulls for the tank, drops for no reason, and generally makes my life less fun. (I’d also mention that in my experience, the type of greeting also says a great deal – “Hello, how is everyone?” implies that person’s going to be lovely. “‘sup bitches?” not so much.)

I’m not going to even pretend neutrality here – just like I think everyone should make at least some attempt to use character names, not just “tank” or “heals”, when communicating, I think everyone should at least say hello and goodbye. But I’d never really considered that the reflection a greeting has on a group was part of a wider trend – I hope Bravetank continues to elicidate the LfD experience like this!

What does a player’s greeting in LFD say to you? Do you think it’s important to say “hi”?

Article source: Bravetank ( ). Thanks!

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Dungeon Findin’

Today, we’re rounding up a couple of great posts on WoW dungeon finding, plus a quick unicorn chaser after the LFD random experience.

With the LFR tool coming in the near future, many of us are starting to stare down the barrel of That Random Guy In A PUG experiences once again – only this time, there will be 24 of them, not 4… So, what’s been going on in LFD over the weekend?

  • HoTs and DoTs has been experiencing the LFD grind of today as a newer player (read the comments, they’re very interesting!) – “I’m open to suggestions and encouragement and instructions ”priest, you take the right beam and get out before 100 stacks” but there seems to be precious little of that going around. Nobody wants to tell me what to do.”
  • Bravetank has apparently gotten her hands on some leaked Patch Notes, as she goes through the glyphs the LFD tool should includeGlyph of Healer Pet – Turns your healer into the obedient pet they should always have been. No longer will they dawdle behind you looting or insisting on annoying little mana breaks (you can drink on your own time Florence Nightingale). “
  • And your Unicorn Chaser – We Fly Spitfires has been heavily alt-ifying, and he feels there’s one thing that WoW does better than any other game – “World of Warcraft is incredible in its artistic direction. Regardless of the fact it can run on a toaster and has a stupidly low polygon count, it just oozes character and personality from every pore.”

Been in the LFD tool recently? How was it?

All quotes taken directly from their respective posts.

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Introducing: The Pot’s new “Help the noob in your LFD run” Quick Guides

Herp. Derp.

We’ve all had him in our run. The hunter in cloth attacking in melee. The mage who didn’t understand what CC was. The Death Knight who – well, frankly, there are too many Bad Memories connected to Death Knights to list.

These people tend to get referred to in very harsh terms. But often they’re clearly not malicious or idiots – they’re just newer players who haven’t had a chance to learn all the arcane stuff that us old hands consider obvious. And let’s face it – we’ve all been him or her at one point in our WoW careers.

“mage CC the adds and aoe when tank has aggro” – I remember a time when that sort of thing in a dungeon run sent me into a panic. What? Huh? What am I meant to do?

If you’re anything like the MMO Melting Pot team, you often end up feeling quite sorry for the new player in your run. But at the same time, it’s a hell of a lot of work to help them out and correct all their mistakes, all for someone you’ll never see again.

Hence our project of the last week: the MMO Melting Pot “noob guides”.

We’ve put together a dozen comprehensive, easy to read, easy to follow lists of all the mistakes we could possibly think of that newer players might make. They’re all nicely formatted and easy to navigate around, and they should help almost any new player to up their game.

We’ve included very simplified rotations (for the warlock who’s doing 2k at level 85), reasoning and suggestions on gear and how to get it (for the level 45 priest who’s still wearing grey gear), explanations of why you really really shouldn’t be in Blood Presence for the DK who insists it’s a DPS spec, the whole nine yards.

Here they are: Easy guides for newer WoW players

Please do hand the URL out to any newer players you meet – hopefully it’ll mean both less confusion for them and better DPS and less aggro problems for you!

**What do you think? Do you like this idea? Is there something we missed?

Also – please do retweet these, link to them from your blogs, and let guildies know about them in your forums! We’d really like to get this resource to help new players out there – and maybe get one or two of them reading WoW blogs in the bargain!

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