The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

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pacobird
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:46 pm

sei wrote:Who is the victim, here? Are the world's Timmy-the-paladins missing out on being carried by superstars who happened to roll on the wrong server? Or are you saying people miss out on the opportunity to do progression with their more ambitious friends?


The victim is the sense of community that people say is less important than progression, but literally everybody I have ever known in World of Warcraft laments the loss of, except maybe you.

This is actually a really, really good explanation of what people mean when they say capitalism is dehumanizing.

I personally gravitated towards playing with roughly similarly skilled players. I tried playing with a guild that had a more diverse level of talent. That mostly just led to me yelling at my monitor. Carrying your bad friends through normal/flex mode kills is not something I enjoy in video games.


The most effective raiding guild I was ever a part of was filled with genuinely awful people; casually racist, abusive, everything you might expect from a CoD Kid grown up. They were also really good at World of Warcraft. I benefited greatly from my tenure with them and improved dramatically, but I also kind of hated myself for associating with these troglodytes for the sake of progression, because really, how little self-respect must I have to value Blackwing Lair gear enough to sit and listen to Dior talk about Jews?

I am not going to say you are playing for the wrong reasons; that would be stupid. You are, however, playing for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with World of Warcraft's success. The guilds I have stuck with the longest were the ones with the people I liked the most, and I enjoyed the game much more when I came to consider progression incidental. Blizzard's gotten way more money from me on account of time spent playing with LB and KVN. If the only reason you're raiding with the guild you raid with is because they are good enough at the game not to get in your way or hold you back, you might as well be playing a single-player game with scripted, immortal, inconsequential allies like Mass Effect.

Keep in mind that player obligation-schedule and desired-time-raiding also vary wildly. Realistically, playing with a few friends is nice, but I don't expect a group of friends' raiding availability/desires to match up, even in the happy coincidence that they're equally skilled and equally invested in the game.


Yes, raiding is bullshit on its face, but we aren't talking about the specific merits of raiding itself; we're talking about what happens when the game changes the rules on who you can raid with and why.

Being able to play with a larger pool of players helps alleviate both the skill and schedule gaps by giving you a wider pool of warm bodies to recruit from.


Bullshit, because just like with rural/urban divides, when the option exists for somebody with talent to leave your community for a different, better one, your community suffers even if it wouldn't be fair to keep that talented person there against his will.

This is a fine system for providing individuals with talent more opportunity, but it also commodifies those individuals and alienates them from communities that might value them as more than a purely productive cog, and basically sweeps aside everybody else. Fortunately, World of Warcraft is a society from which you can easily opt out, the threat of which leads to safety nets like LFR.

Again, the central question is "do you think World of Warcraft is a game about killing internet dragons?" Was Man Made For the Sabbath, sei?
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Rico
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Rico » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:55 pm

Bal wrote:I remember that I hated him.

Well that narrows it down.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:06 pm

World of Warcraft is absolutely about killing internet dragons. It is a theme park, and Raids are the E ticket rides. I think by making Raids available to literally everyone they have been devalued to a great degree. Does anyone feel good about completing an LFR run? Some of the best multi-player experiences I've ever had were during the death throes of a particularly difficult WoW boss, but LFR offers no satisfaction, and serves to make everyone sick of the current tier of content that much faster.

The thing is, more casual players have had access to this content to years, if belatedly. I remember people running PUG raids at all tiers of Wrath because once you got late in the tier the content became a very known quantity, and the nerfs would come in a bit, and everyone who really wanted to still got to do it, got to feel pretty good about it, and the people who paved the way still got the reward of seeing these things first. I don't know what was wrong with this, except that getting exactly 10 or 25 players is annoying, which is why I like Flex. Flex PUGs is what LFR should have been.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:38 pm

Bal wrote:World of Warcraft is absolutely about killing internet dragons. It is a theme park, and Raids are the E ticket rides. I think by making Raids available to literal everyone they have been devalued to a great degree. Does anyone feel good about completing an LFR run? Some of the best multi-player experiences I've ever had were during the death throes of a particularly difficult WoW boss, but LFR offers no satisfaction, and serves to make everyone sick of the current tier of content that much faster.


How can you say WoW is mainly about killing internet dragons and then IMMEDIATELY characterize LFR, which is the most no-bullshit, no-socialization, single-mindedly internet-dragon-killingy thing to ever happen to MMO raiding, as empty?

Does this not make you even slightly wonder what people value in the experience?

you live in a world where your raiding guild is often the only thing about which you get to feel both trust and gratitude on a personal level in a given week

The thing is, more casual players have had access to this content to years, if belatedly. I remember people running PUG raids at all tiers of Wrath because once you got late in the tier the content became a very known quantity, and the nerfs would come in a bit, and everyone who really wanted to still got to do it, got to feel pretty good about it, and the people who paved the way still got the reward of seeing these things first.


yeah, and people like sei complained about it, and we got cataclysm

I don't know what was wrong with this, except that getting exactly 10 or 25 players is annoying, which is why I like Flex. Flex PUGs is what LFR should have been.


I agree, but as a purely practical matter the REALLY great thing about LFR is that you can make NSA progress about an hour at a time.
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:54 pm

LFR is hollow to me because the killing of the dragons is not satisfying. To torture the metaphor a bit, LFR is like a roller coaster with no drops. Sure, you get to see the whole route, but the experience lacks substance. I feel nothing in LFR except occasional astonishment that often the people in there STILL can't kill the bosses. Now it should be noted that I did about two LFR runs before I swore it off permanently in disgust.

Regarding Cataclysm, I quit early in Cata because it was boring and I was burned out in tier 1, and then I came back briefly for Deathwing, which also happens to be when LFR was dropped, and hated both the raid and LFR as a system. It says a lot about Cata that 1-60 is probably the best part. I will say that while I didn't mind the difficulty, Heroic dungeons were probably too hard, and raids actually a bit too easy right at the start of Cata, but then they nerfed everything into oblivion so I don't even know what to say about that except that by then I wasn't playing.

I don't know what NSA progress is.

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Rico
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Rico » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:58 pm

No strings attached.

It's pretty simple: Confronting engaging content with friends>without friends~=Confronting unengaging content with friends>without friends.

LFR the last.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:06 pm

Bal wrote:LFR is hollow to me because the killing of the dragons is not satisfying.


Why is it not satisfying? Is it because it's easy?

If so, easy compared to what? Most of MoP LFR has been at LEAST as demanding as classic WoW pre-Twin Emps.

To torture the metaphor a bit, LFR is like a roller coaster with no drops. Sure, you get to see the whole route, but the experience lacks substance.


Yes, but why do you think it lacks substance? I did everything up through the first wing of SoO in LFR before I quit, even getting my legendary cape, and I got bored with each new LFR raid exactly as quickly as I ALWAYS get bored of raiding with people I don't know or care about.


Regarding Cataclysm, I quit early in Cata because it was boring and I was burned out in tier 1, and then I came back briefly for Deathwing, which also happens to be when LFR was dropped, and hated both the raid and LFR as a system. It says a lot about Cata that 1-60 is probably the best part. I will say that while I didn't mind the difficulty, Heroic dungeons were probably too hard, and raids actually a bit too easy right at the start of Cata, but then they nerfed everything into oblivion so I don't even know what to say about that except that by then I wasn't playing.


Yeah, that's about right, but I'm still surprised at the speed with which people abandoned WoW once it started asking them to be choosy about who they play with.

I don't know what NSA progress is.


no strings attached
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:40 pm

The difficulty curve of WoW is probably a whole separate topic, but suffice to say that something being about as hard as Vanilla raids is tantamount to saying it's ridiculously easy by today's standards. To your query however, I find that it lacks substance because it's easy, so there's no sense of personal accomplishment, and I don't know anyone there, so there no sense of communal accomplishment. In fact doing especially well just makes me more bitter because I feel like I just enabled a bunch of shitheads. You mentioned Months Behind earlier, and as toxic as they could be, I loved those racist bastards, because we killed an old god together. Really together. All 40 of us had to be alive and pulling our weight to do that (one of the few vanilla fights that was tuned anywhere near that tightly), and that felt amazing.

In my first post I mentioned that LFR had a toxic effect on the community, and this is part of it. Wrath PUGs were along the same lines, in that they weren't for me, but the people who did them were part of their own PUG community, and knew who the good raid leads were, and often times spun off into ten mans or what have you. LFR, to me, is just a portal to a slipshod version of a place I would rather be, full of people I would rather have never met.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:02 pm

Okay, yes. Having said that, are you still going to say WoW is actually about completing content?

Like, do you think Robert Putnam was actually talking about bowling?

You mentioned Months Behind earlier, and as toxic as they could be, I loved those racist bastards, because we killed an old god together. Really together. All 40 of us had to be alive and pulling our weight to do that (one of the few vanilla fights that was tuned anywhere near that tightly), and that felt amazing.


Which underscores the point that a "productive" common purpose is a really important aspect of community building, and Durkheim pretty much nailed community-building as the most psychologically valuable thing humans do!

I mean, individually, I fucking hate those guys. But I had fun and accomplished something which I can't honestly dismiss as fake or contrived, so I cannot deny I formed a bond based on those experiences and the ambivalence I feel towards the people I formed it with just underscores its power.

Not everybody's going to frame it as such but this is a much more fundamental aspect of the human experience than killstuffgetstuff.
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:55 pm

Yes, but the experience wouldn't have happened without the dragons, nor would it have happened if the dragons had been easier to slay. It is about killing dragons, from the second you log in and get your first quest. First you can kill them on your own, then you need a couple people for an elite quest, then more for a dungeon, and then more still for a raid. I'm not downplaying the importance of the people, I'm just saying that without big tough dragons to kill I would have no use for those people, and LFR is exactly that. They're not tough, and I don't need these particular people, I just need any people, at which point they're not people, they're just internet fucks I resent.

I think you're underestimating, or never really cared for, the importance of the challenge presented. It's just not fun if it's too easy. I would rather wipe for a two weeks on a really well crafted and difficult boss than kill all the bosses within a couple of lockouts. Because when we finally do kill that boss, it will feel amazing.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:17 pm

Bal wrote:Yes, but the experience wouldn't have happened without the dragons, nor would it have happened if the dragons had been easier to slay. It is about killing dragons, from the second you log in and get your first quest.


I seriously don't get what's stopping you from seeing this as only trivially true. You have not provided any explanation of what it is about killing dragons specifically that makes you find WoW rewarding, and as such the experience you're describing is common to any purposeful activity a group can enjoy irrespective of cultural constraints that might otherwise keep them apart, like me and Months Behind. What you like about World of Warcraft, as opposed to a bowling league or raising a barn, is that you are good at it.

I think you're underestimating, or never really cared for, the importance of the challenge presented. It's just not fun if it's too easy. I would rather wipe for a two weeks on a really well crafted and difficult boss than kill all the bosses within a couple of lockouts. Because when we finally do kill that boss, it will feel amazing.


I very much appreciate the satisfaction of completing challenging content. It's the doing it again next week that I sometimes find kind of tedious. This is why I can happily say raiding is a pretty cool idea that is also totally bullshit!

EDIT: rather, you're good at it, so you actually get to enjoy social capital as a result of your efforts
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:07 pm

Internet dragons are the mechanism by which WoW gives us the experience you are describing. Without every element I have described the experience loses it's value. If the barn is suddenly prefabricated it's not as rewarding to raise. If they put those gutter guards in the bowling alley, the strike is not as sweet. In WoW, the dragons are the barn. That or opposing arena teams if that's your bag. The point being, it isn't trivial or arbitrary to hold the dragons to a standard, because without the standard much of the joy, or social capital, or whatever else you hope to glean from the experience, which again is built around the dragons, will not happen.

You asked me to provide a reason why the dragons specifically are rewarding. Because WoW is built from the moment you first log in to lead you to the Dragons. Whole expansion packs are sold on new and interesting dragons. Dragons and the slaying thereof are the entire point of the endeavor. Not just for me, but for Blizzard.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:49 am

yeah but dogg the barn is totally prefabricated

these encounters, even on heroic, are designed for you to beat
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:01 am

And the barn is designed to be raised, otherwise all those Amish fellows would feel mighty silly at the end. The difference is in what is required from each player, and the level of problem solving required at the group level. If you can't see the difference, or refuse to acknowledge the value there then whatever, I'm out of ways to tell you that brain dead encounters are bad for everyone and that a modicum of difficulty is required for a satisfying experience.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby sei » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:16 am

Paco, clarify something for me. Is "community" your group of friends, your guild, your server, or something else entirely?
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:46 pm

"Community" is the larger group of people out of which you select people with whom you form actual relationships. Some people will select each other and become closer than others, but nobody's ostracized completely.

So in THIS case, it would be the server.
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby pacobird » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:53 pm

Bal wrote:And the barn is designed to be raised, otherwise all those Amish fellows would feel mighty silly at the end. The difference is in what is required from each player, and the level of problem solving required at the group level. If you can't see the difference, or refuse to acknowledge the value there then whatever, I'm out of ways to tell you that brain dead encounters are bad for everyone and that a modicum of difficulty is required for a satisfying experience.


Of course the more challenging encounter is more satisfying, but I would propose that doesn't really have a lot to do with LFR, because LFR could be way harder and you'd still find it unsatisfying. Why not play a single-player game with scripted allies if the best case scenario is that they not fuck up?

WoW occasionally has fights that require players to work together in a meaningful way, I guess (the Yogg-Saron beam thing comes to mind), but even that's pretty easily choreographed in a way that makes actual interaction redundant. The rest of the time it's just DSIF until the guy dies, which is fun and challenging sometimes but doesn't meaningfully change based on whether there's one player or 25.
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby Bal » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:34 pm

pacobird wrote:Of course the more challenging encounter is more satisfying, but I would propose that doesn't really have a lot to do with LFR, because LFR could be way harder and you'd still find it unsatisfying. Why not play a single-player game with scripted allies if the best case scenario is that they not fuck up?

WoW occasionally has fights that require players to work together in a meaningful way, I guess (the Yogg-Saron beam thing comes to mind), but even that's pretty easily choreographed in a way that makes actual interaction redundant. The rest of the time it's just DSIF until the guy dies, which is fun and challenging sometimes but doesn't meaningfully change based on whether there's one player or 25.



Difficulty is one of the many things wrong with LFR. I've said before that the lack of any sort of community in LFR is one of the worst aspects. LFR is irredeemable from top to bottom. This is my fucking thesis and has been since the beginning. You challenged me on the worth of the dragons specifically and now you're moving the goal post back to the people, which I feel I addressed earlier. The claim that single player could replicate a multi-player experience of almost any description is patently absurd. Additionally, I never said that the best case scenario is that nobody fucks up. Some of my best memories are of people fucking up. The idea is to fuck up together until we minimize our fuck ups sufficiently to succeed.

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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby sei » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:43 pm

pacobird wrote:"Community" is the larger group of people out of which you select people with whom you form actual relationships. Some people will select each other and become closer than others, but nobody's ostracized completely.

So in THIS case, it would be the server.
In this case, we massively part ways. I wound up on Dethecus essentially at random. I never valued what you call "community."

I did value friends. This was many people from LB, and some individuals here and there, like Fignal, Bokchoy, Archmage, Angwe, etc. with whom I played.
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Re: The Ever-Expanding Worlds of Warcraft

Postby sei » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:52 pm

pacobird wrote:The most effective raiding guild I was ever a part of was filled with genuinely awful people; casually racist, abusive, everything you might expect from a CoD Kid grown up. They were also really good at World of Warcraft. I benefited greatly from my tenure with them and improved dramatically, but I also kind of hated myself for associating with these troglodyte
pacobird wrote:What ruined the community was paid server transfers circa 2006, brother.
Paid transfers let you seek a less toxic community.

If we give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt: paid transfers are a stopgap measure until they could work out cross-server play (which they have) and settle on a policy that lets players raid/arena cross-server (which they have not).
If we don't: paid transfers are the monetization of players' struggle to find the right people to play with.

They've already opened cross-server play up to previous tiers of content, challenge modes, and BGs. IIRC, the only sacred cows as yet unslaughtered are arena and current tier progression content.

If you're happy with flex, LFR, and previous tiers, then hell, WoW is already your game.

Wot I Think

Server transfers are vastly inferior to opening up cross-server/faction play. Every fucking time you take a break from WoW, some of your friends (community be damned) will likely have fucked off to another server or faction, so that they could keep playing in a way they personally find satisfying.

However, the cross-server play I want does not address your concerns about skill balkanization. Suppose I could stay on Dethecus (read: not pay $ to transfer) and play with people from wherever I want. I would probably select a group by schedule foremost and then perform some fit assessment. This is easier for me than changing my work schedule around the closest available player on my server who knows how Malygos is done on the PTR.

pacobird wrote:Bullshit, because just like with rural/urban divides, when the option exists for somebody with talent to leave your community for a different, better one, your community suffers even if it wouldn't be fair to keep that talented person there against his will.
?

pacobird wrote:If the only reason you're raiding with the guild you raid with is because they are good enough at the game not to get in your way or hold you back, you might as well be playing a single-player game
Suggesting I exclusively play with intolerable people is sanctimonious bullshit.

Skill is necessary, but not sufficient.

You need these:
  • Schedule. Self-explanatory.
  • Role availability. Yes, people can reroll, but is this player happy playing the class we need?
  • Skill. Can we stand this person's wipe contribution?
  • Culture fit. Can we stand this person's personality?
The latter 3 offset one another to some extent. Norn can get away with being a bigger asshole than you can because he plays a healer well and is better at the game.

pacobird wrote:I am not going to say you are playing for the wrong reasons; that would be stupid. You are, however, playing for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with World of Warcraft's success.
Pity you don't have a third side of your mouth to talk out of.

pacobird wrote:Why not play a single-player game with scripted allies if the best case scenario is that they not pineapple up?
Shared experience with friends.
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