Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What is a Good Player?

A question like what is a good player has more then one correct answer.  Actually, it probably has many different answers.  We all judge what we consider a good player to be in a slightly different way.

For me personally I have two distinctly different definitions of what a good player is.  The first, the simple one, is the one most people probably think when they think of a good player.

A good player is a skilled player.

Plain and simple right?  But not always.  Skilled players can come in many shapes and sizes and that is where being a good player comes in.  You can be skilled and be a bad player in my opinion.  To be a good player means being a good player.  It is not all about skill.

Someone might see a fire mage pulling 90K and think he is a good player whereas when I see a fire mage doing 90K I think he is doing good DPS.  I reserve my right to judge his status as a player until I see more.  Numbers are not everything and numbers alone will not make someone a good player.

So when I talk about a good player what do I mean if I am not talking about their numbers?

Here are the big 5 things to look for in a good player, in my opinion.  These are not the only 5 things that make a player good. They are just the five most important things to me.

5) Adaptability
Adaptability covers many different aspects of the game.  A good player can adapt to anything. 

A mage that has played arcane since BC but notices that fire is so much better lately and switches because it is the best route and picks it up relatively quickly has good adaptability.

A tank that notices at a certain point in a fight he seems to take a spike of damage and adjusts his cooldowns to handle it the next time he encounters it has good adaptability.

Any raider that sees a mechanic they have never encountered before and after only a few attempts, 1-5  at most, they have mastered that new mechanic has good adaptability.

Anyone that is ever confronted with something that requires them to change from their normal and does it as needed on their own has good adaptability.  This ability is the sign of a good player.

4) Demeanor
A persons demeanor can tell a lot about a person in real life and in the game and someone with a good demeanor is usually someone that is, or can be, a good player.

I am sure if you have read my blog you have heard me say it before but for this it bears repeating.  Usually the first person to start complaining in a random raid or dungeon is the worst player in the group.  Many of you have probably noticed this yourself as well.  It is not always true but it is true a fair deal of the time, enough so that you can usually say that someone with a rude demeanor is most likely a bad player.

Being a good player is not only about your actual game play but about how you present yourself to others.  How you behave toward others is almost as important as how well you play your role in my opinion.  No matter how skilled someone is if they have a bad demeanor they are a bad player.  A skill player, yes, but a bad player nonetheless.

3) Sacrifice
A good player knows that everything is not always about personal achievement it is about team achievement. 

A healer assigned to tank duty instead of raid in a heavy AoE fight and doesn't complain because it will hurt their HPS is sacrificing their numbers for the team and that makes them a good player. 

A damage dealer put on interrupt detail that does not complain that their DPS will fall if they have to interrupt and is willing to sacrifice some numbers for the betterment of everyone is a good player.

A player that dies in battle and is not rezzed but never says anything about it or begs for a rez is a good player because they are willing to sit out being dead because they know that battle rez might be needed for someone else later that could very well hold a more vital role in the battle at that given moment.

A person that wins a minor upgrade but passes it to someone else who it would be a larger upgrade makes the sacrifice of gear for the betterment of the group and is a good player.

2) Accountability
We all make mistakes.  Even people in world first guilds make mistakes.  It happens, no one is perfect even if some people like to think they are.  If after a wipe a healer says they need to manage their mana better next attempt, they are taking accountability for their actions.

The word *I* plays a huge part here.  If after a wipe someone says *I* should have moved faster instead of, why didn't I get heals until I was able to move, is holding themselves accountable for their own actions.  *I* could have done more DPS.  *I* could have used shield wall.  *I* could have used pain suppression on the tank.  *I* is the key word that shows people are willing to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

Yes, in many of those cases the healer could have healed someone while they moved.  The tank could have used a cooldown to help the healer.  The healer could have used a cooldown to help the tank.  Etc.  Yes, it is a group effort but when someone notices that there is something they could have done themselves they will never place blame on someone else squarely.  They are willing to acknowledge that there was something they could have done to address the problem on their own.

Like the old huntard joke.  What is the difference between a hunter and a huntard?  If a huntard pulls extra mobs and the tank does not pick them up its the tanks fault, if a hunter pulls extra mobs and the tank does not pick them up he apologizes to the group for accidentally pulling.

1) Knowledge
Knowledge leads to skill and without it someone can never become a skilled player.  A good player has a knowledge of their role and what it can do.  A good paladin or shaman healer will get to the azshara fight and say, I got interrupts knowing they both 1) have that ability and 2) it will make the fight a lot easier for everyone else. 

There are countless shaman and paladin healers out there that are skilled.  They are amazing healers really but they do not even know that they have an interrupt.  Couple that with the fact they do not even realize that them interrupting will make the fight a lot easier for the group and all their skill means nothing, because they are a bad player.

Knowing the abilities you have even when you do not use them often, or at all, shows someone is a good player that knows their role.

Knowing a fight from all aspects even if you only play it from one shows that the person is a good player that can see the big picture.

Knowledge is power.  It is so true.

People often confuse the term good player and skilled player.  They often think they mean the same thing but they do not.  A good player and a skilled player are two completely different things.  You can have a good player that plays badly and you can have someone that is skilled that is not a good player.

The key is that being a good player is about the person and being a skilled player is about the practice.

Anyone can become a skilled player.  You do not need to be a good player to be skilled, you just need to practice enough to be skilled.  Skill is a learned ability.  Skill is pressing the right keys at the right time.  That can be taught.  Anything that can be taught can be learned by anyone, good player or not.

The abilities of a good player says something about the person and most things a good player does can not be taught.  Someone that can adapt to things (5) on the fly, someone that has a good demeanor (4), someone that is willing to take one for the team (3), someone that takes responsibility for their actions (2) and someone that has a natural thirst for knowledge (1) says something about the person and their personality in real life.

In the end, it is a lot easier for a bad player to become a skilled player than it would be for them to become a good player.

So the next time you see someone doing 90K DPS that does not mean they are a good player and the next time to see someone doing 12K that does not mean they are a bad player.  Yes, first impressions are hard to shake and numbers are our first impression but remember, a good player doing 12K can learn to become a skilled player doing 90K but a skill player doing 90K that happens to be a bad player will most likely never be a good player because it is their personality that makes them a bad player.

Being a good player is about the person, not the skill level.

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely with the list (and hey! I'm a good player by definition. *minor bow for self*).

    Something I would add is "willingness to follow direction." You can be lacking in certain areas, but make up for it by simply doing what your told. There are some people who's ego can't handle that, and I argue the good players can. Then again, in hindsight you might slip that into adaptability.