Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Should Effort Equal Reward?

With many of the changes I have begun to think of this effort and reward concept again and I know the subject is touchy for some people.  Some people like to think that skill should be a deciding factor while others think that time should be.  I believe both are right, in a way.

It isn't all about time or skill however.  It is about effort and reward.  If you put in the effort should you receive a reward comparative to the effort you put in?  That is what it is all about.

After reading a post over at MMO-Champion a couple of days ago about where all current damage dealing classes stand in heroic T14 gear it has me thinking that effort no longer equals reward, at least not in this game.  Yes, I know that not all numbers are final but it is extremely late in the beta and we would be foolish to believe there will be any sweeping changes before the game is released so we have to believe that what we are seeing now will closely resemble the finished product.

So what am I going on about you might ask.  Do you see something wrong with fury warriors simming at 138K DPS in heroic T14 gear and MM hunters simming at 95K?

That is a 43K DPS difference.  That is an insane difference between the top DPS spec and the bottom DPS spec.  There will always need to be one class on top and one class on the bottom and there is nothing wrong with that.  In every race someone has to finish last.  But to finish last by a margin like that makes you wonder why you even entered the race.  I believe the difference between top and bottom should be no more than 5% personally.

And this is were I ask should effort equal reward.

The MM hunter rotation is, as stated on many sites, even non hunter ones, the most brutal rotation in the game timing wise right now and fury warrior is an easy rotation when compared to it.

To me it does not seem as if effort is being rewarded there.  A hunter needs to put in a lot more effort than a warrior to do well and ends up doing substantially less DPS.

That is not the only case either.  There are many others I can bring up.  Like challenge modes.  Wouldn't getting a gold in a challenge mode require more effort than just finishing the dungeon normally in a non-timed mode?

Why are there no reasonable rewards for doing the dungeon in challenge mode then?  You would think that your effort should be rewarded with better gear.  More effort should equal more reward don't you think?

If a heroic raid gives better gear than a normal raid and a normal raid gives better gear than a LFR a bronze challenge mode should give better gear than a normal dungeon and the silver give better than the bronze and in turn the gold give better than the silver.  Nope, it doesn't work like that, sorry.

How about the old or new looking for raid loot system.  There are people that actually put in effort, the effort to make the run quick and smooth, and there are people that AFK, attempt to wipe the group, auto attack only, and they can get loot just the same as you did, with little or no effort, even anti-effort so to speak.  Where is the effort equals reward there?

There are many cases in mists that I see thus far that seem to be removing the effort equals reward concept.

The hunter has to put in way more effort to do well than the warrior and they get rewarded with doing 43K DPS less.  The gold challenge mode group has to put in way more effort than the normal dungeon group and they get rewarded with nothing but a teleport to the dungeon.  A person that doesn't even try has as much a chance to win something as a person that puts in maximum effort in the LFR.

What ever happened to effort equals reward?

I would like to see a complete change in the game where effort is rewarded.  Do you believe that effort should equal reward?


  1. Grumpy, please can you link the MMO Champion post. Just wanted to see what it is you are comparing.

    Yes effort should equal reward, but not in a Pavlov's Dogs sort of way. Do x and y to get z, repeat ad nauseum.

    Neither should 1 class have to be continually at the bottom of the pecking order like BM Hunter and Frost Mage. We should be able to play the spec you want and get similar results for the same amount of work. Blizzard say we don't have rotations only priorities. It is just that the number of priorites keeps growing and maybe "This much is too much".

    Blizzard seems to suggest that the figures are 5% between top and bottom. I thought mastery was designed so they could tweak the specs to be unison.

    1. I'll try to find the post. A guy did all classes in H14 gear on simulationcraft. Fury was 138K and MM was 95K and that just seemed so wrong to me. If MM was 128K I would not have thought anything of it, even with the much harder rotation, but a 43K difference is insane.

      I agree with the sentiment that there are way to many buttons now. My hunter is buried in them and they all seem to serve no purpose but to clutter an already tight rotation.

    2. Found a slightly different one, not sure which is more recent however.

      This one still has top DPS at 127K and MM at 99K. Still a 28K difference which is over 20%, way to large.

  2. It’s a rough topic and one that won’t be solved by dummies.

    Are DPS warriors getting too high a reward? Possibly.

    Is Fury easier to play than Marksmanship? Unquestionably.

    But are warriors a melee class in a tier that, yet again, favours ranged classes? Well… Yes.

    On a target dummy or simulator, melee specs should almost always come out on top because it’s assuming 100% uptime on the target. If this weren’t the case, any encounter where melee don’t get such high uptime (read, pretty much all of them) is going to see them sorely disadvantaged and widely benched.

    Warriors are the problem, though. The problem is the other melee specs that are hovering lowly in the table; what are they supposed to do when Frost mages are destroying them in damage, have better utility, and treat them as level 1 critters in PvP?

    1. You make two very good points, one it shows why I hate being melee.

      Dummy DPS is different because it is a stationary target. Melee rules, always have, on fights were a boss does not move.

      I don't play melee because I got sick and tired of following the tank all over the world in randoms. Keep the mob in one place. Unless there is a reason to move it, don't. I could go right from doing 30K unbuffed on a dummy to doing 12K buffed in a random all because of a tank that likes to run all over the place. So yes, that needs to taken into account, but by how much?

      That is not for us to say, but I can say I feel it is too much looking at those numbers.

      The other issue you mentioned is PvP and there is no better sign of the problems with balance than PvP provides us.

      They are constantly screwed with PvE to benefit PvP. Same goes the other way also.

      No one at blizzard has a clue yet and I wonder when they ever will get one. PvP issues can be solved without screwing with PvE balance at all. Just take a look at a hunters trap for the answer how.

      1 minute to an NPC. 8 second to a player.

      1 spell, 2 functions. PvP is fixed and PvE is fixed. Just make all spells like that. Blizzard can donate my check to a charity of their choice for doing their job for them.

      Why PvP has still not been balanced shows they are not even trying. You can't find one balance for both, they need to be split up.

  3. As far as reward-effort rotations go: welcome to Cata Warlockery

    (Cynwise had a long series about this, the gist of it was that during levelling Warlocks flunked at group activities, and at cap they had clunky rotations leading to similar results as other, simpler ones )

    In general, while effort = reward is a noble end to pursue, the problem is that basing it on difficulty means that people will be hard- excluded from content. This in itself is not bad as long as there is enough suitable content for everyone, but [insert an all too familliar discussion ;)]

    But I agree that effort isn't being taken into account anymore, I did some bookkeeping and pre-patch I had e.g. eight Ambassadors and ten Nobles, ranging in levels 10 to 60 (early forties at most when they got their title, all pre-Cata except a 10 who wrapped up her last 1500 or so Silvermoon on the day of The Shattering) and I have truely nothing to show for it now.

    Which is one of the many inconsistencies of this whole accountwide humbug:

    single effort: somehow deemed so important it should apply to all your characters

    much more effort: deemed irrelevant

    At the very least they could have included new Achievemenst for having gained a particular achievement on multiple characters, though no doubt then people would whine that 'it's unfair to make such a distinction'

    1. At least there are some group achievements like getting all professions to max, having a max character on both side, etc. I'll get them all of course at 90 because if there was an 85 version I would have it already.

      So maybe some day there will be multi achievements for other things. But I do understand their reasoning. I have many characters and outside of shoulder enchant reps over time (which is not needed any more) I never gave a crap about rep on any characters but my main. So sharing some things makes sense. Oddly enough, rep is not shared, the one thing I would want shared.

  4. Should effort equal reward? Absolutely.

    However, in the examples you gave like LFR where some people do their best and others afk that isn't blizz's fault. That sort of thing is why LFR is such a cesspool and blizz can't police every single LFR. They don't have the manpower to watch and see who's doing what and if they wrote algorithms e.g. stand still for 5 minutes = kick. Then when groups stand around for ages waiting for something the whole group would get kicked. There's no easy solution. In all that's not that effort and reward are screwed up it's that people have worked out how to game the system. The system wasn't, and can't, be written to stop people from doing every lazy/abusive thing. It works on the principle that most people are decent which unfortunately isn't true.

    In the challenge mode example I rather like that it's separate from the gearing ladder. As I fervently hope that means it'll escape the nerf machine. If the rewards are just cosmetic and based on the same dungeons that can be seen another way, then the argument to nerf for people to 'see' it doesn't hold water. Now I've not tried challenge mode so I don't know how hard it is and how well I'll do. However, I'm looking forward to giving it a good go. In this I think blizz got it right as they'll let people that want a challenge have it, and the people that don't and just want their gear and a faceroll have that too. The early cata dungeons, and the Zul dungeons, were far too punishing for a lot of random groups. Again it's down to people not putting in the effort. Given that these people seem to comprise the majority of the community separating the challenge from the rewards seems like a good thing. I enjoy a challenge, as I don't know how well I'll do, but whether I finish bronze or less I don't care. I'll keep working at it till I get those gold medals. However, if the challenge mode rewarded gear then it would be part of the gear cycle. Therefore if it was deemed too difficult for the majority of the population, who I don't have a very high opinion of, then it would get nerfed till there was no challenge left so they'd all have a chance to complete it.

    I'm not sure I've made sense there but separating challenge and gear seems like a good idea to me. It means we can have both which given the effort most people put in wouldn't otherwise be possible.

    I wish that effort would equal reward as that's what is fair. However, effort doesn't equal reward in real life either. I agree with you that there shouldn't be such a massive dps difference between specs, that is something blizz could fix. What the playerbase do in LFR etc. they can't. Now I've been very mean about the playerbase but I'm not talking about you, or about my friends, or your friends. I'm talking about all those randoms who behave like you describe in LFR. They don't seem to realise that the other people they play with are real people, and that when they behave badly it affects real people. I'm not talking about people new to the game either who just don't know, and are trying to learn. I'm talking about the people that just don't try ever. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic but I think there's a lot of people out there who just don't try.

    1. I agree, there is no easy solution to the LFR situation. But there are options that they overlook. Like a more advanced kick system that requires a selected reason. And if someone continuously gets kicked from multiple different groups for the same reason, remove the ability to queue up for it for a week or two as a penalty. If they keep doing the same thing, make it longer next time. It does not need a lot of over sight, it just needs a company that actually cares about it players to do something about it and that company is not blizzard.

      I agree with your assessment of challenge mode too. If it gives gear, people will cry until they can get the gear too. If it doesn't they have no reason to nerf it. However, to someone like myself where cosmetics do not matter, after getting the achievements there is no reason to do it. I think more needs to be given from it, even if that more is just something like allowing you to get an extra 200 valor over the weekly valor cap. Something, anything, it requires more effort, it should offer more reward. Some reward.

      About those other players, I agree. I've done so many randoms I can not even count and the number of quality players I've encountered, I mean really really good ones, I can count on one hand. Good players, many more, but if I had to guess a number I would say that 80% of the people I have met in randoms are average at best and average is NOT good enough for the original heroics at gear level or for the zuls, even over gearing them. I think was the biggest problem with cataclysm. It was designed for me and you and people that care about playing well and sadly we are the minority. We are part of the 5%. The game should not be designed for us. As much as it pains me to say it, the game should be designed for the 80%. That 15% that is in the middle, the good people but can swing either way, so they do not count. So the game needs to choose which way to go now.

      Cataclysm made the mistake of designing dungeons for the 5%.

      Mists is making the mistakes of designing skills for the 5%.

      They need to stop catering to people that "try" and start catering to their player base, the 80%, the ones that just want to have fun, hit any button, and that is it.

      Leave challenge mode and heroic raids for the 5% and make everyone else for the 80% and let the 15% either try a little harder and join the 5% of settle and be part of the 80%.

    2. Ok hopefully this will reply propely. Silly comment didn't go in the right place before.

      I disagree about the challenge mode rewards. They do give a reward and yes it's cosmetic. If it wasn't cosmetic then it would become 'required' to be competitive. You know the uproar on the forums for the hardcore complaining that they feel forced to run LFR. Well if challenge modes extended the valor cap then they'd be complaining about those too. Not all rewards can suit everyone as everyone is different. I'm sorry that the reward isn't to your taste but I don't think that makes it a bad reward.

      I also disagree with you saying blizz doesn't care. It might be true but I think they care just as much as any company does. The problem with systems which lock people out like you describe is they can be abused. They have to be very careful before implementing something like that to ensure that it can't be mis-used.

      I laughed at your comment that they were designing for the 5%. As the whining on the forums says the opposite. However, the early dungeons weren't friendly to your average pug group which is an average sampling of the playerbase.

      I think blizz are striking, or attempting to strike a balance between the two. Between the 80% and the 5%. I think there should add more things on both sides of the divide. This is a big game, with a vast playerbase, there should be something for everybody. I think challenge modes are a good first step and perhaps indicative of where the game is heading.

    3. I just made a post about the 5/15/80 percent to see what other ideas people might have.

      Blizzard is between a rock and a hard place really. Their success is their problem. They have more people to try to cater to and you can not make everyone happy.

      I have no real issues with challenge modes not offering loot or anything. They are still a challenge and I know I will do them to try to meet the challenge. Just hope I can get 4 regular people to do them with me that are gold capable. But I am a rare case. I am one of the very few who actually understand that game should not be designed for me because I have odd tastes to say the least. Most people believe the game should be exactly what they want and nothing else and I disagree.

      I think the game should be designed around the 80% and little extras, like challenge modes, put in for the others.

      It is the wide range of players styles that have put blizzard in this position.

      Vanilla was just a better designed for all its faults. It was all about time. If you put in time you could do anything and because of that there was a set path and that path was completely up to the person based on the amount of time they invested.

      When they started to change design to quicker and quicker rewards and all but removed time as a factor it when things became easier to balance.

      If it took you 6 weeks to grind to get into a raid but the raid was relatively easy than argumentatively anyone could do it. If they invested the time. That was vanilla, it was a better design.

      Now that people can gear up instantly and the raids are harder they complain about not being able to do them and that is where we are at. Everyone wants to be able to do everything and blizzard gives easy access to everything causing the problem.

      If they just introduced time as a deciding factor again than they could go back to saying, if you put in the time you too can do it.

      Sure, time would lock me out of some thing too, but I still think that a time investment was a better lock out system than the skill system as 80% of the player base is not skilled, but everyone, no matter what their skill level can invest time... if they really want to.