Monday, December 3, 2012

The High Pressure of Being Adequate

The expression actually should be using the word excellence but I will settle for adequate because although I like to believe myself a good player and surely capable of more I strive to be at least adequate.  Excellence is reserved for a very few and I am definitely not one of them.  With that said there is nothing holding me, or anyone in game, back from being adequate in everything I, we, do.

For those that might think doing adequate is doing badly I would like to share the common definition of what adequate is.  Adequate means of satisfactory or acceptable quality or quantity.  Sufficient, enough, suitable, appropriate or fit are some synonyms.

If you enter a random group and can say everyone in it did adequate you had an excellent group.  How often do any of us really have the chance to say that they had a group were everyone did their job appropriately?  Damage dealers doing a fair amount of damage for their gear level, following mechanics and avoiding the avoidable.  A healer keeping people healed to the best of their ability and if they are really over geared keeping them full at all times.  A tank that can pull more and keep aggro and maintain rolling cooldowns to make the healers life easier while contributing a fair deal of damage as well so things move along quickly.

I try my best to do what I would believe to be adequate in every thing I do.  Like doing dungeons on my shaman as enhancement after hitting 90 yesterday in quest gear.  I had only DPSed one raid fight in all of cataclysm and two dungeons over that same span of time.  I would have to go back to mid wrath to call on my experience playing enhancement on a regular basis.  So I spent a small amount of time looking around.  Viewed noxxic, icy veins, and a few forums.  Not a lot of work put into it, but enough that I would not have to call on memories 3 or more years old knowing that things have changed. I wanted to make sure I could at least be adequately prepared for the task of playing the role of a damage dealer in the randoms I entered.

I actually looked this all up before I started leveling so I would be able to get those quest mobs down in a timely manner.  I refreshed my memory once I hit 90 because, lets face it, DPSing quest mobs and DPSing group content is not exactly the same thing.

I went into one group with a feral druid, in gear better than mine, was doing 1/3 of the damage I was doing.  Another run had a druid, balance this time, that I was doubling single target and multi target.  Another had a healer that had LFR, valor point, and some real raid gear that could not keep up with what seemed to be like minimal AoE damage as I know it was being I have healed it before myself.

All these people were not doing their job well.  They did not reach the high pressure of being adequate.  Not asking for good, great or excellence even, just adequate and they could not reach that level of play.

I do not ask people to do great, I surely did not do great myself.  On the last fight of the day from my dungeon runs I did 32K DPS.  In my 441 gear I am sure a skilled enhancement shaman could have made me look like a beginner with those numbers, but I did over 25K and for that I believe I did adequate.  Yet we had a damage dealer, one that had me by at least 20 points in item level, doing 11K.

The way I look at it, I am not a damage dealer on my shaman, or my priest who was a previous healer to hit 90 and do the dungeon crawl as a DPS while gearing for heals, and if I can make the effort to at the very least not make myself look foolish why can't everyone else?

Is the high pressure of doing adequate too much for the average player?

As someone posted here I will repeat it.  I am not the average player.  I looked up my rotation online which immediately put me leaps and bounds over that average player.  So I did something the average player would not do, but I wonder why the average player would not do it.  If anything I should be the average player, that is why I describe myself as such.  I do decent or try to and I read up on how to do it.  That should be the average player.

In the day and age of the internet and so many different games and cheat guides of tip books and information everywhere about everything it surely can't be because people do not know there is information out there.  Who of us has never bought, or at least looked at, a help guide when they got a new game?  I used to buy the brady guides when I bought the new final fantasy game.  It was not something out of the ordinary as I am sure most people did the exact same thing I did.

Now, years later, with the internet and everything at your finger tips, there is no reason to ever play a game without picking up a few tips and tricks for free by letting your fingers do the walking and typing a few words into google.  Even if it was something as simple as "how the hell do I play an enhancement shaman" I would be able to find a few good links.  You do not need to be knowledgeable enough to type "enhancement shaman 5.1 rotation" to find it.

I do not consider it pressure to look for this stuff.  It is just the same as me looking in my brady guide to see where I should go or if there are any items I can pick up early on that will help later when I run through the final fantasy game.  I want those tips and tricks not to impress others, no one is going to ever see me playing FF.  I want them to do the best I can, for me only.  And that has carried over to warcraft.  I do not want to do over 25K when I come into a dungeon in quest gear to make myself look good, I want to do it so I can feel I am contributing and thus making my life easier.  The better I do the easier it makes it on me, making it easier on those around me is just a byproduct of it and not really my intention at all.  I couldn't care less about them.  I just want to do the best I can do to make things easier on me.

Why doesn't the majority of the player base do the same thing and try to make their own lives easier by doing at least adequately?

Is it the high pressure of doing so?

I do not take it as pressure to try my best but perhaps I come from a generation of gamer that expects more of themselves and as such more of those around them.  I might not always reach the level I consider adequate, as I said I am not great in any sense of the word, but I do try to always give the best I can and contribute in a meaningful way to the objective of the group which in this case is killing internet dragons.

Many say the reason so many do so badly is because the game fails them and I can see where they are coming from.  You can level easy enough without any real knowledge of your class.  You might die a lot, it might take longer, you might need to group for things you could have done on your own, but you will get there in time.  The game does not teach you.  But in the same breath, the game does not need to.

As I mentioned we are in the information age.  Even before the internet was as big and open and full of information and as much help as it is, there were help guides for games and people routinely purchased them.  All games, even the single player ones, have things in them that you might never notice without the guide to help you along and all games you would be better off reading the guide even if you are great at picking things up on your own as there are often little things in them that you would never find out on your own.

So it is not uncommon to need to look outside of a game for information on how to play the game well.  So while we can blame blizzard for no in game teaching, it is not really their fault.  The looking outside of a game for information precedes wow and even the internet.  They are just sticking to the gamers code.  You can get by without the guide, but the guide will make you good.  Just like one of those final fantasy games.

The biggest difference is that with something like final fantasy if you did not get the guide and do not know the tips and tricks you can still get it done, it will just take longer.  And that is where I think the problem comes in.  Warcraft is not a single player game.  You can not move at your own pace.  You can not bring your character to level 99 when you could have beat the boss at level 30 without much effort.  You need to do better because there are others depending on you to be, at the very least, adequate.  That is where the pressure comes in.  People expect you to do adequate.

Should the game change to the point of final fantasy, to make it so people can over power it to remove the high pressure of being adequate?

I do not think that is a viable option.  This is not the type of a game that can let people choose their own difficulty level like that.  It is not a single player game.  You do not have the option of looking at outside information or not like you do in single player games, you have to look at it.  It is part of the game.

I think blizzard should add the information on their main page.  They should have a link on the skills page that will open in a browser that shows people their rotation and priority.  They still treat the game as if it is all one big secret and only the people that want to really know should know.  As if they are hiding the location of the holy grail or something.  Perhaps it is their desire to not tell people the best way to do things because then their whole talent tree thing or collection of skills you will never use are useless and it makes it seem like there are even less options in game.  Something anyone that reads those guides already knows anyway.

This is not the type of game where buying the brady guide is optional.  Everyone should buy it.  Everyone should read it.  Everyone should have instant access to it at all times.  They should not leave it up to people that do not read to figure out which abilities tanks should use to mitigate the damage they take.  They should not leave it up to people that do not read to figure out which heals proc buffs that will help them with their next heal and which are huge cooldowns they should save for big damage moments.  They should not leave it up to people that do not read to figure out in what order people should hit their skills to get the maximum DPS out of their characters.

There is already enough in game they leave up to the people.  They leave the ability to grind gear to the people.  They leave the ability to choose role up to the people.  They leave the ability to follow mechanics up to the people.  They leave the ability to get out of the fire up to the people.  They leave so much up to the people that all has a huge impact on whether they are adequate or not, and all those things they can not influence.  They should make every effort they can to influence the one area they can, abilities and how they work and when to use them.

That one little thing is what separated me on my shaman from some of those horrible players I saw when I ran.  Like I said, someone with more skill could have done leaps and bounds better than I did in my gear but I read my rotation and attempted my best to follow it and those damage dealers in better gear that I was doubling and tripling did not.

Just a little reading made the difference.  If they had done so those runs, which were not bad mind you, would have been so much faster and so much easier, if they had just spent a few minutes out of their game time to look up a rotation and make an effort to emulate it.

Your skills, what they do, when you use them and in which order they work best is the easiest part of the game.  It is easier than mastering mechanics, it is easier than working as a team, it is easier than finding a team, it is easier than reacting to random elements and it is even easier that moving out of the fire but only if you read how to use those skills.

So why is the easiest part of the game the hardest part for the majority of players?  It is the difference between doing poorly and doing adequately.  Is it really that hard to check out an article or two outside of the game for some information.

Is reading and comprehending what you are reading the high pressure of being adequate?


  1. They're lazy and they know that at least a few good/adequate players are around to carry them.

    It's no different than group projects at school or work or life in general: 10% of the people do 90% of the work.

    1. That is so true. Any time there was a project in school like that one or two people would do it and the others only contribution would be asking, is it ready yet?

      There should be a way to filter out lazy players so we would not be forced to play with them.

    2. Chemically impaired players seem to find their way into my PUGs more often than I'd like.

    3. And he worst part is they can not share over the internet. :(

  2. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    Sigh, I so much want to argue against this, but I can't. Back, way way back, when my paladin was still my main, I was experimenting with my first priest and had gotten to level 19 all on my own but things were getting rough. So I went online and looked up the priest class and one respec later emerged as a trimmed up ready to roll Shadow Priest.

    And roll I shadow priest soon became my new main and as the years rolled on, I experimented with variations of priest, trying every combo possible. Some I liked, such as my naked discipline based "monk" type priestess. Some I didn't care for, such as using Disc for healing (I don't care what anyone says, for ME, Disc is NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN A HEALING SPEC). I suck as a discipline healer, it feels unnatural to me, so for healing purposes, I went with holy.

    It wasn't that I didn't know about the spells needed for Disc healing, it was simply that I could never get comfortable using that type of spell selection. I knew what to do because I looked it up. Doing it properly however was a whole different ballgame.

    Now that my new main is a monk, I keep looking up my spec. Because I am about as uninterested in "end game" content as I have ever been, a lot of the information doesn't really matter to me yet. I have no need for reforging priorities when I have not acquired any gear that really "needs" to be reforged yet. But I know such exists and when the time comes I do have the gear that will benefit from reforging, I know where to find that information.

    So yea, I dearly want to argue against your viewpoint because (a) I am an argumentative soul and (b) to be frank, it sounds so elitist to talk about folks who don't look things up so badly, but the fact is I can't make an argument against it. Because I look things up also.

    I don't always agree with the arguments I find in favor of this play rotation over that, but then again, I have been gaming a lot longer than most gamers have lived. Heck, I have been gaming from before most of their parents decided (or discovered) that they were going to have that gamer baby come along.

    That experience over the long haul comes into play also when evaluating ideas. Also, despite not being a math nerd enough to want to do detailed studies of where the extra 0.01% damage comes from, I can follow the arguments well enough to understand most of what those math nerds state.

    Why anyone would not try to figure out how to play their class/spec well or at least aim in that direction I can't really understand. I guess Jaeger probably is mostly accurate in his explanation. I was always one who hated to be put into a group project. It is very seldom that a group project turns into a true collaborative effort. Most times, one person or maybe two do the work, and the rest coast on the worker(s) effort. So why should WoW be any different?

    1. I know what you mean about that. I love disc but feel like you feel about it about paladin healing. I just do not like it. It does not feel comfortable to me.

      I too do not understand why anyone would not want to do well, for themselves at least but I think that is what it boils down to. For every person that wants to put their best foot forward there are three that was willing to walk behind them and take credit for their work because they are lazy.

    2. There was one time I felt good as a disc healer, when my guild was doing the Lich King fight in ICC. That fight was tailor made for disc healing :)

    3. That was the best time ever to be a disc priest. You could suck, totally, and even tell a raid leader that, and still get in the group and just be told, keep everyone bubbled at all times.

      If ever there was a gimme moment in wow that was it. Disc priests were few and far between and in high demand. I could not log in and not get a message within seconds asking me to heal or from people I did not know asking me if I were disc as if they were stalking everyone that logged on.

  3. I've heard it said that people who come to expect a lot from themselves come to expect a lot from others.

    They see inferior performance around them and wonder what is wrong with those people.
    They don't consider that maybe it is they themselves who are contributing superior performance.

    Maybe you just THINK you are adequate when you are really above average?

    1. Adequate and Average are different measures.

      Adequate could mean anything from 'able to fog a mirror' to 'robotic precision'; it just depends on the difficulty of the content.

      Ideally, Average players are Adequate; but in random group content in WoW, that doesn't seem to be the case.

    2. I am in no way superior in performance, there is so much I could do better. I do not ask others to be great or even expect it but I would like people to have at least a basic knowledge of their class. I feel that is not to much to ask.

      The average player is not adequate, as jaeger said, the average player is barely functional.