Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Game Should Change for ME

I get really tired of seeing the phrase "I pay my $15, I should get __________." There is a sense of entitlement that comes with paying money, the idea that "the customer is always right." If something is wrong, then it should be changed to suit you and should keep changing until you are happy. Because, seriously, you're the customer! There's no way what makes you happy could be a bad thing, right?

I touched (very) briefly upon this in the podcast I participated in a few weeks ago, but there are some things that are not Blizzard's job to fix, but are rather self-created problems that people need to take responsibility for fixing on their own, and not try to make Blizzard create policies and mechanics that fix them for you.

The obvious one that I am going to focus on is social control in guilds. This came up in the podcast, how some see the raid lockout change as an attempt to remove social pressures within guilds to run 10 mans and 25 mans, to gear up alts, to do this or that above and beyond the simple prospect of bringing your main to raids with proper consumables and gear. This creates a great amount of pressure upon an individual to do a large amount of playing they may or may not wish to do. By changing around the raid structure, Blizzard will possibly eliminate this sort of pressure.

In actuality, it is Blizzard treating its players like children. Don't think so? Let me explain.

The idea that all guilds have these same pressures is, of course, a sweeping generalization. With millions of players across the world, there are a myriad of guilds out there, and they are always recruiting. When you find a guild that is doing what you want to do, and you find the social pressures to not be of your liking, it is not time for the game to change for you to remove those social pressures. It is time for you, as an individual, to weigh the pros and the cons and decide, for yourself, if the pros outweigh the cons, and, if not, to find a new guild with pressures you can live with.

But what about being in a guild with people for forever! They're my friends, I can't just abandon them because I'm unhappy!
  1. If they are your friends, they will want you to be where you are happy.
  2. If they are your friends, and the pressures they are putting on you make you miserable, you should be able to have a frank and honest discussion about what is troubling you and try to fix it so that you do not have to leave.
  3. If they are your friends, and you are not a jerk about it, you should still be able to remain friends after you leave.
  4. If these don't happen? They are not very good friends, or you left in a bad way (or both).

I'm on a small server and there aren't a lot of guild choices! What do I do?
  1. Weigh your pros and cons. Is transferring off server or being guildless more of a con than staying in a guild where you are unhappy?
  2. Can you not communicate your unhappiness to the guild leaders in a way that is not whining or accusatory, or are they hostile to your politely worded suggestions or problems?
  3. Have you considered starting your own guild?
  4. Was the guild always this way (i.e. is this what you signed up for), or did it change while you were a member?

You're awful preachy, Bell. What do you think about joining and leaving guilds, smarty pants?
  1. Know what you're signing up for. Joining a guild only to complain about policies already in place just shows the "15 dollars" mentality. In a guild, it's not just your money. It's the money of everyone there, and your fifteen bucks pales in comparison.
  2. Be reasonable. Joining a guild, especially a raiding guild, and being unhappy with having to actually work for your gear, or pay attention, or being coddled through content when that is clearly not what the guild wants to do, is unreasonable. Expecting respect and reasonable consideration of (new) issues you may have (i.e. not ones they have dealt with before and have policies already in place for) is not unreasonable. Not getting it? Then you shouldn't stick around in an abusive relationship, Bella, no matter how sparkly the vamp--er, epics, are in the sun.
  3. Understand that rules change when you're working with a team. Yes, WoW is a game. Yes, you shouldn't play when it stops being totally fun. But joining a guild means it is not just about your fun anymore. What? Preposterous. No, it's true. You have to care about other people's fun, maybe to the detriment of your own. Don't like it? Don't stay.
  4. Leave when you are ready to leave. If you are unhappy, explore your options, and then leave (appropriately). Making excuses, waffling about, or server transferring in the middle of the night (like a coward /cough) are all bad choices. Just do it right and do it well and do it when you're starting to get unhappy, not when you're frustrated and strung out because you've given them just one more chance ten times.
  5. Be a constructive, active part in shaping your guild social dynamic Don't be a whiner, don't be a complainer, don't be a [expletive deleted]. Be a helpful guild member, who sets standards and works with others to identify, adjust and remedy problems. It is much easier to be happy when you have a hand in the process. And if you can't and this makes you unhappy? See point number 4.

When Blizzard tries to remove possible social control problems in their guilds, they treat their players like children who cannot handle their own problems or networking. Ignoring them just making new problems they'll have to handle, they are teaching their players that social control is not their responsibility, that complaining for a band-aid is more effective than working under their own power. They teach the "power" of the $15 is more effective than simply allowing their players to adapt to like adults.

I have been in a great many guilds. I have been in guilds stuck on Lich King, in casual guilds, in guilds that have achieved faction first status and then fallen apart. I have been in PvP guilds, in friends and family guilds, and been guildless. My current guild is a hardmode guild with no stringent requirements on alts or ten mans, and is top Alliance-side. I lead/co-lead raids on Saturdays for people's alts and mains without 25 man raiding guilds and am relatively successful. There are options out there; you just have to find them.


Nightwhisp said...

Very good thoughts Bell, as usual a well thought out and helpful post! My perspective is this: I agree that the game doesn't need to change to deal with social pressures. But I have found that there are alternatives beyond leaving my guild because it doesn't fit my specific needs.

I love to raid! My Guild wants to raid. I am geared capable and ready. My guild wants to be geared, capable and ready. At least that is what I hear form them. I have realized that in theory they want to raid, but that it is easier to let artificial barriers get in the way. ie: I don't have enough gold to gem my new chest piece, when there is 4000g in the guild vault.

I have concluded that in order for them to raid with me I will have to be very patient and allow them to progress to a level that allows them to raid.

Now I could get frustrated and leave and join one of the several raiding guilds that have recruited me or I could do what I am doing: I raid easy content like Kara an Zul'aman with the guild on Tuesdays, Run with a regular ICC 25GDKP pug on Wednesdays, run ToC25 in a semi-pug on Thursdays and run with my 10-man regular non guild progression group on Fridays in ICC. For me this has become the best of both worlds. I get to do a lot of raiding, yet this allows me the grace to help my guildies to develop into raiders.

Darthregis said...

Excellent thoughts, although I don't come to the same conclusion as you.

I figured the shared raid lockout is definitely about $15 a month. But it's about keeping as many people paying that $15 a month.

What was one of the reasons that people were dropping out of the game? Burnout. Running the same content, over and over.

Thus, by 25/10 sharing the same lockout, it can potentially help reduce burnout. People won't be able to run the same content twice a week. Sure, one could argue that this is Blizzard still treating the player base like children. Adults should have a greater grasp on self control and moderation. Maybe they SHOULD, but I suspect you're aware that it definitely isn't the case.

Anyway, I just think it's them trying to reduce burnout and subsequently have a less varying subscription base.

Eeeh, but what do I know? :)

Brent said...

From a raiding group perspective:

Your $14.95 a month says you can play the game however you want. Our $358.80 a month says you'll do your job and do it well if you want to stick around.

That's all the social contract necessary.

Erdluf said...

I agree with Darth. They aren't trying to control your social life.

They don't want anyone finishing the content (all BiS) too much before they have time to deliver new content.

They do want it to be possible to reach those finish lines with some modest time spent (on a per toon basis). Perhaps something in the six to fifteen hours per week range.

They can't achieve both those goals unless there is some mechanism that says the guy who plays sixty hours a week on a single toon won't get all that much more gear (or emblems if they provide good gear) than the guy who plays ten hours.

If I really want to play sixty hours a week, I should do it on four or five toons. They don't want to do the development it would take to keep content new and exciting for the sixty-hours-on-one-toon player.

Rob Dejournett said...

Agreed w/ Erdluf, people should not have the expectation that you need to be spending 20-30 hours or more on a single toon, raiding. I don't want to do that. The vast majority of the population doesn't want to do that. But some still feel 'forced' to do that. I think honestly anything they do to lower the required time to play is a healthy thing. I don't like loging into character X to do a cooldown. Or do the daily heroic. Or whatever. I want to login once a week and do what i can for that week in a space of a few hours, and then go back to leveling alts or what not.

Armond said...

Personally, I think this goes back to the whole "if I put in money/time/effort I should get whatever I want" mentality I see in people, which always faces the flaw of "your money/time/effort contribution isn't a lot, bro".

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