Thursday, March 06, 2014

Change Their Minds

But what about everyone else?

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed an increasing number of people getting annoyed, in public, about what Warcraft may be about to start asking from us. Whether it's the Silver Medal from Proving Grounds or crowd control in Dungeons, there are those who are questioning the need to 'prove' worth in game in such a public fashion, and it has set me to wondering about what matters more: our own expectations, or those of the people around us. When asked I'll always default to what I know is the notion that I feel most comfortable with: you are your own arbiter for such decisions, and what YOU want to do always matters above what you are told in such situations. However, that's not always the case, and I also understand that feeling with a sense of resignation that many people will simply never grasp.

Yes, you are enough, but some days you never will be.

It's that feeling when you *think* you're part of a group of people and that you have a significance and then you realise that actually, you're anything but. It's the classic scene from any number of teenage angst movies: the socially awkward girl does her best to fit in and to get people to interact with her. She has a few friends but no-one who really understands what she is except that other guy/girl (delete where applicable) who keeps telling her it doesn't matter about anyone else, she just needs to be true to what she is. Then the big Dance/Social Event happens and the awkward girl thinks she's done enough to be noticed and be finally included but it transpires she was never part of the group she wanted to be with at all. That's the moment where you'd get the moralistic 'be true to yourself' speech, but in reality that's often not how it works at all. Validation is a curious beast, especially when it comes to gaming. In that case, it can often matter more that someone asked you at all, that anyone would consider you worthy of inclusion.

In the end however, it really doesn't matter as long as you are happy.

Save some for the rest of us Stephen ^^

Drama is the lifeblood of the Internet. There are those who will tell you that the best way to deal with it is never to start it, or that it is inevitably unavoidable once people cross certain thresholds of familiarity. The same issues that cause conflict in Real Life inevitably spill over into gaming as well: I was linked a while ago a thread on the Warcraft Forums about a guy who met his wife in game and had lost her to his Raid Leader: no, I'm not going to go find the link, because these things depress me regardless of where they come from. Jerry Springer made his name from such dramas, and they are compulsive and addictive if it is not you in the middle of them. When they happen, and you're on the outside, it can be difficult to understand why they even happened to begin with. However, again we're back to the same basic tenet: if you are happy, that's really all that matters. Just because you're not part of the team, or just because you have no part in the drama, doesn't mean you're not important. In most cases, it means you're bloody lucky.

Being different? Be True to YOURSELF.

I have a running conversation with a good friend about how validation matters, especially in a place like Warcraft. Knowing you're important, that people respect your opinions, that's as much of a part of the gaming process as tilling a farm or completing an Instance. I agree with this to a point: there are groups of people everywhere that some might argue inclusion with will guarantee you better perks than in other places, but in the end it is often the mavericks that people remember the most: the trailblazers, the characters, those who refused to fit into a category or tick all the boxes. However, there is something I want to say to those of you who are clearly regarding the Warlords changes with both fear and trepidation: you should try it. Fear is the biggest hindrance to ANYONE who does not believe 100% in their worth. I know that feeling from personal experience and it is enough to stop you dead in your tracks and bring you to your knees. On days like today when my confidence is low and my belief in what I can do wavers, fear is enough to set you back years. If you are enough, and you can control it, the benefits are staggering, and not simply in your ability to play a better game.

If you are worried now about how you will cope in Warlords on your own, go find a friend and go to the Proving Grounds today. The friend bit's really important: even if they're not in the instance with you they could be in a party, or in Guild, or maybe even in a voice chat. Maybe it could be someone you know who plays your class in your Guild who you respect, who's willing to spend a bit of time helping you to understand why you might be struggling. The Brawler's Guild's also a great place to start to work out what you could be improving in your playstyle too: gear won't matter nearly as much in Warlords, but ability remains absolutely vital. My point is, that even though you and I know what matters is your happiness, there is room for improvement in every single one of us and if you try, you might surprise yourself. The biggest single issue for most people in situations like this isn't their skill as it stands. It's their perception of that skill as it relates to the rest of the gaming world.

From Like the guys say...

In the end, your gaming experience, like your life, is subjective, often in the extreme. It is a good exercise to temper that with large doses of reality. You are not as good as you think you are. You are better than you believe. It is the eternal balancing act, and often in a game your frailties can become as exposed as your strengths. In the end, however, you really need to be happy.

If you're not, it is time to stop and work out why.


R said...

Yeah, I find it hard to find any justification for those who are concerned about things like PG silver and providing CC if their class offers it and general "being useful to your group" in general.

If one wants to play the game as a single player then those things are unnecessary... play how you want, the world is yours.

Those who choose to team up for group content, though, have to recognize that it's GROUP CONTENT... what YOU may specifically (not) want to do is secondary to group considerations. If you're queuing as a healer with dps gear and can't adequately heal in your dps gear, it's a PROBLEM, that isn't something you should feel entitled to do because you want to or can.

If the difficulty of heroics will be roughly on par with PG silver and someone is unable to get PG silver, that's an indication that they should be upping their skill level before queuing... if that barrier wasn't in place they'd have to be carried by every single group they're matched with and in random content where one can't control who we're grouped with, even a little bit of a competency guarantee is a Good Thing.

For those people who don't meet the bar, they can always group up in a premade who are willing to take them as they are... that isn't something random folks should have to deal with, though.

Bartosz Szafarz said...

As a certain president of a certain country once said: there's nothing to fear but fear itself. As a person who struggles with anxiety (though for some reason it doesn't show as much in-game) I confirm: fear is the worst thing. Rule no.1 : If Sha of Fear or Sha of Doubt is your problem - make them the top of your priority list. You won't do much with them hindering you, they will always hunt you, there's no escape, unless you tackle them head on. Absolutely no other option.

BTW I must admit, the whole Sha mythology in WoW, although cheesy at times, was really motivational for me.

Bartosz Szafarz said...

And yes, part of the reason for all this is that this is a multiplayer game. Even if one plays mostly solo, they play on a shared world. Even soloable quest design reflects that. Which means that the consideration for others will always be a big part of WoW. Whether you like it or not. It's just the nature of this game. There is no doing stuff with other people without the whole baggage behind it. The social physics will always be there in the background.

And frankly, I don't know if wanting such an escape from the social aspect of life that one doesn't want to even consider some compromise, negotiation and limited interaction is any healthy.