A post in three parts.
You’re probably reading this in a feedreader, so let me tell you about a change to the page layout of Mysterious Buttons that you haven’t seen and don’t care about. I’ve removed the wall-o-links sidebar that was my blogroll, and also the single largest thing on the page. I’ll keep the “recently updated” widget, but the blogroll has moved to its own page.
As part of the move, I’ve separated the blogs into categories (not by class or anything quite so useful — it’s me, remember?). One of the categories is “Near and dear”, which is people I play with/have played with/admire/nerdstalk.
Recently, I’ve found myself skipping merrily through the posts listed in my feedreader, barely reading *any* of them. A good number of wowblogs appear to have switched to more-or-less full time Cataclysm coverage, and I find myself less and less inclined to read. I think I’m at the point where I’d rather just take it as it comes. I don’t need to race to 85. I don’t need to optimise my rotation for a Worgen rogue I haven’t started to level yet. I won’t be competing for server firsts, or to own the <insert moneymaking thingy> market on the auction house. So I might as well have the pleasure of tripping over things, making mistakes and finding my own path. I can always look up what I’m supposed to be doing later, once the wrinkles are smoothed a little.
Unrelated? Not exactly. 2fps is one of the sites in the “near and dear” category and so I actually read Shay’s recent post on tanking on the PTR, “Rise of the Chicken”, and it made me wonder if we, the wow-playing peoples, are giving ourselves too little credit.
I feel like I’ve seen a good number of posts on healing/tanking in the Cataclysm model, and how playing in an “AoE everything” fashion will have terminal consequences for your party. My impression, based on the bits I *have* read, is that crowd control may be required (/wink). That focus fire will matter. That tank health, tank healing and tank threat will all conspire to prevent massive pulls from being anything other than a wipe-inducing mistake. Fine.
There also seems to be a widespread belief that your average wow-player will struggle to cope with this — particularly those who weren’t around for BC or vanilla WoW (where I understand this was the norm). That every PuG dungeon or raid will be wipe after avoidable wipe because drooling DPS idiots can’t keep their fingers off the max threat button, that tanks will blindly charge in, collect 200 trashmobs, die, and start flaming the healer.
I’m not convinced.
When I was very slowly and with much foolishness learning2play, I did so at first by seeing what worked and what didn’t, and (I suspect) playing incredibly badly. Thankfully, I was mostly soloing so I wasn’t inflicting my special brand of idiocy on others, but still. It was a fair while before I started looking at the fantastic array of resources available on talents, rotations and the like. Even having visited them and read through the content, I still needed (and continue to need) to try things in game before I really absorbed anything. I’m not convinced I’m unique in that respect.
I’ve learned since via a number of mechanisms. I’ve learned by trying stuff, and seeing what got me dead or shouted at. I’ve learned with the help of others, who’ve offered advice on what to do, or what not to do, and why. I’ve learned by reading hugely instructive and helpful blogs where information is presented not just as “do <this> otherwise U R BAAD” but with reasoning and with alternatives. By reading the resource sites like Wowwiki, Wowhead, EJ etc.
Here’s the thing: I can do it again. And so can you, and so can she *points randomly*. We all can, as long as we give each other just the tiniest chance to do so. Sure, some habits might be hard to break. Some skills might need to be (re-)learned. But we can all do that, and if we help each other (rather than scream at each other) not only will this dungeon or raid or battleground or quest go more smoothly, but future ones will too.
Sure, there’ll be the occasional idiot who pointblank *refuses* to modify their behaviour, even after you’ve asked nicely. Even after you’ve explained why. But if we all start off assuming anyone who isn’t perfect already is somehow irredeemably bad, the game will be fundamentally broken.
So, this is my plea: if you see someone “doing it wrong”, forget all the times you might have tried to offer a suggestion and had it thrown back in your face. Try to help. Send a whisper. Or just do your damnedest to be non-confrontational when asking for something different. Obviously “FFS noobz, lern2CC” is unhelpful, but so is “Why didn’t you <ability>, mage?”. Use names — the pace of the dungeons seems likely to be slower, so you’re not gimping the emblem flow if you take an extra second to check a person’s name first. “I think we need more CC — Centrella, could you sheep the moon please?”. “Ano, I know it’ll reduce your DPS a bit but can you focus on cleansing for this pull? ‘Oother’-the-holy-pally needs every GCD for heals”.
My bet is that people will actually be keen to learn, and to help. I know I am.