Friday, January 14, 2011

WoW, Dungeons are hard!

You said it GC, Dungeons are hard (again).

It is a clear indicator of just how great Wrath of the Lich king sold, that there are hardly any players left (at least in terms of "voices in the community") that seem to remember life before Arthas starting rumbling in the north (again... He was there in Vanilla too).
Or maybe it is just a clear indicator of just how long time people play this game, of just how high the turnover in player-base is.

So anyway, people are not able to zerg heroic dungeons any longer. This causes some upset players, and a need to explain to them just why dungeons are hard (again).
So Greg sat down in front of his Ipad (I imagine) that rests in the armchair of souls atop a mountain of money, in the private lake in is private Island, on his 1'000'000 ft yacht... again, so I imagine.There he writes a piece for a Blizzard blog, that could have just as well been named:
So you forgot h2p?
Or maybe
What did you think "heroic" means?
In the end he chose
 WoW, Dungeons are hard!
 (Puns intended I assume)
 Where he writes all sorts of good phrases like: We know where you are coming from, we understand you. Don't worry... ect ect It is a good read, and I implore you to go read it. Loads of insight into the minds and thinking of the people who produce the game you play.

What I want to touch on is a fine point he makes, and it is about the pace of the run, and on healer mana, and on how it is usually the dps at fault when you wipe, but it is usually the healer who gets the blame (my wording).


Once upon a time, in the days of wrath, you would get a PuG, via the dungeon finder, you would get a buff, if you pugged and get a pugg when you pugged enough. So people said: "screw you" to their guildies, and went pugging. They could do this, because Pugs then only needed a few things: over-geared tank, and geared healer. Sometimes a capable dps would show up, and things would go faster.
Then came Cataclysm, and Blizzard discovered, that maybe guilds where a good thing, and talking to people you where in group with, was also a good thing. So now the attractive buff, where for being in a guild group, and dungeons became so hard, that you at least had to have a an IQ over 40 to be able to complete them.
And the world crashed.

But it does not have to be that way.
What is the core problem with hard mode dungeons? Players are idiots, right?

No, Goblin, WRONG.
First of, I'm going to say something that might be construed as controversial, so please, read the whole post before you get all angry and feeling like commenting.. Ready? Here we go:

There are probably more stupid players in the US version of WoW, than in the EU one.

Calm down. 

It is because there are more kids in the Us version of the game that speaks the language, than there are in the European version. In the American version, every single little greedy Gobl... ehm, player of 6 years and up, can log on, understand what is being said, written, and even reply. And we all know kids; Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, mine mine mine, you are all just carebears and Morons and slackers, I want for me me me.

Here in the EU, the only kids we have playing fall into 3 catagories: English children (who act just like every other child, but can speak and type in english), Non-english speaking kids in small countries, and non-english speaking kids, in large countries. so when the non-english speaking kids in large countries get their own localization (german, french, spanish, russian), we are left with a comparable small percentage of kids playing the game, that are verbally active, and if you are secure enough in a second language to communicate in it, you are also mature enough to be able to understand the basics of the game (my hypothesis).

So in conclusion to this little sidetrack: we in the Eu have a smaller percentage of small greedy stupid kids playing, than the North american version of the game (my guess is that the localized versions, have it just as bad as the North american).

Back to the point
With that in mind, here is how you ensure, that your semi- or fully- pugged run, is a success:
Delegate responsibility
And it is not even that hard to do. Start the run (okay I am a tank, so it is probably easier for me to muscle this through) by saying something along the lines of:
/p hello there good people, in this run the following will mark their own CC targets and CC them at will, once CC'ed I will tank the rest of em. If you have roots, please root melee, if there is a rogue, let him/her sap before you cast your hex/sheep/whathave you
/p [mage] please use [Symbol A], [rogue] please use [symbol B], [Priest] please use shackle when available and then mark em with [Symbol Z], I will mark my main nuking target with SKULL.  
 And you know what? That is pretty much it. If you ask an employee to do meningless tasks and dumbass machine-like work, (say press 111 then 2 then 111 then 2-3) that is what you will get, a Zombie. If you ask em to take responsability, and expalin that they are as important to ensure sucess as you are. You will see marks fly all over the place (in a good sense), you will see people say in chat: "Oh noes, that one was immune", and you can all make a note of that for later, and burn some major cooldowns and still make it.
Plus, this will make runs go faster. No more having one person marking everything. No more silence from the hunter because he was afk, and when you pulled, he did not cc his mark. Because if he aint there, he won't mark, and you can make sure he is there and ready, before pull, and not during the potential wipe.

Isn't it amazing? Give your fellow a chance to take responsability, and they will jump at it. It makes heroics a breeze, it saves you from having to stop. at. every. single. trash. pack. and. discuss. because. you. need. to. discuss. it....again.
And once you get to a boss, people are so invested in the run, that a wipe hardly ever makes people leave. Wiping on a boss is allowed, struggling on trash, is not.

Go on, try it. You will love it!


  1. This is a great idea .......if you are the tank. In my experience pug tanks are as much of a problem often. I think they have spent too long being socially conditioned by the gogogo crowd that speed is everything but it still amazes me how often we pug a tank for a guild run then when I start marking up the tank charges in and does some sort of AoE making CC impossible.

  2. Agreed. But with any understimulated and (Lets face it) neglected and abused individual - such as the Pugging tank- It takes effort to rehabilitate them to their new enviroment. So be patient, be constructive, and teach teach teach.
    Hopefully, in the end, this will mean smoother runs for every unlucky soul that do not have me as their group tank.. *cough*

  3. I have never once in WoW encountered a kid that was being stupid; all the really annoying, selfish and plain crap players were always a lot older or in fact grownup 30+ people. it's not the kids that are the issue, it's morons - and age is basically no factor there.

    and yeah, heroic means nothing.

  4. Like Syl, most of the children I've encountered in Wow have been *fine* - it's the adults who are the causing the problems :P

    But, yeah, I've encountered a few self-marking groups and they've been great. Except for the time the rogue and the mage argued over who got the star :D

  5. @syl and Tam:Wasn't that sort of my point though?
    I tried to argue that the reason why kids are fine in the EU-english realms, is that most of em, in order to play and communicate in game, need to have learned a second language first. That usually requires a tiny bit of intelligence and thought.
    So naturally the most problems will come from adults (or kids who think that if they yell at people whilst claiming they are "totally 54", will get their way), more than maybe what the American servers will experience.

    Since they will not only get the same morons we do, but also the stupid little brats, who (barely) speak the language.

    @tam: yea the "im the star" argument has flared up a bit in my guild runs too :) -after all who doesn't want to be the star?