Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gevlon Is Right

I may disagree with his methods, but at his heart, Gevlon is right. Most people do not play anywhere near their full potential.

Why then is it verboten to point this out? Maybe all the people who advise you not to make a fuss are just cowards. They're afraid of being called "mean" or "elitist". Who cares about about other people, so long as you get your badges. Much easier to take the safe route and avoid confrontation; to laugh about a poor player in guild chat behind her back.

Surely the better path, the harder path, is not to turn a blind eye to poor players, but to help them become better ones.

The difference between Gevlon and I is what we believe are the motives. To Gevlon, bad players are "morons and slackers", who are bad players because they choose to be bad. In my view most people want to be decent players, but a lot of them don't really know how to be good. They don't see the path from what they are to what they could be. Or worse, they ascribe the difference entirely to gear, which is pretty much the worst mistake you can make if you want to be a better player.1

Pointing out that a player has poor DPS is not mean. It's a fact. If you can shame or push them into seeking out external information at Elitist Jerks or the WoW Forums, that's pretty much the only thing which will make them better players.

Of course, though, it's all about style. Calling them terrible and trying to vote-kick them from PuGs unless they do better isn't going to work. It would work if they were actively slacking, but not if they don't know how to do better.

1. See the Why Are DPS So Bad? articles on the sidebar for more on this.


  1. The biggest problem is that most of them already believe that they are good players, since no one told otherwise, the top rewards can be gained with content they can do (5-mans), and those who do better are clearly just no-life basement-dwellers.

  2. Honestly though, pushing a DPS meter up the nose of someone that's new to the game isn't likely to help them in any way. Unless you're willing to go the extra mile and take some time to talk to them in personal and give them directly relevant advise in a form that they will appreciate you might as well keep your meters to yourself. Personally I only ever do that if the player, 1. sports a great attitude, and 2. is a hunter, as that is what I know well. More often than not the actual problem is one of attitude though and that's not something I'll be going near with a ten-foot pole.

    That said, I'm still perplexed by the notion of that all players are required to perform to their full potential in 5-man content.
    Firstly, the content isn't difficult at all. It's stuff we did in quest rewards and lv70 gear when it was fresh and it wasn't challenging then, let alone now.
    Secondly, there is a distinct difference from raiding in a raiding guild and doing instances through the LFD tool. In the first case you are bound by the rules of your particular guild, rules you have accepted when applying to your guild. In the second case it's pretty much a free for all where the only rules in play are the EULA, the roles assigned and the looting system. Additional rules such as "DPS should put out 2500 DPS", "DPS should always be above the tank" and "healers should have pigtails" are all abritrary restrictions that your co-players didn't sign up for when hitting the LFD button and as long as you didn't pull the group together yourself by invitation (which is still perfectly possible) I don't think you're in a position to apply these kind of rules.

  3. lost a reader by referencing idiot Gevlon.

  4. lost a reader by referencing idiot Gevlon.

    Oh noes. Whatever will I do? My dreams of wealth and power, cruelly dashed by the loss of a anonymous reader.

  5. I'm with Tzatziki here; they're five mans, not raids.

    If you want fast five mans to badge farm, you get friends who are competent. That's a big part of the whole social thing - connections.

    I'm absurdly harsh on poor dps players in my guild. After every raid I'm in the logs pointing out mistakes, improvements, querying reasons for this, that and the other thing.

    It is probably annoying as all hell, but we're a raiding guild. We want to clear stuff. This is what everyone explicitly signed up for when they signed up.

    Five mans are different. None of them are currently difficult. Most were never difficult. If the LFD tool had existed back in BC, these types of issues would have shown up in much sharper contrast.

    Can you imagine Shattered Halls in a random PuG with random crazies? Shadow Labs? Etc, etc.

    Ironically, DPS are the class type that can really make itself play to potential. Tanks and Healers hit a line where the requirements of the encounter are met, and better play is self defeating.

    DPS can always get better.

  6. You did not touch the question why they have to be better players.

    You don't play WoW to finish it, you play it to pass time, to have fun.

    If just casting frost bolts and not reading EJ is fun to you, what's wrong with that? Why do they have to be better?

    Why do you assume it's "helping them" if you send them to EJ (where they'll get an infraction)?

  7. Been thinking about what Gevlon posted on his blogs. Based on the actions blizzard has taken in the previous year I don't think they will solve it in anyway near to what Gevlon proposes.

    If underperformance becomes too much of a problem in the eyes of the ones who do perform near to what their gear can do (as in they stop playing, earning blizz less money) it's far more likely that blizzard will simply change the mechanics to make it more difficult to underperform.

    Underperformance caused by poor itemization choices --> change the way itemization works (which they are going to do)

    Underperformance caused by poor talent choices --> make talent choices so easy that it's really hard to mess up your talents (which I believe they are also going to do)

    Underperformance caused by not being able to click and switch targets fast enough --> nerf haste, increase global cooldown.

    While Gevlon may think his actions (gaming the LFD system, forcing underperformers out of the party) may (or may not) make blizzard change the game into something he'd enjoy more, it's more likely they will change it in ways he wouldn't agree with at all.

  8. Underperforming because not spamming a key fast enough -> They'll implement a server side queue.

    One can dream...

  9. In one post from Gevlon he states that if you do enough dps on average to kill boss before enrage timer that is good enough and your pulling your weight. So applying this to 5 man hc you will find that the same average dps sufficient to kill trash/boss is prolly in the area 1k-1,5k
    ( annyone got number here ? ) maby even lower in some cases. So if Gevlon lives by hes own rule also in 5 man hc he should not complain about dps slacking unless its so low that its below this minimum average.

  10. Gevlon's point is that it is neither entertaining nor is it beneficial for him to play educator in his 5 mans. being what M&S call "rude" costs nothing, and booting a terrible player both 1) opens the possibility for getting a replacement who is better, and 2) potentially inspires the M&S to google "why do I suck at huntering." Or it might induce the M&S to whine to his mom. Either way, it's not longer an inconvenience to Gevlon.

    You might get better individual results with a carrot than a stick, but the carrot takes a lot more personal time invested, and with no clear return on my time, I see no reason to play teacher to a bunch of lazy, stupid, or uneducated people who can't hit the sinister strike and FoK buttons.

  11. I would be called out if I were screwing up tanking or healing. I don't have much problem telling anyone with weak dps to pick it up a bit. I don't mind if someone just hit 80, is still learning their rotations for dungeons, maybe they have guild drama going on--those to me are viable excuses. Having epics on and still not cracking 2k is not ok though. It's the confrontation that troubles most people, not the facts.

  12. Baseball :
    I see no reason to play teacher to a bunch of lazy, stupid, or uneducated people who can't hit the sinister strike and FoK buttons.

    Hm, are you Gevlons brother irl ?

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. The thing here is that, for the underperforming DPS, playing better than they do requires more work with little extra gain, and thus, those people are unlikely to get better unless they want to get better, in and of itself. Therefore, the only way you can force them to get better [in WoW as it is right now] is by booting or shaming them, thus giving them an incentive to avoid those situations in the future.

    Also, the reason why underperforming DPS in 5-mans is such a topic is because a 5-man group doesn't just consist of DPS, but also a tank and healer. Not only can the tank and healer not slack off to the degree that DPS can, the worse the DPS play, the harder the tank or healer have to work because they pulled the next group or stood in the fire or whatever. In addition, can you imagine the verbal abuse that would be given to a tank or healer for "Oh, you died because you pulled aggro and I didn't feel like hitting my taunt button" or "Well, it was an AoE but I didn't feel like healing everyone, so I healed only the tank"? And yet we're supposed to accept slacking DPS without complaint?

  15. The biggest problem is that most of them already believe that they are good players

    Honestly I find if you use some of those social skills you despise gevlon that you'll find most of the really don't.

    But if start off telling them how broken they are publicly then of course they get defensive and you get no where with them.

    You'd be surprised how far a descrete whisper can go. Most people want to be better but that is trumped by not wanting to be embarrased by some jerk.

    Works that way in the real world. I've got 20 years of experienc in IT and I've never seen an IT department fail or suffer for firing the Genuis jerk who spends all his time creating drama and trying to get the "M&S" fired. Strangely when they go everthing just keeps working. And usually better. Most organizations need team players far more than they need star performers. In fact too many star performers and you end up with counterproductive fights that destroy morale and then productivity.

  16. > Not only can the tank and healer
    > not slack off to the degree that
    > DPS can

    That's not correct. While tanking There are mostly two kind of healers. The healers who are "healers" and the healers who love the fast queue. The first type of healer stick to your back and heal. You check there mana but you can chain pull because you can trust them. You know they are there and they cover your back.

    The second kind of healers don't have the "healer gen". They often fall behind. You not only have to keep an eye on their mana but you also have to check if they are in range or if they are watching TV/chatting/something.

    Both gets the instance done and I won't die because I pay attention. But the first kind cuts the time in the instance in half.

    It's not that if a healer is not giving 100% that you always wipe. That's something you might tell because it adds glory to a boring job. But in the end a slow (some people would call it slacking) healer just slows down a run the same way as a low dps dd (some people would call it slacking).

    And the same is true for tanks. You rarely wipe because the tank doesn't control the group. But it slows the run down if loose mobs interrupt the DD from burning the mobs down as fast as possible.

  17. Back when Naxx was relevant, I ran across a warrior in LFG. We needed a dps so we pugged him in. Turns out he was unguilded. Now his dps was low for his gear, but he was a joy to raid with. Good attitude, fun in vent etc. After the run I extended him a Guild invite. He was wary, because the other guilds he had been in had simply called him out about his dps without offering to help. As we are mostly a social guild with a raiding problem, this was not a big deal for us. Over the next couple of weeks, I worked with him on his dps. Now he is one of our better performers and a core member of our guild. All because someone took the time to work with him. Not threaten to boot him after the first boss. Not call him out that his dps was low. It honestly never occured to him that there would be an entire community of people that would spend there free time writing about a video game.

  18. Truth is, there are two reasons why people join LFG.

    1) Like to play as a group and do well. This includes clearing content quickly to get emblems of frost. These people take pride in their performance.

    2) People who want free gear (boosting). They'll use every excuse in the book to not try, say that they enjoy casting frostbolts, etc. Those excuses are flat out lies. If throwing frostbolts was all that gave you fun, then you could have just as much fun killing boars and no one will be yelling at you.

    The truth is that the freedom to do what is fun goes away when you click that LFG button. You are asking to be part of a team, and if you're not going to show respect for the other people in the group, you'll get what you deserve.

  19. Rohnan, I believe your assertions involving the immediacy of feedback for healers and tanks, as well as the non-obvious advancement path for DPS to be accurate.

    However, the quality of the immediate feedback is inversely proportional to the number of people involved. If there are 3 healers in a 10 man, it's easy for the slacking healer to think they're doing just great. In that case, the slacking healer NEEDS feedback from the better healers in the guild in order to start improvement. (The same applies to DPS)

    Tanks, not so much because they have specific and separate tasks that by their nature, can't be done by the other tank. (You can't both tank the same mob at the same time unless you need cleave protection, whereas the better healers can take up the slack of the weak healers)

    So... no matter HOW casual your guild is, the order that low preforming players are weeded out of raids is tank, healer, DPS. The 'casuality' of the guild simply determines how the weeding is done.

    With no feedback, then... DPS in 5 mans will think they are as good as the aggregate DPS of the group / 3. Tank and healer will be forced to see the truth of their own performance as they are the sole contributor. In 10 mans and 25 mans, tanks are still the sole doer of their job, while healers can hide behind the aggregate HPS of the group (depending on job assignments). DPS even more so.

    In my view, what Blizzard should do is add a simple DPS/HEAL/THREAT meter to the game. With only those three settings, and only displaying cumulative data (no stored fights) it would have a reset button and an X button to turn it off. The default would be on.

    The players who WANT improvement, will eventually be asking "My DPS is really low!" "My heals are really low!" "My threat is really high!" Tell me more! Why would this player accept that data, and not the data from other players? Because people will assume the other player is judging them rather than trying to 'help' them.

    Having meter data come from players who are just trying to make the low preforming player look stupid by stacking the DPS meter prior to sending it to the group (These people know who they are... Arcane/Icy Veins mages blowing cooldowns to get mad DPS on short boss fights) are doing more harm than good.

    Of course, the place for requiring the best of people is not heroics, it's guild runs at the highest content the guild runs. And the best people to give out this help? advisers within your guild. EVERY person in your guild should have a go to person for class help. Someone connected to the guild leadership that decides who raids.

  20. I don't care at all about low dps, what I care about is dps targeting the right mobs, stop dpssing when they should, or using utility abilities like MD, resistance aura's, interupts, CC's, and the likes. That's a big plus for them.

    If the DK in my group is the best dps, but uses AotD on a boss (especially dragons), he immediately won his spot in my shitlist. If the top mage keeps pulling f.e., same result.

    Anyway, my favorite recount display is the Activity screen, not dps or healing. It tells a lot more.

    Sure, no dps should be below 1k dps, and for the new dungeons 2k, but it's a rare occasion when I see that happen. And if it does, I give 'm some advice. Only if they're a dick about it I'll kick 'm. If the group doesn't agree, they're back in queue. This only happened once, usually they happily take the advice. It's probably in the way you bring it.

    Besides, when tanking with SoC, and running ahead of the group, with the dps giving me a sec to get aggro (like they should), it's not at all strange to see me outdps the lot of 'm. I don't care. I've got other stuff to worry about as long as things die and we don't.

  21. I normally run about 3k - 3.2k DPS on my Warrior. I did a heroic PoS yesterday where not only did I have the lowest DPS, but the TANK had top DPS (something like 4.5k).

    So Gevlon's statement that the tank should always be #4 is patently false.

    I have never kicked someone for low DPS, and I probably never will. I have kicked (or at least agreed to kick) a shaman who was in such a rush be pulled a boss before the healer was ready.

    As for the "heroics don't matter so why should I do my best" - I don't understand this viewpoint. If you are so apathetic towards heroics that you don't even try... then why run them at all?

  22. Dorgol:
    "As for the "heroics don't matter so why should I do my best" - I don't understand this viewpoint."

    While I didn't make this statement, I understand it. Do I blow flasks while healing in Heroics now-a-days? Hell no! I don't even waste my buff food.

    But that doesn't mean that heroics don't matter... it just means that in the continuum of group play, heroics just aren't worth the effort to be at your max.

    I was in a fail PoS heroic group. Could not kill Garfrost... not ONLY could we not kill Garfrost, but we were taking inhuman levels of damage.

    Was the problem Gearscore? Nope. Was it skill? How the heck should I know? I don't know these people. Was it the tank totally sucking? Probably... but I didn't stick around to figure it out. After the third wipe, I dropped group. (NOTE! Why did I list Gearscore first? Because it was the easiest to check.)

    Why not expend more effort in analysis? Because it's just a heroic. I can get into another heroic in 15 minutes, worst possible case.

    So, PuG heroic runs are way down on the group play continuum.

    Would I have done that if it was a GUILD RUN of heroic PoS? No way! I would have meticulously analyzed logs, done what it took to work the people through the problem.

    So, Guild run heroic runs are farther up on the continuum.

    What about PuG Raids? I pop all consumables, do my absolute best... but don't kill myself to boost people. I call for slackers to be booted and replaced.

    So PuG Raids are between PuG heroics and guild runs on the continuum.

    The statement "heroics don't matter so why should I do my best" doesn't mean you don't even try... it means you attach the level of effort to the task based on it's importance to you in your interpretation of the continuum of group play.

    It's like tying your shoes. It's important! You don't want to trip! But focusing 100% of your efforts on that task would be seriously OCD. You put in just enough effort to get the job done competently.

  23. I'm with @Tzatziki on this one.

    Gevlon is wrong for taking this position when he enters the LFD and he is wrong in his methods for motivating players to perform better.

    If this was a raid situation, as raid leader Gevlon would be fully within his rights to expect his DPS team to perform to the best of their abilities. In my guild, I fully expect the same thing when we have a guild run.

    However, when he enters an heroic PuG through the LFD system, he has no moral or philosophical right to dictate the terms of how other players enjoy this game beyond some very basic expectations as defined by Blizzard's design of the game.

    If the run is going well with all the mobs dying quickly, no players have caused a wipe, pulled unnecessary mobs, said something offensive in party chat or wasted the other players' time, there's no reason to initiate a vote kick on someone or cause a lot of unwarranted drama over a damage meter.

    Not once did he mention any of these things happening in his blog posts with the "bad player." Instead it was all about someone not meeting the unannounced, arbitrary damage expectations of Gevlon. And don't get me started on his use of a damage meter as a reliable means of measuring performance in a heroic instance with epic-geared players.

    This is all about Gevlon thinking his rights or expectations are more important than the rights or expectations of the other players in the PuG. What really matters is everyone's ability to have a fun, quick, and successful heroic run.

  24. Anecdotally, I often make small suggestions to individuals who are performing poorly in the dungeons, even if it's the tank or healer. I.e., "Hey, I see you are having mana problems, Mr. Paladin Tank. Are you using Divine Plea often enough?" or "I think you'll find that using Renew and Greater Heal more often is more efficient than spamming Shield all the time."

    Many players actually appreciate the help. They simply haven't been told that there is a problem with their technique, and aren't aware of how to improve. Similarly, when some noob in a city asks me for gold, I tell them to try out auctioneer. I say "Look, you can make several gold per stack just by killing boars and selling the meat." The most common response is "No way, really??"

    Some players think I'm a jerk for meddling in their play style, it's true. But I am always glad to have the opportunity to improve somebody's play in a way that doesn't involve trying to make them feel like a worthless human being. And I think that people who try this approach can attest that quite a lot of poor players would like to get better but don't really know how.

  25. After rereading your posting, you're assuming that Gevlon has in some measure the goal of improving his follow players. I would disagree. We should all look to help other players and improve their game play. For example, a quick whisper with suggestions to a struggling dps player in a pug can often be effective.

    Gevlon's entire approach however, is to shame and demean other players. I hardly think from his writings that he cares if the "M&S" players actually improve or not as long as he has them around to bash and generate controversy for his blog. What clearly seems to be upsetting him is that casual players have been given the ability by Blizzard to see content and get epic gear.

    He also seems to have no idea how situational damage meters can be. I have some doubts from looking at some of his screenshots where a few of the players are pulling well over 4,000 dps that the other players in question were actually slacking or not playing to the best of their ability given how wonky damage meters can be. Instead of finding out what's going on and helping them, he immediately starts a bunch of drama and initiates a vote-kick.

    I'm very disappointed that you gave cover to his stated intentions when they're obviously not intended to actually help poor or struggling casual players but to simply punish them. Instead of calling him out on it, you ascribe it to some greater good and write it off to Gevlon being Gevlon. I'm sorry, but that's behavior that shouldn't tolerated since it's purposely disruptive. It's not a question of being mean or elitist or on the other hand, a "coward." It's the difference between being a jerk or not a jerk. No one has the right to cause that kind of drama for purely personal reasons.

  26. Kring asks:

    "If just casting frost bolts and not reading EJ is fun to you, what's wrong with that? Why do they have to be better?"

    Nothing, so long as you are happy to do only solo content. The moment you step into a group, however, you become accountable not only to yourself but to others. The group cannot force you to play differently, but you also cannot force them to keep you in the group.

  27. > but you also cannot force them to
    > keep you in the group.

    That's right. The group can kick anyone they don't like for whatever reason. That's why this feature is there, I guess.

    But there is also nothing wrong with keeping low DPS players around if you can afford it. If that's not your cup of tee, leave the group or have them voted out. That's fine.

    My comment was related to what Rohan wrote:

    > Pointing out that a player has poor
    > DPS is not mean. It's a fact. If you
    > can shame or push them into seeking
    > out external information at Elitist
    > Jerks or the WoW Forums, that's pretty
    > much the only thing which will make
    > them better players.

    He writes it as if the bad players need to become better. And that's just wrong.

    Would our WoW experience get better if these persons would go to tankspot or raiders101 and learn to play better? Probably.

    Is the world just turning around our needs? Unfortunately not. :-)