Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Offering Advice

Apropos of our discussion last week, here's a question. Let's say you see another player make a mistake. When should you offer them unsolicited advice?

  1. They're playing solo and you come across them randomly.
  2. They're part of your Random Dungeon group.
  3. They're part of your PuG Raid Group.
  4. They're a member of your guild.
  5. They're a member of guild's steady raid team.
  6. They're a long-time "in-game" friend.
  7. They're a "real-life" friend.
  8. They're a family member.
  9. Never. Only offer advice if someone asks for it.

I think most of us are more willing to offer advice as you go down the list. The more tenuous the social connection, the less likely we are willing to offer unsolicited advice.

Where I disagree with a lot of readers, it seems, is that I think it is perfectly appropriate to offer advice to pretty much everyone. Why not? Are you afraid of looking elitist?

Obviously you should be tactful, but if you're a skilled player, I don't think it's a good thing to just keep your head down and collect badges.


  1. Before each daily random (which I always do with 4 pugs to keep things interesting) I inspect everyone's gear and give myself a reasonable expectation of what their dps should look like by the end of the run. If at the end of the run they fall well short of my (very low) expectations, I link the final recount posting and also link the EJ forums. I realize this isn't the most sensitive way, and that I'll probably get pegged as an elitist, but I'm honestly just trying to help.

    I also realize some of this may not hit exactly on the topic of your post, and for that I apologize, but it's frustrating being able to count on one hand the amount of pugs that have actually out-damaged my tank. I believe you said in another post or reply to a comment that if no one ever offers advice, the status quo of the quality of the WoW playerbase will never change. That's something I've tried to change about my social play recently, and I can only hope it catches on with more players.

  2. Unsolicited advice from #4 on up, and for #2 up I'll say "can I give you some advice on your talents / gear / rotation / etc.".

    I then only proceed if they say yes.

    While I have an 80 of each class and have experience with each spec, I try not to speak authoritatively about classes that I'm not treating as a "main" at the moment.

    For the most part, my advice seems to be mostly directed at Paladin tanks who don't pick up Touched by the Light ("Paladins tanks don't use spellpower lol!") or who I gather aren't familiar with the 969 rotation by virtue of having 0/2 or 2/2 in Improved Judgements.

    The people I have reached out to have been pretty receptive, and I always end up giving them links to Maintankadin and Tankspot for more info. I've not seen one of them a second time due to the large number of players in the LFD tool, but I'd like to think that they all learned something from the experience.

  3. @Kara: There are many excellent reasons to have 2/2 imp judgements.

    * Pretty much any 'best' spec right now will have Vindication and Crusade, both of which need to to take 4 'filler' points in T1/2 of the Ret tree. 2/2 imp judgements and HotC are a sensible place to put them. Consider the alternatives.

    * You will actually be using a FCFS rotation in any situation where consecrate is too expensive, and 2/2 imp judgements helps minimise dead time.

    * The above also applies pre-75, with no ShoR.

    * Judgements have a 10 yard range. If you're tanking a group that includes a split pair of casters, judging the further on cooldown is enough to keep aggro on them.

    * I've seen people try to maintain 96969 in modern heroics. It's painful to watch, and slows them right down. Pretty much every situation is one of either grabbing initial threat on a group, or applying final threat to a group with a view to moving on as they finish dying. In neither of those is 96969 the most appropriate sequence of moves.

    Sure, by all means, they should be familiar with 96969 - but they shouldn't use it all the time, and they almost certainly shouldn't be speccing 1/2 imp judgements. I haven't done that since my Aura Mastery spec, when we were starting Ulduar, and I'm not convinced it was a great idea, even then.

    TbtL, meanwhile... Yeah. Second best threat talent in the tree.

    (I had a L49 tankadin in BRD the other night who was *really* new. I started with 'how about running into the pack, and casting consecrate?' - interesting thing was, he actually took my advice, and the tanking improved markedly...)

  4. I know when I'm going to give advice, that is when I see somebody fuck up by making obvious mistakes. The kind that are clearly wrong. Like a tank I pugged with recently that had horrible aggro generation, because he was using seal of wisdom. He didn't take the advice btw, but it was obvious he needed it.

    Your answers are more applicable to who you'd give advive. And that's answer X: all of the above. Though the time I wait before I give it will be shorter when you go lower on the list.

    9 does appeal to me though. I hate unsolicited advice more than anything, but that's mostly because so many people simply don't have a clue, and aren't afraid to share that. When some random person suddenly decides to give advice, it's usually painfully bad. If I get good advice, brought in a respectful way, I'm going to be very thankful. I even wish that would happen regularly, to save time having to figure out everything myself.

    But I always observe for a while before I say anything. And only when it just can't continue the way it is going, I'm going to say something. With the mouse on the leave, or kick option, because it's ridden with huge, but oh so fragile ego's in my battlegroup.

  5. I recently gave some unsolicited advice during a random HC, and a shaman was there who - according to ElitistGroup - had an average gear level of 170, and only stamina enchants.

    It was an Old Kingdom run [was going to say OK, but that could have been read wrong :], and by the time we hit the first boss, I'd noticed that he was completely ignoring when I marked mobs Skull.
    Then, on the first mobs down the stairs [2 undead casters], I went to LoS pull them, and he ran straight in as soon as I'd thrown my shield.

    After a polite word, he admitted he really was very new to the game and wouldn't mind people telling him here he was going wrong or could improve.
    At this point, the entire group actually started giving him generalised tips - that everyone is expected to know in HCs - instead of berating him for the <1k dps...[that could come later... :]
    I told him about simple things like LoS pulls and marked kill orders, while others told him about buff overwriting [a DK's horn of winter over totem of strength] and other tips that would help dps.

    It was a slow run, but it actually managed to get friendly chat going through the run - and we even went and killed the other 2 bosses that most groups skip, so he could get more badges and loot chances

  6. Played my druid since beta. Got resto/feral spec and I think I know a good deal about druid tacts and also the game in general. I see alot of new players these days in hc pugs. Some are extremely good, some are zombies with no idea what their doing. Id love to give som advice and I think most people apreciate it if put forward in the right way. But...problem is that hc these days is just fast forward. I often start as cat(dps) but end up tanking or healing cus somebody leave ( without drama or even one single comment ). The group never stops annyways ( even withoug tank or healer ) some dps just pulls the next pack as soon as Im announsing that Im taking over the healing/tanking role. There is absolutely no time for chat, advice or annything other than running and clicking your icons frantically. But I might get that sorted now, getting a secretary to use the keyboard to write for me while click. Or maby not.

  7. Its not that i'm less comfortable offering unsolicited advice as i work higher up the list. I actually find that i'm less motivated. Game time for me is quite precious. Its hard enough to get everything done I want to in game, without taking a chunk of time out to help someone out that might not even appreciate it.

  8. everything but 1..
    but I wouldn't all the time, and often try and do it with disclaimers.. the closer the relationhip I think I would be more candid.. eg " wanna suck less?" if the answer is yes.. will point them in the right direction. If no, then thats ok. Peoples play styles and learning styles are different, I like to think I made the discovery myself when I was ready for it.. It would mean more to understand and learn it then then someone saying "a b c d now go". Something along the lines of " Ive looked at your spec and noticed blah.. did you know that this increases ur spell power.. ect ect.. would be a better approach -

  9. I often don't tend to give much advice, but I often take advice and do appreciate it when brought up. In the last month, I have specced my pally for tanking and I have received a lot of good feedback from randoms and guild members, and I really enjoy when someone is willing to take that time to help me. Any advice that will help my skills, and allow my to run more raids and be the tank for my friends is always appreciated. Respect is important, as well as the ability to listen and learn.

  10. I try to give advice whenever possible, if I see someone repeatedly make the same mistake(s). I do so tactfully, of course.

    I like to research things and tend to have a decent grasp of many classes, but I know that not everyone has the time or desire to do more than just mash some buttons. If they seem open to my opening questions or suggestions, I'm happy to open a dialog to really go over what they're doing right, and some tips on ways to improve performance.

    I've made a lot of friends in my five years of doing this in WoW. Many have gone on to become far better a player than I could hope to be.

  11. I'll give advice on all those, but I generally start out with a tip -- "you really shouldn't have righteous fury on when you are dps" and see where it goes from there.

    (And yes, I have to give that tip out. A lot. As a matter of fact, that tip is the first thing I said in 2005 to the pali who is now our top healer and raid leader.) :D

  12. I only offer advice when I'm sure that I'm right, ie the class is familiar to me, or it's a really rookie mistake.

    My main is a holy paladin, so I might give other pallies tips (tanks should have righteous fury up, dps/heals should not... also ret pallies should not use hand of reckoning unless they're solo XD)

    I also have an 80 arcane mage, so I'll give mages tips sometimes (having Focus Magic in your spec would help you improve your dps... don't use Mirror image on random trash)

    In low level dungeons I can also dispense basic priest/hunter wisdom. You know, level 20 holy priest, the reason you're oom all the time is cause you keep a bubble up on everyone all the time... save bubble for the tank, if you want insurance, renew is nice and cheap. Or, Mr. Hunter, please bring a pet and stop meleeing. XD

  13. It depends on the magnitude of the flaws and how comfortable I am with my advice. If I see a warrior specced prot, in half and half tank/DPS gear, using a 1h and shield, and assigned to DPS, I say something.

    I tend to offer help pretty willingly if I see a big problem. If one gem is off by the latest theorycraft, I let it be. A paladin in ArP, I say something; a paladin who goes for slightly less than ideal socket bonuses, I figure is close enough.

  14. There is also a problem that a lot of people give tips who are just wrong.

    When I was leveling up my DK as tank there was a healer. He started to give tips. Non offensive.

    But he said that I should skill into Icy Talons, which a frost tank doesn't really do.

    The population doesn't get better if we tell them the wrong thing.

    For every bad player there is probably an average players who does well enough in a heroic but hasen't read the amazing 20 page tankspot DK tank guide. If these people pass on the wrong information they can do more harm than good.

    Just because a bad spec works for you doesn't mean it will improve a beginners play style.

  15. I had to tell a holy paladin today to use holy light, because the tank kept dying when his flash of light spam couldnt keep up with the boss' 15k hits.

    Then he told me if he uses holy light he'll go OOM.