Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Leechers and Automatic Group Creation

Sometimes I think that if Gevlon did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

His latest brainwave is a mod that kicks and blacklists people from the Wintergrasp raid. Basically, if he or other mod users see people leeching or being stupid, they can kick them out from the raid, preventing them from gaining much of the rewards that the people in the raid get.

The thing is that for as long as PvP has had rewards, there have been leechers. People who sit in the Battleground doing nothing, essentially forcing their team to play at a disadvantage, while racking up the rewards that the rest of the team earns. Because the other players cannot impose consequences for negative behaviour, that negative behaviour flourishes. Automatic detection of negative behavior hasn't really helped.

What's interesting is that in the PvE implementation of automatic group creation, there is a mechanism to allow players to punish negative behavior: Vote-kicks. The group can vote to kick a player from the group and get a new player. All of a sudden, behavior that reduces the chances of success has consequences.

And I think that by and large vote-kicking, or the threat of being vote-kicked, has worked. There is far less obvious leeching in dungeons than in PvP.1

Gevlon's mod is essentially a vote-kick system for Wintergrasp, albeit with only one vote.

It begs the question: would PvP battlegrounds benefit from a vote-kick system like the one the Dungeon Finder has? Automatic detection of negative behaviour can usually be outwitted, but I think it's fairly obvious to the entire team when one person is slacking.

The sad truth is that when there are no consequences for bad behaviour, people often behave badly. There have been no consequences in PvP for a long while, and maybe it is time there should be.

1. We can debate about people doing low dps in random dungeons another time. To me, at least they're trying to hit the mobs, even if they aren't very effective. It's much better than them sitting at the front of the instance leeching xp and loot.


  1. "Sometimes I think that if Gevlon did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."

    Such a brilliant oneliner! I don't know if you know it, but you were one of my first blogging heroes, someone I put on my blogroll and admired from a distance. When I grew up I wanted to become like Rohan. Sort of.

    Sentences like that might have something to do with it.

    On topic: I think the introduction of the rated BG:s will change the PvP landscape. Will there even be any players left in the open BG:s who have some kind of ambitions?

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Larisa. But as much as I'd like to take credit for that line, it's actually a paraphrase of a quote from Voltaire:

    "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
    - Voltaire, Epistle to the author of the book, The Three Impostors, Nov 10, 1770.

    As for rated battlegrounds, I'm still a little confused on whether you have to make a team first, like Arenas, or if you can just queue up as an individual and you get automatically matched with a team of similar rating.

  3. Battlegrounds are so trash talk-y that I'm afraid a vote kick system would just turn into a tool for "OMG u gusy r so fail" guy.

    I don't particularly want to get thrown out because I don't meet someone's arbitrary standard of competence. If it could only be used on AFKers and people who spend AV mountain climbing and so forth, that would be one thing, but I'd be worried it would be used as a bludgeon to prevent people with less skill (who aren't leeching) from ever improving.

  4. We all want to be like Rohan. I use his blogroll to get to all the other blogs I read.

    On rated BGs: As far as I've heard, you DO need to sign up as a group to queue, but it doesn't need to be any officially made team or anything, you could just grab a bunch of people from Trade. I imagine the point of this is much the same as your post: to place some control over the group members in the hands of the group and/or its leader.

  5. Awww! I should have known. There was something familiar about it but I couldn't pinpoint it. However it was clever of you to pick it up.

    There's no escape from my admiration!

  6. The sick joke on Gevlon is that his "goblin" mentality is the root of leeching. Leeching is the ultimate efficiency: you do nothing and get the reward you want. How much better could it get?

    As for wondering what would happen if this was applied to BG: you already know the answer. Everyone with low GS would be insta-kicked, the same way GS is used to measure if you get into a raid or not. Reading a number is so much more efficient than actually looking if someone is able to play.....

    (it doesn't happen in current dungeons because everyone overgears them. And even there, see what happens if you get a 30k HP tank in Halls of Reflections).

  7. And then, there is no fishing daily which asks you to fish in a dungeon.

  8. " would PvP battlegrounds benefit from a vote-kick system?"

    I believe so. There have always been dire predictions about such a system being used for bullying, or for ejecting undergeared players (and thus preventing them from ever getting geared), but I think the dungeonfinder vote-kick has been seen to do a lot more good than harm.

  9. Helistar, I absolutely agree with you. Leeching is the goblin way. In fact, in this post Gevlon suggests that leeching (in this case going AFK) in battlegrounds is the optimal way of getting honor. Of course, that was before he cared about winning in battlegrounds.

  10. Interesting idea. With the amount of trash-talking that's usually going on in battlegrounds, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone was trying to vote-kick everyone else all the time. Then again, the possibility of there being consequences for their behaviour might force people to actually shape up.

    Personally I'd be worried about getting kicked when doing the quests in AV for example. I feel bad enough "wasting time" to retrieve that banner from the cave as it is, but it's not as if I could do it while there's no battle going on instead (like you can do the fishing daily).

  11. @Dáchéng: the contradiction you observed will be a post

    @all: a GM just answered me and told it's completely OK to kick them!

  12. Perhaps WG needs such a system, but anyone complaining in a random BG should quit whining and make a pre-made. Their own laziness is the enabler to that of others.

  13. Helistar says:

    "The sick joke on Gevlon is that his 'goblin' mentality is the root of leeching."

    Leeching existed long before Gevlon the character or the player behind him. Leeching will continue to exist long after Gevlon has been forgotten. Therefore, we would be well served to develop ways to mitigate the damage that this sort of entirely rational behavior can produce.

    At root, the reason why people leech is because it is effective. In battlegrounds, the rewards given to leechers are nearly as good as those given to legitimate players while the costs, in terms of time, are almost zero. The incentives are screwed up in the sense that what is good for the individual is not aligned with what is good for the group.

    Gevlon's addon, though somewhat harsh, is an attempt to at least align negative incentives for the individual and group. Personally, I would rather see a system similar to that used in LFD, as suggested by Rohan.

  14. @Lujanera: He didn't invent the mentality of absolute selfishness. He just gave it a convenient name and shouted it endlessly at everyone. As you said, it was before him and will be after him, but that doesn't excuse the preacher.

  15. I also like to black list leechers from my random groups with the ignore list. I assume leechers will eventually have longer and longer queue times if enough people ignore them.

  16. The problem with a vote to kick in PvP is many people don't check whos being kicked in instances. If you came across someone from another server or even your own who did not like you they could vote to kick you and there is a chance that no matter how well you are doing you could be removed.

  17. Being able to kick people from battlegrounds makes me wary. I was once in WG and the raid leader was spamming ready checks - every 20 seconds or so. I got quite frustrated and hit no one time. I was immediately kicked from the group and ported out of the area. I think vote-kicking would cause just as many problems as it would solve.

  18. Didn't Gevlon originaly post about the advantage of going AFK in battlegrounds? I've learned to take what he say with a grain of salt, as he changes his mind too frequently.

  19. "kicking" already exists in both WG and BGs, it's just a little harder in WG.

    In WG, the raid leader can remove a member of the raid, which then removes then from the HKs and a reasonable about of honor (not to mention that healers can't see them on raid frames any longer). You just need to be, or convince the RL.

    Addons exist already for BGs which will auto-AFK-flag someone. But there is a problem with this. I used it once or twice before removing it forever.

    BGs played correctly will have players idling at specific locations, flags, towers, bases etc.

    Their role is very important, calling incomings to nodes, slowing or stopping flag runners, recapping towers, or frustrating attempts on Drek & Van (as an example).

    Yes they are idle, purposefully idle, but more BGs have been lost by zerg, that sensible strategy.

    Back to normal BGs, you can vote kick someone already - flag them as AFK. They then get a specific period of time to become involved in the action, or they will be kicked with a deserter buff.

    I have heard that the more people that flag a player AFK, the more weight it holds, but I am yet to see evidence of this.