Category Archives: Rant

Gamergate

I didn’t want to talk about this topic because I wanted the whole issue was suffocate from lack of attention and die away. However, I find the whole thing so frustrating that I feel the need to write words about it to work through it and try to understand. I wrote a comment on a post about this (one of the few times I’ve weighed in on a public comment section) and the 400 other responses I keep getting emailed by Disqus have given me things to think about and things to rage about. I won’t claim to have read everything there is to read about the issue, it’s just too much shit to wade through. But I’ve read articles from both sides, I’ve read the comments, I’ve read through the GamerGate hashtag for as long as I could stomach it.

On the surface, GamerGate claims to be against biased and corrupt game journalism. Okay, being against bias and corruption seems like a logical thing. So where does the whole thing get so crazy?

Let’s look at some of the specific claims and complaints.

It is a conflict of interest for game journalists to have relationships with game developers. This could mean a writer is friends, or lovers with a game dev. It could mean a writer supports a dev’s work via Patreon. Yes, relationships can create bias. So can things like personal experience and tastes, but that’s beside the point. The important question for me is – what effect do these biases have?

A game writer gives publicity to a friend’s game it might not have gotten otherwise. Why is this something to get upset over? Having connections in an industry will give you more exposure in that industry. This is common sense, not corruption.

How about prominent game writers or developers coming to the defense of someone who is being harassed and attacked? Again, not corruption. This is a rather expected response.

Press and developers being too cozy? People in the same industry, with similar interests, who attend the same events will make friends. Maybe even start relationships. How many people have met a significant other or made friends at work? Why is games journalism a field where this is so taboo?

I think a big part of the problem is that people are taking game journalism way too seriously. They’re trying to impose very strict ethical guidelines in a place where they just don’t make sense. We’re not talking about coverage of politics (although this has gotten very political), or lawmaking, or international relations. We’re talking about video games. Most of game journalism is not news. It’s opinion. A game review is opinion. Social commentary about gaming is opinion. Agree with it, don’t agree with it, then move on with your life. If a journalist writes about a friend’s game and their bias clouds their review, is it the end of the world? No. And there will be 300 other reviews of that game that you could read which would balance their opinion. People have ridiculous expectations. Did gamers really see game journalists as infallible sources of consumer information before? Unless you’re reporting the specs of a new console, we’re not talking about facts. Whether a game is good or bad is not fact. It’s subjective opinion.

The inciting incident for GamerGate was Eron Gjoni writing a 9000 word manifesto on all the terrible things his game developer ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn had done. Namely, cheating on him with some men who were game journalists. This caused all kinds of outrage and was apparently evidence of how corrupt the industry is. Zoe Quinn had slept her way to coverage and good reviews of her games. The problem was these reviews didn’t exist. One of the journalists had mentioned her game in passing, but it looks like this happened before they had any sexual relationship. What I took away from Gjoni’s post was not that the gaming industry was a vile pit of corruption, but rather that I probably don’t ever want to date Zoe Quinn or Eron Gjoni. What I take away from the shitstorm the post caused is that a lot of people erroneously think that this woman’s sex life is any of their business.

The term misogyny is getting thrown at GamerGate supporters a lot. Are they really upset about corruption in journalism, or are they just using this as an excuse to harass women out of the industry? While I believe that the true misogynists make up a small (though very vocal) minority of the people involved in this, it’s hard to reconcile the people who do not have this intent. Why is Quinn – who is a developer, not a journalist – bearing the brunt of this? If unethical journalism is the true target, why is she the enemy?

I won’t deny the possibility of corruption in any industry that makes money but 98% of the examples of corruption in journalism I’ve seen brought up by GamerGate are about Zoe Quinn. Give me more examples of actual journalists being corrupt. Show me how this has affected people’s lives in real negative ways. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to write the whole thing off as an excuse to harass people.

Gaming sites are attacking gamers. After the Zoe Quinn “scandal” was brought to light, and after Anita Sarkeesian released a new Tropes vs. Women video, both women were subject to harassment and threats. Soon after this a number of gaming sites published articles with titles along the lines of “Gamers are Over”, which denounced this behaviour and condemned gaming culture as being toxic and entitled. The gamer stereotypes, lonely white males in basements, were presented as being on their way out, and angry because their hobby was evolving while they were not.

First of all, I think inflammatory titles like “Death to Gamers” are unnecessary and do more harm than good. Biting the hands that feed you is also pretty stupid. I identify as a gamer. However, I’m also a reasonable human being. When gamers are decried for being angry, socially inept douchebags, I don’t feel personally attacked. I know they aren’t talking about me. I think that people could be more careful about their language to avoid the appearance that they’re making sweeping generalizations about certain group, if for no other reason than it would not encourage the creation of more stupid hashtags.

Ultimately, this is all semantics. Gamer doesn’t have a set meaning. It means different things to different people. Gamers come from all walks of life, like different games, and have different opinions. Staunch support or opposition to “gamer” culture is silly because it’s not a single, definable thing.

Social Justice Warriors are destroying gaming and game journalism. People criticize the things they love. Suck it up, buttercup.

There are two main complaints here. The first is that gaming journalists are using gaming sites to push radical social justice. People just want to play games and have fun, they don’t want political agendas shoved down their throat. No one wants games to stop being fun. However, many people want to raise concerns about certain issues in games to raise awareness and hopefully encourage games to evolve. If you think reducing the amount of people who are marginalized by games will make them less fun, there’s probably something wrong with you. If this isn’t an interest of yours you don’t have to read these articles. Even in the most left-leaning of gaming sites that I frequent, these articles do not make up the majority of what gets published. There’s plenty of other kinds of articles – straight up reviews, previews, news, interviews. If you don’t want to read someone’s opinion on lack of female characters in the new Assassin’s Creed, no one is forcing you to.

The second type of complaints seems to stem from games like Gone Home getting well reviewed. Apparently, enjoying games that do things differently is a threat to the more traditional games. Or positively reviewing this type of game means you’re corrupt because how could anyone enjoy a “walking simulator”. This one seems almost too silly to respond to. The industry evolving is good. More choices are good. No one is taking your preferred games away.

Game journalists are glorified bloggers and have become irrelevant.

So let me get this straight. Game journalists are just bloggers (which is apparently a pejorative term? ouch). They are irrelevant. So, if they are irrelevant and their opinions carry no weight, why are people so mad about them saying that gamer culture is dead? Who cares what they think? Why do they need to live up to such high ethical standards in order to talk about games? Make up your minds, folks. Either Polygon and Gamespot and Kotaku should be sources of unbiased, unadulterated, objective facts about video games, or they’re irrelevant and their integrity shouldn’t matter.

If you really think that game journalism should no longer have a place in the industry, then stop visiting gaming sites and giving them revenue. Watch YouTube videos, read personal blogs, or get opinions from your friends. Let game journalism die its slow (inevitable, according to many GamerGate supporters) death. That many are opting to harass journalists instead calls the true motivations of GamerGate into question.

Game Dealbreakers

In my last post, Corinna left a comment suggesting that I try out The Longest Journey and its sequels if I’m looking for a game with a great female protagonist. I’ve actually played TLJ, and at one point owned Dreamfall on XBox, but never played through it because I couldn’t stand the controls. That gave me the idea for this post. Game dealbreakers – the things that can absolutely ruin a game for me, often to the point of never playing it again.

Bad Controls

Bad control schemes are probably the most unforgivable thing for me in games. I hate when a game makes me want to play it, then makes the act of playing it incredibly frustrating. At this point I don’t even remember what it was about the controls for Dreamfall that made me so mad, but it was bad enough to me that I never played past the intro despite its predecessor being one of my favourite games ever. Now you might ask me “Pam, why didn’t you just pick it up on PC if you hated the Xbox controls?” And that would be a totally fair question. I have no idea, it was 8 years ago. I think a replay of The Longest Journey and getting Dreamfall for PC is in order soon though.

In terms of controls, the Resident Evil series is one of the worst offenders. I hate tank controls where you have to rotate your character with one analog stick, while the other makes them go straight forward or straight back. It’s so clunky and slow, especially in an action game. RE4 is the only game in the series I actually played through because the controls turned me right off.

It looks much cooler than it felt to play.

It looks much cooler than it felt to play.

At the top of this list though is a certain scene in The Force Unleashed where you needed to take down a star destroyer. I don’t think a video game has ever induced so much rage in me. This tiny little portion of the game ruined the whole thing for me. It introduced a completely new type of controls and implemented them very poorly. The game did a bad job of letting you know what you were supposed to do, did a bad job of giving you feedback about if you were doing it right (other than the game over screen) and the controls were just unresponsive and gross. In the middle of it, I actually went tearing through my house, searching for a hammer so that I could smash the game disc into a thousand pieces. In the end I did not give into my anger and I finished the game but even thinking about it, 6 years later, makes me mad.

Also on this list – games that doesn’t let me invert the Y axis controls.

Point of No Return

A lot of games have a point of no return, a point you hit where you’re driven to the end game without the option of going back to explore or finish sidequests. Most games handle this well, and make it explicitly clear that this will happen. However, some games don’t.

The first game I remember being problematic in this way was Legend of Dragoon. I was right near the end of the game, still had a few optional bosses to fight (which apparently dropped really good stuff) but I ended up travelling to the end location, which I couldn’t get back from. It wasn’t made very clear that you couldn’t come back. So, even though I was standing basically right in front of the final boss, I quit. I think I finally went back about a year later so I could say that I had finished the game.

All this gold... for nothing.

All this gold… for nothing.

The worst offender of taking you to the point of no return without telling you was Fable 3. I spent a lot of hours in that game. I did every quest, tried to get every achievement. In the last portion of the game you’re preparing for a big attack on Albion and how much of your kingdom survives is based on how much gold you have in the treasury. I had a zillion gold in my personal treasury, but was waiting until the last-minute before transferring it over to Albion’s treasury. Little did I know that the “last-minute” was (according to the in-game time) 121 days before the attack. At 121 days before the attack I woke up, held court, then all of a sudden (without notice or a chance to do anything else) it was the day of the attack, Albion had no gold in the treasury, all the people were about to die. And of course Fable 3 uses autosaves and a single save file. I was livid. I deleted that save file and have never finished the game.

It’s so cute!

I’ve always loved JRPGs, but a number of them are so damn cute it makes me sick. I never played Windwaker because I couldn’t get over the art style. I tried Eternal Sonata and Radiata stories, but all the characters were so fracking precious that I had to stop.

Na no Kuni

Kill it with fire.

I went out and bought a PS3 specifically so I could play Na no Kuni, but after playing adorable characters and collecting 100 adorable pokeman familiars and having to feed them adorable cupcakes I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Scary

I am a giant wimp when it comes to scary games.

Ughhh, make it stop.

Ughhh, make it stop.

I tried to play Silent Hill 1 a long time ago, and I lasted for maybe 30 minutes. I got through the intro but as soon as I picked up that radio, I was toast. It would emit static, I would turn the television off. I tried a few times but the result was always the same. I’ve never played through a single Silent Hill game.

The only really scary game I’ve ever finished was Fatal Frame 2. However, I played it with a friend, which made it much easier (even though she would literally throw the controller at me if something scary happened while she was playing).


Do you have any dealbreakers in games? What drives you crazy?

Monkey on my Back

I haven’t done a /played in a while. I don’t really want to see the number of days it would show me. I know I’ve spent over a year of my life in Azeroth though. I’ve been thinking about how this game manages to gets its hooks in so deep for so long.

Collection

People love things. And WoW has so many (pixelated) things to collect. There’s gear, gold, companion/battle pets, mounts, vanity items, toys, tabards, profession recipes. Though some things aren’t even part of a collection per-say, those of us with hoarding tendencies can even make endless loops around zones to farm stockpiles of ore or herbs. Not everyone will want to collect everything (I hate vanity items and delete them from my bags immediately), but there’s something for everyone. I don’t even like pet battles but I still went around and collected every pet in Azeroth at one point. As long as there is some new object to collect, even if you have to kill something 700 times before lady luck smiles upon you and it drops, people will log in.

Completion

This one goes along with Collection, and is the one that usually got me. Achievements. For the collectors, possessing those 90 battle pets found in Eastern Kingdoms was the reward. For me, it was those five (5!! /cry) achievement points I got when I caught the last one. I didn’t give a shit about the pets themselves, and I certainly didn’t have fun for 90% of the time I spent collecting them. But those shiny, arbitrary points – I wanted them all. Of course achievements aren’t unique to WoW, or MMOs. If a game has a multi-platform release, I’ll always get it for Xbox because I love those gamer points (and the Xbox controller). The difference is, going for all the achievements in your average Xbox game will only take a couple extra hours. In WoW, the time investment needed can be absolutely ridiculous. And it needs to be, or else you’d get them all and have nothing to log in for. At one point I wanted to go for Battlemaster. Then I realized that would likely be at least a hundred hours of generally frustrating gameplay (that number is a total guess and probably a very conservative one). I spent hours going for archaeology achievements, an activity which was about as interesting as watching paint dry (and with paint, at least there are fumes).The pinnacle of ludicrousness came recently, with Going to Need a Bigger Bag. We haven’t had new content in 9 months, but people are still logging in to camp mobs, kill mobs, hate life when the last item they need doesn’t drop, and then do it all over again.

Competition

I like to raid, I like to do it well, and I want to kill things before most people. How could I ever unsub while there’s still that last big bad to kill? Of course, the raid competition bug bites many people a lot harder than me. I like to kill bosses, but I also like my 9 hour per week raid schedule. For those who are truly competitive, they not only log upwards of 12, 15, 20, hours per week raiding, they also do all the current raiding extras – rep grinds, valor capping, food farming, and consumable crafting. The truly competitive even go so far as to level and gear up alts so they can run content multiple times, funnel gear to raider mains, etc. It’s not enough to just see the content, you need to see it and defeat it first, and with that comes a lot of time commitment.

Community

In a multi-player game, this one is the biggie. If I can take a step back, the collection, completion, and competition aspects that have kept me playing this game for 8 years seems rather inane. When the servers shut down and Jasyla the Night Elf Druid is no more, will I care that I had 173 mounts, 19460 achievement points, or that my guild was the 176th US 25man guild to defeat Heroic Iron Qon? Not likely. But I will care about all the friends I met in-game, the friendships that extended into real life, and the people I haven’t met but chat with often on Twitter or blog comments. I’ve seen a number of people over the past week or so really struggling with wanting to step away from WoW over some things that have been said by executives recently, and not wanting to leave their friends, the community of people they’ve become a part of. I’m sure that obligation is a thing that keeps a lot of people playing over the years. Wanting to avoid additional obligation is the thing that’s kept me from ever picking up another MMO habit. When I don’t enjoy playing the newest Final Fantasy game, I just stop – return it to the store if I’m feeling ambitious. No harm, no foul. But when WoW gets boring, when the healing game sucks, boss fights require spreadsheets, and we don’t see any new content for a year? Stopping isn’t so easy since it means losing a big source of connection to the community.

Conclusion

There is no conclusion. It doesn’t end, you never win. The story doesn’t get wrapped up. So you’ve killed heroic Garrosh? Just wait for a bit and there will be a whole new set of bads to kill (also, you didn’t really kill him, sucker, he’ll be back because we can never get enough orc bros). There will always be another quest zone, a new PVP season, a new raid instance. You may feel a sense of accomplishment now, but it will fade as soon as the next thing is released, and you’ll have something new you need to conquer.

So, I guess that’s how it happens. One day a friend says “hey, you should try this, I think you’d like it”. The next thing you know, its 8 years later, you’re still playing, you’ve spent $1500 on subscription fees, and dedicated 10,000 hours of your life to a single game but still can’t say that you’ve beat it.

Offline Co-op

Remember the days when playing a video game with a friend was an easy thing to do? Just pop a cartridge into your NES (you may have had to blow on it first), plug in the second controller and go. It was a simpler time. No internet connection was needed. There were no headsets, cameras or motion controls. There was no Facebook integration (to be fair, there was no Facebook). Just you and a buddy, sitting on a couch, playing a game.

Gaming has come a long way. Games now have amazing graphics and sound, stellar storytelling, seamless UIs. Games can make us choose, can make us think, make us feel, make us react, or just let us hijack cars and run over pedestrians.

Gaming can be even more fun when you’re playing with friends (says the girl who always wanted everyone to leave so she could play the Goldeneye campaign rather than playing yet another round in the Stacks with grenades.) Big strides have been made to let people play games with others – but only in certain ways. Want to sit at your computer, group up with 24 other people from all over the world and take on a dragon? You can pay WoW, Everquest, Rift, Aion, FF, LOTRO. If you’re more into spaceships than swords you can play Eve, SWTOR, Starquest, Phantasy Star, or Star Trek. Want to join a team of people to shoot terrorists or aliens and listen to strangers who sound an awful lot like 12-years olds call each other fags? Then Counterstrike, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo are all there for you. Want to collaborate or compete in large scale strategic battles? You can always find someone online to play DoTA, LoL or Starcraft with.

Want to play a console game with someone who is in the same room as you? Well, then your options are much more limited. Especially if you’d rather cooperate than compete. The majority of games seem much more concerned with enabling you to play with strangers online than allowing you to play offline with your S.O./roomate/sibling/parent/child/friend/dog who is sitting beside you on the couch.

My boyfriend and I have been trying to find console games that we can play together. It has indeed been a trying experience. There aren’t too many games that advertise having an offline co-op mode. Plus, when local co-op is actually included in a game, it often seems like more of an afterthought. We went out and bought games that advertised having local co-op. We tried Madden 25. It has offline co-op but, aside from the fact the game basically plays itself for you, playing on the same team was pretty dull for whoever wasn’t the quarterback. We got Tales of Vesperia. A multiplayer RPG? Sounds awesome. In practice, not so awesome. Player 1 basically plays the majority of the game by themselves and player 2 gets to jump in and control one character during combat. Yawn. We turned off that one after about 8 minutes. We picked up Call of Duty: Black Ops. There is offline co-op, but only for 2 specific modes – zombie survival and playing against bots. You can’t do the campaign or play against other people online together. My bf was going to buy Dungeon Siege 3, but was talked out of it by the cashier at Gamestop. It features a drop-in co-op that doesn’t allow the person dropping into the game to save any of their progress or items. Considering the game is a dungeon-crawling loot grind, this seems like a pretty serious issue. Some games even advertise having offline co-op when there actually is none.

Offline co-op

Offline co-op? Not so much.

There are a number of arcade style games that feature decent offline co-op. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Castle Crashers, TMNT are all games I’ve enjoyed playing with friends in the past. However, they’re all fairly mindless (and very short) side-scrolling beat’em ups. Those have their place, but sometimes you want to play something a little deeper.

In terms of AAA titles, most console developers seem to consider offline co-op a waste of time or something to be thrown in at the end, in a completely underwhelming way. There are exceptions.

Valve in particular has added some very good co-op play to their games. Portal 2 features the most complete co-op experience I’ve had and was definitely not an afterthought. It adds a whole extra campaign and hours of playtime to the game. Left 4 Dead also lets you play through the campaign with a friend (or three). Both of these multi-player games give you a choice too. You can play with someone sitting beside you offline, or you can connect with people online and play through the game. Other developers should take note – this is the way to do it. The only small complaint I have about these games is that co-op mode is not very intuitive to access.

Left 4 Dead start screen

Play campaign? No… Press X to Play with Friends? No…
Oh! There it is in small, barely contrasting text in the bottom left corner.

Diablo 3 also makes it easy for people to play offline co-op and we played that a bit on PS3. A nice thing about D3 is that you don’t have to deal with split screen, which I really liked from an aesthetic standpoint. However it has some serious drawbacks too. If you get items or level up you need to take turns with the menu screen to examine and equip new gear or choose new talents. This brings the pace of the game to a crawl. Also I had already played through it when it came out a year and a half ago on PC, and starting from scratch on console wasn’t all that appealing.

There’s a site called Co-Optimus, which is dedicated to all things co-op gaming. I’m hoping it leads me to some good games. A quick search for Xbox 360 Couch Co-Op games shows 256 results! That seems positive. However, once I filter out the genres I’m not really interested in (like Sports games), the party games (there are dozens of music/dance games), the games whose co-op is a half-baked afterthought, and the games that are generally just bad, the list isn’t that long. The Lego games, which have been recommended to me, look like a good option. Hopefully I can find a few more.

I’m hoping that the games for the new generation of consoles take into account that people may actually want to play video games together in the same room. So far, it’s not looking too good though. Dead Rising 3, the game I’m most interested in on the Xbox One, is online co-op only. Same with Ryse and Black Flag. Call of Duty: Ghosts has “co-op specific” content.

This is a plea that game developers make more games that can be played with others offline. I love video games and I’d much rather share my gaming experiences with someone I like enough to live with, or at least invite over, than some random online gamers.

Follow Friday and Other Baffling Twitter Phenomena

I’m feeling a little ranty today and I figured I’d take it out on social media since it can’t defend itself, and WoW has done nothing to provoke my ire lately. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I love it more than hate it since I’ve ‘met’ so many awesome people on it who I like to chat with. But certain Twitter behavior can irritate me to no end, especially when I’m kind of grumpy in the first place. Here are the top offenders. They’re all related to filling my Twitter feed with a bunch of crap I’m not interested in seeing.

Follow Friday

Alright, I can understand this conceptually but, practically, most #ffs are duds. If I see:

#ff @Serrath_ @RunningTracy @ThunderRodent @WTSHeals @healiocentric @Therya_EJ @Rezznul @Restokin @Smmoke_ @SerrinneWoW @Kaleri_ @kurnmogh 

You know what the chances are that I’m going to follow any of these people? (Pretend that I don’t follow all of them already :P ) Zero. Why would I follow these people? Who are they? Why should I want to see what they have to say?

However, if I saw this:

#ff @Serrath_ because he’s taken over as the new healing lead of Apotheosis (sucker). He’s an awesome holy Priest, even though he plays a gnome.

Then I might actually follow, assuming I was interested in Apotheosis, healing, or Priests; and not too turned off by the gnome part.

If you really want to get someone some new followers, put in a little more effort. Otherwise, why bother?

The worst thing people do is when they post 12 big blocks of #ff tweets that list every single person they follow. Please, stop.

Thank you

I admit this is a strange one and I could possibly be the only person bothered by it. It’s especially odd considering I’m Canadian and all about being polite to strangers. However, it bugs the hell out of me when people say thank you for RTs. Yes, it’s great to be appreciative, but it’s also great to not clog your other followers feeds with 12 tweets that say “ty” to various people. That said, I do appreciate when people RT my blog posts! I just do it silently.

The worst Twitter thank you behaviour is related to Follow Friday. If someone mentions you in one of those big blocks of names in a #ff and you feel the need to thank them… for the love of god, just thank the person who wrote the #ff. Do not reply to everyone. Argh! (Reply All is a function that many, many people can not handle. Not just a Twitter problem.)

Auto Tweets

Worst thing. I seriously find these more annoying than DMs telling me about how you lost 10 lbs with Garcinia. So many sites do this auto posting BS – I find YouTube, FourSquare, and Raptr the worst offenders, and it’s the quickest way to make me unfollow someone. I don’t care that you liked a video on YouTube. I don’t care that you’re at the Tim Hortons on 4th and Main (and it’s kind of creepy that now everyone knows where you are). How twitchy my unfollow finger gets when I see these depends on my mood, but if I see more than one or two of these in a day from a person, I’m probably not following them anymore. It’s really annoying. There are a few people who I really want to follow so that I can see their actual thoughts on things, but then 25% of their feed is: “Played World of Warcraft (PC) in the last 24 hours. http://raptr.com/” and I don’t want to see that. I generally wind up following and unfollowing these people every couple of weeks.

PSA: Help control the auto-tweet population – check your settings on these websites and turn them off!

Alright, I think I’m done ranting. Oh wait – Get off my lawn! There, now I’m done.

Because I don’t like to write posts that are totally whiny, self-indulgent and negative, here’s a cool screenshot of Jasyla rocking her legendary cloak proc. Four wings are better than two.Dual-wing

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Usually when I use the phrase in the title above, I’m referring to the official WoW forums. But today I found another place that fits this description perfectly: Looking For Raid.

My experience in LFR has been extremely limited. I’m not really the target player, and I’m somewhat opposed to being expected to do it. When Dragon Soul was released, a bunch of my guildmates ran it frequently to get their four-set bonuses quickly, but I wasn’t one of them. I would rather gear up a bit slower than run the same content each week on two difficulties (TotC, anyone?). I always considered LFR as a way to gear up alts when I’m bored, rather than something I’m interested in doing on my main.

Anyway, I haven’t done an LFR in months, but the topic came up yesterday and I decided I’d give it a go on my warrior to try to pick up a piece or two of gear. I queue up as dps and quickly get pulled into a group that is on Zon’ozz.

Immediately upon zoning in, I could see that this wasn’t going to go well. My first hint? No one would shut the fuck up. Raid chat was full of obscenities, people berating each other and stupid ASCII macros. And what are people not doing when they’re spamming raid chat with inanities? Any damage or healing! Though we killed Zon’ozz without any problems, after he dropped I was quickly reminded about one of the other qualities of LFR: loot drama. I started thinking about the groups of people who do LFR, and I think pretty much everyone can be put into one of four categories.

The people who just want it to end

These people are quiet and unassuming. They know what they’re doing, they do their job adequately, or even very well. They don’t talk down to the bad players in their raids or try to create drama. They just want to kill some bosses, maybe get a piece or two of loot, and get out of the raid before the people in the other 3 categories drive them to violence.

The Loot Whores

I’m going to go ahead and assume that loot is the driving factor for most people who do LFR, and boy can people behave badly when they don’t get it. There are the people who curse out anyone who outrolls them, and those who beg for people to trade them gear.  There are the people who roll need on absolutely anything they can, even if they’re already wearing it, or something better. There are also a number of people who feel they don’t need to put in any effort in order to get gear, they AFK or just stand around doing nothing while the rest of the group does their work for them. The worst case I saw of this was a Shaman – they had queued as dps, were in a healing spec and gear, and spent the whole time in ghost wolf with someone on auto follow. Until they were kicked, that is.

The assholes

These are the people who just like to cause trouble and make everyone else’s time less enjoyable. They spend all their time beings dicks to everyone else in the raid. They’re always sure to tell people, in the most rude way possible, how terrible they are. Then there are the griefers – like the dps who pull all the trash packs or pull the boss before the trash is clear. In the first LFR I did we had a Mage who kept blinking around, pulling everything in Yor’sahj’s room, then blaming it another Mage. The two then mages argued in raid chat through the entire (8 minute) fight, rather than doing any damage to the boss. In another LFR we had a Mage who thought it would be clever to put a portal to Theramore over the portal to the Eye of Eternity. Charming!  In the short time I spent in LFR I put 5 people on ignore because of the ignorant, offensive language they used. My report button got a nice workout too.

The Utterly Clueless

This group is what makes every boss fight take 4x longer than it should. I’m not expecting top-tier play from people in LFR, I’m really not. But I do hope for at least a little bit of effort. The damage or healing some people put out is just astoundingly bad. In the first LFR I did I managed to do more damage than all but one or two people on most boss fights. This is incredibly sad. My gear wasn’t great – no raid gear, I still had a couple of pieces of tank gear (I levelled as Prot) that I hadn’t been able to replace. I’m also just not good at melee. I see the error messages “Target must be in front of you” or “Target is out of range” pop up on my screen more often than I’d like to admit. But somehow I doubled the damage of half a dozen of the dps. A ran with a group of 4 Moonkin who couldn’t cast their way out of a wet paper bag and seemed averse to using any spell with a cast time. In one of the LFRs I tanked, the healers couldn’t switch healing targets worth a damn. Every time there was a tank swap it was a white-knuckle moment where I needed to use all my cooldowns as I watched my health start dropping and didn’t start receiving heals until I was almost dead.

It’s not just low damage and healing I’m complaining about either. So many people know nothing about the fights. The first time I fought Morchok four people died in the Black Blood. There are so many ways to avoid that. You could read your dungeon journal and learn that it is bad to stand in. You could ask somebody before the fight. Or you could just look at your health bar, see it dropping, see your screen flashing red, and run out of the goo on the ground. But people don’t do any of these things. On Yor’sahj, half the dps ignore the incoming slimes and stay on the boss, despite repeated raid warnings telling them otherwise. Switch to the Bolt on Madness? Stop damaging the Amalg on Spine? Not happening. It drives me up the wall that people come into a raid unwilling to work, unwilling to listen, but expect to be handed shiny new gear.

The most clueless person I saw was, unfortunately, a Druid. He was Feral (0/40/1). He was wearing an agility dagger with a Demonic Skull in his offhand. He had a number of pieces of blue pvp gear. The rest of his gear seemed to be anything that he happened to win a roll on in dungeons, be it a strength helm or an intellect trinket. He didn’t have a single gem, enchant or a lick of reforging.
I don’t think he ever used Shred, possibly because he never attacked the boss from behind. When I see people like this (and I’ve seen quite a few) I often wonder if they’re just trolling – I sometimes hope they are, because the alternative is so sad.

So…

Why do people put themselves through this!?

LFR came from Blizzard’s desire that everyone be able to see raid content. I’m not the target audience, but I have to ask those who are – those who don’t have the time or desire to be part of a regular raid team – is LFR an acceptable solution? Is it really worth it to spend so much time with random jerks who treat everyone badly or can’t be bothered to try?

PSA: Twitter, Communication and Manners

Imagine this…

Someone on the Internet has pissed you off (I know, I know, this is an outlandish situation I’m suggesting, but bear with me). Maybe they’ve disagreed with something you firmly believe in. Maybe last night in Dragon Soul they wouldn’t get out of the fire no matter how many chances they got and kept wiping the raid. Maybe they’ve just been an absolute jerk.

Despite common practice, the appropriate course of action is not to go on Twitter and snidely make vague, undirected comments about the situation. This doesn’t fool anyone. Anyone who has been privy to the situation will know exactly what you’re talking about. The person you’re making the snide comments about will know exactly what you’re talking about. I suppose that’s the point. However, acting this way is passive aggressive and tacky. At best it accomplishes nothing. Likely, it makes everyone involved more angry and draws more people into a situation they don’t really need to be involved in.

Try taking the high road. Directly tell the person in question that you’re upset with them and why. If you feel like being super mature about it, you could even do it in private rather than on Twitter. The situation has much better chance of being resolved this way.

Communication tends to work better when you say what you mean, to the person you want to hear it.

/soapbox