Monday, May 16, 2011

A Stat I Would Like To See

Sometimes good things really do happen to good people, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always able to "just be happy for them." I think that being happy for someone else in the face of your own struggles is quite the acquired talent. I do strive to be that way, but I don't always achieve that.

To be fair, I was being mostly facetious, and also I know Big Bear Butt to be a good guy and a good player. That he has, admittedly, gotten fortunate with a good group to see a majority of the content is not really something that bothers me. It's actually a great thing. The Bear has contributed a lot to the Community and set a good example for a lot of bloggers (me included). If someone is going to write about getting carried, I'm glad it's him.

I just wish it wasn't on a damned Hunter. That's what I'm saying here. Only a Mage would be worse. Then, I read that he was on his Warlock alt when all this started to go down, and I felt a small bit better.

But my point is just that my sort of mini-rant last week wasn't about Bear in particular. I felt like the feeling I experienced was something that is pretty common in this game of ours, and really highlights the importance of intrinsic motivation. It's one thing to feel an initial sense of jealousy at the fortunes of someone else. I daresay that a bit of that is simply human. It's quite another if I had gone off the deep and end decried the game "too easy" or thrown in my raiding towel because someone else didn't have to walk uphill in the snow both ways to get where I got. Instead, I tried to turn in my human nature into something silly and fun (at least that's what I was shooting for, I may have erred, as humans are wont to do).

I have chosen to raid only once a week for two hours. I have chosen to stick with my group of people and learn to succeed with them. To me, raiding is a team sport. Winning has a lot more of an emotional reward when you do it with people you care about (not that winning a random pick-up game isn't fun as well). With my decisions come certain limitations. I understand and accept that.

One of the stats I would like to see is "wipes/hours per kill." Maybe it exists out there somewhere, but I imagine it would be hard to measure. What I'm talking about though, is a measure of the perceived effort a group has to put in to succeed. However, if we could figure out a way to do this, I think they should start using such a stat to rank the "top guilds."

(Aside: Even as I write this, I can think of about a million ways to "game" such a system. Likely, it would take someone more clever than I to come up with an accurate and consistent way of implementing such a measure. Fortunately, life has proven that I'm nowhere near the most clever person alive... so I can still hope.)

I know, there is something "fun" about the whole race to be first. I'm not looking down on that, I promise. Kudos to those folks. I'm just not able to even begin to participate in that because of my chosen lifestyle. (Note: I'm not making a judgement here of "better" or "worse," just different). To me, the true measure of the skill of a group is really how quickly they adapt to a new fight. How many tries does it take them to learn. This, perhaps, hinges on my belief that lessons in this game of WoW are hard-fought. That's where my motivation comes from. I know that when my group eventually succeeds, we've fought tooth and nail to learn it our way, and that has value to me. Nothing about that depends on what anyone else is doing. My motivation is intrinsic to our group.

I really wanted to highlight that difference. Someone else achieving something takes away nothing from my own achievements. What the Bear says, then, is true:
What it proved to me is that skill and coordination and talent all play the largest roles… even to the point of a very good 9 person team being able to deal with a horrible noob and still come out on top. At least, as long as that noob ain’t a tank. Or a healer. Or one of the people needed for CC.
I would argue that those other nine have earned it. I'm sure they've spent the "hours per wipe" needed to know those fights, to earn the proper gear. Skill has a lot to do with that, but even skill isn't as simple as a "gift of the Naaru." Skill is something we fight for as well.

To a certain extent, even Bear earned it, though he claims otherwise. There's a saying escaping me about surrounding yourself with good people, like a President with a stellar Cabinet. In life, we are both supported and hindered by those we choose to surround ourselves with. In Bear's case, he's formed relationships with these good players enough that they want him along (presumably because they have confidence that at the very least he'll stay out of their way and can take directions, but maybe also because they suspect he could bring a bit more than the average Bearhunter in terms of skill or just plain likeability). Forming solid, trusting relationships is something we fight for also. That's the part of the second M in this online genre.

I've gotten lucky recently too. Our group has had a really difficult time getting our team back off the ground. One of the problems inherent to any casual raiding group is the RL boss, and our hours per wipe on that one are way, way up this year. I feel extremely fortunate that we've gotten as far as we have, with the hurdles we've faced. We're lucky that Blizzard is putting just enough "welfare epics" in the game still that a group like ours can sort of "keep up." And I'm also lucky that I've found 9 other people that share my goals and desired pace of play in-game to be able to do what we do for years now.

I think there's one thing Bear and I both agree on as far as this "race" goes: There is something epic about setting your own goals and then working to make them happen, whatever those goals may be.

Even though he and I are doing the same encounters, we're not really on the same course. Sometimes that's hard for a cranky human Warlock to see right away, but there's another saying about forests and trees. And also, I'm not a Druid.


  1. Someone shared this with me and I just wanted to drop you a comment that I have seen several people over the last few months dancing around a similar line of thinking.

    First, you are absolutely correct that without some sort of officiating entity, there would always be ways to game any system like this. Thinking about it reminds me of keeping score in Golf, without a whole slew of video cameras and officials following you around, the system basically functions on the honor/integrity of its participants.

    That being said, if you would like a bar of some sort to look at in relation to your own, here is what I wrote about the stats I keep for our own raids. I will probably do a follow up once we finish all of the hard modes or possibly when 4.2 comes out:

    As long as a group is logging and uploading all of their raids, it is relatively easy to keep track of this information. The only real way to game the system at that point would be to abstain from uploading some of your logs or something.

    For the next tier, I plan on trying to keep track of actual time spent per boss in addition to just tracking how many attempts. My biggest motivation for this is fights like Maloriak and Omnotron that can be easily reset. Because of that our total number of attempts on H Maloriak for example was something like double any other heroic so far even though the number of actual hours spent was comparable.

  2. Oooh... thanks. I'm going to have to get our resident spreadsheet queen on this. At the very least I'm curious to see how we compare. I believe we have all the logs already.