Home > Uncategorized, What's it all about then > The World of Warcraft Community: Just One in the Crowd

The World of Warcraft Community: Just One in the Crowd

The World of Warcraft Community: Just One in the Crowd.

There are many aspects of the WoW game – AH PvP, questing, exploring, collecting (recipes, pets,you name it), small groups, large groups, big numbers, tank roulette.

There are some things you can do entirely on your own – for those times when you want to have your solitude – when you want to focus on yourself.  But groups are not one of those times.

Instances (at level) are all about showing that a group is more than the sum of its parts.  In order to succeed, all must work together.  And when you are on the cutting edge of progression content, group communication really comes into play – and let’s say that progression content is a mix between the encounter you have never seen before that you are not overgeared for, as a party, and progression content as being the freshest, newest thing that Blizz has given us to play with.

Group work is more than just making pretty numbers (DPS or heals), or charging through the instance in under 15 minutes (tanks).  It is about using the skills you have to best advantage to beat the encounter.  So the rogue might interrupt, the mage might spellsteal, the priest might shackle or mass dispel.  The groups might get out of the fire, or, you know, stay out of it.  The tank might not pull the whole of the trash before the first boss without making sure that at least some of the trash is dying, or the healer mana is not critically low.   Even better, the group might communicate – admit that we are flesh and blood players – gently offer advice in a respectful manner “have you thought about using….” or even the more cursory “need mana, please stop”, in the knowledge that a question or suggestion will not be met by a dungeon kick, or abuse of the “ur so *&#%, noob” variety.

Because it is unreasonable to expect every level 80 to be reading Elitist Jerks and to know their optimal rotation, or spell priority, or gemming criteria, or to have enchanted their gear (if it is blue or green).  And it is possible that this level 80 is the first character that the player has – and they might not (amazingly) know the instance.

Where else do we learn the skills that we need, except in the heroic instances at level 80 – where else do we practice manoevring, LOS pulls, CC or utility skills?  Where do we test a new spec, when we adjust specs?

Being silent throughout a dungeon, or just plain rude, is not something that leads to a better player, or a more expert raiding toon – very little is learned from the experience.  Failing to use utility skills results in someone who likes pretty numbers, but either a party wipe, or over-stressed groups, who move more slowly, and less efficiency.

Take for example healing on the trash before Blood Queen Lanathel – I can use mass dispel, dispel magic or abolish disease on the raid – and by playing whack-a-mole with my decursing spells, keep the raid clean.  In doing so, my healing numbers drop – no shiny numbers for me.  But overall, the raid requires less healing, and achieves higher DPS numbers (so tempting to leave that rogue as a spider) and moves faster.

Or, to take an instance that every fresh  lvl80 experiences (oh so many times): Utgarde Keep – those Vrykul that chat over coffee and biscuits [1] – one of them casts a spell that protects – a bubble like spell.  The group can DPS through this, it can be interrupted (although it is a short spellcast, so not easy) or it can be dispelled, or spell-stolen.  In an undergeared party, dispel or spellsteal work really well, if you have that capability – not to do so means that you get lovely pretty healing numbers, pretty DPS numbers, but less efficiency – you move through the instance more slowly, as the resources of the group are tested more significantly.

Communication over your strategy really helps too – when the encounter is new, or level appropriate – either explaining it, or allocating specific tasks.  And it reminds you that together you can beat this instance.  It is not about the tank quitting because there is not enough DPS – and he can get a new group in nanoseconds in the Dungeon Finder – it is about marking up targets, CC, learning to use focus fire techniques instead of the ubiquitous AOE damage buttons.

This means more players work cooperatively – and achieve more.  And learn skills to enhance gameplay.  And become better qualified to be raiders.  And grow interested enough in their class and spec to really learn what each talent point means, and why.

Community – cooperation, communication – what makes the group play element of the game so much more interesting.  And LFD has changed the dynamic significantly – by removing so much of that element – so that now what is left is a barren wasteland of pew-pew all the way to frost tokens[2].  And people not talking, because to do so would be to invite …. delay?  disapproval?

[1] or maybe they’re in a meeting, and it’s a kindness to disturb them

[2] when does “means to an end” start to feel like you are pimping yourself?

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  1. 21/09/2010 at 1:18 pm

    I say this again and again in response to this sort of post: I am quiet in groups because I can’t really type and play at the same time. If the group is keeping any sort of steady pace, I don’t have time to chat while doing my job.

    I can’t be the only person like this, but apparently being able to type coherent sentences while doing a good job at tanking/healing/dps is considered normal?

    • 23/09/2010 at 12:19 pm

      I can’t type and play efficiently as well – I am awfully limited in that respect – although I know that many can. I think I mean that there are times when a pause might be useful, and where communication can make a difference – not merely to how the instance is run, but also to the game experience.

      I don’t mean lots of chitchat – just something to make it seem like you are with other people rather than bots, and something that is moderately pleasant. Last night, I was in a pug with a newly hatched healer – we had had a few close calls on TOC (H) – but we managed it. We then moved on to another random heroic, and got sorted to Forge. Unfortunately, the tank died on Garfrost (said wtf, then promptly disconnnected after we wiped). We got another tank. Although the new tank had a healthpool of 32K or something, he clearly had awesome tanking skills – there were no threat issues, and the healing was much smoother – incredibly so. At one point the tank said “I hope I’m not causing you any headaches with my low gear, healer” (at a convenient point just after the slope of death, before the tunnel). It was a comment that did not have to be made, but made the experience more of a social one. And thus more enjoyable. And it was at a point where the group is collecting itself for the gauntlet, casters topping up mana/shields…. so not an inconvenient time.

  2. Peter Ellis
    21/09/2010 at 8:27 pm

    I’m not sure it’s LFD so much as it’s simply time, familiarity with the instances and overgearing them. That and the fact that most people now don’t need anything except the badges for completing it.

    • 23/09/2010 at 10:54 am

      well – saying heya/hi at the start of the run is a start. Takes the edge off. Or conversational space to say “new healer/tank, please watch aggro/don’t overpull”

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