Training The Common Player

WoW players are lazy.

There, I said it.  I said what everyone knows, and only trolls say – WoW players, as a general rule, are lazy.  But, its not their fault.

Wait, what?

Yes, I am telling you that those annoying ass people who stand in the fire, move into whirlwinds, don’t know how to dance on Heigan – it’s not really their fault.

WoW players have two things that are built up against them when they are freshly dinged at max level.

First, and foremost, they follow patterns that every single person in the world follows.  Change is against their nature.

Yes, people, that is a concept that you should learn in psychology 101, and bio 101, and chem 101, well, hell, in just about every subject.  Change requires the expenditure of energy.  Activation energy (chem), biological expenditure (usually in metabolism resources), effort on the part of the raider.  It is easier to not change than it is to change.  It is metabolically easier to *not* evolve, than grow that large brain (the human brain consists of about 25% of all the energy expenditure that the average person exerts in a day – there’s food for thought for you).  It takes an activation energy (heat) for magnesium to combust and change into magnesium oxide.

This translates analogously over to WoW.  For 80 (soon to be 85) levels, they have not really had to run out of the fire.  All they had to do was read quest text, kill a few mobs, fly to another continent, and gather a few hundred Boar Livers.

I remember hearing somewhere that only approximately 35% of H ToC groups actually down The Black Knight (sorry peeps, I cannot find the statistic anywhere, so take that with a grain of salt).  If this is true, it’s going to be even worse in Icecrown.  Pugs beware.  Wipes are going to be abound up there.

Why does ToC fail so much?  Easy – the same reason that Loken was so deadly when Lich King was first released – it’s not particularly difficult to heal, tank, dps, etc… – its difficult to get people to CHANGE and move out of the poison, corpse explosion, or lightning nova.

My very wise grandmother once told me, “People only change when the cost is greater than that of not changing.”  Its hard to quantify this in real life, unless there is a material cost – lost wages, lost property, etc..  It gets more tricky when you get into cases of abuse and neglect – to outsiders there is a distinct cost – physical or psychological  harm, but to those suffering the bad end of the stick, its not always apparent.

Fortunately in WoW, there is a direct and quantifiable loss – repair money and loss of a group.  You don’t move out of the fire, you don’t come to the raid.  Naxx, as much as many have lauded its difficulty, is actually perfectly placed at early Lich King raiding.  Everyone (technically) knew the fights, it was just a matter of research and execution.  There are checks in there to test if your raid is cohesive enough to move on (Patchy, Thaddius, Heigan, Ohh, my personal favorite for coordination is Four Horsemen).  You don’t move, leap, jump, pass the ledge boss, whatever, you dont move on to the rest of the expansion.  I really hope cataclysm does this as well – a raid dungeon that is fairly large, but checks the skill level of your group before moving on.

The second thing, which I have touched on a few times here, is that players do not have the training to do this.  For all of the push to end game raiding and instancing, blizz does not afford much training for new to the game players in this aspect.

Yes, there are lower dungeons that are fantastically designed, but no, most players do not go to them, even for a boost now a days.  They simply skip over them.

If we are going to see a large change in the player base, we need to see more quests that are minibosses – which is one reason that I really liked Icecrown.  It had several group quests that a player, even now, cannot pass without the proper group setup.  HOWEVER, they shouldn’t be large groups – they should be small groups.  No more than three.  Make the group quest such that if you have 4, you cannot complete it.  This would make players actually use their skills in order to pass the quest.  Furthermore – make the quest a chokepoint in phasing, or for the rest of the quest chain.  I know this would be annoying, but if you TRULY didn’t want to do it, you can quest in other areas.

The other, and more favorable, option is to make Level up dungeons relevant again.  On my quest from 70 to 80 I ran exactly 2 dungeons – UK and UP.  I didnt get to experience any of the other level up dungeons – mostly I just passed them right up.


Even though you get a boost in XP when grouping, that boost is not enough to counter act the loss of quest xp.  I get more XP per hour questing, than I do running that dungeon.  And that difference is not so insignificant.  Gear?  Level up gear is nice, but not necessary by a long shot.

So, what can Blizz do to pull more people into level up dungeons?  They can make more quests flow into the dungeons.  That is one solution.  It would address the xp/hour issue – when you are in the dungeon, you are gaining experience, and have quests to turn in outside of the dungeon as well.

They could offer more gear, but I think that solution would not be a solution at all.  No one seeks out and enters dungeons at less than max lvl for gear…  It just gets replaced anyway.  If they choose to go the route of gear, it would have to be gear points (badges, if you will) towards fresh, starting out max lvl gear – for example, gear that would let  you start heroics a little easier.  This would ESPECIALLY help out the healers and tanks of the game – who are basically forced to run max lvl dungeons before moving into heroics.

The more elegant solution would be a temporary increase in XP gained AFTER you complete the boss.  Im not talking about midsummer or WG style buffs – I’m talking significant, heirloom buffs.  +10% to all XP gained for one hour *after* killing the last boss in a dungeon.  With the expected level curve for those 5 levels of cataclysm, I really expect this would be a fantastic way to entice more people into dungeons.

The end result is that, if Blizz really wants to improve the quality of end-gamers, they need to provide adequate training in the earlier levels.  Be it through group quests or lvl up dungeons, the concept of GET OUT OF THE DAMMED FIRE needs to be hammered home early, and often.

Else WoW players are going to continuously fall back on their basic instincts – being lazy.

2 Responses to “Training The Common Player”
  1. Ten'nen says:

    True. True. True. All of it is true. Lazy people can easily put a damper in the game. That druid tank that was too lazy to get gear with dodge, and so had a pathetic 12% dodge (I’m sorry, what?) and I could only spam heal him, barely getting time to get a beacon onto the other tank in ToC…*sigh*

  2. Tutunkommon says:

    I would point out 1 discrepancy early in the post:

    “All they had to do was read quest text, kill a few mobs, fly to another continent, and gather a few hundred Boar Livers.”

    Should read:

    “…and kill a few hundred boars to get their 10 livers.”

    How these stupid boars live without a liver is beyond me. I mean, come on! It’s called the Live-r for a reason!

    (shamelessly stolen from Dr. Gregory House)

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