Monday, March 3, 2008

Guess what happens?

Ok, this post gets a little soapbox-ish, and I hope not too elitist, but if it goes in either of those directions, so be it, I suppose I'm an elitist who's apt to get on a soapbox.

Picture yourself in a guild. Originally consisting of one or two level 70's, and a large body of 50-69's. Fast forward a few months, and you've got a big pile of 70's, heavily weighted on DPS and a tanks. A random scattering of progress through the Kara attunement process, with a growing number of Master's Keys in the guild.

Then you struggle through some organizational and dramatical issues and get your first team together, running Kara on a pretty regular basis for a few weeks. Shortly after you get the first team going, you get a big peak in drama as those not included in the team become disgruntled.

Feels pretty natural so far, and is a byproduct of the basic challenge in front of us. Its like being at a public basketball court for a pickup game. There's only room for 10 people to play, and once the two team captains are chosen, they pick their four other players, and everybody else has to sit and watch. Sucks to not be picked, but its an unfortunate part of life, and I've been on both sides of that fence.

Even if you wanted to rotate other players in to let a wider audience get some action, you're still on a weekly reset, which draws the process out, making it feel even longer that you have to sit on the bench if you're not on the team or getting picked as a sub.

Team 1 gets Attumen on farm pretty quick, as he's not too tricky. Wipes a bit in the stables at first. Lots of wiping on the way to Moroes. LOTS of wiping on Moroes. Some kills on Moroes, but not quite farm status. Week after week, a bit more team confidence, ability, and gear, leading to a bit more progress and new types of wipes, with each passing week.

For the guy on the bench, shortly the beautiful, glorious day comes. Finally enough healers have been recruited and keyed up to form a second team.

Second team runs. Kills Attumen on their first night. w00t. Mo' lewtz. Mo' guild lovin (no not that kind, perv). Lots of happy campers.

Fast forward 24 hours.

Team 2 goes back in. I wasn't there, so I can't say first hand, but gchat and a variety of whispers and a little speculation paint a little picture.

Aparently there was a big struggle on the second night for Team 2. Wipes on the way to Moroes. Wipes on Moroes. Change direction. Wipes on the way to Maiden. Wipes on Maiden.

Much dismay. Lots of griping. Lots of whispering to other players saying "this sux" or "how do i get in on team 1" or on and on.

Even up to the point of two people /gquitting that night. No real evidence of specific drama on the run, but just a general feeling of how hard Kara is.

Lots and lots of unhappy campers.

Team 2 runs earlier in the evening than Team 1, so T1 (me) is still in kara at the time that most of this is going on, so we're all talking about it while taking a break and re-buffing.

Here's where I hope I don't border too far on elitist, but oh well, I'll go with honest gut feelings, so feel free to flame away. I've got the thick skin that comes from a lifetime of being this way :-)

The general consensus from the gchat messages and whispers that me and the T1 RL were getting just point to the "instant gratification" syndrome.

When we first started choosing up players for Team 1, it really was on a volunteer basis, the RL listed ballpark what time and day he's planning to run, and if you want in, you volunteer to join. Sure, it started out a little clique-y, as many of the people who ended up on T1 were an extended group of players who had run together lots and tend to seek eachother out to run together.

But now that time is playing out a little, I'm seeing a little reinforcement for reason these cliques form. While you've got a variety of skill levels and knowledge levels of the deep dark guts of WoW, what you do have in common among these people is that pioneering spirit. We all have positive attitudes in the face of challenge, and remain motivated and patient to push through obstacles. When somebody messes up, we laugh with them. When they do it for the third time in a row, we WTF them and so far, been able to keep going.

The natural cliques that form in the WoW environment tend to group people with similar attitudes.

What the T2 lead seems to have attracted is a large number of folks who want instant gratification. I need Arc for my key, who's gonna run me? I've got a 3 man quest in SMV, who's gonna help me? I'm 4999 gold away from my epic flight, but who's gonna help me with Zuluhed the Wacked? NOW!!!! Oh, yeah, and can i get 4999 gold? I offer you nothing in return, not even engaging conversation while you help me, but come here now. Help me! Do what I want, now! Why won't anybody help me?

Clearly, this is not a 100% black and white concept. There are some capable players on our T2. There are some good attitudes, some nice people. Not everyone on that team fits that profile, but you've got this culture of "who's gonna help me" on that team.

Then you've got Karazhan and its design. Attumen. Easy enough for most teams to get not-quite-but-nearly instant gratification. The fight really is just an extension of what you encounter in 5-man dungeons, and it just follows a basic tank/heal/dps pattern.

Next up are some bosses that not only test basic capabilities like overall team DPS, or overall team Healing capability, or tank uncrit/uncrushability. You get more specific class capabilities, more coordination and much more challenge and wipage.

No more instant gratification, major drama on Team 2.

I just don't get it. Team 1 has been in Kara for over a month, and we've just gotten our first "solid" kill of Moroes that didn't feel like pure luck. And our first kill of Maiden, which was the first time we even got her close. We have no delusions that when we go to Curator or Opera for the first time, it's gonna be a wipe fest. If we win, sweet, hopefully somebody will have the opportunity to pay for some new enchants on top of their repair bill. If we can't win at first, ok, only a repair bill, but we're all learning together and the experience will make us stronger.

Team 2? I doubt they're entering the next run with that same approach.

So who else has stories of (A) similar divides and (B) how you get past them?

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