Saturday, April 16, 2011

Call to Arms - On second thought

My initial attitude to the Call to Arms news was a fairly neutral one. Although I didn't think it would actually solve the issue about making tanking more fun, I actually hoped that it would have more people interested in tanking. As some bloggers have pointed out, that in turn could have more people respect the effort there is in tanking. I've had some time to think and read other peoples thoughts on the matter since my last post, and I would like to make some additions. Most people seem to range from very negative to mildly positive about this change, with only a few being very positive. Although my first post might have made me sound as negative as anyone, especially with the title, I do think that this change could bring something good. Don't get me wrong, ideally I would prefer it if Blizzard could just wave a magic wand and have people act decent towards eachother in pugs instead. Most of the trouble I find in tanking is that other people really try to take the fun out of it, and succeed. But we all know that there is no magic recipe for getting people to be nice to eachother. So we really have to accept that we have to find another solution.

In my other post on this matter I wrote that the issue about tanking right now is that it is too much work and not enough gratefulness. If we look closely, everything we do in WoW comes down to attracting us by either being fun or rewarding enough (preferrably both), and by "rewarding" I mean in hard, cold epics (or any item really). The best moments in WoW for most of us is when we've really had fun with something, busted our asses off and got a nice reward for it. A good example would be to get a difficult boss kill for the first time. Most other things in WoW are usually either fun or rewarding though. I strongly doubt people do dailies for the umptififth time because "omg those quests are just so much fun!". It's rather for the rewards we get for doing them. The same goes with instancing. Although I hope not many people are outright bored with what they do in WoW, like I mentioned in another post, there are people who spend hours doing something they close to hate (archaeology), just to get a nice reward. So when we have something that is neither fun nor rewarding, it's not very odd that people don't want to do that. And that is where we have tanking.

Blizzard could've approached this issue in two ways. Either they make tanking more fun, which is what I hoped for. But like I said, that is basically an impossible task because the problem doesn't lie in tanking, but with the pugs. Or they make tanking more rewarding, which is what they are going to do. At first I didn't like this idea, but then I started thinking. Would I tolerate a bad run if I thought the reward in the end was worth it? Heck yeah! (To a limit of course, a girl can only tolerate so much). If the reward is good enough I'll just think "Ah what does it matter if they annoy me, I get a nice reward in the end and they don't Muahahaha!". Would that be any different from all the other times we spend time doing something we don't enjoy very much just to get to the reward at the end? No. Is this a good or a bad thing? Well that is another question, but in any case that system has been around in this game since the beginning and is a part of any game of this type. If we question this, we would have to question many other parts of this game. I don't personally ever do dailies, and I don't do many heroics just for the vp, so it's possible that these tank rewards won't do it for me either. But rewards are a big thing about what has so many people spend so much time in WoW, so it's quite understandable that Blizzard chose this approach, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it really worked.

Some people have argued that this is an unfair reward since it's aimed at only a smaller portion of the player base, which has ignited the old debate about whether everyone has equal right to everything in the game or not, since we all in the end pay equally much for it. To me the whole argument is moot, since this isn't a reward aimed at only a portion of the players. Everyone has the possibility to tank. There is nothing in the game that prevents any player to roll a tank and reap the benefits of this change. So you don't want to tank? Yeah, join the club. That is exactly what Blizzard is trying to fix, and if you still don't want to tank even when getting this reward, that is really your choice. It's kind of like complaining that the garbage man does a better salary than you. He does a job no one wants to do, so in all fairness he deserves a good salary to go do what he does. And nothing is stopping you from go do his job (I don't really know what garbage people earn, but I hope you get my point). Even if there are things in real life that could stop you from getting to the most rewarding jobs, in WoW there is no such thing but your own preferences. I think this is a fair reward. We all have access to it, and the worst thing that could happen is that you have to level a tank to get to it, which really is done in a jiffy these days. And this reward isn't aimed at tanks exclusively like some people make it sound like. It is aimed at those people who currently fulfill a role that few others do. A role that is needed for everyone else in the queue. Even if you don't directly benefit from the Call to Arms, you will hopefully indirectly by not having to wait forever. The change is to smoothen the lfd-queues, not to woo tanks specifically.

Some people have compared this reward to prostitution. Now I don't usually care much about the political correctness about things, but this comparison seems about as valid and relevant as calling someone a Nazi in an argument. The worst thing about it is that it makes it difficult for me to take anything else that person has to say to heart, even though it might be good stuff. So just don't, it's silly and doesn't add anything to the real debate.

If we look closer at this change, instead of nerd raging about what it looks like on the surface, we will find that it's actually quite in line with how everything else in WoW works. We work either for fun or for rewards, so there is nothing stupid or strange in how Blizzard have decided to handle this. I love tanking, and I don't think there is much wrong in tanking per se. The issue is peoples attitudes. Would I have preferred it if people could just act nice to eachother in dungeons instead? Yes of course. But anyone who thinks that is possible to achieve is naïve. And like I said, what I really hope about this is that it will have people at least try out tanking, and maybe even get some respect for the role. It could actually turn out to fix peoples attitudes.


  1. I think the difference is that the other things that people do purely for rewards are mostly boring grinds and the like. The problem that many have with tanking is bad behaviour from other players, so it sort of feels as if Blizzard is indirectly rewarding people for taking abuse, and I think it's understandable that this rubs many the wrong way. Also, making people be nicer to each other is not as impossible as some make it out to be, Blizzard is just not making it a priority. I thought Hugh's post on the melting pot summed that up very nicely.

  2. I have to say I agree with this pretty much completely. Most of all I'm curious to see how this is all going to work out in practice. Even if it only has a tiny positive impact, that's still better than nothing. And if it doesn't.. well we're still not worse off than before.

  3. The unfair comment is not moot.

    Pure DPS can not be a tank or a healer. Kind of proves their argument is not moot.

    Sure, they can reroll but why should you have to reroll if you enjoy playing a pure class?

    Not everyone is like me with 2 tanks and 3 healers I can run with at 85 and collect bags all day long.

    People who say "you can roll a tank" are selfish and only thinking of themselves.

    Just because you or me have a tank capable of getting bags does not mean everyone is.

    People need to realize that the game is not designed for just them alone.

    What about all the people that rolled a pure and do not have time to level a tank or healer?

    What about all the people that just do not like tanking and healing?

    What about all the people like me that still will not queue alone and will always ask my guild mates if they want and instant queue?

    What about a large deal of the player base that just simply does not have the time to run 2 heroic a day?

    No offense, but anyone that thinks that point is moot because someone can just role a tank is being selfish.

    Remember, not everyone that plays the game is you, or me. Not everyone can just pull a tank out of their ass to grind for mounts if they wanted to.

    That is why it is unfair to people. It is like telling them, well, you decided to roll a Hunter, Warlock, Rogue or Mage 4 years ago and worked your butt off at being the best you could be at it but we need tanks so we have to tell you to go to hell.

    People need to look at the big picture. Not just look at their own situation.

    My situation? I could easily spam heroics all day long and get everything thing I want.

    My opinion? It is still wrong, why should I have that privilege when someone else doesn't.

    Wrong is wrong no matter what color you try to paint it.

    I think it is a bad idea on many levels and in truth, it will not change the way I play.

    I will still not queue solo on a tank or healer and I will still solo for my mount runs on my Hunter every day when I have time.

    Maybe if they addressed the real problem, the players that make me not want to tank, then they might find a long term fix. This is just bribing us with some candy hoping we will forget that tanking still sucks in randoms.

    I've read a lot of blogs and 100s of ideas. Many of them are much better then the bags. Why didn't blizzard try one of those? Your guess is as good as mine.

  4. @GrumpyElf
    That's a very long response to something you seem to have misinterpreted!

    I said that
    "Some people have argued that this is an unfair reward since it's aimed at only a smaller portion of the player base, (...)To me the whole argument is moot, since this isn't a reward aimed at only a portion of the players."

    I mention the possibility of everyone to roll a tank as one reason, but most importantly;

    "Even if you don't directly benefit from the Call to Arms, you will hopefully indirectly by not having to wait forever. The change is to smoothen the lfd-queues, not to woo tanks specifically. "

    Which really was my main point when questioning the nay-sayers. Even if you do happen to not want to play a tank at all, (which I respect, no one should have to play what they don't enjoy), you will still benefit from this change by hopefully have more people interested in tanking. So why complain, it's for the good for all of us. Ignoring this and just looking at "I don't like to play tank, where is my goodie bag?" instead of seeing the big picture is what is selfish imo.

    But I definitely agree that there are better solutions, no doubt about that. But what? I'll stay the optimist and hope this will turn into a general improvement of peoples attitudes towards tanks (and tanks attitudes as well).