Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Are new players too impatient?

With the risk of sounding like an old fart, I often get the impression that "young people" (i.e new players of WoW) are less patient than old players. Let's see if I can explain what I mean.

I'm an end-game player and have been so for quite some time. Since Burning Crusade I've been part of a guild that more or less has had the goal to make some progress into raiding. That means that my gear is pretty good, since I raid alot, usually a couple of times a week. But it didn't start out that way, naturally my gear also "sucked" at some point, and will suck again with each new content patch, that is the way the game goes. Behind the gear I have right now lies endless hours of raiding plus all the time spent preparing to raid. And not only that.

When a new expansion came out I had to do alot of heroics to gear up for raiding just like anybody else. Well actually not like anybody else, and here's where we get to my point. When I started gearing up for raiding, there hadn't already been alot of raids out and people were around my gear level. I couldn't expect guildies to give me an easy boost through Naxx because their gear was as lousy as mine. I had to do endless heroics (without the LFG-tool mind you!) and did the old wipe-a-roo in raids plenty of times to get my gear, I couldn't expect easy kills anywhere.

Couple of weeks later and Naxx is cleared, or Ulduar, or ToC, the same thing goes for any raid where some part of the guild, usually the ones who spend the most time raiding, eventually get to the end of it. A new player comes along with everything that comes to it - no experience and no gear. He could hit the heroic-train like everyone else, but he doesn't have to. He could actually get into Naxx/Ulduar/ToC (even ICC) and down bosses, because the rest of the raid can carry his weight at this point. And this happens, I didn't mind that at all. I've been on the sugar cane end of that trade myself.

So now to the issue, because the raid can carry his weight (as long as the good geared outnumber the badly geared) the new player actually -expects- the raid to carry his weight. He get all grumpy and doesn't understand when he's benched for a raid. He seriously asks "how come I didn't get to join?". And when you tell him to go get better gear he answers "how can I if I don't get to raid?". He sees the advice to go do some heroics as an insult or punishment of some sort. He doesn't realize we've all had to do it before him.

There is a similarity to the older-younger sibling issue that often arises. Me as an older sibling often noticed that even though my younger brother had reached the same age I had when I had the obligation to do some chore, he didn't have to because he was still regarded as "too young". When we were home alone I cooked food for him even when he had turned the age I was when I first started out cooking food for him! Maybe my parents were lazy, asking me who already knew how to do it was simpler than having to teach my brother all over again, and he of course was happy that he didn't have any responsibilites. Ok, enough bitterness.

The thing is you can see this in WoW too. People who come in afterwards just see how easy things seem to be and want a slice of the cake. They don't realize the persons they're asking to give up their raid spot maybe has done that particular raid 50 times to get to that point, and probably doesn't want to give it up to someone who hasn't even begun doing heroics.

I talked to the brother of a friend yesterday and he said he was bored and wanted to raid. He complained that he never got to see any fun raids, and yet he has probably done way more raiding (weekly, VoA etc) than I had when I was his "age", that is been 80 for as long (or short) as he has. And I understand him of course, when I did heroics there wasn't alot of raiding going around. Nowadays you see more "LFM raid X" in trade channel than you see actual trade. Having to keep on haggling with old heroics must at that point seem quite frustrating, it seems like everyone is doing the fun parts of WoW and you're stuck with the boring parts.

But this is not true. Remember, new players of WoW, that coming in afterwards is nearly always better than being there first. The only enjoyment of being there first is to be able to say "I was there first". But that always comes with the price of trial and error, something you don't have to do. They do constant changes with emblems and instances that make newly dinged gear up to near equal ilevels with people who've raided every week since Wotlk first came. Even though it might feel like you're left out, you're actually in the action faster than anyone before you. How many newly dinged 80's have had to do 50 runs to Naxx, 50 runs to Ulduar and 50 runs to ToC to get into ICC? With some crazy-ass dedication you can get ICC-geared within a week of heroics.

So have some patience, the cake will wait for you.

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