Thursday, July 3, 2008

Was knowing your weakness what made you strong?

This is a shared topic of BlogAzeroth. The topic of the week is pretty odd: you’re supposed to take the heading of a post from someone else’s WoW blog and write a different kind of post than the original one. It’s sort of like spellstealing the title. So being a mage that’s what I happily do now. I spellsteal this title from ReNoobed. Actually without his permission - I've tried to contact him through his blog but haven't got any answer so far. Suiting enough he’s stolen it in his turn, from a song title (of course he has, he’s a mage after all!).

I honestly didn’t quite understand what the topic of ReNoobed's original post was about (blame my lack of knowledge in English perhaps). Mostly I think it's about some fun links. Anyway this post will have a slightly different approach to this title, as I think it points out a great way to achieve personal progression.

Signs of professionalism
First of all I’ll bring an example from real life. Writing has been a part of my professional life for almost twenty years now. You could expect me to be an expert at spelling by now (in my native language, not in English, which the readers of The Pink Pigtail Inn know very well). But honestly I’m not. There are words in the Swedish language which I simply cannot learn how to spell, no matter how many times I look them up or check them in the grammar-and-spelling-program. The difference between me and an amateur writer though is that I know which those words are. I know when I should look up things – I know my weaknesses, and that makes me a good, or at least decent, writer. It makes me strong.

The weakness of your class
Next: how does this make sense out of a WoW perspective? Well, one evident thing is of course that you should get to know the weaknesses of your class. For the beginner it’s quite a painful process (at least if you’re a mage, dying if the mobs even throw an evil eye at you or breath at you ). After identifying the weaknesses, the next step is to find ways to deal with them. Desperately stacking up any stamina gear you come by may not be the best way to overcome the health problems a mage is suffering from. A better approach is probably to try to maximise your damage and learn tricks to keep the mobs at a sound distance, by kiting them, using frost nova, putting up shields, blinking or whatever you find handy.

This may sound very basic, but I believe that even players who’ve been around for a while can benefit from this way of thinking. Once you know the basics of your class, make an analysis of the available talent builds. Which are the weak sides in different situations – in five man instances, in raid, in BG? Are there ways to compensate it? For instance, I came to the conclusion that being a deep fire mage with a built maximized for raiding purposes, I had the weakness of getting huge aggro problems in five man instances. I compensated by always having a Subtlety enchant on my back and by being extremely careful in the beginning of every fight.

The weakness of your gear
I won't spend many words on this one. For many players improving their gear is one of the reasons for playing the game, the force that keeps them hooked. To analyze your gear and to look for the easiest, most essential upgrades, to look what can be done to improve it by enchants and gems is quite natural to most of us. It's just something you do, like washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Or at least it should be. So let's move on to something more interesting.

The weakness of your skill
For making personal progress I think you need to have an ongoing evaluation of yourself as a player. We all have our flaws - but as long as we’re conscious about them they won’t harm us quite as much as they would else.

Many of your weaknesses are actually easily compensated by addons (I guess that’s why they were invented in the first place). I for one used to have KLM threat meter. But from time to time I missed that I was running way too high on it – one of my weaknesses is that I can find it a bit hard to split my attention to a number of panels all over the screen as well as actually watching the fight. To overcome this weakness I changed to Omen, which in quite a brutal way flashes AGGRO all over the screen. There’s no way I can miss it.

If you’re weakness is that you always forget to bring enough of reagents – well as a mage at least you can install Crylosis, which will make it for you automatically whenever you come by a vendor selling that stuff. If you tend to miss to rebuff people after they have died – get yourself a buff addon, which will remind you.

Has it happened to you more than once that you have miss-clicked in an instance, taking need in stead of greed? Well, why not try to make it the safe way next time and suggest using master loot so you and your friends can feel comfortable?

The weakness of your personality
There are weaknesses though which can’t be compensated by technical devices. Maybe your weakness is a bad temper, running berserk when things won’t work exactly the way you want them to, and you from time to time say and do things which you sincerely regret afterwards. Then you should learn to handle it of course, use breathing techniques, having a pillow beside you ready to smash or do whatever you can to control or let out your feelings outside of the game. But you could also try to prevent a little of the damage by actually acknowledging the problem – tell the people in your guild or raid that you actually do get a bit emo from time to time. Ask them to be tolerant if that happens and to remind you if you’ve gone too far so you’ll sober up and get back on track.

If you’re a guild leader perhaps you’ve got a weak spot when it comes to administration. You just seem to be unable to keep track with applications and trials of new members, keeping your website up-to-date or to arrange guild and officer meetings? Acknowledge it and learn how to delegate.

Another kind of weakness could be that you’ve got bad situation awareness, that you’re not moving, targeting or reacting quickly enough. That’s one the things I’m constantly struggling with myself – I’ve even started to attend the WoW gym in order to improve. It’s hard to overcome this kind of weakness, but I’m convinced it’s doable.

Why knowledge makes you stronger
A final thought: remember the ending of the title. Knowing your weakness is what makes you strong. This means that you at no time should fall into the trap of getting bad self confidence or even starting to hate yourself for your weak spots. Just don’t! Always remember that you’re actually getting stronger, little by little, and that you’re constantly working on improvement.

If I was recruiting for my guild I would definitely rather pick a player who was well aware of his or her weaknesses and could discuss in an intelligent manner how to deal with them. Then I’d know I would get a strong and committed player, open for suggestions, always on the move to get better.

In my opinion there’s nothing weaker than a player who isn’t aware of his weakness.

1 comment:

Eishen said...

First, after seeing what marvelous article you can write from only a title I´m very happy of knowing you are a professional writer in RL… (/applause)

Second, there´s only one thing worse than not knowing your faults, not to try to compensate them.

In this compensation, as you have pointed, almost in every situation its better to invest your efforts in your strong points that wasting an enormous quantity of efforts to being only mediocre in your previous faults