Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Should you pay for the wipes you cause?

Nobody’s perfect. We all do mistakes from time to time. Sometimes they are just small, tiny mistakes which nobody else will notice. Things that make you a bit annoyed, since you should have known better, but that actually won’t harm the raid a lot. But sometimes the consequences are worse. A bad mistake from a single player can cause a raid to wipe, whether it is moving in flame wrath at Aran or taking a curious look at C’thun at AQ40. On those occasions you know that it’s probably not only you who is cursing – you’ve got a whole bunch of other people around who may be annoyed or even pretty angry with you. The question is: how do you make up for it?

Auzara of Chick GM wrote a blog post a while ago, which made me think about the issue. Actually the post was about something completely different. She was giving advice to Pike, who recently had got a guild in her lap. Auzara wrote some very wise and assuring words, and also noted that Pike WILL make mistakes – it’s inevitable, that’s something we all do from time to time.

The important thing according to Auzara was to make up for it, to accept accountability and make your very best to compensate for it, put things back to what they should have been. She wrote a lovely story about how she had recovered from a mistake she had done, working as a waitress. This included actually buying the guests another dish, with her private money.

I started to think, not about the mistakes a GM can make and how he or she could make up for it, but about the mistakes we all do in the game, especially in a raid or instance run. How do I want people to act when they’ve screwed up? How do I behave myself?

Well, first of all – I totally agree about the accountability-rule. Don’t blame someone else. And don’t try to “get away with it”, pretending like it’s raining. Just tell the truth. Because the truth is out there - there’s always someone who’s noticed, and if nothing else it’s all in the combat logs. By taking responsibility and admitting your errors, you’ll quickly drop most of the aggro from the other players in the raid. It’s just as effective as going invisible or vanishing. Just be quick and they’ll be likely to forgive you.

When the raid leader wants to know who caused a wipe it isn’t because he wants to punish you, it’s because learning by errors is the only way for a raid to improve and make things the right way next time.

But when it comes to the next step, making up for your mistakes, I’m not so sure about how to do it. It isn’t all that unusual that players who’ve done a really stupid mistake offer to pay the repair bills. And that’s nothing I approve of. I don’t like to see it from others, and I doubt I’ll ever do it myself. It only makes me feel uneasy. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because it makes me associate to the cruel behaviour you sometimes can see among children. You know, where the not so popular kid tries to “buy” himself friends by offering them money or things. And even though you can buy popularity for a short while, it won’t last long, since the one thing in the world you can’t buy for gold is respect.

Offering gold as an amendment for wipes is like trying to bribe the other players not to think badly about you. To me, it’s as close to a bribe as you can come, and I actually feel a bit insulted every time it happens. What kind of jerk do they think I am? Do I look like a player who can’t handle a wipe? We all make mistakes from time to time; the game without any wipes would be rather unchallenging and dull. Only cry-babies would demand someone else to pay their repairs.

In my eyes there’s really only one way to make up for the mistakes you make in a raid. And that is to learn from them, to really focus, and not make them again.

If you’re having a really bad night for some reason, you’re just unable to focus because of RL issues perhaps, and you keep making unnecessary mistakes, you could possibly offer to leave your spot to someone else, provided that there is a replacement available.

So my simple answer to the initial question is: “No”. Actually so far I've never seen anyone actually doing it - giving away gold for wipes; the normal thing to do when people suggest such a thing is is to decline. But in my eyes, the offer never should have been made in the first place.


Anonymous said...

I have been paid, and have paid for others in the past.

Do I make a practice of it, definitely not... after all, for every wipe I cause, there is a good chance others have thrown one back at me.

The only time I offer up the cash (and I think I have only done it once or twice) is when I repeatedly screw up.. but I hardly ever do that ;-)

Anonymous said...

No - While raiding it was expected that we wipe every now and then ( preferable not to.. ) I agree that learning from mistakes is more important. People deserve chances and the opportunity to prove that they have learnt from their mistakes but do it again.. and people will lose faith. I've stuffed up in raids, I dotted a cc'd mob in one of the early Tk pulls and I was mortified and as I realised what I had done. an angry shout went out "WHO DOTTED THE MOB" I owned up, and apologised, we didnt wipe, but by admitting it I took the wind out of the sails of the angry RL - he could have either focused his tirade at me and looked like an asshat or we could keep going with the raid. I've been in a raid when someone let Najentus's spine in BT early and killed people, and they didn't admit it, and the RL then went on and on about how he was going to find out who did it and gkick them ect ect .. there was no way someone was going to admit it then.

If anything I am critical about when it comes to makeing and admitting mistakes, be it a bad hunter pull / letting the spine go early / not targeting the totem is that when mistakes are made I find often that it could often be the simplist reason why it happened yes everyone should know the strats, but a simple question Does everyone have the macro blah blah.. BEFORE the raid if not here it is and 30 secs to do it.

There are limits as to how many mistakes you can make before people will get p'd off learning is part of playing.. Peoples attitude to other players making a mistakes can impact on that player, but how many mistakes are ok? - thats up to the raid to decide in the raids best interest.

Typhoonandrew said...

There are times when its nice to have your repairs covered. I have run many ZF runs for the Carrot on a Stick, Stockades, Gnomer, and many other instances for mates so they can get gear or quests. And I'm happy to help.

But when the same person does something stupid, a few times, that causes me to wipe and need expensive repairs, I start to get a bit miffed. The offer is a nice way of saying thanks and indicating that they value my time spend as much as their own.

Dechion said...

I have never been paid by anyone for my repairs, nor have I taken it out of the guild bank even though I could.

Not to say I never make mistakes, far from it. In pugs particularly I often end up with a chunky repair bill.

The closest I ever came to paying was refusing our traditional 1g per person fee to help defray the cost of the repair bot I had just dropped back in the BWL days.

We had wiped on Vael about 5 or 6 times and the last one was directly a stupid move on my part (My pet aggroed to Vael and started the encounter while the tanks were out of position and the healers were OOM, we were rebuffing from the previous wipe)

That was done more to try to help raid morale than to try to "pay them off" though.

Ghostboci said...

There are two kind of wipes, the necessary and the dumb.

The necessary wipes are part of the learning curve. The mage who tanks Maulgar's mage for the first time will 99% wipe the raid when there is a fireball coming and no shield to steal. He may memorized that this case nightmare seed + fire ward is the key but in the first time he will mess it up. Same for a non-druid healer at Gruul. You have to learn it and it's not without errors. The wipes here are unavoidable and nobody's fault.

When someone DOTs a sheep, autorun into the next pack, pulls aggro, brakes CC with multishot/AoE, it's an annoyance to everyone. This wipe would not happen if he would respect the other 24 and care a bit for their effort. I think he deserves to pay for his action.

Let's see the bill:
- repair, 3G
- food buff, 1G
- the flask. A flask costs about 30G and last for 120 min. So if someone causes a 10 min loss, he wastes 30*10/120 = 2.5G.
- loss of time. In 10 mins you could complete a daily earning 10G. And everyone would rather do a daily then run in because someone was careless. So the lost income: 10G.

Altogether 16.5G. Per person. 396 for 24 people. That's the damage the lazy bastard caused and should pay to cover the damage.

I've never heard any guild where this amount is to be payed but I'm sure that if it would be introduced, everyone would stay focused during raids.

Aurdon said...

I can't see forcing a single player to pay out. Raiding cost money. And learning new raid bosses cost heaps of money. So it should be expected that you'll be dipping in your pockets one way or another. For every time I wipe the raid, I've had other people do it at least 24+ times.

Personally I think that's why Bliz introduced the "Guild repair" function in the game. I've also seen it suggested on the boards that maybe a 5% tax be applied to all raid loot (1g looted = 95s/25 players + 5s goes to guild bank). This would help keep the guild coffers full and perhaps take less of a dent out of repairing your gear via guild repair. There was a blue reply that they liked the idea but something like that won't be ready by WotLK launch. Perhaps sometime in the future though.

Larísa said...

Wow, this was a bunch of very well written and interesting comments! Thanks all!

@ Armageddon, you're really offering cash? Ah... you're a humble and kind little gnome. Not a mean and selfis one like me...

@Pgunacious priest: that kind of yelling RLs really don't make it easy to admit mistakes, do they? The only thing you can do is to be quick to admit. Quicker than the RL possibly can go berserk.

@Typhoon Andrew - yes I din't think about sort of boosting-runs, helping others for specific stuff in instances. In that case it actually could make sense to offer them something. I guess I mostly thought about ordinary raiding writing this post.

@Dechion that's really a much more discrete and better way to "compensate". Maybe people who know they do A LOT of mistakes should go engineers :)

@ghostboci - yes I agree that the bill is pretty frightening when you think about it. But if you put that bill in the hands of a first-time-raider you would scare the wits out of him. He/she'd never ever go raiding again... I know I'm quite soft hearted but I'm a fan of leadership where you help people develop by focusing on the good they do, encourage them and love them until they improve, rather than to scare them... But I guess it's different styles of leading.

@Aurdon: Thats a pretty good idea. It would make guild repairs possible and make it a bit less dramatic. It's a shared load, the price we naturally pay for raiding.

Ghostboci said...

Larísa, you are completely right that this bill would scare off lot of raiders. But they do the same to us! After a night full of easily avoidable stupid wipes lot of skilled raiders choose to not sign up for the next. They rise an alt or go PvP. Losing them is much bigger loss then losing a sheepdotter.

Managing one's character, using the spells, being situationally aware should be learnt alone questing. The bill of dumbness there is quite low, you only cause damage to yourself.

Aggro management, CC, basic coordination, buff synergies should be learnt in 5 mans, where the bill is low. You damage only 4 people + yourself and the loss is not too high. A mistake don't automatically cause wipe and there are no food or flask buff to lose.

In raid one shall only learn the fight itself and maybe some raidwide synergies (scorpid sting, insect swarm, slow, expose weakness). If someone comes to a 25 mans unaware of the fact that the sheep is NOT a critter, he is just a source of problem. He must learn or leave, but his state must change fast or 24 others suffer.

Larísa said...

@Ghostboci - I agree again. A 25 man raid is definitly not the right spot to learn the basics about the game.

But isn't that another question than the one about charging people for the wipes they cause? If you're such a bad player that you don't know stuff you should have learned on your own or in 5 man instances you shouldn't be in the raid in the first place.

I still don't believe in the habit of buying yourself a spot by paying as to compensate for your bad playing. Then it's probably better for all parts to have an honest talk and evaluation afterwards - and maybe help this constantly faultering player to find a better place to learn how to play before he can come back into raiding.

Anonymous said...

You are insane if you think a draconian policy like this will work with the balance of humanity.

Good people will pay it.

People of less moral fiber will blame others for their faults.


You're not going to be able to convince otherwise good players who are a little sick, tired, whatever, to keep going. This is because they'll fear the wipe.

Socializing risk is a tried and true way to do great things. Everyone should pay when a wipe occurs. Social pressure alone is enough to stop someone from being a repeatedly clumsy dolt.

Any policy to blame an individual in a game just makes the game less fun. Let a person's poor performance get weeded out via less concrete methods

--Daddybuckwar of Farstriders

krizzlybear said...

Lar, you've gone WI on us!


Serious congrats for writing a truly excellent blog.

Pike said...

Wow, I've been linked to on the famous Pink Pigtail Inn! ;) You really do write a good blog!

Larísa said...

@ Daddybuckwar of Farstriders, yeah, I agree about the social pressure. It scares the hell out of me at least. But maybe I'm a bit soft skinned? I definitly would avoid doing the same mistake again at any cost. Having to pay gold for the wipe wouldn't be any extra motivation.

@krizzlybear and pike, thank you!

I'm a bit surprised... It remains to see though how many of the temporary WI visitors that will actually come back. Anyway it's nice to see that the WI staff read our blogs - especially when they give us appropriate cred and linking, as they did this time.

Pike - you're e-fame is definitly a hundred times bigger than mine. But thank you for your comment anyway. It warmed my heart.

Mike said...

Here's the thing. I currently co-lead a guild that's been in T6 content for a couple months now. And it was quite painful getting there.

There were nights when we wiped 8-10 times on a single boss before we got him/her/it down. repair bills,regeants, and whatnot added up quickly.

but we work as a team. making someone pay for a wipe singles them out when honestly, very rarely is there "one" person that causes a wipe. A wipe is usually due to several influential factors like healing,dps,tanking,ccingg. it all adds comes down to coordination. In addition, singling someone out encourages finger pointing, which, no matter what the content, is not a good standard to have.

At least, in our guild, a class lead has to work with those in his/her class to understand and assign the fight. From there, they have three chances to do their job, each chance they are outlined what they did wrong and how to fix it.

As for repairs themselves, there are more than enough dailies out now to cover the expenses of a raid. It kind of comes with the ship.