Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When did you last tell a fellow player that he’s great?

Have you ever met someone in the game who excelled in some aspect? I bet you have.

Maybe it was that frost mage who could kite a mob around all of Azeroth if you asked him to. Maybe it was that officer who stepped up and saved the guild when it seemed to be on the verge of collapsing. Maybe it was that guy who made the guild chat into stand up comedy scene and could turn a dull grinding session into pure entertainment.

Did you ever tell them how much you appreciated what they did? Maybe you didn’t?

Speaking for myself I know that I walk around in Azeroth taking too many people for granted. All those nice things I think about them for some reason stay in my head, unspoken.

What it means
A few words of appreciation can mean much more than you could imagine. Here’s an example from my own life.

A few days ago I received an e-mail. It was just a few lines, but I all but cried when I read it:

Your articles are consistently great, and I'm always looking forward to reading what you write. I guess the acid test is that when I see you pop up in google reader, I stop what I'm doing and get reading. Just wanted to pass that on. :)
A fan mail. Have you any idea how happy I was? Well, at least I think my fellow bloggers out there have. This letter should be framed and put up on the wall.

Sometimes blogging is easy, the posts sort of write themselves. Sometimes it’s not and you struggle a bit and wonder why you’re doing this and how long you will last as a blogger. How long can you really write about a single game? Getting close to 200 posts… at some point you should probably run out of things to say? In those times, when the blog feels a bit fading greyish, rather than shining pinkish, I can just throw an eye on this letter. My blogging means something to someone else. Suddenly I’m filled with energy and lust and this will keep me blogging for a long time to come.

Look around in your surroundings. Look at the people you love to play with, the ones that make this game worth playing. Your guild master, your main healer, your arena partner, your pug friend – don’t you think they could need a bit fuel too, to keep doing what they do so good?

Feedback as a tool
Now, giving feedback can be more than just being nice and friendly to people. If you’re in a leading position, it’s one of your best tools to move the guild in the direction you want. If you want a player to develop in a certain direction – start to recognize the things he does right.

I’ll give you an example: let’s say you have a mage that often is slacking on sheeping, not being on his toes when there’s a pull. Don’t just complain about the slow sheeping. Try to find the moments when he does it right (hopefully it happens at least sometimes) and then give praise: “Nice sheeping!” I can assure you this mage will feel motivated to try to do it right again. It’s pretty basic, an instinct to please others that I think we carry along since we were children.

Of course you could – and should – give “negative” feedback as well – or rather suggestions how things can be improved. After all it’s a gift. If no one tells you about your faults, there isn’t much of a chance that you’ll develop. But you should make sure that you have built a foundation of trust before you give it. If you’ve given generous (but honest, no flattering lies please!) positive feedback, you can feel confident in giving suggestions. It will neither break your relationship, nor the self confidence of your guildie. The ground is solid.

A waste
A final thought about this topic. I wonder how it comes that we sometimes are quick to complain and point out how others could improve, and so slow to praise.

Are we shy? Are we envious? Are we so self centred that we simply don’t notice what good the other players do? Or maybe we’re afraid to be misinterpreted as we’re making a pass or just flattering them to get some kind of advantage?

I don’t know. But it’s silly and it’s a waste. So why don’t we just change it?


Anonymous said...

Great post larisa, and something that I touched upon recently.

I think it's because we often don't notice when things go right.

It's the whole Squeaky wheel syndrome" - give attention to those making the most noise (or screwing up the most), and assume that those doing well have a great self esteem.

That said I try to make a point of cheering the good work (better in game than in real life in fact), whether that be my regular running mates, or pugs.

I have often chased down puggers after a group breaks up to send compliments or thanks.

Larísa said...

Oh Gnome, how could I forget? Your post was awesome. I should have linked it in the first place. Now all of you who read this, go and check out Gnomeaggedon right away. Here's a direct link so you won't have to dig the heaps to find it.

Dragon's Den said...

Excellent post Larisa. Isn't it amazing for instance how everyone thanks the healers after bringing them back from near-death - but nothing is said to the tank who held the aggro together for the whole fight.

Uncannily - again for us! - I've posted today on the behaviour of players in game.

Dechion said...

Nicely done.

Looking back I might not have been quite as complementary as I could have been.

Certainly something to think on as I wander through the digital landscape.

Isisxotic said...

Great post. The positive feedback is REALLY important. There have been several raid leaders over the last year with very different styles. Some were very optimistic, making pulls with statements like 'Yeah, let's do this!' and throwing out comments like "good sheeping" or "great job getting those shackles off."

Another would make comments mostly when something went wrong.

Guess who was more fun to raid with?

Hmm, I feel a blog post coming on. :)

Larísa said...

@Dragon's Den: yeah... there's something special about the lords of life and death, isn't it? We're all so thankful to them, not seeing all the other jewels around.

@Dechion: no, I'm the first one to confess I fail at this. This is rather a declaration of good intentions.

@Isisxotic: I think a raid leader must have the guts to be honest about bad things people do. But also the insight to balance it and to recognize good deeds as well, to keep up the inspiration and energy in the raid. Looking forward to read that post!