Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Was it good to you too? – about shifting perspectives

The raid night was just about to end. The last piece of loot had been handed out; a portal to Dalaran was trembling in the air. We were staying in the raid just another minute, so that the dkp addon handlers could finish their work. Then we would disassemble, some of us eager to gem and enchant their new shiny loot, others itching to cool down in a battleground or just completing the last few “must-do” dailies. A few just waited for clearance to log off so they could head towards the bed as soon as possible.

Our raid leader gave his short conclusion speech about the night, as he always does: “It was kind of messy, but we oneshotted the bosses and got the job done. Good effort of everyone”. He sounded pretty pleased, using his “pink voice”, not to be mixed up with his darker and displeased voice. That doesn’t happen too often. He’s quite picky and can be a little bit harsh when we deserve it, which is one of the reasons why we love him so much.

Indeed it was an enjoyable night. I had once again gone fire, giving it a new chance. I still felt slightly unused to it, struggling to keep up the living bomb, messing around with new key combinations. At least it wasn’t such a disaster as the previous time. I felt hopeful.

The post-raid analysis
Then a question occurred to me: was it as enjoyable to everyone else in the raid? Actually I wouldn’t take it for granted. It’s a bit like the classic bedroom question: “was it good to you too?” You never really know, do you?

To make a post-raid analysis and evaluation, describing what has just passed on a scale from “fail” to “success” is a very personal matter. I’ve more and more come to realize that even if you look at something that appears to be an objective, undisputable fact, such as a wws chart, you can’t be sure that everyone will agree about how to interpret it. What is fine with one player – “we didn’t wipe once!” – can at the same time be a disaster for another: “there were several deaths and people had to cover for others mistakes, we’ll never be able to do this on hard mode if we don’t shape up!” It all depends on from where you’re coming and what expectations you have.

There have been moments in my raiding life in WoW when I’ve been completely taken by surprise by the discussion following a raid. I remember once (a long time ago, in another guild), when I had enjoyed what I thought was a very good, successful, efficient night in Karazhan. We had been focused and the bosses had fallen like bowling pins. I expressed how pleased I was to another raider, and got a response: “do you really think so? It was one of the worst raids I’ve ever been in. The atmosphere at TS was poisoning. No one said a word, it was absolutely horrible. I’ve lost my lust for raiding altogether!” Listening to him you could hardly believe that we had experienced the same raid. And in one sense I guess we hadn’t, even though we technically were wearing the same raid ID.

Seeing it from the other side
So what am I trying to say? It isn’t exactly any revolutionary insight I’m presenting in this post. Anyone who has attended school has probably been presented this picture, which can be seen in two alternative ways, as an old lady or as a young girl. People see things differently, yeah, we know.

But thinking about all the guild drama you hear and read about it seems to me as if some players haven’t grasped it yet. Many, many of the conflicts I hear and read about come as an effect of lack of communication and a refusal to try to see things from “the other side”.

So what can you do about it? Unfortunately there isn’t yet any way that I can enter the mind of someone else and see the world through their eyes, as they did in the excellent movie Being John Malcovich, if someone remembers it. But you can use your curiosity and imagination. And you can talk to your guildmates. Ask them what they thought about the raid. If they discuss their experiences in a class forum on your guild website – follow it, even though it’s not about your class. It can be quite an eye-opener.

Another idea if you want to see the raid from a different perspective is to ask if someone could record it. One of your tanks recently finished a movie from one of our Sarth+3d kills. It’s nothing spectacular, there are no comments or instructions and his UI looks even messier than mine, which says a lot. But to me it was still refreshing and interesting to see the fight from this new angle; somehow the additional perspective also adds depth in my perception and gives me a better general understanding of what’s going on.

Don’t forget that when the raid is finished there are 25 mental recordings of what happened. They’re unique. Sometimes they’re contradictive. Yet they’re all true in their own way. Share it, put the pieces together and learn from it.

And maybe you won’t even have to ask the “was-it-good-to-you-too question” next time. Because you already know the answer.


Rohan said...

one of the things that I strongly believe makes a better player is playing a role other than your main role once in a while.

For example, if you DPS, trying a healing character is an eye-opener. You can see the small things which make a big difference, like positioning yourself so you have LoS to the healer. Same thing for trying to tank with a healing main. Little things like the things tanks have to do to grab aggro at the start or deal with casters.

Jessabelle said...

I have been in plenty of raids (pugged and otherwise) where while the raid itself could be called successful, due to smoothly defeating the bosses and trash, etc, I was miserable the entire time.

I play the game to have fun, and not just simply to accomplish some goal (okay except for my achievement addiction!). I am the type of person who places more importance on the journey, as opposed to the destination. I don't care if we're wiping all over the place, as long as we're talking, joking, and laughing together as a team.

But I also have to accept that my mentality is not the same as everyone else's, and therefore your post really made me think (which is why I love this blog). Even if you pick a raiding group based on similar raiding philosophy (i.e. slow and social vs hard core), you still have different perspectives on how the raid went.

Cassini said...

That was one weird film right there.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have found is that a sure sign of encroaching burnout is when everyone else seems to have been having fun and you're not enjoying the raid for no obvious reason.

Lerbic said...

"fun" is a subjective thing, and is different to all people

Sometimes I come away from raids thinking it was a bit messy, but actually we have killed 6-7 bosses in Ulduar

About 18 months ago, killing 6-7 bosses in one night, even in Karazhan, was unheard of for the guild I was in back then...

Back then, a raid of 3-4 kara bosses was a good night (in a fresh instance)

Today, we can start a fresh Ulduar and in one night get 6-7 bosses (and Emalon if WG is ours) and still think of it as a messy raid !

So part of it, for me at least, is how well we meet expectations

Anonymous said...

Did anyone understand the end of that film? I've watched it 3 or 4 times and still dont get it.

Copernicus said...

I have a hard time with this because I am one of those people that likes things quiet and low key. When people start talking, laughing and generally having "fun" in vent, I just want them all to shut up. However, I keep my peace, because if the raid is having a good time, we're more likely to succeed. I just turn everyone's volume way down.

@Rohan: Agreed that playing different roles is very helpful in understanding others. Sadly, being a raid leading tank hasn't helped me dps on my shaman. Whenever I pull aggro I still think "AH! Kill it faster!" rather than "Whoops, better stop casting."

Lightning bolts, how I love thee! Pew pew!

Elnia said...

Hey, shifting perspectives is Druid talk. Mind your own business, mage! (big wink)

Jess said...

My first toon was a mage. I didn't quite understand her as well as I wanted, but I still played her... lead a couple of Karazhan raids with her when I had guildlead last summer. But when our guild was hard up for some healers, I started playing my priest hardcore (I made her about a month after I created my mage). Then about three months after the creation of my mage and priest, I decided I wanted to see what it was like to tank, so I rolled a warrior. :) My mage is 80. My priest is 80 and in Ulduar, sort of, when my computer allows it. ^_^ And my warrior is about to enter Outlands.

Since my priest is my main, no questions asked, I find myself more stressed in raids than I like. My boyfriend is second banana MT for the guild we're in (he was MTing Ulduar last night before the reset). After raids are called, finished or continuing the next night, we sit around and discuss what went wrong, how awesome some fights were, etc. And I find we have differing opinions sometimes. But when he starts warbling on about the tanking aspect, I can understand (to some extent) due to having a warrior tank myself. He doesn't have a healer yet, so he can't completely understand some dilemmas I face, but he tries, and that's all that matters.

It's nice being to step into someone else's shoes, but I know for a fact that tanking anything besides instances is NOT my forte. I prefer to stand in the back and ping people with PoM (and other various priesty healz ^_^), making sure they stay alive so I don't get roflpwned by the bosses.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm these thoughts never really crossed my mind.

I am a very selfish raider. I do my job, I finish, then I just go to bed.

There is no cuddle time for raids with me.

Dorgol said...

Here's a thought bubble...

When the raid goes perfect, the healers have less to do.

So a perfect raid can be very boring for a healer, while the DPS gets to PewPew more and the tanks get to feel the pleasure of a well controlled mob.

Towards the end of Naxx raiding I had entire fights where I could literally stand there and never cast a single spell. I started doing "Holy Paladin DPS!!!!" to try and pass the time.

Note: Holy Paladin DPS is shockingly bad... I think I can almost break 1k on a good day.

Khaelie said...

I notice this a lot (though usually after i am completely frustrated)... when we run thru Naxx25 (or even Naxx10 if they can get me in there). I have been thru both so many times that now i almost expect bosses to be one shot and mistakes not to be made. i sometimes forget that we may have a guildie or a guest in the group that maybe has not done the fight before and is perfectly OK (and even overjoyed) if we make the full run with only 1-2 wipes. it takes a moment to try and see it from their perspective. they may have never even seen KT and yet here i am expecting that no one make any mistakes and i better not find myself in the graveyard.

i have found that as a healer, you get to see ALL the mistakes. if someone stands in a fissure and they die - you know it immediately. if a dps pulls aggro - you know it immediately. i guess that adds to the stress of a run, but i like it... it keeps me on my toes cause i know that if i make a mistake - the other healers know it!

i have played as DPS (my hunter was my first to 70 back in BC & even 80 in Wrath) and you dont get to see all that extra stuff. you kind of just mind yourself and shoot the boss. and if you pull aggro you hit your "oh S***" button. i fully believe that they have it the easiest in a raid. i never feel stressed when i do any kind of dungeon/raid with her.

so, in summary, even from my own personal expierence i can see the different perspectives of a raid and the feeling of how it went... but in reality when you run it you see it from your own perspective first as that is how the game is designed.

Cathy said...

I generally find a similar opinion after a raid. We all just want to clear the instance in a reasonably good time without drama, without much afking and try to generally 1 shot stuff especially if its Naxx which we know well now.

Along the way have a few laughs but not at the expense of wasting alot of time.

I think there has to be a happy medium of enjoyment of the game but being respectful of each person's time.

Kromus said...

Well- Perspective is very important. You've seen me post about it, and how i feel.

Larisa, oh dear, Larisa. The memories that were returned when i read this post were Karazhan, indeed. Back in the day. I was raid leader.

We killed 3-4 bosses a raid night, 3 times a week = close to a clear. We'd have fun. Because we were not very successfull, we made up for it in fun. I was the Guild master, raid leader and joker- amongst other hilarious people and contributers. New members didn't understand.

"We cleared to Opera only in one raid, yeesh guys, you said you were good raider"

I was shocked to reseive this. Like you said, "where we in the same raid?". We all had fun and got average amount of bosses down. Why can't people be happy?

We saw it as succesful fun, he saw it as average fail. I totally unstand your problems and understandings, i could go on but i wont.

Great post, great thoughts followed.

Shy said...

Thanks for the poke in a good direction. It's always good to keep in mind that your pov is not the only pov..and not only in WoW.

Bristal said...

LOVED being John Malkovich, don't remember the ending, though.

I think the whole issue with guild drama and people getting peevish in a raid has everything to do with online anonymity. The Raid Leader can be a bit overly harsh because of no eye contact or empathy with players he can't see.

People get impatient with others and assume the worst (noob, AFK, doesn't know his class) because you can't really see the player's efforts.

Raids are a bit intense and time-consuming and people are going to spout off because there are few social pressures not to.

And it sucks being singled out because in all likelihood, we're all sitting ALONE in our rooms/houses and we have nobody to defend us or even notice and care if our feelings are hurt.

Thus people act out and /gquit, seemingly at the drop of a hat. Online drama never escalates slowly, it just erupts because nobody can tell the person is upset unless they say so in chat, and who would? It's a silly game, for God's sake.

I'm a 46 year old adult and I couldn't believe how hurt I was once at getting left out of a raid that I was well prepared for, showed up on time, etc and just got passed over. It kinda makes you wonder why you want to play this "game" sometimes.

Larísa said...

@Rohan: I believe you. Unfortunately I’ve only played dps – ranged and melee – up to now. But I’m planning to change that a little bit…

@Jessabelle: Yeah, I guess the idea about having a guild is to assemble people with similar raiding philosopies. But still there will always be little tweaks and differences depending on your personality. If you ask me I actually prefer silence during raids. Before or after is a completely different matter though, I don’t mind some silly banter then.

@Spinksville: I haven’t reached the raid burnout phase myself yet, but I can imagine you’re right.

@Lerbic: yeah, you’re quite right. It’s like if you’re going to a restaurant. If you serve exactly the same dish at a low-pricy fast-food place and a gourmet high class restaurant, you’ll get two completely different reviews on it, depending on the setting, what you had expected.

@Raidresponceunit: I don’t quite remember it either to be honest. Most of all remembered the weird building and the tunnel out of the JM brain, ending in nowhere… Still since you saw it that many times I recon you liked it.

@Copernicus: Vent with those individual settings is a dream!

@Elnia: there’s a reason I guess (see the post of Wednesday)

@Jess: it really must be wonderful to have someone that you really can debrief with after a raid. I can imagine that being healer, and tank as well actually, is quite a lot more stressful than playing dps.

@Highlatencylife: each one to his own. You have a different perspective, that’s all.

@Dorgol: Interesting. I always imagined healers were extremely occupied all the time. And now you’re telling me that they’re just slacking, trying to pass the time… Hm…. :)

@Khaelie: ooohhh…. Hm… You say that you know ALL my little dirty secrets.. . Sometimes I wish I could go invis, not just for the boss, but for my fellow raiders.

@Cathy: “Without much afk:ing”… I honestly would be pretty annoyed if someone afk:ed outside of our one mid-raid 5 min brake.

@Kromus: Well: I guess one problem for your fresh attendants could have been that they weren’t a part of a tightly knit party, friends who had played together for a long time. That would explain if they didn’t have as fun as you. If they had been inside the click, they’d probably have cared less about the outcome… Just a thought.

@Shy: thanks!

@Bristal: oh yes… I must admit that I sometimes enter an emotional rollercoaster as well, but I really, really try to keep it out if sight for anyone else, not dragging it into guild chat or vent. Because as you say – things tend to escalate quickly and things get interpreted the wrong way every so easily. But yeah, sometimes you can feel pretty lonely, sitting there in your own perspective, unable to really make other people understand where you’re coming from.

Anonymous said...

"I had once again gone Fire..."

Wait... what?!

Larísa said...

@PewPewlazers: haha, you noticed! :)
Still have an arcane spec ready to go though. Dual spec ftw.