My idea about veterans offering lessons in WoW was pretty well received in the comments, and some experienced players shared stories from their past where they had been the mentor for a newbie player, and how much they had enjoyed doing this.
I never wrote clearly how I thought the willing teacher should be paid; actually I never thought about it much at the point I wrote the post. I guess I assumed that it would be payment in gold, similar to how Gevlon paid for raid spots at that time. People are paying gold for boosts, why not pay for knowledge? And my readers probably assumed the same. The real life commercial side of it never became any issue in the discussion.
Coaching for money
Now I’ve seen this teacher-for-hire idea come true for the first time, thanks to a post at Consider This. The story is that a fury warrior, who seems to be well known in warrior circles, deeply involved in the EJ forums and a raider in one of the top guilds of the world, is offering coaching services at 24 dollars an hour.
Consider is very critical about this, and concludes that “no player out there is so dim-witted whereas they need a paid service and no player is so amazing that they’re worth paying for such a service.”
His major objections are:
- The game is fairly simple and there are a ton of free resources to help you out if you need
- The warrior in question isn’t that great. Why pay for someone who isn’t actually the best?
- Others can’t teach you to react to the unexpected – which is what being a good player is all about. To be truly competitive with the best, you’re going to have to be able to think on your own, and a coaching service doesn’t make you do that.
He finally offers anyone who needs advice on how to play their DK a free service – through mail, MSN or even on vent.
“But whatever else, please god, never pay someone for such junk. Not for a game. Not for WoW.”
Why I don't mind
So what’s my view on this? Well, not so surprisingly, considering I suggested WoW teaching services in the first place, I’m not as disturbed as Consider.
It certainly makes more sense to me to pay 25 dollars for personal tutoring of one of the 100 best players in the world than to pay the equal amount for a silly sparkling pony.
The way I’m playing the game, I don’t see any need to consult such a teacher myself, (provided that there was one available for mages).
I’m playing in a guild which although it’s The Best in its kind and holds my heart, honestly can’t claim to be on the bleeding edge of raiding. I don’t have any ambitions to make a WoW career, aiming for a spot in Ensidia. I’m not going anywhere. But suppose I did? If I really had that drive, if I really wanted to become the best in the world in my class, why wouldn’t I try an hour of personal coaching? I’d soon enough find out if it actually resulted in any improvement.
I agree that there’s a ton of information available for free. Provided that you have unlimited of time at hands you could probably learn most of the stuff that this coach could tell you by looking it up yourself. But at least the mage forums at EJ (I can’t tell about the others) is currently a mess, a jungle to get lost in, a time sink I could live without.
I don’t think that this guy is scamming players. He’s made an offer and if people are happing to pay for the service, I don’t mind.
Will it work?
The next question is: will the warrior get any customers?
To be honest I doubt it. The players who are ambitious enough to want to learn from the best are probably a little too cocky to admit that they have a lesson to learn. And the casuals who know that they’re not the best, aren’t motivated enough to pay to get better.
The biggest problem however is the timing. It’s summer and there’s end-of-expansion-blues in the air. The people who are still into progression raiding are pretty clear by now on the best specs, gear and rotations. The market will probably be better once Cataclysm has arrived and people are still in confusion, trying to navigate through the information overload.
But I still think that most players are pretty reluctant to pay real life money for this. In game gold would work better. On the other hand – these days when the gold is flowing on the streets I suppose that very few top players would be willing to sell their time for such a trivial reward.