Dealing With Change

4.0, while not unexpected or even unanticipated, has dropped like a bull in our proverbial china closet. Some of our china was saved, some was destroyed and replaced with better pieces, and some with inferior. However, it’s interesting to see how people are dealing with the changes that affect how they play.

The Philosophers

The world is an ever-evolving organism that must be accepted for what it is.

These players take a look at the changes and politely shrug their shoulders over changes they find distasteful while giving sagacious nods over improvements they see in game. Such players recognize that the game-world is a sandbox maintained by someone other than themselves, and little or no amount of railing, cheering, tears or exaltions will change what is available at this moment in time. While they might join a discussion of changes, it will often be from the position that whatever is currently available is what it is, and will not make conjectures about possible ways to make changes to things they don’t agree with. Instead, they will try to discover how to make the best of what is offered.

I found myself reading about the bugs still in the game and going “meh.” Yes, I recognize that bugs need to be fixed, but honestly, bugs happen and no amount of whining on my part is going to do anything about it. When I run across something fishy, I put in my little report ticket and move on with whatever activity I’m doing.

The Ranters

The world is ending because of the implementation of this change.

While they often don’t believe that the world is actually ending, they are upset enough over a change that they can’t stop shouting their disatisfaction from the mountaintops. The “importance” of the change to the actual functioning of the game is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the change has affected the player’s perception of the game, often resulting in a feeling of alienation. Ranters, whether intended or not, can often create an environment that fosters organized protest. In an on-line forum, this often results in the 500+ thread on official forums or a circle of “believers” who support the ranter in their disagreement over the change. Ranters tend to face the most backlash, since they are so vocal about their dislike, they tend to be targeted by other players as troublemakers or whiners.

I’m currently in the discovery stage, having cut myself off from pretty much all Cata/4.0 news, so I don’t really know if I have anything to rant about yet. I find the paladin “rotation” a little off-kilter for me, but I can see how it makes for better holes for all my little cooldowns. My shaman plays about the same so far. My death knight actually feels improved to me.

The Gushers


These players haven’t met a game change that they haven’t fallen in love with. Change, in all forms, is good and should be embraced whole-heartedly. They praise every part of the process that led to the change, and can give you examples of one hundred ways that the change is better than whatever went before.

As a personal note, whenever I see a gusher I want to find the closest blunt object and chart a trajectory to the gusher’s skull. It’s not a matter of agreement or disagreement over the change, rather, it’s a basic personality conflict.

The Flailers

Everything changed. What do I do now? Where do I find myself?

The flailers don’t care a fig whether the changes are good or bad, because they’re adversely affected by change in any form. Every discovery of another change leads them into another tizzy of ineffectual flailing. Like the philosphers, the flailers won’t try to get into the meat weighing the pros and cons of changes, although for different reasons. They’re more concerned with realigning their personal starts with something that works in order to reach their comfort zone again.

I found myself in this position last night, running in circles in Ironforge as I ran to my trainer, then to the target dummies, then back to my trainer, then to the auction house, then to the training dummies, back to the trainer, and all the while thinking “why’d it all have to change?!”

What’s It Matter

In actuality, many of us likely fit into many of these groups if not all of them. I tend to be philosophical about changes that don’t matter to me emotionally while I will easily rant or gush over changes I find to be gratifying on an emotional level. And I always flail, every single time. The important thing, I think, is to recognize that other players have to deal with change however it seems best to them. I actually find how people deal with the changes fascinating, as it tells me a great deal about what is important to them personally.


9 thoughts on “Dealing With Change

  1. I'm probably 90% Philosopher, 10% Flailer.
    I try to remain somewhat logical when it comes to change, tailoring all the changes toward my style and adjusting my style in some fashion to meet somewhere in the middle.

    Worse comes to worse and my class becomes not fun/frustrating to play, well that's what alts/ps3/xbox are for. 😀

    • I'm actually glad they released the class changes before Cataclysm so that people have a chance to determine whether they want to be loyal fans of their mains, or simply give up and find another class. I'm having a hard time sticking to the "it is what it is" mode at the moment, mainly because I already had main issues, and partly because I don't have the time or inclination to spend a lot of time relearning a bevy of new skills right now. Hence /flail

  2. I'm 50% rant and 50% flail.

    As a Paladin, I am not happy about most of the changes, most of which seem to have been done simply because they could, not because they actually improve anything. (I would argue quite the opposite)

    It's taken me 18 months (give or take) to become semi-competant at my class, only to have things turned upside down for (what seems to me) to be no apparent reason. this is just a whole lot of change and frustration for what seems to be no real payoff.

    I have yet to get my copy of Halo Reach or even Forza 3, but 4.0 is really making me lean in that direction…

    • I was actually really curious how you'd react, because I know it's been fairly recently that you've started really branching out (into prot for example) and really flexing your class muscles. Do you think the general upheaval of "experienced" players makes you feel like you're on more even ground with the rest of the player-base?

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  4. I flail. Frequently and at length. Change disrupts my routines, dammit!

    When not flailing, though – at least as regards this patch – I seem to be falling into the philosopher category most of the time. No doubt it will all be balanced out in the end…and by the next expansion we'll all be protesting that we like it this way and they shouldn't change it. In the meantime, I'm not really accomplished enough at any one class to be devastated that the way I play it has changed; I'll just go from failing at one technique to flailing at the other 😉

  5. Depending on what toon I logged into that night, my personality changed. With my hunter, I flailed a bit trying to figure out which spec to try first and then how to optimize it. The shammy was a philosopher moment (although real AoE was awesome to get) and Blood DK tanking is greatly improved – my gusher moment. I really liked my DK tank before but was in gushing mode while really playing it last night. I have yet to give the warrior a spin but from what I have heard it will be a ‘meh’ moment.

    • I'm cycling as I try out different toons as well. Mage helluva fun. Resto shaman, meh. DK, blood and unholy, a bit of flail, but mainly fun. Paladin tank… my tps is WHAT!?

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