Elitism: You’ve put in the hours… Expectations and You.

Raiding is all about imperfect execution and doing it again and again until you get it right. However there’s a big difference between someone who can’t deliver proper execution and someone who is a faillock noob that’s standing in fire all time. I’m very forgiving of one, but not so much of the other.

This is a guest post follow up to Windsoar’s excellent post on Elitism and it’s comments.

Where does the time go?

A typical university has 48 hours worth of class lectures over a semester. There is an expectation that a student does 2 hours of work outside of class for every hour of lecture. In other words if you put in 144 man-hours of time and effort into a task that you will learn enough to pass a university level course. 144 hours is 6 days. A semester of 5 classes is 30 man days. An academic year is 60 days. A 4 year degree is 240 man days.

Now I ask everyone reading this to type /played the next time you log into your Warcraft account and do a little introspection. Where do you fit on that time scale? If it’s a modest 2 days of played time you could have instead audited Astronomy 101 without doing a lick of homework or taking any test. 60 days of played time you could be just starting your 2nd year of business school. 300 days could have been a Masters in Computer Science instead of simply playing a computer game.

I believe that there’s no right or wrong way for someone to spend their time. These numbers are just to put that time into perspective. Someone could have used that time to learn how to play the guitar, or how to garden, or biking cross-country. It also applies to mundane things like learning how to drive a car just from the 1 hour commute you have to work each day. However the number of man hours you put into doing a task directly effects your skill. It applies to everything in life, from work, to the mundane, to playing a computer game.

Now to bring it back to elitism…

Is it really elitist to expect a college student who’s taken physics 101 to know Newton’s Three Laws?

Is it elitist to expect a truck driver to know how to reverse with a trailer?

Is it elitist to expect someone to have learned interrupts, cooldowns and staying out of fire given the number of hours it takes to qualify to raid?

To me those aren’t elitist expectations at all. But I wouldn’t expect the student to know how to reverse the truck, nor would I expect the truck driver to know Newton’s laws.

Consider how much you raid. Is it a 3 hour session, 3 nights a week like mine? If so, that works out to be equivalent to a course credit in Raiding every 4 months. If you’ve been raiding since the start of cataclysm then congrats, you’ve done a term’s worth of non-electives in Raiding. The the minimum to pass a non-elective is 70%. If you’re in school doing a group project, then your fellow classmates can assume that you are at minimum a B- student or you would have flunked out of college.

All I expect of raiders is that B- level of performance when I know nothing else about them. I don’t feel it’s elitist to use that as the baseline minimum. And yes, I do have a sense of entitlement regarding that minimum performance in the same way that I feel I’m entitled to someone pulling his weight in a group project. If you are a D+ raider then you’re doing a disservice to your entire team. You’re max level in a raid. It’s not your first day playing this game. Please don’t act as though it is.

Smithers: Sir we found the problem, some idiot threw this (doughnut) in the reactor core.
Mr. Burns: You did this? How could you be so irresponsible?
Homer: Eh… it’s my first day!
Mr. Burns: Since I’ve never seen you before, maybe it is your first day. Very well, carry on!
Smithers: Err..Sir that’s Homer Simpson, he’s been working here for 10 years!
Mr Burns: Ohhhh really? Why did you think you could lie to me?
Homer: It’s my first day…
Mr Burns: Well why didn’t you say so…..WHOAH…you’re fired!

Just because you _claim_ you’re inexperienced doesn’t mean you get a pass when you burn everything down.

Using interrupts, cooldowns and getting out the fire are the fundamentals of raiding. There really is nothing else to it. If you can do those 3 things well and nothing else, you will succeed at raiding. Even things like being social, knowing your class or throwing big numbers (while important) they are all secondary. Even an easy fight like Patchwerk still required the proper use of cooldowns and fire (slime). Every single boss encounter in the game has some combination of those 3 things. That _is_ raiding.

For me someone who is raiding and still can’t handle the basics of 1) fire, 2) interrupts and 3) cooldowns is like taking a taxi and having the driver accidentally run through a red light. (Both of which have happened to me a disturbingly large number of times.) However I do not find it acceptable regardless of how common it is. I could forgive someone that is only level 40 or just has their learning permit. I’m not asking for skills of a rally race car driver nor the top dps of Paragon. But I do expect what I consider to be basic skills for a given level of experience.

Adjusting expectations Based on Circumstances

I used to play (even raid!) on dial up. That meant no voice chat, and horrendous lag. I wiped our raid more than a few times and I could only imagine what my guild was thinking as my corpse skipped across the ground. My guild made allowances for me given my technical limitations and we were successfully raiding hard-modes.

I’ve raided with someone who was legally blind and enjoyed myself immensely as a “seeing eye dwarf”. She couldn’t see the fire on the ground but she could make out raid markers. I would be raid marked and she would stack on me. Even given that limitation she was a good raider in her own right.

I’ve never done this fight before,” is a valid reason to not know certain things specific to the fight, such the aggro reset in phase 2 but it’s not a blanket excuse for being stupid. For example “Odd groups go left. Even groups go right,” is clear regardless if you’ve done the fight before or not. Having to explain that 4 is an even number and 5 is an odd number should not be necessary. (NSFW)

I’ve never done this fight before, so that’s why I was standing in front of the dragon when it breathed,” is likewise unacceptable even if you’ve never done the fight before. It’s a dragon. You don’t stand in front of dragons in this game and you should know that. While I don’t condone the above level of verbal abuse, I do condone this level of verbal abuse. Especially when everyone is standing around thinking that you must be Homer Simpson. Consider if the criticism is valid before you claim you’re victim of an elitist.

I dole out respect based on expectations. Those taxi drivers lost mine but I had lots for the blind raider. If I was raiding with someone with one arm then I’d expect them to be not be proficient at certain things (like camera control and strafing at the same time) but fine at something it takes only one hand to do such as interrupting with a mouse button. But at the same time if they can’t handle something that has nothing to do with their hands (like have gems socketed) then I’m not going to cut them some slack just because they can’t clap.

Your outlook really depends on where you are standing. From where I’m standing someone who is max level and raiding (at the bare minimum) has finished Warcraft 101. I don’t expect someone to know “Paragon’s theory of Raidativity”, but I do expect them to know “Brunpal’s Three Laws of Raiding”… even if nobody ever calls it that.

If that makes me an Elitist… so be it.


16 thoughts on “Elitism: You’ve put in the hours… Expectations and You.

  1. First, excellent post. It was well constructed and easy to read. Your three laws of raiding are excellent and should be followed by everyone. I still think you miss the point of WoW.

    I recently read someone in G+ talking about how WoW is becoming the casual game and Titan might become the high level raiding game once the Pandas take over. It made sense.

    To think that WoW is a game for the raiders is to be unrealistic. Even from vanilla less than 10% of the population raided. We now have bigger numbers of people that want to raid, but it is still not even half of the player base.

    You make a great point with the /played argument. Someone that has played for 100, 200, or 4 years should be able to do the 3 basic things you mention. The reality is that not everyone cares to that point. I know the argument at that point is that they should not raid, but stick to content that is “appropriate” for them.

    I consider myself a casual raider. I have done some heroic encounters in the past, but stop pushing the progression raid when I decided that to me the social aspect of the game was more important than the progression raiding. I still killed Rag, I still saw the content, I still saved the princess.

    What your point misses is that not everyone approaches WoW as a skill. A big portion of the WoW community approaches it as a game to kill time. They are not interested on reading about their character spec or even getting their reaction time better. Not everyone that jumps on a bike will be Lance Armstrong. Not everyone that goes into college finishes with a degree. Not everyone that plays WoW wants to become a progression raider.

    I do agree with you that anyone that wants to be part of any progression team would have to submit themselves to criticism of some kind. What I will never agree with is that anyone as an individual has the right to go into a pug raid and start verbally abusing someone else for any reason. I think that crosses a line that should not be crossed. I think the respect should be given to people. As I stated before, I have not been at the receiving end of this type of behavior but I have been mortified when someone else is at the receiving end.

    I don’t think it is normal practice to verbally abuse people in any arena IRL other than drill Sargent and maybe some coaches. I have seen some bosses act that way, but those people were never very effective on motivating people long term.

    I am glad you can wear the elitis label with pride. I however would not want to play with someone that thinks because they are skilled at a video game, it should be ok to talk down to and verbally abuse another human being.

    • Just because people don’t focus on the game as learning a skill doesn’t mean that they don’t have a duty to perform.

      If I didn’t know the rules of basketball, I wouldn’t join a pickup game to pass the time. If I did, and constantly failed to dribble, or even make a good effort to help my team succeed, they’d be well within their rights to call me out for it.

      In a team event, you’re expected to be able to pull your weight. You can play solo, queue with friends/a guild, or find similarly skilled players to make sure you’re on equal footing, but it isn’t unreasonable to expect that people know what they’re doing.

      It takes less time to research all the new 5 mans at a moderate level so that you won’t be completely lost, than you lose for wiping once. In a game that requires *days* of playing just to get to the point where you’re even able to access that content, you should be willing to take a few minutes to figure out what to do.

      If you don’t want the new stuff “spoiled”, that’s your choice, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you’re joining a group of 4 other people, where the goal is winning. You’re signing up to play with people who have a different set of goals than you, and then get upset when they are irritated that you’re not pulling your weight. That really shouldn’t be a surprise.

      There really aren’t many things you have to learn to play your class at a moderate level. There is always an element of finesse, but you don’t need to be a master of your class to perform at an acceptable level.

      In LFR the other day, 5 of us (we were 7/7H in Firelands) queued up for fun. Our 4 dps were all around 40k, with our tank in 5th, at 29k. Almost all the other dps were at or under 20k, with the lowest dps being a mage, doing 6900 dps.

      I would never think it’s okay to call out someone doing 20k in that scenario for underperforming. I also wouldn’t call attention to my exemplary performance to people in that raid. But is it unreasonable for me to expect better from that mage? If everyone did twice as well as he did, we’d probably wipe. It is far below the bar, and I’d go as far to say that he was performing aggressively badly, as in, you have to *try* to be that bad. It’s LFR. The bosses still went down. But that mage’s performance was unacceptable. 45s on EJ, or asking another mage about his rotation would have given him enough info to perform much better on.

      • I don’t think that people should not be “called out” I personally don’t like to play with people that think going AFK during a dungeon is ok, or watching TV while tanking, etc. A 6K mage should not be in LFR… (I am guessing a bag full of PvP gear). I think you should be able to kick people you don’t want to play with from your group. The part I don’t understand is the feeling of entitlement that someone with higher skill has to belittle or insult the 6K mage.

        Just this week I have a screenshot of a healer with ICC gear in the new dungeons doing 3k. When we asked him why he was wearing that set (maybe he was transmogging or something) he switched to his awesome PvP healing set. That guy found it acceptable to DPS on sub par gear circumventing the requirements to enter the dungeon. I am sure he is an “elite” PvPer. We finished the dungeon, we never verbally abused him, but he was under-performing the whole way. Who knows, maybe some day after I encounter this behavior enough I will become the yell at people type… I doubt it though.

    • “I however would not want to play with someone that thinks because they are skilled at a video game, it should be ok to talk down to and verbally abuse another human being.”

      This, a million times over.

      I *do* agree with the 3 Pillars of Raiding and that if you are going to join a raid or raid group you should know the Pillars and be able to handle yourself accordingly. However, I will never agree that a skilled raider or WoW player in general has the right to debase, degrade, insult, or otherwise abuse other people simply because of their (in)ability to play the game.

    • Windsor mentioned to me that you and I seemed to be talking at cross purposes. I didn’t understand what she meant at first, but now I do. This is the original sentence that eventually resulted in this blog post:

      “A behavior that I see as elitist is the verbal abuse to a player that cannot execute tasks such as interrupts, cooldown usage, or getting out of the fire [when they’ve said] that they did not know a fight.”

      We’ve focused on different elements of that quote. I latched onto execution of those 3 tasks. You focused on the aspect of verbal abuse. However the subject of verbal abuse is totally ancillary to my comments and post. In fact I was trying to sidestep that issue as much as possible for no other reason than it’s far too complex to address properly. Verbal abuse means different things to different people and has 99% to do with context. It’s another example of how your outlook depends on where you are standing.

      To be clear:
      I do not advocate verbal abuse by others nor do engage in verbal abuse myself. I don’t believe verbal abuse is constructive. (The link above to the 5yr old raider is tongue in cheek and cute as it comes. Nobody could hate that.) However you’ve lumped “talking down to” and “drill sargent level verbal abuse” together. I don’t believe they are at all similar which further muddies discussion.

      If the next time I stepped into a taxi I said to the driver “Please stop at all red lights,” that would be a clear example of talking down to someone. He would probably (rightly so) think I was a total ass. If I said the same thing 5 secs after he ran a red light then I’m still guilty of talking down to someone who should know better. The flip side of talking down to someone is elitism. When the subject is =a basic skill= nothing can be said on the topic without it coming across as talking down and elitism.

  2. Now, when I took freshman physics all them decades ago, I had the luck fer ta learn unders the late great Dr Robert Hofstadter, a bugger what had hisself a Nobel prize and enough years and seniority fer ta do whatever hell he wanted. He taught that class year after year ’cause he had so much damn fluggernubbin’ fun doin’ it, what with firin’ bottle rockets inta the lecture hall and goin’ toe-ta-toe with a bowlin’ ball pendulum and all.

    Most buggers ain’t that lucky. Even so, I’s pretty sure they ain’t handed a coupla billiard balls and left fer ta figger out Newtonian physics on they’s own. I’s pretty sure there be textbooks and lectures and TAs and review sessions and mid-terms and all them other things what helps ya learn what I dimly rememberfies. I also expects truck drivers get sumthins similar in truck drivin’ school. Wherefuhg is the paid WoW faculty and professional texts? I sure never got issued any – I stumbled onta me sources of knowledge pretty much through dumb glubbernuggin’ luck. Lotta folks don’t.

    Yer obviouslies a bugger what is willin’ fer ta works with others ta overcome issues, and that’s a good. But yer notion what doodling in a video game and a paid education is in any way comparables is absurd, and do not reflect well on you.

    • I’m not claiming that people approach playing WoW as a skill, or even that they should. Nor am I claiming that playing WoW is akin to earning a paid education. WoW is obviously much easier. But people don’t approach driving to work as a skill either and I also used that as an example. As I said, “These numbers are just to put that time into perspective.

      I can’t use a # I don’t know as a concrete example. I =do= know exactly how many hours a credit course takes. Education is pretty much the -only- skill with a tangible and measurable set # of hours that people are familiar with. That’s why it’s my comparison example. I wanted to take a concrete number (/played) and compare it to another concrete number. I don’t have a clue how many hours it takes to learn how to drive a car. However do I know that I’m a much better driver today than I was the first year I was driving. But that doesn’t make for a good post.

      It’s disingenuous to state that my point of view “is absurd” based on the lack of textbooks, lectures and paid WoW faculty. (An arguable point in and of itself.) I believe it was clear that I was talking in very broad terms. There isn’t a faculty of stamp collecting. There isn’t a textbook on driving your car to work without crashing. But you can gain knowledge about those by doing them.

      My point was that if you put a large chunk of time into an activity that you will become more and more skilled. Furthermore there is a high correlation between the amount of time put into ANY task to how skilled you become at it. There doesn’t need to be a mid-term test on lawncare to know that if you spend 9 hours a week manicuring your lawn that you will have a great looking lawn. Hank Hill is skilled at lawncare because he spends all of his time on lawncare. That’s his hobby.

      My other point is the -reverse- is also true. If you spend 9 hours a week on your lawn and it still looks like crap after years… everyone will look at you and think “Why aren’t you better than that by now?

      Obviously Warcraft is far FAR easier than earning a college degree. It’s also less work than lawncare. That only strengthens my point that if you’ve put in more raw hours playing WoW then doing something like earning a degree then there’s no reason why you can’t have basic skills. It’s just a computer game.

      • I think you are wrong here

        “But people don’t approach driving to work as a skill either and I also used that as an example.”

        Driving to work IS a skill that people a trained and eventually licensed to do. Same as an education that eventually gives you a diploma if you complete it.

        WoW does not work that way, at least not yet. iLvL is circumvented by various means to get into LFR and LFD.

        When I read the article I thought the same thing as Ratshag, however I found it very well constructed and it illustrated your point.

        I do think you are not considering that the way you approach WoW is NOT the way others approach the game. The game CAN be a skill, but to many it is simply a form of entertainment or something they kill time with.

        Look at it like bowling, many people do it and some even in leagues don’t get very good even after doing it for years… why because to them is an activity to socialize and gather with their friends around a hobby and NEVER get a 300.

        The verbal abuse part is pretty clear cut to me, even the talking down part. Telling a cabby to stop at every red light is a fair request, just as asking people not to stand in the fire if they want to raid. Telling the cab, OMG you Noob, you don’t know how to drive, Go Get more practice time you idiot would not fly with him IRL. The elitist do this to the rest of the WoW community all the time, and I find that unacceptable behavior. I don’t want to be around it.

  3. What a great post. It has given me a lot to think about even though I am not necessarily in the habit of abusing anyone for any reason for being a tard. But I really like how you’ve likened it to doing a course/degree in terms of time. Now that is a quotable line 🙂

  4. It’s rare that someone states it as obvious as you did in this post. the term of ‘Elitism’ is being misused all the time in discussions such as these – and not just by those who feel on defense. it’s falsly used by good or competetive players to describe themselves (I guess some feel it is a medal of sorts when it really is not). you finally did away with this and gave a much simpler answer with a simple analogy. well done.

  5. Great read definately got me interested.

    With all the analogies, I would say that WoW, driving, Basketball, or anything we choose to do as humans defines our personal character based on how we conduct ourselves. The conduct of how we interact and how we have prepared ourselves for the task at hand. My point being if you look at lifestyle choices; Did i read the book before I took the driving test? Do I understand the basic rules before I commit myself to an activity? Pretty much anything in life requires an interest in the activity, a concept or direction of where I want to go (or why am I doing this activity), and the effectivey (am I accomplishing my goal for the activity).

    All of these are personal choices, I chose to play WoW with friends without any understanding of how this game varied from D&D. At the time I was Rping with some RL friends who asked me to play. When I found out about raiding I chose that as an activity, I chose to prepare myself and my toon for MC. When I review my performance based on my peers in my raid and outside I can see how effecive my process has been.

    These are fundamentals to life as well. Now I am not saying if you gem wrong or spec wrong your life is less or better then mine.

    My point is that our personal Character will come thru in all aspects of our activities we choose. I can change my character but it is a very difficult thing to do and typically only happens when I have a “lightning bolt” moment.

    One of the things I admire most about my guild is not the bosses we have killed or achievements we completed, or the gold in our gbank or toon bank. I admire how we handle new applicants with regards to the one not ready for H Progression.

    Disclaimer I am at work and busy so my spelling is bad and thoughts are not as defined as I would like but had a few moments to post.

  6. Just wanted to say I actually raid with someone with one arm and he is one of our best raiders. We are a semi-serious progression raiding guild generally hovering around top 1000 so it isn’t like he is beating a raid of bad players.

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