It came from the PUG: Do you want cheese with that?

Unfortunately(?), all my random groups this week have been pretty good so instead of pointing the finger at outrageous behaviour, this week we’ll have to settle for mildly annoying.

Achievements are not the Marmite of WoW, very few people actively hate them with the passion of a billion blazing suns. They are more like  Nutella. Everyone likes Nutella. (Oh no, I missed World Nutella Day! How is that even possible?)

But most of us like it in moderation, and not with every single meal. I reserve the option to say, “No thanks, I respect that your tastes differ from mine but I’ll have my steak without Nutella today.” Frankly, Nutella with steak is an experience you want to share only with very close and special friends, who will put up with experimental cooking techniques and later forgive you if it turns out to be disgusting. Now, imagine Nutella if you also won a special prize for eating a whole jar without throwing up. And if you ate every meal with people who insisted on slathering it over everything and forcing you to do that too.

Yeah, you might go off it after awhile too.

So, back to achievements. A poster on the EU boards this week suggested that the LFD tool could have an option for people to select if they wanted to do achievements on their random run.

This is actually the worst idea ever for the players who do want to do achievements on their random runs.

  • Everyone who just wants some quick badges will not select achievements.
  • Every experienced player who already has finished their dungeon achievements will not select achievements (at least not on their main).
  • Every player who hates achievements will not select achievements.
  • Every player who does not feel like talking a random group through one of the more complex achievements will not select achievements.
  • Anyone bored who wants to grief people WILL select achievements.

Nope, the best way to get dungeon achievements sorted out is either to assemble a group on your home server, or bully/ cajole a random group into doing them. Guess which of those options is easiest for most players?

Now, I don’t actually mind being asked if I want to do an achievement in a dungeon run. But I expect people to give up on it gracefully when I say no. Naturally in random groups, this often does not happen.

I was called a noob this week when I declined to attempt Oculus with 5 bronze drakes. No, the reason I don’t want to do that is because I am NOT a noob and I just want my quick and easy badges without having to care whether a random group can sort out drake cooldown rotations.

Given the reluctance of people in the group to speak up or show any other behaviour that would distinguish them in any way from a doormat, I should not have been surprised to see 4 obedient little bronze drakes, and then me on my red. I left. Perhaps they got a tank who’d put up with those demands and got the achievements for them. But I still wonder if the silent members really cared about the achievement or were just falling into line with the most shouty person in the group.

As a basic rule of politeness, I go this way:

  • If even one person in the group wants to kill an extra boss, then we go kill it.
  • If even one person in the group does not want to do the achievement, then we don’t do it.

To me, the basic assumption of LFD is that the group will clear the instance with no special achievements involved. So I think anything that differs from that needs group buy-in.

But achievement junkies are often not polite. They try to bully groups into doing their achievements. They harass and abuse anyone who does not fall into line. So I save everyone the bother these days and just leave as soon as the question even gets asked (unless it’s the sort of achievement that we were going to do just by completing the instance anyway.) No, I am not interested in helping Joe Random get his achievement. I don’t like Nutella THAT much.

Crowd Control — the marmite of MMOs?

Playing a class with crowd control in an MMO has always involved tension with other players. No one likes having CC used on them in PvP — players really do dislike losing control of their character, however briefly. But there is also a resistance among the playerbase to CC in PvE, a hostility that I don’t really see towards any other role in the game.

This is partly because using crowd control to kill a group of monsters is probably slower than just about any other way you could think up. Players look at the ‘kill them one at a time’ option and then eye up the ‘could we just kill them all at once instead’ side of things. If a game has effective area effect attacks and tanks who can hold threat on multiple mobs, it’s clear which the faster kill method must be.

Even where designers nudge players towards the ‘one at a time with crowd control’ plan, players gripe at feeling forced to have that CC in the group. It’s bad enough to be forced to need a tank and a healer but limiting one of the other spots to a crowd controller seems to really ramp up the difficulty of sorting out groups. Even in a game like WoW where most of the dps classes have some kind of crowd control, players (aside from the CC classes) really didn’t like the added complexity in group forming.

What it boils down to is that tanking tends to become the preferred method of crowd control in PvE except when people are soloing. WoW exacerbates this with the small group sizes. In a group of 5, it’s a struggle to form groups when three of those five roles are fixed. Also some versions of CC are trickier to apply than others,  so players prefer the more reliable types and Blizzard never seemed to feel the need to equalise CC spells in the same way that they did with tanking.

I know this is one of the reasons that I enjoy tanking in game. I always loved playing crowd control classes, especially when they had multiple different types available. One must move with the times.

Do you like playing crowd control classes? Do you hate crowd control in games? Is crowd control really only fun for the person who has that ability?