My writing style at times makes for perfect troll food/bait, generally much to my entertainment. That said, it’s always surprising when non-trolls bite as well, missing the entire point of a post to go after the bait like the trolls do. Such is the case with this post and it’s various responses here and on other blogs, so I guess a follow-up of sorts is due.
Mental exercise time: if you are a guild leader, what criteria do you use when recruiting?
If you are an ‘average’ raid leader in WoW, you look at level/gear/achievements, exclude the psychos (unless it’s a healer, then you just pray the psycho can be contained long enough to progress), and you are good. Come raid time you hope the new recruit knows enough not to cause a wipe, but beyond that no real test of ‘skill’ is needed or considered.
On the other hand, if you are a top raid or arena leader, you more or less ignore level/gear/achievements since those are expected to be maxed out already. At that level, you DO look at skill and will hold try-outs, and you will consider how well the new person meshes with the team. Funny enough, if you run an RP guild (in basically any MMO), you don’t look twice at a character (unless for RP reasons), and it’s all about the player.
In other words, the ‘average’ leader or PUG gatherer will look at the character, while the top leaders will look at the person behind one.
That’s exactly why bringing up top-level raiding or Arena is foolish when Blizzard themselves are talking about ‘fixing’ the issues WoW has today: that linking an achievement is more valuable to a group than bring a good person or having a solid reputation.
Now the why behind this is deeper than just “WotLK made WoW faceroll easy”. Or that cross-server BGs/dungeons made reputations and the sense of a server community worthless. Or the changes to instances; having them give out near top-tier epics along with being ‘mute mode’ AoE-fests. It’s these changes and others, all combined to create the current state of the game. (And as a side note, can we please stop saying WoW is the same game, and those who hate it now but liked it back in 2005 are just ‘burned out’? Fairly sure that when Blizzard themselves starts talking about returning WoW to what it was like before, it’s a good indication that perhaps things ARE different now then they were previously.)
But to get back to the original post and it’s comparisons, do clans in Darkfall ask you to link your bank or ready bag, or ask which specs you are running to make sure they are the optimal ones? Do Corps in EVE ask you to link your top ships, or demand to see how you fit them in case you are not hyper-efficient or running the current FOTM setup? Does the Inquisition League of Legends application ask you to list out which champions you own to make sure you have everyone in Tier 1, or to show us your rune page to make sure that’s ‘correct’? Do we go into a match and double-check everyone’s mastery trees, correcting any ‘incorrectly’ spent points?
No, no, and no.
What a DF clan does look for is someone who fits into the PvP dynamic a clan has going, whether the person behind the character is a combat looter, a rage quitter, or someone who can roll with the ups and downs of the game. Similar criteria for the average EVE corp, and go take a look at the Inq application if you are curious about that.
Again, the point being is that in those games, ON AVERAGE, you are considering the person behind the character rather than the character itself, and this kind of evaluation/demand has various effects on the game’s community and how the players go about things. That’s what Blizzard is trying to get back to; to get the focus more on the person rather than the character. People do very ugly things when items matter more than people when it comes to being ‘successful’ in your game, and that’s on full display in WoW.
That is what I’m getting at when I’m talking about player skill vs character skill. Not how fast you can click, or how well you can memorize YouTube, or how awesome your tic-tac-toe game is, but whether who is behind the character has an impact on the game vs the pure numbers on the screen. That ratio (since if course it’s never 100% character or player, silly trolls) is currently horribly skewed in WoW, and Blizzard is hoping the changes they have planned in Cata will be enough to fix things. By Blizzard’s own admission, it seems the price of ‘accessible to all’ might be a little too high, even for them. Whether they actually go through with the plan, or even if the plan can undo the damage done, is another story.
(No Chuck today, the book is at work and I’m off-site, sorry)