Tag Archives: Player Types

“Dailies have destroyded the game.”

So, I hear there’s a lot of dailies?

I’m not yet 90 myself, I’ve been trying to follow this: An Underachiever’s Guide to 90 by Tome of the Ancient, but I keep failing at the one and only step to success:

Yep, that’s it. Stop it, stop it, stop it with the pet battling already. Simple, easy. There’s my guide.

Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I’m having main-character-doubts, I’m like a split personality victim these days – do I want to play the elemental shaman, the shadow priest or the new’ish hunter? So, yeah, I’ve been dabbling around pet battles (okay, more than dabbling, I’ve been ADDICTED), I’ve also been playing my new gnome monk, and I’ve been leveling the shaman and the hunter. I really need to gain some focus!

When you go to see the Master Pet Tamer Zoltan (the smug blood elf in Felwood), don’t look his kneeling cultists straight in the eye – or maybe don’t look at them at all…

Anyways, back to the dailies! – There’s a lot of them! – Some people are unhappy! – So unhappy that a thread has become a hot topic on the forums, of course sporting an overly dramatic, punctuated and misspelled title, as we WoW players do it best!: “Dailies have destroyded the game.” I love it already!

The argumentation goes back and forth, there’s not exactly consensus, although the OP has been rated highly, but I think the discussion raises a few relevant topics.

  • The line between work and play can be very blurry

Old time classic game theorist Roger Caillois included in his definition of play, that it had to be free and nonobligatory. The less we want to do the dailies, the more they feel like work to us, which makes us question why we even bother in the first place. It’s my impression that in the thread, this has been wrapped up as lazy players vs. Protestant work ethic players. I don’t see it as a matter of being lazy or not, but of play gradually feeling and looking like work to a lot of people.

  • Dailies are in a way revealing the fact that the vast majority of activities in MMO’s are repetitious tasks consisting of simple click commands

Kill X mob Y number of times – Kill X mob to collect Y number of BWAINS! – Collect Y number of poops – Join Z instance and continuously press your AoE button. Of course, then, some clever guy realized that instead of coming up with new X, Y, Z’s they could just have us do the SAME stuff every day.

  • Power gamers/achievers and the pressure of optimization

If you care about progression, doing dailies will be even less voluntary, especially if members of your raid team are all grinding away. I’m not an achiever player-type, and even I feel a stint of that pressure. It’s more comfortable, in many ways, to stick to the large bulk of the wave, as it sweeps over the new content. Soon the learning phase is over and knowledge is expected a priori – that’s mostly what has me feeling stressed.

  • Are there ethical responsibilities in relation to designing games?

If we acknowledge that there is a pressure to optimize and touch that first row ceiling, does the designer have a responsibility to not ask too much of the player? Are players able to keep their heads cool under all the peer pressure? Do we trust players to be autonomous enough to manage and prioritize their own play time and activities under all circumstances?

How we lean on these subjects are influenced by what kind of player we are. I’ll usually fall in favour of an upper limit, like there used to be – 25/day, where as now it’s unlimited. But that’s probably also because I’m not very tolerant of long grinds, extremely low drop rates and camping spawns. I’d prefer they had kept the old 25/day limit in, which instead would have forced players to prioritize what factions they wanted exalted with first.

Player Types, E-sports and Theorycrafting – Some Topics from the Games Conference

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In my last post I wrote about the trip to the DiGRA conference (Digital Games Research Association) in the Netherlands through the use of a gallery. Now I’ll bring up some of the discussions that emerged around the various presentations. If you’re interested in some of the things game academia (the European scene anyways) is talking about currently, you might find this post worthwhile.

One thing that astonished me when I sat down to watch some of the presentations on WoW, was that most of what they said, was common knowledge to me. This is not to say that I’m so clever, but more to say that any WoW player would have been nodding along to what the researchers were saying. It also makes me wonder how much of games research is based on confirming and validating the knowledge that the game community already has.

This presentation was a good example of this:

The WoW based presentation by Kristine Ask was focusing on how different play practices have developed under the same game design. She had taken the terms already found within the community, such as “casual”, “soft-core” and “hardcore” (I’m sure these to a WoW player don’t need explanation).

She used the concept of domestication in the sense that it “highlights the cognitive, symbolic and practical dimensions“. So, how I understand it, it’s about how players handle the game and how they ‘tame’ or appropriate it.

Casual

Softcore

hardcore

Symbolic

Social Interaction Challenging Leisure Competition

Practical

Friends and Alliances Beaurocratic Organized for world firsts

Cognitive

Fellow Players Targeted Experts

This distinction makes me wonder about how game design is already targeting different play styles by making these wild swipes of totalitarian nerfs to the current tier of raiding, so that casuals and softcores can have fun after the hardcore players have already exhausted it for the sake of competition. Maybe WoW’s answer to the different domestications of WoW has been to tailor their content accordingly. The distinction between normal and heroic dungeon/raiding content, then, is less about progession and recycling as it is about letting different play styles with different values access the same content.

The question remains, is it even possible to cater to both hardcores, softcores and casuals equally? As it is right now, it seems the casuals and softcores are getting the large end of the deal at the price of the hardcores’ interests.

My teachers treat WoW as a little yesterday in terms of what games they deem interesting subjects for research, there’s a lot of research done on WoW already, but I was still pleased to see and hear WoW mentioned several times, even in relation to e-sports.

This panel on practicing masculinities largely dealt with masculinity as the title also reveals, but mainly through e-sports including WoW arena.

The researchers talked about WoW Arena as an e-sport being very peripheral and not considered “sporty” enough. Especially constant patching and class imbalances are problems with regards to WoW Arena’s position within e-sports. Thus, WoW Arena players were actively engaged in creating a sense of their own place, an alternative to the “sportified model” of how the Major League Gaming (MLG) frames e-sports.

Notice how the MLG logo reflects the sporty aspect of e-sports by appropriating the MLB logo.

The presenters also spoke about two main discourses within e-sports emphasizing different attributes and values in play: “the geek” and “the jock”

Geek

Jock

e-sports

”real sports”

MMO, RTS

FPS

Computers

Consoles

Technology

Having a fast computer

Embodiment

Fast reaction skills

The geek talks about his gameplay as feeding on highly refined skills, intensive knowledge, mastery and commitment. The geek can take the opportunity to opt out of physical sports, but retain the competition through playing computer games and still perform masculinity this way.

So while the geek thinks about skill as being clever, the jock is a “cyber-athlete” who tends to de-emphasize the technology and puts the body forward as the main tool. For instance they would say that Halo had more in common with fx paintball.

Since the panel was about how masculinity was practiced in these gaming communities, they also spoke about what was usually considered acceptable female participation, that is “Halo hoes”, booth babes and cheerleaders.

These two presentations on identity were also really interesting, and both used WoW (one more than the other) as material for analysis. Surprisingly the discussion quickly turned and started being about gender-bending (playing a character of the opposite sex), a term Nick Taylor (one of the researchers presenting) critizised, saying “sex-swapping” was more suitable. I actually agree even though I’ve called it gender-bending myself, I just mainly adopted the phrasing from the sources I used at the time.

Gender is more about our constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes, while sex is biological. So when you play a character of the opposite sex, you may not act feminine just because the character is female.

A claim was therefore made that sex-swapping for males playing a female character was not transgressive. It’s interesting cause I wonder how far the gaming community has moved on this topic. Sometimes I still see the question arise “why do some guys play a female toon?” as if it’s still this strange phenomenon. However, it’s such a common practice now and male players are already the majority, so this choice of play is not really a big deal, everyone assumes everyone is (a white heterosexual) male in fx WoW anyways. I’ve been called a “he” many times, often I’ve wondered if there even was a point in correcting it. What Nick Taylor did deem transgressive was instead females engaging in sex-swapping – playing male characters.

Nick Taylor also expressed critique about the interpretation of sex-swappers when they say they just want to “look at a sexy behind”. This phrasing is not hard to find on the internet, you’ll find it on the WoW forums in a second. I also suspect that it stems from male players wanting to distance themselves from any string of something not fiercely heteronormative, “it’s not like they’re GAY, GOSH! No no, that’s impossible when they play this female toon because her ass is sexy”. So the “nice butt” argument, I suspect, is more about impression management than these guys actually drooling over their female avatars.

During the discussions the problem of the “raging homophobia” to use one researcher’s own words, was also brought up.


These presentations about theorycrafting had many examples from the WoW theorycrafters and dealt with Elitist Jerks amongst others.

The presentations focused on knowledge production and how the players worked to gain control instead of being controlled by the game. A question was posed by a member of the audience about any counter actions to theorycrafting and I instantly thought of the Ironman Challenge.

In short, the Ironman Challenge is a style of leveling that puts severe restraints on the character. An Iron(wo)man character cannot wear items of green quality and up, nor can they take on a spec, to see the full list of rules, check The Land of Odd and Psynister’s Notebook, who are both authors of this idea. The first character we know of, that has completed this challenge, reaching lvl 85, is the warlock Ironsally, whose journey you can read about on the blog Tome of the Ancient.

I can only speak for myself when I say that leveling my own Ironman Character Elford the (former) Executive, is without a doubt a withdrawal from the extensive theorycrafting that I feel is dominating WoW, even outside of the raiding scene. I’m not a theorycrafter myself and often find the constant demand to stay updated and ALWAYS play with the most optimized setup exhausting.

By playing an ironman character, I feel like I am safely opting out of this race and can play as I want. All the stuff around a character, gemming, spec, enchants, heirlooms etc, is now a blank. There is only the way I play, how I push this character with all it’s restrictions as far as I can, and I find this liberating. This character is flawed, it sucks I know this, but that’s the point. So for me, playing Elford is very much a counter response to the surveillance players exercise on each other.

There were many other presentations but I chose to highlight these as their work drew on WoW as a case study. These were also the ones that really inspired me and had me think about myself as a WoW-player and the community.

As a final note, while the panel on Minecraft was going on, one of the kids was asked if you could win in Minecraft, and the answer was that maybe you could, if you mined the entire world. Kids can be so funny, I’ve got a long way to go to win Minecraft then!

These are the people in your battleground!

I found this thread on the EU PvP forum called “These are the people in your BG! Epic Thread!”, and it is really funny. It is actually a repost from the US forum, which you can find here. I’ve met almost all of the types listed, and I’ve definately been “The Knocker” myself, blowing people off of cliffs as a shaman can be very entertaining – I recommend it!

Anyways, I copied some of the ones I thought was funny, including some of the additional PvP types people were posting as well. Here we go:

Mr. Indestructible – He’s a lock wearing full Wrathful. Kill his pet? Never. Kill the lock? Never. Run? Too late. Have fun. Oh, and your trinket is down.

That Friggin’ Mage – You’re pretty sure that was his fourth consecutive iceblock.

The Arms Warrior – Who says warriors are hard to play? Don’t mess around with all that tedious stance switching. It’s simple. Hit Bladestorm. Do not hamstring. Wait at the graveyard for your cool down, repeat.

The Buffless – Heck no. Ain’t nobody’s gonna start up this here battleground until he gets his battleshout, kings, healthstone, and a paw.

Africa Is A PVP Server – That’s the name of their 5’s team. They were Gladiators last season. And the season before, but on entirely different toons. They’re grinding out this season’s new non-set epics. They hate doing it. They’re pissed. They’re all here. They will never be on your team.

Macroman – “GROUP1- GO LUMBERMILL, GROUP2-GO STABLES, GROUP3- HOLD FARM. . DO NOT FIGHT ON THE ROAD. HOLD THESE AND WE WIN.” Pure. Tactical. Genius.

Longshoot – You, a healer, a shadow priest, and a stealthed rogue are defending the stables. He’s the hunter rezzing, petless, at the Allied base. He’s sure that he can burst you all down, this time.

The Quitter – “OMG they’ve got 3 bases and we’ve only got 2!” “Just quit and let them win so we can get more honor.” This guy will likely die a virgin.

Thatonedude – Okay, so the point is to win and to do that you’ve got to kill the bad guys. But somehow, this punk has made it personal. Like, really personal. You’re seriously wondering where he lives and how you can find out.

The Motivator – “OMG YOU GUYS SUCK. SOOOO FAIL. Y DO YOU EVEN TRY? NOBODY EVEN GARDED THE FLAG ROOM.” Plays (you guessed it) a hunter. His stats for the game- 4 kills, 9 deaths, 97,000 damage.

The Unhealed – He’s the rogue, hunter, or warrior who utterly fails to understand that until he rolls a healer, he’ll never, ever get a heal. Screaming at the healers will effectively address this situation, right?

The Crushable – You just hit him for 6k with a white attack. You don’t recognize a thing he’s wearing, but you do know what a 19,000 health pool means. And you’re gonna run clear across the zone to find him again. And again.

AFK Guy – He’s working on the TPS reports, occasionally alt-tabbing to remove his inactive debuff. He’s at 125,000 honor today, and counting. Will eventually cause the Tattletale, above, to replace his keyboard. He’s the smartest guy here.

The Chicken – You are fighting a single enemy and he’s running towards you to help. Suddenly he sees other enemy approaching. “OMG 2v2 battle coming”. He keyboard turns his mount and runs away leaving you in trouble.

Try-Hard Guy – This player, usually Ret Paladins, will seek you out 1 one 1, get beat, try again, get beat, try again, get beat, then lay low. Will eventually return with 5 others, and spam /rofl and /spit on you as you die.

The Dispeller – He’s there somewhere, you cant see him but you know he’s there as the last of your 12 buffs vanishes.

Knocker – guy (ele shaman/boomkin/firemage) whos sole objective is to mount up to Eots bridge/ LM and thunderstorm/typhoon/Blastwave u off into oblivion over and over and over again.

“FOR THE HORDE” – This player will talk about how bad the Alliance is. His spelling will be awful.

And I’d add this one myself:

The Druid Flag carrier – He will grab the flag and take the speed buff in the tunnel. He is so eager to capture the flag and proud that he can run fast that he goes directly into travelform while yelling “DEFEND THE FC!!111″. He is the heroic druid flag carrier, always out of range, continously dying alone on the midfield, which of course are the non-teleporting healers fault.