A Tale of Two Hunters

March 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm 19 comments

tango_maureenLarísa and Gevlon are dancing again — or, rather Larísa is dancing and Gevlon is standing in the corner, looking morose, misanthropic and slighty green (although that is certainly a nice suit he’s wearing; I’m sure it was appropriately expensive).

I’ve been following the debate, of course; I even drafted a couple of comments that I fussed over for far too long and eventually abandoned.  Others — including Larísa and Leah (a frequent commenter on both blogs; I’m not sure if she has a blog herself, but if she does I’d love to read it!) —have made all of the same points I would, and far more persuasively.

I’m not going to bother paraphrasing their arguments here, but I do want to respond, in a roundabout manner, to a comment Gevlon made on Larísa’s blog:

You can make friends with skilled people, but you cannot make skills out of friendly people.

I disagree.

Absolutely, 100% disagree.

Exhibit 1: Hunter A

When we first started out into the world (of Warcraft), it was as a social guild with no raiding pretensions whatsoever.  We invited our friends, and our friends invited their friends, and within a few weeks we had a small but lively community of players at various levels of skill, gear and experience.  Hunter A joined us at about this time, invited solely by virtue of his friendship with one of our officers. 

Hunter A wasn’t just “bad”; he was an unmitigated disaster.  He couldn’t trap; couldn’t kite; couldn’t shoot his way out of a Netherweave bag.  He frequently ran out of ammunition, seldom out DPS’d the tank, thought every item he could equip was made especially for him and had to be reminded at least ten times at the start of every run to put his pet on passive and turn Growl off.

But you know what?  It didn’t matter, because we weren’t interested in raiding and he was a genuinely nice guy: a little immature at 14, and a good deal younger than the rest of our players (even then, most of us were in our 20’s), but sweet and sincere and always the first to volunteer if someone needed help with a quest or a low-level alt run. 

Gevlon would dismiss him contemptuously as one of those dime-a-dozen “friendly helpful ppl” — but there’s a lot to be said for being friendly and helpful, and Hunter A was both.

When we were finally bit by the raiding bug and looking to start Karazhan, Hunter A wanted desperately to come too, and somehow managed to muddle his way through the key quests.  But Kara was actually hard then, and we couldn’t afford to take someone we all knew would be a hindrance rather than a help.  He was left out of both of our raiding teams, and while he was clearly disappointed, he didn’t sulk (like I would expect of someone his age), complain, cause drama or threaten to /gquit.

Instead, and unbeknownst to me, Hunter A turned to one of our tanks (a warrior who had played every class to level cap) for help … and slowly but surely started to work on improving his gear and learning — and then mastering — the basics. 

By the time we had two groups farming Karazhan, we started to talk about bringing Hunter A to raids as a fill-in … if only because we were confident we could 9-man it, so his sub-tank DPS wouldn’t hold us back.  As long as he could manage to stand still in the flame wreath, we figured, there wasn’t much he could do to wipe us.  

Because Hunter A was universally well-liked (he had actually become something of a guild pet at that point; everyone loved him, but no one quite trusted him off-leash), our members didn’t mind “boosting” him through Karazhan.  Many of them were actually looking forward to it, and there were cheers on Vent and in /guild chat the first time he zoned in.

He surprised the hell out of us.  Under the warrior’s mentorship, he had literally learned2play.  He wasn’t topping the charts by any stretch of the imagination — that came later, with weeks and months of practice — but he was competent

By the time we started SSC, Hunter A was a full-fledged member of our raiding team.  I will never forget the first time he “won Recount”: it was on Lurker trash, and I was so proud of him that I broke my own rule about linking meters and complimented him in /raid chat on his “nice damage.”  (I know, I know … trash meters don’t matter!  Still, it included Hydross and I was thrilled with his progress.)

Fourteen months later, Hunter A is still a member of my guild.  He started high school this year, and doesn’t have as much time to play, so he’s fallen a bit behind the gear curve, but is nonetheless a capable, competent member of my raiding team.  Not since Karazhan have I hesitated to invite him to a progression raid. 

Exhibit 2: Hunter B

We picked up Hunter B while we were still working our way through T5.  My boyfriend is a firm believer in recruiting-by-PuGing (I am, too; I just don’t have the patience for it that Keaton does), and Hunter B was one of his more promising acquisitions — on paper.

Hunter B played his class masterfully: he had excellent crowd control, amazing damage (I believe the technical term is MQoSRDPS?), and a obvious command of all the tools in his arsenal … with the possible exception of feign death, since I do remember him stealing aggro a time or two on Void Reaver.  /cough

Still, he was a very good hunter.

As well as a complete jerk — something you would never have known from grouping with him casually, since he didn’t like to type and often came across in-game as quiet.  On Vent, however, Hunter B became an entirely different animal: arrogant, obnoxious, occasionally even cruel.

To be fair, he wasn’t bad in the beginning.  He was often brash, and could be abrasive, but his sharp sense of humor and caustic wit enlivened our raids.  For a while, we truly enjoyed playing with him.

But as he become increasingly comfortable with the guild, and more firmly entrenched in his role, he became bolder … and meaner.  He raged at the rogue who won the roll for a DPS trinket he wanted, insulting the rogue’s DPS, his playstyle, his education and (of course) his mother.  He made my Mom cry in a just-for-fun Gruul’s Lair that we hosted for our non-raiding friends and family, when she accidentally auto-ran into High King Maulgar and wiped the raid.  He shrieked like a banshee anytime anyone (inadvertantly or otherwise) pulled a boss to him after he feigned death to escape a wipe.  And once he found out that it bothered me to hear the word “rape” used metaphorically, he made a point of spamming it at every opportunity — including in public chat channels, like General and Trade.  >.<

I tried several times to explain to him that good DPS didn’t excuse bad behavior, and that — as a guild — we expected our members to treat each other with respect and act honorably when out and about in the world.  He didn’t just disagree with our rules; he flaunted them at every opportunity, and I eventually removed him … to the relief of everyone in the raid, and no small amount of /cheering.

The Verdict

Given the choice between Hunter A and Hunter B — a friendly, unskilled player vs. an unfriendly, skilled one — Hunter A wins every. single. time. 

After all, you can grind gear, train skills, perfect your rotation and (simply put) l2play.  Every single one of us is proof positive of that, as none of us started the game for the first time with the knowledge we have now.  Personality, on the other hand, is inherent: you can’t make an unpleasant person pleasant, nor can you teach them social skills if they have none.

Perhaps a more hardcore guild would be willing to take Hunter B, use him for his DPS, throw some epics his way and /ignore him the moment the raid ended.

Perhaps Gevlon’s ill-fated PuG would be eager to do the same.

But for a guild that values its reputation on the server and considers its community at least as important as its raid progression, Hunter A is the type of player you invest in, and Hunter B is the type you avoid like the Undead plague.

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Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: .

/castrandom Moorabi is a jerkface, or “I respecced elemental for this?!”

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. miss elf  |  March 3, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. Well said :).

    Reply
  • 2. Larísa  |  March 3, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    I’m glad you finally decided to speak up. Brilliant example.

    Reply
  • 3. Matticus  |  March 4, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I kind of ignore everything Gevlon writes.

    Reply
  • 4. Myri  |  March 4, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Very well said. The only point I’d argue is your contention that you can’t teach people social skills. (Here’s where I started typing a wall of text, then decided just to give you the tl;dr version: we had a guy who was a problem, the officers talked to him, he made an effort and we reminded him when necessary, and we all love him now. The end.)

    Also, I’m with Matt. I’m currently checking out a couple of Greasemonkey scripts, in hopes that one of them will let me hide specific Blogger and WordPress commenters. Guess who hits the bottom of my killfile first? *plonk*

    Reply
  • 5. T-Sonn  |  March 4, 2009 at 8:00 am

    *slow clap*

    Absolutely. This is my hobby, my past-time – not my JOB. I’ve made that claim several times over the last 3 years: I can teach just about anyone who wants to learn, how to play his or her class. I can’t – and won’t – try to teach anyone to not be an asshat.

    Reply
  • 6. Elleiras  |  March 4, 2009 at 8:02 am

    @Miss Elf – thanks! 🙂

    @Larísa – I don’t know what’s harder when it comes to Gevlon: speaking up … or not speaking up! I admire your persistence, as well as your determination to see the best in people. You have far, far more patience than I do.

    @Matticus – I’m tempted to do the same. I used to really enjoy his blog, but his more recent posts have become so full of vitriol, and with so little reason. A couple of his commenters (and others’) have compared reading his blog to watching a trainwreck: it’s a horrible, awful *mess* … but they just can’t bring themselves to turn away. I get that. I’m just glad that there are bloggers like Larísa, Sydera and Euripedes to temper his opinions with common sense and a real understanding of human nature. I tip my freaky, Darth Vader-looking helm to them!

    @Myri – That’s a very valid point. We had (have) someone like that in our guild, too. He drove us all crazy for the first two weeks after we joined, and I actually told him at one point: “You’re like an over-eager, rabid puppy. I never know if I should pat you on the head or hit you on it with a rolled up newspaper.” We talked to him about his behavior, reminded him gently when he crossed a line, and he’s now one of those players I can’t imagine WoW without. (Which is probably why I didn’t even remember the tough times with him until I read your comment, lol.)

    Still, I’d contend that we didn’t actually teach him social skills. He probably had them all along — he just needed some time to get a feel for our guild’s culture and adapt himself to it (or bend the rest of us to him, just a bit, which he did).

    Reply
  • 7. Elleiras  |  March 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

    @T-Sonn – Exactly! And kudos to you and anyone else willing to invest the time and energy into mentoring someone else. Many people wouldn’t.

    Reply
  • 8. Fulguralis  |  March 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Brilliant!

    As an officer of a guild that has gone through a lot (having been here since day 1 of WoW), you hit the nail on the head with this one.

    Reply
  • 9. Melissa  |  March 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t think you disproved Gev’s point by 100%. You wouldn’t bring the unskilled player into Kara with you even though he was a friend and that was his point. You brought him after he became skilled and showed some promise.

    As for the other person being a jerk, have you never become friends with anyone who was skilled? If you have, then you still have not disproven Gev’s point.

    I play in a guild with a great bunch of people who are skilled in their class, but unskilled in raid techniques. I don’t raid with them as much. Getting what you want out of a game you pay to play is not evil. We all do what we want for our own reasons.

    Reply
  • 10. Elleiras  |  March 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Actually, we brought him after *we* became skilled. With the exception of our tactiturn warrior, we had no idea that Hunter A had been working so hard to hone his skills. When we invited him to Kara for the first time, it was with the understanding that we’d be carrying him through content that we considered “on farm.” It was something we were willing and even eager to do, because he was a friend; we just had to wait until we sufficiently outgeared the instance to do it.

    I don’t disagree with the first half of Gevlon’s statement (“you can make friends with skilled people”). What I disagree with the assertion that “you can’t make skills out of friendly people,” because you can. I didn’t have the knowledge or, frankly, the time to help our hapless hunter l2play; fortunately for everyone involved, our warrior *did* — and together, they set an example for the rest of us.

    I never said that getting what you want out of the game is evil. I don’t believe that at all. I do think that the naked condescension Gevlon shows for everyone who doesn’t buy into his “goblinish” approach is much more representative of that point of view than mine.

    Reply
  • 11. Melissa  |  March 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    “What I disagree with the assertion that “you can’t make skills out of friendly people,” because you can.”

    You can, but not as quickly as Gev wants them to obtain those skills. When he (or any writer) makes a blanket statement I always stop and try to think of where they are coming from. He wants it at or before the second wipe (an hour or 2 maybe). Then there are those who are more patient, such as yourself.

    As for his “goblinish” approach, I don’t buy into and I don’t not buy into it. Does that make sense? His ideals do not threaten me and I feel no condescension even though I would rather have a dedicated group to run with. I’ve honestly felt more condescension from the WoW community at large via their view of guildless players or pugs or just that someone doesn’t have the gear they *think* they are supposed to have. I find it rather refreshing that he will easily accept a PuG as knowing what they are doing until they prove otherwise.

    Reply
  • 12. Elleiras  |  March 4, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Yes, that makes sense. 🙂

    In some ways, I suppose I should be grateful that there are people like Gevlon who are willing to organize trade channel PuG’s, since I often try to join into them with whichever character I’m not taking to the guild raid in a given week.

    I will admit to some guild-related biases when choosing which PuGs to join and which ones to avoid. If someone hosting a PuG is from an established guild, with a decent raid progression and a high signal-to-noise ratio on the realm forum, then I am much more likely to join than I would be if that same person were tagged with a little known guild or even guildless. I think you’re right about a prevailing bias against unguilded players and especially PuGs. In some cases they’re probably warranted; overall? I don’t know.

    … I’ll probably ramble on about PuGs in another post. Thanks for giving me more to think about!

    Reply
  • 13. Uaha  |  March 4, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    So, I’ve been reading your blog for about a week now, and you really hit something here. You see, when I first started into the world (of warcraft), I was kinda like Hunter A. I had played the game in closed beta, but I didn’t want to get into it immediately for whatever reason. However, all my friends didn’t share my feelings. So, a couple months pass, and I get into the game.

    I leveled my shaman, finally got into one of the raids, and felt like an ass because I knew I wasn’t what was they expected. Anyway, this continues, my roommates keep progressing as I keep falling further behind. Then I quit. I found other ways to spend my time.

    Well, fast forward to about this time last year. A friend and I were talking, and he tells me that he’s been playing more, his brothers want to start a small raiding guild (which is now waiting on me to finish leveling a warlock [which is how I found you in the first place]), and the game to them is just about having fun. So, I get back in after receiving the Burning Crusade for my birthday. I kind of stagnate, but I make progress.

    Then Wrath of the Lich King comes out. The weeks preceding its release were spent getting my old shaman to level 70 so I could immediately run to northrend. Enter the Death Knight (and my almost main). I was through the burning crusade content the week lich king released. I played like a man obsessed. I almost became Hunter B… but the thing that stopped me was I didn’t want to have to be taught not to be an asshat, and I remembered its just a game and the “work” we’re doing is so when we do play, we have the most fun we can.

    That’s what led me to picking up the level 20 warlock I was originally playing on the server. We needed a different class balance, and I wanted to learn something. As well, I wanted to have fun. I’m not going to say it hasn’t been hard to stomach getting through some of that Vanilla content (I’m looking at you Stranglethorn), but the experience has taught me to appreciate all the work that we all do to enjoy what we do.

    Sorry for the long response… I just read it and really liked what you said.

    Reply
  • […] A Tale of Two Hunters « Fel Fire… Yeah, I made the last comment there.  Anyway.  I have to say that this blog/post are awesome.  I just really related to it for whatever reason, because I frequently feel like I’m in Hunter A’s position. […]

    Reply
  • 15. ByStander  |  March 5, 2009 at 1:55 am

    a Real Long Story for a real pointless point 🙂

    Reply
  • 16. Elleiras  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:20 am

    @Uaha – Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    @ByStander – I do tend to ramble, lol.

    Reply
  • 17. Reflections From The Pond » The Meaning Of Words  |  March 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

    […] recently read an excellent post about how friendly people indeed can be skilled people by Elleiras over at Fel Fire. Go over there […]

    Reply
  • 18. batgrl  |  March 14, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I think it says a lot that you suffered through Hunter B as long as you did – I’d have kicked him out much sooner. It says a lot that you tried to work him out of his attitude – and even more about him that he just didn’t get how nice you all were being, and that he repaid your niceness with more bile.
    Great post.

    And honestly? I’d rather be with the carebears learning to play than in a group of leet jerks. Frankly you can have people who are both skilled and genuinely nice to be around. It’s easy to do once you manage to get a guild where everyone agrees to tolerate no one being a jerk. (And have clearly outlined definitions of that.) Thanks to the experiences I’ve had with such jerks – I just don’t ever pug anymore. It’s not worth the annoyance that one selfish player can bring to an otherwise enjoyable game. And those type of players don’t ever really “win” – because there’s always going to be a better set of gear or a new dungeon to beat. And in the end? No one really wants to go out of their way to spend huge amounts of time in their company.

    Reply
  • 19. Leah  |  March 15, 2009 at 12:03 am

    to repeat Larisa – briliant post 🙂 and I’m honored and humbled that you enjoyed my ramblings – I don’t have a blog (not disciplined enough to maintain one long term, plus I wasn’t sure anyone would want to read it anyway), but I’ve been thinking again of starting one. if only to let my guildies breathe in relief at me no longer monopolizing gchat once in a while 😛

    I used to be a hunter A. when I started playing – I knew nothing about MMO mechanics or group interactions. I knew (more or less) how to move, how to kill mobs and that as a hunter – I should be using a bow (and that I should refill my arrows – curtesy of playing diablo II). A kind helpful person gave me pointers, advice, told me about wowwiki. I wouldn’t be the player that I am today without that one person who gave me tools to get better.

    skills can be aquired and honed. people who think that its ok to be a jerk, just becasue they have a certain skill – are not worth the time or agravation.

    Reply

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