A Tale of Two Hunters
Larísa 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.
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.
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.