Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flight Of The Willfully Indifferent

Ferrel writes about what he sees as a growing trend of "willfully ignorant" players, who "don’t care enough to read, listen, or prepare for anything", but "always want in on groups and raids" despite this lack of preparation.  In his view, players who don't accept responsibility for preparing to contribute to groups should go back to soloing. 

I don't know that I quite reach the bar for "willfully ignorant".  In most MMO's I don't group at all, or only group if specifically asked by a guildie looking to avoid having to bring a PUG member.  I'm not afraid to say when I haven't run a zone before (which is often), and I do my best to listen to instructions if they are forthcoming.  In general, if the content requires more commitment than that, I probably don't care enough to do it.  Perhaps that makes me "willfully indifferent", and I have no problem heeding Ferrel's advice and going back to soloing. 

The catch is that developers are watching.  Case in point, the very next post on Ferrel's blog talks about how Trion changed Rift dungeon rewards from a model with highly challenging, highly rewarding dungons to less challenging, less rewarding dungeons that are more accessible to the willfully indifferent (and/or ignorant).  The same trend is going on in World of Warcraft right now, after the difficulty of the initial content in the latest expansion was higher than the willfully indifferent would tolerate.  In non-subscription games like DDO, Turbine can literally see by the numbers who is willing to pay for more solo content and unwilling to pay for more raids. 

If the majority of the market truly is making an intentional choice for the path of indifference and away from challenge, the motivated minority may need a better PR strategy than "go back to soloing". 


Roq said...

Isn't the problem more that these games provide no easy way to transition from solo play to group play. Noone's an expert when they first venture into a group with others.

Carson 63000 said...

Sounds like Ferrel's talking about people who are willfully indifferent and have a sense of entitlement. Your hardly-grouping playstyle might make you willfully indifferent, but it certainly doesn't sound like you have any sense of entitlement along with it.

Anonymous said...

sense of entitlement

This vague term is used to imply they are doing something wrong.
People are willing to take their business elsewhere if they are not getting a product that satisfies them. Which part of that is wrong?

What is bothering you is that there are lots of customers who want something other than you, and who are willing to vote with their dollars. Too bad for you!

Xaxziminrax II said...

>What is bothering you is that there are lots of customers who want something other than you, and who are willing to vote with their dollars. Too bad for you!

This pretty much sums it up! To be honest, I can see where these "willfully ignorant" people come from, but I don't think they're ignorant at all. They really just want to play the game. That used to entail just logging in and doing whatever it was I wanted; I loved UO for this.

But when I was raiding in WoW playing the game meant:
30m reading through appropriate EJ threads
30m on Wowhead looking up best gear
30m reading up on the encounters and everything that could go wrong for that night + 5-10m for each video preview available

Then I could finally log in! ...and continue to do things that weren't raiding. (Such as making gold to buy enchants and gems, more time if there weren't any of them on the AH and I needed to bark for a cutter/chanter or figure out what second best would be.)

I really don't think that people who want to spend more time in game have any sort of 'entitlement' complex. They just want to play the game they're paying for.

Yeebo said...

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Anonymous said...

It IS a "sense of entitlement," because OTHER people are doing the work necessary to be successful in whatever group content, while the "willfully ignorant" people just coast along hoping to be taken along for the ride.

Now, if you think that games or communities shouldn't require significant preparation to do group-content, that's a different issue, but Ferrel's "willfully ignorant" people aren't about wanting to spend less time preparing to play, it's about people who refuse to put in the effort to make a group successful yet still expect to be taken along anyway.


Incidentally, as Carson said, this means that Green Armadillo is not a "willfully ignorant" person, because he knows he doesn't want to do the preparation for group-based content, so as a consequence he doesn't expect to do group-based content.

Stabs said...

If there's a sense of entitlement it's one that we, the hardcore, have created.

When we need more or when content's on farm or has been superceded we'll accept anyone to pad out the numbers.

There are casual players who may occasionally see lf5m (random) for Naxx, ask if they need gear and get told No, then come and faceroll some content with our over-geared core team.

If ANY raid content can be beaten by people who don't do research, use consumables, or download addons then we will get people wanting to raid with us who don't do what hardcore players may see as necessary preparation. It's up to us to sift these players if we don't want them in our raids. Better still it's for us to motivate them if we want more people playing in our playstyle, the approach of calling such players "wilfully ignorant" (Ferrel) or "morons and slackers" (Gevlon) is slowly but surely poisoning raiding.

I would argue that hardcore raiding is inappropriate and irrelevant for mass market dikus, it's only tradition and inertia that keeps them as the end game. For most players the real end game is whatever crumbs are easily accessible and a game that offers more access to content would simply be a better product.

sam said...

what a funny term. It would be like the first explorers of the african contintent calling people who wanted to see it willfully ignorant people riding on thier backs.

there is a small hardcore community that wants the hardcore game. Then there is everyone else who want all kinds of different games. As frustrating as it is there are probably more under 10 year olds playing this game than hard core raiders. Developers are worried about the cash cow not the few old goats out on the fringes.

The sad thing is that every fix we've gotten since vanilla just messed it all up. In vanilla we had easy to hard raids, easy to hard 5 mans and plenty of grindy content for those that liked it. Then to fix the whiny special interest groups they started redesigning thier game instead of just adding to the existing model.

I wonder what the game would be like now if the Hard core had incentive in the form of drops worth gold and needed crafting things to go back to the old instances.

But instead we have a game where the developers intentionally make old content useless and then the hardcore are shocked that the lazy "masses" wait till it's easier then attack the top content in easy mode. don't get mad at the masses they are playing the game intelligently. As the developers designed it for them.

In anything real life or virtual most people look for the easy way. Only a rare few actually want the challenge. I suspect the numbers wanting a challenge in thier game is probably exponentially smaller than in real life since the game is the place to burn off stress.

Ferrel said...

I think I didn't quite get across what I was trying to in this particular post. A lot of people are viewing it as me saying "mmo players as a whole" when really I'm addressing guild leaders. We're talking a subset here. These are players who've agreed to be in a guild. As such, there is a contract implied.

Now GA you suggest you might be a WIP or "indifferent." I can't agree. You participated in guild chat and were, at a minimum, willing to listen. I simply don’t see you showing up to a raid with your gear half broken, no potion in hand, and taking your headphones off during the explanation of the fight.

Some guilds contain people that cannot be bothered to do any of that. They’re like a island in a stream. They do feel entitled that by being in the guild they should get to participate. At the same time they don't want to do any of the work.

The best analogy I can come up with is this:

If you join a baseball team but refuse to go to practice you're willfully ignorant. You simply won't have the skills that your team mates do to succeed. You're letting your team down and basically being a selfish individual.

sam said...

OK, I'll agree you have a valid complaint if you recruit a guildies that don't do what they said they would. Do you tell them up front or anywhere on your appplication process that you expected them to stay current on web strategies, class blogs etc? If not the failure is one of leadership and poorly set expectations. Not willful ignorance.

Of course the whole mentality that allows someone to go to the point of complaining on the internet about willful ignorance in a game just illustrates how broken MMO's currently are. No immersion and you are expected to go read all the cheats and strategies before even attempting to play.

Anonymous said...

How many times have you gone into an instance where quests are involved and you have that one person who as soon as he/she finds out there are quests has to zone back out and then constantly ask the rest of the group where to go, who to talk to, why isn't the quest being offered, yada yada.

Then once the zone is finished, the one person is always asking why his/her quest(s) didn't update and where to go to pick up the doodat and so on.

Thats my definition of the willfully ignorant. If a stranger asks these questions and displays this type of behavior, they are made fun of and ridiculed. If a guildmate does the same, its all good (at least until you have a disagreement or drama and then its time to ridicule).

There's just so much wrong with mmo's these days because people will like you as long as you're willing to go the extra mile for them but as soon as you say no or some discrepency arises, bring on the flaming. Main reason I solo anymore even though I truly enjoy raids and dungeons.

kirbysgirl said...

This is an interesting discussion. I used to raid. Did all the homework for the boss fights and trash pulls, did all the grinding for enchants, potions, and whatever else...only to have three guilds fall apart in a row then find out that no one else wanted "Yet another tank" in their raiding guild.

So I went a-soloing.

And found out that all the fun, cool-looking gear was in the arenas and...raids.

So the best I can do now is try to grab some heroic gear. But you know what? I just don't care about the dungeons anymore. I just want some cool-looking gear to slay stuff with. I'll group up to get it, but I can't be bothered to do the homework anymore.

Frankly, I've decided that if I have to learn a bossfight before I play in a dungeon then the game is broken.

There are MILLIONS of people playing the game and a small fraction of them want everyone to be experts before joining a group?

And any guild leader who lets a deadbeat (like myself) into his guild and then proceeds to complain about a lack of performance, rather than just kicking the player out, deserves every headache he gets.