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Are we getting less tolerant of wipes?

Are we getting less tolerant of wipes
Blizzard Community Manager Nethaera and MVP Crepe have both weighed in on the official forums on the notion of wipe aversion. The jist of Crepe's original post is that they feel the community has become less and less tolerant of wipes. WoW players don't like doing things where their characters die. Crepe gives the specific example of LFR, saying that after a wipe players will just drop group, and that three wipes was the death knell for almost any LFR group.

And there's definitely truth to that, why after all did Blizzard introduce the Determination buff if not to try to coax groups to stick together? Alas, it can sometimes work against the group, I've seen players zone in, see three stacks of determination, and immediately drop group again. They weren't even there for the wipes, they have no idea what went wrong or how it happened, and yet they can't take the idea of being in a wiping group.

Yet, while players continue to drop group on wipes, the complaints continue that LFR is too easy, that it's sucking the life out of the game, trivializing it at every turn. Blizzard can't win, with LFR at least, it's both too hard and too easy. Every time a new tier comes out, as just happened yesterday, the Community team is besieged with players railing against the difficulty of the new tier. So what's causing us to be less and less tolerant of failure?

Lack of consequences and the nature of failure

When discussing this with my WoW Insider colleagues, one common element we all agreed on was the lack of consequences for dropping group when wipes happen. Sure, you might get a deserter debuff, but if you're not among the first leavers, you're pretty safe. And you'd have to rejoin the queue, but Blizzard has continued to make that a less and less onerous issue with things like allowing players to queue for every LFR at once. This means that you aren't having to start all over again, having to requeue and wait another hour if you're DPS. The consequences for dropping group are diminishing.

The nature of failure is also changing. People are less patient, thanks to the on-demand nature of queues, and the notion that LFR should be something you can breeze through. With a few exceptions, particularly in Throne of Thunder, the previous tier's LFR has been a cakewalk once players outgear it. The current tier comes as a bit of a shock, while players try to learn strategies and tactics, while they get used to the fights and settle in to a routine.

Failure in LFR shifts through tiers. Towards the end of a tier, if you wipe at all that's a failure. It's really hard to readjust that mentality to the appropriate one for the start of a tier, where a group of 25 complete strangers without voice chat are trying to figure out how to do a fight. In that situation, wipes should come as no surprise. In fact, fewer than three or five wipes should be considered a huge success.

A lot of it is about mentality. I've been writing "bosses in five seconds" guides, so running more early-tier LFR than I usually would, and as a result I've been seeing a lot of different groups with different success rates. Some are constructive, some will say "well we got it to 3%, good try, let's make sure we do this better". Some will take a different approach of finger pointing and name calling and insults. Guess which ones work better? Guess which ones lose fewer people, and complete the wings faster? It's not the finger pointers and the name callers. Again, though, this loops back to the start. If you behaved badly in a server community there were consequences. LFR has none.

So what about you? Do you think the tolerance for wipes has diminished over the years? Do you think LFG tools are to blame? Or do you think it's people? And if you think it's people, why do you think we're like that?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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