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The Helping Hand Effect

Sometimes crawling the blue trackers and forums leads you to posts like this one. I like this post for many reasons - first off, because it combats the strange mercantilism we see over fake money in WoW sometimes, where people demand gold for each and every thing imaginable, but also and mostly because it's a simple act of kindness. "I know how to do this, and I will share my experience with you, and all you have to do is participate." Nightfuzzy the DK is doing here something that my first raid leader did for me and a bunch of us back in Molten Core - he's sharing what he knows with others.

This is something that is the bedrock for any mmo - the willingness to play together with others, to work together to the completion of common goals. And it's the primary thing people are talking about when they decry the loss of 'server communities' and while I've never bought into the idea that matchmaking services in World of Warcraft are bad - indeed, in many ways I find matchmaking ideal, because many times I found those server communities to be rife with elitism, snobbery, a refusal to take certain classes because they didn't have X or Y ability, outright crudity and boorishness, and hours upon hours of delays - I do recognize that the opportunities for these helping hand moments are rarer now. I can't just sit in trade in a major city and take all tanking requests that come for a couple of hours just to help people out anymore.

But clearly these opportunities still exist, and Nightfuzzy stepping up to the bat shows us that. There are other ways to do this, ways we can in day to day life be the positive in a given situation.
For a few examples of what I'm talking about -
  • If you know how to do something in a dungeon or LFR, share that information. I don't mean get upset and yell at everyone - just say "This is how X works."
  • Are you good at a tricky mechanic? People to this day talk about how hard they find Durumu's maze. If you happen to be excellent at it, volunteer to guide others. "Hey, put a star on me, then people can follow me through." Note, don't volunteer for this if you're not actually good at it.
  • Put groups together. In the era of OQueue, this is easier than ever - but still, people hesitate to step up and put groups together and lead them. You doing this, even if you're not 100% confident, can help folks actually get to do things.
  • Be willing to fill a role. Sometimes someone will say in guild or trade or what have you "Need x more for y" - Y being anything from older content achievement/mount runs to a small group to kill rares on the Timeless Isle. Actually stepping up and helping out in these cases might be trivial to you, but it can often help them out a great deal.
In general, what's necessary here is what has always been necessary in WoW, a desire to cooperate with others for common benefit, even if one side benefits more from the effort. I've spent a lot of time queueing up for heroics lately, so I've seen some terrible PuG's - but I've also had groups where people pulled together, told each other how to do mechanics, and in general played like people playing a game together.

As cross-server merges continue, as we go into Warlords of Draenor and the new flex-raiding system, the need for players to (in the esteemed words of Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan) be excellent to each other only grows. The opportunities are there - let's hope we all pull a Nightfuzzy and take them, when they come up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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