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Posts with tag afkers

Breakfast Topic: What's the best excuse you've ever heard?

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Once upon a time when my guild was raiding Icecrown Citadel back in Wrath, we had a few players who were notorious at making excuses for sudden AFK's or calling off. It wasn't the first time I'd heard of this however -- previous guilds had members that also used any excuse in the book to take a break. One raider in an earlier guild I was in was notorious for screwing up achievements for the guild. After wiping our raid for the umpteenth time in the middle of an extremely difficult achievement, he promptly typed into raid chat that he had to go next door and deliver his neighbor's baby.

Now you would think this was ridiculous enough on its own, but he then made a long, detailed, thought-out post on the guild forums about how he was fine and so was the neighbor and she had a little boy and he was just beautiful ... he waxed on and on and on. Someone asked him to post a picture of the child, at which point he promptly made some excuse about scheduling and quietly left the guild. For the next few months, anyone going AFK would blurt "AFK-having-baby" in vent as fast as they could and crack everyone up.

Players all have their own reasons for going AFK, or even calling off to a raid. But sometimes the excuses are just that -- excuses. And that's where the Warcraft player base seems to shine in creativity. Assisting with childbirth has to be the one of the toppers on my list, right up there with the guild member that went AFK to answer the door with a gun (I ... never really did find out the details on that one, but I don't think I really wanted to know), and "The pool is on fire." So let's hear it guys -- what are the best excuses you've ever heard for calling off or sudden AFK's?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Officers' Quarters: Content is easy


Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

It's been a while here at Officers' Quarters since we've tackled some good, old-fashioned guild drama. This week's email comes from a guild leader dealing with an abrasive officer (and real-life friend) with a penchant for long, sudden and unexplained AFKs.

Hi Scott,

I am the guild leader of a new 10-man guild. I created the guild equally with several real-life friends and we co-share the leadership. The problem lies in this: One of the real-life friends has been doing things like going AFK for 45 minutes in the middle of a raid. This was a guild-led, non-scheduled ICC-25 PUG, but he gave me little warning and then disappeared for 45 minutes, which included the first two bosses.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Forum post of the day: The future is not what it used to be

With the Wrath Beta Opt-in available, we're one step closer to the expansion. We're all anxiously awaiting the time when the expansion is ready. I'm still having fun with the existing World of Warcraft, but I'm a bit antsy. There is a lot of frustration over existing conditions, especially when it comes to PvP.

Chloroform of EU-Magtheridon isn't interested in waiting. He listed his grievances in the EU-PVP Forum, "Balance issues, queue times, destroying premades, AFK problems, uneven teams, world pvp screwed by 9000yd aggro range ultra guards." Like many others, Jasse of EU-Bronzebeard blames the arena for the death of PvP.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Forum Post of the Day

Removing diminishing honor to the fix the AFK problem

Relmstein's latest post asks an interesting question: will the removal of diminishing honor returns in patch 2.4 help Blizzard combat the ongoing AFK problem? His suggestion is that removing the diminishing honor will mean that there is more honor available in the BGs, and that that will drive players back from the "peace cave" out into the battlefield (since they were only AFK-ing because they didn't think they could earn honor fast enough.

But I've got to disagree-- people were (and are) going AFK not because they couldn't pick up enough honor, but because they didn't want to play at all. Going AFK is free honor, and it will keep being so until Blizzard just plain cracks down and starts kicking AFKers. Diminishing honor returns means nothing to serious AFKers-- all they care is that they're earning honor for free. When (or maybe if) Blizzard stops that from happening, then they'll be able to stop AFKers.

As for the removal of returns, I can only think that it'll mean, if anything, more honor farming and turtling. Blizzard says they've crunched the numbers and determined that it's the right thing to do, but I don't see how supplying those Iceblood turtlers will constant honor is going to help things. We'll have to see what effects arise when the new patch drops on the PTR.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, PvP

AFK punishment is still just a band-aid

The AFK problem has been with us for a long time now, and ever so suddenly Blizzard has decided to step up and enforce a new form of punishment on their side, to take away honor and PvP rewards from people who have been reported AFK a lot. Definitely this is an improvement, and it should help to discourage this unfair practice, yet at the same time it's not a true solution.

As Drysc said, the problem isn't just a matter of punishing people who break the rules, it's finding out why they are doing this, and change their incentives, so that they don't want to break the rules in the first place. Our reader Aviel has some insights as to why people AFK and how to fix it, and she (or he) has posted her excellent analysis on the official WoW forums.

In short her argument is that, while Blizzard is trying to develop PvP content that is "fun, competitive, and compelling," players are generally making "game theory" decisions, about how to maximize their honor gain in the time they have to play. Fun is definitely an element, but overall, if people can't earn enough honor to make their time worthwhile in a particular battleground, they will quit or seek alternatives. She points out that as long as honor is a kind of currency to be spent, people will choose the method with the easiest honor gain over the one they enjoy most (which can lead to get-rich-quick schemes such as AFKing). She leaves her solutions to this problem for the Suggestions forum (though I could not find her actual post there), but posters in that thread share some ideas, and there are many other player suggestions out there as well. Of course Blizzard is tight-lipped about their own solutions so far, but we can rest assured that they care about the issue and plan to do something about it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Breakfast Topic: Alterac Valley, day one

It hasn't been long since Blizzard announced they were implementing harsher policies on Alterac Valley AFKers, but being as it's the weekend and, I imagine, many people are using their off hours to get in some honor-grinding time, today we're asking whether you think it's helping. The change is already getting mixed reviews on the forums with responses ranging from "I won't play AV anymore for fear of getting banned" to "Thank you, Blizzard! This is everything we wanted!" So what's your opinion -- is this change going to solve the problem of AFKers in AV or just cause new problems? Jump into AV for a while and tell us what you think!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Breakfast Topics, Battlegrounds

Forum Post of the Day: is reporting AFKers counter-productive?

In an odd expression of the "we can't beat them so we might as well let them win" attitude, someone on the forums has postulated the following logic:
  1. Battleground AFKers want a limited amount of honor to purchase their gear.
  2. AFKers will stop AFKing once they get that amount.
  3. Reporting them slows down their AFK honor gain.
  4. The slower it takes them to reach their goal, the longer we have to suffer their presence.
  5. We should let them have their honor, so that they'll get out of the battlegrounds faster.
Obviously he is completely wrong. First of all, he's assuming that there's only a set amount of AFKers out there, and once they're all done, there won't be any more left. To the contrary, the more people succeed at getting honor rewards for free, the more people are going to see their example and try it for themselves. Additionally, the AFKer has no real reason set a limit to the amount of honor he can get this way. Only those who have bought all the items they can use and saved up the maximum amount of honor points and marks will stop, unless Blizzard gives us the tools to stop them ourselves.

Besides, letting people get away with AFKing for their gear is inherently unjust. It may not be on a par with stealing the crown jewels of the Queen of England, but it's theft nonetheless. After all, in a battleground, other people do all the work, but AFKers get the benefit. They are effectively stealing the time and energy we put into the game, and making it doubly hard for us to succeed at the same time, just like a parasite which does nothing for itself except leech away the energy your body works so hard to create. We should never let passivity overcome our natural yearning to see AFKers fail in their goals, and should fight them with whatever tools we have, no matter how inadequate.

Filed under: PvP, Forums

Forum Post of the Day: Bring back the honor grind!

Believe it or not, there is actually someone out there who wants Blizzard to bring back the old honor system. You remember: the system where you had to slave away for hours and hours (and hours) day after day (after day) in order to get anything epic -- especially the "Grand Marshal" or "High Warlord" epic weapons. Apparently, Pahs thinks that the time sink the old honor system required proved a deeper dedication on the part of the players who went for it. Nowadays, anybody -- even people with jobs(!) -- can just earn up their honor points and spend them like money, when, according to Pahs, such folks should be content to "talk to a few friends and maybe do a BG or two." He says, and I quote: "Why people with real life responsibility's want the same treatment as people who can input more time into the game is beyond me."

Yet a surprising number of posters in his thread agree with him, citing the number one problem with the current system: the appearance of AFKers in all the battlegrounds. Naturally, it offends our sense of justice that AFKers can get honor gear for free by having their characters sitting in the battlegrund leeching off of their teammates, while they themselves don't have to put in any effort at all. In the previous system, players would have had to actually kill the enemy and win in order to progress past rank 5 or so. Likewise, the old system's ranks and titles were fun -- people always like to be able to distinguish themselves from others, though whether for a genuine feeling of achievement or some kind of "Better than thou" badge, depends on the individual.

But going back to the old honor grind in order to get rid of AFKers would be ridiculous. As Tyren says, the newer system, with arenas and objective-based world PvP in addition to battlegrounds, is a vast improvement. It provides more access and variety to more players, and exchanges time for rewards at a far more reasonable pace. What we see in this case is a classic example of people reminiscing about the "good old days," which were never really that good to begin with, simply because frustrating problems have appeared along with the improvements. As much as we all may hate AFKers and other new problems, it's much better to go forward and find new ways to solve such problems than to go back to such an unbalanced system with far more serious flaws of its own.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums

2.2 in review

As we're looking forward to a new patch tomorrow, it's appropriate to look back at the last patch and what it added to the game. While there were also several tweaks to class mechanics and items, the main thing it added was Blizzard-supported voice chat. Earlier today, Mike admitted that he hasn't ever used the voice chat, and aside from experimenting with it a bit on the day it was released, I haven't either. I don't do pickup groups much these days, but the few I've been in haven't bothered with the chat at all. This may be due to the fact that its sound quality isn't all that great and there may be other issues as well. People being embarrassed to talk out loud to total strangers or simply being habituated to typing in pickup groups are both possible reasons why the chat may be neglected. What's your experience with it? Have you used it much?

One of the other major changes in patch 2.2 was reporting AFKers in Alterac Valley. While I personally like this change, (if nothing else, it gives me something to do while protecting a flag,) for whatever reason, it seems to have skewed the battleground in the Horde's favor (my main PvPer at the moment is Alliance). Honestly, I haven't read a lot about the reasoning behind this phenomenon, and for all I know, it's different on other battlegroups. What's it like on your server? Do you like this change?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP

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