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Posts with tag player-behavior

Do certain roles encourage bad behavior?

I still like tanking and healing more than anything else in the game, but they have their deficiencies while you're trying to smash Hexos into a well-deserved stain on the floor. In order to finish off Brawler's Guild achievements, I went DPS for the first time in 6 years and then thought, "This is actually kind of fun. Let's try some LFR and see what this puppy does in a raid."

In a matter of days, I and my hapless raid-mates encountered the following:
  • A tank who RP-walked to everything. (Spoils took forever.)
  • A tank who posted the meters after each trash pull and boss to make fun of the least well-geared DPS.
  • Tanks who couldn't be persuaded to kill the blademasters in Gates of Retributon, trapping the entire raid in perma-combat.
  • Tanks who kept taunting Thok back and forth to alternately breathe on or tail-swipe the raid.
Notice a pattern?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Heroes of the Storm bans on the way

The brawler/battle arena genre seems to attract an inordinate amount of poor behavior, perhaps a result of the highly-competitive environment. Heroes of the Storm isn't an exception, even in the game's alpha phase. Fortunately, Blizzard isn't willing to let such behavior slide. According to a post made by Community Manager Vaeflare, players "who have been found to be repeatedly AFKing, leaving games, or determined to be toxic" will be banned from Heroes of the Storm.

While AFKing through matches is bad enough as it is, we find it particularly absurd that some players are choosing to AFK in a game's alpha, where participation means testing the game's mechanics. The only thing you're testing by going AFK is how quickly Blizzard will remove you from participation.

Vaeflare's full post can be found below or on

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Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

Implementing a positive reinforcement environment; is it possible?
Over on the EU forums, poster Xie brought up a topic that cycles in and out of the spotlight as well as the gaming community in general: how to better discourage people from being awful to their fellow gamers, or in this case, how to encourage people to behave better. Xie proposed a "thumbs up" system similar in style to the League of Legends honor system, where you can give someone a thumbs up or "like" them, and when they reach certain milestones they get some kind of non-combat perk, like a title. Others are quick to point out that this type of system could be easily gamed, and CM Vaneras adds that regulating such a system is the obvious drawback, and it would require extensive testing in order to iron out any potential exploits before live implementation.

In honesty, I doubt a system like the one Xie proposes could ever work, at least partially because it would be too difficult to police. In a game with 8 million players, how can we ever know whether a "like" was truly given honestly or not? Furthermore, the cynical part of my brain is calmly reminding me that not getting a "like" isn't going to deter those players who are determined to be rude, cruel, or offensive. While I appreciate the logic behind the idea to reward good behavior in place of, or in addition to, punishing poor behavior, I don't believe this particular type of positive reinforcement is effective. Or rather, I don't believe that anything Blizzard can do with regards to player behavior is effective, short of the banhammer, and that is a blunt instrument not appropriate for all situations. In truth, the overall tone of community behavior is determined by what the community is willing to tolerate. So if we want people to behave better in WoW, we need to stop tolerating bad behavior. Admittedly, it's not easy to do, but my own experience has taught me that it really is the only long-term solution. How do you respond to or deal with poor or offensive behavior from other players? In your ideal world (of Warcraft), how would such things be handled?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The warning signs of player burnout

The warning signs of player burnout

Does logging in fill you with dread?

Do you feel obligated to log in? Are you only playing because you feel like it's expected of you, or that your guild will fall apart without you? Do you resent them for it? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you, dear reader, are suffering from player burnout.

Player burnout is a consequence of social gaming. In a game like World of Warcraft, activities like raiding, arena or rated battlegrounds cannot be accomplished alone, they require groups of people to engage in them. They require scheduling and ask us to do more than simply show up and play - there's research into strategies, learning proper group composition, handling the minutia of loot distribution or discussing how to counter specific enemy action or what have you. Especially when leading a group of players into these situations, there's a level of added responsibility. Be it as a tank, as a DPS lead, as the person calling for focus fire in arena, the flag carrier in rated BG play, or as the person behind the scenes managing loot council or running the website, players can grow exhausted with what comes to feel like a burden.

So what if you're going through player burnout? What can you do about it? Well, I'm no psychiatrist, but there are a few things you can do in game to reduce your stress level.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Should players be in charge of accountability?

Should players be in charge of accountability
Once upon a time in vanilla World of Warcraft, player behavior was something that was kept in check by server community. How did this happen? Well at that point in time, there wasn't really anything in game that was cross-server. If you wanted to do something in game, you had to do it with people from your realm -- and if you misbehaved, players were quick to call you on your behavior in a very public manner.

Because of this, players that were legitimately called out by the community soon found themselves with nothing to do, because nobody would group with them. Their only choice was to re-roll on another server and start over -- at this point, you couldn't even transfer your characters to other servers if you wanted to. And oddly enough, the system that wasn't really a system completely worked. Players that were jerks eventually had their jerk-ish ways come back to bite them on the butt, and the rest of the server community happily resumed playing.

While cross-realm play is incredibly useful for opening up the player base, it's had the unfortunate side effect of getting rid of that accountability aspect of the game from vanilla. What's to be done about a jerk if that jerk is on another server?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The WoW Factor: How much do you know about the players behind the avatars?

How much do you think you know about your fellow WoW gamers? WoW Insider brings you this exclusive quiz designed by MMORPG researcher Nick Yee, based on actual U.S. data from the PARC PlayOn 2.0 study linking player survey data with their armory data.

Think you know what players are really like? Come find out what your WoW Factor is. (Answers and conclusions following the quiz.)

1. The average age of WoW players is:

a. 18
b. 24
c. 30
d. 36

2. Which of these groups of players is most likely to be gender-bending?

a. younger women (<30)
b. older women (>30)
c. younger men (<30)
d. older men (> 30)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Dealing with unpleasant players

I'm usually pretty lucky with my dungeon finder groups, but every so often you run into some real stinkers. And by that, I don't mean incompetent players -- just mean ones. This was brought home to me on a recent Halls of Stone run I was healing when one of our DPS, a moonkin, got mind-controlled by a Dark Rune Controller and then killed by our mage and rogue. He or she very politely asked the other two DPS if they could interrupt the Domination cast next time to avoid that happening, and in return got an avalanche of abuse. The tank took their side while I was resurrecting the moonkin, and it was then that I noticed that all three were from the same realm.

They were still making snide comments about it while we were pulling trash to the Maiden of Grief, and I finally snapped, "He's right. You can spare a second to interrupt the cast, and if you won't do that, the least you can do is avoid killing a mind-controlled player." The abuse rerouted in my direction for a few minutes, but one of the nice things about working here is that after you've been a target of the professional trolling class, their amateur counterparts don't have that much effect.

It leaves me wondering how you deal with unpleasant players without causing a blow-up or turning into a bit of an ass yourself (as I admit I probably was while coming to the defense of the moonkin). We all run into them eventually, and I don't know whether it's better to speak up on behalf of a bullied player who may not want the help, simply drop group or spend the run in silence, not rising to the bait.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Terrible things

Back-channel team discussion these past few days has been reminiscing about the Warcraft series' best bits of lore, and eventually discussion turned to the things that we wish Blizzard had revisited or expanded. Zul'jin came up, with people a bit uncomfortable that the great story promised by the Zul'Aman trailer didn't transition to the actual raid very well. "Both Horde and Alliance had perfectly good reasons to raid it," Rossi observed. "Instead, we go there because someone wants to plunder Amani riches."

That made us think about all the stuff we do in-game that kind of makes us...well, bad guys, for lack of a better term, and we started wondering -- what's the worst thing that player characters have done (or been asked to do)? Setting Teron Gorefiend loose has to rank pretty high up there. Then there's that torture quest out in Borean Tundra, which squicks people to this day. While we're on the subject of Borean Tundra, nobody particularly liked thinking about a daily quest offered in Coldarra, or the ugly results of Horde questing in Howling Fjord. If you wanted to look at the whole "player evil" thing from a larger perspective, you can even make a case that player-generated PvP is, within the context of WoW's lore, one of the more significant contributions to faction antagonism and war.

So what's the worst thing that your character has done -- or, failing that, the thing that you still feel the worst about? I've already got my pick.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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