I took to Twitter a little while ago with a calm rant about LFR. I’d just read this post about Jesse’s good LFR experience, and was smiling at things like, “It’s not that it was easy; you couldn’t quite power through certain mechanics like you could in Wrath. No, it just was less hectic.” and, “I downed an end game boss. It doesn’t matter if it was LFR. I still did it. It felt great.”
I’ve talked before about who the game is challenging for by comparing it to learning to tie your shoelaces. If you have no physical or mental impairments when it comes to doing so, and you’ve been tying them for years, it’s not going to be a problem for you. The design of shoes and shoelaces doesn’t change in radical enough ways that you have to learn it all over again. You get better and better, and then you just sort of do it automatically. Actually taking the time to think about each little step can then make it frustrating. It’s just… LOOK! It’s just SHOELACES! IT’S NOT THAT HARD, OKAY?!
But try telling that to a small child learning to tie them for the first time. Or someone who has suffered a serious injury that has cost them a hand, or made it more difficult to process a series of actions like that. Are they stupid because tying their shoes is hard? Are they just not trying? Of course not. And, quite frankly, you’re an asshole if you tell them they are.
There’s nothing wrong with expecting someone to put some honest effort into learning to tie those shoelaces. There is nothing wrong with finding it unacceptable for a child to look at the shoes and decide that you should tie them because it’s hard for them. There is nothing wrong with expecting someone to learn.
I’m not upset with people who get into a group with someone who does something they really have no business doing (pulling for the tank, healing their dps boy/girlfriend and letting the tank die, etc), let’s them know in a reasonable way that this is not how it’s done, and then gets pissed when they get a response of, “lol whatever. like u know everything. imma heal my frend”.
What I don’t approve of is all the rage and hate over experienced raiders going into LFR and expecting it to work like a group of experienced raiders. I see people agonizing over how their group could possibly be wiping on X phase of the fight. Over how tanks could not know when to swap. Over why someone’s dps can be so low, especially when they aren’t just sitting there and doing nothing.
Over how someone could possibly be having trouble tying their shoes.
I have a friend who went through LFR as a tank and made videos of the fights for me so he could explain things the way I need them explained. (Yes, I have awesome friends. I am thankful for them every day.) Here’s that I saw…
THERE IS CRAP EVERYWHERE! There is SO much STUFF going on! WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DRAGONS??? How the hell are you supposed to attack something from that platform? How are ranged dps doing anything if everybody stacks up like that? WTF? Why does the phase change??? WHERE IS THE BUTTON TO CHANGE IT BACK??? WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO??? Why does it happen so fast, and how does anybody keep up? WHY THE HELL DID THE GIVE YOU A DRAGON THE TANK CAN’T TURN??? EVERYBODY IS IN FRONT OF IT! YOU’LL ALL DIE!!!!
And no, my evaluation didn’t get any better with repeated viewings. Oddly, this doesn’t sound anything like what I’ve seen experienced raiders say about LFR. It almost like our different experiences in the game have given us completely different standards of what is and is not difficult. But that would be crazy talk, right?
After my tweets, my husband and I were talking about tank swapping. He has actual raiding experience, so he knows how things work in a raid. He was sure that I’m not one of those people who doesn’t know how tank swapping works. It was something we covered when I started learning to tank. So if I know HOW to do it, that means I’d also know WHEN to do it… right?
Actually, I didn’t. I told him under which circumstances I think it’s done, and he corrected me. I had listed three different situations, and only one of them was correct. How did I get something like that wrong? My lack of experience. Or, to be more precise, my lack of experience with doing things as part of a regular raid group.
Raid instances I have completed - Molten Core, Zul’Gurub (pre-Cata), Karazhan, 10 man AQ (when it was 20 man pre-Cata and the 10 man version), Mount Hyjal in CoT, Blackwing Lair, Obsidian Sanctum, Malygos
Raid instances I completed in a raid group - Mount Hyjal in CoT, Obsidian Sanctum, Malygos
Well, now. That sort of explains a few things about why I don’t know how raiding works.
Mount Hyjal doesn’t even count in my mind as experiencing a raid group. That many people at level 80… I don’t think any of us were really paying attention. We were there and stuff died. By the time we did Obsidian Sanctum, everyone else had done it plenty of times and there was no way for me to avoid just being carried. I was racing to keep up, but they couldn’t even notice if I was trying or not. I had no effect on the outcome of the raid. Malygos is my only real raiding experience, and the third phase left me shaking, crying, and just wanting it all to end. We were actually doing quite well, from what I was told. I hear I did my part just fine. I was told I could join them again anytime I wanted. I WANTED OUT OF THERE!
The other raids? Two-manned them with my husband before Cataclysm. We didn’t know what would disappear and what wouldn’t, so we wanted to see things just in case. (Correction - Blackwing Lair was done at 85. There were three of us, and one of us was a rogue with the first stage of the legendary daggers complete. Everything I’m about to say about how challenging old content can be does not apply to this.)
I can two-man almost any dungeon in the game at the level for it with another person. With a demonolgy warlock, I managed to pet tank low level Deadmines for us once. We didn’t do the old raids at the level, but they were still a challenge. I pet tanked Ragnaros for us in MC with my hunter’s bear. It had a higher chance of success than letting my husband’s ret pally get thrown around with me not being able to heal him. We even did the optional bosses in Kara. The mechanics of fights designed for large groups of people remain a challenge for two people at level 80.
I’ve learned to do things I will probably never be expected to do in a regular group, whether that’s for dungeons or raids. I did save a lot of groups during Wrath, both while leveling and at 80, by putting Growl on and taking over with my pet if a tanked died. But I’ve never needed to fill multiple roles simultaneously in a full group. I’ve never needed, as dps in a dungeon group, to share the healing responsibilites with the tank. I’ve never needed to cover, on my own, something that was designed for ten people to cover. (The level difference brings it down to being more like covering something designed for three people, but that’s still a bit for one person to juggle.)
It’s not that I don’t know how to play. It’s that I don’t know how to play in a regular group. Repeatedly being told that everyone should know how to do this stuff already doesn’t teach me anything other than “I can’t do this content until I can do it alone, or at least with just two people”.
I’ve made a huge effort in Cataclysm to overcome my social anxiety enough to see content while it’s at least not yet “last expansion’s content”, even if it’s no longer exactly “current”. I hit a wall in Well of Eternity. It was something no one could have seen coming, and no one could have prevented it.
I get asked about this, and I give a very brief summary of what happened that never really seems to get across to anyone why this has become a wall for me. I don’t mind talking about it. However, if you have severe anxiety and it can be triggered by having another person’s panic attack described, skip this. Scroll down until you seen the ASCII bear again. (“”\ ( -.- ) /”“)
I wasn’t sure if I was really ready to handle Well of Eternity yet. End Time had been difficult, but I’d gotten through it once I had a full group of people who knew about my anxiety, as well as the issues with processing things that I’ve had since being diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri. (Short version of that - Cerebrospinal fluid is not absorbed fast enough and affects my brain as if I have a brain tumor, but there’s not actually a tumor present.) They went as slow as I needed to in order to learn it. It’s that first time that’s so difficult… when I’ve never experienced something before. I learn by experiencing. We spent three minutes just describing to me what the Ice Blades on the Jaina fight would look like because I’d never seen them before. But if that was difficult, could I really do the next dungeon?
A friend and I looked through the information, and he described each fight to me. Not just what happens, but what needs to be done, what potential problems there are for groups… everything. And we decided together that I would try it. He went with me as continued communicating with me in whispers as things were happening.
It was going fine. Apparently, I pretty much tanked Peroth’arn with no healer. They stood in the wrong place and died almost as soon as it started. But the rest of the fight was fine, and we moved on.
I hestitated on the Azshara fight. It was a terminology problem. I knew this was an add fight, but my friend had said one of the guys would move forward and DBM started warning me that “adds will spawn”. Since I hadn’t seen it before, I thought this meant both would happen. I suddenly wasn’t sure how to handle it when all that happened was a single guy moving forward. We handled the fight, though.
I was a little confused by things, but I wasn’t panicked. I was, after all, seeing this for the first time. One of the dps asked if I wanted him to tank the last fight, and my friend spoke up and said he was teaching me to tank, and that it’s a little hard to do unless I’m actually tanking. The dps agreed with that, and we went on. I was a bit miffed about missing what was being said in the little scene because of this conversation, but no big deal.
My friend reminded me of what we had covered about how the last part works. Tank Vero’then until demons mess with Tyrande, tank demons, finish Ver’othen, mostly tank demons while the dps finishes of Mannoroth.
I knew what to do. I was ready. I… HAD NO CLUE WHERE VERO’THEN WAS!
Where the HELL was he? Everything is a demon of some sort! Is the one I’m attacking? Okay, I’ve got him. But what about the other demons? Where do they come from? Where is Tyrande? Why is everything look like a bad acid trip? Why can’t I tell the ground from the mobs? Where is Tyrande? Where do the demons come from? Where are the dps? Where is the healer? What if the healer is getting attacked? What am I doing? Why don’t I know where anybody is? IS THERE ACTUALLY ANY FUCKING GROUND HERE????
I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but I must have been breathing because I was screaming. I know I kept screaming a few short phrases, but mostly I just screamed. Just pure, terrified sound. All the scary things on the screen melted together because my eyes were full of tears, and my husband came and sat next to me. I wouldn’t hand the laptop to him because I NEEDED TO KEEP TANKING, but I didn’t know what was happening and didn’t even care… I JUST WANTED OUT!
I kept moving. I kept doing my bear thing. I was told, later, that the group probably couldn’t tell that I was doing things at random. I was obviously a little slow, but it looked like I was tanking things and we all survived. I didn’t even know when it was over. I didn’t know why NPCs were talking, or who they were (Yeah… I couldn’t recognize Illidan at that point), and the fact that I couldn’t just hand my quest in and get out of there was REALLY freaking me out! I kept saying, “I just want to turn it in! I just want to turn it in!” and trying to click on people I couldn’t actually click on.
I had to walk away from the computer. My husband had to let my friend know what had happened, since he was a little concerned because I wasn’t answering his whispers. I couldn’t. I could barely string words together.
(“”\ ( -.- ) /”“) ASCII bear says it’s safe to come back now!
I haven’t finished a heroic since then. I’ve tried, but I end up leaving. I have stuck with some of the worst groups. I was dps in Wrath. Dropping groups because I didn’t like the dungeon or sumd00d was an ass just wasn’t worth waiting in the queue again. I’m not a group dropper. After Well of Eternity, though, I started dropping at the first sign of me being confused about a fight. Or which direction to go. Or what spec the dps was. Or much of anything.
It’s a bit like someone getting in a car wreck and then being afraid to ride in a car for a while. Simply going back into a dungeon is horrifying for me right now. I know I have to get over that. I want to. I’m scared.
It may not be hard for you. That doesn’t mean it just, universally, “isn’t hard”.
I’m not stupid. I don’t have a bad attitude about doing my part, pulling my weight. I hate asking people for help, even when it’s someone I’m generally comfortable with, because I can’t the thought of being carried through something.
LFR is made for people like me. Raiding is a part of the game for me, but it’s not THE game. Even if I were better at this, I wouldn’t want to be a hardcore raider. There are alts to level, story to see, favorite questlines to play through again, pets to collect… I love doing those things. Hate leveling professions. Swear to Khaz’goroth, I HATE leveling professions! But, for me, raids are something I’d have to do to see all of the story while it’s still current. Something to be suffered through to get what I want. My priorities are different from those of someone who raids for the love of challenging encounters and teamwork. But as long as I am in a group, that group is going to get my very best!
If only I weren’t so afraid of being told I have no business putting on shoes because I don’t already know how to tie them.