The other day on Twitter I was part of a debate surrounding 10 man Heroic Al’Akir. More specifically - killing 10 man Heroic Al’Akir if you were a 25 man guild. Now, needless to say, it got me pretty fired up. To the point I felt myself getting ready to say some very nasty, un-Beru like things that I would not have been at all proud of later. (It really is amazing how little, yet how much, can be said in 140 characters). So even though I had so much more to say on the topic, I stepped out of it before I said something that I would later deeply regret.
Well, I publically stepped out of it anyhow.
At home I ranted, raved and lectured about it to anyone who would listen – with “anyone” being Brade and the dog. I stomped around the house as I made dinner jabbing my finger into the air everytime I wanted to hammer a point home. Because, dammit, I had points to make. Finally Brade, hoping to curve my ranting, looked at me and said “Why are you so worked up about an argument you had with idiots on the internet?”. He probably also threw around that saying about how you aren’t suppposed to argue with idiots on the internet because they’ll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience…or something like that. He tends to make blunt points that are hard to defend that way.
I shut up. Or at least ceased stomping and ranting and reverted to mumbling under my breath to the dog – at least she would give me her undivided attention…as long as I was with food in the kitchen anyhow. The truth is, I didn’t really have an answer to Brade’s question. Why was I so worked up about what these people thought?
Was it because I respected them and they offended me? Was it because I felt looked down upon? Was it because I felt that they were being narrow minded and wanted to expand their minds? Was it because I felt the need to defend and justify a decision that had no effect whatsoever on people outside of our guild?
Unable to come up with a solid answer to Brade’s question, I eventually just let it go and moved on. Ever flowing water passing under the bridge.
Until last night.
Holiday weeks are often hard to schedule. You either end up having to adjust your raid nights, or adjust your raid time to accomodate for the holiday. Generally we try to give enough advance notice that we shift one of our raid days to compensate – if we can’t do that, we end up with a short raid week. This particular holiday week was also coupled with a patch making it even more difficult to deal with.
Our regular raid schedule excludes Tuesdays, meaning that we do not raid on that night. It is also the night that we generally will add a raid night to in order to compensate for a holiday if needed. However, with Tuesday being a patch day we opted not to try and deal with potentially unstable servers, patch day woes, and everything that is packaged with all that. (Hey, how were we to know that this would be the smoothest patch WoW has seen in 6 years?). Instead we decided that we would run our full 25 man raid on Wed/Thurs/Sun – and then, knowing that we would not have a full 25 available to raid on July 4, we would take advantage of the “flexible lockout” system and run a 10 man Monday to work on anything we hadn’t killed in the prior three days. I mean, being able to swap to a 10 man when you don’t have 25 available was one of the key things that Blizzard touted as a benefit to this new system, was it not?
As it turns out, the only thing that we didn’t kill on Sunday was Ragnaros. We were close. Just needed to shore up our Phase 2 to Phase 3 transition – but we just ran out of time. I have no doubt that had we had our full raid on Monday we would have worked through it and finished it out easily. However, Monday was a holiday, and with family and friends being important to us, we kept to our original plan of running the scheduled 10 man.
We killed Ragnaros on Monday.
I should have been excited. I should have been proud. I should have been happy. Only instead of having the feelings that I should have had - all I could think about was that stupid fucking twitter conversation from the other day. All I could think of was being told that I “cheesed” content by legitimately killing it on 10 man rather than on 25 – and then in the same breath being told that if I took my raid back to kill it “legitimately” on 25s after firelands came out it wouldn’t matter because it wasn’t “relevant”. (Really? There is just no winning that one). All I could think about was the potential grief of going into hard modes on 25s this coming raid week with a 10 man Ragnaros kill taking us there.
It’s not because we we’re gunning for “rankings” (they are unimportant to us as a guild, and we aren’t a “contender” for anything even if they were) or trying to “prove” ourselves, but rather because it is what is next for the team as a whole as far as “progression” is concerned. It’s not as if we don’t fully intend to finish out Ragnaros in our 25 this week for a “proper” 25s kill – but not working in new progression this week just so we can gun to Ragnaros an kill it on 25s would also leave us with a whole lot of wasted raid time on our hands.
And you know what? It was about at this juncture, as I found myself trying to justify our decision, that I realized that I was the one being the idiot.
By continuing to dwell on this asinine conversation I was effectively giving the power to define my fun to someone that has no bearing or right to determine if I am having fun or not. The question that I should have been asking isn’t “what will these people think”, but rather “did we do the right thing for our guild”. And you know what? I do have an answer to that question: You’re damned right we did.
Who Defines Fun?
The truth of the matter is that no one person or team has the right, or can really effectively, determine what is fun for another person or team. Everyone will have something different that triggers their “fun” button, and in all honesty it is really no one else’s place to judge what that is for anyone but themselves. While this seems logical (at least to me), in reality it doesn’t always play out as smoothly. I feel, to an extent, this fallacy boils down to respect. I mean is it really so hard to acknowledge that the same thing will not always float everyone’s boat? It is really that hard to respect that just because you made one choice, it does not obligate others to make the same choice or find value in the same things?
Let me see if I can give a practical example.
A while back I did a post on Heroic Ascendant Council. I stated pretty point blank that I felt phase two of the fight was miserable and that it was not fun for me. In fact I did this in several venues. I felt that while one person’s mistakes should be felt by your raid, that one mistake should not obliviate your raid’s efforts. That, for me, that particular kind of play did not exemplify team effort nor was it particularly enjoyable. However, in a response to my post a commenter posted that he disagreed with me. That he liked the brutal-ness of the phase, and throughly enjoyed how it easily picked out what he felt were the “bad” players from the “good”.
Now, while I may disagree with him, I also respect that he found the encounter enjoyable. I don’t think him less of a player or a person because he found fun in something that I did not. For me, the fight was a nightmare. For me it was the opposite of fun. There were points that I’d have rather repeatedly slammed my hand into a car door than muster up the words “let’s get back quickly and take another pull”. And that’s perfectly fine! I don’t deny that the commenter found the encounter fun – I, personally, just didn’t find it enjoyable. We each had a different opinion on what was “fun” and I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that!
What Constitutes “Fun”.
I think part of the problem is that there are so many different variations of what people consider fun, that it’s hard to pinpoint any one thing to exemplify a general consensus of what is “fun”. Then again, I don’t know that we should try to pigeon hole a single definition of fun and make it fit for everyone either. People just don’t work that way.
To a good number of people what is “fun” to them is being at the pinnacle of bleeding edge content. It’s being ranked and having that ranking to prove that you are one of the best. However, truth be told, in the big picture of things it’s truly a minority of guilds/people that find this ranking “game” fun or put a lot of stock into it. In fact, I think I’d wager to say that aside from perhaps a few on-server rivalries, most players/guilds don’t really put a whole lot of weight into World or US “rank”. And following that logic, I think that it’s fair to say that the majority of guilds don’t make decisions based solely on “winning” the rankings, but rather make decisions on what they think is best for their raid team and/or what is fun for them individually.
I think that if you took a poll of a diverse cross section of the raiding community in WoW you would find that most people think that “killing new internet dragons” tops their “fun” list – regardless of the time frame it takes to slaughter said dragon or who else kills the dragon before or after them. I think you would also find that most people would find wiping repeatedly with no progress to be “unfun”. I suspect that you would find a whole slew of different responses to questions like “what is your favorite encounter” or “what is your least favorite encounter”. I propose to you that is because everyone has a different definition of exactly what makes something fun for them.
And that is okay.
There is no “wrong” or “right” way to have fun. I think that it’s important to understand, recognize and respect that there are different definitions of fun. Just as I think it’s important not to force your own particular standards of fun onto others who may not want them. Because when push comes to shove each individual should define their own standards of fun and do what is best for them, and it’s really no one else’s place to tell them that they are wrong in that definition because in reality it has no impact on anyone other than the person looking for fun.
Does It Make Your Big Toe Hurt?
My mother would ask me as a child when I was nosing into someone else’s business (generally where I didn’t belong) ”Does it make your big toe hurt?”. And when I would reply “no”, her response was always “then why do you care”. It may seem silly, but at the end of the day it’s these words of wisdom from my mother that I found myself falling back when seeking an answer to Brade’s question. Why did I care? In fact, why did anyone in that stupid conversation care? So, I ask all of you, when you are considering someone else’s actions in game, especially if they are different from yours: “Does it make your big toe hurt”? And if you answer as I did when I was a child – then I would simply reply “then why do you care”.