Who Defines Fun?   18 comments

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”.

Posted July 5, 2011 by Beruthiel in Brain Dump, Deep Thoughts, eh?, Hard Modes, Raiding

18 responses to “Who Defines Fun?

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  1. Well, I for one am a 10 man raider, my guild just isn’t big enough to support more than that, but people just need to get over this stupid ‘divide’ between 10 and 25 content. No, I’m not disparaging 25 man raids… there was a time when the guild was larger and we did them just fine. Those times are gone now, so we do 10 man. It IS harder to coordinate 25 people than 10, no question. Ten-mans need a bit tighter teamwork and and it hurts more when one player screws up. Granted, I haven’t been in a 25 in Cata, but in 10s, one mistake from one person can easily wipe the raid. That’s why it’s a challenge.

    But the this and that and “oh, this way is better” arguments make me want to bang heads on both sides. The point is, you overcome the challenge and yes, you have fun doing it, in whatever format. So anyone considering one way or the other not valid needs to simply grow up and get a life.

    • I think it was predicted fairly early on that the 25s crowd would want to lean on “real” progression being done in 25s. But I think that’s so silly. Progression is progression no matter what format you are in, or when you achieve your goals. It makes me so mad when I see people look down on others progression because it’s not how/when they did it. I mean, is it really hard to recognize that different strokes for different folks is OK and that everyone has different goals? ARGH!

      I agree with you. It does make me want to bang heads against walls 🙂

  2. We had to make the same choice this week. Monday is our usual raid day, but it was called due to the holiday. The officers said we’d have an optional raid sunday, not a usual raid day, to get rag on 25 if we had the numbers, 10 if we didn’t. Amazingly we had enough for a full 25 raid, but we just couldn’t work out the kinks fast enough to do better than 6% so we stacked a 10 man to get the kill.

    Would we have preferred the 25 kill? Sure! But barring that, we wanted heroics more than we wanted to wait another week for a 25 rag kill. Getting our 25 kill won’t be “worth” any less for waiting a week, and even when you take the kill rankings into account it’s the heroics that count for more anyway.

    Seems to me that when blizz decided to make the two raids equal in gear that “cheezing” a kill by a 25 guild killing it on 10 should have become a non issue. It’s not like we get better gear by raiding 25s like we did in wrath.

    • All in all, I’m very glad we made the choice that we did. It was the right choice for us – which is really what is important, I think!

      Honestly, I would almost even wager that there are aspects of the 10 man encounter that are more challenging than the 25. Like having 40% of your raid (over half when you take out the two tanks!) constantly dealing with meteor balls! Granted, the seed phase in 25s is a bit tricker to manage. So perhaps it evens out. Either way, it was a fun encounter and I’m looking forward to working it again.

      You’d think that with all things being equal, the 10s vs 25s thing would have stopped being a big deal. Unfortunately, it still is. And people constantly defend their raid style/choice and it feels like both sides will have an argument that their raid preferrence is “harder”. I just don’t get why people can’t accpet that it’s just different. There are challenges both raid styles face, they are just different challenges.

  3. This comment may be anachronistic, since I haven’t raided since LK, but I always thought 10 man content was harder, not easier, than 25. While there may be an extra mechanic in a 25 man fight, the sheer number of people involved usually meant there was more leeway for small mistakes. That said, it may not be true in Cataclysm. Either way, downing a boss is downing a boss, and for a player (me) who just likes to see the content, I couldn’t care less about how big of a “raid” you may have.

    None of this is really relevant to your point, though. I’ve said before that a large part of the problem of WoW has to do with being dictated what’s “fun” and what’s “pointless.” It was a big step for me to get past that (a step I’ve not fully completed but am working towards) so that I could enjoy the game again. Fun cannot be dictated; the very act of having dictated something frequently makes it unfun. Consider the books you were assigned in school; in my experience, when I read them on my own a few years later, I enjoyed the, though I’d hated them at the time.

    No one likes to be told what to do, and no one likes to be told that their fun is “wrong,” because it implies there’s something wrong with you.
    Play and have fun, however you need to, as long as it doesn’t make someone else’s big toe hurt.

    And congratulations on your raiding; it’s incredible to me that you’ve already seen all the content.

    • There are certainly aspects of 10 man raiding that are more challenging, for sure. I can certainly tell you that if we had more than one death in an early phase of those Rag attempts it was a wipe. I would certainly have to agree that a kill is a kill, and the value of that kill should be set by the person who earned the kill.

      Much like life, it is very hard to feel comfortable in your own skin and to shake off what other people think. It’s something that I’ve gotten better at over the years, but it’s certainly still something that I constantly remind myself still needs work! I’m fairly comfortable with myself – but sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me second guess something. Of course I then have to write posts like this to remind myself where I want to be. 🙂

  4. Man I hate leaving two comments, but hey, I went to look up the argument on Twitter (this is the first time I’ve ever interacted with Twitter, Beru, due to you) and noticed your comment about the Ahune pet. I went every day for the past two years and also never got it. 28 attempts, 0 pets.

    • He never dropped it. Two bloody years of doing that boss every day he’s availalbe. I really wish they’d just make it so that you can purchase it with those damn burning blossoms!

  5. Slightly different situation in me guild, in what we took our first look at AtrameBlindDragonDude Friday, and put his arse down, then killed his two friends, then spent an hour lettin’ Nef put our arses down. Means we’s still in that Bottom 95% category, but so whats? We’s havin’ our funs. Is all I cares about.

  6. You and I have always had our differences, Beru. But one thing I will always stand behind, regarding my opinions of you is that you work your *ass* off and your guild has seen an incredible amount of content in this expansion. I seem to recall you all being incredibly progressed in Wrath, too. I can’t believe that someone would try and nitpick or find a way to try and take that away from you. That’s just silly.

    You would think that people would have realized by now that 10s and 25s don’t matter, with regards to progression. If your guild kills something, in whatever format, it’s a kill. There was work involved to make that kill happen. People wearing your guild tag downed something. What does it matter how it was done? I can honestly say that each of the three guilds I’ve been in so far this expansion has downed something on 10s that they didn’t down first on 25 man and there is nothing wrong with that. How we look at progression has changed so much in Cataclysm and it’s a shame that not everyone has caught on to that fact or chooses to ignore it.

    I can understand your feelings, but at the same time you have to know how well you and your guild are doing and you shouldn’t let insignificant things bring you down. There are those who matter and those who don’t. Once you determine who fits in what category, the rest is easy.


    • Sometimes I wonder if it’s insecurities that drive comments like the ones I saw. I mean, it was my own insecurities that drove this post, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that the converse could be true. Honestly, I just don’t understand why people can’t just be happy for someone elses success without needing to put down or justify their own success in relation to that other person’s. It just baffles me to no end.

      Then again, I always try to be supportive of everyone’s achievements. Because no matter when or how they get done, they are still achievements and important to the person accomplishing them and that deserves celebration. Nothing gets me fired up faster than to see someone else dogging another’s success. I guess it’s just one of those things I feel I need to put on my armor to defend!

  7. I wonder if part of the reason people get so worked up is they feel they need to speak out to defend their preferred version of fun to ensure it is still available to them in the future. Like you we decided to kill al’akir heroic on 10man because it was so much easier however there is a part of me that wasn’t too happy about it. I think its because my preferred version of fun in wow is 25man raiding so for me accepting that a boss was so much easier on 10man compared to 25 tapped into the part of my brain that worries that 25man raiding will struggle over time with the cata raid model. Luckily I am able to take my tin foil hat off long enough to realise this is just my paranoia but its quite a powerful feeling.

    *Regarding the 10/25 difficulty split after half a night of wiping on Majordomo 25 we decided to try it on 10man as we had heard it was easier to find it completely laughable. Its worth trying it just to see, we killed it before he even reached the flame orb stage whilst on 25man we got flame orbs at 15-20% and the flame scythe hits for much less.*

    • I do think there is something to your observation about people needing to defend their preferred raiding choice. It is something that I do see a lot on both fronts. It always confuses me on why one always has to be “harder” or “better” and why they just can’t be “different”.

  8. Brade is a wise man.

    (Don’t tell him I said so though…)

  9. “Hey, how were we to know that this would be the smoothest patch WoW has seen in 6 years?”

    Come raid in our hemisphere, where we’ve had restarts of either or both of world and instance servers every night (but one) in the middle of prime raiding time -10pm, since 4.2. And of course, the plentiful FL trash respawns after the restart. And you can be sure that of a starting 25, at least a couple of them mysteriously won’t make it back on when the server comes up. 😦

    I’m open to trying new sorts of fun, but this isn’t it.

    (And you worry way, way too much about what other folks think. You are AMAZING and responsible for your own happiness – let the car drive by.)

    • Oh wow, I had no idea there were patch problems elsewhere! I was quite frankly shocked to come home and log in on Tuesday without having a single server crash 🙂 I hope it settles down some for you!

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