Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Constructive criticism and helping others

I posted this on Blog Azeroth.

First, let me apologize if this topic is already somewhere here. I scanned through the list and nothing jumped out at me. As I wrote this, I began to ramble about how this question came up. I decided it was too long to post here and have posted my rambling on my blog. In it I talk about the more specific issues leading up to my question. I would appreciate it if you took the time to read it to further understand what I'm trying to get from the question, but it does ramble some and isn't necessary.

Question: How does one go about giving constructive advice to others about their gear, talents, skills, spells, class, or any other aspect of the game? How do you handle giving someone advice who “knows-it-all”?
I am currently in a new small guild that appears to be...I'll use the word disjointed. There are only 30 some odd accounts if I remember correctly. There are a select few in the guild that are almost geared for Black Temple based on and only four of us that are geared for Karazhan or Heroics, also based on There are roughly another 7 or 8 lvl 70s currently in the guild; none of whom are anywhere close to being geared for Heroics let alone Kara.

I may be getting myself into trouble here if any of my fellow guildmates frequent Blog Azeroth, but I feel this is important enough that it needs to be said. Without going into great detail, but based on observations a few of us newer to the guild have a theory that the elites in the guild carried several of the newer players. As such, we're afraid that they haven't learned certain aspects of their toons and don't understand how certain aspects of the game change in the endgame.

Please let me interject by saying that I am by no means an expert in any class. I have a level 70 holy paladin and 4 alts; none of whom are higher than level 27. I do not know how to play any other class other than a paladin with any degree of expertise. I do not tell others how to play their class, besides being rude, it would only show my ignorance. I am a firm believer in playing your class anyway you like. That said I do believe certain advice can be and should be given. Let me elaborate.

Last night, five of us went into Heroic Slave Pens. This is one of the easier heroics as I understand; only having attempted three in all. I’m still fairly new to heroics. I am currently geared, albeit with PvP armor, for heroics. One other in our group is geared for it as well, one is extremely close, and the other two are nowhere near ready gear wise. Although we went into this instance knowing this, we felt that perhaps we could at least take out the first boss with a little luck, hopefully get a drop or two that would help upgrade them, and get a badge out of it. It didn’t happen.

It came to my attention that certain things about my healing abilities were brought into question by the two that are not geared for heroics. I shouldn’t have known about this, but it was passed along to me by someone I trust (the person on the receiving end of the whispers). The only thing that gets me upset in WoW is being blamed for things that are arguably not my fault. It was brought up that I was allowing the tank to drop below 50% health. Yes, this was happening as I was trying to heal others; myself included. The two low-geared toons were DPS and CC, which neither was doing effectively. This was fine because we knew this would be a problem going into a heroic. Nobody expected different, except maybe them. It resulted in my aggroing several mobs frequently which lead to my demise and ultimately a wipe.

In all fairness, I wasn’t the only target of criticism. My friend receiving the whispers was also receiving advice from the same person on how to play her toon. This is something that we’ve observed in this guild; there are a lot of people who “know-it-all”. This is very important to my question as how do you handle giving someone advice who “knows-it-all”?

Even right now as I write this, I am upset about the apparent finger pointing and lack of self-criticism. Ironically, this was set up because I talked to the GM a couple of days earlier and expressed my frustration that the guild wasn’t attempting to try new things. Well, we tried and we didn’t fare so well. I would have had an enormous amount of fun regardless of the hefty repair bill, but once I found out about the comments behind my back, all fun went out the window. I know I would have had fun because three of us had tried it the night before with two others and got the first badge after wiping so many times I lost count. We finally quit because it was getting late and our warlock started to pull hubby aggro.

Anyway, I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I knew there was a chance we’d fail, but I want so much to help those not geared get a little better geared. Not only does it help them, but it helps the guild and ultimately me as well.

Near the end when we were calling it quits, some comments were made about grouping together and spending time in easier instances to “learn how to work as a group together” and “learn how each other plays”. My other friend whispered me and laughed. He was also frustrated and upset at some of the comments and the apparent lack of knowledge on how to play their toons and, please take this with a grain of salt, sometimes appeared to not being doing much of anything at all. I'm sure that last part is not true or they were trying to not aggro, I don't know. It was the heat of battle and hard to watch everything when concentrating on your own tasks. We also understand that we’re not experts in the other classes, but we do understand the Tank-DPS-Healer trinity.

We had a Balance Druid healing because I wasn’t able to keep up. Bless her heart I love her for it, but she’s Balance and needs to play that way. In the few groups that I’ve been with her, she spends most of her time healing. Checking out her gear she is set up for healing, but is 47/0/14 in Balance. She claims she’s Balance/Resto whenever asked and never just Balance. I’ve only ever seen her change to Moonkin form once. Again, maybe she’s just under the impression that I can’t do my job and is complimenting mine, but ultimately hurts the party by not using her DPS capabilities. I especially don’t know how to give her advice on her gear/talents because I really don’t want to offend her. She’s an absolute sweetheart! (Lil, if you’re reading this, please take it in the spirit it’s meant.)

It wasn’t long ago that I had no clue as how to play a paladin effectively. When I was around level 30, I found someone that gave me advice because I asked for it and it changed the way I played so much that I enjoyed it. Solo-leveling a Protection Paladin was no fun because of my lack of knowledge. Later on, when I switched to Holy I was asked if I was a Retribution Paladin. Apparently I had primarily Retribution gear was spec’d Protection and had only recently switched to Holy without time to re-gear. I didn’t understand the differences between the three types of gear for paladins and the amazing affect that having the correct gear can have on your performance.

So ultimately, here are the questions. How do you give advice to someone you don’t want to offend? How do you give advice to someone that believes they know-it-all?


Anonymous said...

LOL @ warlock started to pull hubby aggro.

I had a similar situation where we where tyring to gear up our healer shaman in a heroic - as a priest I had to keep dropping from shadow and throw some heals up - Tank main priority - He dies I die. Therefore I heal and not Dps - If She is healing shes not trusting the healer to do the 'job' and the job with 2 undergeared players was not a fair 'job' for you.
Think Management leadership advise for contructive critisism - Theres no right way for everyone to do it. Peoples defence mechanisms are firstly - uh uh - but the ones that want to improve will think about it. Be prepared from some bruised egos.
Be honest - be plain - and give examples as to behaviour.
They also need to want to be better - want to survive.
If they havent already - introduce them to theorycraft - even basic stuff like Omen. Pots - Flasks
I think wanting to be better is a complete change in mindset, and it only happens when you start comparing your performance to others in your class -

But I would not do herorics with the undergeared.

Kyrilean of Arathor said...

Thanks for the advice. Either way it won't be easy. You're right we probably shouldn't have tried the heroic, but we decided to try something different in hopes of getting a drop or two for the undergeared. I know a lot of people get upset about repair bills, but I generally don't. I like to joke about mine, which are high because of the plate, but that's what daily quests are for.

Thanks again.