Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
 
Standing in the fire

While replying to a comment of the previous post, I suddenly noticed an interesting connection with the "moron" discussion of earlier this month. You all know the expression of somebody "standing in the fire", describing a bad player in a raid. It is the most common description of a bad player, so common that Blizzard has both a loading screen message and an achievement mentioning it as a running joke.

But if, as many raiders claim, you are either a good player or a bad player (aka "moron"), and the bad player is best described as the guy standing in the fire, then by definition the skill of the good player is to *not* stand in the fire. Which is exactly what I've been saying.

If, however, you claim that being a good player involves taking complex individual decisions requiring high intelligence, and thus good players are downright geniuses, then a huge gap opens up between somebody too stupid to move out of the fire and those "geniuses". It is ridiculous to claim that whatever you are doing is complicated as rocket science, and at the same time claim that anybody not able to do it is a "moron".
Comments:
I wouldn't necessarily equate paying attention with intelligence.

Situational awareness is important, but it's all about reacting to events. It doesn't require tactical or strategic thought.
 
WoW is easy.

If you think what you are doing in that game is difficult, you are a moron.

(troll is strong in this post btw)
 
You are very correct that what it takes to be an effective raider is not rocket science. It is all about learning what you need to do and executing. This includes moving because of bad stuff and using class abilities (interrupting an ability, healing the people that need it, using mitigation CD's at appropriate times) correctly. I think you underestimate how easy/hard this is. You haven't raided at a very high level for a long time (and you don't have to!), but that will skew your perspective and lead to, what is in my opinion, false conclusions.
 
Fire hurts. Don't stand in it.

Not hard people.

If you do it, yes, you're a moron.
 
Did someone actually say that "good players are downright geniuses"? Seems like a weird conclusion to make.

People standing in fire are morons. People that don't stand in fire and play good are not morons. They are not automatically geniuses either of course. They are simply somewhere in between. Pretty simple science here.
 
I think you underestimate how easy/hard this is. You haven't raided at a very high level for a long time

I wouldn't say Icecrown is "a long time" ago. And I don't underestimate how "hard" raiding is. I can do it, but it pumps me out, and leaves me unhappy, which is why I prefer leaving it alone.

But I also would consider ballet dancing to be "hard". And I would consider WoW raiding hardness to be closer related to ballet dancing hardness than to rocket science hardness.
 
Actually there's a pretty straightforward fallacy here, in that while the group of all players who stand in the fire are bad players, the group of bad players is not limited to only those who stand in the fire.

I'm sure there's a strict mathematical way to put it, but basically while the set [players who stand in fires] is a subset of the set [bad players], the set [players who stand in fire] is not equal to the set [bad players].

Or, in more general terms, there are more ways to be a bad player than to stand in the fire - just that standing in the fire is one of the most obvious ways.
 
You last two posts are worrying, I am honestly not seeing at all the point you want to make.

I think that you are using "skill" without knowing what it means. Here, let Merriam-Webster help:

Definition of SKILL
1
obsolete : cause, reason
2
a : the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance b : dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks
3
: a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability

From this point of view it's very clear that WoW is a game of skill (and it has nothing to do with planning or anything).
Staying in the fire clearly indicates that you don't have the necessary skill to deal with the situation.

How you can deduce that NOT staying in the fire makes you some kind of superman is beyond me. It just means that you don't have the skill of not staying in the fire. Since this is a required skill for raiding, if you don't have it it's no surprise that people don't want you in their raid.
Would you hire a plumber that can't tell a tap from a pipe?

@syncaine: I suggest that you read the Merriam Webster as well. Look for the definition of "easy" and "difficult".
Then look at the statistics of WoWprogress to see the % of people who managed some HM boss and you'll get an idea if it's easy or difficult.
 
I am honestly not seeing at all the point you want to make

Well, reading comprehension is a skill too.

How you can deduce that NOT staying in the fire makes you some kind of superman is beyond me.

That is not my deduction, but the fallacy I am trying to debunk. The question is why raiders A) claim that raiding requires a lot of skill, and B) claim that everybody who hasn't got that skill is a moron. Answer me that!
 
Raiding in WoW is Hard. If WoW were easy more than 25 guilds would have completed all available content this tier so far.

Not standing in the bad is only one piece of the puzzle. Standing in the good on some fights is just as important. While maintaining any secondary responsibilities, ie CC's, etc. and keeping DPS/TPS/HPS at a high level. All of this is tied together by the most important thing of all "Teamwork". All of the most successful guilds are filled with players who not only perform at a super high level individually but they always put Team first.

The first step is being able to move out of the fire. If you can't do that effectively you really can't excel at any of the other attributes that would make you a great player. If you fail at moving out of the fire you are a moron, because you automatically fail at every aspect of play because you are dead.

;-)
 
Kooby said: "If you fail at moving out of the fire you are a moron, because you automatically fail at every aspect of play because you are dead."
Stephen Hawking is on his way to deliver a lecture about things that neither of us will ever understand. He gets stuck in a doorway. Did he suddenly lose his intelligence or did some relatively minor thing set off a cascade of problems? Or if you prefer, pick any other ridiculously smart person and have them miss their bus.
 
Lack of common sense is a stronger indication of someone being a moron than having common sense is any indication of someone being a genius.
 
You are right about your boldface sentence.

However I NEVER claimed that doing it right make you a genius. I claimed exactly that "it's so easy that it needs a real moron or terribly lazy slacker to mess it up"
 
I's sorry, but what with all this back and forth about morons and standing fires and all, and alls I can think is two words: Flame Wreath.
 
That is not my deduction, but the fallacy I am trying to debunk. The question is why raiders A) claim that raiding requires a lot of skill, and B) claim that everybody who hasn't got that skill is a moron. Answer me that!

I don't see too many people saying that (yes some people troll with this crap). Raiding does require skills, especially to do it effectively in current content. being a successful raider does not make you a genius. Just as not being a successful raider does not make you a moron.

I wouldn't say Icecrown is "a long time" ago.
Did you do it as progression OVER A YEAR AGO without a 30% buff? If you did it in pugs with then it is entirely different. I got my first LK kill with a 10% buff (yeah I am not super leet, but I don't suck either). I then had a baby and came back a few months later to do it on an alt with 30% and it was so ridiculously easier. I am not trying to attack you, just saying that ICC difficulty varied when you did it.

But I also would consider ballet dancing to be "hard". And I would consider WoW raiding hardness to be closer related to ballet dancing hardness than to rocket science hardness.
This is probably much more accurate from my perspective than how I was taking some of your current posts.

Then look at the statistics of WoWprogress to see the % of people who managed some HM boss and you'll get an idea if it's easy or difficult.
Depending on which progress sit you look at, somewhere around 6000 guilds have killed 12/12 on normal mode. Only 25-27 have done 13/13 Hard modes. Even taking the normal mode kills that is a very small percentage of the number of guilds in the game, even if you exclude ones that never raid.

It is easy to down some raid bosses, it is much harder to kill them all.
 
Raiding in WoW is hard. It requires skill. Many, many, players (a few 100k) try it, one a handful has cleared the current content. Yes. Of course. Brilliant point! Now, let's try to talk about something less obvious.

.. why are we having this discussion?

.. ?

Exactly! Because what players really want from an MMO is an engaging, deep experience. Overcoming challenges can help with this, but this alone is not sufficient. Of course, there is a reason why Blizzard has to make encounters that hard: They don't use any of the other means that can help with creating engaging, deep experiences. You know what these are ?
 
Because what players really want from an MMO is an engaging, deep experience.

Aren't you just projecting what YOU want? Ask Gevlon, and he'll tell you what players really want from an MMO is an opportunity to gain status by trivial means, so that they can then insult other players, which makes them feel better about themselves.
 
"The question is why raiders A) claim that raiding requires a lot of skill, and B) claim that everybody who hasn't got that skill is a moron. Answer me that!"

You're making a false equivalency here based on a few trolls. The skill in question is generally "Not Standing in the Fire", also known as situational awareness. It is but a single skill of many required to execute a raid fight correctly, and a pretty basic one at that.

Other skills involved are knowing your class abilities, rotation, the "dance" as you put it, when to appropriately use cooldowns, how to react to an unaccounted for situation, potentially turning a near wipe into a success. Each of these require a different level of ability.

For example, not all raiders will be fantastic at dealing with unaccounted situations, but they can do reasonably well in a raid if they learn their rotation and the dances.

So, you need a large subset of skills (and the skill to be able to do them at the same time!) to perform in a raid. If you're missing one of the pillars of raiding skills, such as "Not Standing in the Fire", one would not be completely unjustified in thinking that player is not cut out for raiding, at least not yet.

You wouldn't expect someone to be a great footy player if they knew how to shoot but were awful at receiving passes.
 
I'd say that while simply not standing in the fire may be easy, the true measure of your abilities is how little it distracts you from your primary role (dps, healing or tanking) to do so.

As a healer, I don't usually find avoiding the fire hard. What challenges me is avoiding the fire whilst keeping heals poured on the tank who took an unlucky damage spike while I was moving, or on the guy who got targetted with a random secondary target attack while his own fire avoidance took him out of my healing range.
 
For each player, there is a % chance that they will "stand in the fire" or fall to a similar mechanic. I do not believe any given player has either a 0% chance or a 100% chance.

You have posted before about how individual challenge is incompatible with large group challenge. If each person faces a challenge with a 50% chance of success, there is less than 0.01% chance that all 10 players will not fail. More realistic is a 90% chance of individual success (a fairly easy task), which means about a 35% chance of success for all 10 people.

This is why everyone is so confused over the difficulty of raids. You see how easy the individual task is, and 9/10 times you do it perfectly yourself. But most of the time (65%), the group fails.
 
This is not a troll, merely a statement of the facts as I perceive them.

I think Tobold is probably an average player. He probably gets visually overwhelmed by computer games (as I do on occasion) when there is a lot of stuff going on on the screen. He actually gets motion sickness and has to use a keyboard to turn. He probably stands in the fire quite a bit before he has enough practice with a particular encounter to not do it. He's probably a little slower to react because of the keyboard turning.

He is also not an idiot. He's clearly a white collar professional, probably something to do with finance or engineering.

Elitists frequently say things like, 'people who click and keyboard turn are morons' and 'people who stand in the fire are morons'.

Tobold puts a lot of effort into this blog and clearly derives pleasure from being a major online personality in the wow blogosphere. That pleasure is diminished if he thinks everyone believes he's a moron.

TLDR: These anti-elitist posts are a byproduct of Tobold trying to reconcile his high intelligence and average gaming skills with the common belief among elitists that an average player is a moron.
 
Not standing in a fire and raiding successfully requires skill. I would agree with this statement. Its kind of like saying in Nascar if you undershift and redline your engine constantly you are a moron but it does take skill to win the race.

Standing in fire and constantly dying to it is very moronic. Get the addon and situational awareness to avoid it. Not hard to do and very moronic to repeat it constantly. But having the intelligence, situational awareness, and the know how on when to blow your cooldowns to maximize your own raiding potential and/or that of your group does take skill.
 
Kooby:
Raiding is not hard. Getting and keeping a raid together is hard, because its just a game and most players are sane enough not to get too excited about it.

If you took 40 people who were perfectly average, not particularly gamers or anything, but computer literate, gave them 4 hours of training and a manual explaining basic theorycraft, and told them that they had 1 month to clear all the raid content in wow (Vanilla through Cata), in pre-selected gear/level appropriate toons, and that you would pay them for $1000 for each boss they kill and $5000 for each day left in the month when they finish, that group of normal dudes would be done in a week. They might not sleep a whole lot that week, but they'd get it done.

The biggest hurdle to finishing WoW is and always will be motivating 20-40 people to show up and give their A game. Properly motivated, anyone can be an awesome raider. It's really not that complicated.

If you took 40 people average dudes and told them they had a month to, say, design the lunar rover, or train to compete in the Tour de France, you would see what the word hard means.
 
Sticks and stones Tobold. You took Syncaine off your RSS reader because he got your blood boiling why not just do the same thing with Gevlons blog? You are usually the first to tell people to not read what they don't like.

As for the topic, I'm going to repeat what someone else said earlier in the post and ask what the point of all this is? I once saw a man and woman arguing in the hardware shop over whether some paint was brown or dark red, it got pretty heated but I don't remember one of them at any time asking if the other person liked the paint. They might have thought the other person was a moron for not seeing what they saw but as an outsider who do you think I thought the moron was?

I was glad when they both got out the shop and I could do my shopping in peace

If you are constantly being let down by someone doing something wrong at the very basic level you are going to question their capacity to learn, the more basic the less tolerant you will be. I mean do you think Nasa wanted the guy who sent that little camera flying past Mars in their next mission?

The saddest thing from these past few posts is Rift is on the verge of being released, everquest just reopened a new server, and some of the most reknowed blog writers are arguing over semantics

I hope you don't read this and just take it as another person telling you what you can and can't write on your blog, it just seems like a ridiculous thing to be going over and over and I genuinely don't get it

Incidentaly, you mention rocket science and ballet, both of these are actions done by the individual not a group, bad comparison
 
what don't you understand? if you have the slight amount of intelligence not to stand in the fire, you're not a moron! there's a massive spectrum of skill amongst those who are smart enough not to stand in the fire, but at the very bottom are the morons who do.
 
Standing in the fire, Moron.
Getting out of the fire, you , me, the average wow player.
Moving before the fire even lands based of the behaviour of the boss, moving the minimum amount needed, while continuing their other tasks without missing a beat? Its not rocket science but its more then I can do.

The series of mods that marked the ground that got banned mid/late wotlk, Their advantage was not in telling you to move out of the fire, it was in telling you exactly what the minimum safe distance was too move.
 
Hey Tobold, just a heads up for your own sanity: I think might be getting drawn in a bit too much into discussions of skill and intelligence in games. I doubt the people calling people morons are self-aware enough to make this into a useful discussion. =/
 
Tobold I agree with you on this notion.

I would take it a step further. The claim of moron being applied to anyone rests on the assumption that a valid metric exists.

To say that Joe is a Moron because he stands in fire. Assumes that that is the ONLY metric.

Joe not speced right
Joe not geared right
Joe not enchanted right

are ALSO moron metrics - are they equally valid?
are they summed together?

Does not doing one of the above make one a moron? Or is it doing all four?

Where do we put the great divide for the moron/genius in Wow?

No one really knows where this is so we all just throw around subjective "he's a moron" assertions without being called on it.

In the end all of us have been on either side of the spectrum at one time or another. So WHY get so caught up in Moron terms?

Frankly everyone on this comment chain is a "Moron" from a Paragon perspective. Because they require a few hundred green metrics to determine their success not just four.

Gevlon, your assertion that getting to non-moron is "easy" is silly thinking. You are using a non-quantified subjective metric (your opinions) to make a determination without objectively verifiable criteria.

Tobold has opened the debate with a modest move toward quantitative reasoning. I think the idea has merit to frame future discussion and your "it's easy" is not helpful.

How easy is easy?
What is your determination?
You go to great lengths to justify your progress by saying you are in the 10% this or that. Is that the metric?

What does that say about Paragon? are they super geniuses?

or maybe Paragon IS the determination AND we are all Morons.
 
Incidentaly, you mention rocket science and ballet, both of these are actions done by the individual not a group, bad comparison

I think you will find that both a ballet (e.g. Swan Lake) and the design of a rocket are group efforts, and can't be done by an individual. The comparison of ballet dancing with WoW raids is valid, because much of the skill is about moving synchroneously with the other dancers.
 
There are plenty of ways to be a moron, both in WoW (standing in fire, not having any spell rotations, gemmed or enchanted incorrectly, wearing inappropriate gear, using moronic language, etc and more) and in real life (having extremely low IQ, not being able to form phrases, not knowing basic arithmetic, etc, etc).

NOT being a moron doesn't make you a genius, it just means you're not a moron. NOT standing in the fire doesn't make you an outstanding raider only an average raider.

Taking the absolute minimum amount of damage possible by avoiding fire before it happens (if possible), while moving as little as possible during each encounter in order to maximize DPS/HPS, and doing all the above while maintaining your CD's and rotations optimally, and being able to adapt to your group members/surroundings and learning how to do the above within as few raids as possible makes you a good raider. Doing all of the above is extremely difficult skill-wise, hence the low number of guilds that are actually able to defeat heroic raid content.
 
A lot of people seem to equate standing in the fire with stupidity or laziness; but in fact there is evidence to suggest that there is quite a different reason. After all, few people deliberately stay standing in the fire, once they notice it.

What, then, causes people to stand in the fire? Take a look here: http://casualnoob.blogspot.com/2010/10/why-people-stand-in-fire.html
 
People say that only morons stand in fire because the people saying this are morons. I don't actually mean that, but really, raiding isn't easy at all and requires a lot of decisions and splitting of attention - despite the ridiculous trolling by 4c22c (you don't mind if I call you 4c22c, do you?).

Yes, if you don't tank, don't heal, don't do any damage, don't care about the fight mechanics, and focus on the singular job of not standing in bad things on the ground then you'd better be able to do that. You are also worse than nothing in terms of the raid group.

A person who never gets hit by fire but loses 25% of their dps by paying attention to the room instead of their rotation is of no more use for heroic difficulty than a person who stands in the fire too often. In fact they are likely worse, since the person who dies in fire too often has a higher variance, and will give a better performance some of the time, which might lead to that first kill.

I know that Gevlon has a fail page of stupid ways to die. His system creates an incentive to sacrifice dps for the sake not making foolish mistakes. That is only because he has the unambitious goal of being in the top half of raiding guilds. If you want 8/12 then go ahead and call people who stand in fire idiots and boot them from your raid. If you want 13/13 (or even 1/13) you'll have to come with with a more subtle metric for performance.
 
Tobold: That is not my deduction, but the fallacy I am trying to debunk. The question is why raiders A) claim that raiding requires a lot of skill, and B) claim that everybody who hasn't got that skill is a moron. Answer me that!

A) raiding at the top level requires a lot of skill (just like any other high-level activity). Is it as much as rocket science, definitely no, since WoW is a game.
B) being an average WoW player is a lot easier that being an average rocket scientist. It's then no surprise that if you aren't even capable of the simplest things you are indeed an incompetent player and you'll be laughed at.

The disconnect is in your assumptions: you're putting together things which are far apart (high-end raiding and minimum requirements), it's no surprise that you find a contradiction.
 
I think you are mistaken in the assumption that it is the top raiders who feel the need to "complain" about the "morons". People of the caliber of Paragon simply ignore the average player.

No, it is people like Gevlon, who needed to buy his way into raids with gold, and similar people who are just competent enough to succeed who are that insecure that they need to bash anybody slightly less good than they are. Insulting somebody is the ultimate social act, designed to raise your status by diminishing that of the close competition.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Tobold: That is not my deduction, but the fallacy I am trying to debunk. The question is why raiders A) claim that raiding requires a lot of skill, and B) claim that everybody who hasn't got that skill is a moron. Answer me that!

Wait what?

I've never heard anyone claim premise A. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Raiders claim that raiding is easy. Where are you getting these from? I can't believe that the topic got all the way down here without questioning the very article itself.

It's always been that:
1) Raiding requires minimal skill; therefore,
2) Players who cannot acquire such minimal skill are morons.

If you thought raiders were saying otherwise, you got heavily trolled.
 
If you don't stand in the fire, you're downright AWESOME in my book. I am not hard to impress.
 
Who even said rocket science is hard? If you are a rocket scientist then it probably doesn't seem like something incredibly difficult to you.

Difficulty (and skill) are always relative. It is human nature for those good at something to underestimate their ability and for those poor at the same thing to overestimate. This is exactly why the better wow players often look down so much on those that aren't so good as to them it is easy, and hence why those that can't do it must be deficient in some way. Whilst those on the poorer end use terms such as hard-core in a negative fashion because to them, they're nearly as good so the gap in success must be down to excess on the part of those more successful.

The terms genius and moron are pejorative and being used as place-holders. I doubt Gevlon considers the cloth wearing tanks and those that die in fire to actually have well below average intelligence. However, on the ability to play wow grading they would indeed be sat at that point on the 'normal' curve.

Except of course this is wow we're talking about and most of the people who get into these discussions are or have been raiders and are so already in the top end of the curve ... a curve self defined by their own measure of ability (to whit, killing raid bosses).

Measure that curve instead on, for example, PvP ability and I know many reasonably competent raiders (such as myself) who would be sat in the moron slot.
 
We live in an age of sensationalism. Everything is exaggerated to the extreme. (See, even there I did it).
 
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