Raiding Research Online

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Archive for the ‘achievements’

Don’t forget to feast on my feats of strength…

April 23, 2011 By: Ladan Category: achievements, Cataclysm, feat of strength, raiding guild, teamwork

The results are in. Well, actually I just decided to close the poll so I can start up a new one! But let’s quickly look at what we are saying about feats of strength. I want to point out that I’m amused that none of you pointed out my typo in the poll! Some of you love to point out my typos to me….! Slackers. Anyways, these are the actual results:

Please select to which degree you agree with the following statement: I find achieving individual and guild feats of strength and other complex game achievements to be an important part of my gameplay

3–Somewhat agree. I or my guild have sought the feats of strength or achievements as we can, but it’s not our priority. (32%)
4–Agree. I or my guild have spent time working on them. (29%)
5–Strongly agree. I or my guild have gone for every one that we (or I) can! (20%,)
2–Somewhat disagree. I don’t particularly mind if I or we get a feat of strength but I don’t like to work on it. (13%)
1–Disagree. I don’t like achievements or feats of strength. They don’t interest me and I think it’s a waste of time. (6%)
So the results seem to indicate that while some raiders and their guilds (20%) find feats of strength an extremely important element of their gaming experience and will spend focused time working on them, the majority of raiders fall somewhere in the middle, with about 61% of raiders indicating that their guild will prioritise some effort (on a sliding scale of emphasis) working on these feats of strength. Rounding out the poll was the 19% of respondents who either somewhat or really don’t like the pursuit of feats of strength. Going into this poll, I would have expected that number to be higher. I think, on reflection, this may point to the fact that many raiders may be ambivalent about a FoS themselves, but if the majority of their guild or guild leadership wants them to do it, they will put in the time. We will often do a lot for our guild mates, even if we’re not that fussed about something ourselves.

I had a chance to sit down with Bridgeburners leadership to reflect on their experience with pursuing the feat of strength ( that I wrote about back in early April. I think, after discussing it with them, it makes you realise that sometimes these group efforts are not so much about the  outcome or reward of a particular group activity as much as the process by which a guild works together on it. Now, for most raiding guilds that’s progression raiding. “How did we learn from the last wipe?” “How have we improved our performance?” “What new strategy should we work on together?” “Will we show up to the raid since we’re counting on each other?” But we can learn about how to work together as a team in different ways, like the pursuit of a guild achievement. These are some comments the GM and officers made when I asked them what their perspective and reaction was to the guild’s achievement of the FoS:

“I think that showed how well we work together”–Prue, Officer

“It gave a whole new dimension to the grinding, also no one complained, everyone just kept going. I still find it hard to believe so many stepped up, makes me feel we can do anything with the guild.”–Taralish, Officer

“It was strange really as we didn’t think it would be an option [us getting the FoS] being a day behind [the other guilds going for it]  – but was impressed to see how many people gave it a shot.”-Celeus, GM

“I’m not all that interested in achievements and didn’t really think we’d make it and couldn’t take part in the grinding because of work. But now that I know how it turned out I wish I had taken a day off.” –Olog, Officer

A few key phrases stick out here for me: “work together”, “we can do anything”, “many people gave it a shot.” Inherent in these statements is a fundamental link to teamwork. The guild leadership appeared galvanized by the degree to which the other members of the guild were willing to put the time into getting this achievement, even to the point where one lamented not taking the day off and the guild’s GM was genuinely “impressed” at the response of the guild members. So the FoS was not raiding (although one could argue that is it as it does provide its own raiding reward with the ability for mass resurrection) but it sure felt a bit like how we feel after a major boss kill during progress raiding. I supposed to me, however, the biggest message I take away from these statements is the degree to which we can continue to surprise each other in our group dynamics. We’re a virtual environment, we may never meet each other in person or even hear each other’s voices. And yet we manage to defy the normal (“real world” vs “virtual world”) perceptions and rules of reciprocity all the time with raiding. Yes, we still see shockingly rude behaviour among raiders and a kind of detachment from caring about others *because* we may never meet each other or hear each other’s voices, but counter to that is this ability for us to show our inherent desire to connect with each other–to be a team player, to consider the needs of others before ourselves. Time and time again I hear raiders telling me (when I ask about how their families or friends view their raiding/gaming) that it’s very hard for family and friends to understand why it’s so important to them that they not let down their raiding guild for scheduled raids. At the end of the day I think this is a big reason why many of us belong to raiding guilds and stick with a good guild for so long: because we don’t want to let each other down. Somehow we have connected, even in this “unreal” virtual space.

I don’t know if any of you are familiar with Jon Krakauer’s account of Christopher McCandless’ two-year wilderness journey that ended tragically with his death in Alaska in 1992 (it was made into a film in 2007). In the book (obviously incomplete as it was pieced together by Krakauer after McCandless’ death) “Into the Wild” Kraukauer recounts the story of a man who renounced materiality and human contact as his progressed deeper into the “wild”. One might suggest his story typifies an oft-explored and discussed desire at times by humanity for isolation and removal from society (and it also evokes the bafflement that many of us feel when someone seems to desire such a dramatic kind of isolation, like what McCandless pursued). And sometimes I wonder if people (looking in from the outside, that is) consider the activity of gamers as a kind of technological practice of going “into the wild.” Do we seem so removed, so isolated? Well, I like to think that activities like raiding actually challenge this notion. We are never alone in a raid, we are never isolated, and oftentimes, in our pursuit of shared activities through our guilds, we are perhaps improved by the time we spend together. Krakauer shared some notes that McCandleless had written after reading a work of Tolstoy’s: “He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others…” Even in his isolation, McCandless realised the importance of the human need to connect. I can’t help but think this rings true for how we are when we our team-based raid activity truly works at optimal levels.

Oh that? That’s just my feat of strength….

April 05, 2011 By: Ladan Category: achievements, feat of strength, teamwork

So last night I participated in observing one high-end raiding guild’s (Bridgeburners on the EU-Emerald Dream server) final push toward achieving a pretty difficult guild feat of strength. They had to start at 3 am (when things ‘ticked over’) game time. They managed to have a couple dozen of their guild at the ready for group activity such as heroic runs, intended to give them more guild exp and push their guild’s level to 25, thus earning them the highly prized feat of strength of being the first guild on the server to level 25. As one of the guild members put it to me, “This is a once in a game experience opportunity.”

I asked to join in and they graciously allowed me. But my role was more as a fascinated observer than active participant. I got up at 2 am my time (3 am game time)… I logged into the game… I listened to them on vent. I tried to ask some insightful questions (at least they sounded insightful to me at the time). But mostly I sat and watched. Obviously a guild achievement is for that guild alone and I could only do so much from the sidelines, but I’ll admit I am extremely impressed. I asked the group this morning (yes they kept going all night, while I gave up after two hours for a snooze) what percentage of their group they estimated to have participated and they believed around 80-90% so far with an expectation that every member of the guild will pitch in at some point. They are not quite there yet, but I would estimate that they will get to the FoS within a few hours. UPDATE: Within a little more than 8 hours the guild had won the ‘Realm First’ achievement. And their relief and joy was audible on the vent channel! Congrats to them. :)

This feat of strength doesn’t really give you a tangible reward. There is no pretty epic. I mean you can buy a mount and there’s a server wide announcement and that’s that. But I think it proves something more valuable. It proves that a guild has done things together and can work together on guildwide tasks. I’d say that’s pretty important for things like guild cohesion and team building skills. Ironically, though, for a guild to pull together like this they already need some cohesion. And this guild has it. They are in the top 500 worldwide and they are the top guild on the server. But even they seemed surprised by the high level of participation and enthusiasm for the effort. They had not anticipated such a high rate of involvement and I think it’s given them not only a boost about what they can do, but (at risk of sounding cheesy) may have helped them pull together socially even more.

There were a few other guilds that actually were ahead of this guild when they started this push and, apparently, it seemed unlikely that they’d be able to surpass the other guilds. But based on their largescale response and support of the effort, it looks like they will actually reach this goal first–nothing like being the underdog, after all! I asked the group if they would have been so motivated to charge ahead if there wasn’t any competition to contend with. Many responded that the competitive feel of this challenge was definitely a motivating factor. And are we really surprised? Raiders love a good competitive experience, after all.

But not all raiders find value in achievements or feats of strength. When I mentioned the plan to a friend in an elite guild, he expressed surprise at the effort as he himself does not care about achievements. Something that one could find a little ironic considering the coordinated effort, sacrifice, and dedication that elite raiders will often put into burning through the raiding content as quickly as possible.

But it’s about what we want to do while we play and how we create that atmosphere that helps us work together as groups on difficult tasks. I would be surprised if the positive impact of this groupwide effort didn’t have a positive impact on the group’s raiding efforts.

So how do we feel about these feats of strength and these big achievements? Do you participate? Do you care? Vote in the poll! :)