Open Discussion: How Do You Improve Players Without Coming out as an Arrogant Jerk?

Open Discussion: How Do You Improve Players Without Coming out as an Arrogant Jerk?

 
Image courtesy of kalilo

The above picture is quite fitting. The shot is of one bear standing atop of a log looking down at another bear. It’s almost as if the tall bear is trying to tell the other bear that his technique of catching fish is incorrect. I suspect that both bears engage in a bear-like scrap which involves tussling the opponent around until they both run out of breath and call it a draw.

This leads me to today’s open discussion post. I’m going to describe to you a completely and entirely hypothetical situation.

Seriously.

Let’s assume for the moment that I’ve lost several healers over the course of two weeks. The fact that it really did happen has no bearing at all whatsoever on his hypothetical scenario.

We take on 3 extra healers, all considerably green in terms of experience and gear. They’ve done Black Temple and Hyjal a combined 5 times. Their health is not up to par. Their spec is even more puzzling. The primary reason we take them is because if we don’t, we are effectively paralyzed.

Again, hypothetically speaking.

You understand my beliefs in the matter. A raiding guild that is not raiding is not a raiding guild.

I want to help

I want to do whatever I can to get these players developed and up there in no time. But attacking a healer’s technique, gear, spec, and situational awareness can be a bit disorienting all at the same time. Unfortunately, my guild doesn’t exactly have a lot of time to spend waiting around for them to see the light. So I have to shine a really large bulb in their eyes right now so that changes can be made as quick as possible in order to balance the ship.

Did anyone who read that last paragraph understand what I was trying to say there?

In other words, if I get all nice and touchy-feely I might not get taken seriously enough. If I don’t get taken seriously enough, then they will still continue their mistakes and inefficiencies. If that continues, I will have to eventually turn to look for other solutions and I start right at the beginning going through the processes again.

On the other hand, if I come on too strong, they become defensive and tone deaf to the suggest improvements that I offer. This results in them nodding and of course, not doing as I ask.

Where are all the healers?

I don’t exactly have a whole lot of healers barging down my door begging to apply. I have to work with what I have. Skipping straight from T4 instances to T6 would just about overload anyone.

As my distant cousin Carlos Juan Atticus would say, "you loco, ese".

How can I possibly pack six months worth of raiding skill, information, and knowledge into a two week trial period? Because that’s all the time I have before these guys either sink or swim. We let them go in favour of looking for new ones. There is no readme file on how to be an awesome healer. Compressing information such as positioning, healer smarts, situational awareness, and all these big mumbo jumbo terms is tough.

Which leads me to…

I have to trim down all this fat. I have to tell them what they need to know, what they need to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why they should do it. Don’t ask me why, but people find it reassuring to know why they are doing the things they do. Do you know how amazingly cooperative people get if you give them a perfectly logical reason as to why they should do something?

Example, every time you see a Doomfire, abandon healing your tank and run. Why? Because they’ll die if they don’t. A dead healer is a useless healer.

Never forget my principles.

I want these players to get better so that I don’t have to bring in a new batch of healers to shepherd. 3 hours of my time is spent in the raid. When I handle assignments and briefings on what healers are doing, I do it several trash pulls before. This way, I don’t waste time when we get in front of a new boss and spend 10 minutes explaining exactly what we’re doing, where, when, how, and why.

It’s quite satisfying to hear my raid leaders call out for various things to find them already done.

"We need Shadow Resist buff."
"Done."
"Did anyone tell the new priest what they’r-"
"Done."
"By the way, Lang needs a fear war-"
"Already up and 10 seconds in."
"So the paladin knows who to hea-"
"Yeah, main tank, can we pull now?"

I wonder how many man hours I’ve saved.

About me

I am an extremely direct person. If I want something, I’m going to say it. If I see something wrong, I’m going to mention it. My trouble is that I want to convey my thoughts in a manner where I won’t come out as an ass yet can instill a sense of urgency.

Let’s talk about specs.

Let’s hypothetically assume there is a Priest with a 21/40 build (that’s Divine Spirit without the improved, and the Circle of Healing without the Circle of Healing).

Can you tell me what is wrong with that?

A normal person might say nothing. It’s a perfectly decent spec and players should be allowed to spec however they want. Empowered Healing does increase base flash heal and greater heal by a sizeable margin, to be sure.

The healing lead would have alarm bells go off in their heads. Can you tell me why? In a raid, there are 25 players allowed. A certain percentage consist of tanks, DPS, and healers.

This is the argument that I would make and that I would say but I would just feel so guilty of saying (I do have a guilt complex).

"Bob, you know, you’re an excellent healer. You do what you’re told and heal who you’re asked to heal. You’ve been a tremendous service to the Guild. But I’m in a tough bind here. I can only let in 7 healers at a time and you don’t exactly supply a lot of options for yourself. You’re specced Spirit without the Improved Spirit. You also don’t have Circle of Healing. Why should I take you? You’re useless to me. Give me a reason to take you. I want to take you in, I really do. But when I weigh you against the other potential classes, it looks quite grim."

Of course, Bob, the ever so brilliant opportunist would counter with the fact that I don’t have a lot of options to choose from. This brings me back to my opening question. How do you improve players without giving the impression of an arrogant jerk? Because frankly, I am one. But that’s because I care.

I did mention this was all hypothetical, right? This is the kind of material that gets pumped out when a blogger sits idle in a chair with his eyes closed.

It’s quite refreshing.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!
About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Trackbacks

  1. […] ever Cosmo Challenge and the objective of helping bloggers have fun with their writing is complete. How to improve players without coming across as a jerk rounds out the month as Matticus looks inward to resolve his own inner […]

  2. […] started falling out of my head. Well, mom always said I had $#%! for brains. So head on over to Open Discussion: How Do You Improve Players Without Coming out as an Arrogant Jerk? and read Matt’s hypothetical situation, then come on […]