Monday, July 13, 2009

Sign of a Good Player, Taking Criticism.

The difference between being a good player or a bad player is knowing when you are right or wrong. What I mean by this is that to become a good player, you need to accept that you won't always be right. On your realm, there is a player that is better geared, more skilled, and more advanced then you are. Its a fact. On any realm there can only be 10 people that are the best of their class and chances are you aren't one of those people.

So occasionally you are going to run into people that are better players then yourself. Depending on how good you are determines the frequency of this occurring. The other factor is of course, your exposure to the community as a whole. If you never do anything in WoW but play by yourself.... you probably won't be reading this blog. Also if you are playing solo then your performance really doesn't matter and so you can ignore this post.

This post is about taking criticism. I don't mean the criticism from the "leet" players who just tell you that you suck and kick you from the group. What I'm talking about is when an experienced player pulls you aside and points out that you could be doing things differently. I've had this happen to me and I have done this with players that I encounter on my realm. The difference between a good player or a bad player is how you take this criticism.

The bad player will simply ignore this advice or get upset that this person is "judging" them. Perhaps he will reason or justify his choices in playing the way that he does. Often times they will attack the integrity of the person who is criticizing them. So they will continue to do whatever it was they were doing and perform subpar in groups. Other times it will push them away from raids or group content, or they will only do so in the confines of the guild they are in. Since the guild they are in caters to their poor performance and are often full of bad players, no one will call them out and they will never improve. Good players who happen to be in this guild will get shunned for giving criticism till they either quit the guild or sit in silence.

The good player listens to the criticism. Takes the other players words into consideration and then does research, either on his own, or on a community site to verify the advice. Based on this the good player decides to accept the advice and make the change, or reject the advice based on the evidence found in his research.

Very few people take criticism well. I for one, do not take it well. The difference between me and a bad player though, is that I do everything I can to not be wrong in the first place. I do my research on community sites and blogs as well as in game testing. I do this so that I can be beyond reproach. Am I perfect? No. But I want the person who criticizes me, to be one of the best players in the game.

So when someone comes to you with advice. Listen to them. Take what they say into consideration (make sure it makes sense). Go onto the community sites and blogs to see if the advice is valid for you. Back this research up with a little of your own, whether that is playing with spreadsheets or the target dummy. Finally make an educated choice to accept or reject the advice, and if you choose to accept, act upon the good criticism.

Learning and growing can improve your character just as much as that shiny new piece of gear.


Zaphind said...

Conversely, I think "good vs bad" can be measured by how well one delivers constructive criticism.

I like to think that I both take and receive pretty well. But I can't tell you the countless number of PUGs that I've been in where, for example, the take starts screaming "Healer WTF are you doing? Are you a dumbass?"

Aside from merely pointing out they they themselves are an asshole, wouldn't it have been a lot better to whisper something to them like, "You need to cast ability X when the boss starts doing Y, otherwise we all take triple damage."

Unfortunately, so few people seem able to politely articulate something constructive, and find it far easier to seemly rant about someone else's bad play.

What's My Main Again? said...

I totally agree with you there. On my realm you see a lot of people requiring members to be overgeared and have the achievement for what they are doing. They don't take into consideration though that fights can be done more then one way and they just "assume" that everyone will know the same strat they are using.

There have been a handful of times on bosses like Thaddius where people forget to mention which charge stands where and which direction to run around. 4 horseman is another similar fight.

I haven't pugged much in Ulduar so I'm not sure how many different strats there are for those bosses.

I've seen people kicked from groups instead of the raid leader just explaining a few things to the raid members. The sign of a great raid leader to me is one that communicates very well to his/her raid.

Wow said...

Excellent post. I wish more people would follow your advice and learn when to set their egos aside and listen to well-intentioned advice.

Elvendude said...

Interesting. I know that I'm nowhere near the best at what I do. I often seek out advice either in game or on blogs. One thing I run into is that I'm often the best in my guild. Of course, guilds tend to be pretty insular, and mine is no exception. So I have very little exposure to players outside my guild, and thus don't get a whole lot of criticism. I find it valuable when I do end up pugging and find someone who I can learn something from. I'll often try to watch what they're doing (either at the time or through the logs if I can) and learn through that, or even just directly ask them.

I often find that, if someone is specced the same as you and outperforming you, just looking at their gear can give you a good sense of where you need to focus.

Whats my main Again? said...

@ Elvendude- See thats why I like pugging on my toons. I usually find myself being the best in my guild but occasionally I will run into someone better in a pug raid or something. If you close yourself off to pugs you may end up closing yourself off to improvement by never running into those people.

On our server even the top guild players occasionally go pug raids that they miss.