Right. I intended to post about this long time ago, pretty much since I read the post over at Paragon site by Lazei. While I agree with Lazei on all points almost completely, some of the reactions to his post were rather negative and in a “STFU you elitist” manner. So I thought I’ll take on the very same topic from the point of view of casual passionate raider. For those of you, not familiar with the post and not really into reading it, allow me to quote the basic thesis of the post:
I’m going to rant here a bit because every time I see someone mention bad luck (or RNG) it makes me angry. I’m pretty sure most raiders hear “bad luck, couldn’t have done anything about it” multiple times in a single raid and I just want tell you that almost every single player who blames bad luck for wiping is a fucking idiot.I hate when people blame luck and that’s the end of it. Somehow the general attitude seems to be that shit happens and there is nothing you can do about it when the players’ attitudes should be “FUCK! That’s not supposed to happen! How can we survive this? Could this have been prevented?”.
Now, I completely and totally back that statement up. As “my” raiders found out, nothing gets my blood pressure up as much as hearing “bad luck” or “RNG”. Why? I’ll explain soon.
Definition of terms
RNG isn’t actually something that causes the wipe. In fact, RNG is just part of the game. Hell, it’s even part of the D&D games you use to play with your friends – it’s simply random number generator. Nothing less, nothing more. It works the same way as a dice – it rolls a number against certain table and determines the result. While I agree that some events or roll results can make your life difficult and/or complicate boss encounter flow, it’s not lethal evil game mechanic put in place to justify a failure. All boss fights have certain random elements in them but these elements can be pre-countered by thinking ahead and utilizing all your character and player traits.
Bad luck on the other hand can happen and it’s actually something I am okay with – as long as you did everything you could and then some to avoid said situation. Bad luck can happen simply because we are people and no matter how skilled we (think we) are there is always a line we just won’t be able to cross, way above our skill curve.
RNG and bad luck is the thing that in my opinion tells who you are. A true raider for me isn’t someone necessarily raiding 24/7 and being in world top 100 guild (although these people definitely have the mindset I am describing, that’s what makes them succesful). Being a true raider to me means improving and always thinking out of the box, not subscribing to rng and coincidence.
Whenever I hear “It was RNG” my blood pressure goes up. You know why? Because whoever says that immediately dismisses the possibility they did something wrong or that there was something they could do extra (or someone else for that matter). Want example?
Anecdotal evidence 1 – progressing Cho’gall normal
The ooze team on 2nd/3rd ooze gets ready to unleash hell (in words of Tropic Thunder – ” I’m talking about a scorched earth, motherfucker! I will massacre you! I WILL FUCK YOU UP! “) and Worship goes off. Two out of three AoE dpsers get mind controlled and the whole raid is stacked on Cho’gall on the other side of the room. We wipe.
Was it RNG fucking us up? No. While worships are the random element of the fight, this situation could’ve been countered and has been countered from that point on. How? Simply. I wasn’t stacking in the raid, I was hanging with the ooze group, my trigger finger ready to hammer down my Wind Shear bind the very instant I see enemy nameplate near me. And guess what. It worked. That means going the extra step, these are the moments that separate the true raiders from the rest. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, I see many things like these done every week by most of the people I raid with – they put in the extra effort to push the whole raid onwards, to counter even the slightest randomness or disadvantage we might face; it’s just that I recall my moments to shine better.
True raider, second part.
Now, given the example above – if all 3 of us get Worshipped, now that’s bad luck at our level of play. We took precautions and got screwed anyways – yes, someone else might’ve been looking out to provide backup-backup interrupt but if we are to be honest here, that’s pretty much very borderline top of our skill curve, not to mention probably ineffective for 10M raid. Detaching a person who has some downtime at the start of ooze spawn is okay. Detaching another to watch out after this person is not effective; in fact, it’s more worth to take the risk of “bad luck” wipe than overcomplicate things.
Being a true raider for me is about improving oneself. There is always lesson learned from a wipe you cause, from every death. To quote Lazei once more:
Just to emphasize: bad luck does exist. But you don’t wipe because of bad luck, you wipe because you couldn’t handle it. I realize I’m not the average raider and I raid with a pretty incredible group of players. But the point I’m trying to make is that don’t blame bad luck and just end it at that. Try to learn how to avoid getting in to situations you just were in.
No matter your level of play, no matter the time commitment you put into your raiding, no matter whether you class yourself as casual or hardcore – the bolded part above is the one single thing that will move you forward, help you improve yourself as a player. As soon as you start thinking outside the simple assignments of DPS/heal/tank X and start thinking whether there is anything (even standing 2y to the left) you can do to reduce the random elements / dangerous situation of the fight, you’ll grow as a raider. As well, it feels incredibly good knowing you’re the one who indeed saved the day, or who made it easier for their friends to get boss kill.
Fear of being a failure
As in most social groups, being singled out for making a mistake is considered “unwanted” and it takes a little change of mindset to understand that owning up for a mistake you make in raid has usually two simple results:
- It gives everyone a chance to learn from your mistake. Isn’t it better that everyone knows “this” is not a way to do it and can avoid wiping the raid next time. In the end, it takes less time to speak up and explain what went wrong than wipe 4 more times before others learn this lesson too.
- It earns you street cred. If you make the entry to your new raiding group as person who might fuck up, but always knows why and what went wrong, you raid leader will love you long time. Knowing you have person who can fess up to mistake and provide you with feedback to a certain boss mechanic is priceless.
Conclusion from this is simple – owning up to your mistakes is most of the time is the best thing you can do. Start noticing things related to your character and soon you’ll be able to notice the whole bigger picture of the fight and your performance will increase with every raid. You’ll know where and when to move, you will understand the flow of the fight better. Ever wondered how can your raid leader see all those things, see what went wrong? It’s this simple training. We all started as self-tunneled players and just worked on our perception.
Another important thing to note – you are raiding with friends or e-buddies, people you presumably went to hell and back with in the past while kicking ass and taking names – no one is out to get you and just because you fuck one thing up, doesn’t mean you’ll get insta kicked. We all make mistakes and we all should have the understanding when someone else makes them.
Above said applies for most cases. Of course, if you fail to taunt a boss 5 times in a row, at the very same time into the encounter and wipe the raid for the same stupid mistake – that’s where the benevolence and tolerance runs out.
So you’re saying there is no RNG or bad luck?
No. Same as Lazei, I am saying that while RNG and bad luck might occur (and does), most of the time something is considered RNG or bad luck is just steep learning curve or a thing you should’ve handled differently. The important thing here is to be able to tell the difference at your level of play. It’s okay that your players simply can’t counter immediate random change of fight pace or cover for others when something unfortunate happens. It’s really okay, as long as you don’t play in world top guild. It’s not okay to be completely oblivious to what happened to you though. In current raiding tier, being able to tell the cause of a death/wipe will help you avoid wipe in the future.
Remember, you’re in it together with 9 or 24 other people and you all share the same knowledge base and you share the think-tank to down the boss!
So, how about you? How much do you subscribe to RNG theory?