All of us have been in that nightmarish PuG filled with paladin tanks that don’t consecrate, druids that don’t use HoTs, and DK DPS who can’t stop using death grip.
All of us have been in that PuG from heaven with the ret pally who flawlessly swaps to a spellpower weapon and starts healing when the priest bites it, the prot warrior who for all intents and purposes might as well be omniscient, or the shaman healer who somehow keeps the whole group alive when the tank pulls a boss and two packs of trash simultaneously, and makes it look effortless.
All of us have been in that PuG with the competent hunter, the competent mage, the competent rogue… they weren’t really special, weren’t really all that great, but they weren’t bad. So average you forget them immediately, maybe even forgetting what class they are.
The fact is, behind every single one of those characters, behind the worst mage you’ve ever seen, behind the best druid you’ve ever had the pleasure of running with, is a human being.
Now there are a couple interesting things about human beings.
How many of you are perfect? How many of you play every single raid boss absolutely flawlessly every single time? How many of you never, ever make a mistake in PvP?
For the flip side of that, how many of you strive to play every single raid boss flawlessly? How many of you strive to play your absolute best, and then improve that absolute best any way you can?
All of you do, of course. You wouldn’t be here in the first place if you had absolutely no interest in an improvement over your current state of affairs.
We, as humans, want to become better. We want to improve. We have an innate desire to look at our current circumstances, our current skills, and want to improve them any way we can.
Well, more accurately, we as thinking, reasoning, mature humans, want to become better.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who play this game with absolutely no interest in becoming better at what they do. Either they just don’t care or already think they’re plenty good already. (The first being casuals, the second idiots.)
The rest of us, however…
The guild did ToC-10 last night. We’ve already cleared all the bosses, though we still have lots of wipes. We took a PuG mage along with us, by the name of Arcanio, a frostfire mage.
I was not impressed. Bringing Hateful Glad gear, spirit gems (not hybrids, but actual, full out epic +20 spirit type gems), with Flame Leviathan, Razorscale, Deconstructor, and the Black Knight topping out his list of hardest content run, and being a blood elf to top it off…
Well. I wasn’t expecting stellar performance. He does have over 25k HKs, so maybe he’s learned a thing or two here and there. /crosses fingers
I expected the worst, but had faint hope he would at least manage to be okay.
And what’d I get? Well… I got okay. Bottom of the DPS, of course, but he beat the snot out of the tanks, and never once fell below 2k DPS. Usually hovered around 2.2-2.5k, which while not SUPER AWESOME OMG, was still far better than the “below the tank” I was expecting.
I’m not jaded at all about PuGs. Nope. Not even a little bit.
The ridiculously awesome trinket Fetish of Volatile Power dropped. I lost the roll to Mr. Arcanio by a mere 3 points, and was all “ARAGHAGAGARR!” I was a little miffed, to say the least, at losing a great DPS trinket to some PuG elf!
I offered to buy it from him for a thousand gold, but no dice.
He said he was trying to gear up, that my gear was already in fantastic shape compared to his, and that he could really, really use the extra crit as a frostfire mage.
He may not have nearly the level of knowledge I have (apparently the dude doesn’t know what a hit cap is?), but at least he understands the concept that crit = good.
Mark Mr. Arcanio up a few notches in my book.
In the middle of a brutal brawl on champions, I (being in charge of crowd control for this fight), call for Arcanio to get a polymorph off on something.
And guess what?
Mark Arcanio up a few more notches.
We’re about to pull twins after a wipe (our very first ever!) and Arcanio appears afk. He gets back, apologizes, as he was alt tabbed reading up on the fight.
Alright, alright, a proper raider would have read up on the fight before starting it for the first time, but Arcanio didn’t exactly have much time to prepare. Dude was yanked out of trade and wiping to Beasts before he had a chance to get his pants on.
Call my standards low if you want, my conclusion remains the same.
Here we have an average mage with an average skill set. Yet, despite all that, he nonetheless possesses the desire to improve, rudimentary knowledge of how to do that, and the will to improve.
Sounds a lot like you and me, doesn’t it?
Arcanio was not an amazing player. He didn’t produce unimaginably awesome DPS, he didn’t blow us all out of the water with his amazing skills.
And yet I can guarantee you that he is a better player now than he was a year ago, and a year from now will be far better still.
Improvement is inevitable. If you care, even slightly, about your character, your performance, you will become better using any means available to you. Most of you won’t even question this behaviour.
Let’s say you roll up an alt, something you’ve never ever played before.
You ding level 10, earning your very first talent point. What do you do?
Do you spend it how you see fit?
Or do you fire up google and see what information you can find?
Do you even question the fact that you research your class(es) anymore? Do you ever walk into a raid without having done “homework” on the fights?
In game, we improve. Out of game, we search for ways to improve in game. It is impossible for us to do otherwise.
/end pointless ramble