Behind the Curtain: Taught to Play?

Craig Withers
C. Withers|04.25.08

Sponsored Links

Behind the Curtain: Taught to Play?
On the first episode of Massively Speaking, Krystalle mentioned that she joined the EVE University in EVE Online. For those of you not in 'the know', EVE University is a neutral training guild - or corporation - which takes new players, trains them in how the game works, then sends them on their way. It's a laudable endeavour, and one which I have, sadly, yet to see in World of Warcraft.

In the past couple of weeks, I've had a fantastic group with a Priest whose idea of efficient Healing was to stand right next me (the Tank) on the front line and spam Prayer of Healing over and over, then screaming at me for not Taunting mobs off him, and another with a Rogue who (I presume) had a broken space bar which made him jump constantly, ignored the marks I set over mobs and thought it was a bright idea to chain-pull mobs regardless of the group's health and mana status.

Now, I'm a nice enough guy, so I tried to explain to these players what they were doing wrong, and asked them politely to change their ways for the good of the group. The Priest simply called me an idiot while the Rogue just ignored me completely.

Still, I started to wonder about how people learn, not just how to play games, but how to behave in games. I know I wrote a while back about various resources of in-game knowledge, but let's face it, simply handing someone a manual - virtual or otherwise - and telling them to start reading isn't normally the right way to go about things.As it is, good players end up having to play wet nurse to other, less skilled players. I'm not saying that helping other players or teaching them how to play is a bad thing, but how many times have you had to explain the mechanics of a boss fight in a 5-man to someone who says, "Yes, I've been here, but I wasn't paying attention"?

I'm not talking about players who simply don't know who the mechanics of the game work, or who are unfamiliar with whatever fight you're about to try – I'm talking about the kinds of player who resolutely refuse to try and better themselves. When a new player joins your guild, for example, does the guild have a responsibility to train the player, to teach them how to play? Yes and no. It would depend very much on what kind of guild you're joining.

Not that you'd manage to get into Nihilum with sub-par skills, but imagine for a moment a player joining Nihilum, or any other end-game raiding guild, then turning up to raid without Flasks, Potions or half-repaired gear. Clearly they wouldn't last. On the flipside, a laid-back casual guild like the (awesome) one I'm in may well be happy to run through some of the easier content to get you up to speed both in terms of gear and more importantly, in terms of skill.

Taking the example of EVE University and applying it to WoW doesn't really work though, as the two games are set up differently. EVE University is possible primarily - I think - because EVE Online runs on one server, giving the one continuous game world, while WoW exists as a series of separate worlds across a number of servers.

One would hope that the altruism displayed by the staff of EVE University would also be shown by some of the players in WoW, although there's an argument to be had along those lines regarding the maturity of the average EVE players vs. that of the average WoW player – but we're not going to get into it here.

Still, it's something to think about – I know there are plenty of players out there who are generally very helpful. I know Blizzard have been careful about releasing hard and fast population figures for their servers, but I'd imagine that there are servers out there with enough good, decent people to give this a try.

Putting aside the fact that it's a good enough thing to help people out, teaching people how to play better results in better people to group with, so surely it's a win-win situation?
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget