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Ask Massively: Happy "I like you just enough to outweigh the annoyance of breaking up with you" day edition

Eliot Lefebvre

Valentine's Day was Monday, a celebration for those happy couples incapable of showing mutual affection during the other 364 days of the year. But many people haven't given their hearts to their beloveds so much as they have been in those relationships too long. It's not being in love; it's being unwilling to deal with the irritation that comes with splitting up after the situation has become a comfortable routine. Since I assume that the week basically downgrades from Monday, happy day of things not being bad enough to break up!

I may have just wanted to link Dogs Die in Hot Cars. But I'll deny it in further comments.

This week's questions cover nothing of a romantic nature. Instead, we're talking about World of Warcraft, or more specifically, how doing well on a boss one week seems to mean doing worse next week. As always, you can leave your questions for the next edition of Ask Massively in the comment field or just send us an email to

Pegjay asked: Why do I always seem to do better at bosses in World of Warcraft the first time I beat them?

It's part of the same masking effect that leads to beginner's luck. Put it another way: Your first boss kill is actually making you worse at subsequent kills.

Let's use an example that we can all think of -- the original
Super Mario Bros. The first level has a pretty steady sequence; there's a mushroom in the first group of question blocks, then there's a pipe you can go down, then you grab some coins and jump over some koopas and so forth. But until you first learn the layout of the level, you don't realize there's a pipe there you can go down for extra coins.

Suppose there were a version of the level in which you could go down the pipe half the time, and the other half of the time you couldn't. If you didn't know the pipe was there, you would never know the difference between one version of the level and the other. But if you do know it's there, when you come to the pipe and you can't go down, you immediately earmark that playthrough as sub-par, because you know what's coming next. As a result, you're going to pay less attention to what you're doing, because in your mind, you already know that the level is not going according to plan.

The same thing happens for boss fights. Once you know how to down a boss, you start paying more attention to minutiae, and as a result, you're more likely to write off attempts faster because you know you're going to lose. Subsequent attempts make you that much more likely to miss the trees in light of the forest.

Or it could just be because you're sick of brutally difficult heroics in this expansion and have clocked out mentally. Could go either way, really.
Interitus: So you picked the wolf that looks the least like a wolf?
I picked the photo that looked most like it demanded to be scratched behind the ear and asked who is a good boy. A dingo was another possibility, but my odds of getting eaten by dingos are comparatively low due to my location.
Looking for some advice on which class is best for soloing in Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!

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