Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's the way you use it

This is kind of a response to the discussion resulted from yesterday's post.

I admit that I measure my performance in WoW. Be it Gnomore with his no-kills policy (binary measurement: kill/no-kill), my spriests performance in random instances (DPS), my AH adventures (GPH or total gold gained) or my tanking with the Three Stooges (did we get it or was it another wipe). I also resort to some comparative measuring during the last one, due to the fact that we three are in it together and if any of us spots any way to improve the overall performance, its a gain for all of us.

It comes down to the fact that I use the numbers and measurements for myself, to improve my personal gameplay, performance and/or evaluate my success in gaining my goals.

I admit that I did pose the thought in a somewhat provocative manner, condemning the whole measuring as bad, evil or originating from poor self-esteem.

As Hirvox mentioned, minmaxing can be fun, and for some it is the only fun part of the game. At the same time we should accept the fact that not all are interested in minmaxing at all, even though the game itself imposes this on us. I still think that if the game is played so that you must seek additional information from off game sources to be able to play it at any level, there is something wrong with the game itself. And that measuring performance is way out of the way of reasonable if your gearing and/or performance is used as a measure of yourself as a player.

In Rift there are no actual performance meters (dps or threat meter), the only metrics there is is in fact the rift/invasion group roster, which can only be accessed while the event is on: after the event is over the roster disappears and there is no way of telling who performed the best or who worst. I think Rift is going to avoid the measurement issue WoW is already suffering because of the fact that there are so many ways to set the souls up and even though the archetypical soul/role composition changes, the general class bonuses in the gear still apply: the gearing is much more straightforward in it's own simplified way.

Main point today is this: it's not wrong or a bad thing to have measurements or measuring in the game. What makes it wrong or right is the way you use the information. To use the information to improve ones own performance is more than applicable, but to rank people according to some arbitrage numbers - usually taken out of context - is just sheer dumb. (Note: I'm not talking about improving raid performance, that is similar to what we do as Three Stooges. But if that information taken from separate fights are used to put people down, I really doubt the motivation of the raid leader.)

The question for today is: is it really necessary to measure the performance to the last decimal (or hexadecimal, or even binary sequence)? Like I said about Rift, there is no need for it, and the game is overall deemed seriously fun, where as in WoW where everything is measured by addons the game is funnily serious.

At least that's the way I see it: measurements, when used 'wrong', alienate the player base and creates a separation to those who minmax and those who couldn't care less. Both groups will suffer if there is no middle ground or mutual acceptance.