7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Players
by Tyler Edwards, Oct 27, 2012
There are a lot of sites out there offering guides on what to do to be a good MMO player. This article is the opposite of that. This is the guide for what not to do if you want to be a good player. These are the mistakes that will torpedo your gaming career and make sure no one ever wants you in your group. While other guides might be game specific, these mistakes will spell doom in pretty much any MMO. These are the seven habits of highly ineffective players.
We've all encountered people who cut corners. They use whatever high level gear they can get, regardless of whether it's actually any good for their class, to give the illusion of being geared so they can sneak into groups that will carry them.
These people know what they're doing is wrong. But they're happy to put on their best trollface, let other people suffer for their laziness, and simply ask, "Problem?"
The irony of their virtual "get rich quick" scheme is that it harms them as much as anyone. They're just dragging their group down, causing them to waste far more time than they would if they'd taken the little extra effort to play properly.
Having built their tank with healing gear, they spend more time staring at resurrection screens than defeating enemies. Their piddling attempts at damage make any fight an excruciating grind. What was supposed to put them ahead places them behind those players with the common sense to play the game properly.
They have achieved what should be physically impossible without a warp in the space time continuum: they have trolled themselves.
MMOs are cooperative games. If you want to succeed, you need to be able to work together with other players, whether you like it or not. And if you want to work well with them, you need to treat them with a basic level of respect - as if they're people, not NPCs that will suffer all your abuse without complaint. You can't simply shout at and badger them and assume things will go well.
This is common sense to most of us, yet there are still many MMO players who haven't managed to grasp this concept. They spend all their time slinging insults and spewing scorn, and then they wonder why the healer is ignoring them, why the tank is leaving them to their fate, and why the damage dealers are rolling on gear just to stop them from getting it.
Things get especially ugly when two rude players find themselves in conflict with each other, resulting in an infantile screaming match that can tear apart most any group.
Too many people don't realize that social skills are needed to advance in an MMO almost as much as play skills are.
5: Being different:
An unfortunate truth about the MMO genre is that there will always be a "right" choice for how to build and play your character, and social pressure makes any other way automatically the "wrong" way. Most MMO players just aren't that creative, and the unexpected can break their brains.
Unlike most other entries on this list, the desire to play something different isn't an inherently bad trait. Plenty of nice, well-meaning players do so. Sadly, they're still holding themselves - and their groups - back more often than not.
To be fair, some can make unusual builds work, and these players deserve the utmost respect. But even if they can make unconventional choices work, they'll likely still be held back by the perceptions of other players who assume nothing but the "right" way can be effective. In the end, the issue of being different may be more a matter of the perceptions of other players than anything.
The real problems arise when the desire to be different is combined with the other bad habits on this list. The result is an unholy mating of fail, as abominable and destructive as a pack of rabid monkeys sewn to a shark.
4: Spelling team with an "I":
Some players never got the memo that MMOs are a cooperative medium. They also apparently believe that there is an "I" in the word "team," that the sun revolves around them and not the other way around, and that other players merely exist to witness their magnificence.
This attitude expresses itself many different ways. Some try to pad the damage meters and do everything they can to increase their numbers regardless of whether or not it's doing anyone any good, pausing their battle frenzy only to inhale the sickly sweet scent of their own awesomeness. Some people just to try to achieve their own objectives, and then abandon a group to its fate the moment their goals are complete. Some people just give up decency altogether and become loot ninjas, stealing anything that isn't nailed down.
Like so many others, these people are just shooting themselves in the foot with their self-centeredness. Once people realize they don't know there's no "I" in "team," they'll be happy to remind these types that there's no "u" in "team," either - at least not in theirs.
No matter what you're doing, there's always room for improvement. This is true even of video games. No matter how good a player you think you are, there's always bound to be something you can do to improve your play.
Some people think they're already perfect, though, that there's nothing they can do to play any better. The build they made up by mashing buttons at random is perfect, their ignorance of fight tactics is no better than anyone could do, and their hodgepodge of gear is top of the line. In their own mind, anyway.
It's not that they innocently don't know any better. It's that they refuse to be taught. Any attempts to help them improve will be met with hostility. These are not newbs; they're noobs. And they're nothing but deadweight until they learn to accept advice and constructive criticism.
There's nothing wrong with being inexperienced about how to play your game of choice as long as you have some humility. Anyone with the willingness to learn can improve. Anyone without it should be avoided like the Black Death.
At the other end of the spectrum from those unwilling to learn are those unwilling to teach. These folks believe that everyone should pull themselves up by their own virtual bootstraps and that anyone with the temerity to log on without perfect knowledge of all classes and systems deserves any amount of abuse that can be heaped upon them.
Elitists generally think they've saving time by shunning the less knowledgeable. In the short run, they might be. But they've forgotten that they exist in a greater community of gamers. They're happy to commiserate the newbishness of their fellow players and sneer at the unwashed masses, but they never stop to consider how things have come to such a state, or why so many players aren't as knowledgeable as they. If they were just willing to share their experience, the community as a whole would improve, and they wouldn't have to deal with as many of those foul newbs.
The combination of these last two types - those unwilling to learn and those unwilling to teach - are why so many MMO communities in are in the states they're in. The experienced are afraid to help other players for fear of getting barked at by arrogant noobs, and legitimate newbs are afraid to ask for help for fear of being treated like subhuman sludge by the elitists. Like a bad sitcom plot, it's a situation as ridiculous as it is painful.
1: Giving up:
In the end, the single greatest tool in any game is determination. Any obstacle can be overcome with enough persistence. By that same token, giving up easily does more harm than just about any other bad habit. MMOs are like life that way; the surest way to fail is to not try.
Now, sometimes you do need to simply admit you've been beat and throw in the towel, but far too many people will quit at the slightest sign of trouble. Tank died once? Leave the group. DPS is low? Leave the group. Healer asks to wait for his mana for a few seconds? Quit them noobs. Someone asked a question? Run for your life!
Some people have become so paranoid that they'll quit a group simply because someone else quit. Whatever reason the other person had is irrelevant. If they left, the group must be doomed, and so, like a spooked herd of buffalo, players stampede in their panic to leave this hopeless endeavor.
Maybe they've been scared by failures in the past, or maybe they're just lazy. Whatever the reason, these people end up desperately searching for another group to quit while players made of sterner stuff are killing bosses without issue, having overcome their minor speed bump and continued on.