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The definition of fail

09.03.2010

While the first chunk of 3.3.3 is downloading, I get time to read some more blogs. One word that I find mentioned fairly often, in blogs or on the official forum, is “fail“.

But what exactly is fail? Or, more precisely, what do I mean, when I call something “fail”?

Fail is, simply put, not achieving your goals. So the basic premise is that without knowing another person’s goals, it is hard to declare someone “fail” on pure observation. It has always to be in context. The most prominent goal is survival. We can all agree on that – if you’re dead, you’re hard pressed to do anything in-game. But being dead doesn’t mean you “failed”, because there’s bad luck, honest mistakes, or just plain learning experience. So we have to look further than that. Fun seems a good point. But what determines fun? For me it’s definitely something else than for a high-end progression raider. Am I fail? Is he? Either could be, depending on the point of view.

Group play is a bit easier to judge. The goal of the group is to clear the boss, preferably with as few wipes as possible, and for all members to have fun. That last part is important. I know that I, personally, enjoy a relaxed style, quite possibly suboptimal equipment because it fits the character and what I want to achieve. But if I were to join a raid, things would probably change, because the goal is suddenly bigger than just me. So yes, that tank in full ICC-whatever gear that can’t keep aggro, fail. The newly-dinged 80 that hasn’t had a chance to gear up yet? Not fail, as long as he’s doing the best he can.

Solo play, however, I find it hard to call anybody honestly “fail”. Only in interaction with others, because, again, suddenly it’s not only them, but they affect others as well:

That level 80 in front of the auction house, advising some newbie to install Gearscore because they “need it for raiding”? A wonderful fail, unless you want to be part of the Gearscore crowd. Personally, I’d even call it a success, because I now have two more people to avoid.

The priest I met, dying to some mobs because he asked me in chat about grouping instead of fighting when I had already started to taunt mobs off him? Fatal mistake, but not really fail.

The people who just pop up the join group dialogue in the middle of combat? Fail. And annoying.

Thank god for Autodecline. As a side note, you might think that they get the hint after two or three declines – I have set it up to only accept invites from people I have whispered to. But I have had as much as a dozen invites in succession, thankfully only flying by in the chat window. Fail.

The level 80 Death Knight at Northshire abbey, “helping’ newbies by killing any mob they have targeted and trying to impress them? Fail on so many levels… but that is a post for another day.

LarĂ­sa has a wonderful story today about her fresh experiences on an RP server. She is enjoying things that she would have never done on her normal server. This, for me, is the essence of what I am trying to say. Change the context, and suddenly your definition of success and failure change, while the goal “have fun” stays exactly the same.

If you find your fun-factor in World of Warcraft declining, why not try something completely different? Stop being hardcore. Roll on an RP server for a week or two. Take your time to do wacky things that you wouldn’t normally do. Laugh as Gearscore junkies call you fail and know, that, from your perspective, you’re a huge success – having fun.

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