Saturday, 7 May 2011


In most sports, bringing in someone else to play the game for you (a so-called ringer) is regarded as cheating. If you got someone from Paragon to play your character for you, so you always got top DPS and hence raid spots, boss kills, loot etc, would that be cheating? Most people would say yes. But we do that all the time with other aspects of the game, rather than the actual button pressing in a fight.

Did you copy that spec or rotation from Elitist Jerks (EJ) or work it out yourself? What about the tactics you use? Does your guild require everyone to view the fight videos on Tank Spot before they raid or do you kill the bosses using your own ingenuity?

In either case, if you got someone else to do the work, you cheated, just as surely as if you'd got someone from Paragon to play your character for you. The trouble is, if you spend the time to work it out yourself, as Tobold advocates, you get accused of letting the team down; being too stupid or lazy to look up the "right way". It's a topsy-turvy world, where the guy who solves a problem himself is regarded as a moron and slacker, while the guy who copies somebody else's work is regarded as intelligent and dedicated.

Of course, it could be argued that the EJ copy & paste method is how the game is supposed to be played, that the true challenge is in the execution. The trouble is, that turns MMOs into an elaborate and expensive game of Simon Says, which is boring in the extreme. Blizzard have been reduced to making WOW a twitch game, not because that's what they originally intended, but because it's the only kind of challenge you can't copy and paste your way past (or can you?). Raids are tuned on the assumption that people will cheat, making them almost impossible for people who try to solve the problem themselves.

By cheating, copying the work of others, we the players have broken MMOs. You can't cheat and then complain about lack of challenge (essentially what was happening in Wrath). If you want challenge, stop bloody cheating! Work the encounters out yourself, rather than watching the how-to video on Tank Spot. Do your own experimentation and theorycraft to optimise your build, don't just copy and paste from EJ. Do your own homework, rather than copying someone else's.

Otherwise you're just pressing that cheat button.


  1. Back in school, did you research your own formulas or did you use the ones researched by famous physicists and mathematicans?

  2. Well, I'm a mathematician by training, so actually I did learn how to derive most of it from scratch!

    Having said that, you have a fair point in general. I guess my answer to that is that real life is not a game. In reality, the quickest, easiest solution is generally the best (all other things being equal). Even that's not a universal rule, of course; many people get pleasure out of hand-crafting things that could be better made by machines.

    The rules of games are different; the reward comes not merely from achieving the goals, but the way in which you achieved it. A game of pool where you just picked the balls up and dropped them in the pockets would be boring - it's the constraints on how you are allowed to achieve this that make the game fun and interesting.

    By skipping past these, I can't help feeling that we defeat the whole purpose of playing.