On Sucking


I was playing Cynli in WSG the other night when I got whispered by a rogue on my team.

God, you suck.

Wait, what? What the fuck?

Holy shit man, do you even know how to play? I can see what you’re doing.

It was at the end of a long day at work. I was in my son’s room, waiting for him to go to sleep. It wasn’t a great game for us – the Horde was working well together, putting a lot of pressure on our GY. We weren’t getting farmed, but we were starting to get bottled up.


I decided to take my chances and try to break through their lines – I was able to keep a few of them off of me, perhaps if we made a concerted effort to punch through their lines we could break the vice – worst case, get someone through to the flag. I ran through them, healing healing healing healing dead. They overwhelmed me.

You just ran straight at them. Holy shit you’re terrible. Stealth around them!

This rogue was not going to give me a break. I got pissed, really pissed. I’ll be honest – I think my first thought was a very uncharitable, “holy shit, do you know who the fuck I am, buddy?” – but then I came back to reality and just ignored him.

Release Spirit Y/N?

/ignore rogue

29 seconds to resurrection.

Well, damnit. We’re losing. Am I healing okay? Scoreboard says I’m healing okay, I’m 3x the nearest healer. I’m doing things right.

24 seconds to resurrection.


What the hell was I thinking, running into that pack? I might not be able to stealth that well, but at least I could have not just suicided into the Horde.

15 seconds to resurrection.

I shouldn’t PvP when I’m this tired. What the hell was I thinking, that I could distratct a group like that? That shit only works in Strand and EotS.

10 seconds to resurrection.

WTF am I thinking, justifying myself with the scoreboard? The scoreboard doesn’t mean jack or shit.

5 seconds to resurrection.


Maybe he was right.


The problem with hostile criticism is not that it’s criticism, but rather that it’s hostile, which makes us immediately defensive. When we’re defensive, we’re closed to the possibility that we could be wrong. That’s why effective criticism isn’t hostile – if you want to actually change someone’s behavior with your criticism, how you say it is as important as what you say.

But being hostile doesn’t make the criticism any more or less valid. It just makes sucking hurt more.

It’s important to distinguish between criticism of an activity versus criticism of yourself as a person. This is a tough thing to learn in life; doing things poorly doesn’t mean you’re a failure at life. It doesn’t mean you’re doing them well – but failing at something doesn’t make you a waste of human genome.

Attitude is key. Jesus christ, I’m sounding like my father, but he was right – attitude is key. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to let people down. It’s not okay to stop trying to do better. It’s not okay to give up. Claim your successes, learn from your failures.

I remember the first time I got actively ridiculed in Warcraft. It was on my 59 DK, and some guy came up to me while I was at the training dummies. He laughed at me and said my spec was terrible. “Okay, I’ve been playing him for about a week, any suggestions how to improve?” “lol noob l2p” was all I got back.

I was pretty chuffed at that. But I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing on my DK yet, I knew I didn’t, so once I got over the gall of someone criticising a stranger, I went and asked for Twitter help on my build. I rebuilt my Frost spec and, indeed, did better. I stopped sucking.

It was easier for me to accept that criticism on my DK because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and the criticism was open. On my Druid, I actually felt like I knew what the haps are, and in WSG I feel like I know what the fuck I’m supposed to do.

So this impertinent rogue had a lot of gall telling me to learn to play. I know WSG, buddy!

But the rogue was right. I wasn’t playing well. I certainly wasn’t playing as well as I know how to play.

I pulled my shit together, waited for teammates to rez, and healed them as they went out of the GY. When they went down to the zerg I hid and abandoned them to die, sneaking around the Horde and getting into the base. The rogue was running the flag and I healed him as best as I could – which was pretty well – but we couldn’t get the other flag down, we were behind 2-0. We lost.

It’s okay to suck. Honestly, it is. There are plenty of times I really shouldn’t PvP – I’m exhausted, I’m stressed out, I’m not really focused on what I’m doing – but sometimes, PvP is really what I want to do right then. I don’t need to be at top performance all the time, as nice as it is. PvP takes my mind off my day, it makes me focus on pushing buttons. BUTTONS I LIKE TO PUSH YOU LET ME PUSH YOU PUSH PUSH PUSH.

But I should be honest with myself when I’m not playing well, and accept criticism when it’s deserved.



Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

9 responses to “On Sucking

  1. dakotarick

    I was called “Lame” this morning at the office because I stayed back on D. I was playing my lvl 16 Warrior and there is no question that I need to improve my Warrior skills. After explaining in BG chat that since the response time to run down the EFC without mounts is so long it is important for someone to stay back and either return the flag or at least call outgoing. There was no response from anyone. I think it is important that someone does this but I was second guessing myself the rest of the BG.Most of my PvP is done healing on my Priest and I will find myself doing the wrong things when I switch to another class. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, it’s still a game.

  2. Druidis4fite

    Did you notice that the only reason his “advice” was even remotely helpful was that you don’t suck? In fact the very opposite, that you’re a knowledgeable, self aware player able to think about alternative strats. It’s not “advice” or even “criticism”, it’s just an ad hominem that made you pensive. (OT, spell check wants that to read ad Eminem.)If a new player, or even a player who wasn’t very tactical, got “you suck” without context, they’d have no idea why they sucked. Was it their gear? Their spell choice? Their targeting? Their location? Did they miss an objective? Should they have been able to survive that? What can you DO about getting farmed if you can’t survive? A lot of new people think that dying, even dying to overwhelming force, means they’ve failed. “Stealth and come with me to flag room up east side” is just as fast to type and a million times more constructive and useful. My favorite for this is “you suck” for people capping Snowfall. Knowing to ignore Snowfall requires teaching – it’s counter intuitive that getting to accomplish a bg objective might be BAD for your team. (I know I used to get really happy when I was finally able to cap a graveyard all by myself.) Useless insults in BG chat drive me crazy, but whispers are a step further. You suck”/”Baddies” is about the least helpful thing anyone can say and the fact that you can derive some kind of meaning from it is a statement of your capabilities, not the inherent value of Impertinent Rogue.

  3. Syl

    Hehe, well I guess experiences like these teach you compassion or at least patience with the error of other people in BGs; it’s not always a complete loser just because he’s doing it wrong. maybe it’s an excellent player having an off-day, a bad night. you can’t know that of course, but in general we are overly fast to judge others based on one-time impressions (to be fair, there’s not that much time in a BG match).I think it’s okay to give up sometime, by the way. just not in BGs. ;)but really, defeat has its own lessons to teach. and sometimes a silly Geronimooo in those last minutes of a losing game can work wonders for your personal/team morale. 😛

  4. Stubborn

    I’m glad that it’s okay to suck, because man do I suck. I was told in my very first bg ever – on a prot pally – that I was a waste of space and should go kill myself.It’s a wonder I don’t really like PvP.Since then, i’ve eaten my share of criticism, but my share of crow, too, when someone pointed out that I could have done something more useful. I’ve talked to people in Bgs, too about delivery and while I’m sure that they ignored my “l2 Criticize, noob!’ (of course I was more eloquent than that – a little), I sure felt better about it. There really are a lot of knowledgeable PvPers out there, but so many are abrasive or silent when others are abrasive that it gives the whole noisy minority a bad name. Great post!

  5. Sophie_Rach

    I’ve been doing a LOT of PvP recently on my resto druid, and luckily I’m usually teamed with my friend who is a frost mage – we work well together because we spend so much time PvPing together (inc arena) that we know each other’s tips and tricks inside out. But as I’ve spent more and more time in BGs I’ve noticed they come in 3 flavours:- The Abuse Filled – “just let them win”, “you all suck, just let them cap” etc etc etc to which I normally respond – if you want to be negative, take it elsewhere. And yes, 50% of the time the other side do win, but 50% of the time WE win regardless, which is surely how it’s supposed to be.- The Good – for some bizarre reason, everything click, it becomes a 3-0 flag cap, 5 bases hold, etc etc, and it works well, everyone communicates, people work as a team…it’s all marvellous. And bizarrely – these aren’t as rare as I thought they would be when I started PvPing.- The Silent – these are the ones I find hard to deal with. At least if people are flinging abuse around, they’re annoyed enough to care. The worst battlegrounds are the ones where NOBODY communicates and these are the ones we almost always lose. You can try and push strategy in chat, you can try and start up a conversation, you can try and encourage people to get involved but still, BG chat is just silent. And IMO, I’d rather people were irate and making an effort than just sitting there, running to the middle, getting killed, ressing, running to the middle over and over again. The silent games are THE very worst.