Don’t be greedy

Funny how social anxieties can make even one’s online life very difficult. I used to think playing WoW would be my chance to liberate myself. Each of my characters could look and behave very differently from me – I could try out new personas and outlooks. To a certain extent I have done that. I am reluctant in real life to smite anyone and my fireballs and exorcists rarely work. I can stomp quite well though & have frequently stunned my husband. I can also eat & drink although unlike my characters can’t do it at the same time without dribbling. But while I thought I would really run wild in WoW and unleash lots of aspects of my hidden self – that turns out not to be true. As night elf, blood elf, corpse or cow I am still me. Me with horns. And still in fact the bits of me I don’t much like – the over-thinking, neurotic, worrying me.

This anxious me shows itself while I quest (frequent dilemma – is it ok to skin a mob just lying there or will I annoy someone who killed it 30 minutes ago and is hiding somewhere just to see who dares skin it), when I decline a guild invite (frequent worry- have I now hurt their feelings, did they have to pluck up a lot of courage to send that to me) and when I fail to say gratz quickly enough when someone gets some new achievement like exploring the whole of Elwynn Forest or killing 100 squirrels. For these people my guilt reaches unscalable heights – I picture that person barely able to see through their tears so badly have I snubbed them. I even worry about the feelings of my pets (my imp definitely looks at me funny when I use my felhunter too much).

Oh the guilt of it all.   And one of the worst fears I have is of being seen to be greedy. This poses a problem when it comes to one particular dungeon activity- rolling for loot.

Even before I went into dungeons I had a phobia about this. I had read all the horror stories about players who terrorised dungeons, rolling need on items that they couldn’t wear (items so bad for them in fact they were virtually the equivalent of Kryptonite to Superman). I think I even saw a report about one scandalous ninjaing on the evening news (some reporter was interviewing shellshocked friends and neighbours talking about what that blue dagger would have meant to the victim). Forget war, forget terrorism. This was the real threat to all things honourable & decent in our society. I knew even before going into my first dungeon that it was going to be rough. People would steal the clothes off my back (or at least my cloak and helm).

My worst fear though was accidentally rolling need myself. I was terrified of that. I did not know what I would do if I did it. I knew I could just apologise & offer to roll again. But I also feared I would not get a chance to explain myself. I would be the object of hatred and vitriol from the moment I clicked the button and my guilt ridden typos as I tried to apologise would not help (“I am so sorry” would inevitably come out like “It’s mine all mine!” combined with cackling laugh. Bloody typos).

So my first few dungeons I was petrified. My OCD reached new heights as I found myself checking & doublechecking before clicking. Sometimes I used to wish no loot would come up at all so I could relax (even thought I was running dungeons for better gear …). The mantra I recited was “It is ok to need if it’s an upgrade”. But that didnt’t help. How did I know if something was an upgrade? It took me ages to find out you could hit the shift button over the item to compare it to what you were already wearing. I used to think people had memorised all their stats (some probably do) and knew in an instant what was an upgrade or not. I used to hate myself for not knowing this. I cursed my short attention span. Sometimes I forgot what character I was playing and made dire mistakes (no one respected my mage who thought she was a healer). If I could do that I could never remember what particular level chestpiece I needed.

And the time we had to decide seemed all too short. I felt under enormous pressure the moment something appeared. Need or greed I whispered, sweat glistening on my face. I could not have been more tense if I was deciding what wire to snip.

And other related doubts assailed me. Was it bad form to pick greed or need in the middle of a fight? Did that show you were somehow less committed to the group than anyone else? And if you were dead what was the protocol then? Does a ghost have needs I asked my priest.

I blame my mother (she’s always my first port of call). She always told me it was wrong to appear needy. “No man likes a needy girl,” she said. She also told me I had a face that needed make up.  She said greed was bad too. In a party you should never go first to the buffet table and never take too much on your plate. To do any of this was to be looked down on, to show the family up, to be common.

It’s funny how this stuff stays with you in adult life and even in a virtual life. I must be the only person in the world who as a Paladin  is really glad when cloth appears because I can simply roll greed. And even that’s progress. When I first started in dungeons I used to pass on those because I thought greed meant something you kind of needed (but not enough to cry about) and need was something you’d kill your own mother for (wrong comparison but I’m still thinking about that make up comment). Now I understand that some greed is acceptable (although I’m not at the Wall Street heights of claiming greed is good). I have survived an existential crisis and I am now at least comfortable with my right to vendor or auction that which the others would also vendor or auction (is that the 11th commandment?).

But if something appears that I can use I am immediately in turmoil. Does it have it the stats I need? As I’ve said I’m not great on knowing what those are even with the shift compare thing. I once rolled need on what I innocently thought was a cloak upgrade for my warlock. It had better armor, strength & stamina. Yes I can already see some of you rolling your eyes. Please no one whisper noob. It hurt enough seeing it in party chat. Five times. You’d swear I had pushed the nuclear button. I was called everything. I now know I was wrong. It was definitely an upgrade in pure armor terms & as warlock I thought I needed stamina because that’s health and that converts to mana. But I didn’t need the strength. I thought that was sort of an optional extra that no one would begrudge me- but how wrong was I! And I didn’t even win  it! But it didn’t matter. Immediately my warlock was a shamefaced pariah.

Now I do know my Paladin needs intellect & as a tank I need stamina & strength so I look out for combinations of all those.  I also know mail intellect & plate intellect don’t come up often. I basically should be jumping for joy when I see them. But I’m not. Because I don’t want to get it wrong again.

So I have a lot of rules I apply (to myself only) in dungeons:-

Rule 1- If it’s something I’ll never use – like a pattern for one of the professions or a lockbox- then that’s easy – I just pass on it. All I’m going to do is lazily vendor it not auction it or find a locksmith so I think someone prepared to put in more effort than me should have it. My laziness should not cause suffering to others (it’s the same philosophy that makes me to feed my dog even when I’m very tired- thank god- did anyone hear the news today about two dogs who have allegedly eaten their owner after he deprived them of food. Quite possibly a literal example of the underdog overcoming adversity).

Rule 2:- if I’ve joined half way through I don’t even think about rolling need for an upgrade until I’ve killed a good few mobs and proven myself. I must earn the group’s love and respect first (and we all know how easy that is to find in dungeons…). So if something awesome appears that I can use and it is a proper upgrade I just roll greed and hope that if the universe wants me to have it I will have it. The universe never wants me to have it.

Rule 3- If it’s something I can’t wear or use (not even at the Xmas party when anything goes) I rejoice and just hit greed – another moral crisis averted.

Rule 4:- If it’s something I could wear & it is a slight upgrade in some capacity I anguish long & hard & reach for the Prozac. This is the real tricky ground for me. But like all compulsive over-thinkers I have come up with a coping strategy. I now wait for everyone to roll first. If anyone (even the annoying dpser who has pulled everything in sight) goes for need I go for greed – I always believe the other is more entitled than me. But if all go for greed I take a deep breath, recite the mantra (even though in this case it’s only a slight upgrade), roll need & wait for the abuse to flood in. I won’t even wear it until I’ve left the dungeon, a good hour has passed and I can finally believe the shiny new boots in my bag are mine.

Pathetic isn’t it. As I say these are sides of myself I really dislike. The neurotic, anxious, worrying self. I never thought I’d care so much about what people think of me online. I know I worry too much in real life about what people think of me. Always have. But I thought I could lose myself online. But I can’t. I’m everywhere. Even when I’m nowhere.

24 thoughts on “Don’t be greedy

  1. Well, we all have our principles that we act upon. And even if you play a different character, you will think (and in most cases act) according to YOUR principles, not your character’s.
    I don’t know a single person that canleave their morals and/or beliefs at the door when they play another character.

    And just to act according to my nature (i.e. being a smartass and someone who comments on everything) here are a few tipps that might help you (degree of application left to recipient): as a protection paladin, you don’t need intellect. Yes, it means more mana, but you have other ways to manage that precious resource. You might want to go more for things like strength and stamina (it doesn’t hurt if there is agility on it, though agility in itself is not very good for you) for your primary stats and mostly dodge, parry and mastery rating (stuff with mastery on it will not be available to you for some time) for secondary stats. Of course, plate armour (since you’re above level 40) is a must-have, and more armour on the new piece is never wrong.

    You can also display the item level of the loot via the interface options. Mostly, this is a good indicator of if an item is an upgrade (i.e. the higher the item level, the higher the basic stats like armour, stamina etc.). For (fictitious!) example: a plate chestpiece of item level 100 might have 1500 armour, 100 stamina and 50 strength on it, while a chestpiece of item level 120 might have 1600 armour, 110 stamina and 75 strength on it. Ultimately, you will look at the armour class of an item (cloth, plate etc.), what kind of stats are on it and the item level. In about 90% of all cases this will tell you — without examining each stat on its own — if something is an update.

    Phew, that was quite a mouthfull. I guess I can really not write short explanations of any kind…

  2. Thanks for this. That’s really helpful. When you say I can manage mana without intellect do you mean by regular judging & using crusader strike? In the fictitous example you gave let’s say I had the item level 100, would people expect me to roll need on the item level 120 you describe even though it’s only a slight increase in the stats? I even worry about that- does it have to be a big increase to warrant need?! I agree with what you say about principles & I wouldn’t want all that to leave me. I want to be polite, friendly & respectful in game as I want to be outside the game, But the fact my over analysing neurotic brain has followed me in game just goes to show that we really are who we are!!

  3. Really great post – thanks. I’ve featured it on the MMO Melting Pot – it’ll be coming up at 10pm tonight.

    Despite the virtual nature of the game, I’m not surprised at all that real-world anxieties end up playing a part. And as you say, it’s very interesting to consider just how much the spectres that the community conjures up – the ninja looter, the n00b, the “leet guy” feed into our fears and inhibit our actions.


    1. As I said to Johnnie I feel awful. I only checked my spam folder today & found your comment there! Thank you so much for your comment and for featuring my post on MMO Melting Pot. As you know by now from Twitter it really made my day/week/month etc!! 🙂 Very many thanks.

  4. It sounds like you’ve got no room for items in your inventory, as your bags seem quite full of worry. I’m not going to be the guy who says to worry less, as if you have a choice about it. I will however tell you that the worst case scenario here is always that you’re upset at yourself. If someone is a jerk in dungeons, it can be like water off a ducks back – or it can be very painful and upsetting. This has more to do with how you feel about what happened than how they react.

    You will meet jerks sometimes; people who obsess over loot and get angry when you’ve won a roll fair and square. You’ll also meet nice people who generously pass items because someone else needs it more. I’ve found more of the latter than the prior in my experience.

    The need/greed system is tricky, though, and I’ve had more than my fair share of scrapes with it. Different servers have different need/greed cultures; on one server your approach would seem extremely conservative, while on another it would be pretty run-of-the-mill. The safest thing to do is just ask; that’s what I do almost any time I’m needing in a group of strangers. Sometimes I get a “Sure thing, grats,” response, and other times I get a “Why are you even asking?” response. It just goes to highlight the different need/greed cultures.

    At any rate, I think you’ve got a solid set of rules that are in no way pathetic. I may joke about your bags being full, but anyone logging into an online world is doing it for some reason; whether it’s for power and glory, true escapism, role play, experimentation, socialization, epeen bragging, or just plain fun, we all equip our outside lives in our main hand. I’m a teacher, and I teach in every dungeon I can. Sometimes I get thanked and other times I get cussed, but it’s who I am. We each handle it the best we can.

    Thanks for sharing something clearly so personal.

    1. Many thanks for this. Hadn’t realised it’s different on different servers. All my alts are scattered on various servers – that adds a further layer of complication then!! I will try simply asking. My stress then though is I can’t type quick enough when fighting – but that will be the subject of a whole other post I’m sure (I’m working out all my issues here – it’s a bottomless pit I fear!). I love what you said about choosing how to react. I let the stuff upset me I know. My husband tells me it doesn’t matter while I continue to go on about it for an hour! I think it’s great you teach in every dungeon you’re in – that you’re trying to help and instruct – because that’s who you are. Thank you again for your kind comment.

  5. You can get mana back by judging, using divine plea or using seal of insight (chance to restore mana on attacks + extra mana on judgement), you don’t need intellect for tanking.

    I apologize if you find my advice unsolicited but I would really recommend you to ask when you’re not sure whether you can need. Most people don’t want to be seen as greedy either although needing something you need for your main spec is rarely considered greedy. Asking someone to pass on an item so they can need and then try to sell it to someone is. If you ask and someone says in the party that you may need it, the others are more likely to not disagree (although it’s not automatical) and you might feel better about it knowing that at least some of the party members do not object to what you’re going to do. If you ask about item that is no good for your class, people might assume you’re just new and inexperienced and not greedy.

    1. I’m feeling really bad (sort of…!) about the intellect & tanking thing now as I needed on something with intellect that my husband (holy paladin) also rolled need for & I won & practically ran around the living room celebrating (surprisingly less guilty when my husband is involved!). I don’t think I’m going to show him your comment 🙂 Your advice is very welcome & not at all unsolicited. And it’s very sensible. I will really try just to ask. At least that way I’d feel better about myself & less frozen in terror while I wait for the response after hitting need!

  6. That’s a lot of guilt you got going on here. Are you sure you’re not Jewish?

    I kid, I kid.

    First, thanks for putting me on your blogroll! I really appreciate the link love. If you keep churning out quality posts like this one, I’ll be sure to add you back on mine, too. I should be Following you on Twitter, too. Let me fix that.


    OK. I’ve had issues with N/G before and I still do. Even last night, I felt bad that I was throwing my -33 DKP up to bid on an item and I was hoping someone else would want it. But nobody did, so I asked out loud why nobody else wanted it and it turns out that everyone had better already. I think Syl said it best on the MMO-Melting Pot link to your blog, roll need if you need it and greed or pass if you don’t. It really should be quite simple. Other people may question it, but if you know what your class/spec needs that’s all that matters. You don’t have to answer to anyone that you don’t want to answer to. You shouldn’t feel bad for attempting to make your character better. If someone else needs it, they should be rolling need, too. If they don’t, that means they probably didn’t want it bad enough.

    See how that works?


    1. Hmm. Thinking about how to broach the “Am I Jewish?” question with my mother!

      Thank you for the Twitter follow too. That’s all still such a novelty I announce my Twitter follower numbers in work every day (to much eye rolling I must say). I might be producing a graph.

      Thank you too for your helpful advice too. I think it’s knowing your class & spec that is key. Also I have thought that if they’re all rolling greed they can’t really complain if I roll need. So far no one has done…!

  7. This is such a superb post. A lot of the things you’re saying really resonated with me. I had many of the same thoughts when I first started playing WoW. I was terrified of getting it wrong; of somehow breaking the social etiquette (which I believed every other player knew and I did not). I’m nowhere near as bad about it all now, but I honestly think that’s because when I roll need now I’m confident that I’m right (ie, I know that the item is a legitimate upgrade for me and that I’m fully entitled to press that Need button).

    I’ve spoken to some other players who’ve revealed that they have the same sort of problems too, so you’re far from alone.

    1. I feel awful. I only today happened to check my spam folder & found your’s & Hugh’s comments in it. Really sorry! Will check there in future! New to all this. Thank you so much for your comments and for letting me know there are others who feel the same. I’m glad I posted about it. The responses the post has got have been amazing.

  8. I loved this post 🙂 Been there on the hoping loot doesn’t drop so I don’t have to roll 🙂 It took me a long time to just *chill* 🙂
    PS I had a situation where I waited for everyone else to roll.. and 2 other people in the group were doing the same thing 😛

    1. Thank you 🙂 I am so glad someone else has had the same thoughts I’ve had! And I’ve sometimes wondered if other people are also waiting because sometimes the rolls are slower! So glad you’ve told me that! Aww- we’re all really lovely, polite & considerate aren’t we!

    1. Thank you so much. Your comment makes me glad I posted about it & it’s great for me to know that I’m not alone as well. It good to know that when I’m in a group there might be a real person behind one of the characters who is also worrying about the same things as me!! I just wish I could meet more of this in dungeons as opposed to the people I tend to meet who seem to worry about nothing apart from how fast the tank is going and how much he/she is pulling. The ones that think it’s instructive to yell L2Play Noob! Although if I did meet more people like you & me perhaps we’d all be too polite to even roll at all let alone need or greed & wouldn’t progress very far in the dungeon with all the “After you”, “No after you,” “No I insist after you” etc. !!!! Would be pleasant though 🙂

  9. I would suggest saying something at the start of the run such as “Hi everyone, I’m not always sure what items are the biggest upgrade for me, and roll carefully, but if I make a mistake, please let me know (gently). Thanks :D”

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