"Failure is not an option."

Unlike Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon, who express firmly in the movie that during the perilous times of the Apollo 13, “failure is not an option”, sometimes it is an inevitable destination we cannot avoid. It’s when multiple points of failure come together to create the “fail”.

The point of failure can come from any location of an instance or a raid. No role is immune to making bad calls. A lapse of concentration, a small distraction from a ringing phone, even being hungry can all lead to the incoming wipe and running back to the instance/raid portal.

I think that a lot of people put a lot into “winning” or success. We find that what we’ve been doing for so long is actually working; that what we assume is right with our various roles in a fight are the ones we must keep doing. The loot, is if anything, incidental— we thrive on the knowledge that we are as smart, if not smarter, than what the fight asks us for.

However, it is when we fail that we learn the most. Failure asks us to second guess any choices made, tells us that we need to be better at what we do. Even the best player is prone to mistakes, and even the most obvious ones aren’t always the major ones. You may be the greatest at dodging the void zone or kiting the mob… but if you don’t know your rotation, you don’t know what buttons to press at the heat of the moment, then we have another issue right there— another point of failure.

We must learn how to fail correctly. I think when we don’t, we expect that automatically everyone knows what went wrong. And that’s not always the case. The smartest person in the room may not always account for the one person who sits quietly unaware (sometimes in bliss, sometimes not) of their undoings.

When we fail, we should ask ourselves these questions and acknowledge the following:

  • What went wrong for all people involved? It’s not always about you (and neither is that song).
  • What wasn’t clear in the  instruction? Clarity is a huge deal, and if you aren’t able to word it properly, find someone who can. Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)!
  • Are we underperforming? Why? Sometimes, especially when we view how difficult healing can be now, fight duration is a huge gauge. If DPS is slow, healers do not always have enough mana to carry a fight 10-12 minutes long. But healers don’t conserve mana well, and if tanks don’t use cooldowns and keep up certain debuffs often… that is also a possibility to consider.
  • Don’t place blame out loud. Calling people out is wrong. Ask questions instead. Be indirect. You will make people less defensive that way.
  • Learning is also part of the fight. Just because you read, watch, and listen while learning about an encounter, doesn’t mean you automatically know or can adhere to those strategies. Take some time to figure out what will be better for you and your group.
  • Sometimes, calling it is your best option. We digest information best after sleep. It is true. After we acknowledge our mistakes, we should rest, because we can formulate better ways to do things… or we really just realize how easy things can be.

We learn to live with our failures, and we must learn how to fail in anything— WoW included, as it’s a game. And we can’t make a game something we hate to fail at. Every wipe or loss can be a small realization. That’s just as important to some phat loots, at least, to me.

(Also possible I’m just nuts.)