November 1, 2007

Are You Superstitious About WoW?

image by rsgranne
Yesterday at Kotaku, Brian Crecente discussed gaming superstitions. In talking with Nick Yee of the Daedalus Project, he found that lots of MMO players hold an unusual number of superstitious beliefs ranging from theories about in-game luck, to elaborate instance seeding rituals or carrying objects they believe act as "lucky charms" to improve a character's chances at obtaining rare loot drops.

The more complex and enigmatic the details of a game mechanic, the more likely it is for conspiracy theories to emerge. In FFXI, where crafting professions seem to be much more complicated and proc-dependent than in WoW (both time of day and day of the week may affect the success of your crafting session), all kinds of rumors sprang up, like this one which claimed that for characters trying to craft something with a particular kind of crystal, "standing and facing, for example, Southeast with a Wind Crystal, they would be less likely to fail the synthesis and lose the crystal and items." Oof. Yet another reason I'm glad I opted out of my boyfriend's FFXI phase.

What kinds of superstitious behavior do you practice in WoW? Do you loot the dogs? Change up who zones into the instance first? Keep your [Talisman of True Treasure Tracking] on at all times?

While I haven't fallen prey to WoW loot seed theories (yet), I have developed a few raid superstitions of my own during the past few years co-leading Zul'Gurub and Karazhan runs. To start with, I think it's bad luck to discussing boss goals at the start of the night of non-farm content. And there's a part of me which really believes that talking too much about the shiny item I'd like will jinx my chance of ever seeing it drop at all (for my mage, both the [Lightning Capacitor] and [Pattern: Belt of Blasting] have fallen victim to this curse). Last of all, I get very nervous when people call out the inevitable death of a boss before we've actually killed him. Seriously, don't do that around me! What if this isn't Caketown? What if the cake is a lie?


Pike said...

Interesting post. I can't really think of any WoW superstitions that I do, except for maybe jumping into an instance portal, but that's more of a weird addiction "I-CAN'T-NOT-JUMP-THROUGH-THE-PORTAL" thing. =P

I also get antsy if I'm not tracking something, even if I'm in a place where nothing needs to be tracked, such as a city... which is one reason why it's difficult for me to play a non-hunter. If I do, I usually teach them mining or herbalism or so I can be tracking something. Maybe that's a superstition of sorts.

Back when I used to frequently play Neopets (which I will say is an MMO of sorts, and is deeper than a lot of people realize) there were superstitions and rumors all over the place. Sometimes the Neopets staff would straight-out debunk the rumors and then the forums would fill up with people swearing up and down that the rumors and superstitions "still worked anyway". I always found it very interesting.

Galoheart said...

I make a wish for my loot to drop before i engage the boss. So far its working and i'm going to keep it up. Afterall its hard enough to get your speicific loot to drop.

One Among Many said...

There's that whole [Rabbit's foot] thing...even I'm guilty of having a stack of those bad boys when I first started playing upon release. I thought - Wow this is so cool - an in game rabbit's foot! What could be more lucky than that? I don't know if I ever felt better with one in my bag...but I only recently stopped carrying them. I think it was more so a comforting thing than anything...I don't think it brought me any extra luck.

I know people that used to carry the "I win" button at all times. They said it always ensured a good battle ground...

Ferocious Bite said...

I have to have a non-combat pet out! There will be no raiding success without them!

Jon said...

I usually determine a character's "passive luck attribute" by how many (if any) bags they pick up in the lowbie starting zones.

It remains a ritual of mine even though I know that drops are all random. (or are they?)

Megan said...

I whisper "BAM" to myself when rolling on loot.

Wildhermit said...

I do the noncombat pet thing too. I have this parrot on my paladin that I always bring out to run Deadmines with me. I used to run it once a night back in the before BC days just to relax. Not sure why, but it seemed to mellow me out before I logged for the evening.

Mania said...

Sometimes the superstitions aren't entirely superstitious ...

In AC1 some characters were really unlucky about being attacked by enemies. Taking them along was good luck for everyone else because they tended to absorb fire and die first -- but not so much fun for them. Characters who suffered from this were said to be 'Wi-flagged' after a character named Wi who wrote a lot about his deadly luck.

The AC1 programmers looked into the rumor but couldn't find any basis of fact ... until one day one of them had a breakthrough. There really was a subtle bug in the aggro code that made some characters have really bad luck that way!

Most superstitions are due to players matrixing random behavior into something that gives them a feeling of control ... but not all of them. *grin* (And once one superstition has been proven true, it's really hard to convince people that the others aren't!)

Pike said...

I've actually noticed just now while playing a new character that I do have a bit of a superstition...

I don't do anything while I'm trying to mine, pick an herb or skin something. Especially when the skill is still really low. It just seems to me like if I move the mouse to rotate the camera, or alt+tab, or anything, whatever I'm trying to do will fail.

I think it's probably just coincidence... but still... wow, and here I was thinking I had no superstitions =P

Kestrel said...

OMG Mania...the Wi-flag!! I was at the AC Players Luncheon when Srand (best game designer I've ever met) confessed that Turbine had finally tracked down and debugged the Wi-flag.

I had one. I had a horrible one.

Girl Meets WoW said...

Wow, looks like this is a hot topic. We've got jumping superstitions, lucky noncombat pets, Wi flags (I'd never heard of that before; that's wild!), rabbit feet, and loot/herbing rituals. Guess we gamers really are a superstitious bunch.

shelbi said...

haha neat post! we're not necessarily superstitious, but my husband seems to think (and he may be right) that luck in WoW is some weird algorithm, and you're given your status (lucky, unlucky, semi-lucky) when you roll your char. he has a character that he can't get any good drops on, and one that he constantly who knows! :)

vectorvixen said...

lawlz. i just saw that jon posted. i'm a total nub.

One Among Many said...

That seems to be the case for my mage Shelbi. Tell your husband I agree with him but don't want to believe it! The lastest gnome rogue I rolled got 3 bags...on the first three mobs...sure they're tiny bags that have been replaced...but still!

Then I take my shaman to outlands and can't get a single drop...after 2-3 hours! (lost track of time) I was farming mobs that have high droprates for greens that I could use! So much for that though.

Catj gave me some awesome gear suggestions so I'm going the old fashioned root and not depending on "luck".

P.S. I got a rabbit's foot yesterday...I'm keeping that bad boy.

Messyah said...

Here are some of my WoW superstitions:

1. I swear that intellect has something to do with Alchemy discoveries. I got 4 discoveries in the short time I was a 70 Moonkin, and I have only gotten 1 discovery in all the time that I have been Feral.

2. When I get a locked loot box, I bank it for about 2 weeks before having a Rogue crack it open for me. I swear, you do get better loot. I've gotten 1 epic, 20+ rares and a ton of other well-selling items.

3. When fishing for Golden Darters and Furious Crawdads, I swear that I catch them twice as often when I am wearing my Lucky Fishing Hat.

4. So far, every time I have done a /fart emote to the Maiden of Virtue we have beaten her. The one time I forgot to do it, we wiped.

5. We can clear the entire instance of either Shattered Halls or Shadow Labyrinth and at some point, an Assassin will still make an appearance to one-shot our clothie healer(s).

6. On my server, Alliance will always lose in BGs when I need a win.

7. Someone will always "Leroy" in an instance, no matter how good a player they may be. (I was in Kara, stealthing up to a group of mobs to mark them... of so I thought. DOH, I forgot to stealth. RUN AWAY!!! LOL

8. This may be the weirdest one of them all, but it is so true it's scary. - When ever I have a brain fart, whenever I can't remember something, or whenever I am trying to devise a plan and I get stuck... I cast Omen of Clarity and it is always the key that unlocks my brain and opens it back up for business. Suddenly the thoughts start flowing, my brain starts firing or my memory returns to me. It really is amazing and I am sure it is some sub-conscious coincidence, but it's still freaky.

Girl Meets WoW said...

Messyah, the Lucky Fishing Hat one somehow reminded me that my guild has a long-standing history (like, ever since we had MC on farm) of people doing raids pantsless in order to cure the curse of months and months of not seeing their class' pants drop.

Madmantwo said...

One of our WoW raid leaders has a superstition about putting certain marks above certain player's and bosses heads for fights. He thinks it helps ease the outcome of the fight and makes it easier to clear that content. While we sometimes think he is retarded every week he does the same thing over and over. When it doesn't go smoothly he procures a new marking system that is supposed sure fire... until it fails again.

Madmantwo said...

One of our WoW raid leaders has a superstition about putting certain marks above certain player's and bosses heads for fights. He thinks it helps ease the outcome of the fight and makes it easier to clear that content. While we sometimes think he is retarded every week he does the same thing over and over. When it doesn't go smoothly he procures a new marking system that is supposed sure fire... until it fails again.

Gavin said...

My warrior always carries Sayge's Fortune #21.

"Divine Shields and Hearthstones do not make a hero heroic"

RCole said...

I had a rogue tell me to keyboard turn clockwise while transmuting a Might for him. Said it would gaurantee a Transmute Mastery proc. It worked the first time - the 2nd time he told me I failed at turning.

Tanneneth said...

I'm a packrat in real life and I have problems letting go of armor or weapons. I'll either get a good staff from a quest thats better than my old and keep that or I'll just keep the staves in my bag so I have one of each kind, theres a limit though as I only keep the best of a certain 'type' of staff at a time until a better one appears. I also NEVER throw away trinkets or Books (like the Story of Morgan Ladimore) and I also collect crap loads of potions sometimes even though they're for way lower levels thinking "Never know when I'll need this" but recently with the guild bank and whatnot out I start putting all my collected junk in there if someone else can use it or I just sell it.

I also have a thing about buffs if my buffs get like within even 2 minutes of running out I'll recast not only that buff but all my others (the ones that I can cast) so they're all in synch

-Tanneneth (NE Druid)

Girl Meets WoW said...

Man, this post just won't die.

I know a guildie who has to have all his buffs in synch, too. For me, lining up the 10-minute, 30-minute and 60-minute buffs is just too much work though.

Yassy said...

Very fun post. Wow does give rise to some very fun superstitions! In response to the comments about non-combat pets, i don't think they help drop rates but i always love the having the cute lil guys around.

One superstition that seems to be quite common amongst the people i play with (though we rarely confess to having it) is that if you are the first person to /roll for a drop (especially if it is a primal nether for some reason!) you will invariably lose the roll.
Sometimes i even have /roll typed out with my finger sitting on enter just waiting for someone else to roll first : )

Another silly one is that when a world boe epic drops i find myself going to kill the same mobs again soon after on the crazy chance another might drop - even though there might be 50 other different types of mobs elsewhere with a better chance of dropping it.

Now for one thing that i feel is more substantial than the others is the idea of 'luck' or 'probability' clusters. I can remember one crazy night back in pre-bc when myself and a guildie got pugged into a Kazzak kill. First roll was for the shadow caster pants which i won with a 95 - but then there was all the random boe's and gem bags to roll for. Of the 8 rolls 7 of them were over 90, i just couldn't stop rolling (i just had to see how far it would go) at one point someone else rolled a 99 and my dice dutifully gave me a 100 : ) Vey fun night though it was fortunate my guildie was there to back me up because ppl were starting to call haxx! Since then i have observed other clusters but none as strong as that night.

Kayllisti said...

It's horrible luck to link boss loot in raid chat before it happens! I freak out if ppl do this in my raids.

And also for all the ppl who are shouting "She's down! She's down!" on vent when she's at 5% save it till she's at 0!

Asirae said...

WoW stuperstitions:

I always dismount before landing my flying mount because I like to hear the crunch when my body hits the ground.

I alwasy slow down to almost a crawl when I make the Blackrock Mountain jump. People who went to UBRS, LBRS and BRD know what I'm talking about.

I am superstitious about any form of attunement for anything.... because eventually Blizz will nerf it and *anyone* will be able to get in ...making all those wasted hours all the more painful when you reflect back on it (like I am doing right now).

I /salute the Auctioneers whenever I unload a rather hefty auction of over 1000 gold in the AH.

I food buff for just about any dungeon, 25-raid or 5-person crawl. I just can't get enuff food buffs.


Raiding Enhancements - Shaman

Hunter and pet said...

I have the same superstition as Pike - that I always need to have some sort of tracking on.

I also feel super naked whenever I am unmounted and don't have my pet out. I don't care where I am, if I don't have my pet I feel totally uncomfortable.

I also have this OCD habit of having to mouse over/highlight a dead mob once after I loot it. If I don't it will drive me crazy for at least ten minutes, hahah!

Cheerleader said...

Superstitions... after a whole year farmin' Illidan every week, only 1 shield (1st kill drop), and the guy who looted it leaved the gane like 2 weeks after.
So our MT was starting to become crazy (tankin' Entropius with MH shield is like LOL), when he wrote a ticket requesting divine help. GM's answer was a Rabbit's foot... Yeah, poor orc guy, I could say he looks really mad when our 2nd tank won the Bulwark of Azzinoth with pick-ups xDD

But after 2 months praying everynight and doing some sort of troll vudu with his rabbit's paw, Felmyst one finally droped for him.

And, for me, well, I've been carrying mongoose's mats around for a month, still waiting for a Muramasa to drop. Oh girl, that overdopped voidwalker really hates me T_T

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