The Paragon Fallacy

‘Given enough raiding hours per week, any guild is comparable to Paragon’.

A few weeks ago there was a conversation in our guild’s chatbox that basically amounted to this. I’m not sure if the guildie who posted it meant it literally (I’m betting on hyperbole here), but I do think it’s a common line of thinking among raiders that if they could only raid a couple more hours, the group would be far more progressed.

There’s obviously some truth to this. More hours a week means more attempts so it’s more likely you’ll get a kill, and then you can work on the next boss earlier and you’ll get more attempts on that boss per week so you’ll kill it faster and so on and so forth. It’s certainly a pleasant thought. At an average of eight pulls per hour and ten pulls to kill a boss, you’re looking at almost an extra kill per week!

Except this fantasy fails to take into account several factors. For one, the faster you get to a certain boss, the less geared you will be for it, pushing the number of attempts required for a kill upward. Plus, the deeper you go into a tier, the more it’ll take you to do a clear up to the boss you’re working on and the harder the fights become (ostensibly, though I suspect this is only universally true when you’re doing heroics and you can pick the order, and not even then if you pick wrong), meaning your average number of pulls needed to get a kill will also go up because of that and the number of pulls you’ll get per week to work on progression will start to decrease. I’m not saying the effect of added raid time would be completely negated, but it would definitely be mitigated. And while you may be Paragon in your head, you’d realistically only be few bosses ahead of where you are currently (I guess it should be noted that if you’re working on the latter heroics on a limited schedule, you may very well be comparable to Paragon, and this generic you is not really addressing the very specific you).

But I don’t have a problem with this argument because of its inaccuracy; I have a problem with it because it becomes a mental crutch that hampers progression. There’s nothing wrong with being a little optimistic when it comes to your own skill (no one wants you to sink into a pit of despair because you’ll never be as good as a raider in a top ten guild), but this sort of thinking can lead to people forgetting that they still can improve themselves. That the skill gap between a guild far more progressed than their own is very much real, and that work can be put into shortening that gap.

I know it’s very tempting to fall into this sort of thinking (I’ve been guilty of it more than once, myself), because the time we raid is often the one thing that is out of our control (beyond just switching guilds, but even then, our own time constraints might not allow it). No one likes to think that a lack of progression is their fault, or the fault of their teammates (in the majority of cases; I’m operating under the assumption that we all like the people we raid with). Except that it always is, because we could always be doing better, we could always be working on improving something. It’s just a matter of how much effort you’re willing to put in, and how much you care about your guild’s progression.

(Sidenote: this post could very well be called ‘the Method fallacy’. I picked Paragon because it was the guild that got mentioned in the conversation. Really, just choose your favourite high-end guild.)

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