Why I Dislike the Phrase “Wrath Baby”

No, Icedragon, it’s not entirely about your post.

To be short about it, I agree with Ice and what she’s saying. I dislike having in my groups those who are stuck with the mindset of AoEing and who refuse to change to different strat or skillset.

And that’s all I have to say about the “what” of her post.

I Disagree with the How

What I vehemently disagree with is the term used to describe that subset of people who are having trouble adjusting to Cataclysm game mechanics in a socially acceptable way.

When I first heard the phrase “Wrath baby,” it was applied to which set of expansion raid strats I was familiar with.  That is, I identify with being a Wrath baby, temporally speaking, because I started endgame in Wrath.

What I really don’t like is when that phrase gets its definition switched halfway through the argument to a more derogatory definition.

And what really pisses me off is when I ask people to not use it in a derogatory fashion and they refuse to. I say, hey, if you’re going to be derogatory about it, then use a word that’s already clearly derogatory, like “dumbass.”

If you’re playing like a dumbass, I’m going to call you what you are — a dumbass.

If you call me a dumbass, I’m assuming it’s because you think I’m a dumbass.  Whether I am or not, whether I think I am or not, isn’t the problem.  I want your word use to logically follow from its definition before I go evaluating whether or not the label is actually truthful of my state of being.

Calling you a word or phrase that means anything else is stupid and misleading of me.

If I walked up and said, “Hey, please stop using the term ‘gay’ to mean ‘stupid’ or ‘lame,'” most people would back off and say they’re sorry.  Nevermind that “gay” originally meant “happy” or that until recently / now (depending on your view) it meant derogatory things.  You don’t have to include that info in your argument — decent people will simply respect your wishes and stop using it in an offensive way.

Same schtick applies.  It don’t really matter if “Wrath baby” started as a bad term or later evolved into one.  People who identify with the term/phrase now would really prefer you stop using their identifier in a derogatory manner, regardless of whether you’re talking about them or not.

If you’re going to be wanking on someone for their lack of skill, then use words relating to their lack of skill. Why the hell you have to refer to their environment is beyond me.  Sure, the environment helped make them who they are, but you can’t change the entire environment.  You’re essentially insulting their mothers, or whatever you want to analogize as their birth of playing.

Yo Momma insults don’t work IRL, and they don’t work IVL either.

But the Wrath environment produced these people, Poneria!  They can change, but they won’t!

The Wrath environment also produced me.  I would hope I’m not that terrible. I would hope I’ve moved on into tackling the Cataclysm style of play in a reasonable fashion.

Attacking the Wrath environment or mindset isn’t going to change the player’s approach to play.  At best you’re letting them excuse their poor performance off onto some mechanic or playstyle that isn’t valid anymore, when the real problem, as Ice said in her definition, is that the player isn’t fully willing to attempt to adapt to the new playstyle.

I’d almost point out that the Wrath environment was only part Blizzard and the other part veteran players, including the same ones like you and me who hate these players who refuse to adapt.  But that’d just be attacking things that aren’t really the problem.

Oh yes, I figure some of this is on derailing 101.  Please enlighten me instead of discussing the topic I’m posting on.  I’m not posting on Ice’s post because I flat-out agree with the point she’s putting forth.

I don’t want to hold people’s hands through dungeons.  I don’t think most of our dungeon problems can be solved by gear.  I think people bothering to think for two seconds will solve a bunch of the problems.  I think people not being complete douchebags to each other would solve the rest of the problems.

There’s nothing more I could terribly say without near, if not total, repetition of what she wrote.

So what’s the solution? A solution for these people who won’t adapt? It’s a motivation problem.

Teach a Man to Fish

It’s like trying to get my guild to fish.  Either they will or they won’t, and I really can’t do shit about it if they won’t.

But I can be friendly about fishing.

I can be supportive about fishing, even just a few catches a day.  I can congratulate them on fishing achievs which I’ve held for over a year.

I can share what I do to make it fun / useful.

I did, actually, I made a post about pools that also help out the guild in terms of getting 90 stat foods in the meantime.

After I made it and posted it in the guild forums, I really really REALLY didn’t expect many people to read it.  Need more emphasis on that “really.” I was convinced my guild thought fishing was for people who are utterly insane to sit and stare at a screen for an hour just clicking once every 17 seconds.

I was completely ready for seeing the counter go up only 50-100 every day until we finally hit the 10k mid-spring.

I got a few whispers / thanks in gchat the next day about the cool post I made about fishing.

People who don’t normally fish for fun started fishing.  Not that much, not nearly as much as I like to (I do it daily), but they went out and fished. In pools.  People who were vocal about hating fishing even started pointing out that Northrend pools count too.

I got a Sea Turtle while fishing an Uldum pool.  Some people mentioned they wanted a turtle, but didn’t know it also popped from non-Northrend pools now.

My guildmates went fishing.

So I’m supporting that.  Even if they only catch one fish a day, I’m happy with it.  It puts a genuine grin on my face when I see that the counter goes up without me doing anything.

Last night, a literal handful of people — I swear, maybe five of us were fishing? — totally knocked down 1k fish over the night.  Last night, I logged in on the early 7000s of fish, and tonight I logged in on the early 8000s.

We’re less than 1.2k now from our 10k pool catches.  I fished 100 on my warlock, and maybe 20some on my druid.  The other 600some catches today were totally not me, the fishing-lover.

The other 600some catches today were from my guildies’ fishing.

As we mentioned how close we were, the counter was ticking up.

It’s still going up as I’m writing.  And no, I’m not actually alt-tabbing in between casts at the moment.  I’m sitting afk in front of a vendor.

I’m pretty sure we’d have a lot more to go now if I instead antagonized my guildmates for not being able to stand fishing, despite the new Cataclysm style of guild achievements requiring that everyone help out with it.

I’m not claiming total responsibility for when my guild hits 10k fish.  Not even.  I’m sure some people would have started fishing the pools regardless of my post existing.

Nor have I done the brunt of the fishing.  Sure, I fish a lot, but I was also fishing open water, not pools.  I doubt I’ve done more than 1k of that total.  I didn’t fish 10k (LOL I don’t even have anywhere near 10k fish caught by Pone in her life of /played).

My guild will have fished 10k.

Which I’m ridiculously proud of, by the way, and I’ll continue to be proud of it even if every single one of my guildmates never fishes again.

Making Lemonade is HARD

I know, I know, what the fuck does being nice to others and fishing have to do with Pet Control & CC.  Let me lay it out.

We had a rather disastrous attempt at Bastion 25 trash before Halfus last week.  Part of it could have been that it was the tail end of the raid and people were tired, but I was absolutely furious about the slack in the CC and pet control.

Partially I was furious because I could so do my part of the CC and not having my pet run off nomming things.  OMG L2P, SCRUBS & all that horrible horrible epeening rage.

>.< … I’m really ashamed about that.

I’m really sorry, guildies, for ever thinking those thoughts toward you.

Partially I was furious because my RL whispered me on one run back about how it looks like Fear isn’t that reliable after all.  You see, he was originally reluctant to use Fear as CC because until Cataclysm Fear was baaaaaaaad for instances and he wasn’t aware of the glyph.  I’d convinced him, I thought, after running him with a few locks and using Fear, that Fear is actually way better now.

And now people fucking things up were endangering a tactic I’d worked hard on getting my RL to use.  Because executed correctly, Fear as a CC really does help, I swear.

I spent the rest of that evening thoroughly ranting about it in my drafts folder.

But I never hit publish.

I waited, because I know I’m a white-hot rocket when it comes to my temper.  The majority of things I rant about swing around to, “Shhhhhhhhhhhit, I was such an ASSSSSSSS about that,” in under 8 hours.  Really, I’m quite the hothead and I know it.

I was still poisonously pissed about it.  Yeah, not just a bit pissed, or even moderately pissed, poisonously pissed.  I was ready and willing to rip another long rant right then and there.  Days later.

I still didn’t want to hit publish.  Despite recent posts talking about how posts that aren’t just news and posts that have some personal oomph in them are more awesome than ever.  Despite guildies even telling me, hey, let it out & let the anger demonstrate your point for you.

Because I don’t want to be nasty about it.

I want lemonade, not a mess of squashed lemons.

Being nasty about your lack of pet control and CC is probably not going to motivate you to do better. So I’m holding off on posting it about it until I can get my head around it in presenting how to execute CC well.  Several things go into it.

  • How to watch your own AoE and why even tanking AoE is bad for some CCing situations.
  • How to survive multi-CC fights without using AoE threat (clue: it’s in trusting your team to work together).
  • How marking targets with a kill order or announcing which CC target to break next is really more helpful than just trying to break one out with a taunt.
  • How to visualize distance between CC targets when linking it up to when to start casting your CC, such that your CC lands on the target placing it in the spot you want, if you’re CCing off the tank’s pull.
  • What the real difference is between pet-passive and pet-defensive, and why that difference both exists and matters on different pulls.
  • How amazing focus macros, assist macros, and nameplates can be in certain situations.

The people I raid with are amazing and intelligent people on their own. I should be able to treat them as such, yeah?  I shouldn’t have to resort to calling them names for it or babying them through it or making social life generally difficult.

I think I can pull that off without being a total asshat about it.  Not right now, but soon.

I can’t fix you.  Only you can fix you.

But I can control me.  I can — maybe — influence you.  Maybe.

At least, that’s what my counselor tells me.  I figure I ought to start telling me these things about my actions versus other people so I’ll believe them more on the inside.

So I’m going to try my damnedest to be a positive influence. I’m not going to succeed most of the time. Anyone who’s spent time on Twitter while I’m raiding knows that’s totally NOT what happens while I raid.  I am quite the negative influence while I raid and I’m surprised more people don’t tell me to just can it already.

I also terribly terribly suck at this IRL.  I am quite the lazy and stubborn bum IRL.  But I’m working on that.

But Lemonade is SO MUCH MORE Satisfying Than Lemons

A positive influence to me means moving forward, not dwelling on past circumstances or characteristics.  A positive influence to me means taking what you have and making what you can of it.

The Wrath environment and “mindset” is what we’ve got.  And we’ve got the people who played through it.  We’ve also got the Cata environment and mindset.  And we’ve got those same people, you and me and the rest of us.

Stop dwelling on how much people suck.  It was probably tiresome in Vanilla and Burning Crusade, but I can’t speak from personal experience on those two.  I can tell you it was tiresome in Wrath.


It’s tiresome in Cataclysm, too.

Stuff it, already, and move ON, damnit.

Why I Dislike the Phrase “Wrath Baby”

23 thoughts on “Why I Dislike the Phrase “Wrath Baby”

  1. I love this post.

    I too, am a “Wrath Baby”. I didn’t raid til the 2nd incarnation of Naxx. And when I did start raiding, I was using a 0/0/71 talent spec. I had NO idea what I was doing.
    But I learnt how to play. I improved, I researched, I learnt. And from that I became a decent player. Yes – I am a “wrath baby” in that I started end-game in Wrath. However I am not a poor player because of it, and I find it deeply insulting that the two are associated. I wish that “poor players in heroics” could be defined as…just that. Poor players in heroics. Not wrath babies, or whatever – just what they are – people that aren’t playing “very well”. Some want to improve, some are happy in their ignorant bliss – at the end of it all we can only do as you say – attempt to influence.

    Thanks for the awesome post!

  2. While I agree with Icedragon’s sentiments, I do find the term “Wrath baby” to be wrongfully applied to a lot of things.

    It’s not about when you started playing the game, it’s about what you’ve done with your time playing it and how you’re adapting to the new changes.

    I’ve met people in dungeons in Cataclysm that have played since Wrath, TBC, Vanilla… and there are people who are annoying/bad/useless/awesome in every category. There are Vanilla players equally prone to the gogogo-mentality as there are people who started playing in Wrath.

    I started playing in Vanilla, but other than a fleeting moment of recognising the stop-casting on heals on my priest alt when I was leveling (it was a little like.. “oh, look.. I’m cancelling my heals again like I did in Vanilla..”) I have no real feeling of that I’ve “been here longer” or “know things better”. Because I don’t.

    Anyone can learn and all it takes is a bit of effort. The people who won’t put that effort in will never be better – but they are from all expansions and it’s not something exclusive to people who started playing in Wrath.

    Bad players are bad. Good players adapt. Which expansion did you start playing? I don’t care as long as you’re willing to learn and do what you’re meant to do.

  3. I agree with you completely on this. The trouble with the term “Wrath baby” is that the douches pick up on it and start using it instead of “noob” and as you said, “dumbass”, and I’ve seen that happen way too much and I don’t like it. They don’t really think that there were some really good players and great people to come out of Wrath, they just think of the negative that they see, and you know.. *cringe* a little. It just sounds such a vicious term to me.

    I mentioned this on Twitter, why I don’t like it, just as I was going to bed, and I woke up to several people telling me why I’m wrong.

    I started playing in the last few months of vanilla. I’m a “tbc baby” as far as things go.

  4. Hey, I know you brought up some other examples of problematic terms (though I think you may have some better luck than I do, for the most part when I ask people to avoid terms like lame around me I get shit for it, even though I’m personally affected), but I wanted to point out that your usage of the term insane and subsequent usage of the term crazy in other posts (yeah I’m a lurker, sorry) are also problematic when used in a derogatory sense. Reclamation is cool, I do it all the time, but in its current usage here it’s just as much of a problem as the other examples you gave.

    Just figured I’d give you a heads up. Also, nice to meet you. 🙂

  5. Great post, Poneria. I enjoyed reading it from your perspective, especially about the influence bit.

    You touched on something I missed, which is about players not being twats to one another. In the heroics when I have to put up with clueless players, I’ll be nice. Always. Making cracks at the people in your group doesn’t solve anything or make them learn any faster, but it’s still extremely frustrating to do it in the first place. I’ll grin and bear it (druid pun not intended) until the final boss falls or the group dissolves because of time constraints or something. Ragequitters are a royal pain in the rear, so I avoid becoming one.

    1. Twat! That’s the word I wanted! I got tired of using douchebag and dumbass, but I couldn’t think of any other twat-like words in my fervor of writing.

  6. Cross-posting my comment from Ice’s blog:

    My personal opinion is that if someone has been playing through Wrath and is a bit reluctant to change, a bit nervous, a bit unsure, a bit wobbly – they are not a Wrath baby, they are just adjusting.

    A Wrath baby to me is someone who, despite being told about the changes and asked to do things differently to accommodate those changes, stubbornly refuses.

    A Wrath baby is not just someone who enjoyed Wrath and is upset that things are different now, or hasn’t really got a hang of things yet; a Wrath baby is one who refuses to accept that the game has changed and that Level 80 strategies do not apply in some/most instances, and you can’t just fold your arms and refuse to change. That’s a Wrath baby, and I would have no issues labelling them as such.

    I think you’ll find that this is where most of the annoyance stems from – the players who joined in Wrath and miss Wrath feel that they are being labelled as big babies. I think they’re focusing on the “Wrath” tag, rather than the “baby” tag.

    In my mind, Wrath babies are the ones who *know* things have changed but *refuse* to adjust, and in doing that, they make dungeons more painful for everyone else. Basically, acting like big babies who aren’t getting what they want, so they are sulking and refusing to play nice.

    Someone who hasn’t got the hang of Cataclysm or needs to learn what’s changed is not a Wrath baby, they’re just in transition.
    – – –

    Few extra points:

    I agree that it seems to be the insult du jour and is applied VERY liberally. That is dumb.

    If someone asked me to stop saying Wrath baby (not that I actually say it, by the way), I would stop.

    This is fairly similar to the hardcore vs “casual” thing – casual to some people is a synonym for “crap player”. For others it just means “only plays a few hours a week” OR “has no particular interest in serious raiding”. I read “casual” as the second meaning – players who don’t play all hours, OR they only raid “casually”, ie, not super serious. But others see “casual raider” and think “raider who doesn’t care about being good”.

    When I read “Wrath baby”, I see “someone who is really attached to Wrath and refuses to accept that they need to adjust the way they play, and doesn’t care if it annoys/frustrates/infuriates anyone around them”. But when a new-in-Wrath player sees the term, I can understand how they would immediately see “Anyone who joined in Wrath is a noob”.

  7. If it makes you feel better “BC Baby” was a derogatory term banded about for a hell of a long time too. Actually for most of the Burning Crusade you weren’t a veteran unless you had stories to tell from MC, BWL and AQ.

    Wrath Baby might be too generic: after all, a ton of players who picked up the game during the release of Wrath of the Lich King might be the fastest to adapt to the new heroic mindset.

    The truth is, anyone who spent a lot of time running heroics in Wrath of the Lich King (I’d assume that was 95% of the current players in Heroics) will struggle to adapt to the new way of play. We need to unlearn everything we learned *first* and that is incredibly difficult.

    I think “Wrath Baby” is getting such a work out because it was the first expansion that was relatively kind to players who didn’t raid, but wanted to complete heroics. In Classic they didn’t exist, and you needed raid gear to attempt one in The Burning Crusade.

    Wrath of the Lich King lasted two years. The players most punished by relearning how hard heroics are are those players who started heroics towards the end of Wrath of the Lich King: when the Dungeon Finder was common place and most players were fastly overgeared for Heroic content.

    Wrath of the Lich King Heroics were pretty goddamn hard for the first year of the Wrath of the Lich King.

    1. “Wrath of the Lich King Heroics were pretty goddamn hard for the first year of the Wrath of the Lich King.”

      ^ I still have nightmares of pally healers telling me, the warlock, to stand in Loken’s Nova, because “it’s not that bad.” /shudder

  8. I like this post, so thanks for making it.

    In a certain LJ Neo-Pagan community, people that are told they are “doing it wrong”, who KNOW they’re “doing it wrong” and refuse to educate themselves and/or change are referred to as wilfully ignorant. It fits in this situation too, even if it’s not as short as the average gamer would like. 😉

    As an aside, “twat” may also be rather troublesome as it’s a derogatory term referring to female genitalia, which is rather sexist (female genitals are bad, y’all, though apparently in the UK the word is synonymous with ‘twit’), but I’m not quite sure what the consensus is on that. Also I apparently love commas.

    I’m a big fan of “twit” and “asshat” to describe people that suck. Dick + food item or dick + animal can be fun, too – creativity is awesome!

    1. I can use dick (male genitalia) but not twat (female genitalia)? Because it’s sexist? My brain, it does not understand.

      But twit, yeahhhh, twit I can use. Unless there’s a definition of that I’m missing also (like twat).

  9. Wow.

    I’m not *ever* going to attempt another “being nice to people, even if they’re not playing well, is helpful” post. I’m just going to link here and call it done.

  10. I had to give this a good read after reading (and writing up a long response) to Icedragon’s original post. But you responded so much better. You share my sentiments exactly! I think it was very well written, and I loved your story about how you got your guildies to fish more. 🙂

    I don’t really like how people in WoW seem to have a mentality that if you use some insulting, derogatory words at a person who isn’t performing to some standard, they will somehow magically improve or go away. The latter, unfortunately, may occur, but the former usually never will with such an attitude. As I think I mentioned in my response to Ice’s post, using the term “Wrath baby” will likely alienate the person who needs to improve, as well as many other people. I know that if I heard someone using that term in-game, I would avoid them. Yes, I started playing in Wrath. No, you do NOT have the right to suggest I am a bad player because of it.

    Do I think that the people flinging the term around are purposefully trying to insult ME personally? No, of course not. But it’s the principle; it’s like calling someone an SOB. It’s used as a general insult–just like if you called them a dumbass, as you mentioned in your post–but when you take the connotation of the words, it gets more personal. “What did you just say about my mom??” Then emotions start running high…

    Word choice matters, as any writer should know! Unfortunately, the wrong choice of terminology can obscure the real issue and make the argument more heated and emotional than it should be. Leave the loaded terms at home and discuss these issues with ignorant, uncooperative players with less loaded insults. I think people might be more open to change, then. 🙂

    (And I realize that someone will probably read this, scoff, and think that’s idealistic. I don’t really care. Maybe they will prefer to be “blunt,” but I’ve seen way too many times when “blunt” really meant “verbally abusive” and resulted in breaking up friendships and social communities. It’s not really that necessary to insult someone to get your point across. If you can’t get your point across without insults, then the other person you’re trying to convince probably isn’t worth the effort and will NEVER change their minds, insults or no.)

  11. Must be a PvE thing. This is the first time I have heard the term Wrath Baby. For insults I just stick with the oldies but goodies: bad, terribad, baddie, not-Lufitoom etc.

    Loved the post. Well written.

  12. Excellent post! I, too, would be considered a “Wrath Baby” since my first end-game experiences were in Naxx 10. I was a DK, I was a tank, and I was awful. There was little to nothing in the way of resources for DK tanks early in WotLK because there was so much openness with all 3 specs being able to do it; and, let’s be honest, even if there had been tons of information out there, I probably wouldn’t have known where to look. I wanted to get better SO badly – I knew that I was doing things terribly wrong. So I sucked up my pride and I started asking questions. I took criticism, when it was polite and constructive, and sometimes when it wasn’t. Being someone who started taking WoW seriously during WotLK shouldn’t automatically qualify one for “Wrath Baby” status, or at least not in the derogatory use of the term.

    I had a similar train of thought about a month ago. I love your encouragement that, “A positive influence to me means taking what you have and making what you can of it,” and I really think that’s what each of us needs to keep in mind when we step into those random heroics. Are there morons out there who are going to call us names for saying we HAVE to use CC? Sure. But it doesn’t help anyone to go into a group with a hostile outlook, assuming the morons will be the norm. If people who are struggling are willing to take constructive criticism, and if we can manage to give them advice in a way that is not at all condescending, then we’re doing as much as we can to help things get better.

    @Cassandri and Cynwise – Heroic Loken. The stuff of my nightmares for a good six months. Proof positive that Wrath Heroics (and not just the ICC 5 mans) were once hard.

  13. RL says:

    Partially I was furious because my RL whispered me on one run back about how it looks like Fear isn’t that reliable after all. You see, he was originally reluctant to use Fear as CC because until Cataclysm Fear was baaaaaaaad for instances and he wasn’t aware of the glyph. I’d convinced him, I thought, after running him with a few locks and using Fear, that Fear is actually way better now.

    And now people fucking things up were endangering a tactic I’d worked hard on getting my RL to use. Because executed correctly, Fear as a CC really does help, I swear.

    Fear is good, your time was not wasted, nicely written blog, I should read it more often!


  14. I think the whole “Wrath Baby” as a derogatory term is simply another example of humans forcing correlations on the world to better explain it, even if the correlation is somewhat, or in some cases, completely flawed.

    Impatient goobers will continue to try and play sloppy and AoE everything down. Once the gear hit a certain level in TBC, I saw similar tendencies to be lazy and sloppy, even by people who did not have the gear to explain their sloppiness. In WotLK it may have been worse, but I would argue that it was not a consequence of new, stupid players showing up. I would argue that it was simply a window of opportunity that highlighted all of the bad players, old and new alike.

    So, yeah, lumping everyone that started in WotLK into the era of bad PUG players they remember most recently is a bit flawed. That said, we humans do crave correlation, so we have not seen the end of it. 🙂

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