Since the new LFG tool premiered a little over a week ago, everyone’s had a take on the new etiquette of cross-server grouping. There have been the heart-breaking stories of groups that tossed about casual cruelty towards others, the pleas for tolerance of players who might not share your super-leet DPS, and the groups that had no idea what they were doing and, moreover, didn’t care to learn.
I’ve had some “interesting” PuG experiences of my own, including one where a DK was pulling max. 400 dps. We didn’t kick her, nor was there any discussion of her terrible output. We did fine through the entire instance (the Oculus). There were no wipes and the only time she died was on the final boss when she presumably didn’t know where to go during the phase shift. And the most I wondered to myself about the whole thing was how any level 80 in half blues/half purples could only be doing 400 dps.
But this post isn’t really about any of the PuGs I’ve been a part of, the good or the bad. It’s about the decidedly non-PuG grouping I joined in order to test out my new favorite thing: Bear Tazha.
Way back when I had dual-specced Tazha to be a feral tank, but found that she was useless in that role. Our raids had all the tanks they needed and more off-tanks than you could shake a stick at. Among my friends, we already had too many people vying for the tanking role and too few vying for the healing one. So, once Blizzard redesigned kitty form, I respecced into feral dps. I found it terribly boring and annoying, so much so that I never used it if I could help it. The truth is, the only dps-er class I’ve ever really enjoyed to date is my fire mage (and solo-ing my secret horde alt hunter). I fully admit that it’s not the kitty’s fault that I didn’t like it – I didn’t really give it enough of an effort. Besides, dps-ers were a dime a dozen, too, so it was only useful for dailies, which I tend to avoid like the plague. With the new LFG tool, however, tanks are king and being able to be either tank or heal for a dungeon is a distinct advantage when trying to get into randoms. Plus…Rocket-Bear!
So it was back to bear-tank-Taz I went. Triumph badges were spent like wild outfitting her, and I jumped at the chance to tank for a group of my loving (and forgiving, I hoped) guildies. No random PuG-er to tell me I sucked or vote to kick me. Just people I played with all the time taking care of me. HA!
“Remember, guys, this is only my second time tanking in the last six months, so be gentle,” I said at the outset.
“Gentle as a chainsaw,” our mage replied happily.
I should have known then that there was going to be trouble.
We were in Utgarde Pinnacle and every single one of my fellow group members was overgeared for the instance. They rushed in and went haywire because they could. Assisting off the tank? For chumps with weak dps. Waiting until the tank attacks? Why bother – the healer can totally handle it.
Every rule that I’ve seen written for LFG etiquette was mooshed into the ground. Bear Tazha watched in wild-eyed terror as chaos brewed around her, growling and swiping and swinging her camera this way and that to try and see where aggro was going and why it wouldn’t hang around for a cup of tea or some dessert.
There was the time the mage had a proc as I was trying to mark guys (in the hopes of establishing some order instead of the free-for-all that had been occurring up until then.) The proc couldn’t be ignored, of course, so all of a sudden four angry Vrykul were bearing down on me…and then rolling right past me…
There was the time the rogue had a phone call none of us knew about and accidentally dragged a Vrykul out of line of sight. I heard the healer say, “I can’t reach you!” just as I swung the camera around to see a small, pathetic-looking gnome rogue body flop dead out from behind the doorway.
There was the time our shadow priest decided to reorganize her buttons and accidentally Vampiric Embraced a mob off to the side.
There was the time the patrol showed up while three dps-ers were attacking three different targets, and I was trying to round everything up…and we wiped.
I started to feel desperate. “Am I doing something wrong? Help me!” I pleaded.
“No, no,” was the constant reply. “You’re doing great. We’re just being sloppy.”
Now I think every one of my guildies who was in there with me is a wonderful person and excellent player. I love hanging out with them. And if it had been any random group behaving that way, I would have actually ripped my hair out instead of just thinking about ripping my hair out. Because we know each other and are friends, I had actual fun in between the frustration of having no idea what I was doing as a tank (short of standing in front of mobs pressing buttons and yelling, “Look at me! Hit ME!”)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t own up to my own failings in this vein. Healing with Taz is such a laughable task in lower-level that I’m almost done with my Master of Arms achievement. I’ve done my own share of face-rolling my way through things, especially when I’m with a group I know well. (I tend to be more on my toes in pure random groups, just because I’m less sure of their abilities.)
But make no mistake – sometimes your friends can be just as bad as those random PuGs. At least with your friends, however, you can grin and bear it…knowing in advance that sometimes gentle does involve chainsaws.