Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ignorance is ignorant

In followup to my previous post on the subject, and in response to yesterday's WoWinsider article I have a great deal more to say. First and foremost I wish to say that there is only one time I would probably publicly ridicule someone in a group, and that is if they were intentionally doing something that was counter to good practices. Something along the lines of a Rogue rushing into a room to agro everything then vanishing, leaving the rest of the group eating a room full of pissed off NPCs. I've actually seen that. Short of that I wouldn't say anything publically, though I might mutter to myself how badly a run was going. And most likely if a run were going that badly I would make a judgment call and either stick it out or leave.

However, let us look at the letter the ladies at WoWinsider got recently and which they themselves responded to.
Dear Drama Mamas: Last night, I was running H CoS on my mage, gearing her for frost PvE (I know it's not optimal, but it is viable -- and my favorite). The group I was in consisted of a hunter, death knight, shaman (healer) and paladin (tank). The pally tank was fully geared in at least ToGC gear (if not ICC), but the other DPS were obviously just graduating to Heroics. The tank was upset that my DPS was only slightly above his and that the hunter and DK were well below him. He proceeded to insult and belittle the DPS for being below him and started swearing, because he thought we would not be able to get the extra boss (and therefore the extra badge). I told him to stop being so rude, that the DPS were here to gear up and he should lay off; he just told me I was a scrub ...

I can understand his frustration. He feels like he is missing out on a chance to get an extra badge. However, I don't think it is necessary to verbally abuse other players just because of their place on the meters. If we had been in ToC or one of the new five-man heroics, I think he would have a point. But CoS is a lower-level heroic than those instances, and the DPS were par for the course.

... I don't think it is fair to mock someone because their toon isn't as geared as you would like it to be. Isn't that why they're here? I guess my question is, who was right? I get that the general rule is for the DPS to be above the tank. But how is that fair when your tank is pulling near 3K DPS? How can he ask that the DPS be competitive if he isn't willing to run low-level heroics with them? Do they (we) deserve to be made fun of because our alts are not as geared as their mains, because we are here trying to gear them? Signed, Abused and Confused
I've been seeing more and more of these types of stories on the forum lately. While the LFG system in my view is wonderful it also has the side effect of bringing people that probably didn't run too many pugs previously back into the fold. Those people either didn't run pugs because they couldn't stand the run of the mill people who pull groups they aren't supposed to, target mobs not being tanked by the tank and therefore continuously gain agro, or are just not good healers. Take your pick, there are undoubtedly a million reasons why a lot of people preferred not to run pugs previously, with the problems associated with putting groups together being only one. Those people instead formed static groups and ran dungeons with them.

Patch 3.3 came and changed all of that. Now it's much simpler and much faster to use the LFG system. You can earn a tremendous amount of badges in very little time and that allure is just too much to ignore. Now those people who are used to playing with high quality players are instead being grouped with people that might be less skilled or geared than they are used to. Nothing wrong with that and I've yet to personally see anything like what the ladies at WoWInsider responded to, though I very often see DPS in groups that are much below myself or are just low in general. Again, nothing wrong with that. As long as things go smoothly.

So lets take a look at what just happened to me and then lets take a look at that letter to Wowinsider again. I have been running my four most geared 80's through the daily random dungeon for Frost badges in order to buy Primordial Saronites for my Pally's Shadowmourne quest. Two of those characters are well geared and could easily fit into any ICC-25/10 run (or any other raid) for the weekly quest as well. One of them right at 5k gear score, and which I actually consider to be medium-high geared. He also could get into any weekly raid, but my fourth character had been benched for some time (my Rogue) and had just two pieces of T8 and the remaining pieces were assorted Heroic ilevel 200 purples. He is definitely good enough to run the daily random for Frost badges, but no where geared enough to run the last couple weeklies and so I have been putting in many hours this last week running him through countless dungeons to get badges in order to upgrade all his gear. He's now in 4 pieces of T9, has a 232 pair of pants, has a 232 dagger to go with his off hand 213 dagger, a 226 belt and neck, and some other pieces that are not too bad. In fact all that I really want to replace at this point are his ilevel 200 bracers and his 200 ring. I'd like to replace that ilevel 213 dagger too, but I'm not overly worried about it right now. He's definitely good enough as of today to run pretty much any raid we're likely to currently see as a weekly. I say all this as back ground so you understand that I'm on a mission, and I would think that I'm not alone in that.

So there I was in LFG, taking an invite to a random dungeon and porting into the Forge of Souls. Of the three new 5-mans, it's the easiest but definitely more difficult than previous dungeons. You can't "graduate" into heroics and expect to start running these. That is unless you are to be carried, yet what about the tank and healer? They clearly will have the hardest tasks in FoS as there are multiple caster mobs that are not easily tanked for typical AOE bombardment. There is a lot of AOE damage that will be thrown at the party and the healer has to be on his or her game to keep everyone alive. Yet that is not what I just saw in my last FoS run. The Mage died on the very first two mobs, literally killing himself in one shot from the spell reflect. That wasn't the healers fault. The next set of mobs just up the ramp was though. The tank, healer, and mage died. My Rogue and the hunter survived and killed the last two mobs at which point I inspected the healer. I had already seen he had a 3100 gear score going in, but I wasn't expecting to see ungemmed/unenchanted purple gear to go along with some of his blue unenchanted gear. The healer was simply not geared well enough for the content, nor even prepared to be a healer. I don't want to link to his armory and call him out, though I would like to discuss his gear briefly and illustrate what I think a lot of people like me are finding frustrating at times.

Head - Gaze of the Somber Keeper - gemmed but no head enchant
Neck - Frozen Tear of Elune
Shoulder - Mantle of the Tribunal - no shoulder enchant, but since it's blue would you put one on anyway? He didn't.
Back - Wisp Cloak - no enchant
Chest - Chestguard of the Broken Branches - no gemmed or enchanted
Wrist - Bindings of Wicked - enchanted, but with hit on it, it's not a healing piece.
Hands - Malfurian's Handguards of Conquest - not gemmer or enchanted
Waist - Binding of the Tranquil Glade - no belt buckle and second gem
Legs - Leggings of the Snowy Bramble
Feet - Earthgiving Boots - not enchanted
Ring 1 - Signet of Purity -
Ring 2 - Voodoo Signet - Hit/not a healing ring
Trinket 1 - Tears of the Vanquished
Trinket 2 - Harbinger's Wrath
Weapon - Surgeon's Needle
Off-hand - Handbook of Obscure Remedies
Ranged - Idol of the Flourishing Life

From his gear you can see he is newly 80 and either does not understand that he needs to pay closer attention to his mana regen capabilities (415/243 MP5 w/658 Spirit) or is completely unaware of his class mechanics and shouldn't have been attempting to heal at all at this point, let alone any of the new 5-mans. I have no issues with people who are a bit under performing tagging along, but the tank and healer slots are key and you need to make sure you are prepared for that position before you subject others to your failings. This individual is just an example of what I see as a problem that has taken hold of the PUG system lately. People are given an inch (new fast LFG system) and want to take a mile (unprepeared and want to be carried regardless).

Now lets look at that email again. The poor Mage is admittedly undergeared and complains of being belittled by the tank who is evidently frustrated with the group. The problem is these types of stories, and mine, are told from a point of view that isn't necessarily shared by others. The Mage can not possibly know how many previous groups said tank might have had to bite his tongue through, or know whether the tank has already had to drop previous groups and be penalized with having to wait out the penalty timer. The Mage has no way of knowing how many bad players the tank has had to put up with that might have pulled extra groups, or evidently don't understand the necessity of targetting the tanked add(s). All the Mage knows is her DPS is low and she wants to tag along in a heroic to get to free loot. The problem with her story is that we have to take her at her word on the swearing though we have no idea what the tank actually said or how he said it. And we have no idea how sensitive the Mage might actually be. We also have no idea just how low her DPS is. If she's below the tank in DPS then I can sort of see the point of the tank that perhaps she needs to be running regular dungeons instead. After all I am a stickler for proper progression.

All that being said, if I had been the tank I probably would have just kept my misgivings to myself and finished the dungeon without a word. What I want in any run is a quick and smooth run, and as long as the dungeon was going to be finished I probably would have been satisfied with that. But that's me. The problem as I really see it are these ladies at WoWinsider who are dispensing advice to the public that seems to cement this attitude of entitlement and instant gratification. You have the right to expect when you join the group that everyone knows their class and their roll. And you have the right to expect that everyone will contribute to the group's success. You do not have the right to expect that you can literally walk along behind the group and do nothing while the rest of the group gets you badges and loot. That's simply not fair. So before you decide to send WoWinsider more letters complaining about people who seem to be a bit frustrated dealing with people who have entitlement complexes, please look in the mirror and ask yourself one very simple question. Should I really be here?