Yes, I know, the post title is silly, and only vaguely relevant if you know who the Saints are. And I don’t mean St. Jude and St. Peter, either. I don’t think they play on the same team.
Hey, if you think it’s that easy to make fun new post titles for over a thousand posts…. you’re probably right, but I do the best I can with what I’ve got under the hood.
I have an amusing story to share with you. I think it illustrates a few telling things about what we can get used to, and what we expect to see, and how we can sometimes ignore things until confronted with the one when you expected the other.
Now that I’ve vagued that up for you as much as I can, I’ma gonna tell a story.
Once, last night, on a server very, very close to home…
There I am, continuing my experiments in tanking comparisons.
I’ve been tanking on my Druid, followed by tanking on my Paladin, mostly in PUG situations and comparing the general feel between the two. A post on that might go up later today, more likely tomorrow.
This has, by necessity, required me to actually tank a lot with both characters. To run a lot of things. To test a variety of instance situations.
It’s been lots of fun.
Whenever possible, I prefer to only run with friends, but I wanted to run several things in the shortest possible time so as to really hammer home my impressions of the classes while they were fresh. Also, I was testing the ease with which strangers without restraint could pull aggro off of me. My friends are actually smart players, so they don’t do dat. To get idiots and out of control DPS meter chasing freaks, I had to resort to strangers. So, that means running purely random pugs.
I love Gnomeaggedon, and I’ve tried to follow the ‘be positive’ meme he started, but I’m just gonna have to warn you; there might be some mention of asshattish behavior on the way. Sorry, I know.
Over the last week, I’ve run a few things.
I’ll make one observation, which I swear is relevant to the story.
One thing that I’ve noticed as a key difference between pugs and playing with friends, is that in pugs people whom I’ve never met before will announce what the group will do. Not ask what the rest of the group wants to do, or make a suggestion as to what they’d LIKE to do. Just flatly announce what will happen. “We will be doing X on this run.”
I’ve noticed it mostly because I wasn’t used to that approach in groups of players before. It’s by no means unheard of, just not something I was used to seeing consistently myself, unless from the tank, and even then it would be about 50/50 phrased as ‘what we will do’ or ‘what I like to do’, which is a slightly gentler way of saying the same thing, but leaves you more open to counterpoint.
I can’t speak for other people’s experiences, but to my mind it’s unusual behavior in a group environment among social equals for one person to dictate to the rest. It stands out as rude, an attempt to remove the power of choice of other people by putting yourself and your own needs first, and requiring an awkward confrontation if someone else has a different idea.
It’s a negotiation tactic used to control a discussion and get your own way. If you make a pre-emptive strike to state what WILL happen, rather than phrasing it as a request and asking for consensus or other competing suggestions, than what you have done is forced anyone that does NOT agree with you to have to confront you publicly, to challenge you, and to face the consequences of bringing conflict and potential drama.
For many people… not all, but many, the easier route will be to simply shut up, keep your head down, go along, get the run done and move on. Maybe put that person on ignore, maybe not.
I don’t want to give the impression that I think being assertive is evil, or that telling people what you expect them to do is wrong. Not at all, I’m not some head in the clouds idiot. If you have someone over you in a position of authority, or you are someone who has the responsibility of seeing to it that things get done, then this is normal and welcome. Having someone responsible in charge providing clear direction, assigning tasks, or setting work priorities gets things done. They may be the wrong things if he or she isn’t open to learning and listening to the opinions and experience of everyone that is part of their team, but it gets things done.
What I’m saying is that, in my opinion, when you’ve got a group of strangers who are all there for the same purpose, are there by their own consent to work together and offer their contributions to the groups’ success, and you have one person start tossing orders around and making unilateral decisions, it’s bullshit. Your mileage may vary. :)
Okay, so there I am, running things on my Paladin. I’ve had a lot of fun runs, solid learning experiences, good times. Quite a bit of stress, but my studies and research are paying off. I’m using a Talent spec, Seal of Command and Retribution Aura along with Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous to optimise 5 person instance threat generation.
A word about that. I ain’t a Paladin tank expert. If you would like to learn more from actual experts about Paladin tanking, I direct you to Ardent Defender, Blessing of Kings, Honor’s Code, Righteous Defense, and Tankadin.com (my apologies to those I missed – Paladin tanks have a big blog community).
However, that being said… I am somewhat used to the concept of researching a class for myself, once in a while. I know what I wanted, to optimise heroic instance tanking and threat generation. I did heroic Halls of Reflection last night, and as they say about New York, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
I ran a few heroics with my friends Cal and Ely, as tank, heals, deeps. After each one, we dropped group to port out and then reformed to start the next one.
This time, after Utgardt Keep, I drop group, and Cal announces he has to go put some pants on.
I have to admit, Utgardt Keep speed run and guns are fun, but I know I’ve never had to go change my pants after running it. Still, best not to judge. (That’s a pally joke. Ha.)
So he’s off afk, and I go scurrying around farming some Titansteel mats since I want to have someone craft me the Saronite Swordbreaker plate tanking wrists, and I’m just 3 Titansteel Bars short.
After a bit, Cal says he’s back.
I queue up Looking for Dungeon, and as usual for a group with a tank, insta-form a group.
Boom! Halls of Stone loading screen forms.
I buff folks as usual, and right away the following pops up in Party chat;
- [player1]: We’re skipping the two optional bosses.
- [player2]: You pull as long as I’ve got mana.
- [player2]: I don’t run out of mana so you better not stop.
- [player1]: Let’s go, what u waiting for?
I pull the three dwarfs that like to pat near the portal entrance, we burn them down, and I’m thinking, “Wow, what if I wanted to do the two optional bosses? I can use the Emblems, myself. And what if *I* happen to be out of mana? Am I allowed to stop and drink? Do I need to raise my hand first and ask permission? Seig Heil!”
- [player3]: What are you standing there for, go!
- [player1]: Get moving, go, go!
Now, understand, the time sequence here is, 5 people appear in instance, I click the Pallypower buff button 5 times fast, then Avenger’s Shield the three dwarves and we burn ‘em down, then as I saw a third unfamiliar player name pop up in party chat, I paused for 1 second to actually LOOK at the names of who I was in group with, and what guilds they were from.
It almost takes longer to type that stuff out than I took to read the member names of who I was grouped with, and yet that’s how fast these were popping up.
What I was asking myself was, “How in the HELL did I end up with THREE asshats, when I joined group with TWO FRIENDS?!?”
Right about that time [player4] chimed in demanding I get my ass in gear.
That was when I realised the incredible mistake I had made.
I queued up in LFD without reforming party with Cal and Ely first.
Now, understand that I am actually IN VENT with Cal and Ely as this is happening. We’re chatting away, and I’m trailing off as it finally dawns on me that I’m all alone with these strange people, none of whom are guilded together, they are all spontaneously being making demands as I’m awakening to the concept that I didn’t intend to be available to join this group in the first place.
5 seconds have now elapsed without my moving, and as I let my friends in vent know just how incredibly dumb I’ve been, one of the pug group runs forward to pull the next group FOR me, to spur me on to action or something. 5 whole seconds! Omigawd, I know, right?
Well, that makes things easy for me. Incredibly easy. Every single one of the four players has shown the patience of a Mayfly, has been rude and demanding. I have two friends waiting to play with me, and I joined these morons by mistake anyway. My bad.
I grab the group that they pulled, take aggro and control them getting burned down, then grab a stack of Mana Strudel from the mage table, announce “You guys are on your own, go find yourself another tank to order around” and leave party.
I then spent the next 15 minutes of my random lockup hopping around Dalaran chatting. Cal went fishing.
For the rest of the night, every time I ate a Conjured Mana Strudel, I fancied I could taste the tears of selfish QQ flavoring the pastry… and it tasted delicious.
The moral of this story is, if I had zoned in to find out I was a dumbass for queueing, and nobody had said anything, or if people had done the customary “Hi! How you doing?”, I would have apologised to Cal and Ely for screwing up, but I totally would have run the entire instance.
If even only one or two people there were rude, or pushy, or demanding, I would have stayed and made the best of it. And it’s not like a tank doesn’t have a veto. As the tank, if I decide to run down and kill Maiden and get an extra Emblem for 2 minutes work, who’s to stop me? Is the rest of the group REALLY going to go on strike if the tank wants to pull a group of mobs? They may bitch, piss and moan, but are they really going to leave?
But when I zone in, and I’m greeted with four asshats… where is the incentive to care if I leave? Why should I endure your crap? What’s my motivation to be your bitch?
I hope you take away from this story three things;
- I’m a moron. (Big newsflash there, huh?)
- If people are friendly, even if it’s not what you intended to do, having fun with friendly people is the best part of the game. Why not stay and give it your best shot?
- You don’t have to be anybody’s bitch.
If you join a group and are treated with abuse… then leave, RIGHT THEN. You do not deserve anyone’s abuse, and you do NOT have to take it. Whether in real life or in a virtual world, if you are in an abusive situation, do not be a victim. Do not suffer in silence. If you do not wish to be in a confrontation, if you cannot bring yourself to speak up on your own behalf… then leave.
You, and your time, are worth more than that.