I have a New Years resolution. It’s a very simple one.
I’m going to maintain my faith that nice people still play WoW, despite what sometimes seems to be a landslide of in-game evidence to the contrary.
This was going to be a pretty cranky post. And I HATE cranky posts. If I’m in a bad mood, why dump that all over you?
Amusingly enough, things came up that changed the nature of this post mid-stream, so it’s not nearly as cranky as it could have been. Which is nice, considering it’s the first post of the new year.
Inside the game, most of the people I encounter are just… blech.
It often feels as if, so long as there is nothing there that someone wants for themselves, people act all right. Not great, but arright. It’s only the occasional person going out of their way to annoy someone else.
Sure, there is always that 10%, somebody that thinks the best use of their game time is to find some out of the way low level quest hub, and kill everything there for as long as they can get away with it until a higher level opposing faction player comes along, and then they run away and hide like a gutless coward.
And on that topic, how gutless must you be in real life that you’re afraid of getting into a virtual fight with your digital avatar? Really? Dear lord, if you’re going to start shit, find some intestinal fortitude and stand and fight when the big guns come to call.
People like that, the ones that go looking to be a asshat, are thankfully few and far between.
But you put an Herb, Ore node, quest mob or valuable drop into the equation, and suddenly far more people get vicious, and right fast. It’s me first, and screw you buddy.
It’s sad, and you see it most when there is new content. Once stuff has been out for a while, people don’t act like that as much… because they already got what they wanted. If they act nice later, it’s not because they’re nice… it’s because they don’t care about whatever it is anymore, and so it’s easier to act nice and do nothing than it is to rush forward to gank.
They’re still that same person that waited until you attacked the mob right next to the Ore Node before they swooped in and mined it, they haven’t changed over time.
Amusingly enough, it gives me hope. :) People that act rude as hell generally ease off the longer the content is out, and stop irritating the rest of us. It gets better.
What annoys me at times is knowing they’re still in the game. They only pretend they’re nice, they’re still an asshat at heart. And they’re still out there, asshats in disguise.
But that’s why we prefer to play with friends we know, right? So we don’t have to put up with that kind of thing.
It’s more like a clique thing, though. You may choose to hang with and chat with and play with your friends, but you’re not playing in a bubble. If you venture out into the World of Warcraft, you encounter a world where other people can and will affect your experience by how they act.
I suppose it must be how people in High School feel when they hang with their own friends… but they can’t exactly avoid running into the idiots that want to throw somebody in a locker or give them a wedgie or something when they travel from class to class.
I know I’m only speaking for myself here… but sometimes there is something really depressing about playing a massively multiplayer game, when it feels like the massively means “massive numbers of shitheads in game, the behavior you encounter may vary depending on whether you actually wanted to quest or do an instance today or not”.
Before Cataclysm came out, I announced on da blog I wasn’t going to be tanking groups in PUGs anymore. I meant it. I don’t need to run instances over and over, there is no raid gear level I’m trying to reach. I don’t have a frantic need to gear up.
That hasn’t stopped me from joining groups as a DPS player, to see what the new content looks like. To apply what I’ve read about the instances to first hand observations.
It’s a part of the game, and I’d like to see it. I’d also like to be that player that helps the tank instead of being just another idiot.
If I’m going to be honest, I also wanted to be in a position to really see how other people are acting in groups, and reacting to the new dungeons, without being responsible for anything more than being the best DPS player I can be.
If I assume the responsibility of being the tank or healer, if things fall apart due to some asshat, I feel personally responsible for not taking up the slack. I know me. It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘fair’ or not, if I’m the tank or healer and someone dies or I lose aggro, I take that as a failure on my part.
If I’m a DPS player, then my job is to not go over aggro, stay out of goo, trap or CC who I’m told, and try to use initiative in applying my skills to the fight in a helpful way, without annoying the tank by usurping his intended control of the fight.
Oh yeah, and try and do some solid DPS. I can handle that.
Along the way of running instances, I’ve seen some truly amazing behavior out of people.
There have been good groups, and there have been bad groups.
I have some favorite trends.
One of them is the number of tanks that, after seeing people die including themselves, blame the healer almost as a reflex. Amusingly enough, I had just that in Vortex Pinnacle, a tank that really was horrible at maintaining awareness of where mobs were, didn’t actually aggro all of them ever, the healer would get stuff on top of him, and people would die. After blaming the healer, the tank left… to be replaced by a tank that held everything fine, and we continued the run smooth as silk. Oops.
Another is the trend of healers to not heal anyone other than the tank. There are lots of situations where there is AoE. Lots of AoE. Also, lots of loose mobs. If there are loose mobs that the tank isn’t grabbing, letting the DPS all die isn’t actually helping the team win. Especially if the ‘healer’ is DPSing.
And then there are the DPS players. Ahh, the DPS.
My favorite example of just ‘oh wtf is wrong with you’ doesn’t even come from my own playing.
Cassie took her Rogue into a heroic. The first new heroic either of us ever saw.
I haven’t taken any of my characters into heroics yet, because I simply don’t care if I do any. Maybe after I’ve had lots of fun in normal runs. I’d like a couple of Chaos Orbs on my Hunter someday so I can craft my bow and goggles, but meh. They’ll still be there in a year or so.
But Cassie actually has very good gear, as far as normal instances are concerned, and she decided to see what the heroics were like.
I watched over her shoulder a bit, until the sympathetic pain got to be too much to bear.
I had thought, considering the 35 minute plus wait time for DPS to get a group, that DPS players who actually got a group would try to help make it work. At the very least, I figured they’d try and help the tank, since the tank is the only one with a fast queue time who suffers little by leaving except a short deserter debuff. There will always be another fast instance for a tank.
I thought wrong.
Cassie got Shadowfang Keep. Cool! I wanted to see that place now that it’s revamped.
Of the 5 person group, only two of them, a Mage and the healer, a Priest, were from the same server and guild.
The tank was a Druid tank. From what I saw, they did an admirable job. Moved fast, knew his (or her) abilities, Growled from range, etc, worked hard to grab mobs and hold aggro and all that.
The tanks’ reward for trying so hard to do a great job of tanking was to have a run with three malicious asshats along to make him (or her) completely miserable.
The Mage, in my opinion, takes the prize. I’d normally save the worst for last, but he set the tone. The Mage had “Go Go Go Go Pull Now Pull Now” macroed so he could spam it… which he did, after every single group death. Sometimes scrolling nine plus lines or more deep.
The Mage also spent more time telling other people how crappy their DPS was than he did actually causing DPS, which wasn’t that great, btw. A classic case of “maybe if you shut up and played, your DPS wouldn’t suck so much”, something I should have saved as a macro myself.
I don’t want you to get the idea from the spamming of “Go Go Go” that the Mage was waiting for the tank to pull the next mobs, either. Far from it. The Mage actually waited about .2 milliseconds after spamming chat to then pull the next group for the tank, regardless of what the tank might be doing. Usually while the tank was healing himself.
Oh yes, the Mage loved pulling… and the tank would dutifully pull the mobs off him to support the run.
But wait, why was the Druid tank healing himself?
Why, because the Mage’s co-guildie, the group healer, a Priest, spent almost all of HIS time in Shadow Form, casting damage spells. And spent zero time healing anyone other than the tank, and even then only rarely.
The Priest even did some pulling of the next groups for the tank as well.
No, the Priest’s healing skills did not justify this behavior.
And then there is the third member… a Retribution Paladin that, apparently since he couldn’t pull the next group himself, because the MAGE was doing that, decided to start running into the next rooms to body pull the next group before the current fight was even done.
That’s right… three players all competing with each other to see who could win as the head asshat of Cassie’s first heroic.
The tank, amazingly enough, lasted for almost half of the run before just giving up and leaving in disgust. And who could blame him?
Right before leaving the group, the tank told the Mage that if he wanted to tank so bad, go for it. The Mage promptly pulled the next group for the tank, the tank didn’t try and pull off the Mage, the Mage Ice Blocked… and the healer only healed the Mage, not the tank.
So the tank left, followed closely thereafter by Cassie.
I know I would have left after the second room was pulled for me after I asked them to stop it. I sure as heck wouldn’t have continued tanking for idiots like that.
But then again, it’s being treated like that by strangers in a game meant for pleasure in my down time that’s the prime reason I will never tank for a pug again. There are no rewards worth having that would compensate for the aggravation.
With tanks willing to join PUGs as rare as they already are, what would possess people to act like this? Do they think they are, perhaps, the only ones acting like immature slugs, and the runs they ruin and the tanks they piss off don’t matter, because there is a never-ending, infinite supply of tanks just waiting around the next corner that they haven’t gotten to piss off yet?
It doesn’t matter. Motivations don’t matter. Reasons don’t matter.
It doesn’t matter WHY, what matters is WHAT. And in this case, the what is players that don’t deserve to be in a group environment. Players that not only don’t appreciate the opportunity to play in a group, but are openly contemptuous of tanks and the rest of the players in the party.
These are people who seem to get off at the idea that someone else is having a bad day. And who REALLY get off at thinking that they were the cause.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Every time I start thinking about the asshats of WoW, something also happens to remind me that it’s not all that bad. All players you meet really AREN’T like that.
Even if it seems most are only pretending to be nice to get something they want at the moment.
In the middle of writing this post, I took a break to go herbing in my favorite location in Vashj’ir. I know that the herbs to be found there, being lower level, don’t have as high a drop rate of the mats for Inferno Ink. That’s okay by me, because it’s usually empty of players, and you can turn in Blackfallow Ink in Dalaran to get your Inferno Ink. So all herbs is good herbs, mon.
I haven’t really been farming much since hitting 525 Inscription, but I’ve been playing my Shaman a little, and realised that I had a crap Relic. Well, I can fix that easy enough, just apply herbs to taste.
There I am, swimming in circles in Vashj’ir, farming for herbs. Usually I listen to Lewis Black when I’m going to be herbing for a while… one of his audiobooks, or a CD. I almost had all the mats already, though, so I figured I was only 15 minutes of herbing out before being done. Not really enough time for old Lew to get cooking.
As I swoop in to grab an herb, I aggro one of those cute squid-headed Giblins, and have to fight it first.
Just as I get fighting, what should swim up but another manatee of doom.
My fellow Druid swam up, paused next to the herb, and my thoughts at the moment were, “Well, that figures. Herb it while I’m fighting the mob. Whatever.”
It’s what I’ve come to expect, and why I love mining on my Hunter. The pet handles the mobs, so I can mine the node, which really pisses off the countless people that have swooped in on me in the past hoping to gank while I was distracted.
Instead of herbing this time, the Druid asks, “Hey, are you herbing?”
Previous to this, I thought I was one of the only ones that ever stopped to ask first.
I take the time to reply that I was, and he says, “Oh, okay, I wasn’t going to jack it” and swims off.
Well, holy crow. Really? A polite Druid? How nice! I feel kinda proud to be a Druid too!
I whisper to him quickly, to thank him for being so nice. I really appreciated it.
He says no problem, and, since it was clear to me that the level 85 Druid was there just to farm herbs himself, I figured I’d set his mind at ease. I tell him that I’m just herbing until I have enough to make a Shaman Relic, and as soon as I was done, I’d be out of there, leaving it all to him.
He replies back that he was in for the long haul. He’s trying to make Volcano cards to get his Mage a trinket before the weekend. Ouch.
Then he links to the Runed Dragonscale relic, and asks me if that’s the one I’m working towards. I say it is, and he asks me, “Do you want one? I made some leveling Inscription.”
Didn’t ask to trade, just asks if I want one. Nobody is that nice.
I reply back that I’ll be happy to trade him all the mats I’d harvested so far in exchange for hit, he says sure, and off we go. I didn’t quite have enough herbs yet to make the 8 Inferno Ink one of those takes, so I’m definitely getting the better part of the deal. It makes me feel bad, that’s the time when I would love to reward someone’s being unexpectedly awesome by giving them more than they imagined.
As I swim away from the trade, he asks, “Could you use one of these? I’ve made some of them too” and links the strength relic that is good for Ret Pallies.
I tell him no, and thank him very strongly for his kindness and generosity, and wish him happy herbing.
It gives you pause, you know? I see the people in these PUGs, start writing a cranky old post, and in the middle of the post meet somebody like Mithrandirls of Cheat Death on Kael’thas-US, and just wonder in amazement about what a nice person they were, just out of the blue.
I’d like to think I’m a nice person in game, but how often have I really gone out of my way to be nice like that?
I might not gank other people’s herbs or act the fool spouting drivel in instances, but how often do I go out of my way to do something nice for strangers?
I think the only time that comes to mind in the last week was when somebody in Uldum was asking in general chat if there were any mailboxes around, because their bags were completely full. Some folks replied that there weren’t any, some gave out bad info, some gave the person crap (as usual), and I said that I could come drop a mailbox if they needed one.
They said “Ah, ok, thx”, and I thought they meant to me, so I invited them to group to see where they were. I was halfway to them when they asked me what the group was for.
I told them I offered to drop a Mailbox, and I thought they’d said ok.
The person was genuinely astounded that someone would do that for them. They also didn’t know people could do that. I guess they’d never tried Engineering as a profession before.
I found them, demonstrated the Engineering powers of Moll-E, wished them good luck and flew off.
I felt embarrassed. She just seemed so surprised anyone would bother to be helpful, it really did make me feel like I was the one out of place for doing something to help someone else. Plus, it only took a second, it’s not like I did anything amazing at all.
That contributed to the crankiness of my original post. There is something wrong when people expect you to be an asshat, and are surprised when you do something nice instead.
I don’t want to be the person that is assumed to be an asshat just because I play WoW.
I’m going to end my first post of the new year just right… with a cliche.
The game is what it is, not what we wish it were. If we don’t take the time to be nice ourselves, if we don’t do what we can to have that seem like the normal way of doing things, how will anything ever change?
For the players out there like Mithrandirls, thank you. You may seem outnumbered at times, but I like to think that you are the true ambassadors of WoW. You serve as an inspiration to me, and I wish you and yours a very happy new year.