I said it a long time ago, way back in the darkest days of the blog.
I said back then that I have certain expectations of other people during a run in the game. Any run, any content, any level.
The base expectation I have is, the people involved all attempt to play their class the best they know how, out of respect for everyone on the run.
All of the people involved.
A lot of time has passed since I used to talk about raid progression and Karazhan and even dallying within Gruul’s Lair.
Sometimes I’ve played in groups while chatting, and once notably while on a live podcast. But in my defense, when you’re normally raid leading and main tanking, sitting back and just doing ranged DPS does leave you with some extra capacity for chatting. Especially if the raid is a pug that’s not using ventrilo. I’m not saying you’ve got to be a single minded machine, I’m just saying that you need to be doing your best to play your class. If you can do that and chat too, hey, rock on.
My base expectation, that people who commit to group activities act with competence in playing their class, has not wavered.
I have other preferences, things that a player can do to move them, in my mind, from “meets expectations” to all sorts of categories far above.
To reach the pinnacle of excellence as a group player takes more than just being a really nice person. It also takes playing your class effectively, being prepared with mats/reagents/poisons/food, showing consideration for the others by actively trying to get TO the instance or raid as fast as possible, not going afk for extended periods without explanation, and not having a million disconnects in mid fight.
There are always exceptions. For example, sometimes disconnects happen without warning. It’s life, things happen. Nobody I know has ever held it agasint someone. On the other hand, if you know you’re getting disconnected every 5 to 10 minutes at random, and it’s been happening all day, it would be rude to ask a group to join you on a run without warning them about it first.
Sometimes you don’t have the food you need for a run. On a tough fight, with lots of wipes while learning content, you can run through food at a frightening rate. Likewise elixirs and flasks, and reagents for buffs. In my opinion, that kind of thing happens a lot, especially with dual spec. If you’re running tank for a few weeks, it’s easy to forget you ran out of healie food a while back until someone asks you to heal.
In my opinion, if you’re trying to start the group yourself, you should make sure you’re prepared. If someone asks you out of the blue to come help, well, if you didn’t have things on hand, it’s perfectly understandable. Circumstances change, there are no absolutes.
I’m pretty irritable about the “knowing where the hell to go” thing. Especially for Azeroth raids and instances. The game has been out for a very long time. If you seek out a Molten Core run, you ought to know where to go by now. If you are asked to come join, again, it’s more understandable. But if you want to start the runs, why haven’t you bothered to go check it out before now?
But the base requirement, the absolute foundation all else springs from, is trying your best to play your class well.
That includes having a spec that makes some form of sense… I don’t care what the reasoning is, I just ask that there be one, just to reassure me that you thought about what you wanted to do. I’m fine with a Beastmaster Hunter with a Pet Tanking spec in an instance run. Optimized for solo farming of BRD with your pet Turtle? Sounds fine with me, I bet that’s fun!
That also includes having gear choices made for comprehensible reasons. That same Hunter in all cloth spellpower gear? Girlfriend, who HAVE you been listening to? Trade chat? Yes, I’m sure your Mend Pet spell is very effective, but allow me to educate you as to the following mantra, “It’s all Hunter loot.” Umm, it ain’t.
I’m just using Hunters as a ‘for example’, I haven’t personally seen a spellpower cloth wearing Hunter that wasn’t just having fun messing with people.
But you get the idea. My Retribution Paladin, for example, loves Strength, Critical Strike, and Stamina. While soloing, I haven’t been turning aside Armor Penetration or Agility (for Crit Chance and Dodge), Hit Rating or Expertise either.
If I were to be prioritizing Intellect and Spellpower as Retribution, I’d expect someone to slap me. Hard.
When I get invited to groups, or if I put myself in a position where I may get invited to a group, I make it my business to know where I’m supposed to be going. Invited to a Molten Core run? Great, I know right where that is, and I know what I have to do to get attuned.
The alt I’m on might not BE attuned, but I know how to get down to BRD area and find out if I am, and know whether or not I’ll need to run into BRD and take the long way.
If I’m invited to The Nexus by a pug, and I’m in Grizzly Hills, I’ll get to a flight master and get started going that way, unless the group needs me to stop and pick up food or reagents somewhere. Sure, others may get there first, but then again, they may not. I shouldn’t expect a summons automatically, should I?
If I’m in a guild run, I’ll ask if I can get a summons if others are already closer, but that just makes sense. They’re already there, and they know me.
I try to bring food for myself. I appreciate and admire those that bring Fish Feasts to instances and raids (Hi Elystia!) but I still haven’t gotten my Fishing to that point yet. I figure, as long as I bring the food I’ll need, at least I’m not depending on the Fish Feasts of friends or strangers.
You get the idea. I expect good players, players I want to hang out with, to care enough to be prepared. To know what they’re doing. To pull their own weight at the minimum, and maybe have a little left over to pull the weight of someone else… but not have to.
People that get distracted by shinies and wander off in the middle of a run or even the middle of a fight, or are too busy chatting to actually, like, play, or get lost on the way to a raid or instance and need to be led by the hand to the portal, aren’t prepared, out of reagents, no food, not repaired, and disconnecting all the time…
As I said at the beginning, my base expectation, that has not changed since day one, is simply that people play their class the best they know how.
What HAS changed, is my understanding of what that means.
Years ago, I expected people to want to do the best they could, but I knew in my heart that it was difficult to sometimes know what that was for a class. Heck, there’s a reason I started a Feral Druid blog. Years ago, they were poorly understood, especially as tanks.
These days, with the data on the official WoW Forums stickies, websites and discussion forums such as Elitist Jerks, and addons to help with gear choices such as RatingsBuster, it’s become easy for me to get accostumed to the idea that everybody knows how to play.
Maybe someone needs experience to put that knowledge into action. Maybe someone is undergeared for what they are trying to do. Maybe someone is even horsing around and not paying attention, goofing around, having a good time and not really caring.
But as the years have passed, somehow, somewhere, I got the idea that everyone learned how2play their class.
This blindness to reality led to what we had here last night. A baseball bat right between the eyes.
A grand awakening.
Oh, holy shit.
Last night, I had a little time before bed, so I put my level 75 Retribution Paladin in LFG channel for some regular instances. I was tired, but the role of an axe-swinging, sammich-eating monkey, I felt that was something I could handle.
I was whispered within moments to see if I wanted to join a group to do regular Nexus, followed by Old Kingdom. I made sure to whisper back that I was Ret specced, was that okay?
“Sure”, I was told, “I’m Prot Specced, I’m the tank”. It was a level 72 Paladin.
Okay. I figure this should be a good test of where I’m at. I think I do good DPS, but since all I do is solo, how to judge? I hover at 1200 dps at level 75 as Ret in Grizzly Hills, but folks are hitting 2200 dps+ as new level 80s, so I might just suck.
And it’ll also give me an idea of how much I can go all out, or should throttle back, when playing with a lower level tank. Paladins are supposed to have very good threat generation, so this should be stimulating.
The group that formed was a 72 Protection Paladin, a 71 Hunter, a 79 Resto Druid and me, a level 75 Ret Pally. There was supposed to be a 79 Shadow Priest, but that player bailed out after the group formed.
We entered Nexus, and four-manned the place until thankfully a very skilled level 75 Shadow Priest was able to join us.
This run… this run shook up my preconceived ideas. My expectations have changed. Drastically. Dial up the wayback machine, because it’s 2006 all over again!
I tend to watch what people do around me. Yes, I do. I’m always looking to see how people play their characters in various situations in the hopes that I’ll learn something new and nifty.
Okay, a few things I noticed while doing this run, a run that had no wipes, and therefore must constitute a successful run.
Basically, the Hunter, Pally and Druid combined to form a blistering trifecta of pain.
First, I’ve never before seen a Resto Druid heal an entire instance without using Rejuvenation or Lifebloom. Healing Touch spam all the way. On the tank, and only the tank. Who never rose above 35% health on any fight.
Or a Paladin Tank that doesn’t have a taunt button, doesn’t understand what a kill target is, or how to apply AoE threat. A Paladin that can’t apply AoE threat! How f’ing hard is it to drop Consecration? Holy Shit!
And finally, a Hunter that sends the pet to attack the next group rather than the current group, including bosses, over. And over. And over. And over. The entire bloody be damned instance. Including early boss pulls before we’ve even finished the trash.
- “Dude, is your pet on Aggressive?”
- “Does Passive work the same as Aggressive now?”
- “No, put your pet on Defensive.”
- “It is.”
- “Then why is your pet attacking the next group?”
- “Is your pet on Defensive?”
I swear, that Hunter should have been in a guild called “Surprise Pull”. Except that after the 15th time, it’s no longer a surprise that the next group came running. Or that the boss was pulled as part of a trash pull.
So, you get a Druid that only heals the tank, and doesn’t do that well because instead of HoTs, he’s using Healing Touch exclusively. And the Paladin tank is so squishy that his health hovers around 35% most of the time, never much above that. So the Druid has to keep spamming to keep the tank alive with direct heals, and nobody else gets anything.
I keep running over that like a loose tooth. A Resto Druid that doesn’t use HoTs, and that dies several times and lets others die several times, without ever a Rejuvenation to be seen. Or a Lifebloom, for that matter. A level 79 Restoration specced Druid unable to heal regular Nexus. /shudder.
Anyway, so then you’ve got Mr Surprise Pull the Hunter, that not only pulls groups all the time, and sends the pet into other rooms, but actually is so desperate to out DPS everyone at 71 that he’s going all out on one target, pulls it, and then runs around trying to Ice Trap it before he dies (’cause he’s getting no heals, of course).
What makes me think that he was depserate to out DPS me?
Why, that would be the Damage Meter spam put out all throughout the instance.
After a while, I wanted to say, “Look, I’m at 1200, you’re at 950. It hasn’t changed yet, and it’s not looking like it ever will. You’re level 71 with 950 dps. Deal with it.”
And you’ve got the tank. Omigod, the tank.
I have been tanking a long, long time, and I’ve never seen anything like this guy.
He wasn’t marking anything. “Okay”, I think, “He must figure this is too kiddy skool to bother marking.”
But hey, I keep pulling aggro and then keeping the aggro somehow. He keeps changing his main target every second or two. I can’t tell what he’s targeting as a first kill that I can be safe on DPSing.
So I ask him, after a surprise boss pull, to please use a Skull to mark whoever he wants us to target for our first kill because I keep pulling aggro off him, over and over, and end up eating a mob.
“Sure”, he replies. “np.”
On the next pull, which the Hunter did not start early for a change, the tank put a Skull on one mob out of 3.
The tank pulled, I ran in, and I whacked the Skull. Once.
I got aggro.
Now, by this point I was actually expecting this. That is why I whacked it once, and only once, and then shut off auto-attack. And I stood there, with the tank sitting on top of all three mobs, and watched, doing nothing, as my health dropped, and I did not attack, and the Skull kept hitting me, and never, ever changed aggro to focus on the tank.
After a while of watching my health drop, I got ready. When I went below 10% I was poised to begin healing myself. Now I knew the deal with the Druid; main tank Healing Touch heal spam only.
Only after the other two mobs were killed did the tank finally take the Skull off of me.
No Consecration, no taunting, and when he marked after that, he himself ignored the mark in favor of attacking other things. Apparently, he thought a Skull meant that was my target, and mine alone. He clearly knew how to do a mark, he put it up without any hesitation.
I began a program of procrastination. I’d target the tank, wait to see who he was attacking, hit only after he did, and watch him like a hawk to see when he switched targets so I could switch too.
When in a target rich environment, like the frequent times when the Hunter would pull the next group, and a few extra, I’d just Consecrate and Blade Flurry and basically go all out with everything that I had that did AoE to try to keep things off the healer and Priest, relying on Lay On Hands, Art of War/Flash of Light and bubble to keep me alive until I could eat food.
I pretty much left the Hunter to fend for himself. Watching him run around getting chased half the instance becamse one of my new favorite things.
At some point the tank started moving and hopping while tanking. He began hopping all over the place, moving and hustling around, twisting and turning. I frequently found myself targeting his current target in the middle of a fight, whacking it once, and then having aggro on that mob for the duration of the rest of the fight. I’d make sure to drag it to the tank, to hold it on the tank, and to not be hitting it as I patiently waited for him to pull it back off me. No dice.
I have to thank them, that run taught me that Pallies really are like cockroaches, damn near unkillable as long as you’re not silenced or stunned.
Note: I now have a newfound respect and immense sympathy for every melee DPS that has ever had to attack targets when the tank won’t stay still for so long as a second. Holy shit people, if you’re tanking with some melee DPS, stand still unless you’re standing in a poison puddle, acid puddle, gas cloud, or other stationary damage dealing crap! How do you expect the melee to position behind a target, if the tank is dancing the Chubby Checker?
I watched in amazement once as the tank ran in. He dropped Consecrate on the way to the mobs, and then continued running, taking the mobs a good 15 yards past the Consecrate circle. That was the only time I saw him drop Consecrate, and I have to say, I wonder if he stopped using it because he thought it didn’t help. I was gratified to know that he at least had Consecrate somewhere on his button bar.
The capper, the absolute “Are you shitting me”, was when we took the dragon boss at the end.
The tank ran into the dragon chamber, closely followed by the healer. I started to follow, and then thought, “Maybe I should wait… and watch the Hunter. I’m thinking he’ll find a way to screw this up.”
Sure enough, the Hunter runs straight into the dragon chamber… and manages to pull one of the dragonkin patrols along the way. Without apparently noticing, and certainly without slowing down.
I run in after, and of course the tank and healer are engaged with the dragonkin inside the dragon chamber, and have no idea, as usual, what anyone else in the group is doing. The Hunter feigns. The dragonkin goes for the healer.
I watch. “I’m not getting in the middle this time,” I say to myself. “It’s the last two trash mobs, let’s see them figure this out.”
The Healer begins to go down, as expected, because the tank won’t pull threat or taunt, or even notice. He’s off in some brave new world of discovery.
It’s only then that I realize that while I was back watching the Hunter run into the room trailing a dragonkin behind him, one of the folks already in the chamber, probably the tank, had activated all the orbs, because we’ve got both the dragonkin AND the dragon boss active at the same time.
I drop my aloofness since if the healer goes down we’re gonna wipe on the boss (and did I mention I really didn’t want to pay a repair bill for this crap?) and taunt off of him.
Why yes, Paladins have a ranged taunt. Shocker!
I focus on killing the dragonkin and healing myself, while hopping, and thank the lord for the Shadow Priest, who did awesome focused damage throughout the run… I think on my targets and not on the tanks’.
The dragonkin both go down, and I begin attacking the dragon boss. Yes, I know his name, but I like saying dragon boss. Each time I do, I’m thinking the Erfworld “dwagon”.
Anyway, what I mean is, I try to attack the dwagon boss. I mean dragon.
See, the tank, that glorious Paladin tank, is not hopping in one place and tanking the dragon.
He’s not even swiveling from side to side doing the electric slide.
No, the Paladin tank is running around at full speed, back to the dragon, sometimes spinning around to face it and keeps going that way, to and fro, hither and yon, with no rhyme nor reason. Sometimes he runs through the dragon to come out the other side and keeps going. Just complete chaos.
I have never, ever seen a tank run around like complete bugnuts crazy on the last boss in Nexus before. That was something to see, boy howdy.
I’d also never known that that dragon boss tail swipe was a knockback.
BECAUSE I’D NEVER SEEN ANYONE REPEATEDLY END UP AT THE DRAGON’S TAIL BECAUSE THE TANK KEEPS RUNNING AROUND BEFORE!!!
Now, maybe this style of tanking is something that other guilds do. I don’t know. I checked the WoW Armory for my character statistics, and across my characters I’ve only done Nexus on Heroic about 50 times. So I might have missed something, and this guy knew the neat special way to do the run.
Somehow, though, since after jumping down from the ice tunnel after the rock giant boss he took a right heading back into the mobs instead of a left toward the dragon, I don’t think so.
This, as I said, was a successful run. We never, quite, fully wiped.
But wait, it gets better!
Once the dragon was dead, the funniest thing ever happened!
The tank said, “Great run folks. Now on to Old Kingdom!”
Umm… no. OMIGOD no freaking way!
I can feel my expectations recalibrating themselves… lowering… returning to 2006 levels.
Settling, settling… there!
Okay, now I am prepared for next time. No more pesky unrealistic expectations to get in the way!