The BigBearButt

To watch ranks or not is the question



When I first heard about it, I thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t want it myself.

It’s an addon that you install, and if you or someone else you are grouped with uses an ability that ain’t at the max available to someone of the persons’ current level… it whispers them (or you) and tells you.

I’ve posted here before that I caught myself on my Paladin doing that while tanking, because I leveled Retribution, but Dual Specced at 40 and set up my tanking bars.

Fast forward 40 levels later, and find out that every time I dinged a level and trained, I was in Ret spec. Every time you ding and then train, your currently active spec has it’s buttons updated to tie in to the new level spells. Your inactive spec… doesn’t.

So Rankwatch, which warns you when you are using underlevel abilities, is a proven help.

My first, initial reaction to it? I didn’t want it.

The reason was simple… I didn’t want to be “that guy”, the one that has “I’m an asshat calling you out for being a scrub” addons.

Failbot, or whatever the addons are called that people in raids used to have all the time, announcing in raid chat “Brutus, Simias and Maximus failed to avoid the Fire” during Sarth fights. Or announced that the same folks can’t dance during Heigan when they took damage from the floor zones.

I didn’t want to be the guy that had an addon that announced to others that they had problems. I had visions of “Well, screw you man, kiss my ass”, because let’s face it; Most people, no matter how well you phrase it, are NOT inclined to be graceful when caught making a mistake, even so simple a mistake as using the wwrong level spell in an off spec in easy content.

Not from a stranger, not when it is so difficult to convey inflection, nuance and attitude (or lack therof) in typed communications across the internet.

“Better to hold my peace”, I thought, “than to antagonize someone over a mistaken spell level in a pug.”

Advance a few weeks after that decision, and I pop on my Horde Paladin, literally for 5 seconds, and some friends invite me to join them in ICC 10 man, clearing some trash.

“Sure”, I say, “sounds like fun!”

I’m not in the instance for 5 minutes when I get a whisper from one of their members… and automated whisper generated by their Rankwatch, telling me that I am using a downranked Holy Wrath.

So, I’m in a run, with mostly people I don’t know, and here I am in the same position that I had worried about putting someone else in.

How did I feel getting an addon whispering me?

I felt grateful. Damned if I want to be using a weak version of a spell, and I sure didn’t know on my own, or I woulda fixed it. So shit, thanks! Now I can get the right one on my bar!

I had to laugh about it. After all, I expected I knew how someone else might react… but that’s not how I reacted. So why do I just assume someone else would get all pissy about it?

Do I really have THAT low of an opinion of most players I meet in PuGs? Ouch.

So I downloaded Rankwatch myself.

The very next day, I queue up to heal a quick Heroic, and get Utgardt Pinnacle with a Paladin Tank.

Very first pull out of the gate, the tank grabs the trash, and my unconfigured addon fires off three whispers to him, telling him that Rankwatch has seen that he’s using Consecration rank 6, the max rank of Consecration at level 80 is rank 8, that there is a known issue about button bars not updating with dual specs, and if he intentionally intended to downrank Consecration, the addon is sorry for bothering him, and if he lets me know I can stop it from spamming him again in the future.


Holy shit, does that mean every time he uses Consecration for the run, it’s gonna spam him? HELP! I don’t know how to configure it yet!!! I don’t how to shut it off mid run!

That’s okay, it turns out it didn’t whisper him any more during the run.

The tank also clearly didn’t care if he was using a lower ranked Consecration, because he never broke stride, not for a second, the entire time he was chain pulling Pinnacle. Not once, ever, the entire run, was there a moment where he stopped long enough to have flipped through his spellbook to find the spell and move it to his bar. He was either attacking stuff or bouncing around or running, never just standing still, even for loot.

So, no worries, right?

I find it very useful to personally have that reassurance that, from now on, I don’t have to worry about making that mistake myself.

On the other hand… I still debate whether or not to turn it on and off when in PuGs.

I now come down on the side of optimism. I was grateful to have my mistake pointed out to me, and I think now I like having it be from an addon.

I think that, if you are going to have something like that running, having it be an automated addon that is very polite, and whispers the person once in private, and then never brings it up, that’s about the best way of doing it. 

Kind of removes that temptation to suspect someone else is judging your performance, when it’s just an addon giving you a private whisper, right?

I think it is highly revealing that, when faced with a decision to make, I choose to err on the side of “let’s not start shit with strangers”, though.