Just a heads up. Total Bearwall incoming. Rambling, lengthy post. There is WoW stuff in there, though, I swear! But I’m proud to say that I manage to ramble on for over 4000 words… just for fun. Classic Bearwall action. I know it’s been a while!
I’ve never been that person before.
You know who I mean. People that tell you that they enjoy going to a high traffic area, getting comfortable, settling in, and spending time watching the diversity of folks go by.
The “local color”.
“OMG, did you see that woman with the purple snakeskin capri pants and pink flip flops with the plastic flowers? Wow, who leaves the house looking like that? There’s a trailer park in need of a tornado somewhere.”
Well, I’ve finally found my own version of this. And you are my enablers.
I think I’m starting to play WoW less for the fun of the game, and more for the people watching.
Don’t mistake me, I still love the game.
But everytime I queue up in LFD, I feel it.
The fascination, the burning desire, the ever-present curiosity…
What incredible jaw-dropping shit is going to happen next?
It’s people watching – but I swear, it’s even better, because normally you see people in a crowd, and they’ve got their “People are watching me” masks on. They put on some makeup, did their hair, brushed their mullet, and put on their very bestest spandex stretch pants before going to the mall food court.
In WoW LFD, you get the “John Gabriel” factor at play, where everyone is free to be themself. Totally anonymous, especially if they are in a PUG with 4 strangers, all of whom are from different servers than your own, and you’ve got no guildies with you.
Tell me that idea doesn’t make your skin tingle with the desire to plot out social experiments.
People being themselves, without even the most minimal concern for internet consequences.
All hell can, and sometimes does, break loose.
Disclaimer, and the positive thought for the day;
The amazing thing ain’t that people act like asshats when cloaked in anonymity. The amazing thing is how few people you may run into, out of the vast playerbase, who actually DO act like asshats.
The majority of players you are likely to meet are kind, decent, or at the very least quiet, friendly players. They just want to play the game, have some fun, get some loot, and get on with their lives with the minimum drama and fuss.
Let’s all try and remember that. I may tell stories about amazing stuff that happens, but really, the whole reason it’s entertaining to read those stories is that those are the exceptions, not the normal state of affairs.
The reason I mostly tell these stories isn’t to demonize people, as much as it is to follow in a grand sea service tradition that does extend to the Marines…
“This is a real no shitter.”
I love sharing these stories. It’s fun.
There is always something amazing waiting, just around the bend. Good, bad or just freaking weird, you never know what’s lying in wait right around the next corner.
Last night I ran two Normal Pit of Saron runs, back to back, in the hopes of getting the mail Spellpower helm off the first boss. I’d really like that hat. Mine is horribad.
These two runs damn near blew my mind. I queued up for a third just on the off chance I could score the hat trick, because this stuff is pure popcorn entertainment. Or as Kiri said in guild chat last night, “I don’t even know what to say to that”.
The first run as a Shaman Healer I’ve got a Death Knight tank, Cassie is with me on her Retribution Paladin, there is a second Ret Paladin on the run, and we’ve got a Mage.
This is Normal Pit of Saron. My expectations are fairly reasonable. A group of people trying, gearing, and learning. Maybe altastic runs, maybe brand new fresh dings.
What I find is, I’ve got an entire crew that’s good… except the tank.
The Death Knight pays absolutely no attention to anyone else in the group, where they are, what they’re doing or, and this is really the point… what mobs may be on them.
He just doesn’t look behind or pay any attention to anyone else but himself and what’s directly in front of him.
He never pops Death and Decay until about the last three seconds of whatever fight he’s on, treating it kind of as an additional DPS technique rather than an AoE threat generating tool.
He was in Frost Presence. I checked. Early on. Trust me, I had to know.
Right from the very start, on the first pull, it began.
The Death Knight avoided the large stationary group at the base leading to the right, jumping down near the water and running up to the single giant Skeleton to engage.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you are even remotely familiar with Pit of Saron, what can you expect?
That the second large group of Summoner and Skeletons, that pats right along there, will roll on up behind you and engage from the rear if you take too long on the Giant Skeleton, or if people hang back too far if the tank grabs the Giant Skeleton and pulls him down and away from the pat area, etc.
So the tank engages the Giant Skeleton right where he is, doesn’t go further. I run forward so I’m at least past the tank and his mob, so I can look back and watch for the pat as I heal. I don’t like being taken from the rear. Read into that whatever you’d like.
The Mage moves a little forward, but not as far as me.
I see the large pat rolling on up. I announce in party chat, “Large pat incoming from the rear”.
The Giant Skeleton drops, the pat takes the Mage from behind, we’re all getting engaged on the group… and the tank takes no notice and runs on ahead, hopping down and grabbing the next two Giant Skeletons.
This, my friends, is when you perk up, pay attention, and find out if you really have practised your “Oh shit” buttons.
Cassie and the other Ret Pally basically tank the group while the Mage AoEs and I spam heal everyone through it. No real problem after all, group dies, we move forward, and finish off the mobs the Death Knight was on.
Now, you might think that the Death Knight, getting no heals from me while he’s beating on something, might say something. Acknowledge a bit of a scurry there. Whine about health. “Whoops”. Anything.
That typified the rest of the run. Death Knight tank that paid absolutely no attention to what anyone else might be doing. And the group tried to adapt.
I wasn’t angry, worked up, or sputtering as the run unfolded. It was Normal Pit of Saron, and I never really felt overtaxed on Healing the rest of the group. It was just, well, amazing. And fascinating. Just how oblivious might this person really be? Is this for real?
See, the thing is, the tank is acting like every other tank you see these days. Full steam ahead, chain pull, fast clear, go go go. The difference is that other tanks that do this at least bother tagging the mobs to establish aggro, and grab the ones that slip on by from over eager DPS. They Taunt. They are aware that there is something that NEEDS to be Taunted.
They at least, bottom of the barrel, wonder why the Healer’s health is dropping… dropping… dropping….
Heheh, on every non-single mob pull, I waited until the tank pulled and whacked for a while, and then when I finally did drop a heal, I still got a faceful of mobs that never got a single tag.
Ya know, Death and Decay, Blood Boil and all those plague and chill thingies… boy, I thought those spread stuff around. Silly me.
I spent a lot of time with mobs in my face… and on my butt, since the tank never paused once the ones he was fighting were dead, so he’d take off while there were still one or two on me, dazing me, and Cassie and the other Paladin would kinda brush them off me and step on ’em. Then we’d catch back up to wherever the tank had gotten to. Tank? No clue we’re still fighting back there. No clue I’m getting eaten.
My first actual “cluestick” smackdown rebuttal happened after Krick and Ick died.
The tank lined up on the ramp with the Flame AoE dudes, and I just knew… KNEW what was coming.
And so did everyone else. You could see them kinda… huddle up. I had my own defensive linemen, I swear.
The tank charges in. So does everyone else. I dart forward with them and drop Totem. I wait. AoE kicks in and people start dropping. I cast my first Chain Heal, and here most of them come. Right in my face. The big lady in the middle that does those tasty (I mean ouchie) Shadowbolts?
Yep, all of them cast on me. Boom boom boom.
Yep, I’ve got aggro. From most of ’em.
Everyone else is working at killing the mobs in that first group, the ones that stay there. One of the teleporting flame AoE dudes is on me like stink on a skunk, teleported right on top of me and going whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.
As I’m chain healing, casting like a fiend, flipping the mobs the bird ’cause we got this and everyone else is coming down to finish them off… I see the tank, all alone, run up to grab the next group.
Yep, no pause, no break, no indication there was a thought in his mind that we might be trying to finish this last guy down here pounding the healer to hell before going up top to grab the next group.
Love that AoE flame, thanks!
He just runs on ahead, far out of range of my heals BTW, and grabs the next group.
We stay where we are, finish off our flame dude, and run on up the hill.
His health is going down, he’s at half before I get there.
I’ve got plenty of time to respond.
I let his ass die. Cold and hard.
I watch as his health continues to drop and then poof! Dead.
I didn’t lift a finger to help him.
Cassie, the other Ret Paladin and the Mage meanwhile are engaging the group.
I heal them through it, without a single problem.
We kill that second group, from start to finish, with two Ret Paladins, a Mage and me, no actual tank at all. And it was EZ mode.
I’ve made the tank see, lying there dead in the dirt, that if he really wants to play games, well, we can move on. It’s okay. We don’t actually have to follow him to certain death. He does not automatically get to pull us all down into death with him.
After the group is dead, I rez him. Nobody says a word. At least, not until the tank says, “Wow, sorry guys.”
Do I think he might have learned to pay a little bit more attention?
Did I at least enjoy seeing him eat a repair bill?
Yes, I did. And I was curious to see if he’d realise what had happened, and if so, if he’d get pissy and leave the run.
Nope, no clue.
But it should get better now, right?
The tunnel. The ice. The mobs.
What are the rules?
You know the rules of Tunnel Club.
- Nobody attacks but the tank.
- Nobody heals anybody unless the tank absolutely no shit needs it. If someone dies, we come back later when the tunnel shuts down and rez them.
- Nobody talks about Tunnel Club. Oh, wait.
So, first time up the tunnel, tank makes a mad dash for the center metal circle.
Yeah, the first time. That’s an artistic writing technique called foreshadowing. See what I did there?
He’s below half health by the time we get there, but I’ve held off, and nobody else did DPS. At the metal circle, the DPS begins to burn them down, and I cast some heals.
The last mobs aren’t even dead yet, the Mage has aggro on a couple the DK hasn’t grabbed, more adds are streaming down the tunnel towards us aggroed on ME ignoring the tank… and the Death Knight takes off for the second half of the run, hell bent for leather.
He doesn’t grab anything as he runs past.
Edit addition: I realise, on re-reading this massive bearwall, that I was unclear here about what was going on during this first run in the tunnel. The DK took off from the metal circle while there were still mobs, many of them on me… and like in all normal groups, even though I had aggro from stuff hitting me, we all as a group took off after him and tried to keep up. The DK enver paused or slowed down to see how the rest of us were doing. Not once. He just ran straight to the end and waited, and the rest of us tried like hell to keep up.
Meanwhile, I’m getting hit. I’m having to cast heals on myself to stay alive. This is adding to healer aggro, making me even more tasty to every new mob the tank is running past, who are all ignoring him to come get me. And the Mage is trying like hell to get them off of me, so he’s getting pounded right beside me as we run, we’re both dazed and falling behind, and next thing you know I’m chain healing the Mage and myself, we get overwhelmed, and die, just as we reach the end of the tunnel.
The rest of the group, without heals, and swarmed by all the mobs that had been on me, go down shortly thereafter.
Ever notice you don’t have time to slow down and do it right, but there’s always time to run back in and do it over?
Now, there are no recriminations. No harsh words. But also no encouragement. Just a grim determination to keep going.
But not from everyone.
We lose the Mage. He drops group, and we get a new Mage.
We square off at the tunnel, and I say to Cassie on vent, “Let’s just do our thing, and I’ll keep us alive”.
We take off exactly the same as before.
Everything happens exactly the same as it did last time.
With one major difference.
As the Death Knight takes off for the second half of the tunnel run, I stand my ground on the metal circle. I’ve got my totems out, the mobs that the DK ignored are still on me, the ones running down the tunnel towards us past the DK come on down to us, and Cassie stands her ground beside me.
And so does the other Paladin, and even the new Mage.
Death Knight? Runs on up and out of range. Bye? Bye!
We stand our ground, and I heal the group as everyone else kills the adds.
And kills the adds.
Eventually, we run out of adds to kill. They just stop coming.
Eventually, the DK comes down and rejoins us. Bringing the two adds from the tunnel mouth. And a few spawned mini-skellies.
The last two mobs of the tunnel and a few scrubs. Those were the only things he kept aggro on himself.
We killed the few mobs he brought down with him to the metal circle… and the avalanche and spawned adds instantly stopped.
We actually completed the tunnel run, and cleared it, and shut down the snowstorm blue circle of knockback add generation idiocy AT THE METAL CIRCLE.
I didn’t even know you could do that.
We calmly walked up the rest of the way, and as you can imagine, healing the group through the last boss wasn’t even an issue.
That… that kind of run is so amazing to be a part of, it’s hard to describe. You know in your hearth that, if it were on Heroic, it would be a run of frustration, of anger, of pain, of guilt when people died, of abandoned group and just a terrible experience.
But, on Normal… it was kinda fun. Horrifying in it’s implications for any poor group that gets him for a tank in the future, but fun at that time, in that place.
And I’ll be honest. Letting him die, all alone, and THEN stepping in and killing that group on the ramp? That felt epic even as we were doing it.
You’d think that would be enough for a post, wouldn’t you? Isn’t that enough of an evening to retell?
Oh, hell no. There’s more.
But I’ll be quick about it. I swear.
The second run was smooth sailing. A rare pleasure to heal. Excitement at times, fun challenges, but a solid team working with you.
A Paladin tank, a feral kitty Druid, a DPS Death Knight dual wielding one-handers and a Combat Rogue.
Everyone else on the run, aside from the Death Knight, was in pretty new gear. Tank, Rogue, Druid, mostly blues.
That sets it as a challenging run.
The difference? Skill. They did a good job.
I’d like to be clear about this; I have rarely, if ever, seen a better job of tanking in Pit of Saron. That Paladin tank locked down every single mob, positioned himself perfectly for each pull, manuevered where appropriate, stood still where not for the melee DPS.
So, what’s the problem? What made this run unusual?
Well, here’s the deal.
So Forgemaster Garfrost drops Garfrost’s Two-Ton Hammer. I am at work on my lunch and can’t link to WoWhead, I’ll do it when I get home, but the hammer is a two handed mace with tons of Strength, Stamina, Crit, and a red socket.
Both the Death Knight and the feral Druid roll Need.
The Death Knight gets a 9, the Druid gets a 92 and wins.
The DK immediately throws an epic level hissycow.
First, he’s rude and pissed the Druid rolled at all. When the Druid replies, polite as all heck, saying that’s it’s a big upgrade for him, the DK starts telling the Druid that Druids don’t want Str, it’s useless to a Druid, Druids should only ever roll on Agi items.
I inspected the Druid. He had a blue quality mace, not bad, but a long, long, LONG way away from Garfrost’s Two-Ton Hammer in terms of kitty DPS. Not to mention, dump a +20 red Agi gem in it, it’s not bad for Bear tanking. Not optimal of course, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. It’s got lots of Stamina on it, and a socket for added Stam or avoidance. What more do you really want when you’re alternative is a blue mace with no sockets, huh?
The DK won’t let it go. He bitches, pisses, moans, whines, tells everyone and anyone in the run how the Druid should never have taken it, it’s no good for him at all, Druids should never take Str, it’s worthless, and on and on and on.
I pipe up, just to say “I’m sorry, but that’s not correct. Feral Druids get Attack Power in both Bear and Cat from Strength. It’s far from useless.”
The DK wheels on me. He apparently feels the need to spank this upstart down and put him in his place so he can keep working on the Druid.
“My main is a Druid” he informs us.
I answer that my main is a Druid too.
He tells us “My main is a tank. You can check with Elitist Jerks that I’m right.”
Then he adds, in a second line, “If you’re a Druid, I bet you’re resto.”
Yes. Yes, he did.
Oh, hell yes he did.
Cherish that mental image with me for a few moments. I’m sitting there, with a lot of folks that happen to play Feral Druids that come visit me regularly on a website, and yeah, I don’t raid, but I have been known to occasionally research a few things here or there. Granted I haven’t visited the EJ website in months, but that’s okay. I do my own research, and when I’m wrong, you guys catch me. I’ve just been told that if I do play a Druid, it must be as Resto. The implication, of course, being that I’m completely ignorant about Bear tanking or feral Druiding. I know things can change, but last I heard Str still coughs up some AP in bear and cat both. Cataclysm ain’t live yet, is it?
As Emilio Estevez said in Young Guns, “Hey! I’ll make you famous!”
And for much the same reason.
But no, this is a fun post, not a name and shame post.
Still, how delicious!
Now, having put me in my place, he continues haranging the Druid.
The Druid finally says, “Ug, here.”
I stop dead. Remember, we’re still playing. This entire conversation is happening while we are playing, killing the mobs after Garfrost. We’re at this point killing the last couple parts is parts draggy mobs before killing Krick and Ick.
I say, “Please tell me you did NOT just give the DK the staff.”
The DK says, “It’s not a staff, it’s a mace, bro.”
To which, all I can possibly reply is, “What possible different does that make, “bro”.”
He did. The Druid actually gave in to pressure, and traded the damn mace to the whining DK.
The Druid asked him to equip it. The DK answers, “I happen to be dual wield specced at the moment.”
The Druid turned over a massive, huge honking upgrade he could have used immediately to someone who isn’t even ready to use it until he juggles a bunch of other stuff. And to someone who lost the damn roll fair and square!
I was appalled. What a complete asshat. Making someone else feel like shit for daring to want an upgrade that was actually perfectly viable for him and try to guilt him into trading it back.
Nevermind that he succeeded, just to do that to another player in the first place.
As I said, the run itself went smooth as can be. Great tanking, good DPS, easy healing. No worries. Just fun challenges.
In Ick and Krick, the Druid and the Rogue each were Pursued; each were one shot. New players to the fight maybe, nobody thought to mention mechanics. They’d done so well up until then.
Both of them went down very early on, when the boss was still at about 75% health. Between the tank, the Death Knight and myself, we had zero problems completing the boss smooth as silk. It wasn’t a panic… it was a fun challenge. Everyone ended at full health, no issues, and I still had good mana from potions and Totem juggling and Mana Tide and stuff.
But at the end, I made a point of saying that I really enjoyed the run, had a great time with everyone, and would love to run with them again, great tanking, solid playing… except the DK. I told him he was now on my ignore list, and I hoped to never see him again.
He can take that and think what he wants about it. His behavior just blew my mind.
I did whisper the Druid and mention a link to my website, if he’s ever interested in some starter info on getting ready for Bear tanking. He’d mentioned in chat that he wanted to get geared up to do some, and what the heck, some of the stuff I have on the sidebar might be helpful. You never know.
Hopefully, he’ll not only look forward to Bear tanking, but also learn more about the mechanics of the Druid, to feel a little more confident in asserting his right to roll on gear that is perfectly appropriate to his chosen specs and stated goals.
Maybe next time, he’ll be prepared to tell a player unhappy with a roll that he’s sorry the player isn’t happy, but yes, it is a very viable weapon, and he’s grateful to have won the roll, and fully intends to use it.
Seriously. These runs, seeing this side of people, the often good, the rarely bad, and the frequently damn strange… it’s addictive. It really is. You never know what’s going to happen next.
Keeps me on my toes.