Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

For reasons that will be the subject of another post at some point in time, lately when I pug I’ve been pugging as a mage. It increases the wait times significantly and it’s often the result of insomnia. Last night I was fishing and when my LFD window appeared I was surprised. I had completely forgotten I was even in the queue! The pug started off poorly, which I actually prefer. If a pug is going to fall apart within the first few bosses, it’s nice to know.

This pug had a tank with other important things to do. So he stood there, and stood there for about five minutes before he finally started moving or responding to greetings. “Sec,” he said, and continued to stand there. Finally, mercifully, we killed the first troll and he began to run through the hornets and then promptly died. The hornets killed everyone, and the tank made some sound of confusion in party chat.

“You fell off the bridge,” the hunter told him. We all run back in, this time killing the hornets. I figure, hey, everyone makes a clumsy move sometime. Except then the tank stops moving again. “One sec,” he says. The healer drops group. We get another healer immediately and we’re moving onto the next actual troll in the instance. Somehow a hornet joins this fight and eats the healer while the tank blithely keeps “tanking.” The shaman healer uses his ankh and the tank pulls the next trash before he’s even moved off the bridge. We all die horribly. I don’t do this often, but I initiate a vote-kick on Mr. “Defender of A Shattered World.” The reason? “Self-explanatory.” A tank that can’t even make it through the initial Zul’Gurub trash without falling off bridges, AFKing and pulling without his healer is not going to do well.

We get another tank – a paladin – and things go pretty smoothly for awhile. Amazingly we kill the first boss with no deaths, which is fairly unheard of in the ZG pugs I’ve seen. So many things that need avoiding usually kill at least a few people! The raptor boss dies as easily, and we kill the Archaeology boss without occasion for remark. Nobody even dies to the fire gauntlet! It’s all going swimmingly, up until we reach Bethekk (aka the Panther boss). This trash is pretty intense anyway, but some of it is also bugged and will pull through the wall if you use AoE. In a guild group we’ve managed to survive the combination of extra trolls along with existing trolls, but not tonight. We wipe to this trash at least twice, it might have even been three times. Patience seems to be wearing thin quickly judging from the tone in party chat. We apply crowd control liberally to the group at the bottom of the stairs and manage to make it to Bethekk. The actual boss fight is easier than all of this wiping on trash. But the best is yet to come – as we make our way to Zanzil’s area, the tank confesses that he is new to the fight.

Something about saying he hasn’t done it seems to send both the shaman healer and the hunter into a rage spiral. “Oh great,” the hunter says. They give very cursory directions to the tank, amounting to “don’t stand in the fire” and then pull. Somehow, they’re surprised when we wipe.

I can't remember why I took this screenshot, but somehow Millya's making a great "pug expression" for me. She even looks like an insomniac, but that could be my imagination!

The shaman berates the tank for not getting out of fire as quickly as he should, and the tank admits that he was looking down at his ability buttons. Mr. Shamtastic is so busy berating the tank for being terrible, that he stands there typing insults while the tank pulls again – so he’s locked outside of the encounter area, and we all die quickly. Of course, this only makes matters worse as party chat is degenerating into an epic round of the “blame game.” It’s just this shaman’s luck, being stuck with such a fail tank, etc. etc. I interject at this point, “It’s no crime to be new to a fight.” (Thinking of Shintar, I add a smiley at the end.)

“It’s a crime to pull without the healer,” the shaman retorts. I don’t bother to reply. Each mechanic is re-explained for the benefit of the tank, and after approximately four tries (total) we kill him. “The next boss is going to be a bitch,” the hunter grouses. We proceed to the next boss while the shaman and hunter alternate scolding the tank about how he has to do THIS for the last boss and THAT for the last boss or we’ll fail. They seem to be hitting all the relevant explanations so I just let them go on.

The tank assures us that he’s seen the fight, just not tanked it. I add some paladin specific stuff (yes, I tanked it for a pug just the other week! It’s a sickness) mostly related to using Righteous Defense on CD to help keep things from killing the healer. Unfortunately, the tank doesn’t manage to get into the safety bubble quickly enough to avoid the Shadows spell. So we try again. And he fails to do it, again. At this point I can imagine the hunter on the other side of the screen frothing and throwing a fit with his keyboard. But I figure the tank deserves at least a few tries to get this fight right.

“45 mins for these last three bosses!” the hunter rants. The atmosphere in the pug is getting worse, if that’s even possible. Completely contrary to how I would have reacted in his shoes, the tank says, “Let me give it one last try and then I’ll drop group since I’m holding you up, np.” This attempt doesn’t go any better than the previous ones, and we wipe again before even finishing the first phase. The tank drops group wordlessly, and his corpse lies there like a silent testament to the punishing nature of pugs (and perhaps hunters in particular). It doesn’t take long for us to get a replacement tank; this one is a DK that knows the fight and it goes off mostly without a hitch. Every Body Slam hits a chain, which is probably for the best, as I’m sure the hunter would’ve popped a vein in his forehead otherwise.

I guess I am different from many people pugging. I would’ve preferred if the first tank had stayed, figured out the fight and really aced it. But the impatience of the other DPS (and the healer, who was at least as rude) didn’t allow him to do that. The hunter shouted his (expletive) relief when the tank dropped group. In terms of time and money invested, maybe I was a bit relieved too. I’d rather complete a fight than spend a half hour wiping to it. That said, I join pugs fully expecting to wipe and to take much longer than I would if I went with guildies. The next time I look at my thirty minute queue time, I know I have people like that hunter to thank. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to that kind of abuse? Why put yourself in a position where your mistakes will be judged so unforgivably? The answer sure isn’t because of the potential for a mount in a fancy satchel of big fat nothing. (I’ve claimed a few satchels myself, but apparently the loot force is not with me).

Granted, the tank wasn’t entirely without fault here. Before queuing for these instances, he could have prepared himself by reading the fights over quickly. When you put yourself at the mercy of a pug, you want to have all the defense you possibly can – which to me, means not having to rely on them for probably inadequate boss explanations. When the hunter’s explanation of a boss fight amounts to “Stay out of fire and get the red cauldron,” you have to be sure you’re missing something. Even so, there’s no call for treating other people like this. If your time is so valuable, then don’t pug, it’s that simple. Spare the rest of us who are actually willing to patiently work through difficult content with a group of strangers. We recognize that coordinating such a group isn’t always easy, but we’re willing to allow for that. Sometimes you have to wonder if folks like this hunter even remember that it’s a game they are playing – that they’re supposed to be having fun.

Comments on: "Further Adventures in Troll Land" (22)

  1. Welcome to why I rarely tank pugs. I got a rather unfair amount of abuse–even as a healer it was less harsh. :\

    I did tank a ZG after the first tank dropped wordlessly and the group was supportive of my “amg I haven’t tanked this ever” status, but that was a rare treat.

    • I don’t understand how the very people who NEED the tanks and healers can treat them so poorly without a second thought. I get that you don’t want a group to fail because you waited thirty minutes for it – but berating people sure doesn’t help.

      I tanked ZG’s last boss for a pug under a similar auspice – we couldn’t find a replacement. I didn’t do an amazing job but we got it done. Even then you could tell people were quietly exasperated. Don’t let me put myself out on your account, jerkfaces! I’m sure your ZG was much better, haha.

      • Because, according to quite a few dps (and some healers, too), we tanks are stuck-up we’re-better-than-you divas who do not deserve common curtsy on account of being tanks.

        Seriously, it’s horrible.

        I stopped tanking for pugs after a dps re-rolled on my server to heap abuse on me – and we actually finished the heroic successfully after three wipes – none of which were my fault.

        I’ll take my guildies to heroics, thank you very much – unless I overgear them so much that I could finish them with 2 puggees AFK.

      • Yeah, I don’t get that either. I healed ZA for the first time recently, and I wasn’t familiar with how the mostly guild group preferred to run the instance. So I was laughed at and called a “fail,” which made me feel like dirt. But we never wiped, and no one even died other than to a bad trash pull. Such a depressing run even when it was a total success. 😦

  2. O.o Coming from a tank perspective, the above scares me away from queuing as a DPS even more. It certainly seems to require odes of patience to deal with poor tanking, poor healing, poor fellow DPS, long queue times, a constantly rotating group…

    I usually tank raids (and am into several heroic modes) but I missed raid start time last night due to work, and was replaced for Heroic Halfus farm and Heroic Twins progression. I decided to find a BoT pug, and one was looking for DPS so I offered my ret spec. They invited me right off the bat – and THEN started looking for another tank and some healers. I run all 3 specs thanks to Action Bar Saver, but I chose to keep quiet and see how the grass is on the DPS side of things.

    The signs scared me. Playerscore told me a healer and a tank were wearing loads of PvP gear, and every person had missing gems or enchants or buckle or had caster gear on a healer, pvp gear, etc. Their strat was to release Slate first. Lucky for us, slate was sleeping, so they opened nether and storm instead (without telling anyone, or a ready check, or a countdown). When we wiped 25 seconds later (my GoAK would have outlived me), someone calmly asked over vent “but where were the healzzz? :)” with the smiley clearly in his voice. I hadn’t said anything up to this point, and got called in to dps Heroic Twins (which we downed in one shot thereafter!) so I dropped group.

    The amount of time I’ve put into tanking has made me incredibly impatient with… everything. Kudos to you for sticking it out and getting your valor – I probably would have left mid dungeon in your case to save myself a popped forehead vein. I wouldn’t’ve yelled like the hunter, but I would have certqibly been seething quietly.

    • It definitely takes a certain amount of patience to run as a DPS, because your peers consider you wholly expendable and are unlikely to place value on your presence the way they would a tank or a healer (but apparently, even being one of those doesn’t guarantee respect.) I’ll admit, I play DPS when I’m feeling quieter and more inward. I try to beat the other DPS in the run (without pulling aggro) and often just focus on the mechanics more than anything. I know some people would think me crazy for sticking with a run while all this was going on, but it really doesn’t usually irk me. When I find that I am getting angry, I know it’s time to not queue up for awhile!

  3. And people wonder why I spend more time in BGs these days.

    Of course, you get your own breed of player who can’t seem to handle losing, but compared to the passive/aggressive shenanigans I see in instance pugs, I prefer them.

    If I’ve got the time (2+ hours), I’d stick it out with the tank. And anyone who has Jeeves up and running, too. Pugging an instance can be fun and rewarding, especially if you’ve got a group in a forgiving mood.

    • I try to remember to find my own fun. In this case, I needed group content to test out my Frost spec. I’ve found myself playing it more and more often lately as our Frost mage is unavailable and I’m not nearly as adept with it! I need the practice.
      BGs come with stress for me that instances don’t, really! I feel as if I fail in a BG I will be letting a whole lot of people down, whereas in instances things behave more or less predictably and I am confident of my performance.

  4. I had a three hour ZG the other day – and I only had 2 pug spots: healer and dps. I was tanking with two friends dpsing and we just kept getting the whiniest, rudest, most incompetent players one after the other. Our first healer was a druid who apparently hadn’t healed since LK and only used hots with no direct heals at all. We worked with him and he was able to keep me alive, but he was incapable of not standing in green death on the first boss. We kicked him after several attempts, several warnings, and explaining why we were doing it. The PuG dps was vicious little jerk who complained incessantly and berated the first healer and the second healer, who simply dropped rather than deal with him. Since we’d already kicked the druid, we couldn’t kick the dps. Eventually he, too, dropped.

    Our biggest problem was on the cauldron boss. The dps simply weren’t killing the adds at an acceptable rate (and keep in mind two of them are my friends) and the (now third) healer couldn’t keep up. We lost the bad dps at that point and the third healer. Once we got a new dps and healer, we got through it, but after a few wipes at the last boss because dps wasn’t killing adds (once again) fast enough, that healer dropped, too.

    So now we’re on our fifth healer and third dps PuG and the final boss goes without comment. None of the healers after the first was particularly bad, and the dps PuG numbers were fine, but they just weren’t getting the job done. I’m starting to feel about the Zandalari instances about how I did about the ICC ones: the greater reward is simply not worth the greater effort. In fact, I think I’ll post on that tomorrow.

    Glad you finished!

    • I’m glad you were able to get it done, as well! This is funny, because it definitely underlines the fallacy that ‘DPS are a dime a dozen’ or that any DPS will do. When I mage pug an instance I am proud that my contribution is usually a very significant one, and can help to carry lesser DPS if need be (although I’m never one of those meter linking jerks). I also know my gear is better than many people who need to pug, and so it’s not an e-peen thing, I’m just happy to know that what I do matters. When I hear about or see DPS under-performing it’s easy to see, too – but unfortunately not as visible/punishable as things seem to be for healers and tanks. 😦 It’s rough out there.

      I’m still eagerly awaiting this Real ID grouping feature – even if it is premium, I will pay for it, and I may never pug again!

  5. This is sadly so very true. I played a pug tank once because I both genuinely enjoyed tanking AND pugging, but the abuse was just so above and beyond anything I’d even begun to expect under the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory that I gave up and respecced to PVP damage. Same abuse, really, but way, way less duration and way less pressure.

    What’s really sad is that it starts at low levels now, since LFG is such an easy way to get exp and gear. I was trying a tiny bear for a while but I had to stop because at level 18 I’m still trying to figure out what all my buttons do, why is the hunter pulling everything and then complaining that I can’t hold aggro? I don’t even have swipe yet!

    So it just perpetuates this terrible cycle of DPS having to wait forty minutes for a queue and getting het up about anything else that wastes more time, so tanks decide they’re not going to put up with the abuse, so the queues get longer, so folks get more abusive, so tanks don’t queue, and on and on and on.

    Is there a solution beyond “everyone should stop being jerks”? I don’t know. But it makes me sad, because I meant it when I said I loved pugs.

    • I know just what you mean. Even someone like Voss (my husband, the indefatigable warrior tank) is treated terribly in pugs. I’ve seen pugs question his spec, his gear, his rotation – and I mean, he’s geared to the teeth and an exceptional tank, far and away beyond what I tend to expect of a pug tank (have okay gear, don’t be too rude, generally hold aggro enough that I don’t need my threat dumps more than they’re available). And yet people are just awful to him. It’s no surprise that he hates and generally refuses to pug instances, it sounds like you are in the same boat and that makes me sad too because I’m sure you were great. 😦

      • It just blows my mind that even in freaking Wailing Caverns people are huge jerkbags about the tank and healer. Really? Really?

        On the one hand, I really miss the server-specific LFG communities, because this kind of thing didn’t happen. Everyone was at least trying to be neutral, if not polite, because they were stuck with each other and turning yourself into a pariah was social suicide. On the other, the ease of the Dungeon Finder is so much nicer than running circles around Ironforge waiting for someone else with the Scholo key. Is it worth the trade? Ennnh, maybe, as dps. As a tank or a healer? I stick primarily with guildies anyway.

    • That really hasn’t been my experience leveling a mage to 85 who is just now starting heroics, a tank who’s now in Outland and a healer who just hit 80. Of course there are exceptions and sometimes still reason to kick people but, on the whole, I’ve found most pugs to be much nicer below the 85 heroics.

      I just haven’t seen that hard edge. Maybe it’s because there are fewer wipes than with the trolls but I also think the expectation during leveling is that people are figuring things out and geared in quest blues/greens. People in heroics just seem more high-strung and not having much fun.

  6. This post, and all the comments after it, have hit the nail right on the head. It’s why I haven’t tanked a pug in so long I can’t even remember… I’ve literally never, not once, gotten a satchel… because I’ve not run one since they were released. It’s sad, too, because like Voss I’m exactly the sort of tank that people would want in LFG… deep raid geared, etc, etc.

    My mom has a saying that I really like (not sure where she stole it from)… “Within every idea is the seed of its own perversion”… Seems that the ease of finding a group for a dungeon has led most folks to the expectation that the dungeon should be completed with equal ease… and that has led directly to good tanks/healers being abused right out of the system.

    Nice post, Millya. 🙂

  7. I do randoms pretty frequently, but I tend to get the opposite. My randoms are filled with non-raiders, plenty of them never having done the zone before, and they expect to either just skate through without knowing the mechanics, or by blatantly ignoring the mechanics. They never ask for any details, even if they’ve never done the fight, and when we wipe they never care why, even if they caused it.

    I have a pretty hard edge in 5mans. I’ll push forward quick on my tanks and when I heal sometimes I’ll facepull just to get the group moving. I see very little nerd rage over wipes, and the little of it I see actually comes from me. The only reason I can get through solo-queue randoms at all is because I only take instances in progress on my tanks.

    The biggest thing that surprises me is how few raiders I see in randoms. I’m in full 372 with a Dragonslayer title and I haven’t grouped with a person in 2 weeks who even knows that Sinestra is a raid boss. I’m carrying the hell out of them and it doesn’t occur to them, even when I do things like solo bosses.

    With Firelands only having 7 bosses though, I would imagine that’s going to make 5mans popular again. On the other hand, heroic t11 will still give valor points, and we cleared heroic BWD in an hour 2 weeks ago, so maybe someone amongst the top Moonrunner guilds will start organizing off-night heroic t11 pugs to get VP instead of having to do boring 5mans. 420 VP in an hour sounds a lot better than doing ZA.

  8. I hear you. Occasionally I’ve queued in ZA and ZG with a healer friend. You would find it amazing how people who have no idea what’s going on in the fight have the gall to blame the healer.

    Ex. 1: Pally tank stands in Venoxis’s breath. Tank dies asap. Tank then complains about why the healer didn’t heal him, etc.

    2. DPS DK stands in the green goo. DPS dies. DPS calls healer a “dumbass” and complains about why healer didn’t heal him.

    3. Arcane mage does 6k DPS on Zanzil. Healer eventually goes OOM from the length of the fight due to bad DPS. Arcane mage calls healer “bad” and tries to vote kick him.

  9. To give this post and comments a good note, i healed ZG this morning and when we entered, the tank asked if everyone had done the mini-bosses, i said no and he said i’ve done all but i don’t mind doing them again. After that the run just amased me, I was healing on my druid alt and the tank was a normal geared pally (180K hp with 3 times luck of the draw buff) but we did the whole of ZG wipeless, i died cause of the stupid heads that breath fire and the tank returned nicely to ress me. Everyone greeded on bags and maelstrom, it felt really great at the end , a 45 min run , all my quests done and no wipes. I wish every pug was like that.

  10. Sinpree said:

    I really like the topic of this conversation. The thing about people doing pugs that I don’t get is they set their expectations for them to be way to high. One should go into a pug group expecting their to be some difficulties clearing the dungeon.

    What the hunter did was just uncalled for though and something that has really bothered me a lot about this game for a long time. I just don’t understand where a long the way it was determined that over the internet it was “ok” to be a jerk to people. The way people act over WoW they would never act in a real world situation.

    These type of people need to understand themselves enough to know not to pug content and do it in a guild run. I know myself personally would get extremely frustrated in a pug (would never insult anyone) so I choose not to do them. If and when I am ever going to do a 5man I run it with the guild. I just know better then to put myself in that sort of situation.

    My guild had a recent discussion about the que times and why tanks/healers are low in the que. To some degree it is simply just that their are less of them but a huge reason I said their are so few is because of the pressure/blame put on those roles. If anything ever goes wrong in a pug it is either the tank/healer blamed. It is a role of a ton of responsibility and pressure. So I think this blog hits that point right on, if you don’t play perfect or hell even if you didn’t even fail you will get blamed as a tank/healer. Then the insults start coming because people feels its “ok” over the internet. Why as a tank/healer would you subject yourself to the insults like that hunter made for a few valor points? I know I wouldn’t.

    • I’d argue that the modus operandii of the Internet has always been an “anything goes” mentality, so we shouldn’t be too surprised by what passes for discourse out there on the net.

      In a closed environment such as WoW it shouldn’t have to be the case, but it’s very hard to enforce good behavior without resorting to heavy-handed tactics. Everything I’ve thought up so far –using chat logs to provide independent corroboration to the admins, for example– has the possibility of being abused.

      Maybe if the LFG tool set it up such that you wouldn’t be allowed to kick or drop someone for something other than technical issues without incurring a massive debuff (say, 50% damage reduction for the next 12-24 hours) for all players in and out the instance itself, maybe things would change. You’d be forced to live with each other in the instance because you wouldn’t be able to do much in-game for a day. Of course, that could have they opposite effect of meaning people could be as abusive as they wanted without fear of repercussion, but maybe there’s something that could be worked with. (Like maybe make the debuff account-wide, so your raiding toon would get impacted by your bad behavior in RFC.)

  11. Hello, everyone. I’m a sometimes-lurker here and this is an issue that I’ve noticed since I started playing. I first began with Cataclysm, back in December. I jumped right into tanking because, well, if you learn to tank well you pretty know this game. I didn’t have a guild until recently, so I’ve done most of my gaming either solo-questing or PuG 5-mans. Sometimes I get that super fail group (and even these days it happens), but for the most part people we either nice about it or they left. I don’t think I’ve ever been kicked for anything other than d/c because I treat people with respect, even if it is the 9th time we’ve wiped on Jindo.

    But recently, I’ve noticed that people are just TERRIBLE to each other. They are so mean and rude. My mage is now raid-capable, but back when she needed 5m heroics, I had this altercation with a healer in BRC. It was the last boss and she dropped that sexy healer trinket. All I saw on it was +2348573290858340 intellect, rolled need (and won), and didn’t notice the +spirit proc. Anyway, the healer immediately started in on me with all caps, calling me a jerk, saying she hoped my childen were born retarded, etc. I was floored. Shocked, even. I’m the kind of person who, even if I win something for my main spec, I will usually pass it to someone else in the instance if they need it, too, and ask nicely. Hell, sometimes I even offer! So the healer’s guildie or boyfriend or whatever was actually pretty cool about the whole thing and pointed out my error in a calm and rational manner, all the while this bitch was being rude and obnoxious. He asked me if I would surrender the trinket and I said that I wouldn’t until that asshole apologized. He informed me that the healer was a girl (pretty much just like that, too. “Just so you know, she’s a girl,” like that fucking matters or excuses her behavior or somehow makes me sympathetic to her situation or ga-ga over a girl gamer…) and the healer said ‘fine, I apologize.’

    I thought for a few seconds and said, ‘No, you’re not sorry. You’re just an asshole. So, fuck you asshole.’ and I dropped the group. I would TOTALLY have given over the trinket and apologized if they had just been polite about it. What makes people think they can treat others like garbage? I was embarassed to know that I had rolled need on a healer trinket ( even though it’s one of the best trinkets for mage pre-raid, anyway ;-P ), but that was inexcusable. I guess my point is that people would be surprised how much more could be done if they just treated people with kindness and respect.


  12. Incidentally, I actually enjoy tanking PuGs. Some of my best and most rewarding (as a tank) experiences on 5-mans and raids were in PuGs.


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