Selfishness

Warning: rant incoming.  It’s been a while since the last, and the commentary on the time-to-emblems post pushed me over the line.

I’m calling out everyone who’s become a selfish, self-centered “me first” jerk since patch 3.3 was introduced and the Dungeon Finder became the best and worst thing to happen to WoW in recent memory.

I’m specifically talking about anyone who:

  • drops group without saying a word (at the start of the run or otherwise)
  • complains when a group member’s gear is vastly beyond what is required for heroics just because it’s not equivalent to their own
  • complains about someone’s DPS without giving any constructive advice at all
  • queues as a group leader but doesn’t do anything that can be called “leadership”
  • doesn’t bother to check if the group is ready / in the right spec / buffed before they start pulling
  • pulls when they’re not the tank
  • pulls when the healer is out of line of sight
  • pushes the group to at an unreasonable pace (i.e. “gogogogogogo”)
  • skips bosses without checking what the majority of the group wants to do

If you’re one of the 80% of people I’ve run with who make my dungeon runs enjoyable, this post is not for you (though you may get a laugh out of it).

Here’s the problem I have with people who do one or all of the above: you don’t care if your actions inconvenience other people.

Now, there are always going to be some percentage of people that are jerks, but since patch 3.3, something has changed.  It’s not that I’m encountering more jerks – this was to be expected.  I’m running more dungeons, so given a stable percentage of jerks in the community, I’ll run into more of them.

Jerk Pride

What surprises me is that the “selfish jerk pride” I’m seeing in party chat, trade channels, official forums, and even in the comments to my posts.  Not only do they not care that they’re screwing other people over – they’re standing up and defending their selfish behaviour as if they think that there is a logical argument to be won here.

In real life, shame acts as a limiting factor to jerk behaviour.  If you have an explosion of asshattery among your friends, they’re going to call you on it.  Your desire to not face that and to maintain your friendships might prevent you from acting like a jerk in the first place.

Even among people that you don’t know, there are certain societal norms that discourage you from doing whatever you want.  When you know that you’ll be held to account, you may change the way you act.

The virtual world of WoW removes that shame factor, and these people seem to be missing the gene that self-regulates behaviour in such situations.

Exploiting Anonymity

WoW has always had its share of people who exploit the anonymity provided by their avatar.  But more and more, people don’t seem to care that behind every player character is another human being.  Yes, someone that you don’t know.  Yes, someone that you will probably never meet in real life (and in the case of the dungeon finder will probably never encounter in game again).  But another human being nonetheless.

The fact that you won’t be held accountable in real life for your jerk actions in game is not an excuse to screw other people over.  What kind of values are you working off of?

Part of what makes me who I am is that I give a base level of respect to any other person I encounter.  Until someone has proven that they are not deserving of my respect, they get it.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t know their name, or where they live, or will never meet them again.  Through omission or commission, I try not to make someone else’s day worse solely just so that mine can be better.

Go Solo a Heroic.  I’ll Wait

Here’s a few things to remember when you think that you’re the centre of your dungeon group’s universe:

  • you can’t solo any meaningful content.  You are incapable of earning even one Emblem of Frost without the assistance of others.
  • unless you only started playing in the last six months (after patch 3.2), you had considerable help to get where you are today

Everything in WoW is easier today than it has been in any prior patch.  You don’t have to deal with low drop rates off of specific bosses for your tier loot.  You can get tier gear and tier equivalent gear via heroics.  You can get groups that are capable of clearing all of the launch heroics in minutes (or even seconds).  And yet still, you want it easier.  You want Blizzard to remove the one random factor of consequence that remains – other people.

Yes – other people.  If you have all of the gear you need from the Emblem of Triumph vendor, that’s about the only thing that changes your play experience day to day.  The mobs don’t change.  The difficulty of the instances doesn’t change.  But the people do.  Some groups are epic; others are difficult.

You scream to the heavens when “casuals” get easier access to loot, but you’re incapable of dealing with one player who isn’t pulling the same DPS that you were at their level of gear.  The idea that you might have to adapt your approach to a dungeon to match the capabilities of the group scare you so much that you’d rather drop out and queue on another character or tear through the instance at an unreasonable pace, getting people killed and then transferring your own inflexibility onto others.

Good Game, sir.

If other people vex you so, what the hell are you still doing playing an MMO? There are plenty of single player games that offer similar character development and gear acquisition without requiring you to expose your fragile self to the horrors of other people.

I can hear the immediate response to this:

Well, it’s not that I don’t like playing with other people, just that I don’t like playing with people I don’t know

Fine.  There’s a solution for that.  Don’t use the Dungeon Finder.  If you’re unwilling to mix with people you haven’t met before, don’t put yourself in a situation where that is the only possible outcome.

It’s like having a peanut allergy and going to work for Planter’s.  No good will come of this.

Personally, I don’t believe that people can be selfish pricks in a Dungeon Finder group yet selfless to their guild members.  Even if you could perform this balancing act, I wouldn’t want to play with you.

The way you act in the presence of people you don’t know is far more telling than the face you put on among people who will hold you to account.

Oh, the Excuses!

I’m Just Here for my Two Emblems of Frost

If that’s your approach to using the Dungeon Finder, fine.  Getting 2000 gold for four hours work (12 days of heroics at 20 minutes each) is a fairly good investment of time, and I’m not going to begrudge you for it.

Just remember that not everyone is in the same position as you.  So what if you don’t need the Emblems of Triumph?  Someone else in the group probably does.  It’s not up to you to decide that what you need from the dungeon trumps what everyone else needs.  If you’re just doing one random heroic on each of your characters to get Emblems of Frost, go ahead.  But when you show up for each of those instances, give it the proper level of effort.

In isolation, you may be able to make a case for dropping group and switching characters because it reduces the total time you need to get 2 frost per day across all your alts.  But the only people you’re going to sway with that argument are people who also have the goal of getting you your Emblems of Frost as quickly as possible.

I hate to break it to you, but nobody’s playing this game for your benefit except you.  Nobody else gives a toss how long it takes to get your EoF.  We’re all here for our own reasons.  Some for drops, some for rep, some for Emblems of Triumph, and yes, some people are in the dungeon finder only for Emblems of Frost.

Even those people who share your immediate goal and will agree to clear the minimum number of bosses and trash aren’t going to support you when you drop group and prevent them from getting their EoF as quickly as possible.

If I Drop They Get the Next Tank Who Queues

Sorry cupcake, you’re wrong.  And not thinking very straight.  Let me lay it out for you:

  • 12:00 – group 1 queues and enters an instance
  • 12:01 – group 2 queues and enters an instance
  • 12:02 -group 3 queues and is waiting for a tank
  • 12:03 -group 1’s tank drops out
  • 12:04 -group 2’s tank drops out
  • 12:05 – a tank queues on their own

What group gets the newly queued tank?  Obviously group 1 – they are the group in progress that’s been waiting the longest (2 minutes).  Group 3 has been waiting longer, but they haven’t started yet, so their members are free to continue doing whatever they’ve been doing while queued.

If, as I’ve seen people suggest, group 2 to goes to the front of the queue and gets the next tank, then group 1 would forever be denied a tank.

The dungeon finder prioritizes groups who have already started a dungeon before groups that have not yet started.  Inside of each of those bands, groups are filled in the order of how long they’ve been waiting.  The matching algorithm is obviously more sophisticated than that, taking gear and desired dungeons into account, but that’s the general priority.

The simple fact of the matter is that if a tank leaves the group, it can mean anything from a 30 second to 10 minute wait to replace them.  And there is no way for you to know how long the wait is going to be when you drop.

Multiply the wait by four.  What makes you think you have the right to eat up that much of other people’s time?  Prior to patch 3.3 if a tank or healer joined a group and then immediately went AFK, you’d be pretty pissed off at them for wasting your time.  But today you think nothing of doing the exact same thing.  How’s that work?

I Shouldn’t Have to Carry the Group

Players get better in two ways: they get better gear and they learn to play better.  If you’re such an amazing player that you know every pull and the playstyle of every class (as some of the jerks I’ve encountered claim to) then you are in the enviable position of helping passing that knowledge on to others.  Some people need a mentor, not a rude comment and a link to Elitist Jerks.

I can take any group of people through Oculus and show them how to run the dungeon better.  It adds about 2 to 5 minutes to the run, and if I get my explanations out at the start, usually means that we get Make It Count without issue.

The only group I can’t help are four people who know the dungeon and flight paths as well as I do.  I’ve not yet found that group.   If I can spend 5 minutes to make 4 people better players, then it means that the next time any of those people are in an Oculus group, they’ll be better equipped to do the run smoothly.  Maybe one of them will offer to pass on what they learned.  And so on and so forth.

What purpose is served by insulting someone, discouraging them, and leaving them no better a player than when you first met?

The Cost of Those Emblems

If you queue for a random heroic, you get extra rewards.  Two EoF for the first random heroic, two EoT for every subsequent random heroic, and two extra EoT for the Oculus.  Those extra rewards aren’t free.  The cost you pay is accepting the dungeon assigned to you.

If you don’t want to accept the assigned dungeon, you have a simple out: queue for specific dungeons.

  • Yes, that means your only source of EoF will be the weekly raid quest and ICC.
  • Yes, that means you’ll collect Primal Saronite or crafted Ashen Verdict more slowly.

See how that works?  Effort = reward.

People scream on the official forums that Blizzard is making things too easy, but when you are presented with a clear, simple reward that requires you to do more than the bare minimum, you say “but I want all of the rewards with none of the extra effort”.

How does that make you better than the casual players who you claim are being given gear “for free”?  Aren’t you just as much (if not more, since you are by your own admission far more capable) of a leech as anyone who plays just a few hours each week?

Athena You Are Not

When you first started playing WoW, did you emerge from Kaplan’s head, fully grown in iLevel 245 purples?  Have you never made a single mistake in all the time you’ve been playing?  Never had a bad day?  Never changed spec and taken a few runs to fine-tune your rotation?

There are plenty of reasons why people don’t perform at the top of their game.  But remember the requirements to run a heroic: 23k buffed HP for a tank, 1500 DPS for a damage dealer, or about 1500 spellpower for a healer.  That’s what they required at launch, and that’s what they require today.

True, people at those levels will take longer than the average 20 minutes a heroic takes today, but has the dungeon finder ever placed you in a group with a tier 9 tank and the rest freshly dinged 80s?  No, it hasn’t.  The matching algorithm is smarter than that.

If you’re so damn uber, why do you need a supporting cast that exceed the minimum requirements to clear the dungeon?  For that matter, why do you care if DPS is imbalanced?  Does it matter than a fresh 80 is doing 1300 DPS if you’ve also got a mage or hunter pumping out 5k?  If anything, you should be measuring the group DPS when deciding whether a group is “fail”.  But that’s not what I see people screaming about in party chat and on the official forums.

Back In My Day

I started playing WoW in the days when UBRS was 15 people and Stratholme and Scholomance were zergable with 10.  There was no such thing as a raid marker.  You went in there and destroyed everything with sheer dumb firepower.  It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t elegant, and it required far more luck than skill.

When those dungeons were changed to only allow groups of 10 and 5 players respectively, the official forums exploded with nerdrage.  We’d never be able to complete them!  This was the end of WoW!  What happened was that we sucked it up, became better players, and had more fun.

The ability to zerg a dungeon because you overpower it is not a measure of your skill.  You don’t take your level 80 into Blackrock Depths and then come out singing your own praises in /guild, do you?  Nobody expects you to have any problem completing content that is far below your level.  People are doing heroics in gear that exceeds the dungeon requirements by forty, fifty or even sixty item levels (ilevel 187 blues vs iLevel 245 purples).

To put it in perspective, that’s about the same iLevel difference as between leveling greens from Terrokar Forest and the gear that dropped from Sunwell Plateau.  Are you surprised that things fall over at a touch for you?  Am I supposed to be impressed?

I’m Not Asking You To Love Your Group

If you’re able to be bright and cheery with every Dungeon Finder group you’re in, more power to you.  I can’t.  Low DPS and people who don’t understand strategies for instances that have been out for 14 months piss me off.  But I don’t let it turn me into a jerk.

Here’s the minimum I strive for:

  1. Say “Hello” when you join the group
  2. Say “Thanks for the group” or similar before you leave
  3. As the leader, do a ready check at the start (to see that everyone’s switched specs and is buffed) and before each boss.  Because only you can see the results, say “All set” or “Waiting on _blank_” when the check completes.
  4. If you’re the tank but not the leader, don’t pull until the leader says that everyone is ready.  Otherwise you don’t know if someone clicked “Not Ready”
  5. As the tank, mark your first kill target (or more if that’s your style).  Don’t pull when your healer is LOS.  Don’t pull if someone has called for mana.
  6. As DPS, adjust your output to ride the tank’s threat levels – regardless of what they may be.  Back when threat meters were first introduced, the really skilled DPS were the ones who could stay at 100% or 120% (i.e. 10% from pulling for melee/ranged) of the tank’s threat without going over.  Do not pull new mobs.  Don’t open up on a mob that the tank only has body/fairie fire/shield agro on.
  7. As a healer, call for mana breaks when you need them, and get them out there early – “mana after this pack” is better than asking for mana as the tank is engaging the next group
  8. If you want something for mainspec, need it.  Don’t ask if you can roll need.
  9. If you want something for offspec, say “needing [itemname] for offspec if nobody minds”.  Then wait 10 seconds before clicking need.  Don’t need for offspec if someone else has needed for mainspec.
    1. If the group wipes, either identify what went wrong without getting too personal (if you can do the analysis) or tell a joke (if you can’t).  Don’t just sulk in silence.

Those are really basic, easy to follow guidelines that don’t require you to get friendly with people in your group or go above and beyond basic levels of human courtesy.  If everyone in the group does this, you will be hard pressed to leave the group in anger.

Cataclysm Will Be a Harsh Lesson – I Hope

Anyone who thinks that we’re going to rock and roll our way through Cataclysm 5 man dungeons without any care for crowd control or marking is going to be in for a surprise (I hope).  I think Blizzard realizes that they tuned the WotLK dungeons too far in favor of AoE tanking and damage.

I would go so far as to say that tank AoE threat as a whole is overpowered.  It maybe just a simple 969 rotation on a Paladin, swipe spam on a Druid, and require a bit more finesse for Warriors and Death Knights, but you don’t have to do much to hold every mob in a pack against all but the most out of control DPS.

Don’t expect that to continue.  We’ve had our fun, and now it’s time to work a bit harder for our shinies.  Are all the tanks who quit Oculus because they can’t faceroll through it going to quit Cataclysm dungeons because their pulls require a bit of thought and planning?

Of course not – they’ll want the loot, so they’ll shut up and do what needs to be done, which should include some marking and use of crowd control.

We’ll eventually get to the point in Cataclysm where we can steamroll the heroic dungeons the way we do today, but I don’t think we’ll see it until patch 4.2 or thereabouts.

I Hate Heroics Too

Don’t think for a moment that I truly enjoy running heroics.  With the exception of the new Frozen Halls instances, I’ve done them all to death and they bore me stiff.  But in the weeks since patch 3.3 dropped, I’ve yet to be placed in a group where nobody needed anything from the run except Emblems of Frost.  I’ve yet to run with a group where all the DPS were doing sub-1500.  I can’t say even say for certain that I’ve been in a group where the aggregate DPS was less than 6000 – a full third higher than most heroics require.

But here’s the thing – I don’t expect to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of my WoW playing experience.  MMOs are grindy and by definition have no end.  I expect to do the same things over and over again, and the only thing that’s going to change is the company I do it in.  If you don’t want that, go run with your friends and guildmates every day.  You won’t have any fail groups and those of us who do mix it up in the Dungeon Finder won’t have to deal with you.

Win-Win.

And the Lesson Is

For the jerks, there really isn’t one.  No argument, no matter how impassioned is going to convince jerks to not be jerks.  Calling them out isn’t going to achieve anything, but it makes me feel a bit better.

For the rest of us, perhaps some of what I say will help you to deal with jerks, possibly diffusing the situation with some of the rational points I’ve made.

I can only ask that you not let the jerks change your outlook.  After being on the receiving end of all this for a while, it’s all too easy to slip into doing it yourself.

You could be a jerk to the jerks, but it’s rarely something you can focus on one person.  Any action you take against one person will probably affect everyone else in the group.  A healer could remove their items with durability, then not heal the tank.  But that would kill everyone in the group, and unless everyone else had also removed their durable items, they’d get stuck with the repair bill.

The only safe solution is to not indulge jerks in their behaviour.  Kick them from groups as soon as the timer allows.  Add them to your ignore list (until it fills up, which mine did this week).  But don’t screw over others in an attempt to exact revenge on someone who’s screwing you over.  That just perpetuates the cycle and makes everyone’s game experience worse.

For the jerks who may read this post, please understand: I’m not looking for further justification of your behaviour.  I’m pissed off with the lot of you, and you’re not going to win me over with any argument whose crux is “it benefits me and me alone”.

Rational discussion and debate are, as always, welcome.

Until Next Time

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