Friday, April 16, 2010

Quintalan the Veteran

I've been running instances on an almost daily basis for a couple of months now, and the long road of questing to get to 80 seems a distant memory. Yes, I'm still doing quests for the Loremaster achievement, but it's not the same. The imminent threat of character death lent a different feel to that questing, and since I did my trip to 80 on a PvP server, there was always the "look over your shoulder, someone might be waiting to gank you" aspect to it.

Even the time I've spent running instances and doing heroics has changed my perception a bit. While I'm not a wily veteran like the long time players or the raiders are, I know my way around enough to know what I need to do to survive the instance and not look like an idiot. Although it may sure seem otherwise at times, I'm not a noob anymore. I was reminded of that last night during a run in The Nexus, and the day before in the Pit of Saron.

When I ported into The Nexus and began blessing people with Kings and Wisdom, the first thing one of the characters said after introductions was "does anyone need food?" Then the healer said that he needed to drink after buffing everybody. It had been ages since anyone had even mentioned those two in a heroic instance that I paused and checked out everyone's gear scores. In a bizarre case of turnabout, I had by far the highest gear score of the group.

I made a few mental adjustments and made a point of dialing back my attacks to keep from pulling threat on the first few trash pulls. The pulls went well, if a bit slower than what I'm now used to. Then the tank posted that he had to split; he'd just gotten paged and had to go into work.

No sweat. Real Life comes ahead of a game, and since I'm on a pager rotation I know what that's like. We put in a request for a new tank, and while we waited we chatted about the Stoutbeard encounter just up ahead. At least one party member hadn't heard of him, so I mentioned he's only in the Heroic mode and has a nasty whirlwind attack. A new tank popped in, we took out Stoutbeard after a couple of minutes, and the mage and priest had to drink. We loitered for a minute, let them get back their mana, and we went on to the next trash pull.

Then the second tank dropped out of the party without a word.

"What did I do wrong?" the healer asked. "I did everything I was supposed to, and nobody died."

"You did fine," I told him, and the others agreed. "He was just being a jerk."

"Well, this is my second Heroic instance. Ever."

"You're doing great; I've only been playing since August myself. Believe me, compared to my experience trying to heal Trial of the Champion at the same gear level you are, you're doing fine." I then explained my disaster trying to heal that instance, when we couldn't even get past Palestra; Souldat as the tank was taking so much damage at a pop that even while spamming Holy Light I couldn't keep up.

The story engendered a bunch of laughs. "That's a helluva place to heal for your first 80 instance," the hunter said.

"Yeah, and believe me, you're doing much better than that, Heals."

A third tank ported in, and we resumed the run. We finished with only one character death -due to the spike damage the boss gives in the elemental area- and before I left I complimented the group on the job. Compared to the times I've been in runs where the entire point is to "gogogo!", this was a pleasant experience.

The Pit of Saron also featured a healer new to the instance, and he had severe misgivings about it. "You'll do fine," the tank assured him.

"This instance is built with AoE heals in mind," I added. "I couldn't do it well as a Holy Spec Pally, but you as a shaman should be okay."

We did well, up until after Ick and Crick, when we started having problems staying alive in the vyrkul trash pulls heading up to Tyrannus. A couple of people in the instance had to go repair their gear, and the warlock dropped and was replaced by a mage. "This is getting to be too much for me to heal," the Shaman said.

"Don't worry about it," I replied. "We'll get through this and you'll see it's not a big deal."

We had one more wipe where we pulled too much trash at once, but once we reached the end of the tunnel things went much better with Tyrannus.

"Good job," I told the healer before I left. "Now that you've gotten this under your belt, you'll be that much better at it."

Perhaps I'm seeing myself in these characters, realizing that not very long ago it was me who was in their shoes. I'm taking the encouragement that Soul, Millalyn, and others have given me and am paying it forward. That's one of the best things that I like about the game: the support and camraderie you get from people you may not even know, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.*

Sure, people can be real jerks -or worse- just like in real life, but that doesn't mean that you have to be. I've seen terrible behavior on numerous occasions, but I take that as a "how not to act" and run with it. It might not help the signal to noise ratio in the long run, but it will have an impact on those you interact with.

*One time, when Quint was questing in Desolace, an 80 Pally came riding by. He stopped, a trade window opened, and he started dumping stuff in it. "What do want for this?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Nothing," he replied. "I'm going to be suspending my account soon, and I'm giving all my stuff away. Do you have any other characters?"

"I priest," I said.

A few more items appeared in the trade window.

"Are you sure about this?"

"Quite sure. Have fun!"


  1. You're all grown up. =]

    It's good to be in a position to make or break a group.

    I joined a heroic the other day which featured a level 80 hunter who chose to melee most everything with his level 66 green axe, and when he actually shot stuff, it was with his level 48 white bow. He must have had some terrible misfortune on his journey to 80, becuse the poor guy must have never seen shoulders drop either, as he wasn't wearing any.

    Instead of freaking out, we just continued on our way. Being over geared for heroics as I am, I just asked the druid to contribute a bit to dps and we got through it just fine.

    Still no shoulders for the hunter though.

  2. Talk about your bad luck; I don't think even Quint had that sort of crappy luck. (The warbear drop doesn't count, and I'm going on four months of trying right now.)

    I think it's important that people realize that it's a game. We can get so caught up in it that we forget that, and in the rush to get stuff done we miss out on something vital. I could have gotten two average runs in the time it took us to run the Pit of Saron the other night, but I had a lot of fun playing it. The party chat was great, and the two people in the group also from Area 52 (they were both from the same guild) were cool to talk to, and I ended up putting them in my friends list afterward.

    The extra badges I'd have gained with two rather silent runs weren't worth this.

  3. I agree - it's when people are struggling that I do my best to encourage them and tell them "good job" or "great work" (even when it's really not the best!).

    I did a really really long run of H AN the other day with an alt (so I was paired up with similarly fresh level 80s) and I noticed straight away that the healer was hesitant to heal and very careful about drinking before moving up with the group. The tank was struggling to hold threat but seemed fine taking it at a slower pace. I considered these both signs of less experienced and less geared players.

    I'm not sure what their actual gear was like. I don't usually bother to check and I don't run automated addons for it.

    People stood in the green stuff that the spider boss spits out. I told them they needed to move out otherwise it would kill them. We survived.

    Unfortunately the other two DPS (one a warrior) decided they needed to help speed things up. The moment we were all in range of the last boss the warrior pulled. Everything went badly, people stood in spikes, got hit by pound, we wiped.

    We came back and I was determined that this time we would get it. It's a really hard boss to heal (from experience, healing it with badge-less gear on my shaman and priest - poisons!) for new healers.

    Anyway the warrior flipped out and told the tank that they were a better tank than them and that the healer was a "fail" because people died when they still had mana.

    The tank and healer fired back and it was all out war - the two pairs screaming abuse at each other. I think someone even dropped a "have you even been to ICC" comment in.

    The warrior ran in to pull (presumably to tank) and we wiped. Fortunately the tank decided to vote kick them and it was passed. The rogue then flipped out and called us all noobs and left.

    Unfortunately the tank and healer now didn't seem confident to do their jobs. "I could just requeue as boomkin"... I convinced them to stick to their current roles and guess what? We got two more DPS, went through the boss strategy and we killed it!

    Anyway, long story short. I can't believe how horrid players are to each other - *especially* when they are new.

    And the best thing you can do (which clearly you understand!) is to remember what it was like when you were learning and be patient and helpful.

    ps. any chance you can open up URL/Name/Email option for your commenting system?

    --- Cassandri,

  4. Thanks for the comments, Cassie! And I'll take care of that pronto.

  5. It's done. At least I hope so, I tried it myself and it seems to work.

    Anyway, that story is something I've seen happen before in 5-mans, and it drives me bananas. The pursuit of Frost badges has turned the LFG tool into a "L2P!" playground at times, which is really sad. I've been reading Vid on Pugging Pally, and she's been experiencing the same fail behavior as well. Just on the non-heroic scale.