Monday, November 15, 2010

Over Here, Jeeves!

In Mel Brooks' History of the World: Part I, there's a garden scene with the Court of Louis XVI at Versailles.  Count de Monet (played by Harvey Korman) has ridden from Paris to warn the King of impending revolution, but before he can seek an audience with His Majesty, he needs to relieve himself.  Therefore, he summons one of the roving piss-boys --and his bucket-- for this purpose.

The other day, in Blackrock Depths, I was the piss-boy.  (Er, piss-girl.)

I was on Neve, getting a lunchtime run in.  Nothing unusual about that, since I've been trying to get both her and Tomakan to Outland before Cat dropped.  The destination of this run was Blackrock Depths, and I was pretty sure I'd progressed beyond a simple prison run.  A quick scan of the levels of my compatriots told me that Neve at L53 was the lowest of the bunch, so I was prepared for a longer run than normal.

The Warrior tank started the first pull, then quickly progressed to a second in the initial cavern area.  Finishing up that pull, he started in on a third.

"Wait!" cried the Druid healer.

The tank kept on going until the pull ended.  "What?" he demanded.

"I was out of mana!"

"Well, you didn't say anything."

"I am now!"

"Well, drink, you dumb ass!"

"I don't have anything to drink."  He paused, then shouted, "MAGE!!!"

Oh, for the love of...  I was tempted to tell him to do something explicit, which would have carried a bit more weight being the only female toon in the crew.

The healer ran over and immediately opened a trade window, then selected the 'Trade' button.  At that point I hadn't even conjured anything yet, but I gritted my teeth and did it, hoping that would shut these two jerks up.

Silly me.

"Does anyone have the key?" the tank asked.


"Not me."


"I do," I replied.

"Well," the tank said, "I guess we're not going very far then."

What the hell!!  I said I had the key!!  I fumed through the next couple of pulls, while the Warrior dispensed his wisdom concerning Paladins.  "They should shut up and go back to being glorified buff-bots.  I'm sick and tired of their whining."

"Yep," replied the healer.  "They're a bunch of asses who can't do s#!&."

The Interrogator dropped quickly, and the tank took the lack of an 'instance over' sign personally.  "This sucks.  You're all stupid anyway."

And then he dropped.

So did everyone else.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  At least I wasn't the one with the debuff, and I was grateful that I didn't have to put up with any of that combo for the next hour.

Compared to this, most any run would be an improvement.  At the same time, both of those clowns completely blew the three DPS off, and even when I said something worthwhile, it was completely ignored.  We were reduced to being piss-boys for the tank and healer, unworthy of taking a leak in the same area they were soiling.  Talk about treating your fellow player with respect.

I was tempted to think that I was ignored because I was the only female toon, and one with a name that a player had obviously put some thought into, which in some camps that means I'm a female player.  However, I chalked this one up to just pure asshatery; if I had Tomakan or Quintalan along, I'd have gotten the same treatment.  Now that I think about it, I'd have probably been treated worse, given their opinions on Paladins.

The pugging scene is what it is; there are jerks, and there are great puggers.  I try to be the latter, and by doing so encourage others to be a better pugger.


Ironically enough, the night before this pug, I'd had one of those runs that you never really want to end.  It didn't start off very good, as the Druid tank pulled the entire first chamber of Blackrock Depths, then complained when we wiped.  He and a DPS immediately dropped, while three of us ran back.

One of the three got into the open area for Blackrock Mountain and had no idea where to turn.  Having found the entrance to BRD the hard way while grinding for Loremaster, I talked him through it.  When he finally made it through that opening, he was effusive in his praise.  "I'd never been able to find the entrance before," he admitted.  "I think I should call you Saint Nevelanthana, although that's a pretty long name."

"Neve for short," I said.

The queue eventually gave us back a new tank and DPS, and we started over.  The warrior tank said he'd like to go as far as we could, even though he admitted he couldn't go all the way to the end at L52.  He did everything right, from LoS pulls to waiting for people to drink.  The Fireguard pairs at each entrance?  He asked the warrior DPS to off tank the one so he could take the other.  When someone asked a question about what was up ahead, he gave a precise and detailed answer.

"You're damn sight better than the Druid tank we first had," I said.

He chuckled.  "You had a Druid tank?  Say no more."

I never reached the end of BRD on that run, because I got paged and had to login to work.  We said our goodbyes, and the lost puggee again thanked me profusely.


In comparing the two runs, the first thing that stands out is the quality of the tank.  Technical skill isn't always what's needed, you need leadership.  Whether they like it or not, tanks are the leaders:  they have to know the way around, they have to know the boss fights up ahead, and they have to monitor the status of the group.  That's not an easy task, and people who queue to tank just to skip the wait for DPS often don't succeed.

Another difference between the two runs was the attitude.  You know how when a group bonds you can actually feel it?  That happened with the latter group.  In the former group, the overall attitude of the tank and healer was that we were there to make them happy.  Make no mistake; this was their run, the DPS was just along for the ride.  When you have that sort of attitude, unscrupulous puggees won't hesitate to sabotage a run.  Much better for everyone that you have a tolerant attitude and can handle some foibles.

I also think that the time of day has something to do with the success of a pug.  Distractions count, especially when people might be raiding that evening on another toon.  I've had people say "I want this run done in 10 minutes because I've got VoA tonight," and that doesn't exactly give a player warm fuzzies to know that someone you're pugging with has their eye on something else.

Maybe the best thing that you can say about pugs is that each one is different, but it's up to you to hold to your end of the bargain.  Don't let the bastards get you down.


  1. That about sums it up, Red. (You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have...?!)

    Incidentally, I got a cold chill down my spine when I read your paragraph about tanks and leadership and yadda yadda since I've been tanking lately.

    "Oh no, what if I haven't been leader-ey enough? I will get lost! All my runs will FAIL. I can't be a TANK!" -_-

  2. @Vid: You're a Guild Leader; you herd cats.

    'Nuff said.

    (Since when have you been tanking? Ain't it hard to tank as a Mage? ;-)

  3. Nah, mage tanking is awesome, I do it all the time!

    Haha, just today in ICC:
    Voss: "Sorry, what was that? I couldn't hear you over the mage shrieking."

    Mage tanking involves a lot of yelping. ;)

    I herd cats with the aid of my intrepid partners in crime! Actually, I sort of like my cats. But shhh, don't tell them!

  4. @Vid:

    Two words: Twin Emperors.

    Although I guess a Lock would be better suited to tanking duties there.

  5. Ah pugs :/ Well, at least there are good among the bad. I very much dislike the current trend toward disempowering the DPS, with tanks and healers power-tripping simply because they can.

  6. @Tam: At lower levels, the DPS are actually trending toward OP (except for Mages, who don't get Blizzard until L52). The main technical issues I see are between the chair and the keyboard: a) tanks who think they're L80 and can pull a whole room and b) healers who aren't paying attention for some reason or another.

    I haven't run many instances as Q lately because, well, you get tired of the power tripping. People can sleepwalk through the L80 heroics if they're geared enough (especially since 4.01 dropped), and problems biting it in the heroics are more due to the player than the instance. The ICC 5-mans being the exception, naturally.

  7. I completely agree on attitude being the make-or-break of a pugged instance. One way I do a quick gauge on the attitude is to port in not wearing much gear and if I'm a caster, with the wrong spec. I'll say "Hello, switching specs real quick." When I then put my gear on and switch, I have about half hp and very little mana.

    If I get healed up without asking and they give me time to drink before starting, it'll be a nice run. If they just bomb away while I'm sitting there at 50% hp and no mana, I just teleport out and wait for the kick.