6 Nov

Since I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again, I have been spending quite a bit of time in Randoms.  I did them the first two weeks that I came back, so I could make sure that I was Valor Point capped, because I wasn’t raiding and had no other way to earn those points, otherwise.  I am doing them now that my priest is raiding, because I have recently dusted off my level 82 shaman and have been having an absolute blast healing with her in Randoms and leveling that way.

You start to pick up on trends or interesting personality types when you do a lot of Randoms.  You notice people who queue for one boss, usually for loot or to complete a quest, who then leave once said boss is defeated.  You notice the endless string of ret paladins and enhancement shaman, who seem to require more healing than the tank does and who are absolutely unapologetic about their recklessness.  You also notice a startling lack of confidence in the majority of tanks and even healers that you find yourself running with.

I’ve said it once before, but I look at Randoms like I do one night stands or even relationships.  They remind me of one night stands in the sense that most people tend to take part in them solely to get their immediate needs met, they usually remain very distant and try not to get too attached to others in the process, and they tend to leave once they get what they want.  You’re not proud of the fact that you do Randoms, but you do them anyway.  You understand that Randoms are often the fastest way to get what you want, without a lot of hassle.  You may prefer to do them with people that you know or you may not be too particular and you will settle for running them with strangers.  Just like a one night stand.

Where Randoms start to remind me of relationships is when you’re dealing with these players who seem to queue up for these types of runs with little or no confidence.  You have the healer teleport in and they usually say something along the lines of “I’m new at this. I’m really sorry to put you through this and you’re going to hate by the time this is over.”  That doesn’t make a very good impression.  You haven’t said anything to give this person the idea that they are terrible or that they’re going to be terrible and their confidence is already at their lowest point.  You think to yourself, “Who could have said something or done something to this person to make them feel this way?”  After inspecting their gear and talents, you realize that everything on that end looks fine.  So, what’s their issue?  The issue is that they have baggage, not unlike the kind you find from people that you may be attempting to have a relationship with.

The other day, I had a reasonably cute guy approach me on the bus and start talking to me.  His name was Chris and before Chris could even get into his attempt to try and woo me, he already started insulting himself and wondering why someone like me would ever be interested in someone like him.  I don’t think I’m that much of a catch (see, it’s contagious) and I did nothing but listen to him, with an open mind and an open heart and he was already convinced that I would never be interested in him and that he was making a terrible mistake.  I took a moment to ease his fears and to boost his confidence and that’s when Chris really started to open up to me.  Hours later, I had learned that the reason he was so self-conscious was because his last girlfriend of five years had basically hated everything about him and told him this on a regular basis.  She hated that he smoked cigarettes, she thought he was too skinny, she didn’t like that he wore glasses instead of contacts, etc.

So, even though I did nothing wrong and I said nothing to give Chris any indication that I wasn’t interested in him or that I thought he was unattractive, I was having to clean up the mess that someone else made.  I was having to re-assure him that I did think he was funny and cute and that I would like to have coffee again with him sometime.  I didn’t ask for any of this, but here I was having to undo the damage that someone else did.  That’s not very fair to me.  The same could be said for Randoms.  Because other people told that healer that they were crap and that they couldn’t heal, your group is stuck having to deal with the consequences of that.  You now have a healer who believes that they are awful and you will most likely spend the rest of your run having to talk them off a cliff and worrying that they are going to bail at the first sign of trouble because they are convinced that it is their fault.

This happens with tanks, too.  I was running Blackrock Caverns on my shaman and we wiped on some trash that was just before the last boss.  I think it was just a matter of a pat that we anticipated being nowhere near us getting closer than we realized.  Nobody was to blame, per se.  It happens.  The tank says, “It was me.  I’m sorry.  I’m going to go now.  I’m sure you’ll find a better tank.  Good luck.”  We didn’t say anything.  We didn’t assign blame.  We didn’t berate anyone for their mistake.  We just released and started to run back.  Yet, somehow, somewhere, this tank got the idea that we thought he was terrible and that we hated him for what happened.  This tank came with his own set of baggage that neither of us in the party were equipped to take off of his hands.  No amount of healing or DPS was going to make that situation better.  You could even say we were doomed from the start.

So, what can we do about this?  Easy.  Have a little patience.  I’m surprisingly mellow in Randoms.  I don’t queue for them, if I’m in a hurry.  I don’t worry about what my repair bills are going to look like.  I don’t worry about using my trinkets like I should be.  I just don’t think of those things.  I go into them with a positive attitude and I try to make the best of them, however I can.  If someone doesn’t know the fight, I try my best to explain it to them.  If someone is standing in bad, I ask them not to, sometimes repeatedly.  I really try and do everything I can in Randoms, before I lose my cool and say something stupid or before I port out without warning.  I do this because I remember that healer and that tank and others just like them.  I don’t want to be the one that gives them that complex, that makes them feel like they’re “less than.”  I think of things like that and I don’t think other people really do.

They don’t realize that there is a chance that the next group that tank queues up for and maybe even the group after that are going to have to clean up the mess that you made by tearing them a new one, when they may or may not have deserved it.  You can be honest without having to be mean.  If someone genuinely is performing poorly and you have tried to be as nice as you can be, then you are well within your rights to say something.  But, you’re not well within your rights to be an asshole.  One does not necessarily lead to another.  I can’t help but wonder if this is why running for Randoms has become the chore that it is now.  Maybe it was this snowball effect of people being quite unkind to one another, day in and day out which has led us to the current sad state of things.

Think about that the next time you have the urge to go off on someone who may or may not know any better and who is just trying to do the best that they can or the next time someone joins your group who doesn’t seem to have the most confidence in the world.  You may not have asked to be put in the situation of having to do the right thing, but you’re there now.  Try not to add any more bags to the inevitable amount of baggage which they or you are probably still carrying around.


12 Responses to “Baggage”

  1. Jen November 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    I never really got those people – the ones who made it a point to blame everything on the tank/healer/DPS. How is “FFS noob u suck!!!” going to help them? Wouldn’t some advice make them better and, in turn, make your run smoother? I usually make it a point to defend the people being wrongly blamed, and I have a lot of fun bitching back when someone tries to blame ME when I know I was doing everything right.

    I had kinda forgot how it felt to be new to a game… 4 years ago, I was too afraid to even set foot in a dungeon, but today I’m happy to heal stupid. Until I tried my first Rift dungeon and oh my god it was scary. People died left and right, I had no idea if I was doing it wrong, and all the group had to say was “heal u suck”. Luckily, my next group was super friendly and I even got spec advice! The result? I dropped from the first group and they had to wait for another healer. The second group waited for 2 minutes while I respecced and then we finished the dungeon without any further problems.

    I’m not yet experienced in Rift, but in WoW I try to make the world a better place, one newbie at a time 😀

    (But oh, it can be so frustrating, especially in EU since you never know if your intellect-wearing tank even knows English..)

    • Oestrus November 7, 2011 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Jen,

      I can imagine that it’s more difficult on EU realms, for the reason you said. I remember when I was in the Cata beta and most of the people I ended up grouped with were from EU realms. I was trying really hard not to assume they couldn’t understand me and that’s why they weren’t following my directions, but eventually it seemed like that was the case.

      I think of new people all the time, too and a surprising amount of people that I’ve been running into in the lower level Cata dungeons have never been there before – at all. They admit this, they’re looking to improve upon that and it’s really quite lovely. As opposed to once you get to the Heroics and you *know* they haven’t been there before and nobody admits it.

      For the most part, my Random interactions in Rift have been more positive, but every game has their bad apples. I think it’s just more noticeable with World of Warcraft because they have more players and more of a likelihood that you’re going to run into one of them.

      • Jen November 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

        For the PTR… I think you just run into dumbasses. I doubt a lot of kids manage to get on the PTR.

  2. Trocar (@TrocarRogue) November 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Could it also have been that the tank assessed the group and didn’t think that the group would have been able to accomplish the last boss, and decided to cut his losses? Or perhaps he just needed something off the next to last boss… I’ve had tanks bail after one boss because they were farming a particular item. That tank could have done the LFG equivalent of “its not you, its me” to gracefully exit. Doesn’t make it any less of a jerk move (in fact it makes it more of a jerk move) but it is a different perspective.

    And some people don’t respond to polite reminders. You know who I’m talking about. But these sort of experiences is why I loathe using the Dungeon Finder and will rarely, if ever, queue without my own tank and healer. I want to know that we can carry if we are going in for a specific purpose.

    • Oestrus November 7, 2011 at 8:22 am #

      I don’t think it was that at all. The tank admitted he had never been there before, but was willing to learn. We were very patient with him throughout and nobody had died up to that point. It was pretty smooth sailing, up until that one bump in the road. He had made a few comments about how nervous he was or he was sorry for holding us up, which he wasn’t doing. I feel it made sense, as to why he left, because there had been a consistent pattern of him being new and unsure of himself – which again, we did nothing to fuel. He could have done all of that, just to cover for his queuing up for a certain boss or something, but I highly doubt it.

      As for people who don’t respond to polite reminders, I know *exactly* what you mean and there are times to be more blunt with people. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t immediately go there, at the first sign of someone being difficult. I would like to think that I go through a number of steps before I let things escalate to that point, so I can at least say that I tried to do the right thing. Other people are not so patient. That’s where I think the problem lies – immediately jumping to that conclusion and losing it on someone, when you could have tried to handle it better and didn’t.

  3. Tomaj November 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    One of my guildmates on Runetotem is like that – and because of randoms, she has a hard time queuing up by herself, for fear that people are going to tell her how bad she is. Interestingly, I ran a ZA with her last night, and she did remarkably. But, she’s always been kind of one to think she’s not doing as well as she could be, even though she’s usually been one of our best players.

    In that same run, we had a mage that hadn’t even done the ZA/ZG heroics yet. I could tell they were in a few blues and stuff just by knowing what some of the gear looked like, yet they did just fine. I took the time to explain all the fights to them, and let them know they were doing fine. In the end, I felt bad that we had to end up kicking them – not because they were playing poorly, but because they were disconnecting quite frequently, and that was the major hangup there. We went through four tanks and another three DPS in the dungeon. The first tank was farming something off of the bear boss, the second tank just left group, the third “disconnected” after he stood in the fire and died on the dragonhawk boss to damage I couldn’t heal through. The DPS, I don’t remember why they left or when (except for one after the dragonhawk boss wipe, too).

    People aren’t patient in WoW. I hate it. This is why I am absolutely terrified of getting healing gear on my elemental shaman, or getting back into tanking on my paladin – purely because people are douchebags in randoms and I’m not as experienced with resto shaman, and haven’t played my paladin in four months.

    • Oestrus November 7, 2011 at 8:26 am #

      People aren’t patient in WoW.

      I agree and I also think the current climate of the game helps to encourage that mindset. The developers have spent the last expansion and this one essentially giving people what they want at the drop of a hat. You can get tier pieces from Valor Points (for now, at least), you can get on par BiS pieces from crafting professions or by grinding dailies, you can wear a tabard and speed up said rep grind significantly, etc. People don’t want to wait for anything anymore and more importantly, they don’t have to. So that mindset does carry over into Randoms and I think it’s another form of snowball effect, like the one I mentioned about one person being shitty to another person, who is shitty to a third person, and then they’re even shittier, etc.

      You have to wonder if it’s the player’s fault for behaving that way or the designer’s fault for creating an environment where that behavior is OK and even condoned, in some cases.

      • Tomaj November 8, 2011 at 2:43 am #

        You have to wonder if it’s the player’s fault for behaving that way or the designer’s fault for creating an environment where that behavior is OK and even condoned, in some cases.

        Honestly, it’s not just the designers. It’s social media, advertising, and real life in general; we’re in an age of instant gratification. Hence, we see the littering of towns and cities with fast food restaurants, the necessity to use those due to short lunch breaks at workplaces, etc. It’s not entirely the game’s fault, or the designers’. However, they are at fault for condoning and even propagating that type of mindset.

        There’s actually some posts on the healing forums, more meant for venting than anything, and I saw someone actually proud of the fact that they were being asshats to others in randoms. I went so far as to say that it is their own fault if they get treated like shit in the future, by using that mentality that it’s okay. It’s not okay. Unfortunately, VP are the only means of gear gains for any of my characters at the moment, so I kind of have to just deal with it.

        (As a side note, I hate the white text in your blockquote formatting.)

        • Oestrus November 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

          It hates you, too. We’ve talked.

  4. Kat November 14, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    After starting to tank and then heal after playing a dps for all of my level 80 life I had the same issues initially – tanks and healers are such key parts of a group that if they are weaker then the group has a much higher chance of failing. This was especially the case when I was new, as I would look at other people in raid gear and such and listen to their “opinions” i.e. mouthing off, because they were clearly “better” players than me.

    Once I got more into my tanking and healing and starting reading up on stat prio’s, breakpoints, and all the other crap surrounding sorting out your character properly I realised that most of the stuff being thrown at me wasn’t my fault. The other players had a problem, but the problem was their own impatience or such. Like entering HC UK with 32k hp as tank and being told that I was obviously a stupid n00b and why didn’t I get better gear before I tried heroics. By this time though I knew that at the start of wrath people were tanking HCs with only 18k or so hp and that I was plenty ready, just not overgeared ENOUGH for the idiots in the random.

    The same applied to my healing later on, after checking out other players and running more raids and stuff I got to the point where I can quickly evaluate the situation on any of my healers and immediately tell if something truly was my fault or not – if it was I apologise, if not and they are hurling crap around then it doesn’t affect me. I know my own play style well enough to see if I made a mistake or not.

    Basically, I have got to the point where I know that I know how to play my different characters. Just this confidence in my own ability and knowing that I can and do admit if I make a mistake suddenly makes all the insults and rubbish you find in the LFD totally meaningless – if I made a mistake then I made a mistake, if I didn’t then what does it matter what a bunch of rude impatient player are saying?

    I think all anyone can ever do is prepare themselves for the worst, be prepared to admit their own mistakes and accept that the effect of LFD douchecanoes (ty to Apple btw for that one :D) will lessen as your own confidence grows.


  1. Lots and lots of Baggage | Screaming into the Vacuum - November 7, 2011

    […] considerate, and realizing that some folks, particularly tanks and healers carry confidence sapping baggage. The post is mostly about how she tries not to add to the load others might already be carrying, […]

  2. Love And Hate In The MMO Blogosphere — MMO Melting Pot - November 7, 2011

    […] all that, let all players share from the rewards of an encounter.”And Oestrus has a great post on the baggage that we can carry as a result of abuse in random groups – “The tank says, “It was me. I’m sorry. I’m going to go now. I’m sure you’ll find a […]

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