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.