In the new dungeon system where one ends up running dungeons with complete strangers, failure happens more often than it did before and happens within a context that lacks any trust whatsoever. On my 80 death knight, this has been less true, though I’ve seen new tanks and new 80s fail pretty royally. As I mentioned before about tanking and in this post, I’m okay with failure. It’s how we learn. In these new groups, however, people aren’t so okay with failure. It’s becoming increasingly common for someone to quit after just a single wipe. For new tanks or healers, the chance of wiping is pretty high and if you’re in a group of people who don’t know each other and where there is zero communication, the chance goes up dramatically. I’m fine with wiping as someone learns. In guild runs, after a wipe, we reevaluate. Was it bad luck? The wrong strategy? Did we forget to buff? And then we go at it again after a few tweaks. In these pugs, that kind of evaluation doesn’t always happen. Often, another player just starts complaining about who caused the wipe, calling them names and/or quitting. That’s not helpful.
When I got my healer (71) into Northrend after hitting 68, I headed into a dungeon pretty soon thereafter. I didn’t do a wide variety of dungeons in the previous region, because I wasn’t there long enough really and because I decided I really didn’t like them. But, my experiences healing them had been mostly good, with only a few rough spots where I wasn’t quite geared/leveled enough, but going back later, things went fine. So, I announced at the beginning of Utgarde Keep, the first dungeon most people do in Northrend, that I’d never healed it before. One person quit immediately after saying, “Oh, wow.” I don’t know if he looked at my gear and saw that it wasn’t up to par or just didn’t relish the idea of running with a new healer or what. But the group overall went quite well. I had trouble with the Prince Keleseth fight and we wiped once or twice, but after that, things went pretty smoothly. And then I had a couple of other good runs through, still struggling a bit with the Prince, but not doing too badly. And then I had a group where the tank wasn’t in tank gear or tank specced and she was impossible to heal. And she kept dying, on trash even! And that was bad. And after a while, she said she should quit and I had to go so we never finished. And then, I went back in a day or two later. And nothing was going right. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with healing and though we wiped a couple of times on the Prince, we finally made it past that, only to wipe on the next boss, which I’d never had a problem with. The tank kept charging ahead and was often either out of range or out of line of sight. And so, I’d arrive at the fight already behind. Which really isn’t fair. So we’d wiped on trash a couple of times, then the boss, and then someone said to me, “WTF are you doing?” And I could have yelled back that it wasn’t my fault, that the tank was out of range, rushing, etc. But I didn’t. I just quit without saying anything.
And I was burned for a couple of days. I didn’t want to go back to a dungeon for fear of failing again and getting yelled at again. But I knew I had to. Dungeons are where the gear is. Dungeons are fun parts of the game. They’re challenging and interesting. But I wondered at my own taking this failure so much to heart and I wondered if other people did the same. Did anyone in that other group, the one that yelled at me, think that they were at fault? And if so, did they just brush it off or stew about it for a couple of days? It’s hard to tell, but I sensed that the people in that group were college age at most and all men, so I suspect that they feel invincible and never think they’re to blame for anything that goes wrong.
I try not to be clueless. I had done my research on healing this dungeon, on healing for my spec. I’m spec’d according to some of the best advice out there. And my gear isn’t *that* bad at this point, having gotten a few nice drops and quest rewards. I turned to this blog to find out more and found a nice post on the PuG experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I wish more people would follow this advice:
You were a “newbie” once as well, I bet you appreciated a little guidance and kindness rather that “WTF YOU’VE NEVER DONE THIS YOU FUCKING SCRUB?”. . . . [G]ive them a chance. It may take a few minutes longer, and you may have to explain a few fights, but many of these players might actually turn out to be great players given the chance.
That’s the thing that gets to me when people complain. First, this is a game. How much does it really matter if someone makes a mistake? Second, not everyone plays the same amount. Some people have said they got the game for Christmas or got the expansion for Christmas or just came back to it. They’re new. They’re rusty. Or maybe they’re old, like me. And third, maybe you should ask if they need help. Ask, nicely, if they need some advice or if they are having difficulty for one reason or another. And if you’re the one who feels like things aren’t going well, say something. Even if it means someone’s going to quit over it. Say, I’m new to healing/tanking/playing a druid, and I’d appreciate some advice if you think I need it. If someone doesn’t want to play with a noob of any stripe, you don’t want to play with them anyway, because they’re not going to cut you any slack and they’re going to assume abilities you don’t have.
I finally did go back into a dungeon yesterday, and pulled Nexus for the first time ever. I was a little nervous since I’d never healed it, but it’s a dungeon I’m very familiar with. I didn’t say anything. I waited to see how things went. And they went fine. We wiped on the first boss, because one of our dps went missing and we didn’t realize it. And a couple of people died later. And we wiped on the last boss because I forgot to move around to avoid a debuff. But it went fine otherwise. No one yelled at me, though they did remind me, nicely, about the moving around thing. I got back on the bike and I skinned my knee a little, but I’m riding again.