WoW Wednesday: A Failure of Communication

I’ve had some rough PuGs in the last few days.  In one ToC PuG where I’d taken my DK, no one admitted to not knowing the fight even though someone asked.  When we all died in the middle of it, it was clear that not everyone knew the fight.  Still, the leader only said to do one thing differently, which helped, but didn’t solve everything.  That fight is immediately followed by another with no break.  In the second fight, two worms appear and they each need to be tanked.  As far as I could see, only one worm was being tanked.  The other one I kept aggroing.  So, naturally, dead.  Also in that fight, there’s a complicated disease situation where when one gets the disease, you need to run to someone with a different disease to cancel it out.  No one explained this.  And I’m guessing that since a lot of people didn’t know the first fight, they didn’t know the second fight either.  And the leader, who was one of the tanks, didn’t say, Okay, I’m gonna tank this worm, you, other tank, tank the other worm.  Everyone just assumed that people would figure it out and/or do what was needed.  In addition, the healers (both priests) were not using the most effective heals.  When I looked at their stats, they both were using things frequently that one only uses every once in a while because they’re slow and ineffective.  Still, we might have overcome that with a little communication.  It was frustrating all the way around and about a half-hour or so of my time wasted.

My next failure was in HoR, a really difficult dungeon all the way around.  I was healing.  When I’d come in, the dungeon was in progress, and in fact, the group had just experienced a wipe after which the healer left.  I was the replacement.  My experience when I’m the replacement healer is that the healing was difficult.  Sometimes it’s the case that the healer just wasn’t up to par, but usually, there’s an issue with the tank or the dps or something.  And that’s what I found.  People were taking too much damage early on and I couldn’t keep up.  In theory, I should be able to heal mostly the tank with the occasional group heal or single target of someone who grabbed aggro.  In this case, everyone was taking damage, a lot of it.  And then, I was taking damage and before I could heal myself or shield myself, I died.  Wipe city.  Someone quit after this, and then we got a new guy and when he asked what went wrong, someone said it was a healer problem.  And I said, well, yeah, the tank didn’t keep the mobs off me.  But I wasn’t angry.  I was just assessing the situation.  So we gave it another try.  Less damage early on, so I was able to keep up.  But then the warlock took a big hit and was down and then everyone started taking lots of damage and again, I couldn’t keep up.  Then I was feared, so couldn’t heal at all, and well, of course, we wiped.  I’ve healed this before and I know it’s not supposed to be like this.  Yes, people take some damage, but people are not supposed to be taking lots and lots of damage.   I quit after the last wipe.  But, despite the appearance that it was the healer (me) who was failing, I think this was, again, a failure to communicate.  I couldn’t see everything that was going on, but I suspect the group wasn’t killing the mobs in the right order.  No one suggested other strategies.  Again, everyone assumed that people knew what to do.  And maybe, I should have spoken up and said, hey, everyone’s taking too much damage; it shouldn’t be that way.

When I think about why I didn’t say anything, it’s probably the same reason why many people don’t say anything.  Even suggesting that the fight isn’t going as it should sounds accusatory and some people, me especially maybe, don’t want to sound like assholes.  But people should speak up.  I should speak up.  I should have said in the first instance, hey, let’s make it clear who’s tanking and let’s talk about the disease thing.  And in the second, I should have said, I’ve healed this before and usually people don’t take this much damage.  What can we do to prevent that?  Sure, someone may quit over that, but in both cases I quit anyway, so I have nothing to lose.  It’s interesting because I think in real life, speaking up about failures or mistakes have consequences that can be harmful to the person who speaks up or others and so, people tend to be reluctant to say anything.  It’s why there are whistleblower laws.  In a game, though, there are no consequences, or it’s an opportunity to see exactly what the consequences are.  I wonder if WoW and games like it offer opportunities for people to test out behavior that’s risky in the real world and whether that translates back to the real world.  We assume, for example, that people who are jerks in WoW are probably jerks in real life.  Their game behavior is similar to real life behavior.  But I wonder if people might be encouraged to do things, some of them good and some not so good, that they would never do in real life.  It’s funny because I’m not particularly afraid to speak up in real life, but in game, I’m reluctant, and I don’t know why.

2 Replies to “WoW Wednesday: A Failure of Communication”

  1. Everybody always blames the healer. Conversely, few want to listen to healers (for some reason, tanks are taken more seriously in terms of strategy) when it comes to figuring out what went wrong. I don’t use voice-chat in games because I also don’t want to add that layer of “OMG, you’re a girl!” to the mix. Still, I could speak up more, but then I usually find there’s someone who’s willing to be an ass and pretend an expertise they don’t know, even to the point of disputing my experience.

    Good luck!

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