Harnessing the desire to show off in front of noobs

If there is one thing that all human beings share, it’s the desire to show off in front of other people. If we’ve picked up useful skills, knowledge, gear, or achievements, they just seem more meaningful after they have been paraded in front of other people. We imagine the awed silence as the pecking order rearranges itself around us — just as well we imagine it because the actual reaction may be less enthusiastic.

For all that, this happens any time a group of people with similar interests get together. We showed off in front of each other in school, our parents showed off in front of each other at parent-teacher meetings, we show off at work, we show off in our hobby groups, we show off in our games. It isn’t always a negative trait. In fact, one way to show someone else that you know more than they do is to offer to help them.

I ran a couple of PUGs this week and I was thinking about this phenomenon.

At this phase of my WoW playing, I’m way overgeared and experienced to run heroics. They are trivial. There is no challenge there that really interests me. They’re just ‘stuff to do to get badges’, as easy as falling off a log. And sometimes it makes the runs more interesting if I get to show off a bit, which means running with people who aren’t as well geared and showing them how much easier things get with a really good tank.

So with that as background, here’s how my PUGs went.

In which I take a day off from tanking

I was knocking around Dalaran late in the evening, feeling as though I ought to have a crack at the daily instance (because it was Violet Hold and was located approximately 30s from where I was standing) but also feeling too lazy to put a group together. So I hopped onto LFG and immediately heard someone asking for dps for that instance.

I thought – fine, I have a dps spec. So I paged the guy, who was another warrior. He asked about my stats. I said ‘It’s violet hold heroic.’ (this implies ‘don’t be stupid’).  He laughed and invited me. We rolled into the instance and things didn’t go so well. The tank wasn’t familiar with the minibosses we randomly were assigned so we wiped a couple of times on the ethereal boss. I normally don’t step in when someone else is tanking, it just seems rude. But after two of the mouthier dps split, I suggested I’d grab a couple of guildies and maybe I would tank and he could dps so he could see how to kite the boss around the top balcony.

In a vision from bizarro world, it turns out that he had awesome dps gear and had only been tanking to get the badges (which is funny because I have great tanking gear and had been dpsing in my offspec for the same reason). Much hilarity was had and we knocked out the instance fairly swiftly after that.

In which easy mode is not that easy

The second instance group wasn’t actually a PUG although it felt like one in some ways. I was invited to come tank the daily heroic by a guildie and noticed that it was a guild group, but also contained two of our less experienced/ competent/ geared dps. (Fortunately not THAT GUY who always grabs aggro off the tank in every instance or raid or city or … actually any time he’s even in the same zone;  I suspect every guild has a version of their own. If you are THAT GUY, don’t take this personally but all the tanks hate you and try to avoid grouping with you whenever they can.)

So we pick up a healer who is someone’s inexperienced alt and head off to the Halls of Lightning. I eye the group and decide that in order to get a smooth run, we won’t try anything fancy. The last member of the group, who is a raider, asks if we can get the achievement on the first boss. I say no, and whisper him to explain that I don’t think the group will handle it well. He doesn’t agree but goes with me anyway.

All goes well. A few rooms further in, after various people have pulled adds with their arses or forgotten to turn off growl, he whispers me again to say that I am a tanking goddess and he should have had himself flayed with knotted ropes for ever thinking to disagree with my judgement. OK, he actually said ‘lol I see what you mean.’ But that’s what he meant.

The point of this is not to have a go at my guildies, who are nice people who pay attention and just happen not to play as much or as hardcore. What actually happened is that we had a clear run through the instance, everyone got their badges, and we did (somehow?) manage to get the speed kill on Loken for the achievement at the end despite the fact that two of the dps were showing lower on the damage meters than I was.

Nope. My point is that regardless of how uber I am, I cannot solo that instance. Taking less hardcore players along cost us a few minutes (I’ll say we could maaaybe have saved 15 mins if we had speed pulled HoL with a geared group, because I paused to explain the boss fights) and some achievements that no one cared about. That was the only cost.

There’s really no reason to be nasty about people’s gear for heroics. Even if someone is low on the damage meters, they’re still helping you get badges. And if you decide to spend 15 mins waiting around in chat to find better geared people then congratulations, you probably would have got through it at about the same time if you’d taken the first guys in the list.

On another note, I totally nailed the annoying HoL pull with the two runecasters. I was quite proud. No one else probably appreciated it. But I think this does prove the point that in games, just as in life, by the time you have the experience to ace all the challenges, you probably don’t need it any more.

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18 thoughts on “Harnessing the desire to show off in front of noobs

  1. We has HoL as our daily yesterday as well. We had our best DPS, our raid leader, our best feral druid, and me on my Paladin healing.

    PUG’d in a hunter who pulled a massive 1100 DPS. I’ve seen comments on the blogs about low DPS in the past, and I’ve always assumed they were exagerating. No longer will I make such an assumption.

    Best part? I died (as a Holy Paladin) because of lag. Twice.

    Now we did have one person make a few comments, but the hunter apparently just shrugged them off as he never responded.

  2. There are two problems with boosting M&S in instances. No, it’s not about gear. Even a blue geared DPS MUST damage over the world best tank.

    One is the “tricky fights” where you must do this or that or wipe. These “ungeared” guys have the tendency to mess it up, causing more trouble than they solve. Ever been in an instance where someone feared something away pulling 5+ groups?

    The other problem is more philosophical: you damage those newbies (not necessarily morons), who you don’t boost. When there are guild applications or simply “whisp your stats” in PuG, the moron with the gear you gave him can get before the new player. No one would ask for [epic] if not every moron would have it. And they have it only because YOU gave them.

    • It’s not my job to play God and only boost ‘worthy’ players though. (although you’re right, it’d be better for the game in the long run if I did.)

      And it’s not even about boosting so much as saying ‘Even a retadin who does 900dps is providing 900dps more than we’d have had without him. Let’s grab him and go.’ It’s just if they’re guildies then you probably know if they’re likely to pay attention instead of running off to pull the whole instance and then whine about it.

      I just think there’s some skill in knowing what you’ll be able to get away with and still have a smooth run.

      The other thing, and this is kind of funny, is that some players will do really really poor dps but actually be OK at the trick fights. I guess the ‘get out of the fire’ instinct just isn’t the same as the ‘max dps rotation’ one. But again, this comes down to whether you know the players and what they’re like and gauging whether the group will be OK or not.

      • It would not be better Spinks.

        Both of you learned how to play from more advanced players. Originally, in 2005, WoW players learned how to play from EQ players. The terms tank, aggro, dps are all EQ terms that former players of that game brought with them. The entire raiding population of WoW has learned through a process of being carried through some content by more experienced players.

        It would completely kill WoW if the game became significantly more elitist.

    • That would be true if instances were single-target affairs, but with the amount of chain pulling and AoE pulling, some classes have better or worse longevity and AoE damage; and a well-geared tank can put out huge amounts of damage, more than a good blue-geared DPS.

      Mand/orS isn’t an innate quality, it’s a lack of relevant education. How does one learn to avoid fires if they never get into runs that involve fires? How does one learn to DPS except by running as DPS? Target dummies don’t teach about fires, and even if they teach DPS, they don’t teach DPS+fires.

      I’ve was in a group where some noob feared a mob into five other groups. He learned to not use fear because of that. At other times he learned to use fear carefully, knowing when he could pull a mob back and safely fear it in an empty area. He did not know that innately as a non-M&S, he knew it because he learned it.

  3. I really agree with this post, and I really think that this ridiculous habit of checking achievements and gear scores for heroics must end now. It’s like people forgot how it was to be a fresh 80. There’s no reason to equal ‘overgeared’ with ‘elitist snob’.

    Last night, I wanted a quick run through the double-daily, H CoS. I had already done this as guild run on my DK, for Kadomi I just wanted to get a PUG. When we get to the instance, it’s already saved, because the leader had a failed run earlier where they downed ZERO bosses. One of the DPS left in disgust, and the overgeared healer and I decided to stick around and 4-manned it. I got to hear a lot of ‘Wow! You sure know you’re way around here!’ when I zipped through the pulls. I could have waited for a proper group, but I got my badges and both dailies done. The healer and I chatted a bit while running the place, I had fun, and I might run with the healer again.

    So that’s my story in a similar vein. I already had another run-in with someone who thinks WoW Heroes scores > just about anything, and I just disagree. People should not cut out the new 80s, if they don’t get into groups, how are they going to learn?

  4. I actually got blamed for a failed Heroic VH run the other day. I joined a pug for it because it was the daily and I want my shoulders. I was tanking and one of the DPS asked me if I felt over dressed for the instance. We had a holy paladin with some pretty nice gear healing. I ended up doing more damage than two of the DPS classes in the group, and we ended up wiping on the ethereal mage guy. (Or as I like to call him, The Space Mummy.)

    We picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and tried again. This time only 3 people died. At this point the healer begans blaming me because I was “doing it wrong” because he never had seen that boss moved around the ledge. I’ve never seen that boss NOT moved around the ledge.

    Anyway, I prefer to take Casual/Undergeared/Whatever guildies that are fresh 80s/rarely play over having an empty slot, but I actually do know some people that prefer to just have the empty slot which resulted in me doing Heroic VH with 3 people the other week. ><;

  5. I don’t think I show off in front of others but I am guilty of complaining about people if I don’t think they are playing well. Examples of puggers in 5 man heroics

    1. Hunter that didn’t summon a pet till the end of the instance. I don’t care what kind of hunter you are, you DPS with your pet out. It’s like Hunter 101, no?

    2. Decent geared mage (overgeared for heroic) that was only doing Blizzard once on trash if that. He would do like 3 spells on the boss and pop Mirror Image. Only had like 800 dps and had t7 4 piece. Thank god the other DPS were good.

    I don’t know, heroics aren’t a big deal but people don’t even want to try it seems >.<

  6. /second Stabs

    We were all newbies once. We all learned from somewhere. No matter how many times you read not to fear in packed places, or to dismiss pet before jumping, or a raft of other things, the only time you truly learn the lesson is when you don’t do what you are meant to do.

    But for that, you need to run the instance…

    These days, to run the instance you are most likely going to be running with epeening over geared folk…

    The game is still about balancing around your group.. bad tank great heals… np… great tank, bad heals… np… uber dps bad tank… slow down

  7. Oh gawds I remember trying to heal VH as a Resto Shammy in Blues, Greens and old 70 Epics in the first few weeks of WoTLK. It made me (and my tanks) cry.

    That was before Earth Living, Riptide and things like the Forethought Trinket.

    But yeah as Gev has posted gear is over rated and getting through the instance and having fun is important. Its a intresting point for the Goblins out there. Time/use. As spinks says she and every other serious/semi serious raider out there is over geared and over skilled for Heroics these days. Its a bit like sending a Main Battle Tank to a street riot. Overkill and not really worth the effort (or repair bills). So is there a place in the WoW-food chain for players who are well geared and/or skilled enough to be good enough for badge farming but not up to end-game raid content. Certainly I see a lot of our raiders also running heroics/raids as alts for extra giggles/badges practise as other specs or classes. I like to DPS heroics and lower content raids (Naxx, 10 man Ulduar) so I can better anticipate what those crazy DPSers might do. Walk a mile in the other mans shoes sorta thing…..

  8. Well. I can never link epic because I don’t have it yet. My gear is pretty ok-ish but the two best trinkets I have are greatness and banner of victory which are all ilvl 200. And banner replaced mirror of truth. If I see link request for it – just shrug it off.

    @Gevlon – its pretty hard to outdps tanks in aoe rich instances on overall data if you are not aoe strong class. Try competing with protection paladin in threat set in CoS. I can reach 6k on some boss fights but on overall data will be around 3k DPS which is about what good paladin tanks pull there.

  9. I am, of course, coming from heroics from the other direction – i.e. being geared enough to be able to run them assuming everyone else is willing to play sensibly. But it does make me wish there more players who thought like you on my server. I know I wrote a bitchy post a while back about how a lot of heroic runs are an unspoken boost by the over-geared but I think what I didn’t quite articulate appropriately (and which you have done so much better here – as usual =P) is that it’s not about experience or gear or number, it’s about *contribution*. Ultimately, I would much rather take someone who did 900dps and got out of the green, than somebody who did 2k and didn’t.

    Our guild still hasn’t conquered heroic-HOL. Loken still absolutely wipes the floor with us, since we can’t get the balance right between avoiding the nova and not getting mullered by his “this will hurt you more the further away you go” attack. On the other hand, we do mind control the runecasting dwarves, just because we can really, which is the most fun in the world. There’s something really satisfying in careening through the other enemies with a deadly mind controlled dorf.

    • I don’t want to give people the idea that I’m some kind of saint. I’m not boosting people just to be nice although helping guildies/friends is a bonus, they’re helping me to get badges of triumph that I need too. As well as letting me show off a bit ;)

      I hope you do get some better luck with PUGs (you could always swap servers you know >;) I’m told Argent Dawn has an unusually good PUG scene in general.)

      With Loken, the easiest way to do that encounter is just to sit on top of him and nuke until dead. Ignore the novas. Especially since you play a priest, you can spam prayer of healing to keep the group up. It feels a bit like cheating but it is much easier than trying to get people to run in and back.

  10. I was invited to come tank the daily heroic by a guildie and noticed that it was a guild group, but also contained two of our less experienced/ competent/ geared dps.

    I was healing the daily heroic yesterday, with a good tank, and some of these “less experienced / competent / geared dps” you mentioned. At the end of the run I posted the dps from my damage meter addon, and the tank came in second, having dealt more damage per second than two of the dps players while still holding aggro and tanking perfectly well.

    On the other hand, while we did have some death, we *did* succeed in finishing the heroic and the daily heroic quest. So while the two dps were clearly less good than you’d want them to be, they were “good enough” for the run.

    Teaching a guildie how to do more dps is hard. If the dps is a shadow priest, at least I’d have an idea what rotation to use etc., but if the dps is a hunter, I can’t teach him anything, because I don’t know myself. And telling somebody “your dps sucks, go to Elitist Jerks to improve” usually isn’t going down very well.

  11. I missed the Daily run our small guild did one day, and didn’t want to miss my 2 Triumph emblems. My Paladin is the MT in the guild, and I usually do dailies with our ‘clothies’, and rarely trust my character with any healer outside the guild. I have a tanking DPS set for 5 man with 535 +def and loads of Strength?AP, so I can give the DPS a run for their money (more in damage done that DPS).

    Getting on later than normal this day, I joined our TotC Heroic run, and the daily had already been tanked by an alt. We are 10 man raiders and normally dance through the 5 man runs, we know each other inside out, so 5 man is usually auto pilot with minimal repair bills, going as fast as we can.

    I tentatively put myself on LFG at a little after 11pm thinking I’d be in with the dregs for the Nexus daily (because it is an entry heroic I guess!!). To my surprise I ended up with a group of 25 man raiders, all nicely warmed up from Ulduar!! When I joined one of them switched to his ‘main’, making a nice compliment about their PUG tank!! My Paladin is quite well geared!

    This group destroyed the place, 4k DPS average, mine was down in the 1.8′s so they didnt give me a chance to get into my stride (I’m usually 2k + in heroics and I know a tank shouldnt worry about this!!), I held the aggro and had fun.

    Nexus isn’t exactly a difficult run, and the pulls were over in a flash. We did Split Personality achievement as well as the Anomalous Achievement (something I’d never tried before and the only thing that slowed the run down a bit). This latter achievement is something I’m not sure my guildies would try, and it was amazing seeing the AOE thrashing the group and the DPS hammering in to Anamalous when he was ‘available’!

    So PUG’s can sometimes be awesome fun!!

  12. Tobold, you fall always into the same mistake. You can’t teach bad players to play well. You can’t teach anything to anyone if he doesn’t want to learn. So either you’re the class leader and you threaten a gkick if he doesn’t spec the way you want, or he will ask you how can he improve and do better dps. Then you can teach him. People also don’t trust free advices, and they usually learn better if they pay for it. They take free advices as a personal offence, something that will ruin their reputation, especially if you are talking to them in the party chat.
    One should take also in account that some people don’t want to improve their dps. They just want to chat, get epix, see big critz, and have lol-time with their friends. Those will always be carried. They are slave of the gear myth, thinking that everyone above 3k dps is a no lifer raider. Even if you make every effort you can to disprove this, they won’t believe you, cause this myth is exactly what they need to feel confortable with their 1.5k dps. Admitting that you don’t need ilvl 226 items to pull 3k, would be admitting that they suck. And as a social people people, you don’t want to. You’d rather cry and kill yourself like Ajax.
    Everyone has been a noob, me included. But I learned by myself. My first raid was a maggy pug where I joined as a dps warrior with a fury/prot hybrid spec and wielding 1H/shield. That still makes me laugh. I didn’t know anything about the game. In that raid another warrior whispered and pointed to me my foolness. Some week after I was reading the EJ forums, and now I’m a poster too. This without anyone teaching anything to me.
    Thanks God wotlk heroics have a huge error tolerance. This said I don’t mind pugging heroics with fresh 80 or blue geared guys. I don’t ask for 2k+ dps or epic achievement. As long as the tank is overgeared, everything is fine. But it makes me really sad that I can’t distingue newbies and forever noobs.

  13. I applaud you for your patience. When I’m on my hunter or warrior (dps) looking for heroics I’ll take whoever will have me. When I’m on my priest (disc) or druid (resto/feral tank) I always advertise a gear check.

    I never spend more than a few seconds before I get flooded with people wanting to join. I have dual screen with wow-heroes up and typing the names in as I get the pst. It takes 1 minute to filter the best and get the party rolling.

    Perhaps I’m just lucky that so many people whisper me. Maybe I’m well known on my server (I doubt this). Maybe my guild has a good reputation (possible). Maybe it’s that so many others feel the same as I do and if I’m willing to advertise a gear check they can assume I’m well geared myself.

    Whatever the case may be…when I over-gear an instance/raid/whatever I what to be in-and-out with my gold in hand. Period.

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