It came from the PUG: The Shadow

What is it with random groups in WoW these days that people are so reluctant to speak in party chat? I don’t expect extended witty conversations (although that would be entertaining), but here’s the example that annoyed me this week.

If I’m tanking one of the new instances and some of the other players seem a bit rough or undergeared, I’ll pause before each boss to ask if everyone knows the tactic. If I do this, it’s because I think this will be smoother than just rushing in. So why do people not speak up if they need to be instructed on what to do? I’m happy to tell them or else I wouldn’t have offered in the first place. I haven’t even been checking their gear score, only that the total dps in group is sufficient.

I had a prize example of this  in Forge of Souls. I paused, asked if people knew the fight, and one guy said ‘gogogo’, got his army of ghouls out and then promptly got himself killed by attacking the end boss when it cast mirrored soul. Darwinism in action, although I’d have been pissed off if that had caused a wipe. It’s also irritating when the guy happens to be the top dps in the group, so he understands some aspect of his class.

But I felt that even if the rest of the group hadn’t known tactics, they would have preferred to hide at the back like shadows and hope enough of the rest knew what to do to pull them through, rather than  speak up and ask for advice. What gives? None of them even spoke up to say that they did know it. Is it because they’ve never had to learn tactics for any fight? Or just think it doesn’t apply to them? It is a mystery to me.

What is clear is that addressing a question to the group will often get no answers. If you really want to pin down the shadow, you have to put a spotlight on them and call them out by name. This is slow and laborious and will annoy everyone else while they wait.

So your options are: Kick people who don’t answer quickly enough (assuming you have been in the instance long enough to kick people), explain every fight where tactics might matter  in a brief sentence without asking whether  the explanation is needed and hope people can read even if they can’t talk, hope you’re overgeared enough it’ll be ok if some people don’t know the fight, or wipe.

But I think it is the lack of response, as if you were PUGging with a bunch of shadows, which drives me most nuts at the moment about tanking pick up groups.  I would really prefer having a squad of NPCs along if that’s what the players are going to do, at least they’d follow orders.

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23 thoughts on “It came from the PUG: The Shadow

  1. Go to the MMO-Champ Forums and read any thread about some problem of random instances. Without fail you will stumble over one phrase at least once per page: “Why bother when even bosses die in 20 seconds?”
    And really, if bosses die in that timeframe there is little use in tactics. The final boss in Forge of Souls takes about 20 seconds until he uses his first skill. Loken doesn’t use his Lightning Nova in the first 20 seconds..
    However in my experience most people manage to stay below 2500 DPS in iLevel 232 epics so most of the time bosses die more like in 30 seconds. Make that 60 for any of the new heroics. Still, people don’t seem to be influenced by reality. They assume that bosses die in 20 and they behave like this is true even if its a group where the top DPS happens to be the tank.

  2. The tank and the healer usually knows the tactics. The DPS usually expect to be carried by the tank and the healer.

    By asking them if they know the tactics, you somehow assumed that they have some TASK to do there, what is childish. They are there to pick up the badges and the loot, not to do any WORK. “its a game lol”

  3. Apparently a lot of people who don’t talk also don’t listen. I don’t buy Kiseran’s explanation completely, because this phenomenon existed already before dungeon finders. I think the more random nature of groups and quicker dungeon runs reinforce it. Nobody really wants to know or have to do anything with you stranger, play your part and STFU.

    Wolfshead wrote something about the deafening silence in today’s group chat. I blamed voice chat for it. You know, 3 buddies are on voice chat and nobody bothers to communicate with the 2 randoms via typing.

    I dunno, have people really such low self esteem that they cannot muster the courage to talk to a random group? They even manage not to talk when you say “everyone who does not answer within the next 10 seconds gets kicked”. I once did that, and guess what, one of the two deaf guys that got kicked then really managed to talk to me. Almost within the second he got kicked. He was very good at complaining about getting kicked and insulting me suddenly.

    Unfortunately, I never got an answer why he could not open his potty mouth before. But I got informed of my noob status and other things about my mother.

  4. I’m currently levelling a new character, a Mage. After getting to 15 (I love the combo of Heirloom chest and shoulders) I of course dived right into the random LFG tool. Obviously I don’t know if these are all alts or interspersed with new characters but so far every group has been chatty and friendly. In contrast I decided to tank an instance on my 63 Death Knight. I joined the LFG as Tank/DPS/Leader and got assigned as a Tank for Slave Pens. I popped a quick message into party chat that this was my first time tanking this place as a Death Knight but had done it on my bear. Without a word one of the DPS dropped instantly, all I asked was that we take things easy and see how we go. Well, we replaced that one DPS and had a smooth and quick run with no deaths or real issues but there were a lot fewer comments and only one guy offered something when I posted my starter message. I even asked how I was doing half way through to see if anyone was getting paniced or the healer was hard up healing and got not one response. I hope that means we were doing OK and the satchel of “useful” goods dropped me a spellpower cloak, I’m sure that’s useful to someone, just not a Death Knight.

    • “Without a word one of the DPS dropped instantly”

      Yeah, I miss good guild runs. ;^) Seriously, the social hair trigger on some of these folks scares me. You can often tell in the first 30 seconds of party buffing if it’s going to be an enjoyable, at least partially social run or another fun “keep to yourself, PUGger” run. Why folk with 5k GS and attitudes are in normal LK dungeons, I have no idea. Go get your EoT from multiple heroics, please.

  5. I suspect the problem here is social in nature (and am surprised Gevlon didn’t zero in on it). Nobody wants to appear to be the stupid n00b, or they don’t want to be the person holding up the group while someone has to explain the fight to them. Especially if you’re the one who has been typing “gogogo” in chat all run. Better to wipe and get told on the run back than stall things up front; after all, the initial fight might go well even if you don’t know the tactic. Plus, you can always say “I know, I just lagged!” as an excuse.

  6. I think this is all actually _helping_ guilds.

    My pretty damn well geared healer….hardly ever heals. I have a viable off-spec and can kick out decentish dps (3-4 k in heroics) and so….I just do the requiste randoms in guild/pact. Its not unusual to see 2 Main tanks and a couple of healers in the same 5 man using alts or of-specs for DPS. All chatting away on TeamSpeak/Vent and maybe pugging the odd DPS here or there. Risk Adverse is perhaps the phrase. Instead of 3 or 4 seperate 5 mans we all end up trucking around in one or two ‘guild’ runs…

    • Wasn’t this always the issue? I never PuGed in WotlK before 3.3, simply because guild runs were so much smoother.

      Ironically, I rarely ever end up in a “failpug”, but then I don’t run Recount so I don’t spot the 1k DPS idiots until they speak up. Which in my experience they don’t do, since I don’t call them upon it.

      I guess the lesson here is that shutting up is the key to a good run. But then, that might just be my battlegroup, but I doubt it, as I see the same thing in both battlegroups I’m in.

    • Yeah, would be nice to get a guild run for sure. These PUGs are driving me to drink.

      One thing that comes home to me is that it’s very difficult to teach people in a random group, even if you are helpful and inclined to explain stuff. I will be curious to see where this all leads in the next expansion.

  7. Not only speaking about tactics but expectations might become a (small) problem. Some people want the ride as fast as possible, some want full clear. AK-Old Kingdom is always good for a special here. Standing in the shadows and saying nothing meens: “I’m fine with the things to come”. Questioning my leadership while asking if it isn’t selfish to grant full service (while his underperforming mage just wants the final boss) isn’t a good reason to step out of the shadows.

  8. I think you have to work out a modus vivendi because you’ll never change it regarding pugs. (You can change it in guilds and we did get a large guild to all type “r” when asked “r?” as a readycheck system in Diablo 2).

    But in WoW pugs you drive yourself nuts trying to get people to respond. And it’s not a UI or a language issue, it’s disdain. Which makes it worse. As Longasc says if you kick one they soon rediscover their ability to communicate.

    What I did was I stopped seeing myself as the leader. As tank I would pull, keep aggro, do what needed to be doing for my role and they either sunk or swum. If they asked I would help them but if, say, a fight required that someone needed to go click a specific object I’d just say nothing and pull – someone else can sort it out if not this time then the next attempt after our wipe.

    It made doing loads of pugs much more fun for me to not stress about people standing in the fires and just do my bit. If we keep wiping, well just replace the guy who dies all the time.

    Psychologists talk about parent mode and child mode. If you mother people they will tend to drop into child mode and require specific instructions about everything, usually sulking the whole time. What you want to achieve is adult mode, where as grown ups we are all responsible for ourselves and it’s not the tank’s job to tell people to not stand in fires, it’s their job not to do so.

    This very much happened once I stopped directing groups. We could wipe a few times then the people who were screwing up figured out what they were doing wrong and we beat the boss after they worked it out for themselves. I think it sticks with players much better than if they always just do as directed without having to ever work something out.

  9. I have noticed some twitchy tanks that will themselves drop if someone says they haven’t run an instance. Just as many tanks are in the instance to collect badges as the schmoes they pick up to fill out the group. I recently had a gs 5400+ tank drop because he led the dps after the first mini-boss in Nexus. Though I’m comfortable saying, “Haven’t run this instance before,” to start (and have been kicked once for saying it (I’m trying to recall how that happened now that I see you say there’s a timer — they may have already been 1/2 way through the instance)), many people are scared to offend these schmoes with good reason.

    I do believe the game doesn’t talk enough about instances before folks enter them. There’s no reason bosses have to be either 1.) Trial and error or 2.) 25 minutes running around thott and wowiki. The game could help folks out in between with a little in-game lore about shattering golems or what have you.

    • Not sure who this guy is but I’ve seen the quote plastered around everywhere.

      My bone with it is that its just exactly suited to the age of spin and image we live in now. People get by this way in life, but I prefer honesty, in both WoW and EQ2 I’ve always been up front with what the situation is if I’ve not done something before or why I’ve screwed up.

      Starting off like that people can start to trust you, in EQ2 its never been a problem this way (when people have advertised for a tank I’ve replied back and given them an idea of my gear level if I had any doubts, often the healer then would be the one who okay’d me :) ).

      But in WoW when I last played it was starting to become one, the faster runs and whole mentality of it going away from being a challenging dungeon with a storyline full of powerful creatures that need to be overcome, and just treated as some sort of loot assault course to be completed in a fast time.

      Its been an unwelcome change from the TBC heroics that people certainly respected, the easier they make the heroics too the worse the problem seems to be.

      Maybe the root problem is that the heroics need to be something you can progress through instead of raiding (which is how it is in EQ2, dungeons range from easy-medium to rock hard requiring T2 gear). Instead the heroics have become a hoop that people have to jump through over and over again to access the loot to access new raids. I was bored of them already when I had a full set of T7.

  10. I think if you’re wondering how to make players better you’ve already lost. You’re stuck with the players you have.

    The game needs to be better. It’s simply not acceptable to require that a fresh level 80 learn _48_ or so boss encounters (16 dungeons * 3 bosses) before they ever click that “random dungeon” button.

    (And, by the way, the reason people don’t ask is because as dps you can fake it on 40 of the 48 bosses. This also decreases the returns on any research you do.)

    Five man dungeons can be hard. They must, however, never be hard to understand.

  11. Pingback: How should new players learn the ropes? « Welcome to Spinksville!

  12. One thing that I’ve encountered is that people are afraid they’ll be kicked for not knowing the tactics.

    In particular I’ve seen on a couple of occasions, I’ve asked a less-geared member of the group if they know the tactics. The exchange usually goes something like:

    “[name], do you know what you’re doing on this boss?”
    “No”
    [name] has left the group.

    Some people are so afraid of being thought of as being incompetent that they take any suggestion that they might be as a mortal insult.

    • I actually saw this with a request for recount. Someone asked for recount to be shown, to which I asked “Why? Does it really matter?” and then another guy, clearly in 187 and 200 blues, left the party in shame.

      I cheerfully have 2 tanks that I run instances with. The Bear is a joy, as can I frankly ignore the rest of the party and storm ahead spamming swipe all the way. The DK is a different matter entirely.

      • I actually wonder how much of my frustration is down to me having low dps. It means that if the rest of the group is ignoring the strategy or whatever and I do have to grind down a boss on my own … it’s amazingly slow and tedious.

        On the other hand, the group is supposed to not make it feel as though I was playing solo.

  13. I’m doing this now, having recently resubscribed after 18 months off. Instead of just transfering my 70s to the same server as my sister & her family, I’m leveling a brand new Paladin (one of the few classes I never played). I was always DPS so Tanking is a new experience for me, but almost every Instance has been a case of people wanting to go as fast as possible, with practically nothing being said in /party.

    Of course the pre-60 Instances don’t require a whole lot of strategy and a Pally Tank usually means “Round ‘em up and AOE ‘em down!” and for the most part that works. I’ll be hitting Maraudon this week, one of the Instances I’m less familiar with. That one is going to be interesting :)

  14. I found exactly that with the lack of communication from most players, I’d try talking and a few would respond but overall most players would fail a Turin test.

    That wasn’t my biggest concern with the new LFG tool, it was the effect it’ll have on social connections which was the only thing keeping me in WoW a while ago, and the only thing that is a draw to come back. So without these social connections the game is dead to me.

    And that’s the issue, new players will now group up quickly and automatically with the correct group of other players. Now people don’t need to chat in LFG, ask people if they are the right spec, figure out where to travel or all the other little things that get people talking.

    That’s my second biggest concern to the fact that it is then cross server, so now if you find this great group of people (or great person) you really like after the dungeon run is over they are never to be seen again. I know that I found my guild because of a group that formed in Arathi Highlands to kill an elite, that will not happen anymore. I found most of my friends running dungeons (and struggling which was fun!), with the dungeon finder that won’t happen anymore.

    So now its solo to the end level and raid or die, if all my friends left the game I’d not consider playing again. Really not sure now especially when an expansion price gets factored in.

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