It came from the PUG: Even my noob alt knows how to do THAT!

My tales of woe from PUGs this week concern players who clearly have lots of gear and raid experience, yet somehow fail on the most basic of tasks in instances. How exactly does that happen?

I personally notice the tanking mistakes first, partly because my main is a tank and partly because everyone notices the tanking mistakes first. Here are a couple I saw recently, while instancing with my new death knight (yes, this is the second death knight for anyone who is counting, I decided I liked them so much I wanted one on my home server.)

1. KITE. HIM. UP. THE. STAIRS.

I probably don’t even need to explain which boss this is to anyone who has seen the level 80 instances.

I pulled Violet Hold Heroic out of the hat, and it was one of the first heroics I ran on my new Death Knight. “Great,” I thought, “This is a fairly easy one and the trash mobs should make it easy for me to look as though I’m doing half decent damage and not get booted.” (I was nervous of being thrown out of heroics for being in all blues at the time.) And to cap it all, the tank had the Kingslayer title which means he’s been in a raid that killed Arthas in some mode or other.

But nope. We wiped on the ethereal mini-boss because even with all that gear and experience, somehow he figured that the usual tactic of kiting the boss around and away from the damage sources didn’t apply to him. Watching a group wipe in Violet Hold is quite nostalgic, since it doesn’t happen often these days.

I’m going to be generous and assume that maybe he’s so used to instancing with uber-geared players that he didn’t realise that normal proles can’t nuke it down in 10s — or however fast you’d need to do it to avoid the wipe.

But I was embarrassed on behalf of all tanks to hear him yell at the healer afterwards. Fortunately he then left, we got someone competent and finished the instance.

2. Well done, that made you look so pro. Oh wait, no it didn’t.

You don’t have to run many level 80 instances to realise that well geared players who have been  instancing for months have thought of lots of tricks and short-cuts to speed things up. A well geared tank can sometimes run through a corridor and pull several groups at once, for example. It’s impressive to watch when it is done well, although can leave you breathlessly running along behind.

But there are some groups of trash mobs which are problematic to pull all at once. You’d almost think that Blizzard was trying to discourage that sort of behaviour – nah, surely not?

For example, the three groups of trash mobs just before the second boss in Trial of the Champion each include a priest. That priest is a caster and as well as smiting and producing evil lightwells (a talent that I am gutted to not see on the leaked Cataclysm files), can also mind control a member of your group. Consequently, she’s always killed first, crowd-controlled, or has someone sitting on her to interrupt.

Except when an uber-geared tank decides to show off by pulling all three groups at once. And now you have three of them to deal with.  This is  something I have done before on Spinks but only when messing around with friends. And it was fun to deal with the chaos and all, but it didn’t strike me as a way to speed things up in a PUG. The actual faster way is to pull one group, kill the priest, charge into the second group, and repeat ad infinitum. (Or just mark the priest so that the dps kill it while you’re pulling the next group.)

And yet again, after doing this resulted in a wipe, the tank yelled at the healer.

I wouldn’t complain in any of these cases if it was a guy who was learning the strategies for the first time. Trying something new and failing is how you learn. But when it is players who know the instances perfectly well and either forgot how to tackle them or can’t even be bothered to try, it’s a different matter.

It’s tempting to wonder how players will adapt to Cataclysm instances, which apparently will require more planning, crowd control, and less random AE. But actually I think they’ll mostly adapt and manage fine. It’s just that overgeared players have gotten used to a situation where it didn’t really matter if you played well or not. But still, I get back-seat driver syndrome when I see people tanking badly when I know they should know better.

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18 thoughts on “It came from the PUG: Even my noob alt knows how to do THAT!

  1. Ya, making those goofy pulls and generally behaving like a noobling tank is something I save for when its all guildies and we are all in the mood to find creative ways to wipe in heroics.

    It’s painful to see a supposedly experienced tank mess up on the basics, even more painful when I’m DPSing on my warrior. I always want to slap on the sword and board and show him/her how its supposed to be done.

  2. I think a lot of people are going to be shocked to the core when Cata comes out. Unless the QQing from the beta is so bad that Blizz bottle and nerf it before it goes live. Which they may.

    That said I also think that anyone who has tanked up from scratch (inc DK’s and all those Worgen and Gobo’s) through TBC might not be so clueless. I think its the people who took up tanking at 80 for the first time just becuase they had the gear from DPS/Healing. Duel spec and the lure of quick instances made a lot of people take it up and if they did so with full t9 or even t10 or just a friendly uber geared healer or a few high DPS they never had to learn to tank ‘old skool’. Time will tell. But I feel safer with one of the old guard tanking no matter if its Spinks or the alt of one of the other old guards (or you know a mini-bear in Ragefire)

  3. The caster mobs add at the start of OK heroic are pretty mean too – they have a spell that does damage equal to a percentage of max health (80% or something), so if this is not interrupted it can do 40k+ to a well geared tank. If you pull all three groups at once then it can be a little nasty.

  4. It seems you’re playing on my server. ;-)

    Actually it’s funny, that I had more problems with “Kingslayer” uber-geared tanks in heroics, than with “excuse me, I’ve just began tanking”-tanks.
    Those overgeared tanks seem to believe, that everyone else is equally overgeared – which most times just ain’t true. Because the lfg-System mixes overgeared und undergeared characters together.

    From my experience playing both tanks and healers it’s almost always faster to just go the usual (boring) route of tanking group after group.

    • 90% of those tanks are just horrible tanks in easily-farmable gear anyway. I know for a fact when I step into a random heroic that 9/10 times I will top the DPS and carry the group. I will tell the healer quickly at the start to expect chain pulls and controlled aoe, and to worry more about the dumb rogue dying to standing in green stuff moreso than some idiotic pull going off. I’ve been chainpulling the same way since dinging 80 in the second week of Wrath and pulled that way in raids too (until Vezax trash).

  5. The moment we get ilvl 313 items the heroics will be a aoe fest again. The problem with wotlk heroics is that naxx 10 was so undertuned, so we outgeared them in weeks. I remember when we used cc in heroics – the first week after dinging 80. We were in normal blues/hc blues with almost no enchants (shards or heaven forbid abyss were inaccessible – almost all gear that droped was used) and green gems. It needed for us to take them slow and steady.

    • You used CC? Our shaman healer was hexing things because it was a laugh, but we facerolled them all from the very first one. Hell, I wasn’t even defense capped yet.

  6. Poor healers.

    But to be fair, as an overgeared (6k GS) healer myself, I’ve contributed to overzealous tanks.

    My favourites:
    1) At the start of the instance I’ll say, ‘Feel free to pull as much as you like and don’t watch my mana’.
    2) I regularly try to tank mobs. I’ll Shield, Pain Suppression myself and charge in using Holy Nova to keep myself alive. I’ve got CDs (Desperate Prayer, Penance) to keep myself alive.
    3) When I run with a guild tank, we’ll basically pull non-stop, often with several groups at a time. I suppose this leaves an impression on the other DPS and they’ll bug the tanks to go even faster.

    • The thing is, blaming the healer when it wasn’t their fault is another noob tank mistake that I wouldn’t expect an experienced raider to make. Really if you’re raiding, you should know how to take the blame for your own mistakes and fix them.

      If you’re setting out to tank a few mobs with pain suppression because you’re bored then that’s another matter :)

  7. Back when I was still playing, we decided to do a run through ZG, there were 3 or 4 of us at lvl 80, I was playing my Elemental Shaman. Our tank has a phrase that has come to live in infamy “stay here while I grab a few.” After all, we were level 80, what could give us a challenge in an old lvl 60 raid? Well, you know before you get to the Raptor boss and there is a courtyard filled with healer trolls and other trolls with knockback flinging axes? He pulled the whole place….

  8. Similar things happened in Blood Furnace – the randomly-aggroing big dudes just before the last boss. The tank (a DK who had *shock horror* been doing very well up til then) said “get ready, gonna do a big pull”. Well, you can guess how that ended. To be fair to him, he realised they were aggroing randomly, and after we all released and ran back in, took them 2 at a time, and even marked one with a skull :O

    Such DK tanks are rare in Outland, alas.

  9. Not only ubergeared tanks start to failtank. Almost everyone except healers do so. Kingslayer dying in a laser in HoS-Bran-event? 5.9k GS-ppl dying to Hadranox’ poison. And who do they blame? Yes. The healer. Maybe priests get that cure-dumbness-lifegrip thingi with cataclysm… but they shouldn’t use it too often, Darwin would turn in his grave…

  10. Both tanks were idiots, yes, but we can’t really blame them/us too much. We are fed the endless random heroics where we blast through AoEing several pulls as we run along, never stopping. Do that for a while and some instance that actually require careful killing/crowd control (Halls of Reflection) will come as a shock.

    Now that will probably not be the case in Cataclysm as there will likely be crowd control used right from the very first instance.

    My new level 80 blood elf mage has never used polymorph once in real action.

  11. On the priests issue…never pull all 3, you are asking for a wipe unless you formed a guild group and everyone knows what to expect.

    On the issue of Xevozz…or however you spell it. I haven’t kited him since 3.3. He goes down fast enough 100% of the time, and even if he makes it to the orb spawn, he dies before anyone else does and we continue on. I’ve mostly been doing randoms with random puggers, not forming a lot of guild groups, so I’ve had a mix of bad players for sure and did fine.

  12. Another thing to consider is that with the way progression works right now it’s perfectly possible for a tank to only do each heroic a couple of times (due to randomness he might not even set foot into one or two at all) and be geared enough to jump into ICC. So yeah, someone being a Kingslayer means they killed Arthas but it’s no guarantee that they know how to do anything else at all.

    (I made a post about this myself not long ago when I had a similar experience in heroic AN.)

  13. I’m definitely more of an old guard tank and get annoyed when I see other tanks go nuts on pulls. Sometimes it speeds things up but a lot of the time it really doesn’t. And people are watching this kind of behavior and learning it. So many people who are trying out tanking for the first time see these tanks in action and try to emulate them to disastrous results. Even when a healer tells me to feel free to pull everyone, I always try to carefully consider whether it’s a good idea or not.

    To add another example where this may not be a good idea–the first pulls in Utgarde Keep. Those guys can stun and if you grab everyone in that first hall, you may end up stunned a looooong time, taking a lot of damage and creating very little threat. It’s a recipe for disaster especially with overeager DPS.

  14. This sort of situation is coming up more often than I’d like to admit. I can brush off if a dps is saying I’m messing up on healing, because I can assume they have no idea what they are talking about, and often the tank will back me up.

    The relationship between healers and tanks is different and I expect more from my tanks. If a tank ever blames me when it is not my fault, I’m done. I won’t even think about another random for an hour.

    It hurts because I value that relationship, however fleeting, between tank and healer. I would stick up for him if someone was saying he was tanking poorly, so it especially burns me when it is the noobish tank telling me I’m healing badly when I’m not.

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