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.