Thought of the Day: Fighting for Control of a Group

While the vast majority of groups I have found using the dungeon tool have been great, the annoying minority stress me out far more when tanking than in any other role. This is because in annoying groups, lots of players are fighting for control. In relaxed groups, people offer leadership or guidance if needed but they aren’t actually trying to fight about it.

Everyone who pulls randomly? They’re trying to control the group. And they are doing it passive-aggressively rather than just saying, ‘Can we go faster?’

Now this becomes more of an issue when you are tanking, because the traditional tanking role in instances DOES involve having more control. The person doing the pulling in the instance controls the pace of the run. And by convention, that is the tank because s/he will get initial threat on the mobs that are pulled. In the workplace, if you are assigned a job to do, you will wonder what’s going on when you find that other people are doing that job instead of you. It’s demoralising. You will also wonder why you are there in the first place.

Or in other words, there is a social contract in groups where the roles are understood. For example, as a tank:

– I will try to control the monsters so that I take all the hits.

– I will have good enough tanking gear/ talents to be able to do this without folding instantly like a paper doily.

– I will try to keep an eye on the rest of the group so that I can pull monsters off them.

– I won’t do anything to make my healer’s job harder.

– I won’t pull a boss before everyone is present and ready.

– I will know any tank-specific tactics for the fights, if I don’t know then I will ask before we pull.

So what do you do when some group members seem hell bent on forcing you to break that social contract? For example, I had a pair of jokers who kept stealthing ahead and pulling the bosses in Drak’theron before I got there. I can hardly stop my group getting hurt when they sneak off deliberately into danger, knowing I can’t see them.

Short form: I don’t want to have to fight with my own group. It isn’t fun. I don’t know why some people feel they must lead via doing silly things but if it keeps happening, the shortage of tanks will continue. Because a lot of players don’t want to fight with their own group.

17 thoughts on “Thought of the Day: Fighting for Control of a Group

  1. Uzi’s rule of Maximum fun applies:-

    We’re playing (and paying to do so) in order to have fun.
    If its not fun dont do it.

    Sooooooo when the random PuGer complains or worse just goes and pulls then they shouldnt let the door hit them on the way out. If the group doesnt agree then I’d leave. End of issue.

    Its a bit different with real life friends or guildies but with the new LFG system I’ll probably never see these folk ever again so there’s no point in trying to enlighten them/understand their issues.

  2. A funny fact about GW, the awesome game you never got really into! 😉

    A party made up entirely of the NPCs called “Heroes” and “Henchmen” was and still is much better and less annoying than your average PUG. So many veteran players only group with friends and otherwise use these NPCs. Does this not give the “solo player” debate an entirely new meaning?

    Guild Wars 2 will limit heroes to one “sidekick” afaik.

    • Problem with that idea in WoW is that the AI NPC’s are generally thick as mince. It’d need a major effort on Blizzards part to upgrade their AI to something more situational. Sure, I’ve had companion NPCs on escort missions who will heal me a bit (like the Ursoc quest) but can they adapt to changing situations? Can they run out of the glowy crap on the floor by themselves or are they always on follow?
      Would they know to run away from a whirlwinding boss?
      If they ignored that and just turned it into user-controlled companion, then everyone has a pet, making hunters and locks less unique.
      It’s not a decision to make lightly on behalf of blizzard, but anything that reduces the 20 minute wait for a tank…

  3. Can’t you just play with two friends and votekick anyone who annoys you?

    Or just Tank Power it – votekick on someone and say it’s either him or me. Two people are bound to vote him out.

    Both are somewhat antisocial but tanking for ninja pullers and “go go go” merchants is just horrible. If it’s making you feel like logging off better to be a bit of a douche.

    Also getting kicked might encourage people to not do it. Especially if we are right about tanks becoming scarce once the initial shine wears off (as per previous discussions).

    • Oh, for sure. I can easily wait until prime time to run my random daily, it’s not as if my guild and raid group isn’t full of friendly people who’ll be happy to come with me.

      What is does mean though, and this is a bit more subtle, is that if I’m tired or want a chilled out run, I’ll hop onto one of my other alts. On my Death Knight, I really don’t have to care what the rest of the group is doing, I can pull enough dps to see a group through an old heroic and it’ll still be chilled out for me. So even though I have a good tank available, I’m likely to use her minimally unless friends are around.

      I think I will try to get more mouthy with people who act up also, if only to make future tanks’ lives easier. But again that’s not something you want to get into if you’re tired or wanted to chill out.

      • Yeah dps Death Knight is very useful for playing with idiots. You can even rip aggro and just kite with Chains without getting hit.

        I used to stress about how people played in pugs when I tanked and then I completely changed.

        I try to stick to a rule now of never talking tactics with pugs. If they don’t know it’s not my place to teach them and most people hate being taught. If they ninja pull I’ll cope best I can.

        It obviously didn’t work that well as I got fed up with WoW but it did improve things for me. It became a wierdly asocial game, like playing Guild Wars with a party of hirelings because by not talking to them I tended to forget they were players. Might just as well have been 4 hirelings.

  4. Since I started tanking on my Druid alt (now a hefty level 66) I’ve been open to a whole new world. I tend to find the main problem are the melee DPS, specifically ret Pallies, DKs and DPS warriors. I announce a corner pull to get stuff out of range of a patrol, even mark their first target with a skull and without fail as soon as I pull it, before the mobs have turned the corner, the melee are in there laying AOE/whirlwind and grabbing everything rather than hold off a few secs. Believe it or not guys bears tank better when they have Rage! Grrrrrr… my main is a healer so I get to see things from probably the two most stressful points of the game.

  5. I operate a single rule for tanking heroics… with only one exception, if the healer starts pulling then I don’t apply it and hope I never get them again!

    The rule is

    1. You spanked it, you tank it!

    I also make good use of Divine Intervention and /w if no one else applies it!

  6. Simple Solution; You pull it, you tank it. If they don’t like to tank it, they can either stop pulling or leave the group. If they leave the group, it will take you all of 15 seconds to find another dps, while they spend 15 minutes finding another tank.

  7. In the assorted random pugs I have tanked, I have had runs where the dps pull. I will kindly taunt once, tell them I won’t be doing it again, and they usually learn their lesson.

    There was one run where the healer started to pull the next group before we finished the one we were on repeatedly. I told them to stop and I won’t taunt off them again (unless it was a pretty obvious accident). They then proceeded to not heal me in the next two pulls. So I decide the 15min wait is worth it, but want to go out in fashion. So I pull another group and DI one of the dps and leave. I felt bad for the other two dps, but that was just too absurd to waste my time on.

  8. The rule with the ninjapuller: whisper to the healer to don’t heal him and let him die. That usually works when I’m a healer, I don’t bother saving them.

    The votekick is also good idea, but I failed with it several times. People refuse to vote out even completely destructive idiots. The worse case was that the tank wrote “brb bio”, the 1100 DPS DK pulled, wiped us and the others refused to kick him as “anyone can make mistakes”. When I told them that he already made his mistake when equipped spellpower mail, they called me an elitist.

  9. Seen a lot of issues with the LFG system. You have no idea who will be in your group. I find it a bit easier when I tank. I can slow the pace a bit and ensure that everyone is buffed before we charge into the fray…

    On the DPS end, I barely have time to say “Hi” before the tank is charging off at full speed. No time to loot from the trash mobs. My main isn’t that rich and could use the money.

  10. I’ve been leveling my warrior tank by just doing instances with a healer friend. Maybe 1 out of 5 groups is similar to the one your describing and trust me we run a lot of instances daily. The good thing is I run with a healer friend so if they won’t behave we leave and look for another group.. boom.. 4 secs later we are doing an instance.

    DPS people just think they can take on the world at times and tend to think its the tanks fault for not holding threat. The game doesn’t work like that, everyone has to be responsible and do their role correctly. The funny thing is dps is a dime a dozen. They can easily be switched out for a replacement. If not, the tank or healer just has to leave and boom, they are running again with a new group in seconds, not minutes. I just don’t understand when you can be easily replaced why be the one causing all the stink?

    Also, with the new ignore list being longer, I can ignore people from other servers who are troublesome and never see them again.

  11. I find this issue to be much less common, but that might just be my battlegroup. And yeah, I mostly play DPS, that might account for it as well, but I’ve rarely ran into problems on my healer either. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is on how much healing the tank needs. Some I can just slap ES on and they’re good to go, and some require constant attention. But I keep my mouth shut when that happens, I’ve found that stressing about the perfect run just makes it less perfect.

    I tried tanking (again) the other day though, and found (again) that I lack the RL armour to survive the learning curve. But then my tank is in a different battlegroup from my DPS and healer. I am not going to try and find out though, I prefer nice and smooth runs, the funny part being that the smoothest runs are the ones where nobody ever says a word, no matter how badly other group members behave.

  12. Yeah, sure you can always let them die or leave or try to vote them out. In the end it’s just the fastest way to your 2 emblem if you try to cope for all the crap the other people do.

    If you let someone day it slows down the current pull, plus the healer has to rezz, plus the healer has to buff, plus the healer might have to drink because a rezz and buff is not free. Plus you have to wait for the dead person to eat to gain mana or the healer has to heal them full. That can easily take a minute which is a lot if you can finish a heroic in 15 minutes by just stfu and keep everyone alive.

    Is it fun? No.

    Is it fun to tank for strangers anyways? Not at all.


    But, do you remember the level 60 days? With no raid symbols? Where the hunters insisted to mark the next target? Where hunters often insisted that they have to pull because it’s their role.

    They whined quite a lot when Blizzard introduced the raid targets because they lost their power. 🙂


    What I think is interesting is when I tank with my Paladin. In a 5 man group without replenishment you have mana problems. Massive mana problems. (I would love an option to specify that I only accept a group with replenishment. So, the LFG system would create the group with Tank, Heal, Replenishment, 2 DD. That would be awesome!)

    Anyway, you have to pull fast or divine plea runs our. If divine plea runs out it’s often faster to wait a few seconds until you can cast it again then to pull the next group without plea and run dry and drink after this group. Other group members who pull other groups often slow the run down instead of accelerating it. 🙂

    • You’re right of course Kring but the thing is you end up doing runs you’re not enjoying with people you don’t like.

      For me it’s about control. If someone is ninja pulling when I’m tanking it’s a horrible unfun run. I’d rather log off most times.

      We can cope but it’s not very fun to have to.

  13. I usually run a guilded heal/tank-team with added dps. That gives us almost instant acces to random heroes. Most of the time I warri-tank shaman-healed, sometimes I tree-heal a pally. Since a few days my opening phrase is: “Making trouble to my tank/healer results in instant loss of healing prioity”.
    That goes from hots-only to out-of-combat-only. I play long enough to distinguish avoidable aggro from rnd-dmg. Since mana is NO issue, even at an average ilvl of 220, the only thing that may count, is time… but the 15secs for rezzing, buffing, 3-hotting is worth the fun of taming stupids.
    I miss that power, when I try to get smooth runs on my enhancer…

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