It came from the PUG: CALL ME PALALORD!

Today’s instalment of random pick up group experiences is dedicated to lower level dungeon groups. Lower level groups bring a whole new level of insanity to the usual mix, because it’s pretty much expected that people are still learning to play their class and role. In some cases, it seems that people are still learning how to actually interact with other human beings online as well.

But what I am mostly finding is that however bad the group actually is – and I’ve had some real howlers – I don’t see the same level of frothing ragequit, random quits for no reason, or personal attacks that a bad (or even a good) group in a level 80 heroic can generate. I assume this is because even fanatical players realise that low level instances aren’t all that important in the great scheme of things, plus at least you still get xp for the stuff you kill.

Now I will never understand why getting your frost badges in heroics in 15 minutes instead of 10 will reduce some people to incoherent rants about slow, useless tanks. Surely they must realise it isn’t that much of a deal? Or in fact any much of a deal. But apparently these things are deeply important to some players.

Disagreements in a lower level instance are more like having an argument with a bunch of people who have been smoking pot. They’re arguing, but no one can  be bothered to get really worked up about it all.

Thanks for mad group!

The place is Gnomeregan. I sigh internally as I zone in on my warlock, because I’d forgotten that I was in the level range for that instance. I don’t hate the place, although it has a well deserved reputation as the hardest low level instance if you do it at the right level. But I remember it as being long, rambling, wipetastic, and something of a maze.

The group says Hi to each other. We’re all towards the lower level of the instance range. But that needn’t be a problem if we all play carefully and take things easy. And what’s the chance of that in a PUG?

I was surprised to see two people tanking, until I realised that the paladin was the healer and just grabbed some extra mobs when he was bored. Or because he could.

I was surprised to see two people pulling, until I realised that the hunter had a different idea of pacing from the tank.

I was surprised when a boss dropped a sword with a melee proc and the hunter explained to everyone that if it had been anything other than a sword, he would have taken it. And then the tank countered with ‘no, it’s a tanking sword,’

And then there was the point where the tank finally got annoyed with the hunter (this had been working itself up to a critical mass over the course of the instance) and sat down, sulking, and suggesting that the hunter should tank if he was so keen to pull. So the hunter did tank the next couple of pulls. And then instead of leaving, the tank seemed to get over it and took over again.

And most of all I was surprised when I was relating this on guild channel and someone (reasonably) asked whether the group had broken up, and I answered, “Uh no, actually we’re just looking at the last boss now.”

The tank summed it up after the group had successfully killed Mechatorque and everyone got their achievements and goody bags. He said, “Thanks for mad group all, see you round,” and left.

I was laughing. I think what struck me about this group is that they were all over the place and breaking all the rules, but not actually playing so badly that we couldn’t get through the instance. And even though people were arguing, no one seemed genuinely upset.

CALL ME PALALORD!

The second group was less successful in terms of actually completing an instance, but massively more entertaining. Arb and I zoned into Zul’Farrak to be greeted in party chat with, “Call me palalord!’”

A couple of pulls into the instance, someone pointed out politely that a palalord might be able to hold aggro. But that didn’t stop the tank from piling on in. He just said, “Call me palalord, pls!” (It wasn’t his name.)

Arb was more concerned that the other shaman (who was called something like Dpslol or Loldps) had better hair than her, but did a bang up job of healing through the awesomeness that was the palalord’s creative pulling.

Group chat was getting increasingly incoherent, not because people were angry but because they were just … incoherent. Palalord died on a couple of pulls. I turned on growl and I think the warlock had a similar idea because the pets picked up on the tanking well enough to avoid a wipe.

Somehow, we made our way through a few bosses. I wish I had written down some of the randomness that made its way into group chat because I was laughing too hard to care about whether we cleared the instance or not.

We didn’t get through to the last boss, but again, the group was remarkably good spirited. No one was actually horrible to the palalord, even though he was pretty bad. I’m suspecting a kid behind the keyboard. Still, kid or not, and bad player or not, he and the rest of the group were more mature about laughing it all off than a lot of the players I have been teamed with in heroics.

Run low level instances in the dungeon finder. Even when they are bad, it’s a great way to put things into perspective.