When hunters go bad: The problem with non-negotiated instance groups

(I’m quite proud of this title, you can tell I’m in full-on essay mode this week!)

There was a minor furore amongst WoW bloggers last week when respected hunter blogger Frostheim admitted that he’d acted like a dick in an instance (the clue is in the title of his post).

I actually have no idea why this caused a fuss, except that he’d been so honest about it. Maybe people hold their favourite bloggers up to strange levels of behaviour. And honestly, everyone has those mad moments when random people in an instance drive you to do something daft like pull a load of mobs and then leave them to wipe. (Notice how it’s always in Old Kingdom when people have these ‘mad’ moments — surely no accident …)

My view is that at this point in the expansion, there’s really no need for anyone to make a fuss about needing to kill all the bosses in a heroic instance. If anyone in the group really hates the idea, just go with it, grab your justice points (or whatever they are called) and queue for another instance. It’s really unlikely that anyone desperately needs those blue heroic drops quite that badly, even if they are a new 80. And if it’s just for an achievement, then you need to ask nicely and not demand the group goes and kills them.

On the other hand, striking off on your own to go pull your own boss of choice rather than just leaving the group isn’t the greatest way to handle a dispute either.

So yeah. Everyone’s wrong. But mostly it’s an issue with the LFG mechanics. There’s no way to negotiate before you zone into an instance as to your intentions. If there was, the guys who really want to do the achievements could get a random together, along with the Tankbot2000 who doesn’t really care what they do because she’s going to pile in and test her new spec anyway, and random people who don’t mind taking a bit longer and getting some extra badges.

Similarly, the guys who are desperate to do speed runs could get instances together along with their hangers on. (and oh the amusement when a load of green geared wannabees who were hoping to get boosted all end up in an instance together … although the LFG algorithm probably avoids that.)

Alternately, you could talk to people and negotiate instance runs to your heart’s content in general chat. But that’s quite a hassle, which is counter to the whole point of LFG in the first place. It’s easier to zone in with some randoms and deal with the inevitable power struggle whenever there is a disagreement.

All of which makes me wonder if it would be useful to have a cross-server general chat. But I cannot see any way to keep it manageable in size, single server chat on its own can get crazy enough as it is. Or maybe just a few tick boxes on LFG so that people could indicate whether they primarily wanted a full run …

Incidentally, the thing which bizarred me the most on Frostheim’s post were the number of commenters who didn’t like being called ‘Hunter’ by random groups. Let me tell you, having your class acknowledged is still slightly better than being called ‘Tank’.