Friday, April 9, 2010

I haven't given up yet...

I barely got started and then I was gone...for a long time. I don't think I have any readers yet so I am not going to apologize to everybody who didn't miss me.

I had a bunch of blogs started and lined up but they are really dated now and I don't remember what I was thinking. I threw one of them up that I thought was still relevant but the rest deleted. Time for some fresh ideas...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stand by

Tamarind wrote a post a while back that mentioned a few other blogs at the end. One of his plugs was a post by Tessy at Reflections From The Pond. I had never stumbled across her blog before and I have to say that I have really enjoyed it. The post that Tam mentioned is in regards to naming and shaming other players in PuGs which was a post written well before I got started here. Well, damn it, that's what I am doing here! So I read what she had to say with a very open mind. She makes some very valid points that I agree with whole-heartedly. But there are also a few items with which I don't agree. Here are my thoughts...

I am going to continue naming people from time to time because I am a fan of accountability. If the person that I name never reads my blog, so be it. If that person does read my post and wants to rebuttal, there is a handy comment section at the bottom for their venting pleasure. I give all of my readers my word that I will make their comment viewable.

I will do my best to remain objective at all times in my posts. Tessy mentioned a lot of reasons that bad things happen in PuGs that have absolutely nothing to do with a person's character. And she is absolutely right. I was in a regular ToC 5 man PuG on my DK trying for the hundredth time to get the Black Knights Black Heart. (I swear that has been removed from the loot table.) We did the silly joust, took down the first 3 named annoyances and were waiting for the three groups of three to come marching through the door and take their positions. All of the sudden the 9 mobs were running all over the room and there was stars falling from the sky. I would have needed my death and decay to be about 40 times larger to get that situation under control. Before I could even unclench, 3 people were dead. Sure enough, the druid had cast starfall before the groups of mobs were even in their positions. I was frantically typing a question as to what the strategy was there and the vote to kick popped up on my screen. The druid said he was sorry and that his dog had caused that to happen. But the vote was passed and away he went. Apparently, hell hath no fury like a bunch of strangers having to pony up a repair bill for no reason. I am with you on this one Tessy, $h*! happens. I will use this as a guideline for any person on my list. My previous posts have very specific behaviors targeted.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Giver of PuG Hope"...and Ups.

So there I was, covered head to toe in motor oil, wearing nothing but a lasso. Awkward, right? Well that is how I felt as I was standing around the entrance in Pit of Saron waiting for a tank. A guildie and I had used the LFD tool to specifically get into PoS (those initials always make me /snicker) for some badges and maybe even some ups. He was on his hunter alt and I was on my death knight alt. When we first zoned in, the warrior left immediately which I perceive as a slap in the face for somebody. Maybe even MEH! The only detail of that tank that I had time to notice was his unbuffed 40k health pool. I checked the gearscore of the other 3 members of my party and everybody was in good shape, assuming that each person knew how to play their class. I know, I know, that is one of the worst assumptions EVAR! The third dps was another huntard, no offense, and the healer was a priest with a gearscore over 5k and both seemed pretty friendly.

/digress on. Oculus has been patched with a bribe to keep people from insta-quitting but they still jump out all the time. (There is even an achievement for running through that instance quickly.) This was the first time I have seen a person immediately leave a group in any other Heroic. Let's take a moment and assume he didn't leave because he thought we were failpug and let's explore other possible reasons. He was a tank so we know that he got in as soon as he hit the button in the LFD interface. This rules out the possibility that he was in queue for 30 minutes and suddently realized that he needed to go do the dishes or his mom was going to ground him for a week. Maybe he was from the same server as the other hunter and they conspired to exploit the LFD tool and get in immediately. Maybe he saw me as competition for the handful of excellent plate dps drops and figured he didn't want to waste time or the lockout. Maybe I should face the truth and realize that he saw my 3700 gearscore... /digress off

Fortunately, it didn't take long for another tank to appear. We were graced with a death knight that almost outgeared the instance but not so great that he was going to snub us at first glance. Keywords being "at first glance." He mounted up and started galloping along the edge to the right, which is the equivalent of yelling "battered hilts be damned" from the stairs of the north bank. We followed. The minimal trash killing was pretty good with the small exception of my Omen "barking" at me everytime a crit floated across my screen. Nothing was hitting me so I didn't get too worried. We tip-toed up the steps to Forgemaster Garfrost and began the fight. Now there aren't a myriad of strategies for this boss: kill the adds first, break LoS behind the boulders when you get 10-ish stacks of the debuff and don't stand by the person with the skull over his/her head...which we were all doing to the best of our ability from what I could see. We perished. The tank chatted "Fail" and immediately left the group. I was initially very offended and jotted his name down to be the subject of this post. Then the other hunter said something that changed my mind. "Maybe he meant that he was fail and didn't want to subject us to anymore of his poor" I am sure he meant that with the utmost sarcasm but there might have been some truth there. Apparently, the two hunters were casting misdirection on every cooldown and the tank only accomplished 1k dps. This was indicative of a tank class trying to learn the tank role OR trying to learn a new tank spec. His dps was too low for his gear score which showed that he was either using a poor rotation or was panicked on every encounter to the point of not being sure which buttons to push. Heck, he may have been spamming his taunt button for all we know. So I took him off my ignore list and realized that his "Fail" comment was simply an ego defense mechanism. Out of pure curiousity, I honestly hope to run across him again some day.

Back to the drawing board, or entrance of PoS, as it were. Along comes tank #3, ßlaςkstar - Spinebreaker. He is a death knight that is overgeared for any heroic which we inspected with a sigh of relief. I think we all held our breath for a few seconds, waiting for him to leave the group. My guild mate welcomed him by saying "Yay, a non-fail tank!" Cleaverly, he wanted the new tank to realize that we had killed some stuff and needed a new tank because the old tank sucked rather than having #3 think the last tank left because we sucked. See what he did thar? The new tank responded by saying "Nope, I'm a fail tank". We knew he was kidding, you don't get the gear to rock a 44k health pool by sucking. Well, I guess that is not an absolute truth but its likelihood is rare.

We waited for the bell and began Round 2 against the Forgemaster. Without any explanation or clarification of the strategy, we jumped right in. Garfrost perished. We sauntered our way along the edge of the pit where Ick hangs out and gave his monkey boy a righteous beat down with no losses to the nova or pursuit. We then steadily worked our way up the hill and through the tunnel to the Scourgelord. One-shots all the way through without a single death, the way it should be done. And then it dropped, my personal bisi for the content that I expect to see on this alt. I got excited and clicked on the pair of dice while I jumped up and down like that lvl 3 orc in Orgrimmar that thinks he just beat World of Warcraft by discovering his bank. And then I saw somebody else chose need and my joy turned to anxiety while I waited for Lady RNG to shove her foot up my...well, you know.

Now here is the lesson for today: Some people are only going to serve themselves and some people are going to look out for others. In a PuG, the former is usually the case when it comes to loot. When I saw that #3 had won the item, I was initialy upset but quickly felt complacent. ßlaςkstar, as a death knight, had every right to roll need on that weapon, whether it be for tanking upgrade or offspec. I lost to random chance which has happened hundreds of times before and will happen a hundred more times more before I stop playing this game. However, in this particular instance (no pun intended), something happened that I have NEVER witnessed in a PuG.

What the french, toast? This guy rolled need because he thought one of the hunters rolled need as well. He didn't want to see a weapon that is clearly itemized for a plate-bearing dps go to a class that would be replacing it next week for Marrowstrike. But why? Why did he do that? He could have just left the group with it, pocketed 25g and never thought twice. And the other members of our group would not have known any better or cared, for that matter. Instead, he helped out some random person from another server. Some guy that he would likely never see again...helping me was absolutely no benefit to him. This is what we need more of in PuGs. I feel like it is now my burden to pay it forward. And I intend to, ßlaςk!

Thank you, ßlaςkstar of Spinebreaker. /salute. You shall henceforth be known as "Saint ßlaςkstar, Giver of PuG Hope".

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Enforcing The Golden Rule

We all have times in our lives when we think about doing something but we don't do it for one reason or another. For example, buying a new car, going on vacation, looking for a new job, etc. Often times, we experience an event that tips the scale and forces us to act. For me, that "something" was starting this blog and that "experience" was a recent PUG.

Three guild members and myself, at the tanking spot, jumped in the LFD queue for a daily random. We found ourselves in Old Kingdom with a very well geared warlock by the name of Jusplane - Blackhand. Before I tell the story, I want to note that when I see a gear score of 5500+ I don't immediately think "cool, this should be an easy run", as many of you might suspect. Instead, I think "good lord, I hope this isn't one of those annoying impatient jerks". The latter is usually the case for good reason. A player of that level isn't looking for triumph badges or upgrades from drops, he/she is there for their 2 frost badges. And in this case, the same was true for me.

Back to the story...I tossed Vigilance on the warlock, made sure my healer was ready and we started killing spiders. We quickly dropped Elder Nadox and things were going swimmingly. We continued on toward those elevated platforms that contain 4 mobs guarding a sphere that has to be deactivated in order to get to Prince Taldaram. Now if you have ever killed these mobs with a caster, you know that they have a silence ability that seems to last forever! Our healer was caught with the silence, unfortunately, and I died. He was able to keep the rest of the group up to finish off that pack of trash. As I was being rezzed and getting a fresh food buff, the annoyance began. "C'mon guys, lets go!", says our eager warlock. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and guessed that he didn't notice I died and replied with "I died, settle down."

We continued with killing the Prince and heading toward "the mushroom boss". On the hill down, our warlock's pet aggroed a patrol that led to our healer dying because I was tanking swamp things and couldn't get back up the hill quick enough. Now who's wasting time? We took down the mushroom dude and headed toward Jedoga Shadowseeker. The warlock didn't care for my preference to allow mana users to drink and pulled a pack of trash mobs intentionally.

Now here is the lesson for today
: for all of you trick trading rogues and misdirecting hunters that think you will control the pace of the kills, we (tanks around the world) hate you. We despise you. You are the sole reason that it takes so freakin' long to get a tank in the LFD queue. Your job is simple, use your abilities to reduce the hit points on the mobs that the tank has aggoed until they die. That is it. Period. If you don't use a threat meter, that's all good, just run towards us when something starts running towards you. We get parried, we miss, we tab target too fast, we make mistakes. We know it is our job to get that mob looking at us again and we pride ourselves on our ability to do it effectively. It is the essence (and the fun) of tanking.

Jusplane, this is where my patience ran out and you crossed the line of disrespecting the rest of the group. And I am sure this is where you thought I was a bad tank because I didn't charge in and thunderstomp my arse off. I was enjoying the moment as I watched your health meter drop and was hoping to see you die. Lucky for you, our healer is a much kinder soul than I am. His joy comes from keeping the green bars green and was not willing to let you go down. I stepped in and pulled the aggro to save his life, not yours. And for every other time you pulled aggro after that, I let you have it. I mean who am I to deprive you of your wants and desires?

The 15-minute timer was up and you were too ignorant to realize that you were in a group of guildies that held the power to make you have to get back into the LFD queue for 30 minutes and start all over again for your beloved frost badges. As tempted as we were to kick you for making my job and the healers job more difficult, we put our epeen aside and finished the dungeon with you.

Your cowardly parting words were an inspiration to us all:

Of course it was painful, but it had nothing to do with my tanking.


I have been reading WoW blogs for a little over a year now. I really enjoy reading the huge variety of different opinions on everything from theorycrafting healadins to becoming "rich". I have never boasted writing as one of my skills so I was reluctant to add to the mix, especially because I didn't have anything to write about. Until now.

One of my favorite topics out there is FailPUGs. For you newbs or noobs or nobs (whatever the "cool" spelling is these days), a FailPUG is a Pick Up Group that makes you wish you weren't playing WoW. The new LookingForDungeon system introduced in patch 3.3 has made PUGing a daily ritual for many players. I was anti-PUG for years until LFD and now I find myself participating 3-4 times a day. I have many alts, I want badges, I want upgrades.

I complete the daily random quest with members of my guild, whenever possible. Sometimes I have to do the random alone or just fill a spot or two. And sometimes I find myself in a group with a complete jerk. The purpose of this blog is to call these people name. No longer will I allow them to treat other members of the party with disrespect and get away "scot free". Also, I want to salute those kind souls that realize they just found themselves in a less than desirable group and showed patience and understanding.

One Ground Rule: I am focusing on respect or the lack of it. I am not going to mock the 3000 gearscore DK that did 800 dps and appears to be open to advice. Now if he has spell power gear on and refuses to take advice, that is a different story. He is disrespecting the group by not taking the time to "L2P" and subjecting others to his failure.

I suspect the most common target of my blog will be those players that blatantly degrade other players because they did not do things exactly as that individual wanted it done. "GO GO GO" & "L2P, (ignorant explicative)" will be instant triggers of my attention.