Friday, January 7, 2011

How Quickly Heroics Change

At first I was fearful about pugging Cataclysm heroics. CC this, CC that. Tanks, dps, and healers alike not knowing the fights. People stuck in WotLK mentality. But my worries have gradually abated. Even instances that I used to fear the possibility of doing in a pug (Stonecore *cough*) have been done successfully and with minimal wiping.

As back in olden vanilla days, people will pick themselves up after a while, with less complaining and more of a question about what went wrong, and then give the boss or pull another shot. Often times, people actually talked to each other in party chat, even if it was just a "hello, how's it going?"

Now that Cataclysm has been out for a month, pugging heroics is much safer. More people (though far from all) know the fights, so it's possible to get to a boss and fight him without more being said than "be sure to AoE all the crystal adds." Heroics can be relatively smooth.

I think I found my first downside to having more experienced puggers though, and it's come much earlier in the expansion than I expected.

Last night I got on really late and all my guildies were already in another heroic. From the time I knew it would be their last run of the night, so I queued up by myself figuring that it should be all right. I prefer to take a guildie or two if I could help it, but I had pugged completely solo before and it had worked out all right.

I pulled Blackrock Caverns as my instance, and was pleased since I consider it one of the easier heroics. The tank was well geared (160k health in a heroic) and he tanked without CC, which I initially found concerning, but the healer didn't seem to be struggling keep him up and he marked a kill order, so I said nothing. He seemed to know what he was doing.

The other dps with me were a ret paladin from the same server as the tank (but different guild) and a DK with the impressive Death's Demise title.

The group of us cleared the first two bosses without incident. Even the second boss, Corla, whose beams some puggers have problems with, went flawlessly. So we got to Karsh Steelbender, the forge boss, in short order.

We cleared the fire elementals. We cleared some troggs to the left of the boss. Then some more troggs towards the back left of the room, which was odd, but maybe the tank really wanted the leeway. Then the tank marked the cultists and elementals in the tunnel behind the boss and charged in.

Did he really think we needed to clear this many mobs around the boss?

After we killed the pack and the patting Defiled Earth Rager duo, the DK turned around to look back at Karsh Steelbender and asked "Are we skipping this boss?"

The tank did not reply and jogged down the tunnel. He proceeded to mark the next pack of mobs.

The DK asked again, but now he was asking why were we skipping this boss since, after all, the boss was not hard.

The tank replied that we could come back and do the boss later.

This sent off warning flags for me. I know if the last boss of the instance is completed there's nothing holding the group together anymore, and even if most of the group wants to go back and clear the other bosses, they can no longer queue. The first time I did Halls of Origination my tank mistakenly did Rahj first (he'd never been there before) and our healer left immediately afterwards. The four of us who remained actually wanted to do the other bosses, but we couldn't.

We finished the next pack of mobs and the tank positioned himself with his back to Beauty, and proceeded to set up the next pull. It was clear he intended to skip Beauty as well.

The DK asked anyway if that was his intention. I stood in the hallway between Beauty and Karsh, because I wanted to hear what the resolution of their disagreement would be and didn't want to be running all over the place until I was sure where we were going. I didn't need justice points badly, I had no main spec gear left to buy, so if everyone agreed to skip I wouldn't have had a problem with it, but I didn't think it was a good idea to keep on trucking as though nothing was wrong. It was awfully strange to be skipping bosses this early in the expansion just to get valor points, especially since these "optional" bosses weren't exactly out of the way like they were in a couple of the WotLK heroics.

I'm not sure if the tank didn't realize that he didn't have the entire group with him, or he just didn't care, but he pulled the next cultist/elemental pack, got the Defiled Earth Ragers as well, and things didn't go well from there. I tried to stay out of combat so I could rez everyone from the wipe I saw coming, but the survivors ran back the direction I was standing so I got pulled in as well.

As we were running back from the graveyard, the DK asked the recalcitrant tank about why he was skipping the bosses. He said he understood that Beauty would be rough with our group comp (only I could reliably CC the core hound pups), but there was no reason to skip Karsh. I chimed in saying that I could CC two of Beauty's pups easy. I nearly always handle the CC of two of them. The tank agreed to give it a shot.

We grouped up where we came out of the teleporter, right by the forge boss Karsh. People drank up to restore mana... Then the tank ran down the hallway over to where we had died near the entrance to Beauty. The ret paladin and the healer went with him.

I stayed by the DK and facepalmed so he could see that I was annoyed by this as well. The DK asked why we were skipping Karsh again, since he's easier than Beauty. I realized in retrospect that the tank had never actually answered his question!

The tank still didn't. I don't know exactly what happened next, but I saw the three of them had gotten into combat (apparently the tank was so eager to skip bosses that he pulled without us) and they all died again.

The ensuing conversation went something like this:

Ret Paladin: So what about the two bosses? We can just come back later.
Me: It doesn't work like that. If you leave once the last boss is dead we can't queue anyone to replace you.
DK: I bet you're on your daily, so you'll leave after you kill the last boss.
Ret Paladin: lol, I'd take that bet.

Now... the thing that I hadn't mentioned yet, is that the DK queued specifically for this instance. He said so in party chat. Chances are, something he wanted dropped off those bosses the tank and the ret paladin wanted to skip, and as a dps it would be a horrible waste of time for him to have sat in the queue and skipped bosses in spitting distance of the main path that had gear he could use. And here we had a tank that was unwilling to take a few minutes to kill a boss, and in such a hurry he was wiping the group by pulling without having everyone present. (I'm sure we could have killed Karsh in the time it took for him to do his gy runs.)

I told the DK I'd support him if he wanted to vote-kick the tank.

The vote-kick passed under the reason "won't tank bosses." The silent healer who hadn't said anything up until now evidentally supported us, since at least three need to vote for the kick to pass. (He later said he's up for wiping a couple times on any boss, and that he hadn't appreciated the CC-less tanking.)

We tried to re-queue for another tank, but the ret paladin kept declining, so we realized we would have to vote-kick him too.

Unfortunately... there was something we hadn't anticipated.

The ret paladin had group lead, and being on the same server as the tank... he simply invited the tank back in.

Now I understand it's not a gigantic majority over who wants to skip bosses and who doesn't. I can understand that the paladin and his tank friend may have thought it would be cool to queue for a "quick" heroic and nab their valor points, and they were upset by the delay (from their perspective they were a mere two pulls away from the last boss), but reinviting the tank wouldn't accomplish anything. It's not like we could have finished the instance with this kind of impasse. All they were doing was blocking us from queuing.

We kicked the ret paladin (reason: "griefing"), but group lead horrifyingly enough passed to the tank, who reinvited the paladin. And it became a stupid merry-go-round of them reinviting each other until we finally got lead to pass to one of the three of us and kicked the other just after he accepted his invite.

We must have kicked the both of them a collective four or five times before we managed to queue for replacements.

(Note to Blizzard: If someone has been vote-kicked by the majority of the party, it should not be possible for them to be reinvited by the remaining minority.)

I'm not entirely unsympathetic towards the desire for a quick valor point run, and if the tank had voiced any serious reservations about tanking Karsh I might have supported the skip, but instances are a group effort and the tank and his friend didn't seem to think that the DK's wishes mattered. Worse, they talked about coming back to those bosses later when they obviously had no intention of doing so.

We're only a month from the launch of Cata. People are still gearing, not everyone's raiding yet. It's just too soon to assume the majority of puggers are only there for the valor points or happy about skipping bosses that drop loot and justice points. Running an instance involves a little give and take.

Blizzard has said in the past that they didn't like people skipping fights, and I think that's why in Cata there are no out of the way bosses, but stubborn people can still skip some of them if push comes to shove. Perhaps the best solution would be to not award valor points at all until all the bosses in an instance are dead.

I admit, I don't like the idea that we're transitioning back to WotLK-style dungeon running already, "I just want my valor points" and all. I might have little interest in dungeon drops myself, but I believe that when you sign up for a dungeon run you should have an interest in accomplishing the goals of everyone in the group. It may not be possible to do so, but you shouldn't sign up to use those people as quickly as possible to satisfy your own needs and then leave.


Karalana said...

Pretty messed up having to kick all of those times. I'm not sure how this functions with invited members for LFD, but if you /ignore then kick a party member you'll never see the person (on that particular toon) again in your random queues.

Shannara said...

You are lucky to be able to vote kick at all. The whole system is broken to where you cannot vote kick at all (if you have never vote kicked before) or have to wait for hours.

Danger Boy said...

I'm going to agree whole-heartedly. Sign up for an instance, and there should be a quick "who wants to do what" discussion. If people want full clear, well, that's something you have to expect. Better to bust up a group early than get pissy.

Unknown said...

This same exact thing happened to me last night. I decided to level up my mage and was running that same instance normal mode. First they queued purposefully as tank for the warrior to jump to front of the queue, then once single dropped, requeued as dps so they would get first tank. Shaman and warrior were guildies and the shaman was a total ass to the group, insulting everyone constantly. Vote kicked each of them multiple times until finally they didn't get lead and couldn't invite themselves back. Completely ruined my game experience for the night!

Anonymous said...

This happened to me the other night. I started a PUG Stonecore heroic as the tank and slogged my way through to the last boss. It was a painful run, and nobody in the group at the end had started the dungeon with me as we had multiple people drop out.

Now mind you I have completed H.Stonecore several times before, so I knew the fights, but I'm always willing to help new puggers.

We wiped on the last boss, and a few ppl dropped cuz they were frustrated. We picked up some new dps. There was this trash talking warrior that joined, and after 2 more wipes, he started saying I was a horrible tank. I guess the other people believed him cuz I got kicked! After 2 hrs in Stonecore, helping others get through bosses and sticking it out, I get kicked and don't get my Valor points?

The next day I ran H. Stonecore again with 4 ppl who had never done it before. Didn't wipe on any bosses. So I know it wasn't my tanking that was the problem. But I got stiffed a day of Valor points because I wasted 2 hrs only to get kicked in the end. I didn't have time to run another. Maybe ppl should get some valor points for killing each boss, with more for completing the entire dungeon.

Unknown said...

You absolutely did the right thing by standing by the DK. The Wotlk "Gotta kill the last boss in 10 minutes" schtick was terrible and it definitely ruined the experienced nearing the end. I'm glad that there are still players like you out there that understand that a pug still stands for "pick-up -group-," meaning that it's a combined effort, and everyone counts.

IrnBru001 said...

Here's something I never experienced in WotLK that I'm experience all the time now. It's a horror of mine. It's the first thing I check when I get into a random. If I see it I either drop, or brace myself for hell.

Guild runs.

I get them all the time. A guild that needs one more DPS (or DPS and healer), so they queue and get me. But they all have their own agenda and couldn't give a shit who the last DPS is. It's a horrible experience. If anything bad happens the odd man gets the blame. I had one group that was only there for achievements, wouldn't explain what the achievements were (they are all still new btw) pull right away, and absolutely refused to rez me when I died. I also got in another group when even though the vote-kick passed, they too kept re-inviting the booted player. They refused to move until the healer and I quit.

It's out of control, and makes me fear queueing for a random. Given that is takes almost an hour to find a group I now luckly if I can finish my dailies on any given night.

I hope fixes come soon. The best new addition in WotLK is now the worse feature in Cata.

Unknown said...

The unfortunate rub of that is that currently cross-server ignore is horribly broken and simply refuses to function 50-80% of the time or more, simply spitting out "player not found". Even if you know they're online because they're still standing right there.

Michael Darmousseh said...

I don't know how you are having so much luck. Yesterday I did 6 heroics and we only finished 1 with a group that knew what it was doing (kill the portals). 90% of the time there is a dps that doesn't know what to do. Typically this causes the tank to leave and the subsequent dps to leave as well. I still find that i end up explaining almost every boss.

Unknown said...

(Side note, this is Anafielle from Righteous Defense at, and twitter @anafielle - commenting on these blogger blogs is always complicated and i never know how to sign in)

There are always bad experiences. Just one doesn't mean tanks are out to get you. >.>

I was linked here by WOW Insider and it said this post was about lackadaisical tanks... well, it's just about one bad experience! And you got screwed by the votekick system too. (Which sucks - I'm sorry you had that experience! I am, that does suck a lot.) But one lazy tank does not make all tanks lazy... :(

Regarding the comment here about guild runs---

Yes. I am "that tank."

I am geared. I am raiding. When I do my daily heroic, I usually run with 3 guild DPS, and we pug a healer. I'm always with 2-3 guildies and I usually have to pug at least one. We are always in mumble. We will get you achievements, and we will sometimes wipe, and giggle in /p about it. We're "those guys."

I pull without CC sometimes at night. I'm fast, and lazy.

Then, I will sometimes ask, "Sorry, would you prefer CC?" and then we'll use it if they healer would like. Or, "Sorry! I pulled when you needed mana! Please just let me know," and then I'll slow down. I'm not an asshole, I just do my own thing, but as soon as someone communicates, I will alter my behavior. I appreciate communication. Speaking up is always better.

By the way, I always think that people are happy to pop my 3 or 4 person guild runs. Even if we wipe, we are clearly all communicating. Even if we're on mumble - and we always are - we chatter happily in /p chat to try to include the healer. We get thanked a lot at the end of instances, even if there were wipes on the way.


What's so bad about popping into a guild run, huh???

Unknown said...

Side note on that BRC boss--

The way I was taught to do the Steel encounter was to clear all the trash around the room because the DPS don't know where they have to kite the adds out.

It does not surprise me one bit that he cleared all the trash. Skipping the boss, yes, thats crazy and he is an asshole.

But the trash? Some tanks clear it all. Don't be surprised... it's actually the safest way to do that boss.

I now never get adds, because I have figured out how to get just 1 stack up on the boss, and he almost always dies before the stacks drop at all. It's also fun to get the achievement for pugs. However, back when I let stacks drop, I always cleared the whole room.

Saithir said...

@IrnBru001 - I don't get what you want to be fixed. Blizzard can't fix human stupidity. Don't blame the tool which is just a tool like a hammer, blame the stupid ones that use it.

I also do guild runs a lot as both tank and dps - some with only two of us, some with more. I will watch the healer's mana, will ask if people know the fights, will use CC where it's availaible... Don't know what's wrong with guild runs.

snuzzle said...

Ugh, I really hate tanks that skip bosses. It used to happen all the time in WOTLK, tanks who think they're clever by skipping 3 bosses in DTK or hugging walls here and there to skip one extra trash pack. I mean, I can understand skipping trash in a heroic if no one needs rep or if it's way out of the way, but in a levelling dungeon or if it's more trouble to run past it than to just kill it? I just don't understand.

It's completely stupid that they were able to re-invite the kicked tank so many times though. After all those deaths the pally should have been able to drop without deserter and reform a new group with the tank. With a tank, he's got an instant queue and it's not interfering with your group who wants to clear all the bosses.

People who are skipping stuff should speak up at the start. By just ignoring the question, he shows he's a self-serving jerk who only cared about his own quick run.

Also referred to here from WoW Insider btw. Hai :D

Unknown said...

@ Anafielle:

" But one lazy tank does not make all tanks lazy... :("

"I'm fast, and lazy. "

lol...awesome post.

Unknown said...

A similar thing happened to me the other day. I queued for a random by myself, so I had no guildies to back me up. I ended up in a Throne of Tides that was in progress and on the first trash pack. (Not a good sign...) As soon as I zoned in the healer asked the druid tank why he was tanking in boomkin spec. I inspected the tank and it seemed that he was indeed in boomkin spec and wearing boomkin gear. The tank insisted that the inspect must be bugged and that "only an idiot" would tank in boomkin form. He then pulled the trash and ran out of the instance so that three of us died. We voted to kick the tank and the vote passed - but lead passed to one of the DPS who was on the same server as the tank and invited the tank back. The tank then proceeded to swear at the healer and call him racist names until we all dropped group. So 40 minutes in queue, a nice repair bill and a deserter buff for me. Wonderful.

Hana said...

Wow... surprised by all the comments. Was wondering where they all came from. Figured WoW Insider linked me. Lackadaisical tanks wasn't really the point of the post so much as venting over a bad heroic experience exascerbated by an inability to vote-kick the people causing a problem.

Ana, I think it's fine being a "lazy" tank and not bother with CC if you're in a guild group and you know everything's going to die just fine. My particular group was mostly pug though (two people who knew each other and the rest all different), and not using CC could be disasterous with an undergeared/unprepared group.