Reading the community response to Blizzard’s forthcoming attempt to reduce the dungeon finder queue times for DPS players (the Call to Arms) is making my brain itch1. I started to write a rant in response but … well, I was interrupted. Then I calmed down a bit and realised that ranting about it wouldn’t be that helpful. Then I read another couple of blogs on the subject, remembered an unfinished draft post I wrote on holiday a couple of weeks back2 and so you get this post of two related halves crudely cemented together.
First the ranty bit. I don’t entirely agree with what seems to me to be the consensus view of the dungeon finder at the moment, which I will inflammarise as:
- Everyone in the dungeon finder queue is an incompetent dickhead who will start writing their first expletive-filled insult while queuing so as to have it ready to send the moment the group zones in. Except me… and maybe you.
- After the call to arms goes live, pretty much every tank in the queue will have terrible gear, the wrong spec and no idea how to tank. As well as being an incompetent dickhead. Except my tanking alt, who I probably won’t play because everyone in the dungeon finder is an incompetent dickhead etc etc.
- The greater internet fuckwad theory is a solid gold proven fact engraved on a stone tablet and handed directly to Moses by Stephen Hawking, along with those commandment thingies and a telephone number for the Dark Matter band.
Ok. Guess my brain’s still a bit itchy after all.
One of the comments on a Wow Insider article published today echoed how I’m feeling (the rest are largely a circular “the problem is it’s too hard” > “no, the problem is you suck” > “I’m quitting. I’M QUITTING” cycle). An excerpt:
I myself PuG pretty often – in fact, that’s how I’m leveling up my healer, and you know what? I rarely meet rude and elitist players (of those who I do, I could count on one hand).
I think Talitha must be in the same alternate universe as me, and that’s great. In fact, I’d like to share with all of you3 *my* dungeon finder, which seems largely free from the vile behaviour my reading suggests is near constant elsewhere. Welcome to the Utopian Dungeon Finder (UDF), where devotion aura is more than just an armour buff…
Now before I start, I don’t want to give you false hope. This UDF of mine isn’t perfect. I could, for example, tell you a story about a DK who, when not doing 2.5k dps, alternated between complaining about the tank and complaining about the heals. Now to be fair to him, after the first five minutes I did notice that he was receiving a little less healing than the other players. I couldn’t help but notice: I was the healer and I wasn’t up for healing him while he typed his complaints mid-fight, but still…
Thing is, in the Utopian Dungeon Finder, stories like this are hugely memorable. Because they’re unusual. And before you ask, that’s not because the UDF is exclusively populated by guildies, either. I’m trying to make my three4 85s ‘raid-capable’, which means running HCs on all three for VPs, rep and the odd justice point whenever I can. I don’t get home from work in time for all of those runs to be with guildies, so I’ve solo-queued for a good number of runs, the majority on Ano as a healer.
The average UDF run consists of trading aimless puns and waffle with people from a variety of servers, with occasional breaks to kill bosses and collect loot. All it seems to take is a single silly remark which garners a reply, and the ice is broken. After that, it’s gravy. The rest are your standard quiet-but-efficient runs, with polite helloes, thanks and goodbyes, and little else unless CC or other individual instructions are required.
The greatest thing about this wondrous arrangement is that when mistakes do happen, the response is another one of those silly remarks or at worst a ‘hells, those guys are a pain. Perhaps we should CC one?’ in party chat. Not a ‘FFS’ in sight, unless someone is being particularly self-effacing5. In the UDF, even running into inexperienced or plain not-that-gifted players isn’t a brain-exploding disaster: when everyone is being friendly, a “hey, btw it’s *really* important you get out of the way of Blitz this time — just run to one side” is helpful advice, not offensively patronising, and “Evening folks, just to warn you this is my first heroic/first time healing/first time I’ve tanked this dungeon” isn’t a cue for everyone to drop group in a cloud of profanity.
Perhaps Talitha has it right:
Want a great PuG run? BE NICE AND FRIENDLY ALL THE TIMES, even if it means pulling out your tooth. It’s worth it. (Being nice and friendly means NO snarky, subtle, snide comments or being rude to one person while being nice to the rest. That’s simply not nice.)
As my grandma used to say, “It’s nice to be nice.”
The Utopian Number Generator
The UDF seemingly also has the power to influence Lady RNG.
One night I’d logged on just too late for a slot in a guild heroic so threw myself into the queue and was fairly quickly placed in a group for Grim Batol as healer6. My heart sank a bit when I saw two rogues in the group, as they do seem prone to taking lots of damage and/or pulling aggro and going squish. It’s nothing personal, dear rogues — in fact I’d like to do a few more runs with rogues, if only to stop the constant supply of rogue loot that shows up for my largely rogue-free guild. Anyway, my already heavy heart sank further during the first pull when I had to make heroic efforts to keep one of them alive.
“Just let Rogue1 die, it’ll teach him a lesson” said the bear tank in party chat.
“Oh dear,” I thought, “I do hope this group won’t be fractious, as that will be most distressing.”7
There was a little back-and-forth between the rogue and the rest of the group at this point, but something about the tone made me check the player details more carefully. Aha, all four from the same guild.
This little exchange set the pattern for the rest of the run; random banter and requests to let one person or another die went back and forth after every pull. Friendly insults were traded, the occasional thank-you-as-compliment. At the end of the run, we hung around for a short while chatting about the the last boss encounter and the bear’s tactic for managing the adds, which seemed very effective (even if the switch to cat form and back confused Vuhdo and panicked me a little the first time it happened).
So far, so blah. Nice people in fun UDF run? Hardly front page material for me.
The good bit was the following night, once again queuing on my own, once again chosen to heal. Let’s see… a bear tank, a familiar-looking rogue… the same guild group from the previous night! It was awesome.
- Thank the gods for my previously-mentioned greasemonkey script! [↩]
- Tapped awkwardly into the WordPress for Blackberry app while sitting on public transport with Bryn dozing on my shoulder [↩]
- provided you’re not one of those incompetent dickheads from point 1 of the earlier inflammary. Hey, why stop at verbs! [↩]
- soon to be four: Grammy-the-warlock is questing in Hyjal [↩]
- “FFS, why didn’t I use lay on hands there? Sorry guys, completely my fault”. [↩]
- it’s always Grim Batol for me, unless I’m grouping with guildies and someone says “I hope we get a quick one”. In which case it will be Deadmines :S [↩]
- Well ok, that wasn’t precisely what I thought. I’m not a character in P&P&W after all. [↩]