LFD: Looking For D-Bags
(Before we begin, please observe a moment of silence for my home computer’s hard drive, whose crappy firmware last night decided to depart this fallen earth and leave behind its bricked metal shell. This may also be used as a cautionary tale…if you’ve got a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA drive in your machine, back the damn thing up now. This is the second one I’ve had fail in less than eighteen months. DIAF, Seagate, I’m done with you. It’s off to Worst Buy tonight for some Western Digital lovin’ and an evening spent reinstalling everydamnthing on my computer instead of hanging out with my guild for our in-game Winterveil party.)
Obviously, a lot of the chatter in the WoW blogosphere has been about patch 3.3′s awesome new Looking for Dungeon cross-server instancing tool. It is, after all, simplicity itself. It removes anything resembling thought, effort, or social interaction from running your favorite five-man instances! Just push a few buttons, sit back and wait (note: the waiting part is optional if you are a tank or healer), and voila. You too will be thrown into a wonderful garden spot like Utgarde Keep or Gun’drak with four total strangers with whom you will engage in 10 to 30 minutes of frenzied activity and then never see again. As others are wondering, is this what casual sex feels like?
I have run about, eh, 25 or so random heroics since the patch went in. About half have been on Beltar, my dwarf hunter, with the remainder split between Linedan and my other level 80 alts. I’ve only tanked three randoms on Lin–the others, I’ve gone as DPS to practice on his new offspec (more on that in another post). And much to my surprise, generally, my experiences have been neutral to pleasant.
Now, I’m not generally accused of a huge amount of charity toward my fellow WoW players. I never liked to PUG that much before the LFD tool came along. But suddenly, I find it strangely addicting. Part of it, I think, is that I’m finding that my two most undergeared alts–Illithanis the BM hunter and Moktor the blood DK–don’t actually suck as much as I thought they did, or perhaps I don’t suck as much at playing them as I thought I did, or some of both. (The links are to their respective Armory pages, so you may gaze upon them and laugh.) Both of them are generally running with a good bit of ilevel 200 gear, Illy more so because she actually got into a few 10-man Naxx runs several months back. Both seem capable of consistently bringing 1800-2200 dps in heroics, despite Illy’s wasp dying regularly and my seeming inability to grasp the DK concept of “PS – IT - HS – HS - DS - RP // DS – HS – HS – HS – HS - RP”. (I get my DS before my HS, or I stop and RP instead of actually using runic power, or some such. Letturs r hard.) Anyhoo, while neither of them are going to rizzock the hizzouse in Ulduar or higher anytime soon, so far, they’ve not even been laughed at by a heroic group, much less votekicked. In fact, Illy, with her pedestrian 2k dps, has topped the meters more than once.
No, really, I’ve only seen one person get kicked (a rogue, in full Hateful Gladiator’s with 25k health, only doing 800 dps), and no massive displays of incompetence. Now what I have seen are a few examples of some pretty serious douchebag ex machina, and the one overriding thing…silence.
Let’s talk about the d-bags. There haven’t been many, and contrary to what some of us RP-server types might think, these weren’t primarily from PvP servers. Probably the biggest example I saw was when I had dps!Linedan on a heroic Azjol-Nerub run. The tank was a death nugget that had about 29,500 health buffed out. Nobody said anything, even though there seems to be this unspoken rule that if your tank has less than about 45k health, THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN POSSIBLY TANK A HEROIC AZJOL AMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE. Never mind that I tanked heroic AN back in the day with 25k in crafted blues and epics. Poorly, but I did it. And I had to walk uphill in the snow four miles each way to do it.
So off we went, and it was a perfectly normal dungeon run. Nobody died, we killed Anub v1.0 and everything was peachy. Then the following conversation ensued between the healer, a tree druid from Uldum, and the tank:
Tree says, “hey, (tank name here)?”
Tank says, “huh?”
Tree says, “Nothing. I just wanted you to respond so I could ignore you and never group with you again. Get some gear, noob.”
Now mind you, nobody died. We never wiped. The tank never lost agro, even on the trash-filled last part of Anub, which can still get a little bit pear-shaped even in high-zoot Tier gear. Apparently, the tree actually might’ve had to work a little at healing the DK, and we can’t possibly have that.
I tried to buck up the DK by telling him, “look, my main spec is prot, I’ve got 4/5 T9.25, I tank ToGC and Icecrown. I know tanking even if I don’t know how DKs do it. You did fine. Screw the haters.” I hope he believed me. I wish I could remember the guy’s name and server, so I could give him a shout-out.
And speaking of shouts or the lack thereof…that’s the other creepy thing about LFD. The total silence. I’ve gone complete instance runs without anybody in the party–me included–saying a damn thing. We land at the entrance, buffs fly, and then the tank wordlessly runs off and grabs the first trash group without saying a word. And off we go to the races, the tank setting a blistering pace (almost without exception) while the DPS and the healer pant along behind. Chain-pulling is the order of the day, crowd control is not needed. No strategy, no breaks, no drinking. I’m damn glad my only mana-using class I’ve taken through randoms has been a hunter, because the ability to regen on the run with Aspect of the Viper is the only thing keeping me from ending up half a mile behind the main group.
Eventually we’ll kill the final boss, get some screen spam and extra emblems…and then, maybe, somebody will say “thanks” or “gg”, and that’s it. The group’s dissolved, and I’m back wherever I was before I queued, richer by some enchanting mats and badgers, and maybe, on my lesser-geared characters, some new toys. It’s a fun experience, but it’s oddly empty. I console myself with the thought that probably I don’t really want to talk to the other four people I just grouped with…but that’s not much of a way to play, and not a very good thought to have, now is it?
I really don’t like only having one roleplay server per battlegroup. I would love to be able to instance-group with RPers from places like Argent Dawn and Sentinels and Moon Guard (leave your vampire catgirls and sons of Arthas at home plox), and do some of these heroics at a slightly more relaxed pace in-character. Instead, this is a strictly OOC business we’re in, running these randoms. It’s all about speed. I know on the ones that I’ve tanked, I feel pushed because I’m not normally a chain-puller. I cut my teeth as an undergeared tank that had to wait for healers and DPS to fill their tanks before pulling again, and that’s carried over into Lin’s current pimped-out status. My very first tank run, I had a DK “helpfully” start pulling “for” me. Nothing frosts my cornflakes faster than somebody else doing the pulling when I’m the tank. My theory is simple: I’d rather take two minutes longer to finish the instance than risk a wipe that’ll cost us five minutes. So in randoms, I do pull faster, but I always check that there’s at least some blue in the blue bars in my party frames, and that we’re all gathered, before pulling.
Heck, sometimes, I even say things in party chat. RANK HERESY!