I suppose I had it coming: After all the smooth and pleasant heroic pugs I've had lately, I was bound to come across a doozy sooner or later. I just didn't expect it to be Violet Hold: it's probably one of the most-pugged instances on my server due to how easy it is - and yet we ended up wiping three times before the group disbanded because we just couldn't stand the thought of having to clear all the way to the second boss yet again (VH is really cruel that way).
I was on my hunter by the way. As soon as we got started I noticed that both our tank's gear and our overall dps was definitely on the low end of what's acceptable, but I still figured it should be fine for what we aimed to do. Our first boss ended up being Erekem, and he took forever to die because people were randomly dpsing the adds instead of the boss, but fortunately our healer didn't run out of mana and we made it in the end.
The run continued relatively smoothly until it became apparent that our second boss would turn out to be Xevozz. There's a reason I described this guy as having a "medium to high" wipe factor. As soon as the Azure Saboteur ran towards Xevozz's cell, our healer started to spam party chat with "KITE" in all caps, only occasionally interrupting it with attempts to be a bit clearer like "you've got to kite him". Our tank just stood there. And took damage. And we wiped. (Though I survived through a cunning alteration of kiting and using deterrence until feign death was off cooldown again.) When asked whether he had done this fight before while people did the collective corpse run, our tank replied with "no".
And... he really couldn't have mentioned that beforehand? I realise that Violet Hold isn't an instance that lends itself to stopping and sitting down for a calm discussion of boss strategies, but he could have reacted to our healer's attempts to tell him what to do in some way. "Kite him? Where? I haven't done this before!" Or anything. I know if I'm new to an instance I want to know how things work and will ask about it. Our tank however just quietly stood in the same spot until he died. Have people become so used to easy tank and spank fights that the mere idea of having to do something else is beyond them? It's a depressing thought.
Anyway, everybody decided to be gracious and accept that even tanks need to learn somehow, so we decided to give it another go. The healer made a point of repeating again that the boss needed to be kited, visually illustrating this by running up and down the supposed kite path. I helpfully added that it was important to avoid the purple spheres... seeing how they are the whole reason for the kiting tactic after all.
We cleared up to the second boss yet again at our tediously slow low-dps speed. Spheres were summoned, the tank started to kite. Things seemed to go alright until one of the orbs got a teleport spell off. Confused by the sudden and unexpected change of location our tank just stood there and died. Wipe number two.
Our healer rolled his eyes and left, but through some miracle we managed to find a replacement right away. Our tank seemed genuinely confused about what had just happened to him, so I explained, emphasising yet again that staying away from those spheres was vital, and to be ready to run if they should get a teleport off.
We gave it yet another go. After another twelve portals we got ready to face Xevozz for the third time. The tank kites. No teleports, good. The tank kites some more. Where is he going anyway, we're getting quite far away from those spheres? Oh no, they are going to cut us off... I wish I could have shouted "nooo" or something, but pugs don't generally use voice chat, so I just had to watch in quiet horror (though I typed out some frantic warnings in party chat which were of course ignored) as our tank continued to "kite" the boss in a wide circle right into the two spheres, and we wiped for the third and last time. Then one of the other dpsers got bored and left, the tank resigned and the healer expressed frustration about having been saved to a heroic run that was just a waste of time and left.
Usually I try to stick it out to the bitter end, especially on my hunter (as I had only actually died on one of the three wipes), but having to re-clear all that trash every time had worn even my spirit down by then. Plus I was starting to get a little frustrated by the tank's repeated failures as well, though I also couldn't help feeling sorry for him as he was clearly making an effort. I left with the impression that the first healer's emphasis on kiting without actually explaining why had led to some miscommunication, which was why that last attempt ended with the tank running the boss in merry circles, completely oblivious of the orbs he was supposed to be running from.
Does this kind of experience leave me wary of pugging? Not really, but it does leave me wary of people who can't communicate, both the knowledgeable and the ignorant ones.
Charting Some Progress
1 day ago