20/08/2009

Ninja invites

Pugging etiquette is a fickle beast and I've seen many a discussion about it over the years. One of the subjects I've seen brought up reasonably often is that of "ninja invites", that is to say, inviting someone to your party without whispering them about it first. I never had particularly strong feelings on the matter but I agreed that it was kind of on the rude side and always made sure to talk to people first before actually sending a group invite their way.

Lately however I noticed that I stopped doing that and have become a ninja inviter myself. Why is that? I think there are mainly two reasons for it:

First and foremost, the current level of sophistication of the LFG tool. Back in BC you were only required to specify which instance you wanted to go to, not which role you wanted to play. You could add that information in a public note, but most people didn't. So randomly inviting that paladin on LFG to your party without even knowing whether he was a tank, healer or dps (and thus whether your party actually had a use for him) was not just a bit rude but also stupid.

Nowadays you can't select an instance on LFG without defining your role first, so all the information you could possibly need is already out there. And frankly, when I see that a healer is looking for a group for Utgarde Pinnacle, then whispering him first to ask whether he would like to heal that very same instance feels very redundant. Of course he'd like to do that, that's what it says right here!

Of course there can be exceptional cases where someone might end up sitting in LFG without actually wanting to go places; I know it has happened to me in the past: I enter the channel, quest for a bit while I wait for an invite, nothing happens and it gets late, and just as I want to log off someone suddenly wants to group with me. However, that's not them being rude for not asking whether I still fancy a party, that's me being oblivious to the time, and it's my responsibility to say: "Sorry, I forgot that I was still in LFG, I'm too tired to run an instance now."

The second reason I can't be bothered to whisper people anymore is simply how fast groups form these days, what with the renewed popularity of heroics. What I mean is, if I get lucky enough to spot a tank looking for a group for the same instance as me, I better grab them now. If I take the time to type out something along the lines of "Why hello there, dear chap, would you fancy tanking the heroic version of The Violet Hold for my party?" (I'm not a fan of people who'd sum up the same message in nothing but "VH?"), three other groups will likely have already thrown an invite his way.

If someone doesn't accept my group invite I'll still whisper them to ask what's up, but most of the time it's just a case of them being AFK for a minute. I think I have yet to encounter someone who actually rejects invites if they aren't preceded by a whisper about the matter, even though I remember hearing about this behaviour plenty of times in the past. I wonder if more people have changed their minds about the issue?

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