Pug encounters of the newbie kind?

Last night wasn't the best night to pug with my death knight. As usual I got a group instantly the moment I queued up for a normal random dungeon. I wasn't too pleased when I got the Halls of Stone loading screen, however. I just don't know what it is about that instance; it's not even about skipping bosses... as someone who's never cared that much about titan lore I just find it incredibly boring (and always have).

I sat down to eat and top off my health and someone immediately charged ahead into the first pack of mobs. I didn't interfere but they managed to down it just fine without a tank. As we moved on, it quickly became apparent that pretty much everyone in the group seemed to be of the "gogogo" variety, and no matter how speedily I tried to pull, someone would always run ahead and pull even more "for me". When even the healer joined in eventually, I finally did something that I don't remember ever doing before - I dropped group without a word. I generally prefer to give people at least a chance, ask them to adjust their play, but that night and with the whole party acting like that... I honestly just couldn't be bothered. They probably continued just fine without me anyway. And people wonder why tanking isn't that popular...

Anyway, I got the deserter debuff (and noticed for the first time that the icon for it looks like a dead canary in a cage) and kept myself busy for half an hour until I could try again. Again I got a group instantly, again it was Halls of Stone, but at least the rest of the group seemed decent this time. Except that, the moment we zoned in, the male orc shaman said that his baby had just started crying and he needed to be right back. Not the best way to start a run, but I tend to be pretty laid back about real life interruptions so I figured, whatever. He /followed the healer and we moved on.

We were getting close to Krystallus by the time that I realised that even though the shaman was still following and hadn't done any damage, he was very quick to roll on any loot that dropped and had even needed on several greens. "I thought you were AFK?" He admitted that he was not but that he was feeding the baby. I have to admit I was slightly miffed that he was "AFK enough" to not play but still present enough to gather up the loot. But still, who wants to be a jerk to a parent taking care of their young? We moved on.

Someone asked whether the orc shaman was a mother. He, not she, said yes and that she had two children, which the questioner considered "cool". I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that someone saying that they are taking care of their baby automatically leads to the assumption that the person must be a woman, even if it's a male character, or about people still finding it noteworthy that normal people of both sexes play the game, but I guess it's better than "there are no girls on the internet" or any variations thereof.

The shaman eventually started to participate a little, but really, really little. She didn't do much damage but mostly just knocked any mobs that I pulled away into multiple different directions and then cast earthquake on a single mob somewhere. Yay. It got quite annoying but I bit my tongue.

At the Tribunal of Ages she didn't seem to do anything at all except stand in the fire beams of doom without ever moving. The healer healed her through it and laughed, snarking that she shouldn't teach her children to play WoW because they likely wouldn't turn out to be any good.

The last boss dropped a nice tanking necklace, and I felt that I was finally getting rewarded for my patience (especially as I've had trouble getting any tanking drops from instances). Except... the shaman needed on it too and won. So, why are shamans allowed to roll on tanking gear in pugs again? Argh. I politely told her that this was a tanking item and no good for her and that it would be sensible to let the actual tank have it. She ignored me and dropped from the group.

However! I had noticed that she was actually from my server, so I whispered her again to pursue the issue further. She laughed and invited me to a group, immediately trying to queue us up for another dungeon. When I declined the role check she put us into the raid browser instead - beats me why. I met her in Orgrimmar and again tried to remain calm while still getting my point across. She seemed to be willing to hand over the necklace after all, except that the moment I opened the trade window she asked me whether I would give her some gold for it. I was speechless at this display of unbridled greed. Eventually she said that she was just kidding and handed the item over.

Before I left I asked her whether this was her first character and she said yes, which led me to reiterate that it's not a good idea to roll need on things that aren't appropriate for your role (she seemed to be geared like she knew what she was doing) before we parted.

I'd like to say that I felt glad that I had been so patient with a self-confessed newbie, but in all honesty I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd just been had. Everything seemed to go together way too conveniently for "her" (I'm not even sure I believe that bit anymore) to get all the loot with little to no effort and be excused. I guess the fact that I ended up being from the same server just caught her off guard and she eventually gave in to avoid recriminations. I'm not sure I prefer that kind of charade over people being outright rude - I just hate liars.

Fortunately today's random restored my faith in newbies somewhat, as I ended up in a Violet Hold with a healer who was running the instance for the first time but was perfectly nice and polite, played well (he even had DBM installed already and was gushing about how useful it was), and seemed genuinely interested in the game. I was more than happy to answer his questions about what "all these elites" behind the force fields were all about, who the Kirin Tor were and why the blue dragonflight was suddenly evil. I almost squeed when he said that the blue dragon he met in Magister's Terrace had been nice... someone actually paying attention to the story? Be still, my heart. <3


  1. I've been known to whisper the tank (as healer or DPS) to let them know I wasn't going to support someone who pulled instead of the tank. The quickest way to a wipe is to try to "out tank" the tank. Besides, with the way threat is bouncing around like a yo-yo given all the 4.01 changes, why irritate a tank further?

    Oh, and as for Shamans rolling need on items like that, have I ever mentioned the time I landed in Zul'Farak and discovered that the tank was a Shaman? He took one look around and immediately dropped group, much to everyone else's general amusement.

  2. Alas, in this run absolutely everyone including the healer seemed to want to solo everything. The healer was a paladin with "tank" in his name too, so I guess that's what he really wanted to do anyway. I just saw no way I was going to convince them all to play my way instead.

    And I know shamans can sort of tank at low levels because the lack of armour isn't as big a deal, but I didn't think the dungeon finder actually allowed them to queue up as such. Either way their threat generation tools are limited and at higher levels it's not really viable. I remember that elemental shaman tanking Karazhan back in BC, but that still required the whole raid to be built around helping him out.

  3. > But still, who wants to be a jerk to a parent taking care of their young?

    Playing WoW is not what I consider "taking care of their young".

    > So, why are shamans allowed to roll on tanking gear in pugs again?

    I've noticed that on my shaman. I could roll on a lot of items with defense
    like the defense trinket from Coren.

    > I've been known to whisper the tank (as healer or DPS) to let them
    > know I wasn't going to support someone who pulled instead of the tank.

    You're whispering the tank when you enter the instance to let him
    know that? Or only if someone else pulls?


    Did you also note how much nicer and friendly people got after the
    last patch? Everyone says hi, everyone seams to enjoy it again.

    ... and I had a hard time getting the DD back to use their AE. That
    was so funny. The first heroic I joined I think one or two days after
    the patch hit, everyone was only doing single target damage. Haven't
    seen that in years. :)

  4. \o/ for my formatting skills...

  5. Right after the patch I ran a couple of heroics and noticed that people seemed more talkative and a bit more laid back, presumably because most of them had to deal with changes to their class of some sort or another. People were still AoEing though. Also, the levelling instances have gone crazy in turn, since many low-levels are suddenly totally overpowered for the content. :P

  6. I thanked ZF as a shaman years ago... that instance is actually well suited to it. The mobs don't hit too hard and the tank really just has to pick up enough of them that other folks don;t die.

    (I don't think we did the snake place, that could have been hard.)