Every cloud has a silver lining, and what goes up, must come down - or in other words, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my recent string of happy pugging experiences was quickly followed by a lot of awfulness.
My rogue finally hit Outland today, but before that I did some more pugging with him... and it was painful. I haven't actually had much fun since he outgrew Sunken Temple, except for one perfectly smooth Dire Maul East run and one BRD Emperor run where I ended up completing most of the instance with just a protection warrior and a disc priest, after we had booted some troublesome elements and it didn't seem worth replacing them.
It's not so much that anyone in particular acted more horrible than usual, but the overall standard of behaviour was just shockingly low. To give you an example, I think I had more runs with people ninjaing loot than runs where everyone used the need/greed system as intended. One or two ninjas actually stopped once I called them out on it, but most just completely ignored my comments and continued their random need rolls on everything. Only in one Dire Maul East run the tank and healer decided to kick the ninja after he didn't respond to my comments about it twice. More often than not the tank and/or healer were the ninjas.
A lot of people also just came across as incredibly impatient. Maybe we simply have very different ideas of fun, but I don't particularly enjoy abandoning every other instance halfway through just to start a new run. In one BRD group someone kept spamming us with attempts to requeue for a different dungeon halfway through the run (even though we were progressing fast and smoothly) and when he didn't get his wish he went AFK until we kicked him.
During my only attempt at Lower Blackrock Spire, our tank, who seemed to be the only one who knew the way, eventually dropped group and left us somewhat stranded. When we got a new tank and couldn't immediately find our way around, again the group wanted to start over with another random instance instead. I declined, telling them that I had queued for LBRS in specific, and got the boot before I could even blink. Not that I think that they didn't have the right to enforce the majority vote, but I would have liked to at least try to convince them or else leave on my own... but no, they had to requeue now now now. What is it with all these players having the attention span of a gnat? Surely actually completing an instance run is not considered too hardcore these days?
And then of course there were the ones doing plain dense and stupid things. Like the tank who pulled mobs until he died while the healer hadn't even zoned in yet and then complained about lack of heals. Or the tank/healer duo from the same guild that had zero communication, with the tank again pulling everything in sight repeatedly and then wondering why he died. One particularly stubborn death knight tank managed to wipe the party in exactly the same way three times in a row (by aggroing the Grim Guzzler patrons with blood boil spam) before the group disbanded. Generally a lot of players seemed to be completely unable to deal with anything that made "just AoE everything in sight" a bad strategy, and I saw healers catching a lot of crap when they got silenced or things got out of control otherwise, as if it was all their fault.
I'm not sure why I've suddenly had such a streak of terrible pugs, but I have some theories.
For one thing, I noticed that Blizzard has started to merge the EU battlegroups as well now (edit: found the official announcement), though I don't know whether they are entirely done yet. You'd think that one battlegroup is already large and anonymous enough, so that adding some more wouldn't make a difference, but to be honest I was actually starting to get a decent feel for Cyclone after a year. With all those different server names popping up in my pugs all of a sudden I feel like I'm completely lost at sea again. Maybe it's just xenophobia, but I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of these new servers really did have a higher than average percentage of annoying players. Maybe it's time to start taking notes again.
Part of my chagrin definitely came from being a pure damage dealer and feeling awfully powerless in the dungeon finder group dynamics. I mean, even when I pug with my death knight as dps, I don't have to take any crap from tanks because if it comes down to it I can take over the tanking role. But as a rogue... I'm nothing. I definitely can't tank, I can't even off-heal, I'm totally dependent on the mercy of the tank and healer and can only hope that they don't act like complete douches. As it was I'm surprised that I didn't get kicked more often for calling tanks out when they behaved badly.
Still, I'm hoping that things will get a bit better in Outland, because at least the instances there are closer to Blizzard's more "modern" instance approach than all the old level sixty dungeons. I mean, I can appreciate BRD's good sides, but I do agree that the corpse run back to the instance is tedious as hell, so I can at least somewhat understand why people are more prone to dropping group there if we wipe. Plus, Outland is where the loot roll rules get a bit stricter I believe, which might curb the ninjaing tendencies at least a little. We'll see.