I just noticed that almost all of my posts this month have been of the more thoughtful variety, so I think it's about time to have a plain old pug story.
This morning I decided to queue up to tank a random heroic on my paladin since the Call to Arms for tanks was up. I know others have ranted about how much of a failure that system is, but on my server at least it's actually been working better than I expected, so that half of the time CtA isn't even active because the queues are short enough already. I was hoping to get Grim Batol so I could finally complete my Cataclysm Dungeon Hero achievement, but ended up in Halls of Origination instead. Oh well!
I immediately noticed that there was another Earthen Ringer in my group, a warlock called Spiffy (that wasn't actually his name, but it was something similar) who had in fact also been in my Ahune group only about five minutes ago. "Hello again, Spiffy!" I said happily, though I got no response.
Actually, let me go off on a tangent here right away, in regards to the changes to the dungeon finder that are supposed to make it more likely for you to get grouped with people from your own server. Personally I haven't seen it make much of a difference, but then Earthen Ring isn't exactly a high population server these days. Only when I'm tanking or healing do I occasionally get grouped with a dps from my home server, presumably because there's a pretty large pool of them to draw from.
However, what's been more interesting to me is who I don't get grouped with as often. I used to get grouped with people from Stormscale all the damn time for example, and they didn't have the best reputation. They practically seemed to own the dungeon finder in my battlegroup. Lately however I've hardly seen any trace of them - presumably they all get grouped with each other. I'm not sure whether that's actually made a difference to the quality of my pugs, but it does feel to me as if players from the smaller servers tend to be a bit more laid back.
Anyway, back to Halls of Origination. Zinn wrote a nice guide the other day on how to handle the first trash pull in there, and I completely managed to mess it up. Mobs were all over the place, but thankfully the rogue had been clever enough to sap one of them, which limited the ensuing chaos at least a little. Oh well. We progressed reasonably smoothly anyway, and killed the first boss without any problems.
At one point during the trash Spiffy lagged behind for a bit, and explained afterwards that he had been disconnected for a minute. The same thing had happened to him on Ahune earlier and almost left us with too little dps to avoid a third add phase, but he came back in time and it was fine, so I shrugged it off in this case as well. However, one of the other dpsers made a comment about wanting to kick him once their cooldown was up. I said nothing, but when the vote actually came up I voted no and it failed. Spiffy seemed a bit flustered, apologising for his connection problems and offering to leave if people wanted him gone. I told him that no, it was all right, and nobody argued. Sometimes it's good to be The Tank.
To go off on another tangent... kicking someone for disconnecting once on trash? Really? People really ought to put some more thought into these things. No wonder that there are so many complaints on the forums about the vote-kick cooldown being too long. I don't even have a cooldown, and I've never had a problem getting rid of someone who acted like a douche. I've even kicked multiple people in quick succession if they were a problem. However, fact of the matter is that in the vast majority of runs, I have no reason to kick anyone. Someone disconnecting briefly is not a reason. The system is working fine. If you've got a two hour cooldown on your vote-kick function, the problem is you. End rant.
Back to Halls of Origination, again! As we moved up to the elevator, I asked whether anyone wanted to do any of the optional bosses but didn't get a single answer. One could consider that rude, but I prefer to think that people were simply stunned into silence by a pug tank actually asking for their opinions. I told them that I took their silence as a no and made straight for the Vault of Lights.
On the trash pull in the hallway leading up to it I borked up once again and faceplanted, as the healer couldn't keep me up through the crazy damage I was taking. I immediately apologised, assured him that it wasn't his fault and told everyone else that they were doing a great job finishing off the rest of the mobs without me. I guess it's very obvious that I'm mainly a healer.
I was slightly worried about Spiffy disconnecting in the Vault of Lights and getting eaten by troggs, but nothing of the like happened. In fact, I don't think he disconnected again for the entire rest of the run. We killed Anraphret without any problems and finished with Rajh. I didn't actually look at Recount, but the dps seemed pretty low, considering that the latter went through two of his AoE phases before dying, while some groups can kill him before he even finishes the first. No matter, it was good enough.
Now, some people drop group as soon as they get the dungeon complete message and don't even wait for the loot rolls to finish, but I tend to hang around a bit for no real reason other than that I want to still be there in case anything unusual happens. Also, for some reason I don't like being the first person to leave - it's as if I need confirmation from someone else that we're truly done.
In this case this turned out to be a good thing, as I noticed that nobody else was leaving either and people started to move down the stairs back towards the centre of the floor. "Let's do the optional bosses!" someone suggested and I quietly shook my hands at my monitor in exasperation. Why did nobody say anything when I asked about this exact thing earlier? But hey, my offer still stood, so we ended up going back to do most of the instance after having officially completed the instance. Not something you do every day!
I half expected someone to drop out and leave us stranded and unable to replace them, but nobody did. It was only then that I noticed that the three people who weren't me or Spiffy were all from the same server and guild, which explained why they were so happy to stick together. How did I make it through the whole run without noticing that? For shame. At least it explained how my single vote had been enough to prevent Spiffy from being kicked.
Doing the optional bosses in Halls of Origination is always quite funny in my opinion, because you pretty much inevitably end up with someone who's way overgeared for the place but has no clue about the boss fights because they've only ever gone straight for Rajh. Setesh is and was very good in this regard, as I saw the feral druid clumsily going after the adds instead of attacking the boss for example. Again dps was low and my game was starting to lag from all the adds I was tanking but eventually he died after all and I laughed with relief.
They were even happy to go back downstairs and kill Ptah, as I had noticed that I didn't have the camel achievement on my pally. Of course then I ended up losing my camel just before the boss died, but such is life.
Overall this was one of those runs that made me feel really good. What friction there was ended up being resolved amiably, and the fact that the entire party happily stuck together to clear out the rest of the instance after Rajh was one of those things that always gives me hope that at least some WoW players still care about other things than simply getting the optimal amount of badges per minute.