Like many people this weekend, I spent a good deal of time utilizing the new dungeon finder tool. I did groups with all my characters from Beru to Tsuname. Some I did as complete PuGs, and some Brade joined me as a tank and we just had to PuG DPS. Overall, my groups have been fairly solid, with just a few hiccups, and I’ve only had to place 3 people on ignore. But I have noticed one thing: more often than not, the groups never say a single thing to each other.
I really do like the dungeon finder tool, and it is quite clearly very popular. But I wonder if it has taken some of the socialization out of what is supposed to be a social game. It is a little bit disconcerting to enter into a group and never even get so much as a “hello” or “good evening” before you get down to business. I understand that people aren’t necessarily there to shoot the breeze, but would a little bit of social courtesy be such a bad thing?
Let me give some examples from my experiences over the weekend:
Example 1 – Communication is Key
I entered a forge of souls group late one evening on my shaman as a healer. The tank was a DK, and was actually from my server, although I didn’t know him. He didn’t have splendid life, but sat somewhere around 30k hp, and so I figured “why not, let’s give it a go”. Because, well, it would have been really shitty to dump the guy without giving him a try. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
We get started with the group and the first large pull is a complete disaster, with just about everyone in the party, including myself tanking something. This is hugely frustrating, but I figured that I’d give the guy the benefit of the doubt, and see what happened on the next pull. It was the same disaster as the first one. At this point the hunter in the group starts complaining loudly. The tank apologizes and explains he’s struggling and has never done the zone before.
Being fairly experienced, I figured out why he was struggling almost immediately. And I also know that it wasn’t entirely his fault. The DPS were all playing “pick the target”, and were all attacking something different, rather than assist the poor tank, who was trying. Of course, this meant that the tank was chasing himself in circles trying to pick everything up. So, instead of complaining or giving up, I was (wait for it)…constructive!
I made the suggestion that perhaps it would be smoother if we marked targets and provided a kill order, and then asked the tank if he’d like me to mark targets. He responded in the affirmative, I marked each pull, and we finished the instance without incident. As it turns out, the tank wasn’t bad, per se…the DPS were just inconsiderate. Once we got everyone on the same target, it fixed all of the problems with the group. And all it took was for me to pinpoint the obvious problem and make a constructive suggestion…and for the group to be receptive to it.
It was this bit of communication that made the group a success.
Example 2 – Don’t Piss Off the Healer
The new dungeon tool has added another layer of anonymity to grouping with people who you may never see again. This in turn means that you are likely to encounter a whole new level of douchebaggery at some point in your adventures.
Brade and I queued for the daily random dungeon, he on his warrior (I think) and me on my druid. We were assigned to Gun’drak. Which isn’t a terrible instance and can be cleared quite quickly. I can’t recall everyone that was in our group, save a ret paladin. I don’t recall which boss it was that Brade pulled…but he pulled from range, as is his habit on that boss, and before the boss even got to him, the ret paladin unleashed and pulled threat, finding himself dead in short order.
I battle rezed him and politely commented that it would be best for him to let the mob actually, you know, get to the tank before attacking. He snapped back that “this tank is a noob and everyone knows you charge this mob”, or some such thing. Ok, Mr. paladin, clearly not everyone charges the mob…and seeing that the warrior was standing back and pulling, perhaps that should have clued you in! Of course, the paladin kept ranting on and on about how bad the tank was…
Ok asshole. 1) The tank is my man, you better step back, only I am allowed to tell him that he sucks. And while I do not expect you to KNOW that, you can clearly see that we are in the same guild, so insulting him is probably not going to make me happy. 2) And when I defended Brade, he started insulting me. Yes, Mr. Paladin, you have clearly forgotten CARDINAL RULE NUMBER ONE: DO NOT PISS OFF THE HEALER. After I added the prick to my ignore list, I spent the rest of the instance NOT healing him. I spent more time and effort remember not to cast wild growth, for fear he would inadvertently get my heals than I did having to heal the rest of the zone.
A little common courtesy will go a long ways!
Example 3 – Not Saying Anything At All
I think this is probably even worse the prick paladin above…in a way. I don’t mean to say that I’d like to deal with assholes all of the time. But at least then I know that there are PEOPLE behind the computer, and not just robots doing a job. I, personally, love the social aspect of the game, and meeting new people. So I *always* give at least a “hello” as I join the party.
I had wanted to do the first of the new instances with my mage, because I hadn’t done them with her yet, and so I asked Brade if he’d bring one of his tanks with me so it would be easier for me to get a group. He chose to bring his warrior, who is sitting somewhere around 32k HP. Not super beefy, but also not difficult to heal, either.
The dungeon finder pairs us up with a group that includes a paladin healer. We all get zoned in, and before we know it the paladin has left the party. I can only guess that she took one look at Brade life and bailed. But she never said anything, didn’t give it a pull to see how it would go. Just bailed. Had she said something, Brade would have told her that if he was too hard to heal, he’d get on a beefier tank for the run. But no, she never communicated anything before leaving. *sigh*
We queue up for another healer, and a priest is assigned to the group. The priest himself isn’t geared to the teeth, with a mana pool at about 18k. So we get started, the first pull being fine, but after the pull Brade wanted to add in his cleave glyph that he likes to use for instances. It only takes about 5 seconds to reglyph. However, the huntard in the group decides that he’s not patient enough to wait, and pulls…with Brade still standing in the entrance sorting his glyphs.
Of course, the pull is an absolute disaster. But, we survive. The healer, however, didn’t feel like dealing with it and, again, without communicating anything just drops the group. I politely ask the hunter to let the tank pull, to insure that the tank is ready. “lol, don’t tell me how to play noob, ever heard of misdirect”. I sat there scratching my head wondering how in the hell this huntard misdirected to a tank that was not only out of range, but out of line of sight as well. Clearly, he must have mad skills. However, if he had just ASKED if Brade was ready, we might have kept going without incident.
At this point, I have added two more people to my ignore list, and I look at Brade and say “let’s reform”. So, we drop the group and head back to Dalaran to requeue. At this point, I’m frustrated and was like “I’ll just get on Earenn, so we can get the group done”. He tells me to be patient, since the whole point was getting a group for my mage, and that if we queue up again, and can’t seem to get a healer to stick, he’d grab someone with a bit more life. So, back into the queue we go.
This time we are paired up with a DK, resto druid and something else. We all said our hellos, and the group started without incident. (Honestly, I think people who play resto druids are just good natured folk). About halfway through the zone, which is going very smoothly, Brade asks how hard he is to heal. The druid responded, “surprisingly easy”. The DK at this point chirped up too, and said that he was skeptical at the start of the zone, but it was going quite smoothly, much to his surprise also. The group went so well, we were asked if we intended to keep going!
A few things happened here, a few folks learned that you don’t need 40k HP to run the new instances…and that sometimes, skill and competence really is greater than gear. And it shows that the group that communicates with each other stand a greater chance of success.
As for the first paladin that left…yea, gear snob. There is a lot to be said about knowing the instance and how to actually play your class, and those things cannot be learned through the mere obtaining of shiny epic loots.
So, what do I think? I think that a little bit the dungeon finder does discourage people to communicate with each other. They aren’t required to speak up to get into the group, and the groups will be put together without having to say much of anything. If they are in a poor group, they is little motivation to talk through the problems, because it is faster and easier to just bail on the group and be assigned to a group that may be better. I think that part of the dungeon finder is rubbish.
I have yet to bail on a group just because we’ve had a few wipes. I have yet to bail on a group because I zone in and see a tank with 24k HP. These are heroic dungeons. This is how people are supposed to gear up! I understand that. If I see something that could be fixed to make my job as a healer easier, I happily offer polite comments to see if the group is receptive to them. But too many people, I feel, make snap decisions and have no interest in talking through things. While this may be the only thing that I dislike about the group finder, it’s a pretty big thing!
How about you? Do you find that groups are less communicative now than they were before? Do you find that people are more likely to bail than work through a rough spot?