Last night I had a rather rare experience, I entered a group through the looking for dungeon tool in the upper 50’s bracket and found that I was the only person utilizing heirloom items. I was intrigued. On my first interaction with the group I had the feeling that these were players that had just recently stepped into the game without a lot of experiences, and that these may well be their first characters, and first treks through Azeroth.
The instance that was selected for us was Dire Maul East. Now, having LOVED Dire Maul back in vanilla, I am intimately familiar with the zone. But…as I find myself in this bracket in the LFD tool, I have come to realize that if you don’t know where you are going in this very large instance, you are likely to get lost in all of the corridors. This wing is especially tough as in order to have the tree bust the door down you have to clear the other mini-bosses in the zone (a change that was made back in vanilla to hinder quel’serrar farming). So, if you didn’t know that, or know that there are 4 bosses (if you include Pulsin) that you have to clear first, I could see how this zone could be frustrating and how you could get lost in the maze.
However, not to be daunted, the tank laughed and said “I’ve never been here before, I’ll need some help”. No one in the group complained and no one in the group dropped.
I piped in “Not a problem, I am very familiar with this zone!”, and went and talked to Pulsin to get us started on our way.
As we progressed, I marked skulls on the next mob that we needed to pull, and offered a helpful “this way” if people started to roam off in the wrong direction.
The group itself wasn’t experienced, they weren’t over geared, and they weren’t leaning on their heirlooms as a crutch. They were learning to play their classes in an instance meant to each just that. Largely (except for me) this group was doing the dungeon as it was meant to be done. We took our pulls one at a time. The tank didn’t just gather up as much as he could and the DPS didn’t just mash AE buttons. The pulls were calculated and careful, and there were a few that may have lead to a wipe if I hadn’t of had so much experience with druid healing. Because you know what…it was challenging.
And you know what else? It was FUN.
As we picked our way through the zone, some of the hesitation left the tank and he became a little more comfortable and confidant. Nobody was in a hurry (it probably took us 90 minutes or more to complete the dungeon), nobody was spewing “go go go” if we took too long. Hell, we even started CONVERSATION…in a PUG! Crazy, right?!
We had a wipe that was 100% my fault towards the end of the zone. We needed to go down and get the tree to break the door for us, so I told the group “time to jump” and brilliantly selected probably the worse spot in the zone to jump down, and promptly had my face smashed in by flowers. And everyone that followed me proceeded to meet the same fate.
Everyone had a good laugh, and when asked how to get back because they didn’t know, I said “don’t worry, I’ll rez you”. Of course on my trip back in, in grand fashion, I managed to agro a pather…but jumped anyhow. Thinking I could be smart, I battle rez’d the warlock and asked him to soul stone me, figuring that I could just go kill myself, drop agro and use the stone and rez. Of course there was one, very large, very fatal flaw in this plan. SSing me put the warlock into combat. So even though I killed myself and took my stone half the dungeon came charging down, led by that angry tree that I had agro’d and smashed us both to smithereens!
At this point, I had expected people to leave the group, having been my prior experience with the impatience of PuGs. But do you know what happened? The group laughed. They found it hilarious. The warlock had never seen anything like 20 trees charging him to death, the tank and shaman that released on my second peril had managed to navigate their way back to the front of the zone, only to die to a pather at the zone in…and they laughed at their misfortune. That is right, the group had a good chuckle and kept right on trucking along.
I did finally manage to get back, get everyone on their feet and we made it through the last part of the zone. But we chatted the entire way, enjoying the company of each other, learning a little bit about our experience with the game. It was as if our little adventure formed a bond between us, and we’d be damned if we weren’t going to finish it out and cleanse the corruption here.
I was a little sad when we parted ways at the end of the dungeon. It is so rare to find a group of humble, patient and enjoyable people in the LFD system that I had wanted to savor it just a little bit longer. I wondered what their other PuG experiences had been like, if some jerk in his heirlooms that knew it all rushed them through, or told the tank that he was terrible because he struggled a little with mutli-target agro. I wondered what kinds of abuse the warlock that was using spells 2 ranks below what he could train (maybe he couldn’t afford training?) was receiving, or the shaman received for asking what totems he should drop.
For me, this group was like a breath of fresh air. It reminded me that for all of the “go go go” people out there, there are also those that are still learning and enjoying the journey. I truly hope that the other members of the group also found it refreshing, and that this pleasant experience and the enjoyment that we all had in those 90 minutes will outweigh some of the more non-pleasant experiences they may have encountered or will encounter. I also hope that I have the privilege to cross paths with any one of them again at some point in my journeys.
Sometimes I think that there are a lot of people that forget what it’s like to be new to something, and that’s very sad indeed.
How about you? Have you had any really positive experiences in the game lately?