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Drama Mamas: It's not you - it's them

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

You can't fix other people. "Good Intentions" discovered that hard truth last week, after writing in for help coping with the fallout of a BoP misloot that rendered him a social pariah. When it's other people's issues, attitudes and behavior that are causing the problem, sometimes the only alternatives are to grit your teeth and endure or to cut the line and move to another fishing hole.

This week, we hear from a newly 80 player who can't seem to gear up fast enough for everyone around him. We also revisit the unfortunate scarcity of a particular WoW netiquette basic that continues to set one incensed player's teeth on edge. On to the drama!

Everyone's a critic
Dear Drama Mamas: I recently hit 80 on my main toon. I joined a group for a heroic about a week after dinging, after a guildie invited me. When I arrived in the instance, he immediately began whispering me about my low-level gear in a very derogatory tone. I am generally a solo player by default, since I am on later at night after the kids are asleep, so I haven't had a lot of experience in Wrath dungeons. I feel I did my job (DPS) okay, considering, but when we wiped repeatedly on an easy boss, the healer blamed me for the wipe.

I am trying slowly to gear up as best I can, but now I am anxious about joining groups. My question is: how do you react to being put down because of your gear while still being polite (even if others aren't)? I'll be trying to gear myself out solo as best I can, in the meantime. -- Gearless and Group-Shy


Drama Mama Lisa: Gearless, you've nailed the heart of the matter: it's not you – it's them. Admittedly, it's easy for players to become sucked into an elitist endgame mentality that causes them to feel somehow justified for berating and lording it over newer players. The only thing these players demonstrate when they diss rookies for not having the very gear that they're so obviously working toward is their own social ineptitude. Establishing their superiority (or shifting the blame for their own mistakes) by putting you down, Gearless, makes these rude little twits feel important.

You know you need better gear, and you're working on curing your shortcomings there. Check. Unfortunately, you can't cure other people's bad manners. What you can do is to appeal to their vanity -- and maybe even win them over to your side. Compliment them on their gear and ask a question that allows them to flex: "Wow, you can really put out the burst damage. I see both of your trinkets are raiding rewards. Was it hard to get them?" After they strut forth with a reply, come back with a comment that lets them know that while you may be new, you're still savvy: "Yeah, I've been reading the latest threads on Elitist Jerks, and I'm working on getting my StatX to ### -- time to run more InstanceY to get my ItemZ!"

In the meantime, Gearless, be gentle with their boorish noobitude. You may be a newbie at World of Warcraft, but socially inept players are noobs at life.

Drama Mama Robin: Hey Gearless, I consulted The Spousal Unit (who is an interminable loot snob and leader of a raiding guild) about how best to gear up for heroics. It turns out there are a few ways you can acquire gear so that you can pass muster with rude groupies.

  • Reputation Garnering reputation with the various Northrend factions is a great way to get heroic-ready gear.
  • Crafting The various crafting professions have high-end solutions for your heroic needs.
  • Quests Keep questing! Many of the rewards will upgrade your solo gear. The instance quests give the best rewards, but those can be done on non-heroic.
  • Non-heroics Doing the regular versions of instances not only help you gear up for heroics, they help you practice your general grouping skills and get you familiar with boss mechanics.
  • Enchant and gem Even if you plan to replace the gear you have with items you get in the heroics, you should definitely put gems in and enchant the gear you have before you join a group. Empty gem slots and a lack of enchants make gear snobs very catty.
Your class column here at WoW.com and the class forums at worldofwarcraft.com have gear guides to help you shop. Good luck!

Ninja invites are a no-no
Dear Drama Mamas, could you please inform the clods that inviting to groups without asking first is not only rude, it's disruptive? I can't go into Outland or Westfall on my alts without being hit by group invites. Isn't it bad enough that they are spamming general chat with their begging? You're supposed to be helping people with etiquette. Help them! Signed, Incensed About Invites

Drama Mama Robin: Chill, Winston! Yeah, it sucks, but there's not much we can do here. Blizzard recommends on their loading screens to ask before inviting, and anyone with common sense and basic manners know that a brief tell before a group invite is the right thing to do. Obviously, we are not going to be able to reach all of the invite spammers; this behavior is going to continue.

I also hate to tell you this, but just like gold-selling spam, they do it because it works. /sigh

Pro tip: If you group (but not raid) with a friend of any level who is in another zone, you can still get all of the experience and loot without any group penalties and don't have to worry about random invites. But then you won't be able to do that lovely impromptu grouping that happens when you show up at a hard-ish quest boss along with other questers. Good luck!

Drama Mama Lisa: There is a situation where it can be acceptable to shoot out a group invitation with no preamble: when you're questing in the same area as another player for obviously the same purpose. If the mobs aren't particularly dense and you feel relatively safe, it's nice to send a whisper first ("Hey man, you here for the birds, too? Wanna group?"), especially if you're not certain the other player is on the same stage of the quest as you.

But sometimes, it makes more sense to slam that invite out there quickly. If you've just starting hacking on the quest boss and another player rolls up, get him into the group immediately so he can share in the kill; it's easier and safer for you and helps out the other guy, too. (If the other player belongs to the other faction, you can always use emotes to coordinate a team effort.)

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

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