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In defense of ignorance

Friends, gamers, Earthicans -- lend me your ears.

One of the things that has increasingly struck me while reading peoples' accounts of the new LFG system is the frequency with which people cite getting kicked from groups due to a low gear scores, or scathing comments from other players on the extent to which they are being "carried" after damage meters are posted. Now, while I don't believe that this is an overwhelmingly common practice (most players have had positive experiences with the dungeon finder, and I'm one of them), it's still a problem. People have complained since the beginning of WoW about damage meters and the jerks who spam them, and we've all seen our fair share of the unhappiness wrought by the misuse of GearScore, but this is different. At no point in WoW's history have so many players who don't know each other from Adam been tossed into relatively intimate 5-man situations with the total freedom to be angels or asshats to each other (and, speaking of the Adam we do know, even he's given up and started to expect some bad play in his PuGs).

I am about to propose what I know is a radical departure from the standard gamer practice of reducing someone else's total worth to a number that, ideally, is lower than yours:

Don't bother.

You're happier not knowing.

Do I hear something? It sounds like a howl of protest. Before it gets any louder, I'm more than happy to admit I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who alternates between tanking and healing for 5-man groups. As a result, I have no real interest in meters and don't even use one, because there really aren't any for tanks, and spamming the healing meters in a 5-man group is the definition of pointless ("Whoo! I'm number one!").

Unless it's something that's very obviously having a negative impact on the group, or likely to have a negative impact (e.g. you're a person in greens insisting you can DPS heroic Halls of Reflection, rather than getting stuck there accidentally because the LFG system goofed -- or if you're that "Protection" paladin I ran into the other week with 500ish +defense and Mark of the War Prisoner equipped), I don't give a rat's fuzzy arse what your numbers are.

Seriously.

I don't know how much DPS you're doing. I don't care how much DPS if you're doing.

I don't know what your Gear Score is. I don't care what your Gear Score is.

And truthfully, I'd rather not know.

I'm happier doing 5-mans with people who don't raise the issue of gear once or spam damage meters or what have you. Everyone relaxes and just does the dungeon. By contrast, if someone spams the meters after the first trash pull, it takes a small miracle for the run not to devolve into a DPS pissing contest. People trying to beat each other on the meters typically abandon their raid awareness and common courtesy to do it, and as the tank or healer, I am inevitably the sucker in this arrangement.

From a tank or healer's perspective, this is what has a more significant impact on whether the group is a good one:
  • Whether you're interrupting, CCing, stunning, or otherwise impeding the efforts of a mob that is charging up a giant heal or a Level 5 Death To Tank attack. You can find these buttons in PvP, right? Is there any reason why you can't seem to find them in a 5-man? To me, there's not a big difference between a high DPS group that won't stop AoEing to interrupt a mob's heals and a lower DPS group that does.
  • Whether you're being polite. Rude people are not fun to be around.
  • Whether (if you're a hybrid healing class) you're dropping a heal if necessary when the healer is out of commission. This doesn't happen a lot in Northrend 5-mans, but the enhance shammy who rocked a clutch Chain Heal while my healer was frozen in Halls of Reflection? That guy is on my friends' list.
  • If you're constantly dying to stupid crap. It is the healer's responsibility to heal you through unavoidable damage. It is not the healer's responsibility to heal you through your refusal to avoid damage.
Please, my fellow Warcraftians, in the new year I beg you -- this game has been reduced to numbers and mods enough as it is. Use the dungeon finder to enjoy meeting new people rather than spending the whole run preening yourself over "carrying" others. You may very well be making the instance easier for them, but if you're committing any of the above sins, then that great gear of yours is "carrying" you through otherwise poor play.

EDIT: After reading The Godfather's missive on the new Dungeon Finder, I also feel the need to yell at my fellow tanks over the following:
  • Grow a pair and stay in the friggin' dungeon: Unless you get zoned into a place that you're 100% positive you don't have the gear to tank, you signed up to be sent there just like everybody else did. You know perfectly well that you're consigning people to another wait for a tank if you bolt just because you don't like Oculus (or wherever). Sorry, but that's an inexcusably jerk move even if you think the group is undergeared. People can and will surprise you, and if you're looking to satisfy that ego of yours, nothing beats running an undergeared group through a dungeon smoothly with surprised and grateful people who are all happy they got you through the Dungeon Finder.
  • The world is not going to fall at your feet just because you specced Prot (or Feral, or...): That we have an advantage while queuing for the Dungeon Finder is due mostly to the ratio of roles in today's raids and not because we are The Few, The Proud, The Tanks. We are not unique and special snowflakes. You will be replaced if you leave in a snit when the group doesn't go to your liking, and it should worry you that the group will suddenly work perfectly once the second guy zones in.
  • Don't queue as a tank unless you are actually a tank: Please, no more "protadins" with Mark of the War Prisoner, ungemmed DPS gear, and "F&$k no I don't" responses to "I think you need +535 defense to tank heroics," or Allison is going to start revoking Tank Cards right and left.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

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