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Drama Mamas: Spoilsport speed demons

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.

What happens when the Dungeon Finder matches up a group of players with the right mix of roles but the wrong mix of goals? Who "wins" when veteran players want to speed-run a lower-level instance, while the new players want to savor every surprise and puzzle over every trick? Lisa and Robin are on different sides of the fence this week. No matter which philosophy rings true for you, it's something worth agreeing on with the rest of the group at the beginning of the run.

Dear Drama Mamas: Having played a mage for the last 18 months, I decided to level my first alt, a priest. I ran into unexpected drama problems running my priest in the entry level instances using the random Dungeon Finder. You've offered excellent commentary on issues arising in endgame instances. I am soliciting your insight on conflict unique to the low-end random instances.

In contrast to endgame instances, where gear issues arise, random entry-level instances are mixing highly experienced players with people who are new to World of Warcraft. The principal conflict that arises is the first group wants to get geared and leveled as quickly as possible. The new players are there to experience what the instance offers. The first wants to run the instance quickly, the second need time. Regards, Anonymous


When in Scarlet Monastery ...

Drama Mama Lisa: Speed runs in level 80 instances have become a fact of life. True, there could be a fresh 80 in the group who would prefer time to gawk and peer and sniff around each corner. Still, the reality is that level 80 instances are once again part of the end game -- and the end game is packed with players who've seen it all a dozen times before.

Lower-level instances, however, are a different matter altogether. If you're in a pre-80 instance pushing for speed, blasting past scripted encounters and strong-arming instance mechanics -- and there are new players in the group who'd like to enjoy the full dungeon experience ... Well, you're no different than the obnoxious, popcorn-munching nerf herders behind you in the movie theater cackling "Oh-oh-oh wait, wait! Here's where the treasure falls out of the plane and is lost forever! Watch ... watch ... There! HAHAHA! And the masked man turns out to be the dude's best friend! HAHAHA! And -- oh, what? Hey! Hey! I couldn't hear what they were saying! HAHAHA! Oh, well. It doesn't matter, because I already told you the girl dies in the end, anyway! HAHAHA!"

/insert female Draenei laugh here

You know that saying about "when in Rome ..."? It goes for WoW, too. When you're in Scarlet Monastery, do as the Scarlet Monastery-level players do. Don't be a spoilsport with spoilers and speed-running.

That leaves jaded alts with a few alternatives:
  • Offer to explain and narrate as you go. Some new players might actually prefer a safe, speedy encounter, as long as you allow them to get an eyeful of the major points of interest along the way.
  • Try another group. Drop out of this group and take your chances with another batch of players. Why not kick the slowbie(s) instead? Because it's you who's created a "problem" by wanting to run the content in a special way. Just how rotten would it be to get kicked from every instance you queue up for because there are too many vets around who'd prefer a speed run? When in Scarlet Monastery ...
  • Form your own group. Find some friends on your own server to level up as a team. A little friendly support coupled with a little friendly competition goes a long way in spicing up the umpteenth road to 80.
  • Slow down and smell the roses. Check out all the little touches you never had time for before. Savor reminiscing about encounters you know like the back of your hand. And remember crowd control? Rediscover the skill -- or make yourself a more versatile player by learning it for the first time, if you've never had the opportunity until now.
  • Stick to questing. Questing allows you to run at your own pace all the way to the top.
Be democratic

Drama Mama Robin: I love instance leveling, but this speed-run/slow-enjoy discrepancy can definitely be a problem. One of the things causing it is the tendency for the same dungeon to come up over and over when you are in a certain level range. In the early 30s, for example, Scarlet Monastery Graveyard will come up every time until you level out of it. Trying to find fellow PUGgers willing to do anything but speed run on the fourth time through in an hour is near impossible. But I also have found that many long-time players are enjoying seeing the dungeons in appropriately leveled groups (as opposed to being run through by a max-level friend).

You can have the run you want in two simple steps:

  1. Announce your intentions Right at the beginning of the instance, state whether you want to be a speednik or a rubbernecker.
  2. Be democratic I disagree with Lisa in that I don't think all lower level instances should be slower and spoiler-free by default. So after step 1, take a vote. If you're in the minority, drop out. If you're in the majority, recommend that outvoted players drop. Vote-kick if necessary.
If you do stick around in a group that is too fast or too slow, don't kvetch. It's your choice, and there are plenty of like-minded people out there for you to randomly dungeon with. If there aren't, then either put together a group by hand or quest until you level into a new range of dungeons and try again then.

Players with max-level characters have another option for seeing a dungeon at their own pace. Whether you want to get the lay of the place for easier speed runs or experience the story, you can solo the dungeon on your 80. Not only will you see it the way you want to, you'll pick up some fun Achievements along the way. I highly recommend this for parents while your kids are awake, too. You can see the dungeon with as many interruptions as you want and save the uninterrupted play session for the Dungeon Finder.
Drama Buster of the Week

Hey, Dungeon Finder queue-hoppers: Please don't queue as a tank or healer if you're relying on another gear set to get you in the front door. You're not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes by signing up for a role you're not geared, specced or experienced enough to handle. If you're legitimately aiming to buff up your tanking or healing offspec, start out in normal modes and simpler instances until you get the hang of things. We guarantee you'll catch up in no time.

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, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Leveling, Drama Mamas

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