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Drama Mamas: Tank entitlement

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

There are many kinds of tanks. There are skilled, geared, uber-tanks and just-learning-how-to-taunt tanks and OMG-I've-never-meleed-before tanks and I-queued-tank-so-I-wouldn't-have-to-wait tanks. There are tanks of various personalities, talents and patience. But this week, we only concern ourselves with the tanks who think they're entitled to do whatever they want because groups are at their mercy. We have two letters that ask about this issue.
Drama Mamas,

In the past few weeks I have noticed a disturbing trend in with the dungeon finder. At least twice a week I will get into a group where one player will pull everything in sight then leave. I play a mage so this means I get killed in milliseconds, which is no fun at all.

I hate to say it, but it's usually -- OK, always -- the tank. So far the only "solution" I've found is blocking that particular player so I don't get grouped with him again, but that won't keep it from happening with other jerks.

Have either of you experienced this, or am I just extremely unlucky?

Instadeath

Dear Drama Mamas,

I'm an old hand at WoW, but recently, I decided to try something a little different. Since my husband and I started a small guild of our own, we also decided to roll a couple of characters that would basically be us in WoW form -- two orcs, his a warrior, and mine, a shaman.

So here's my problem: I'm trying to learn to heal, and shaman are the most efficient healers I've seen. However, I'm still low level, only 18, and I know that I won't be getting really useful skills to heal until I'm a little higher. However, I want to practice, and I've been trying to use low-level dungeons PUGs to do so. Most of my experiences have been pretty nice, as the first thing I say is, "I'm new to healing, so can we please go slowly and not aggro too many things?" However, that all changed two days ago, and I've been afraid to try healing again because of it.

I was in the Deadmines, and I was brought into a dungeon in progress. As soon as I arrived, I could see the problem -- the tank was aggroing too many of the goblin engineers in the foundry area. We immediately wiped, and I suggested that we try to skip the goblins in the center of the room. When we got back, we wiped again, and the tank blamed me, then left. Then we got a new tank, and she did the same thing as the first one, causing a third wipe. She began yelling at everyone for "pulling adds," and at this point, the group fell apart. Unphased, I rejoined the random dungeon finder, only to be put into a new dungeon with Tank No. 2.

She immediately started yelling, "Kick that healer! She's lousy; she let us die in the last dungeon!" A few people asked what happened, so I explained -- but all the whil,e the tank was yelling, "She's lying, she's just horrible, she can't play healers!" I ended up leaving that group and putting Tank No. 2 on ignore, but since then I've been afraid to try again, and my shaman is sitting forlorn and lonely in The Barrens.

Is there any way I can convey just how new I am at healing to future groups so I can continue to play my healer? I don't know enough people around my level on my server to make a teaching group, and I'm terrified of trying to run in a PUG now. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Shaman Scared Silly

Drama Mama Robin: I put these two emails together because I feel they both stem from the same cause: Tank Entitlement, or TE. TE has been a problem since the dungeon finder first appeared on the scene, and it's not going away any time soon. Though both tanks and healers are in demand and have shorter queues, tanks are the ones who set the pace of the PUG and therefore can make or break the experience. Of course, tanks should go at the pace of the healer. Duh. But those suffering from TE go at their own pace, regardless of level, dungeon or skill. Let's look at the the possible mindset of those whose brains are addled by TE:
  • "I don't have to wait in the queue, therefore I have the power to quit any group I want to instantly join another."
  • "Everyone else has a wait in the queue; therefore, they have to do what I say if they don't want to wait."
  • "Everyone is a baddie except for me."
  • "I am miserable in the physical world, have no control over my non-virtual life and therefore, I grief people in game to make me feel powerful."
I admit to being pretty harsh with the last one, but I think it is often the case with funsuckers.

Instadeath, griefers grief and funsuckers suck. Though I haven't personally experienced your issue, I'm sure many have, and I'm also sure it will continue during this whole summer-break-boredom-before-an-expansion thing we're going through. TE makes griefing easy in random dungeons. Put the tank on ignore and move on. Try not to let it bother you.

Scared, you're learning, and the majority of players at lower levels are learning. This is common and, as you've already found, most people are more than happy to work together in the lower levels. The bad experiences that keep you from enjoying PUGs are due to TE. Again, put the nasty tanks on ignore and try not to let it bother you. Just like with Mr. Too Sexy from last week, there is no point in arguing with those who suffer from TE. You'll just increase your own frustration as well as cause more drama for everyone else.

There is only one way I can think of to avoid TE altogether and that is to always make sure you only random with a known, good tank. This is easier said than done. But if you are planning a duo to take through dungeon leveling, plan for a healer/tank combo. If you have some guildies with baby tanks, make playdates with them. Since TE is a common problem, you could even advertise for a tank in trade chat and hold tryouts for tanks on your server with similar schedules to yours. Your queues will be shorter, too.

Drama Mama Lisa: Instadeath and Scared, I would echo Robin's advice and add an additional strong word of advice: Don't allow these boorish bullies to make you feel shoved into a corner. We've talked before about every player's ability -- your ability -- to set the tone and influence the player community. Let's take that idea for another spin.

The way you react to vote-kickers and bullies is every bit as influential to the tone of our online community as the screechings of the problem children. If group members are going way over the line with criticism and attacks, stay calm; your restraint makes it painfully obvious what shrieking harpies they really are. Don't argue with these creatures, which gives them the platform for displaying their bullying and egos that they so desperately crave. Keep using your ignore list, just as you have been. A light, well-timed comment ("Whew! Another worm leaps free from the apple barrel!") can help restore calm and establish solidarity among those of you still left in an abandoned group. What's most helpful in the long run is not to cause a commotion over how horribly you were wronged, but to counteract the effect of the bullies and spread an attitude of empowerment and respect among other players. Immaturity and callous disregard for others aren't the only forms of behavior that are contagious; your reactions can be equally powerful in creating the online world you want to live and play in.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. 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@wow.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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