Almost five years ago, I wrote an article titled The 10 people you need to know in WoW. For some reason it never occurred to me to write a counterpart on the people you need to avoid. While I think these unpleasant folks are less important and influential than the people you actually want to have around, there's no denying that, once present, they can do a lot of damage to your ingame experience.
If you haven't had at least one supremely frustrating experience yet as a result of the douche-nugget brigade, you are fortunate indeed. For the rest of us, some of the following players will be all too familiar.
The Asshole Tank
"Shut up and keep up. You need the extra boss? Too bad."
Here's a sample of the Asshole Tanks that my guildies and I have seen recently:
- A warrior tank pulling all of the trash in Iron Qon's room and then dropping group with a smiley in raid chat. Yes, it was a wipe.
- A ToT-geared monk harassing a mage in blues during a Scholomance PUG and threatening to kick him because "You can't do half my DPS."
- A paladin tank ignoring pleas from fresh 90s to kill a few extra mobs in Siege of Niuzao Temple so they could finish a dungeon quest.
- A death knight tank insulting all the "bads" for dying to adds he/she couldn't be bothered to pick up on Megaera trash.
- A druid tank yelling at the healer in Scarlet Monastery because the latter couldn't keep him alive through four Scarlet Hall Guardians while stunned.
When the Asshole Tank isn't an Asshole Tank: Tanking is one of the game's more high-stress jobs, and the role tends to attract a lot of blame (fair or otherwise). Even decent people will eventually snap if a group piles more and more responsibility on their shoulders rather than spreading it around a bit.
"Thanks for the flasks. Hey, do you have 500 gold I could borrow?"
Bloodsucking Leeches come in all ages and sexes, and the only characteristic they seem to share is an overweening sense of entitlement to aid. By no means is their beggary restricted to gold; one night you'll find them in raid cadging flasks, potions, and food, and the next they'll be wheedling expensive gear and enchants off the guild's crafters. They promise to pay people back, reciprocate, or at least kick in a little for their expenses, but they never seem to get around to it. About the only time you can bet on their not being around with their hands outstretched is when you need some help:
"I'm going to go farm Tiger Steaks for feasts. Want to come?"
"Sorry, cat's on fire," says the Leech as he vanishes offline.
The real question is, where is his own money going? Pets? Royal Satchels for all of his alts? Magic beans? Nobody knows.
When the Bloodsucking Leech isn't a Bloodsucking Leech: The whole point of a guild is to band together for mutual aid, but the key part there is mutual. You're not a Leech if you're just hard up for cash after gemming, enchanting, and reforging some new drops, or if you don't have a lot of gold but can help people in other ways.
Sometimes just giving people your time is the best thing you can do. Unfortunately, our next winner is likely to abuse that.
The Class Opportunist
"Can we take my mage to ToT tonight instead?"
If a certain spec is getting a lot of good press or is consistently at the top of the damage meters, expect her to pursue it with the single-minded devotion of a greyhound on a track. Never mind that you just spent the last patch gearing her warrior; she's into her mage now. She doesn't have enough time or experience playing any spec to get the performance out of it that good players can produce, and she's upset that she's nowhere close to the numbers she's seeing on World of Logs and RaidBots. It must be a gear issue, she thinks, so she pesters everyone in hearing distance for runs, enchants, and epics rather than learning the class itself. When the next patch hits, the process starts all over again.
The Class Opportunist is the alt addict from Hell, foisted upon the mortal world by Satan himself after his 10-man got sick of her crap.
When the Class Opportunist isn't a Class Opportunist: The Opportunist can be a godsend when she's actually decent at playing her alts and your raid or challenge mode group is suddenly desperate for a particular class. She's also a convenient person to have around if she's gone to the trouble of leveling multiple professions across her toons. Auction House prices too expensive for you? No problem -- she's got the recipe on her hunter.
A savvy guild will fob the Leech and the Opportunist off on each other, spawning an endless loop of favor-trading and saving everyone else an awful lot of time and money.
The Passive-Aggressive Sociopath
"The strategy's not that complicated. I guess reading is hard ... it's just a joke. Calm down."
The Sociopath injects a little poison into any interaction with the people he deems inessential to his life. It's subtle enough that you think you're being over-sensitive, or that it's not worth picking a fight over, or that other people haven't noticed, but it's there -- a constant, contemptuous, low-level sneer. Like all poisons, it builds and builds until one of two things happens: Either you build such an immunity to it that you don't notice it at all, or the concentration reaches critical mass and starts killing you inside. Confrontation is usually inevitable and will always be unpleasant. If the Sociopath is friends with the guild leadership or just too good at his job to be /gkicked, he won't be going anywhere. You, on the other hand, might be.
The saving grace of the Sociopath is that he's rare. In 6 years, I have run into only four of them, and there's a certain pattern to their play styles. One was also an Asshole Tank, one was a main healer, one was a healer and officer, and the fourth was someone who switched between DPS, healing, and tanking with some regularity. Interestingly, none was a dedicated DPS. They were all good enough that replacing them felt like a bigger hassle than the constant alienation of their guildies, but anyone who's dealt with a Sociopath will know that's a short-term solution at best. You can recruit and train new players, but you can't train a Sociopath to be a decent person.
When the Passive-Aggressive Sociopath isn't a Sociopath: A Passive-Aggressive Sociopath is not simply a player you don't like, or someone with the unenviable task of telling you that you're doing something wrong.
The Loot Betrayer
This entry originally started out as The Legendary Betrayer, but they're a dying breed. The Mists of Pandaria approach to those beloved orange items has killed off a lot of the drama and heartache traditionally attached to them. Good riddance."See ya later, suckers!"
However, the same principle is still at work with anyone who hangs around a guild just long enough to finish a tier set or nab an amazing trinket before applying to a more progressed guild. Their leverage is all the awesome gear that you now deeply regret giving to them over someone else. The bite is especially painful if they happened to share tier tokens or stat priorities with a plurality of the raid, which means they may have set these peoples' gear progression back by a number of weeks or even months subject to what drops and when.
Now that legendary items are available to anyone who's sacrificed a goat at the altar of RNG, the items that seem to prompt this behavior most frequently are trinkets. They're uncommon drops by design, and by the time a boss finally coughs one up, half the raid will be desperate for it. There is no in-game agony like the knowledge that you passed on a rare trinket for someone who took it and ran.
Oh well. Here's your Assurance of Consequence -- an inflation-adjusted thirty pieces of silver! Pass the aspirin.
When the Loot Betrayer isn't a Loot Betrayer: This can be tricky. Guilds tend to be piqued no matter what when someone who's gotten a lot of nice drops decides that greener pastures lie elsewhere. However, most of the players concerned aren't Loot Betrayers. If you've attended raids faithfully, done a good job, and never caused problems, no one has any right to question your decision to leave, even if you had to hire a team of Sherpas to tote all your epics to the next server. However, if you're the Passive-Aggressive Sociopath who /gquit and transferred with the guild's only Val'anyr because someone with blue trinkets got Solace of the Fallen over you ... you might qualify.
The Chronic Underachiever
I like to play a little game in LFR called Spot the Ringer. Without fail, there's at least one person who's got crappy gear or an underperforming spec (sometimes both!) who nonetheless manages to trounce most of the raid's performance.
"I'm doing everything right. Stop telling me how to play my class!"
The Chronic Underachiever is not this person.
At first, his numbers can easily be explained by poor gear or not being familiar with the encounters, but as time goes on, that's less and less plausible. His DPS or healing or tanking improves, but not anywhere near as much as his gear suggests it should. Before long, he's at parity with the rest of the raid but still lagging behind, way more than any class or spec difference could possibly explain. When you have several sub-5% wipes on progression raid bosses and you're hunting for a reason, you can't help but zero in on the player who's doing half the damage of your other DPS with the same or better gear. And why is he dying so frigging much?
When pressed about it, the Chronic Underachiever doesn't acknowledge the problem or park himself in front of a training dummy to fix his rotation. He offers excuses:
- His add-ons were acting up.
- He was sick.
- His latency was bad that night.
- He was tired.
- He ran out of potions or flasks.
- He lagged through a crucial boss ability.
- His spec doesn't do well on that boss.
When the Chronic Underachiever isn't an Underachiever: A degree of variability among DPS classes is preordained. It's also true that there are "bad bosses" for particular specs and that this can be a persistent theme in certain tiers (e.g., the massive advantage held by casters over melee with the too-common Dragonwrath during Firelands). The issue gets murkier when you're trying to evaluate tanks or healers, for whom damage taken or healing throughput is a dangerously simplistic way to "grade" them.
And, while I imagine this goes without saying, a Chronic Underachiever who actively works to get better is at worst a Temporary Underachiever.
The Indifferent Significant Other
This is one of the most common tropes in all of gaming.
"Can my husband's shaman come to SoO tonight?"
Jane comes to raid every night. She has good gear. She kicks all sorts of ass. She pops her cooldowns and solos Galakras down from 3% when everyone else dies to Flames. Yay Jane! Jane is amazing. You like Jane.
Unfortunately, Mr. Jane plays too. He's not as good as Jane, but Jane really wants to bring him to raids. Eventually a raid slot opens up and you have to give it to him so Jane is happy. Mr. Jane is happy too. The rest of the raid is very unhappy. Mr. Jane dies all the time and never reads the strats and never has flasks and is terrible and also is kind of a dick.
You hate Mr. Jane. But if you kick him, Jane's out the door too.
See Spot drink.
When the Indifferent Significant Other isn't an Indifferent Significant Other: The problems with the Indifferent S.O. arise mostly from his pulling double duty as a Chronic Underachiever, a Class Opportunist, and/or a Bloodsucking Leech. If he's not any of these things and is just helping you fill a raid slot while you look for a permanent raider, you owe the guy a favor.
If Jane keeps pushing for his inclusion over his own wishes and the raid leader's, the real problem is with Jane.
The Drama Llama
There's always a little bit of controversy in even the healthiest guilds. Personality clashes and strategy disagreements are common, as are worries about bad performance while you're learning a fight. However, things usually don't get ugly among mature people until they get personal, and that's where the Drama Llama comes in. Left to his own devices, he is singlehandedly capable of destroying your guild when circumstances allow.
"You know, the officers were talking about you last night in vent."
The Drama Llama exists in two forms: The first gets involved in existing drama, and the second starts it. (Of course, there's nothing to prevent someone from being both.) The former is someone who adores gossip, creates and passes it along religiously, and will believe anything about anyone with the possible exception of a fact. The latter is incapable of handling even mild criticism or a passing spat without seeing it as a personal attack. He'll nurse a grudge against the person concerned, lick his chops, and wait for the best moment to bite back.
Needless to say, this will usually happen at the worst possible time. Sometimes it happens when your guild gets its first Illidan kill and the Drama Llama (who's already sitting on the Tempest of Chaos) decides to take Zhar'doom because he has more DKP than the shadow priest he doesn't like. A shadow priest who, incidentally, had not been able to upgrade his weapon since Kara. You can guess what happened next.
When the Drama Llama isn't actually a Drama Llama: The Drama Llama is never right. It's not about if conflict happens, it's about how you handle it.
The Haterade Chugger
I don't think there's a player out there who's happy with Blizzard's decisions all the time, but the Haterade Chugger's turned it into a deeply annoying art form.
"Thanks, Blizzard, for ruining MY F@%*$&G CLASS!"
The Haterade Chugger may well be a perfectly nice person until you get her on the subject of her class (or, in some cases, profession or faction). At that point, she turns into a frothing, bile-spewing, murderous rage-monster who cannot be placated, reasoned with, or for that matter, stopped. There's no decision the developers can make that will prevent her constant fury unless she's getting massive, game-breaking buffs in the next patch. She would consider this the logical result of a universe that had suddenly found its sense of justice. However, this will never happen.
So the Haterade Chugger soldiers on, righteously angry about all the wrongs committed against the class that she has condescended to play, and woe to the person who ventures that, well, maybe her class really isn't so badly off. The Chugger's response will be so venomous and abrasive as to send everyone running for cover. An unchecked Chugger is guaranteed to become a Drama Llama, and one with an endless vendetta against players who are obviously too stupid to see what she does.
For the Haterade Chugger, all of WoW can be reduced to double-entry bookkeeping in which she's keeping track of how "good" her class is versus everyone else's. Those books will never balance in her favor, and no one will ever convince her otherwise.
When the Haterade Chugger isn't a Haterade Chugger: The Haterade Chugger may actually be fairly accurate about her class' problems, but deeply wrong about their place within the wider context of the game. I think most of us have had at least one Haterade moment -- my own came in the early part of Wrath of the Lich King when Plague Strike allowed death knights to kill druids too easily -- but it's not something that should become a trend.
If you can calmly and rationally evaluate your class and spec's issues, suggest reasonable solutions, accept criticism, and always entertain the possibility that you might be wrong -- go nuts. All the more power to you. The developers read the forums hoping to find posts like that.
If you can't, then please, we beg you, find something else to do with your time.
Please note: The gender assignments used in this article do not reflect actual people. I'm simply alternating between them in the interests of fairness.