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aka Leigh and Bloom vs Totems and/or Mind Control.

One thing we’ve found we can count on DPS for, is being more interested in hitting mobs than helping out.

We have experienced many, many instances with totems that should be taken care of by the DPS.  However, it’s far more often that Bloom or myself are the ones attacking them.  Now, while this is ridiculously annoying, it’s not necessarily that dangerous.

…until you get into the realm of mind control totems.

Evil Leighroy takes a swing at Symitar-Dethecus.

Now, if the DPS is the victim of a totem such as this, that’s ok.  I’ll probably be the only one killing the totem, but no one gets too hurt.

However, if I’m the one being mind controlled…people die.

I’m not joking.

I have killed teammates under the influence of these totems.  I believe I may have even caused a wipe once.  And sometimes, we’re only saved by Bloom’s desperate moonfire-spam.  And as you can see by the screenshot, I’ve almost taken care of poor Symitar, too.

(Bloom says: sometimes she even stuns me, to keep me from healing the dps while she slaughters them. She feels neither mercy nor remorse.)

Often, I relish this.  Perhaps given a little fear, a DPS will be more willing to take care of totems.  Also, it’s kind of fun to see how OP I am  :)

Moral: Always kill totems.  ALWAYS.

aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Rudekin

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother.

Leighroy and I have been rocking the low-level Outland dungeons pretty hard the last few days. For the most part this has actually gone pretty well. No one can beat Leigh on the damage charts yet, and some of the Death Knights we meet are still pretty bad at their jobs (while some are quite good), but for the most part things have been going smoothly. But every once in a while …

We hit Blood Furnace for the nth time, and on the first pull our boomkin, Erustari from the Gul’dan server, took aggro with his AoE. His fault in a way for not waiting long enough, but that’s okay, it happens. Even though he was standing right next to the tank when he took this aggro, he began to run around the room, forcing Leigh to chase his mobs down to get them off him. We pointed out that he should stay next to the tank.

Apparently he didn’t like this plan, because he ran ahead of the group and body-pulled some more adds, running them back to us. He offered some half-assed explanation that they were stealthed, even though they weren’t. He then began to laugh and tell us that he was just fucking around. I told him not to, so of course he insulted me.

Rather than leave his sorry ass and drop group, I told him that he wouldn’t get any more heals from me. He continued to be rude. So Leigh looked at the random dungeon debuff time remaining and told him that he had ten minutes to redeem himself.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because when that runs out, we’re kicking you.”

Rather than take this opportunity to heart, he began to argue with her and make up excuses for his behaviour, claiming that we had attacked him and he was only defending himself. He then resolved to continue being an ass because we were going to kick him anyway. Leigh told him that she wouldn’t if only he would shut up and do his job.

For a miracle, at that point he actually did. I don’t think a single other word was said through the whole run except to congratulate someone who levelled. We finished the dungeon and went our separate ways. And I put him on my ignore list, because seriously, I don’t heal people who insult us.

Other highlights of the night’s excursions include a pair of mages who informed us they were “gangsta”, talked incomprehensibly among themselves, pulled groups of mobs and then ran to the tank, then insulted Leigh and laughed about it. Needless to say, we left those idiots behind and went somewhere else.

There was also a great incident in Slave Pens where one of the dps swam out toward Quagmirran, the end boss, with the tank nowhere around. Leigh asked him what he was doing, so he turned around and said “lol”.

“Ohahahaha, getting yourself killed,” said Leigh. “lol / ahaha / :P / it’s sooooooo funny when dps do things they’re not supposed to! / ahahahaha / ahaha”

The dps lolled again as we killed the boss, and smiled, and apparently thought he had done a great job.

“In case you were wondering,” said Leigh, “I was being very, very sarcastic.”

The poor dps left the group without replying to that. Maybe with a lesson learned? We can only hope.

Moral: I know you’re playing to have fun, but so is everyone else. Being rude to people and “fucking around” to make things harder for them is not fun. It’s selfish, and we will kick you for it if you insist on being an ass.

aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Solo Wonders

One truth of World of Warcraft, especially in these days of increased experience gain, heirlooms, and easier access to gear, is that every spec of every class can safely solo to 80, with some specs having a faster time of it than others. Playing solo is pretty simple — you take aim at something, you kill it, you run if there are too many of them.

But being a good solo player and being a good group player are two very different things. In a group you have to take into account the abilities and roles of everyone in the party, think about how they can work together, and do things properly so that everyone survives and progresses smoothly and efficiently. At least, that’s the theory. If you are like far too many of the dps we’ve encountered, you can also simply play like you’re by yourself, ignore all the helpful things you can do for a group, roll on your gear and go home. But then you get mean blog posts made about you.

The other night we were in Lower Blackrock Spire for the first time, and one of our group members was a retribution paladin (Leigh, you’ll have to put in his name if you can, I think you ignored him for us). He did pretty decent dps, so he obviously knew the straight up damage-causing mechanics of his class and spec, but the more we played with him, the more we realized he was secretly a bad dps player.  You know, his dps wasn’t even that good, so he must have been doing SOMETHING wrong.  Besides the obvious, of course.

For starters, he would constantly go after the targets Leigh had the least aggro on, the one that her Avenger’s Shield didn’t hit, the one she wasn’t targeting. Perhaps he just loved the sight of aggro going to him for a moment and forcing Leigh to taunt off him. Maybe that made him feel like a big boy, I don’t know. At one point I watched him jump into a group of un-pulled spiders and consecrate them when the rest of us were still looting the last group of spiders. I know you’re a paladin and super-tough and all, but saving your ass from spiders starts to feel like a waste of my mana after awhile.

He also had no concept of debuffs and cleansing. The trolls in LBRS can use a magic attack to turn the tank into a frog, which clears aggro and turns the trolls loose on the rest of the group for a fair chunk of time. This is a fairly bad thing to have happen, because there are trolls running everywhere, other trolls can be pulled by accident, the healer takes a lot of the heat, and everyone is losing health at the same time. If only there were someone else in the group who could cleanse magical effects! Like another paladin. Oh, that’s right, there was.

We specifically asked him to cleanse the tank when she was turned into a frog, but he ignored us. Maybe he didn’t even know he had such an ability, and wasn’t about to take our word for it.

(A funny side effect is that every time Leigh chewed him out for something, be it taking aggro or not cleansing, the boomkin in our group thought she was talking to him, and this led to the oddest disassociated conversations. He also thought her taunt macro yell was directed at him, and had to be reassured several times that this was not the case.)

This all got me thinking about the many cases I’ve seen where people just don’t seem to understand how their class/spec fits into a group. So it’s Lesson Time with Lifebloom.

Buffs: If you have a helpful buff, give it to people. This is so simple a concept I shouldn’t even have to say it, but anyone who’s been in a pre-80 random group probably knows what I’m talking about. Mages who don’t give Arcane Intellect, paladins who don’t give blessings, shamans who don’t drop totems, we’ve seen it all. I really shouldn’t have to ask you for a buff.

Cleansing: I understand that this one is trickier. If you play with the default UI, chances are you have no idea when anyone other than yourself is debuffed, and chances are even better that you can’t be arsed to search through your quickbars to find your debuff-removal ability. But there are some nasty debuffs out there, and the faster we get them off the group, the faster we’ll progress and the better we’ll do. Personally I recommend grabbing Decursive, a simple and excellent cleansing tool.

A sound will play when anyone in your group gets a debuff that you can cleanse, and then all you have to do is click their coloured box in the Decursive frame and wham, you’ve cured them, and you don’t even have to physically switch targets to do it. It’s really that simple. The most complicated it gets is when you have two decursing abilities, such as a druid and a priest have, and then you have to know whether to right-click the box or left-click it. Your party will thank you. Well, okay, that’s a lie. Your party probably won’t even notice. But you’ll all do better, trust me.

Crowd Control: I know this isn’t half as important as it used to be, back in the mists of time, but you should still know how to do it just in case. Tanks these days can hold aggro against legions of enemies, but crowd control can be the difference between victory and a wipe during hard pulls or when shit just plain goes wrong.

Mages, you can polymorph things, this is an incredibly useful and powerful ability that can save your ass. I know, the dps or the tank will probably break your cc, but that’s their fault.  You can always yell at them if they were the ones who told you to CC. :) Druids, you can root your enemies for a short period of time (I had to do this the other day when I was the only person still alive and a mob interrupted my rezzing, so that I could stand clear and get a battle rez off on Leigh). The list goes on and on — just about every class can do something. Learn what it is, and practice it for when things go bad.

Focus Fire: AoE is king of the damage game right now, but not every class has it for every situation when levelling. Unless a kill order has been established or is generally recognized (ie. kill the healer first), you should start by attacking the same target the tank is. Tanks will target-switch (at least warriors will), but the first enemy they smash is the one they’re going to have the most threat on to start the fight. If everyone attacks that enemy first, it’ll be dead by the time the tank has good threat on everything, and everyone goes home happy. If you just pick a random target, or even worse if you go after the target the tank has the least threat on, then the fights last longer and sometimes you get a mob in your face. And if you ever complain about the tank’s threat when your target selection is moronic, expect the tank to hate your stupid ass.  A good way to achieve this is to press F-F, the default hotkey for Assist.  Generally speaking, everything will be looking at the tank initially–assisting once will target the tank, assisting again will target what the tank is targeting.  Problem solved!

Know Your Threat: I don’t mean that every dps should have Omen running. It’d be handy, but is not required. What I mean is that every class has abilities that do more or less threat than others, and you should not start out with your big guns. For classes with tanking abilities, such as warriors and death knights, don’t open with your high threat abilities. Feel free to sling some of them around once the tank has a comfortable lead, but don’t open with them, please. Mages, don’t start charging your pyroblast while the tank is still running in. AoE classes, let the tank get things in hand before you open up with your blizzard or your volley or your whatever. Unless the tank is completely incompetent, it’s your own fault for taking aggro, and a meaner healer than me would let you die for it just out of principle.

Some things to remember: Your portrait will have a yellow glow when you’re climbing a mob’s threat table.  It will proceed to orange, and eventually red–when it gets to red, you already have aggro.  At that point, I might throw you Righteous Defense, but if the healer also has a red portrait, Imma throw it on Bloom first, so you might be SOL.

Know Your Role: For the love of God, let the tank pull. I know hunters used to do it sometimes, but those days are over, except for some boss misdirects. Everything is so much better when the tank doesn’t have to taunt off you before they even have a chance to establish threat. If the healer is in trouble and the tank can’t get there, pull the mob to yourself, especially if you wear mail or plate. If you have a higher armor class than someone being attacked, try to pull the mob to yourself instead, you’re easier to heal. If you have a mob on you, go to the tank. Do not run away.  You know what, even on my mage, if something’s going after the healer, I usually do something to take it off.  Sure, I usually DIE in the process, but it’s better than something chewing on the healer and them having to try to heal themselves, and everyone else.

Also, hunters don’t get misdirection until 70, if I remember correctly.  I don’t want to see them frigging pulling things unless they have swirlies on their heads.  Kapish?

Line of Sight: If you ever get a caster on you, for whatever reason, find a way to break line of sight (or spell distance if all else fails) so that it has to run toward you and hopefully also toward your group. Bringing casters together is the key to destroying their squishy butts. Leaving them at range is the key to bringing too many adds into the battle.

Miscellaneous: Warlocks, soulstone the healer. Do you know how many warlocks I’ve seen soulstoning themselves in a five-man? What the goddamn hell is wrong with you? If you die, then either the healer and tank are already dead and it’s a wipe in which case your ability to pop back to life does no one any good, or else you pulled aggro and the party will do just fine without you until combat is over and they can rez you normally. Do not waste your soulstone on yourself in a group, please.

Hunters, death knights, put your pets on passive. Don’t even put them on defensive, go straight to passive, do not pass go, do not collect $200. A pet that goes after unpulled mobs or runs off after a caster that poked it is a pet that everyone hates. You must be in control of what your pet is doing. Hot-key his key abilities and his attack command, and keep him where you want him, doing what you want him to do.

Rogues:  Yes, you’re sneaky.  We get it.  That doesn’t mean that mobs can’t see you when you get too close, and it doesn’t mean people won’t follow you.  Also (though this hasn’t happened in a while), picking pockets is NOT, contrary to popular belief, more important than poking things with daggers.

Shamans: We love your totems.  We do not so much love when they snuggle up to other mobs.  But considering that we barely get shamans who use totems in the first place, we WILL forgive you. (Especially if you let Lifebloom snuggle up to the mana spring totem too. Oh, sweet mana spring.)

Moral: If you put some effort into playing your class better, logic dictates that you won’t be quite so bad at it.

aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Angry Mage Tank

A couple nights ago we found ourselves in Sunken Temple for the last time ever. After approximately a thousand runs through the place in our late 40s and early 50s, this came as something of a relief — our party members constantly manage to get lost in the place. But before we could truly escape, we had to have one last showdown with a terrible dps.

The player in question is Pheen, a mage from the Stormreaver server. Things went downhill in a hurry, as Pheen found himself with two imps on him while Leigh was tanking a group of mobs further down a passageway.

A mage faced with this situation has a few options. One, he can frost nova the mobs and either back up to kill them or run to the tank. Two, he can use his blink spell to escape and run to the tank. Three, he can realize there’s a healer right there with him and that he can burn the two little imps down without a problem. Or four, he can immediately begin spewing insults and then refuse to stop for the rest of the run. Three guesses which option is Pheen’s favourite.

Pheen wasted no time, even while killing the imps safely with a healer right there in range, to start calling Leighroy a retard and a bad tank. Because obviously, you know, she should have psychically known that he was under attack way back there and should have dropped all her tanking in order to rush back and save him from the two little imps, arriving at the same time as he’d already killed them anyway. Obviously.

Unable to get over his sudden burning rage, Pheen continued to insult Leigh, including, bizarrely, taking a dig at her spelling, which is hilarious because a) she types better than 99.9% of the game population and b) well, just wait till we get to the screenshot below.

Taking matters into his own little gnome hands, Pheen began pulling mobs and attempting to mage-tank. Leigh ignored him and moved on to other enemies when he pulled some, further fuelling his anger. I told him that I wouldn’t heal him if he was pulling mobs, which turned his anger toward me. He ice blocked, saving himself and putting all of his aggro onto me, because of healing threat. A tree druid healing herself is pretty hard to kill though. So, y’know, nice try asshole.

We jumped down into the dragons and Pheen took some more damage. I kept my eye on his health and rescued him before he died. He jumped all over me, saying that druids were terrible healers and I was the reason why. Our boomkin told him to stick a sock in it, to which Pheen replied that he should “stfu and waddle away”.

Figuring that we had mined him enough for blog material, and deciding that he had to go now that he was turning his insults on other players, I prepared to kick him from the group as soon as our current combat was over. I’m glad I didn’t manage to do it, because Pheen then delivered a tremendous speech:

Pheen gives a stirring farewell speech, so insightful and cutting that everyone was instantly ashamed that we hadn't pampered his ass all run long.

Click the picture and give that a read. Seriously. My friends, that is some epic buffoonery right there. If any of you, ever, for whatever reason, feel the urge to say something like this to a group of people, remember this post and hesitate. Pheen left the group, and we spent the rest of the run laughing about this.

My only regret is that I didn’t get to say “No one insults mah boomkin” and then kick his ass.

So long, Sunken Temple. Your twisted passageways gave us so many interesting groupmates.

Moral: Take some responsibility for your own play. If you blame everything on others and act like an enormous asshole, the tank won’t save you, the healer won’t heal you, and you’ll be all alone, with no one listening to your endless bitching. And the gameplay-wise lesson is that you should take mobs to the tank. Never expect the tank to come to you; sometimes they will if they can, but tanks don’t look at party health bars a lot because that’s not their job, they probably have no idea you’re under attack. If you have to lose an ounce of dps to bring your mob over to the tank so you can have your life saved, well boo hoo. Chances are good it’s your own fault that something is attacking you anyway.

aka Leigh and Bloom vs the Tremendously Epic Shaman.

I appreciate good gear as much as the next player…but I also appreciate modesty.

When we first entered Inner Mauradon with Shammyshock (I’ll confirm the server later), he wasted no time before linking all of his gear, boasting, and running off to agro things by himself.

My first thought was, “God, I need to beat his dps…” and my second thought was, “I really hope he dies.”

As we carried on through this short instance, Shammyshock continued to gloat.  Eventually, I informed him that he was ridiculously annoying.  He responded with something like, “It’s just because I’m better than all of you put together!”

We had to endure him through LandslideDuring the trash leading up to Princess Theradras, he became slightly more bold and arrogant, and Lifebloom suggested he demonstrate his prowess by taking down the next two earth elementals by himself.  He began, but the hunter in our group accidentally pulled one off, and I tanked it.

He was rather pleased with his accomplishment, but Bloom wasn’t impressed.  She said, “The hunter pulled one off you!  You should take the next group.”

I said in guild chat, “30 seconds til we can boot him!”

He stood up from drinking, prepared to run in…And I initiated a vote to kick him, which obviously passed.

Our Princess kill was mercifully quiet.  Silence, in this case, is Epic.

In the end, I didn’t beat him in DPS, nor did he die…but he beat me by very little, a percent or less if I remember correctly, and I was in blues, greens, and heirloom gear.  I think that speaks volumes about his skill level.

Moral: Just because you have high DPS does not necessarily mean that people will put up with your bullshit, and just because you’re over-geared does not necessarily mean that you’re a good player.

aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Whiniest Warrior

The next tale launches us ahead several levels. Remarkably, we managed to get through Cathedral and Uldaman without any memorable dps stories (though more on a Cathedral incident in a future post related to wipes). In this latest installment we find our heroes trapped in the bowels of Maraudon (orange side) with the whiniest warrior ever.

Leigh will be able to supply me with this warrior’s name later, but first let me paint you a bit of a background.

EDIT: the warrior in question is Galvatorix, from the Hellscream server.

Leigh and Bloom occasionally indulge in a few mild in-character roleplaying elements. I am more guilty of this than she, but one of hers comes in the form of the macro she has attached to her Hand of Reckoning taunt, a paladin tank staple whenever dps pulls a mob or there’s something on the healer or the mage opens with a pyroblast on the wrong target, et cetera. When Leigh hits this button to save your ungrateful ass, she /yells at the mob to get the fuck off her dps. The mobs listen. Wouldn’t you?

The fury warrior in our group didn’t like this. Not because he found the concept of cursing offensive, but because having a /yell on his chat box annoyed him. He complained about it for a few pulls and then told her to stop it. I told him that we didn’t know if we liked him enough to want to do that.

A couple pulls later we found ourselves at Noxxion, the poison elemental boss. He drops a useless nature resist trinket most of the time (as an aside, once we had a shaman roll need on that trinket because it could cure poison on use with a five minute cooldown; he then defended his choice of rolling need, until Leigh pointed out that as a shaman, he has an instant-cast poison cleansing ability of his own, and then she exposed the fact that he didn’t know how disenchanting worked, what a UI was, or why it would have been better to roll for the shard). Okaythatwasalongaside! Anyway, this time he dropped some plate bracers with 15 strength and 5 stamina.

Both Leigh and the warrior rolled need, both legitimately. Leigh won, and the warrior immediately launched into a veritable crusade of whining about how she should give it to him because it was no good for her.

She and I both defended her choice. As someone who plays a level 80 paladin tank myself, I noted that strength is an important stat. Not only does it increase her threat generation, but paladins are extremely block-based — with talents and abilities, they are often rolling around in significant time-portions of fights with a 65% or greater block chance. Strength increases the amount she blocks each time, which at this level of content extends her lifespan in a similar manner to what stamina does. It’s only at later levels when strength becomes one of those stats that you just sort of accumulate on your tanking gear without thinking about, when stamina, defense, dodge, parry, hit, and expertise take centre stage.

The whiniest warrior was not appeased. He informed us that he too had an 80 prot pally, and kept on complaining. Leigh got fed up with him and told him that he was incredibly annoying. She asked sarcastically if he was 12.

He responded, with some indignation, that he was in fact fourteen. Everyone in the group found this fairly amusing.

At this point, as his ceaseless whining refused to, well, cease, Leigh told him that she was putting him on ignore so she didn’t have to listen to him. This did not disaude him at all. He continued to berate her even though she couldn’t hear him anymore. His insults escalated in party chat, and then he stated heatedly that no one else in the group had a problem with him, only her.

In order to prove him wrong, I initiated a vote to kick him from the group. The vote passed, he was removed, and the other dps said thank you.

Moral: People DO have a problem with you. If you don’t like that, try being less brain-achingly annoying. I feel confident that would be a good first step.

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