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aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Incredible Huntard

The other night we found ourselves, as we often do find ourselves at this level, in Utgarde Keep yet again. Ingvar the Plunderer just can’t get enough of dying painfully at our hands, being reborn as an undead bastard, and dying again, so we always oblige him.

In this group was Foragebeard, a hunter from Ravencrest, to whom I took something of an immediate dislike because he seemed to be under the impression that he was the greatest hunter the world had ever seen. Nay, the greatest player, even. He began to dispense class advice about all the other classes in the group, including telling Leigh that she should respec to get Seal of Command now (nevermind the fact that in order to get it at 70 she’d have to give up Hammer of the Righteous, nor the fact that she has no threat problems whatsoever, nor the fact that she still tops the damage chart 98% of the time).

Foragebeard bragged about his 80 Death Knight, and the DK in our group decided Foragebeard was just the greatest. This intrepid hunter told Leigh that he could pull for her using Misdirection. She said he was welcome to, but that she did have Avenger’s Shield and was going to keep pulling her own stuff anyway.

The hunter’s first sign of critical failure came just after the first boss, when he spotted a patrolling enemy coming further down the hall while we were clearing up some ghoul trash. He misdirected it onto her, and then, of course, kept attacking it. The mob never even made it to Leigh, because the threat switched back to the hunter when it was still about 15 yards away, and Leigh had no idea that he was trying to pull a mob onto her. The mob spanked him a little before she pulled it off.

She told him maybe he shouldn’t misdirect, since obviously he wasn’t making it work. He defended his precious skill, extolling the virtues of misdirection.  The DK also defended him, saying he must have taken aggro because his dps was just too leet. We kind of ignored them, so the hunter began to proclaim several times that he was not a huntard. We didn’t really care, we just kept clearing the dungeon.

But when we reached Ingvar at the end, he decided to prove once and for all just how non-huntarded he was, determining to rescue his misdirection’s reputation, not realizing that the harder true huntards try, the harder they fail.

Leigh, as she always does before a boss, hit a ready check. The death knight was not ready, so she didn’t pull. The hunter, however, apparently believing that if he was ready then everyone else must be as well, ran ahead and misdirected Ingvar onto Leigh.

She was turned around to see what the unready DK was up to and was in the process of asking him to let her know when he was good to go, when suddenly Ingvar yells and comes charging across the area at her, catching her completely unprepared and out of her preferred position. The hunter, of course, once again continued attacking the boss after his misdirect wore off (four seconds is shorter than you think!), and pulled the boss onto himself as our warlock also started attacking.

The hunter feigned death, sending Ingvar charging in another direction after the warlock while Leigh swore and tried to figure out just what the fuck was going on here and why the boss was running around in our midst when she hadn’t pulled it and when everyone wasn’t even ready yet. She yoinked Ingvar off the warlock and got him positioned.

The boss fight proceeded and I refused to heal the hunter who had started this mess, figuring that the 20% health he had left was his own damn fault. He once again started shouting that he wasn’t a huntard. Then he didn’t break line of sight on the roar, and he died. His DK worshipper stood in a smash and also died. It was great, we three-manned it smoothly from there on out.

This is why we don’t let dps have nice things.

Moral: Please don’t misdirect mobs onto a tank who has no idea you’re doing so. Not only is it stupid, it’s like to get your face smushed. And when you’re not the one controlling the ready check, never assume that everyone hit Yes. Never ever.


aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Aggromaniac

I have a reasonable suggestion. It’s simple, too. Before a person can be qualified to be a dps character in a five-man dungeon, first they should be forced to play a tank in a group with bad dps. I feel that this experience, the frustration at seeing firsthand all the things dps players sometimes do to make a tank’s life hard, would make them a better damage-dealer in group situations.

Leigh and I hit up Shadow Labyrinth a few days back, and one of our dps members was a hunter who’s name I forget. She had pretty decent dps, her raw numbers were right around Leigh’s. But she was absolutely terrible when it came to aggro.

The hunter consistently pulled aggro off Leigh, to the point where I checked my Recount to make sure she wasn’t using some kind of bizarre rotation that contained Distracting Shot. This was not a problem of Leigh’s. She was tanking like she always does, doing high dps and damage, but the hunter’s dps choices were as poor as they could be.

She would target the enemies that had the least threat on them from Leigh, the one furthest down her target list, and then unload. I suspect she liked bragging about taking aggro from the tank, and she did nothing to dissuade me from that theory — the hunter talked about how great her dps was, and how the tank should be doing better, and how she couldn’t help taking aggro, it wasn’t her fault, her dps was just so high.

(For the record, it was about 750, with Leigh at 730.)

I tried to explain to her that threat doesn’t work like that. Leigh, under the effect of Righteous Fury, does threat at a much, much greater level than her actual dps indicates (and her actual dps is not low). In order for anyone to take aggro from her, they have to be playing very poorly, or have some kind of a death wish.

There’s really no excuse for this. Even if your single target dps is three times the tank’s, then guess what? Dial back your attacks, do some more auto attacks instead of popping your cooldowns and going for broke. The run will be better with a little less overall damage than it will be if everyone is constantly trying to save your aggro-whoring ass.

She clearly didn’t believe me, or just wanted to keep making a fuss, because on the ogre boss in Shadow Labs, she constantly unloaded on the boss before Leigh could get back onto it after a mind control session, forcing Leigh to taunt.

So, after enough of this, Leigh didn’t taunt. I didn’t heal. The hunter died. The rest of the boss fight went so much more smoothly.

To illustrate my aggro point, a little later we were in Utgarde Keep with a level 80 death knight. I have no idea what he was doing there, but there he was. He was raid geared and did 3000 dps. This death knight … did not take aggro. Not once. Even though his dps was more than three times higher than Leigh’s.

Because you see, there’s a little something called aggro management. Dps should have to pass a test on it before they’re given a license. Seriously. We’ve gone over it before. Attack the tank’s target, be careful with your AoE, focus fire, lay off or temporarily switch targets if you see the mob’s threat number getting too high. This is not rocket science, people.

Moral: If you don’t manage your aggro, the tank has every right to let you die. I don’t care how awesome you think you are or how big your numbers are — if you’re making things tougher on the group, then you are not impressing me. And last time I checked, dead hunters do zero damage per second.

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 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 versus the Asshat Trio

Most times, when you find yourself saddled with a bad case of rotten dps, it’s only a single problem individual. Sometimes, however, the random dungeon system conspires against you and throws you in with three spectacular idiots.

On this occasion we found ourselves in the Scarlet Monastary Armory with a shaman, a rogue, and a mage. The rogue’s name was Dirtmagnet, from the Cho’gall server; the shaman was Bluedebil, from Stormreaver; I don’t know who the mage was. As we fought our way through the outer courtyard, it quickly became obvious that we were dealing with some fun people, as the mage started pulling mobs with his pyroblast.

Leigh told him to stop with the goddamn pulling, and we headed down the stairs into the Armory itself. Leigh engaged the group of three Scarlet Crusaders that congregate there, and the shaman, following us down the stairs, stepped off to the side and dropped his totems exactly in the right place to aggro the next group of mobs, which joined us.

Leigh tanked the whole lot of them, and then paused to ask the shaman to watch where he dropped his totems.

It was like some sort of secret signal for all of them to become complete assholes. I mean, seriously, is there a society of assholes out there? Do you have some kind of code phrase to all drop your mask of civility and start jabbering like apes? Did we just hit the right combination of words by accident?

All three of them started mocking her at once, the shaman retorting that he would drop his totems on the floor wherever he wanted, the rogue suggesting he do something with the totems I shan’t repeat, and the mage taunting her for wanting to be cautious.

So we did what any responsible tank and healer duo would do. Right in the middle of the next pull, we dropped group, returned to Stormwind, and left them to die.

Pretty cunning, don’t you think?

Moral: Come on, people. Insulting the tank? Really? You really think that’s a good way to get your run finished? It’s nothing at all for a tank to find a new group. The tank will be in a new group and rolling along before you’re even finished dying, nevermind before you can find a new tank to play idiot with.

Also, I hate people who think that internet anonymity is a green light to be a complete fuckwit. Some would say that it’s the internet, it doesn’t matter. I would contend that the things you do when you think no one is watching say an awful lot about you.

aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Three Tank Blitz

Leighroy, I’ve learned through our travels together, has a low tolerance for bullshit. This is one of the many reasons she’s awesome. However, it took a few runs with bad group members before this quality began to shine through, and though she may correct me on this, the next story is the first time I can really remember her stepping forward and truly taking charge when it comes to an idiot. It should be noted that her healer is in full solidarity with her in every case.

This story starts with something remarkable. The random dungeon queue, as anyone who has signed up for it knows, is full of dps. Nearly every group that forms ends up waiting on a tank or sometimes a healer before the group can go. Dps are like rabbits. Seriously, they’re everywhere, and someone is always rolling another one. Someone, somewhere, is rolling a rogue right now, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. This is nature’s way.

In those days, Leigh signed up as both tank and dps, and of course she always got the tank position. Thus, imagine our surprise when we sign up for the Scarlet Monastary Graveyard and find Leighroy slotted in as a dps. My very own Leighroy! A lowly dps! I was as shocked as you surely are now, but it’s true, I swear it on the butterflies and tiny fawns that follow me around everywhere.

But it gets even better. Our group was home to not two tanks, but to three tanks. Two of our dps regularly ran as tanks, but found themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to turn off their threat-increasing mechanics. Somewhere out there, whole herds of dps were weeping, stuck in the queue while we ran around with a group of tanks.

There was, of course, an immediate and apparent problem, one which I’ve already alluded to — Leigh was not the tank. Someone else was in charge of pulling, gathering, tanking, setting the pace, all that good stuff. And since that someone else was not Leigh …

Our new tank, Suisidephyco of the Alexstraza server, had what you might call a peculiar tanking habit. He had no trouble picking up and holding aggro, but I’m pretty sure he was a PvP gnome rogue in an earlier life, because he would not stand still. He aggroed the mobs and then he ran around like a chicken with its head not just cut off, but with the nerves still connected, the semi-attached head stapled upside-down to his torso, and then given several injections of hallucinatory drugs, straight into the brain.

He ran the mobs back and forth, this way and that, forcing our two melee dps to run around trying to catch up and actually hit them. They both shouted at him to stand still, but he would not, and he started getting petulant about their problems with his tanking, which he felt was clearly exceptional. And let’s be clear, I’m not talking about him running around to gather more mobs for AoE. He would gather one group of mobs and then dance all over the place in that one small area, making the mobs scurry about like sugar-buzzed mice.

Leighroy was not about to stand for this idiocy. “Okay,” she said. “That’s it. I’m tanking now.” She flipped on Righteous Fury and took the other tank’s mobs, then proceeded to tank the rest of the instance. He complained, but could do jack all about it, because he couldn’t match her threat output. He whined at her to let him tank, but she simply repeated that she was the tank now.

The third tank decided this was marvelous fun, and he started tanking a few mobs as well. Even the warlock figured this new turn of events was a fantastic opportunity to break out some new moves, and she started spamming that warlock AoE spell (I’ve never really played a warlock, but is it called Hellfire? Something like that?) that damages both the enemies and her own health, becoming a suicide warlock bomber that I had to keep alive. We ripped through the mobs like a lightsaber through butter. When not saving the warlock from herself I dropped into bear form. You know, just to fit in with all the other tanks.

Imagine being the Graveyard boss. You’re standing around, chilling in your crypt, enjoying some nightcrawler sandwiches, and suddenly down through your stairs pours a pissed-off paladin tank, a cackling dps paladin tank, a warrior who won’t stop complaining, a suicide warlock, and a pacifist bear. Then ten seconds later you’re dead. Again. Bad day.

Ever since that day, Leigh has signed up strictly as a tank, just so we never risk having someone else tank for us again.

Moral: If you sign up as a tank, please know how to actually, y’know, tank stuff. If you’re unsure on some things, listen to the advice of people who do know what’s going on. And seriously, for the love of all that’s good, don’t keep moving the mobs around once you’ve gathered aggro on them, especially if you have any melee dps. As a tank, you will take less damage if you are facing your enemies, and the group will do more damage if the enemies are standing still once you’ve gathered however many you want. This means I have to heal you less, which gives me more time for climbing on stuff. And isn’t that what’s really important?

The Real Moral: Don’t mess with Leighroy. Seriously, I’m not even kidding.

aka Leigh and Bloom versus the Impatient DPS

It should be noted before we launch into our very first story, that this is not necessarily a blog about dps who put up low numbers. Trust me, we’ve seen some impossibly low numbers out there, such as a shaman doing 50 dps in a Zul’Farrak run. Low numbers happen, we kill stuff anyways.

When we talk about “bad dps”, we’re not talking numbers. We’re talking about that dps. You know the one I mean. The one who is arrogant, who is annoying, who pulls stupid stunts that force us to be extra-awesome in order to clean up and save them, who refuse to listen to common sense, et cetera. These are the tales of the dps who make us shake our heads, and who often find themselves on our ignore list so that we never have to group with them again.

If we’d been thinking, we would have been taking screenshots all along to illustrate our older stories, our pre-50 stories. Alas, such screenshots do not exist, and we will not always remember the name of the player or players involved in these pre-50 adventures. Yet we have eight such stories to tell, and then we will be able to move on to bold new misadventures in a post-50 world.

Our very first tale was also our very first encounter with the type of dps we’re talking about.

Way back in the mists of history, Leigh and Bloom teamed up and entered Shadowfang Keep. One of our dps was a retribution paladin from the Gorgonnash server by the name of Create. He was wearing the shaman heirloom shoulders, but he had good dps numbers. Unfortunately, he was incredibly impatient, and as Yoda would tell him, impatience leads to asshole-ism, and asshole-ism leads to death.

Leighroy was tanking Shadowfang as she always tanks, taking on enough to be burned down quickly and efficiently without any troubles or nasty surprises, the way a good tank should. We were moving along at a decent pace, but this was not fast enough for Create.

He began to goad Leigh into more speed, and started running ahead of the group to pull extra mobs, increasing our speed but creating (haha) unnecessary confusion on top of being that dps that all tanks and healers hate — the one who pulls mobs.

Leigh attempted to reign him in, but he would have none of it. The conflict culminated after the Odo boss fight, when Create called Leigh a bad tank, and then he turned Righteous Fury on and ran off ahead of the group to start pulling and tanking more mobs himself.

So Leigh and I let him do his thing. He seemed so happy, it would have been a shame for us to interfere. He ran into the next room and aggroed a large group of mobs, tanking them with his two-handed weapon. Leigh and I went past him and took on the next group of mobs ourselves, leaving him behind. Create griped bitterly that he didn’t need us anyway, and attempted to heal himself with Holy Light.

He died.

“Oops,” said Bloom in party chat. “Sorry. You must be a bad tank.” She then informed him that she only heals people who don’t insult her real tank.

Leigh and I went on without rezzing him, because we don’t like to waste our precious mana like that. One of the other dps could rez, though, and brought Create back to life. He called me a douche, but then mercifully he shut up and did his job for the rest of the run, which went smoothly again. He left the party the moment the loot was handed out, and entered our ignore list — the first of many.

Moral: don’t be the impatient dps who pulls mobs and insults the tank for not going as fast as you’d like. If you want to control the speed of a run, roll your own damn tank. Running a dungeon isn’t just about you, and if you have some pressing appointment you need to make, maybe you shouldn’t have queued up in the first place. If you insist on being that annoying dps who pulls mobs and insults the tank, don’t be surprised if the healer ignores you and the tank moves on without your sorry ass. And remember, if you get so bad that we kick you, we’ll still be finished and in a new dungeon with a new group before you’ve reached the top of that endless dps queue again.

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