Pugs Over Easy
If you have read my blog for very long at all, you will know that I am extremely gun shy about grouping with strangers. Namely in my time tanking I have had some pretty horrible experiences both as a tank and believe it or not healer in the various games I have played. Prior to World of Warcraft, I did this all the time… but with the advent of the dungeon finder everything seemed to go downhill. Today’s post is not really a reflection of any real or imagined events that have happened to myself recently, but instead spurred on by finding the most perfect analogy that wraps up my feelings about pugs.
My friends have all been following the release of Jinx the new champion for League of Legends extremely closely. Midday yesterday they linked me this thread on the forums posted by someone called Dread Pirate Arbuthnot. The intent was to explain what ranked play is like, but for me it rang true of the vast majority of my pugging experiences. As a DPS you can fade quietly and anonymously into the background and just do your job… but as a tank or healer… you always end up to blame for whatever failings the group has. On with the copypasta!
Look I can describe ranked play in a really simple analogy
So you want to eat a cake, right, but you only have eggs. So you have to find four other people who have milk, sugar, a blender, and chocolate. But you show up, and the blender guy throws his blender to the ground and screams EGGS OR I FEED, and then the other three people start yelling at you to give up your eggs. Then you have to piece together the broken blender, and it’s not really working properly, but you found some tape so it’s working. Except the beaters are kind of wibbly wobbly now, so it isn’t mixing the batter very well. The other four players start to scream at you for not blending the cake well enough, since that’s your job, and then the milk guy has to go leave for 15 minutes because his mom just made dinner.
Are you understanding this so far? Ok good
So any ways once milk guy is back you have the cake, and its time to put it in the oven. The problem is that there are professional baking teams who just played a world baking tournament, so everyone wants to bake a cake like theirs. Even though your cake is chocolate, they want to cover it with icing meant for a vanilla cake, because that’s what the Asian cake bakers do. You try to insist that your cake would be much better with chocolate icing, but they tell you to commit suicide. Finally, your shitty cake monstrosity comes out of the oven and it isn’t even edible because of the whole process, and apparently cakes need more ingredients than just eggs and milk and chocolate.
Then you go into the post cake lobby and everyone unanimously agrees its your fault
Then you immediately hit the ‘bake again’ button and pray that this time you can just ADD THE GOD DAMN EGGS
This seems to happen regardless of how many guild members you bring into a pug. Last week at some point I got drafted into trying to get one of our healers and her dps hubby through the Cutters Cry instance in FFXIV. I knew I should tank it, but I could really use gear on my Bard at the time… so at the nudging that it would be okay I stayed in as a dps class and we attempted to pug a tank. I knew this would be a decision I regretted.
Tolerance for Frustration
We proceeded to go through the instance with the tank only ever trying to hold aggro on a single target in each pull. Additionally it felt like he was going out of his way to stand in every bad thing he could. We limped along and did not manage to finish the dungeon before the timer ran out… and at the end… the tank was raging against us for somehow holding him back. We kept our cool and didn’t respond in kind… but this just bookends every experience I have had in pugging. When I saw the above post, it explained the feeling so well.
Granted there is a lot of league of legends specific stuff buried in there…. but the thrust of it is true. Doing a successful dungeon run with random people involves a crazy juggling act and if any one person doesn’t bring their specific ingredient it falls to hell quickly. Without a doubt the person that gets the blame is almost always the tank or the healer. In the case of the single target tank, I am pretty sure he all his rage was directed at our healer… who could not keep him healed because the adds kept killing her. While I and her husband did as much kiting as we could to keep her alive… and we made it as far as we did because of this… there was only so much you could do when the tank only wanted to tank a single mob at a time.
I guess after years of really good guild groups I have found my tolerance for frustration extremely lowered. On a regular basis I have one of my less patient friends asking me to queue for various things with him… and my answer is always the same. I will only do it if we have a full guild group. Ultimately I would rather wait weeks to make that happen, than to step foot into and tank another PUG group. Granted I am exceedingly lucky in that I generally DO have a large guild group that I can rely on. As a result I try my best to help the other members of the guild with whatever dungeon they happen to be needing at the time. It just works better when you have a non-judgmental group of friends doing something, than a bunch of strangers.