We’re going to talk about some “Superstars” today in relation to low level random dungeons. Random dungeons are referred to in several different ways, including but not limited to: LFG (looking for group), LFD (looking for dungeon), PUG (pick up group), Randoms.
We’re not going to talk about specific individuals as I have in my Real Men of Failure posts, instead we’re talking about types of people and how to deal with them. In order to talk about these “Superstars” we first need to define what a “Superstar” actually is.
Superstar: [soo-per-stahr] –noun
1. a person, as a performer or athlete, who enjoys wide recognition, is esteemed for exceptional talent, and is eagerly sought after for his or her services.
Oh, my bad. That’s the definition of a Superstar. What we’re looking for is the definition of a “Superstar”.
“Superstar”: [uh-noi-ing puhngk] –noun
1. a player, as any class or role, who enjoys wide recognition, who believes themselves to be esteemed for exceptional talent, and who eagerly seeks to show off his or her (lack of) skills.
The problem we see most often in the low level LFG is when one or more “Superstars” just throw their roles out the window and go crazy on everything expecting to live through it all.
They’re the level 15 Paladins who have no taunts, no AoE threat generation, and basically only a single ability to use in addition to their auto-attack and yet they still pull large groups of mobs and then wonder why the whole party wipes. They’re the Mages who think that they can go ahead and pull all of the mobs because they have Frostbolt and Frost Nova that will give the tank plenty of time to establish agro before anything bad happens. They’re the Hunters that leave Growl active on their pets and don’t bother calling their pet back when it chases a single mob through five other groups.
The most common offenders in this area are Hunters and Warriors, generally in that order. Hunters are a very strong class in lower levels because they deal high amounts of damage in a fairly short amount of time and their pets provide them with most of the security that they would otherwise need. It’s actually quite rare to end up in a pre-30′s LFG group where the hunter doesn’t try pulling the mobs at least once. (Un)Fortunately, Hunters are one of the few classes that can actually pull off soloing instances at level in the 15-25 bracket if they have some decent gear and know how to manage their pets. Because of that it’s often hard to get them to stop doing that and start working as a team.
Warriors are similar to Hunters in that they can do a lot of damage and spread it around nicely. The more damage they deal and the more damage they take, the more Rage they generate which allows them to be more active and more aggressive. For some odd reason a lot of Warriors take that to mean that if they have eight mobs bashing their face in, then they’ll be unstoppable. What they don’t seem to realize is that the damage they’re taking while doing that is usually way more than they can take without a solid healer who has the mana and the patience to put up with it. If the warrior is the tank, then the healer usually will put up with it, but if he’s DPS…
Where Hunter’s are classified as “Superstars” generally for pulling whenever and whatever they want to, Warriors are generally classified as “Superstars” for stealing threat from the tank or for using high threat generating abilities when they’re filling a DPS role instead of the tanking role.
Another type of “Superstar” is one that feels that you’re going too slow or not doing good enough in your role and decide to take over. They’re the ones that are in a big rush to get through the dungeon and often try to talk the group into skipping bosses that aren’t required just to speed it up.
I’ve never seen the take-over happen to a DPS, and only twice have I seen it happen to a healer, but it happens to tanks a lot. This type of “Superstar” doesn’t have to be the one that actually takes your role, they can also be one that asks or tries to force another player to take over the role in question. Because of that they can also be of any class.
Sometimes the take-over is somewhat essential, like when I had a level 15 Paladin as my tank who was wearing a grey cloth robe with 45 Armor on it, was wielding a two handed grey kobold mining shovel, and had points in both the Prot and Ret trees. At that level the Paladin has no threat abilities, no taunts, nothing. The only thing he could do was auto-attack and Judgement. If the tank was simply doing it wrong, like pulling with his taunt or not using certain abilities or something, that’s one thing. But at his level he literally has no tanking abilities at all.
Another type of GogoGoon is one who has a completely wrong spec and/or wrong gear for the role that they signed up for, but insist that anyone and everyone but themselves are to blame for any problems that arise.
The single-most blatant offender in this area is the Ret Paladin. A lot of people don’t like leveling up as Prot, and they aren’t about to try leveling as Holy, so they’ll go with a Ret spec instead. But when it’s time to queue for random dungeons they’ll select the Tank role as well, hoping to get a faster queue time. To be fair, I have seen some Ret Pallies successfully tank lower level dungeons up through Scarlet Monastery: Library, but nothing beyond that. But just because something is possible, does not mean that it’s the way it should be done.
The Paladins aren’t the only ones doing this, they’re just the most common. You’ll see plenty of healers who actually have a DPS spec instead of healing, but they’re generally just fine doing that up through the mid-40′s or so. The most common class that does this and then fails at it is the Paladin, followed by the Shaman. Druids and Priests can both do pretty well as healers in the wrong spec because of how their heals work and how their class heals.
Dealing With “Superstars”
When you’re having to deal with people doing stupid crap, you only have so many options. You can try to help, you can insult them, you can hope they leave the group, you can try to vote kick them, you can leave the group yourself, you can /ignore them, you can just let them keep doing it, you can let them die (repeatedly), and maybe a few other things as well.
The best thing you can do is teach them, but teaching and learning is a two-way process. If they’re willing to listen and take some advice then you’ve found one of the rare few. More often than not, from my experience at least, you’ll end up either getting ignored or having them take offense. You’ll also frequently run into people that tell you not to worry about it, ignore it and go on, and so on. The two people that get frustrated with “Superstars” the most are the tanks and healers, but even they can be the ones telling you not to worry about the bad ones.
If they leave the group on their own or you kick them then maybe your run goes a bit better but the problem itself isn’t solved. If you take the time to tell them why you’re going to kick them out of the group, in a constructive manner rather than insulting, then they might learn and try to fix the problem on their own. If the guy’s a punk then he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing and there’s nothing you can do about it. Some people just can’t take a hint, and some have very thin skin and don’t take well to advice.
There’s another side to these “Superstars” though, so we’re going to keep on going.
Another type of “Superstar” is the Super-Duper-Star (SDS from here on), which is a “Superstar” that you come to find out is actually a real Superstar. They’re the ones that you initially get really frustrated with because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, but after watching them for just a minute you’re actually somewhat impressed and may even think it’s pretty cool that they’re doing that.
Your first impression is to get frustrated because you immediately see them as Roleless and just can’t wait to kick them out of the group. As I mentioned above though, sometimes they actually pull it off. A level 18 Rogue soloing Ragefire Chasm? Not a problem. Level 20 Mage soloing Deadmines? Not a problem. Level (anything) Hunter soloing (anything he can queue for)? Not a problem. So when a low level tank and healer are trying to go through and get into their roles and get used to working through dungeons with a group they find nothing but complete chaos.
With recent changes to the game like BoA gear being introduced and old world content being made easier after various patches, it’s not really that hard for some people and some classes to do things that they generally shouldn’t be able to do, like tanking instances as pure DPS classes or even soloing them at level. Most of these are twinks, whether they be simple BoA twinks with just a few pieces of “twink gear” or actual PvP twinks that have best-in-slot items in every slot.
There are two classes that particularly stand out as being SDS: Druids and Warriors. Druids are the single most versatile class in the game and even when they have the wrong spec and maybe even only a single gear set, they can still pull off a decent job by simply switching their form. A Resto Druid can easily switch to a DPS role and they can do a fair job of Bear tanking in a pinch. If they have a second set of gear that they’re carrying around then they can pull it off to great effect.
The Warrior is in a similar situation where they can simply switch their stance and step in to fill the role of tank/dps. If they switch to tanking then hopefully they have a shield and a one-hander in their bags that they can switch to, but the lower your level the less important that is. If your shield blocks are only stopping 4 damage per hit then it’s really not all that important that you have one.
Just because someone is using one spec but filling the role of another doesn’t mean they’re going to suck at it; especially at low level.
Sometimes you’re going to stumble across Super-Impostors. These guys are the ones that look like they’re being complete idiots, they aren’t following advice and they aren’t following their role. They frustrate the heck out of you, they steal your threat, they pull mobs when you’re not ready, and you want to just reach through the screen and choke the player on the other side. And yet – nobody is dying.
When you find yourself in this situation you need to step back for a second and think about the situation. You need to ask yourself if there is a real problem here or if you’re just frustrated. Take a second to really look at what all is going on.
The Bear tank is fighting five mobs with a Mage giving him some AoE backup, the Arms Warrior is fighting three mobs on the other side of the room, and the Hunter and his pet are fighting two other mobs on the path leading up to the next area. Meanwhile the Druid healer is /dancing in the center of the room with 85% mana and everyone is above 95% health.
You’ve got two DPS players being tanks while your actual tank has his hands full. In a level 80 heroic that means somebody’s about to die or you’re about to wipe, but in a level 18 RFC run that means that you need to calm down and realize that the situation is well under control. If the tank is alive, the healer has mana, and everyone is holding their own then it doesn’t matter whether the tank has threat on every mob or not. My level 17 Warrior who can two-shot everything in this instance except for the boss doesn’t really need the tank’s help with three mobs. Give me 5 seconds and the problem will be resolved; Trust me.
For most of us in the blogging community, whether we’re the authors or the readers, we have high level toons that are running heroics or raids or who have at least been there before. And since we tend to spend more time in those settings and we have to follow our roles in order to succeed, we take that mindset with us when we get on our low level alts as well. Level 18 is not level 80.
If you see somebody that you think is doing something stupid, then take a minute to inspect them. Gear is the first indication of whether or not a low level character is controlled by a high level player. Are they wearing trash gear or are they wearing BoA’s? Are they wearing quest rewards or crafted gear? Can you tell whether or not they have professions and are using them? Are they using their racial abilities?