A Lack of “Role” Models
As we’re all well aware, the traditional trinity of combat roles is on its way out. Newer games like Guild Wars 2 have done away with them, scenarios in WoW have made them irrelevant, and there has been a lot of discussion about their relevance around our gaming community.
It turns out that WoW has done more than just provide us with scenarios to make roles irrelevant; more than they themselves seem to realize. Throughout the leveling dungeons, roles are already irrelevant, but you still have to have a “proper” five person party to start one. Allow me to explain.
As I mentioned, I’ve gone mad and started to level some new characters. My wife and I rolled two pandas: a monk and a priest. To prevent having to do the same quests yet again, we decided to level basically through dungeons (with a dash of PvP) only. We’ve done five or six of them and learned quickly that no one cares about tanks or healers any more. Virtually any class is able to solo all but the toughest pulls – even some bosses – in the leveling dungeons.
I’ve personally seen a rogue solo a dungeon group without falling below half life. When he accidentally double-pulled, he killed about half the mobs and – I think – vanished. There was no stopping him. Hunters, too, are able to solo dungeon pulls with ease. I’ve seen a mage take out a melee pack without taking any damage at all, and a warrior who admittedly did nearly die solo two packs back to back.
These were all in separate dungeons where my wife had politely asked people to let her pull and was ignored, so she stopped pulling mobs off the offender and I provided no heals. We’d just go another way with the other dps and let that person do their own thing. We only bothered to vote to kick once, with another offending rogue, because he was being belligerent about it (and by god my VtK worked; I guess I stopped playing long enough to reset my 4 hour cooldown. Good lesson to learn: the only way to regain control of your play is to stop playing. Or, in other words, the only way to win is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?).
I might chalk this up to being early dungeons if I hadn’t seen the same thing in the BC normals while tanking on my DK. Since I know how to tank and the healer seemed down with it, I never really complained; if someone dies to their own arrogance, so be it. I’m not losing any sleep over it. Still, I saw dps who could clear whole pulls on their own while the other 4 or us were elsewhere. It made the run faster, and the healer wasn’t complaining, so I didn’t get my death-iron panties in a wad about it.
But wait – if it’s not a problem, why even let it bother you? If a group of experienced, consenting adults want to speed clear a dungeon that’s mindlessly easy anyway, why worry?
Surprisingly, I agree. If that’s the situation, if everyone’s in on it and okay with it and knows what they’re doing because these are alts, then you’re right. Why worry?
But while that may be my situation, that’s not our situation. My wife is scared of tanking; her first and only experience came to a fast end when a DK that she’d tanked a few normal dungeons in got DESTROYED in heroic Shadowfang Keep and had 3 healers bail on her, all of them cursing her as a “bad tank.” She was VERY reluctant to try tanking again, but I assured her that she was a good player and that was a bad moment that certainly not indicative of her actual capability. Starting fresh with a new class would give her the chance to learn as she went instead of being dumped in last minute.
And that’s the overall problem with this “role-less” scenario. Think what a completely erroneous view ignoring your role during leveling dungeons gives players about end-game dungeons, even normals. Healers that are encouraged to dps, dps that pull before the tank and don’t care about running off on their own or getting aggro, and tanks who can’t learn to keep mobs because there’s so much chaos going on around them will never learn the proper way to play at end game. If they already know, then it’s not an issue, but new players don’t know, and they’re the most vulnerable demographic of WoW subs. You’d think if WoW wanted to keep them, they’d work harder to make sure they understood what was up while leveling and didn’t hit a brick wall at max level.
Additionally, players considering leveling as dps but switching will never have the proper “role” models to learn from unless they end up in a guild at max level willing to teach a new and completely mis-educated player how to properly do things. It’s bad enough that leveling teaches the wrong lessons about dungeons, now even dungeon runs teach the wrong lesson about dungeons!
Happily, in many of the above listed cases, once my wife explained that she was trying to learn how to tank and would appreciate it if the dps would support that, a majority of the players agreed to help her. She’s picked up a lot in just the 10 or so levels she’s been practicing, from using aoe attacks to grab mobs running through her area after someone else to responding quickly with taunts when I mark a loose target (yes, that’s me acting like a crutch, but she knows eventually she’ll have to do that on her own). So let me be clear that I’m complaining about Blizz’s initiative to make the leveling dungeons so easy that a single dps can kill a whole dungeon pull alone, not about LFD or the players therein (this time). For the most part, they’ve been supportive, and the one jerk who wasn’t got booted.
A simple solution to this would be for Blizz just to make separate leveling dungeon queues; you could queue for “role-less” dungeons and just take the first 5 people who showed up; lord knows tanks do more dps than dps do early on anyway and most healers can do decent dps, or you could queue for “traditional” dungeons. That would reduced queue times for people just speed leveling an alt and preserve traditional dungeon values for those who want them or need them. First characters on an account might be locked in to traditional dungeons until 60 or 70 to make sure they get a clear picture of what’s expected at first. These are all just ideas off the top of my head, though; my point is that Blizz should, in some way, acknowledge their early dungeon design.
So if you’re in a leveling dungeon, take the time to check with the other roles to make sure you’re all on the same page. It’s better than the healer sweating bullets or the tank pulling out her hair because of your behavior. It may be that everyone’s down with it, but if they’re not, please respect their wishes to do things as originally intended, even if Blizz has since lost interest.
Stubborn (and progressing)
P.S I’ve added a new link to my blogroll to the Casually Casual Cast. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve been hearing there, so I really hope you check it out!