If You Can’t Beat Them…
Don’t worry, this isn’t my confession about falling to the enemy and becoming a dungeon jerk. Quite the opposite, in fact; it’s a tale of organizing a polite rebellion against a potential jerk and rehabilitating him.
Here’s the story. I was doing my final leveling dungeon to catch up with my wife, who’d sneakily pulled another level ahead through fishing and cooking dailies. However, I’d already switched my spec to healing, so I couldn’t just tank queue anymore nor do other quests around without a dps spec. I bit the bullet, though, and queued alone again, praying not to end up with another jerk.
At first, I was pretty happy. We’d gotten Blackfathom Deeps, where I still had all the quests to help me catch up (and also just that it’s NOT Wailing Caverns, which is appropriately named based on its design). We started quickly; the tank was using a pull-and-go strategy, pulling a monster, hitting a few times, then running on as the dps killed it. It was working just fine – until he missed one. He was trotting on down to the first boss, the large turtle with six neutral turtles around him, and out of nowhere a mob started bashing the crap out of me. I marked it (which I do almost reflexively to let people know to kill it), and the dps immediately switched to that mob. However, this extra mob made them slow down and “fall behind” the tank.
The tank just kept going. He either hadn’t noticed or didn’t care that he was alone with two mobs he’d pulled since the loose mob still hitting him. He ran into the first boss and pulled every turtle around him. I had seen what he was doing and ran as fast as I could (cat form + speed talent is pretty good). I arrived and threw a hot to buy myself some time, but it was too little, too late. He went down before I could get a “real” heal off. Of course, the mobs then swarmed us. I worked my behind off to keep up the dps; there was a very competent hunter and warrior who were doing a good job kiting and tanking, and there was a mage using frost nova as he could, but in the end I was overwhelmed from throwing heals on everyone (which was necessary). Everyone else died moments later. We had managed to clear 4 of the neutral turtles on our own, but it just wasn’t enough.
The tank naturally began the blame game, but I politely said, “Please don’t run ahead of the dps. If a mob gets loose, it slows us all down, and we end up in that situation. It was just an accident and it’s no big deal, just please be careful.” The tank denied there being a loose mob, but the dps came to my aid. They were – less polite, shall we say – than I was, and I figured we were going to lose the tank, but he let it go, I assume, because he was clearly wrong.
We killed the boss with no problems the second time and the tank turned away from the “hidden” boss. Of course, with a quest and a map now, she’s hardly a secret, but he went the other way. One of the dps asked if we could kill that boss, but he just kept going. I followed, trying to stay in between to heal everyone, but simultaneously checked the quest log; the tank was the only one without the quest. I tried sharing it, but he had, of course, already completed it.
The competent hunter whispered me, “I’m beginning to hate this tank…” I concurred, but asked again in chat if we could go kill that boss. Again, the tank either missed the message or ignored it. The mage then whispered me, “Do you need the boss we missed?” I let him know I did, and asked the final piece of the puzzle, the warrior, if he needed the boss. I knew he did from the quest log, but I still wanted to ask. Once I was sure, I said in instance chat, “Tank (I used his name), we’re going to go back to the boss you skipped. If you want to keep pulling, that’s fine, but be aware you’ll have no heals or help from dps, but we’ll catch up to you afterwards. We would of course prefer that you come with us.” Then we turned around and left.
We got to the water on the other side of the first boss and I marked all the trash so dps could see it and keep it off of me. The tank came back after a minute or two and contributed, following my marks pretty faithfully. We cleared the trash and the boss in no time and went back to the rest of the dungeon. I kept marking the whole way so he’d be sure not to miss another mob, and he kept pulling and running, but more cautiously. When we got to the fathom core area, the stone walkway over the water, I let everyone know that the core was beneath us with a surprise mini-boss and a real boss further underwater. I marked the mobs in the water, and without any argument or complaint, the tank went in and started pulling. He followed my marks through the rest of the dungeon.
In other words, the other players and I turned a potentially problematic situation around and created a temporary form of teamwork. We as a group exercised positive peer pressure on someone who was not working with the party and convinced them to do so.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option. When the jerks have a friend to back them up or are simply unreachable, you may have to either become volatile or drop group. But at least once in a while you find a group of like-minded, decent people who can work together to turn a bad situation good, and when that happens, it leaves everyone feeling satisfied. This is, essentially, the only way we can police our community, as Blizz asks, through tools that we can use anywhere in the world. I just wish we had some in-game tools as well.
Stubborn (and smiling)