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The Dungeon-Raid Gap

November 8, 2010

Due to my recent change of tanking class, I ended up wading through the murky swamps of the LFG system a lot more than my usual. I did use it a lot while leveling my Druid (who tanked his way to 80 and was mostly forgotten), and also while leveling my Death Knight (also tanking, pretty enjoyable, but now also forgotten due to the Rune Cooldown changes), but it wasn’t anywhere as intensive as what I’ve been doing on my Paladin. Since Cataclysm is coming in so quickly, I decided to get all my business in order and prepare my new tank to the 80-85 game.

That meant getting to the level cap (from level 78), bringing both her Mining and Blacksmithing from around 150 to 450, and then playing her enough to learn the class and getting enough gear to feel somewhat decent in heroics. Starting with a mishmash of leveling greens and blues and ending in mostly ilvl 200 Purples and Blues (and one trinket I couldn’t get rid of yet), the past week has been exceptionally eventful. Between grinding my face to the bone on the random dungeons, I also spent a hilariously large amount of gold leveling my Blacksmithing to 450.

But while doing that, I was still raiding on my Hunter. And with the random dungeons still fresh in my mind, I realized that there is a huge discrepancy between a raiding environment and a dungeon environment.

Why is that?

Why is that DPS readily collaborate with the tank when raiding, but then revert into hypercompetitive, Recount-obsessed, trigger-happy threatmonsters in a dungeon?

Why is that healers are perfectly fine with healing tanks through bosses laying down jillions of points of damage, but unceremoniously drop group when they come across a tank with only slightly less health than their own ilvl 277 pocket tank?

Why is that tanks who are perfectly nice people in a raid suddenly start charging into packs of mobs and dropping group once even the smallest thing goes wrong in a random dungeon?

If I knew the answer to those questions, I wouldn’t be writing a blog, I’d be out getting my psychology major. All I can do is wonder how to fix this issue.

Obviously, the playerbase needs to be educated. And I’m not just talking about the poor lolcasuals who keep “ruining the game”. This sort of behavior seems to happen more often to people who take the game too seriously, whether they play it often or not. As a result, they often make the game feel like a chore to other players. And really… no one plays a game that’s not fun.

This is part of the reason tanks and healers are always in short supply on the LFG. It’s bad enough that tanking and healing require different skills than what you usually exercise while leveling and that you have more responsibility on your shoulders. Having to put up with people who have no clue of what teamwork might very well be what drives potentially great tanks and healers away.

Their state of mind is important, though. I think we would have shorter LFG queues if we fostered a more relaxed attitude. You know, less ragequits after a single stupid wipe and more “That’s okay, we all learn”. However, we all know that’s not happening anytime soon. We need to support fledgling players. Show them the ropes. And even more importantly, we need to tell new tanks and healers players in general five very important things:

  • Keep going, because yeah, it’s gonna be tough early on.
  • Do your best, because that will make everybody’s life easier.
  • Have fun, because that’s the entire point of the game.
  • Respect everybody, because everybody likes being respected.
  • Ignore the idiots, because you’re gonna find those eventually.

The sooner we can get everybody into that mystical zen-like state of…

  • DPS pulled aggro. That’s okay, they can deal with it for a few seconds, I don’t need to stress about it“, or
  • Someone is standing on fire, but he can move. I’m not going to let the tank die to help him“, or
  • Recount is nice, but the size of my reproductive organ does not depend on it

… the better. That way we’ll be able to make this stupid behavior gap between raiding and dungeoneering shrink a bit, and everybody will have a better time for it. There will always be idiots out there, but hey… a dwarf can dream.

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