There is an “I” in “raid”

I have previously expressed my dismay at the extreme class pruning that has resulted in hunters having a diminished role as an all-purpose raid utility player. In both Mists and WoD, I loved being the raid DLJ (Dirty Little Jobs) player — the one who always either volunteered or was voluntold to take care of extra duties like flamethrower duty in Highmaul’s Brackenspore or belt duty in Siege of Orgrimmar’s Siegecrafter Blackfuse.

But even if hunters are no longer the automatic go-to player for these extra jobs, I still like doing them and will usually volunteer if given a chance. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to do something extra for the raid team, not to mention the chance to break from what can often be pretty boring pew-pewing? Well, to my surprise, it turns out that many damage dealers avoid these duties like the plague — when the raid leader asks for volunteers, there is often deafening silence, and you can almost see people studying their shoes and doing anything they can to avoid virtual eye contact with the RL.

I am, as I have mentioned several times, quite naive about a lot of things, and this is one of them. It turns out that some significant number of damage dealers do not want to do these extra duties because it can diminish their DPS numbers. These are the same players who want live logging because it allows them to immediately and compulsively check their ranking after each boss kill, who humble-brag about their numbers by sending DPS results out in raid chat and “complain” they only barely edged out the number 2 guy or their numbers are slipping or whatever. They demand certain team assignments when the raid needs to be split up, based not on where they might be most effective due to class abilities but where they can maximize their personal damage numbers.

Now, of course there is an argument to be made that maxing out DPS is the best contribution to the raid, I get that. And there is certainly a very understandable desire to be the best you can be. But this is different — this is a pure ego thing that places personal performance above all other considerations. This is the equivalent of the ball hog on a sports team, the high-paid star that demands to be the one who gets the carry over the goal line or refuses to make a sacrifice bunt.

I bring this up because of the now-infamous actions of one Adois, a mostly-benched healer on Limit’s Mythic raid team. This pathetic person actually DDOS’ed other healers on the team so that Limit was forced to call him off the bench for some of their final Tomb of Sargeras kills. Limit management was quite indignant about this heinous breach of trust and — I presume — kicked him as soon as they discovered what he was doing.

But there is a rather ironic what-goes-around-comes-around aspect to this. Limit is doing a good imitation of Captain Renault in Casablanca, in that they were “shocked, shocked to find out” cheating was going on there. Uh huh. This is a guild that had had its Helya mythic kill disallowed for pretty blatant bug exploitation, and that actually withdrew from world-first competition for Mythic Tomb of Sargeras because, in their own words, they had had too many of their raiders banned and/or quit the team as a result of being caught in the big selling-carries-for-real-money scam. Sorry, but when you promote a culture of cheating, you should hardly be surprised when one of your cohorts does it better than you do. I am in no way condoning Adois’s actions, but honestly he and Limit kind of deserve each other.

Please do not get the idea that I am equating a run-of-the-mill DPS whore with Adois, but I do think their motives are similar: me, me, me, always and only me. It is a mindset I can comprehend intellectually, but which I cannot understand at the gut level. I know this is a particular bias of mine — I am almost exclusively motivated by internal ideas of right and wrong, honor and responsibility, caring little for the approval or adulation of others. Though I pay serious attention to criticism, I do it from a desire to improve my internal compass, not because I care about others’ opinions of me. As a child, I did not need the affirmation of parental approval or good grades or awards, and in my adult life measuring sticks like performance appraisals have likewise never made much of an impression on me.

All this is by way of scratching my head over people who place their own goals over those of a team, or over what may be the goals of their teammates, in a computer game. My experience in this game is that people actually revert to their true selves in it, that many feel free to act without the normal social constraints present in real life. We are free to indulge our inner toddler, I suppose. I don’t condemn the DPS whores out there, or the braggarts who insist on advertising every high damage number or piece of luck-derived gear they get, or the shirkers who never volunteer for extra jobs in raid. I don’t condemn them, but I think less of them, they are not the kind of person I would ever trust to have my back in real life.

Meanwhile, I will continue to volunteer for extra duties, and I will happily go wherever I am assigned. Oh, and I promise to refrain from DDOSing anyone on my raid team.

Raid DLJO

Last night was raid night with my lovable and fun but let’s face it, dysfunctional, raid team. (We still have not cleared Highmaul normal, stuck on Ko’ragh after about 3 weeks in there, having skipped Brackenspore because there is no hope we have the DPS to do that one.) We were having one of our typical off nights (most of them are). Worse, I contributed to some of the “DOH!” moments.

By way of explanation — not excuse — I got a new mouse a couple of days ago. I had been playing with a Razer Naga for a couple of years, you know the one with a bajillion buttons on the side. Razer recently changed their configuration software, and you can no longer map the scroll click to middle click. While I could live with this on my hunters, I found it just wasn’t working any more with my healer on either VuhDo or Healbot. So I dumped it in favor of a Logitech G700S. Fewer buttons, but more configuration freedom, and honestly I really only used about half of the ones on the Razer anyway.

Commercial Disclaimer: I receive no money or other considerations from either Razer or Logitech, and I am in no way endorsing either of these products, they are just what I have been using.

So the point is, I was a tad unfamiliar with the feel of my new mouse when we started raid last night. Since I am the only one on the team who pre-pots, usually the tanks see no need to give anyone any warning about the exact timing of the pull, so I have gotten into the habit of targeting the boss and placing my hands in the “go” position on my keyboard and mouse, hoping I can get a pre-pot in before actual combat begins. Yes, you guessed it, there is a particularly sensitive key on my new mouse, which I have mapped to Glaive Toss. I swear I just brushed it lightly with my thumb as I was positioning my hand, but of course it launched a GT and pulled the boss while everyone else was eating and one of the tanks was running back from the wipe.

I was mortified. I apologized and said everyone could send me their repair bills, but I was really embarrassed. And I changed my pre-pull sequence to ensure I was not targeting the boss until the pull started.

So we continued the raid. Within about ten minutes — again as we were eating and running back after a wipe — our second hunter’s pet suddenly dashed headlong into the boss, pulling him. As if that were not enough, as we were recuperating from that wipe, the third hunter’s Auto Shot engaged the boss, causing yet another wipe. (Yes, we were running with 3 hunters in a 14-person team.)

By this time I was doing my best to look like a mage or a priest or anything but a hunter. Was not feeling very proud of the class at the moment. To try and make light of it, the Raid Leader cleared his throat and announced he would like to have a word with the shop steward of the Hunter’s Union. We all laughed a little bit, and I pointed out that the hunters get assigned every utility job we come across in raid, and maybe once in a while we deserve to have a stupid night.

But it got me thinking about hunter roles in raids. When I was in the military, there was an unofficial designation of one officer in a unit as the DLJO — Dirty Little Jobs Officer. Usually this was some brand new Second Lieutenant, who would be given a multi-page list of extra duties, things like Voting Officer, Equal Opportunity Officer, Mess Officer, Range Safety Officer, Charitable Collections Officer, Field Latrine Inspection Officer, STD/VD Control Officer, etc. Basically, any time the commander asked “Who is our [insert name of some weird extra job] officer?” the DLJO would jump up and claim the job, knowing that even if it was not on their list of extra duties, it was or would be their responsibility anyway.

Hunters, of course, are the DLJOs of raids. This is not new with WoD, but it does seem like more and more raid leaders — even in PUGs — now think of it automatically. “Let’s see, jump up on this giant piece of machinery and swing from the rafters while dodging rabid bats and applying the special Debuff of Mouthwash to the Deadly Halitosis Blast of the boss? Yeah OK, that’s a hunter job.”

I don’t mind being a DLJO, it actually makes raids more interesting for me, and I take a certain amount of pride in doing the jobs well and at the same time maintaining a pretty high damage output. I think it is more prevalent in WoD because of the huge nerf to instant casts for most classes. Hunters have such an advantage in mobility, especially in this expansion, that it doesn’t make sense to assign high-mobility tasks to any other class. In my opinion, mobility is the defining aspect of the hunter class in this game. And I like that.

But some people don’t. Periodically I read forum whines about how unfair it is that hunters can move and keep up their damage, but other classes can’t. And on the other side, some hunters do all they can to avoid being assigned utility jobs. We had one hunter in our raid (he no longer runs with us) that begged off of every extra job the Raid Leader tried to assign him, saying he really didn’t like to do anything other than stand still and pew-pew.

To that hunter, I say suck it up and carry out your duties, or else roll a mage. To the casters, I admit I have some empathy for them and honestly would like to see some of their instant casts restored. But if they do get some mobility back, then it is only fair that they start to share the DLJO duties.Meanwhile, if you want mobility, roll a hunter.

With great power comes great responsibility 😉