Summer is nigh

We are in a kind of dry period in WoW news these days. That’s neither good nor bad, it just is. We are still at least a couple of weeks away from 7.2.5, I think, and then a couple more weeks away from the next raid tier. It’s the normal ebb and flow of game development. To be honest, I am just as happy with no New Thing To Discuss — these days the world seems to be spinning so out of control that it is nice to have at least one space where things remain constant and un-newsworthy, at least for a while.

Still, no real news is tough on us bloggers. It means we have to rely on our creative juices to come up with interesting topics instead of taking the lazy way and nattering on about whatever new announcements are topical. Creativity is something that waxes and wanes, I have found, and unfortunately mine now seems on the waning side just when waxing would be helpful.

In addition to being between major patches, we are also on the cusp of the summer season, typically a time in WoW when players have a ton of other relaxation and entertainment options, and activity slows down pretty noticeably. I don’t know if summer will have an effect on 7.2.5 or the new raid, but my hunch is it might make the patch last a bit longer, since quite a few people will just be playing less and thus take longer to get their class mount or complete whatever level of raiding they do (if any).

Interestingly, what I have observed is that while game activity tends to slow down, trade chat ramps up in the summer. I chalk this up to children on summer vacation quickly being in the “I’m BOOOOOOOORED” mode and turning to WoW trade chat as a way to pretend they are sophisticated and worldly, usually by showing off their dirty word vocabulary or exercising their freedom from supervision by being rude to everyone they can. It’s usually the time I just turn the channel off. However, I am not sure that will be necessary this summer — Blizz’s now year-old policy of taking swift incremental action against reported bad behavior seems to have worked miracles, at least on my server. Trade chat has actually become almost civilized again, the trolls have pretty much disappeared, the vile spewing of hatred has abated, and there is even *gasp* quite a lot of actual trade going on. Amazing. This is one of the best quality of life improvements we have had from Blizz.

Most of the people in my guild are using this breather to tidy up loose ends in the game. Our raid team is very slowly working on a few Mythic bosses once a week, people are grinding out their daily AP on their mains then working on one or two of their favorite alts, and there seems time again to spend soloing old dungeons for mounts or profession patterns or transmog sets.

The Mythic+ group is frantically running as many as they can in order to get three chests while that is still an option. I guess anyone who is interested already knows about the changes to M+ loot and keystones in 7.2.5. (If you don’t, Wowhead has a summary here.)

I am not big into running M+ instances. I usually run one or two a week with a guild group, mainly to get the weekly chest on reset day and maybe some extra AP. But I am not really absorbed in them like some people are. So I am pretty neutral on the changes. The one thing I will note is that Blizz seems to be fixing a problem they themselves deliberately set up, and they are fixing it, once again, cheaply and at the expense of players.

The current loot setup for M+ is that if you beat the time by a lot, each player gets to loot 2 or sometimes 3 chests at the end instead of just one. The change will be that no matter how much you beat the timer by, there will be just one chest at the end, and instead of per-person loot chances there will be 2 or 3 pieces of loot to be randomly awarded. It’s a pretty big change, but here’s the real crux of it: people who currently run a lot of 3-chest M+ instances don’t do it for the loot, they do it simply to increase the number of boxes they are opening. The popular belief — borne out by quite a bit of anecdotal reporting — is that there is a significantly higher chance of getting a legendary from a box than there is from, say, a world boss or some other kind of drop. Thus, the more boxes you open the higher your chances of getting a legendary. By restricting all M+ runs to one  box instead of three, Blizz is in effect putting a bandaid fix on a problem they deliberately created by having what is apparently a different legendary RNG for boxes than for other drops.

The other aspect of this is that Blizz is still in cleanup mode from their original terrible Legion legendary design. They continue to apply surface fix after surface fix, yet the whole legendary system is still a mess. The 7.2.5 legendaries that grant a talent will only add to the problem, especially if simultaneously with the introduction of these powerful legendaries Blizz reduces the lottery chances of obtaining them. Stupid. Lazy. I don’t know how else to put it.

So, on a no-news day I have managed close to 1000 words. This ability to fabricate a lot of filler when I have nothing to say may portend a future in politics for me. (No! 😖)  I am so impressed with myself that I am going to start my weekend with a cold beer on the porch on this hot almost-summer day. If you have the weekend off, enjoy.

Who are you in trade chat?

I use an addon to help me set up chat tabs, and the one I usually use screens out trade chat. But last night I inadvertently had my “everything” channel on, so trade chat was streaming through in all its vile-ignorant-illiterate-self-absorbed glory. It was like watching a train wreck — too horrible to see, but somehow you are unable to take your eyes from it.

The first thing I noticed was that the main cast of characters seems never to change (I use the gender identifications the person has self-identified in chat):

  • The village idiot. This person has never once, to my knowledge, put together a coherent statement. Everything he says is something along the lines of, “dont start playin my never shinny sord is sharp” (actual quote). I think he is, seriously, a very disturbed individual, which should indicate that engaging him in conversation is not only pointless but also could do further psychological damage to him. Nevertheless, trade chat bullies and trolls on my server insist on baiting him, making fun of him, seeing how long it takes to get him typing in all caps and reverting to a steady stream of four-letter words.
  • The self-styled “intellectual”. This guy spends his chat life trying to show off what he believes is his mental superiority over all other humans. Most of his chat responses to others start out with “Actually, you are mistaken,” followed by some rather obvious Wikipedia info. He also frequently claims to have several advanced degrees, apparently to impress everyone further with his great intellect.
  • The trade flamer. This person lurks in trade chat, ever ready to pounce on, and hold up to ridicule, anyone daring to offer anything for sale. He uses several techniques. The most frequent one is to ridicule the price of the item being offered, usually claiming to have either bought or sold many of the item for far less than the quoted price. On the opposite spectrum, if the item is low priced, he accuses the seller of being an illicit gold seller or bot. If he is bored with these techniques, he sometimes resorts to just ridiculing the actual item, claiming it is ugly or useless or everyone has one so there is no chance of selling it.
  • The sex troll. On my server, this person identifies as female, and basically trolls adolescent males by incessantly discussing her supposed sex life and physical attributes, all the while whining about being “objectified.” Why anyone pays any attention to her is beyond me, but her presence on line never fails to incite the creeps who usually spend their game time “RP-ing” in Goldshire.
  • Other trolls, too numerous to list. These people usually specialize. We have a political troll, an elitist-gamer troll,  a hate troll, a religion troll, etc. It takes a special kind of sub-human, in my opinion, to be amused by inciting the base emotions of others, to apparently be gratified by thinking you have “power” to manipulate people. It tells me these are sad little losers with no real power over any part of their real lives.
  • Spammers of various kinds. Often these are people who just figured out how to macro an item for sale, so they hit the macro keybind approximately every 15 seconds. One of the most annoying on my server is someone who spams a word for the male genital, in caps, over and over again. On the plus side, I rarely see gold spammers on my server any more.
  • The hapless helpful person. There is actually someone on my server who is an incurable do-gooder, who keeps trying to bring reason and logic and politeness to trade chat. He doesn’t do it in a nasty way, always in an understated appeal for civility. Sadly, he is usually ridiculed and shouted down, but I have to give him credit, he is not deterred.

There is a human tendency to project our own opinions and values on others, and I am aware of this as I make my next point. The second thing that occurred to me as I watched the chat lines roll by is that I think –more often than not — people’s real life baseline personalities are magnified in anonymous interactions such as WoW’s chat. I have seen people claim — when called on particularly odious behavior — that this is a game, and their game persona is not their real one. But I don’t think so. I think if anything the person you are in trade chat is exactly who you are at the core of your personality. It is you stripped of all the restrictions of society, of having to face any real consequences for your behavior.

I am a believer in the idea that morality is what you do when no one is looking. The Internet, by virtue of its near-complete anonymity potential, is the modern day equivalent of “no one is looking.” No one can tell your mom that you were acting like an ass, you can call that big bruiser nasty names without fear of his fist connecting with your nose, your friends will not know that you routinely taunt and tease a mentally disturbed person, your girlfriend will never suspect that your favorite response to all females is “Bring me a sammitch, b**ch”, your father will never know that you were sashaying your little self provocatively in front of a crowd of horny teenage boys.

If, in spite of all the ways you can make sure no one you care about will be looking, you still show compassion and respect for yourself as well as for others, if you care for and help others, then you are at heart a decent person, worthy of belonging to the human race. If, on the other hand, you routinely leap at the opportunity to bully, taunt, threaten, and abuse your fellow human being, sashay your intellect or any other part of you in front of others just to tease or demonstrate power over them, or ruin someone else’s enjoyment of a game for your own amusement, then you are basically a waste of good air who will best serve the planet as worm food.

In my opinion, you are who you are in trade chat.

Luck of the LFR draw

LFR lately for me has been on a kind of pendulum swing — great groups that power through every boss with a minimum of effort and drama, or really abysmal groups that struggle with every boss and snipe at each other the whole time. Not much in between. Last night, sad to say, I was on a roll with the latter kind of groups. I was trying to power a couple of alts through full HFC clears, for the valor and in one case for the 33 final ring doohickeys. The first run took nearly 3 hours, and I was unable to complete the second because frankly I could not take any more, I got through one wing and part of another before I just gave up.

There was a pattern of “really tough” (more than 3 wipes) bosses last night, but even the ones that the groups did not wipe on were usually only beaten by the skin of our teeth, and sloppily so at that. Usually they went on far longer than is usual these days. One Gorefiend group went through three Feast of Souls phases. Three. An Iron Reaver group went through two air phases. Another group spent forever in the trash gauntlet after Socrethar, neither of the tanks understood that you can’t just stand in one place and kill mobs.

The big wipe bosses were Kilrogg, Xhul’horac, Mannoroth, and of course Archimonde. In LFR, these bosses really should not be especially challenging — they are all about fairly simple mechanics, like don’t stand in fire, kill adds before boss, and take the bad stuff away from the raid. But people for some reason frequently just refuse to do that. I have no clue why this is.

Now, there are sometimes groups who are collectively so overpowered that they can do all of those no-no’s and still down the boss. But that was absolutely not the case last night. One group wiped twice on Kilrogg because people just ignored it when they got Heartseeker, and the entire area around the boss was filled with the red AoE splotches. Plus the bloods kept getting to the boss because they started out so close to him. Similarly, in Xhul’horac no one moved at all when they got Fel Surge or Void Surge, and soon there was almost no place to stand where you were in range of the boss and weren’t taking AoE. Wipe, wipe, wipe.

Mannoroth and Archie were of course all about the adds, and far too many damage dealers just simply refused to target adds, even after it was patiently explained that killing adds was the winning strategy. I am guessing most of them were prima donnas that figured targeting adds was for the average damage dealers, not august presences such as themselves. I quit one group after we got 6 stacks from repeatedly wiping on Mannoroth because of this. In the Archie group I was in, we got up to 8 stacks because, even after people finally got it through their thick heads to down the adds, most could not grasp the necessity of prioritizing the orb while in the Nether. They just figured they could power through the big add there before the orb could get close enough to do damage. Nope.

Over the course of the evening, I think I came into contact with almost every bad stereotype player in LFR.

The diva tank. This guy is truly a delicate flower, unable to tolerate even the smallest hint that anyone would dare to think he could make a mistake, or to abide even the most polite suggestion regarding tactics. We lost 4 tanks over the course of the evening because of this attitude. (And I know tanks get a lot of abuse in LFR, most of it completely uncalled for, but as far as I could tell, none of that was going on when these tanks quit. They acted huffy and insulted that anyone would dare to address them.)

The GOGOGO guy. These are the ones who, at even the slightest pause before a pull, start chanting GOGOGO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR. If forced to wait for more than a minute they either drop group or pull themselves, even if that means pulling with insufficient number of healers or tanks, or that it locks some people out because they are still running back after the last wipe. Quite a few of the groups last night spent a lot of time in queue because people would drop group not wanting to wait for replacements, which of course caused us to need more replacements, which caused impatient types to drop, etc.

The meter guy. This is the guy who blasts out damage meter results in raid chat after every pull. The one constantly monitoring everyone else’s damage numbers, and helpfully pointing out — strictly as a public service to the raid — that Buggyeye’s numbers are terrible and he should be immediately kicked. This is almost always also the guy who never targets adds and who would not deign to perform raid utilities such as running the boxes in Hellfire Assault. Those are jobs for the lesser raid members.

Leeeroy’s group leader. This is the opposite of the GOGOGO guy, who thinks LFR is a real raid, and who wants to spend forever laying out complex movement markers, sub-dividing groups into specialty teams, marking the tanks and healers. I am all for ensuring the group knows the basic mechanics, but that takes at most a minute — and usually more like 30 seconds — to explain for LFR.

Your BFF. This is the guy who, as soon as he gets a shareable debuff on him, immediately sidles up to you, and no matter what you do you can’t shake him. If you move, he moves, it’s like you are suddenly joined at the hip.

The troll. This is the guy who is only there to see how nasty he can make it for others. He belittles every class except his own, demeans every player so as to build himself up, brags about his (usually nonexistent) expertise, takes a contrary stance against every strategy, and refuses every suggestion such as “Everyone step inside, please.” He may also deliberately pull before anyone is ready and run around gathering up adds to bring into trash fights. He often initiates kicks of people he has inexplicably taken a particular dislike to, and he counts it as a victory if his nastiness results in someone dropping group.

Interestingly, most of my baddies tend to be tanks or damage dealers, I don’t think I have ever come across anything close to a bad stereotype of a healer. Maybe I just haven’t noticed. I have certainly come across bad healers, but generally what makes them bad is that they are just not proficient, nothing that strikes me as malicious. (Except when they deliberately let some dirtbag die, which I tend to cheer actually.)

And there are certainly also good LFR player stereotypes. I’ll try to describe them next time my LFR luck of the draw results in a positive experience.

 

 

 

What is it with some people?

Yesterday was reset day, and I ran a lot of LFRs on my resto druid as part of my attempt to become passably proficient at it. Some groups were decent, others not so much, but all in all there was only one that I dropped because, well, frankly there was just no hope for them.

But the one thing I noticed in all of them was that there was always a small group of people obsessed with being contrary. It was not like they held differing views on strategy or anything, they just seemed to be gleefully indulging their inner two-year-olds by saying “No!” to everything.

Examples:

  • Tyrant Velhari. The tank asked everyone to step into the fight area before he pulled. Three people were outside the area, just beyond where the wall would appear once the boss was engaged. None of them was afk, but none of them moved. After the second request one of them said “Just pull, [bad name], I’ll be there.” Tank pulled, you guessed it, three people were locked out.
  • Kilrogg. Group lead told everyone, before the pull, to move to the back if they got targeted by Heartseeker, and for everyone to stay out of the middle of the room. During the fight, at least 3-4 ranged plunked themselves in the middle and didn’t move for the whole fight, even when they got Heartseeker.
  • Gorefiend. Standard warning to stack on the tank during the Feast of Souls phase. At least 4 ranged DPS failed to do this, consequently the phase was over too quickly, consequently the fight went on longer than usual, some healers (like me) had mana issues, etc. The kicker was that one of the non-compliant DPS, who had admittedly high damage numbers, then blasted the group for having crappy DPS and rage quit.
  • Several bosses. HFC has quite a number of boss fights where killing the adds is far more important than targeting the boss. Every time I am in one of these fights, there are DPS who just simply refuse to switch to adds, no matter how often they are reminded to do so, and no matter how many times the group wipes because of that failure.

I understand that once in a while there may be players who do not speak English, or players not paying attention to raid chat, or whatever, and in these cases there will be a couple players not following instructions because they don’t know what the instructions are. What I don’t understand, though — and what just flummoxes me — is players who do get the instructions and simply refuse to follow them, for reasons of [fill in your favorite asshat motivation here].

Even in LFR, there are mechanics and requirements for raid awareness that are difficult for some players to grasp much less master. For example, continually running under the Iron Reaver to get behind him when he casts that barrage. For many of us, this is a nursery school level mechanic, but some players don’t get it and probably never will. Even when the mechanic is explained to them, they just don’t have the skill or coordination or computer graphics speed to execute it. This may be sad, but it is understandable. (Hey, I was one of the ones who always failed on Durumu’s maze, so who am I to judge?)

So I get that some players are just inept, and I accept that in LFR. What I don’t get, and will never really accept, is that some players are contrary buttheads who don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves.

Unfortunately, there is no real and/or quick solution to this,  and as much as I would like to blame Blizz for it, I can’t. It is a social problem in a social game. Ideally, these morons would be ostracized by the rest of the group. For example, the clod who refused to get into the Velhari fight area should have, in my opinion, been kicked. If that happened to him every time he threw one of his stubborn special snowflake tantrums, he just might change his behavior. But most groups just want to finish the run, they do not want the trouble of kicking someone and then waiting for a replacement, so it is easier to ignore — and thus encourage — bad behavior.

In an ideal world, even a virtual one, there would be social consequences to rudeness — be as mean and nasty as you like, but don’t expect to be allowed to participate in your favorite activities if you are. But laziness and apathy on the part of the many is tacit approval of the bad behavior of the few.

A disturbing incident

I spent the first few days of last week with newly rekindled interest in WoW, what with some of the 6.2.3 changes and the chance at some alt gear with the Timewalking bonus event. I was not the only one, we had a lot of returned faces amongst my guildies.

But for some reason, all that new energy was gone by Thursday. Guild actives were back down to 4-5 at a time, and even though I still liked the TW event idea and to some extent the valor concept, I was overcome by a wave of indifference to the game. I did not expect the buzz from 6.2.3 to last until Legion, but two days?? I did not even bother to log on all weekend.

Now clearly this is one person’s anecdotal experience, so perhaps yours is much different. I hope so. Compounding everything for me were some time-consuming real life issues with my stupid car. But I also had an in-game incident Wednesday night that for some reason really affected my whole outlook on the game.

I was running HFC LFR on one of my alt hunters, chasing valor for some gear upgrades. I got into a fresh Wing 3 run, and apparently both tanks and a few of the DPS were from the same guild, maybe they had joined as a group, I don’t know. Before the raid group had even completely formed, the tanks took off running straight through the trash, pulling everything that stuck with them into Iskar’s room. They dashed about killing the in-room trash and then immediately pulled the boss.

Some number of trash were still running around in the room, some raid members were stuck outside getting killed from external trash ignored by the tanks. I began madly misdirecting trash in the room to the tanks, and when that was on cooldown, distracting the trash to my pet then putting the pet on passive or even Play Dead so that the tanks in the area would pick up aggro. For my efforts, I earned a stream of vile invective from one of the tanks, who informed me, after first calling me a lot of really nasty names, that the tanks were busy with the boss and adds, and that it was up to DPS to quickly dispatch any leftover trash without bothering the tanks.

We downed the boss, and I expected there to be a short recoup pause to allow the locked out and dead raid members to catch up. Nope. The tanks and their DPS cronies turned on their speed bursts, zipped out the door and immediately engaged more trash as they ran towards the next boss. By this time, we had some players who had released and were running back, some engaged with trash that had been skipped, some dying repeatedly to the skipped trash, and a small group still in Iskar’s room trying unsuccessfully to get their loot which they could not because the raid was engaged in combat.

At this point I probably should have just dropped group, but instead I made what was apparently an unforgivable error and asked in raid chat for the tanks to finish their current combat and pause for regrouping and looting. I was ignored, so I whispered the same request to one of the tanks. No response. I made one more attempt in raid chat, and this time I admit I used caps out of frustration  and actually addressed the tanks as “buttholes”, as in “HEY BUTTHOLES, SLOW DOWN FOR A MINUTE WILL YA”. Not cool, I admit, and I regret losing my composure over something so stupid. However, this at least finally got their attention — and apparently enraged them — causing the tank and a couple of his guildies to respond in raid chat with what I can only describe as some of the vilest, most hate-filled, sexually-oriented, violent-toned language I have ever witnessed in WoW. And then I was kicked from the group, and a couple of them followed up with similarly vile whispers to me before I could put them on ignore.

Now, normally I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to LFR. I have not been kicked often, but it has happened, usually on an alt doing exceptionally poor DPS or maybe a new healer alt I was still figuring out. With millions of people playing you can’t always count on fitting with a given group. No big deal.

But this seemed different. This was a gang, a small group that hijacked LFR, apparently highly insulted that they were “required” to lower themselves to such a level in order to get valor points. They had only disdain for everyone but themselves. Everyone else was there to serve them. Those that failed to give the correct level of awed obeisance were to be given the worst treatment possible.

I was shaken, even though I knew it was illogical to be so. So shaken that I logged off. I logged back on the following night, but there was such a bad taste still in my mouth that I only stayed for a few minutes and did not even attempt to go back until last night.

I am trying to not give this much importance, because my thinking brain tells me it was a just a mini-blip, not worth giving a second thought to. I have played this game for years, and I realize there are some nasty sub-human predators who play it only to bully others. But I can’t deny that this LFR incident caused me to pretty much abandon the game for several days. And my response makes me wonder if maybe similar experiences are one of the reasons WoW is not attracting significant numbers of new players. Think about it, if you are new to a game and within a couple of days of joining you are treated to name-calling and ridicule, are you going to keep playing? If you are considering playing and one of your friends recounts their experience with rude players, are you likely to start?

As I have written before, I have noticed a coarsening of the game over the years, a move away from shared fun and socializing and towards polarization and incomprehensible arrogance over one’s ability to press buttons. It puzzles me. I just hope one of the unintended consequences of the return to valor points is not to further entrench that tendency. But honestly, after a couple of recent experiences, I am starting to think that is exactly what is happening.

Doubling down on LFR

I spent my first couple of hours with 6.2.3 last night, and here is my main impression:

If you hate LFR, you are not going to like this patch.

Now granted we did not have the new Timewalking dungeons last night, and I am looking forward to trying them tonight, but last night for the first time in a couple of months I ran chained LFRs on my main. Why? Because I wanted to get a good start on my valor for upgrading, and the queues for LFR were short even for DPS, whereas the queues for dungeons were very long. Also, valor is awarded at the max amount (150 for HFC, somewhat less for the other two tiers) for every wing once a week. This means that last night, even just running LFR, I was able to easily fully upgrade two pieces of gear — my weapon and a trinket. (Of course, most of what I did not upgrade is crap gear that I have little chance of improving, but that is a different subject.)

I did not attempt any Mythics, either, not because I don’t like them but because the Group Finder experience is so frustrating and time-consuming. Maybe I am too picky, because I avoid the ones where the group leader has specified a long list of “requirements” accompanied by a complex list of set-asides for gear, and the ones where the comments are along the lines of “Don’t be a dick,” because I figure it takes one to know one. But even when I do spend the time to apply for groups I seem to have all the stated qualifications for, it is often rejection after rejection for an hour or more. No thank you. Too tedious not to mention too demoralizing.

I don’t know how long it will last, but my server and my guild had more people on last night than I have seen in weeks. And people seemed to be energized, with renewed interest in the game. I am sure this will only last a couple of weeks, but it is nice for now. We may even be able to get some valor farming groups together in my guild, which would be awesome.

Anyway, back to LFR. Certainly at least last night the valor incentive seemed to bring back masses of people who really knew the fights and had them overgeared to boot. This was good and bad. It was good because as I mentioned it made the queues very short, raid time was minimal because of the speed with which bosses and trash were dispatched, and having a couple incompetent and/or afk people was of no consequence. But it was bad because raid mechanics — even the ones requiring LFR attention — were almost universally ignored (reinforcing bad habits among less experienced players), and because people were frequently left behind even when starting boss fights.

I was in one run of Wing 2 of HFC where the tank ran, literally, straight through all trash to every boss, stopping just before the boss fight to dispatch what were dozens of mobs, and leaving trash mobs scattered throughout so that anyone who died and had to run back could not do so because they kept running into leftover trash all along the route. A couple people asked, politely, for the tank to slow down a bit, only to be treated to rude comments about their “incompetence” from the tank and some of the self-appointed “elites” in the group, arrogantly letting everyone know how much LFR was beneath them but they needed the valor. It was ugly.

A couple of weeks ago there was a rash of online speculation about the future of LFR in the game. Patch 6.2.3 tells me  that Blizz, far from considering its elimination, is doubling down on it, pulling out all the stops to repopulate it with a wide range of players. Now, they may be doing this as an experiment to see what happens, or they may see it as one of the few mechanisms they have in WoD to re-engage players, but at least for the present, and for better or for worse, LFR has been re-energized.

It remains to be seen how much — if any — staying power this patch has, but it is difficult to imagine it filling the void until Legion.

LFR, Group Finder, and Arrogance

Some observations and thoughts on LFR and Group Finder.

Archimonde and LFR. I see where there are a “few nerfs” in the works for LFR Archimonde. This is a good thing in my opinion, but of course the announcement brought out the forum ragers in force. You know, the arrogant bastards who insist that LFR is dumbing down the game, that it should be much harder than it is, that you should not be queuing for it if you are not a skilled raider, that it is a loot giveaway, that filthy casuals are nothing but whiners, etc.

Not going to rehash the whole LFR-should-be-easy vs LFR-should-be-impossible “debate”, but I will say this one thing: If LFR is going to be so difficult that it consumes hours and hours for one boss, not to mention hundreds in repair costs, and if it requires precise team-level skills for success, then it absolutely must drop way better gear than it currently does, for example actual tier gear. If it is tuned to be as hard as Normal, then it should give similar loot.

OK, I lied, I will say two things. When a regular raid team wipes over and over on a boss, it usually makes both the team and the individual players more skilled. The team as a whole improves. Even though multiple wipes can be frustrating, in the long run the team that sticks with it becomes better and stronger. Leadership and team loyalty make a difference. But multiple wipes with an LFR group just means that there is effectively a different team after every wipe, because people quit and are replaced. The people that stick with it are usually the ones who know — or want to learn — the mechanics, and essentially they are waiting to get lucky with a group that can succeed.

In essence, this is RNG for group composition. You keep rolling the dice until you get the right combination of players.  So anyone who claims that “it should be hard” does not understand that LFR groups are not raid teams, and the rules for raid teams do not apply. Yes, final bosses should be hard for actual raid teams. They should not be hard for a random group of players.

Listen up, arrogant mouth-breathers: If you want to do difficult content, the game still has plenty of it.  Go find a Mythic team that will have you. Commit to a progression team. But stop trying to impose your elitist illusions on a large group of people who just want to have some fun and think they should not have to suffer through hours of frustration in order to do so.

Group Finder. Last night, as usual, we were a few people short for our guild raid team, so the RL went the Group Finder route to fill in the gaps. As we have just started raiding again after a 4-month hiatus and having cleared the first wing of HFC last week on Normal, we were doing our first run through of the second wing on Normal. We wiped twice on Council before we downed them.

The wipes were not terrible ones, we were pretty close both times, mostly a matter of tweaking some timing and positioning. After the first wipe, we lost two of the four pugs. No whispered explanations to the RL, no raid chat announcements — not even so much as a “Screw you losers!” — just quit. One guy, a warrior, had begged and pleaded with the RL to let him in. As soon as he got in, he began to dictate raid strategy to the RL, complain about how long it was taking us to get started, and generally engage in ass-like behavior. He was adequately geared, but he was doing embarrassingly low DPS. At any rate, he quit after the first wipe.

We replaced the quitters, but the same thing happened after the second wipe. (Two of our original pugs stuck with us though, a couple of healers.)

We replaced the second group of quitters and proceeded to down the boss. Immediately one of the pugs quit — again, no explanations, nothing. He had topped the damage meters, so our best guess was that he found our team to be beneath his elite status, but we will never know since he just quit with no explanation.

I have mentioned a few times my frustration with the apparent arrogance of raid leaders who use the Group Finder, but last night I saw a lot of rude, arrogant behavior from those seeking teams as well. It makes me want to don my codger hat and wonder what is becoming of this upstart generation of players with their entitlement attitude.

Maybe the pugs who quit were short on time and had to leave for good reasons. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. But if that is the case, would it have killed them to whisper a quick apology to the RL and thank him for the invite? Or maybe — heaven forbid — they might have mentioned their time constraints when first invited. Our RL always whispers pugs before he invites them, has a short conversation with them mainly to let them feel like they are part of a team and not some random spare part to be used then discarded. We are always considerate of them, and even if they eventually have to be booted because they are not working out, it is only after several gentle whispered suggestions from the RL, and an opportunity for them to drop group on their own. We joke with them, we praise them when they do well, we congratulate them on loot, we give them food. We adopt our pugs into our team for the night. If they tell us they have to leave early, we thank them for helping us out and wish them well.

But, really, how big of an arrogant jackass do you have to be to beg to be taken on to a team, then immediately proceed to bitch about the pace, and argue in raid chat about the strategy with the guy who brought you on?

When we downed the boss, we ended up doing so mainly because we just powered through it without any sort of finesse or teamwork. This was because the pugs simply ignored the RL’s strategy, even though he had explained it in raid chat, marked the targets clearly, and even announced when it was time to switch targets. They just flat out ignored him, assuming they were far superior to all of us and had no need of working as part of a team.

I don’t get it. Group Finder is not LFR. Group Finder is designed to augment real raid teams, and if you are selected as such an augmentee, common courtesy would suggest you listen politely and try your best to fit in with the group. Even if you do not agree with the strategy, the well-mannered way to express that is to whisper the RL, not start an argument in raid chat. And if you feel the need to leave the group, a quick “Sorry guys, gtg” is a lot better than just precipitously quitting.

Arrogance and rudeness all around. It’s depressing. Time for me to go into weekend mode.