Tales from the Holiday Queue

Ah, do you smell that? No, it’s not that Love is in the Air in Azeroth. It’s the stench of arrogant jerk. My sister and I spent quite a bit of time running the holiday boss, as he drops some nice 346 Blue necks that are equippable at level 80. That’s right, 85-Heroic-level gear that you can get at 80. Sign me up. So we did. Sign up, that is.

We spent the morning using the queue to give us sort of a change of pace from all of the questing we’ve been doing. We had all sorts of groups, and all sorts of tanks, running into a little of everything along the spectrum of tanking styles and player skills. We even ran a couple times with a group of friends. We did see one guy who didn’t know how the fight was supposed to work, but for the most part everyone either knew what they were doing or asked for an explanation up front. Either way, nobody was so clueless that they managed to cause a death, much less a wipe. On the whole, the day was going just fine until we got “that guy.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the preconceptions that people have against tanks ever since reading Askevar’s article over at her blog. The run with this tank set me off to thinking about it again.

“That guy,” hereafter referred to as “dick tank,” was sitting at 175k health, which means he has way more gear than I’m used to seeing, and probably knows his class and role pretty well. Unfortunately, he felt this meant that nobody else knew anything about anything. As everyone is popping in, four people say some variation on “hello, everyone” and the dick tank says “grrr” and goes on to tirade about how the dungeon finder should be 85-only, and that we’re all noobs, and how we’re going to wipe the group with our level-81 fail. Now, in this particular group, only 2 of us are not yet 85, and both of us are 84. Not an 81 in sight, and even if there were, I’m not sure on what grounds you can call a level 81 a “noob” even if it’s their first character. Maybe he had a bad run with a level-81 character earlier, but if the guy did indeed wipe their group, the problem wasn’t noobishness, it was a complete lack of anything resembling skill. Or maybe the 81 in question did it on purpose to give the dick tank a taste of his own ego. I know we were tempted. It was with a heavy heart that I told my sister that we should just get it over with instead  of allowing him to die and four-manning it.

Anyway,  my sister says there’s no reason to be a dick, and I make a sarcastic comment about how obviously anyone who hasn’t reached level cap is clearly a moron and knows nothing about how to play. The other two dps give a chuckle, clearly on our side, now, but this dude’s not going to let it slide. He goes on to reiterate that he’s only being a jerk because the fact that the number on our name plates is 84 instead of 85 means that we don’t know how to play and will surely cause the group to fail. He acts as if this is the most obvious thing in the world and somehow we are just too stupid to realize this yet. We tell him that we’ll be fine, and that this isn’t our first run. The nice DK from another server jumps in to verify this (this was our third run with her and she knows we can handle ourselves). Besides which, the fight isn’t exactly hard-mode, and we’re not exactly noobs.

But once again, the dude is going off on another tirade about how things just go easier with 85s and refuses to start the pull until we explain to him the strategy of the fight. By this point, the tank has taken well over 5 minutes to make a fuss and all 4 of us are getting pretty tired of it. If anything, the warlock we’ve never met before is even more offended than we are. He got pretty vocal about defending us. I quickly explained the fight to Mr. Uppity Tank (shouldn’t he have known for himself, if he’s so awesome?) and I guess my step-by-step explanation was sufficient, because he decided to go ahead and pull after what had been almost 8 minutes since we popped in. The fight goes perfectly well. Nobody dies. Nobody even gets low on health. Everyone executes the puddles properly and the fight takes 2 minutes. The mathematically-inclined among you may notice that his little temper tantrum about how we two “noobs “were going to slow things down took about 4 times longer than the fight itself. After the fight he passes on the caster neck and drops group without a word.

No, I wasn’t exactly expecting an apology or a “thank you” or anything, but I was thinking maybe just a “good run” or something wouldn’t have been remiss. And then people wonder why tanks are developing a bad name. Granted, not all tanks are jerks. Indeed, the vast majority of the tanks we ran into were kind, or at least polite enough to just quietly mark things and get the show on the road. This guy was only one dick tank among at least 8 runs. But he was such a huge, obnoxious, in-your-face jerk about everything that it made it really hard to remember that he was just a repulsively vocal minority for the day and not the steadfast rule of how all tanks behave. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to decide “tanks are jerks” based on nothing more than this guy’s attitude. Fortunately, the other four of us stood up and let him know that this sort of prejudice has no place in MMOs. We were all smart enough to realize that jumping on the “tanks are jerks” bandwagon would have been the same sort of thinking that had so annoyed us. I was pleased that nobody in the party said that tanks are jerks (though we all four mentioned that this particular tank was most certainly a serious dick).

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