So I tried to get in a random expert with my mage, something I try to do at least once a day. It was Archive of Flesh, and right away the support guy says it’s his first time. No problem, it’s the right thing to say that up front and actually pretty ballsy because most people don’t admit it. :) For a while, he did basically no DPS so he was actually trying to play a support role – normally not required unless the healer requests it, but no big deal to me. As long as we clear the dungeon in a reasonable time frame (which to me is maybe less than 45 min), I don’t really care how it’s done.
(As a side note here, I’m noticing that the failure rate of random SL expert dungeons is way higher than it was for random classic expert dungeons back in the day. It could just be that there are a lot of returning players and fresh 60s now because of the f2p conversion, though. Or maybe it’s because SL dungeons require some kind of participation from every single player, whereas with the old dungeons you could get away with one or two people not knowing anything.)
Anyway, back to the PUG, when we got to the first boss Tzul I expected the tank to say something about the fight, which is not difficult for ranged DPS but you definitely have to stay ranged, and you have to cross the bridge at one point. (I knew this from the first time I ran Archive of Flesh, where the tank was nice enough to explain that.) But this tank charged in without saying a word. (At least he did a ready check.) We got through it and the second boss, but then we ran into trouble on the third boss, the crustacean chick who floods the hall.
I thought I was doing fine, but then I got clobbered by one of Emphalea’s unavoidable tridents and died. (At least I think they’re unavoidable.) I didn’t stand in any bubbles, none of the sparkly orbs hit me, I got on the pedastal at the right time. Unavoidable damage pretty much means it’s up to the healer to keep you alive, and sometimes you get a random crit that kills you no matter what, which is what I think happened. My health isn’t exactly spectacular, you know, ’cause I’m a mage. The healer (who was awesome, btw) combat rezzed me right away but I couldn’t get oriented in time to get on a pedastal before the next flood, and soon after the whole group wiped.
(In retrospect, I don’t see why they couldn’t have finished that boss one man short. Or even two men short, because the support guy wasn’t doing much damage. I’ve seen plenty of bosses finished with three people in experts before. I suspect that the tank couldn’t maintain his tanking long enough to compensate for the slower DPS.)
Well then the tank starts talking about how bad my DPS is and how his pyromancer pulls 8k dps without even trying and whatnot. I’m like wtf. In that fight I had done around 6k and that was after getting killed. Usually I’m closer to 7k. Which I know full well is nowhere near optimal but I’m still learning SL rotations and gearing up and honestly I’m more concerned with memorizing the fights anyway. I said something to that effect, but then he goes into a whole “learn in normal dungeons” and “I don’t even need to do this” and “I only need raid gear” tirade like I should have been grateful that he came down from on high to tank for us low-lifes. I’m like wtf again. I’m the problem here? Are you kidding? Has this guy ever played a PUG dungeon before? Tons of people are way worse than me. The support guy in our own party was doing like 2k even after switching to DPS! Anyway, the rest of the party jumped in to defend me, which was pretty awesome. I wanted to put him on my ignore list right away, but I didn’t want to risk missing any crucial information in the rest of the dungeon. (The tank traditionally directs the battles.)
It took us two more tries to finish that boss. I admit part of that was my fault because I didn’t really care to help anymore. :) When we were done the tank got a shield drop (a blue one!) that he said he could use! Only needs raid gear, indeed. I mean wtf. Anyway the next boss was that one in the small room with the orange circles on the ground you have to avoid. We kept getting killed there, and to make a long story short, the tank left.
There’s two things about that episode that bother me. It doesn’t really bother me that the tank was a tool, because those kind of “elitist jerks” are fairly common in MMOs (though usually you can avoid/ignore them). It doesn’t even bother me that I got called out for sub-par DPS, because obviously my DPS is going to be sub-par until I learn all the rotations and fights by heart. Also, to be honest, I’m not nearly as committed to gaming perfectionism as I once was. (Oh and to be clear, I should point out that my stats were well above the minimum requirements for an expert dungeon – ~425 Hit, ~1500 Int, ~3300 SP, so it’s not like I was just scraping by the requirements.)
The biggest thing that bothered me is that it annoyed me enough to affect my playing! I mean after that I wanted to actively reduce my DPS just to annoy him, and I’m positive I died the next time because I just wasn’t paying enough attention. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I woke up two hours before my alarm went off and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was still annoyed about it! What’s that about? It’s just some random jerk in a game. After he left, I put him on ignore, so I’ll never see him again. And he is literally the only person who has ever called me out like that for sub-par performance in a PUG dungeon since I started playing in them, like over a year ago. So I know from experience that this kind of tank is rare overall, and particularly rare in Rift. The vast majority of tanks are fine upstanding citizens, and a lot of them are actually helpful and nice. (The healer in this group, who said he was also a tank, would have been an awesome one.)
I think the other thing that really bothered me is that I didn’t have a suitably biting, sarcastic response at hand. :) So I’m now going to brainstorm and write down some of the things I could have said.
“Okay, well, thanks for sharing.”
“Sorry, I didn’t realize we needed raid gear to do expert dungeons.”
“Sorry, I didn’t realize your tank was so squishy.”
“Sorry, I didn’t realize so much was at stake for you.”
“Sorry, I’ll switch to my Elementalist spec.” (I love this one. I can imagine a tank going purple with rage after he sees me summon a rock pet.)
So this doesn’t happen again, I think in the future I will avoid playing any kind of PUG before bed, so I’ll stay out of queues after 8 pm. That way I’ll always be able to do something relaxing like fishing or crafting dailies before bed.