Know Your Role: Let the Tank Pull!

Ahhh, group finder!  How you have changed the World of Warcraft!  Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE group finder.  It’s super convenient.  It makes forming groups SO much faster, but with that benefit comes a new breed of player.  In ye olden times, it was quite a bit of work to form a group to go plunder dungeons and such.  Players tended to stick around through wipes and be more courteous and willing to work together because of how difficult it could be to actually assemble a group.  Because group finder and raid finder make it so easy to get people together, it’s simple enough to just drop group and re-que.  I’ve been guilty of this myself when the group seems really incompetent >.>

What’s worse than the flakiness and lack of fidelity, though, is the players that have developed a lack of respect for other group members.  It’s understandable.  You’re placed in a random group with random people that you don’t know.  Everyone has different agendas and goals.  Some members might be in this dungeon for the first time or the 100th time.  Some might be overgeared, while others barely meet minimum requirements.  Some people might be in a hurry; others may want to enjoy the scenery.  It can be tough to work well with others that don’t have the same goals.  But, usually, it’s pretty safe to say that everyone wants a smooth run.  No one wants to deal with wipes and arguments.

Yet, time and again, I find myself watching a group disintegrate, watching insults get hurled and people get kicked from group.  Most often, I see this happen based around one main issue that always seems to arise:  A dps class (sometimes a healer) starts pulling mobs and running ahead of the tank.  This, by far, has been the downfall of most of the unsuccessful groups I’ve been in.  It’s like people don’t realize there’s a formula for a successful dungeon run, even with group finder.  You have a tank, a healer, and 3 dps.  The tank pulls the mobs.  The healer heals the group.  The dps attacks the mobs.  Everyone has a role to play.  It’s simple.

However, the non-tank class that is pulling mobs and running ahead doesn’t see things this way.  Sometimes, the tank will point out that he/she should be the one pulling and the culprit will apologize and order resumes.  The dungeon finishes smoothly.  What I see happen most often, however, is the culprit gets defensive for some reason.  He/she will throw out excuses for their behavior like “It’s just heroic Maw of Souls,” or “It’s faster if I pull, too.”  Sometimes, yes, these things are true because everyone is well-geared and knows the dungeon, and if everyone agrees on this play style, then go ahead and burn through it that way.

The problem lies in that this usually isn’t the case.  And, when someone speaks up and points out any number of arguments against it (the healer has problems keeping up, the tank doesn’t know the pulls well enough, the play style is causing deaths, and so on), the culprit starts throwing blame and/or insults.  “Not my fault ur heals are shit!” “The tank isn’t pulling fast enough!”  “Why did I get put in this fail group!?”  I can count on one hand how many times these types of comments have actually had truth to them.  The heals are usually fine, and the tank usually goes at a reasonable pace.  And, even when the heals ARE shit and the tank ISN’T pulling fast enough, following the simple formula of letting the tank pull tends to make it easier on everyone.  There’s a reason crowd control skills exist; it’s for the “shit heals” that can’t quite keep up.

In my decade-plus years of playing this game, following the formula seems to work the best.  Let the tank pull.  It’s not that it can’t be done other ways, it’s just that there seems to be a much higher success rate when the tank leads the group.  What DOESN’T work is insisting that you have a right to deviate from your class role for whatever garbage reason you come up with.  The human mind is phenomenal at rationalizing it’s decisions, but it also tends to be incredibly egocentric.  At the very least, ASK if it’s cool for you to pull to the tank.  Ask the heals if he/she can handle it.  Be considerate.

If you’re determined to have a free-for-all attack fest, make your own group with people that want to play that way.  I’ve done this myself many times.  When you try to impose this play style on a resistant group, it just leads to wipes and chat arguments which ultimately slows everything down anyway.  Nobody’s killing anything if they’re too busy typing responses and rezzing.

Also, if you’re interested in hearing about the incident that motivated me to write this post, I made a video about it here.

 

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