Sometimes, cooperating with other, anonymous players is tough. Here are some tips to help you navigate interactions in World of Warcraft instances.

Tips for positive player interactions in World of Warcraft instances

Sometimes, cooperating with other, anonymous players is tough. Here are some tips to help you navigate interactions in World of Warcraft instances.
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Recently, I wanted to try my hand at tanking. As a mostly ranged DPS player I had not seen much experience in the healing or tanking aspects of the game and wanted to give it a shot. After all, queues are shorter for tanks and there seems to be a dearth of them when queuing up for dungeons or raids. So, I trained up a paladin to level 15, specialized in protection, got my heirlooms, and queued up for a dungeon with one of my good friends.

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Tank queues may be quick, but tanking is a difficult, and at times frustrating job.

As can be expected with a tank queue, the queue popped in about ten seconds flat. While pleased with this I have to admit my apprehension. And it was well founded; the moment I got into the instance and started tanking, individuals were already commenting on my job.

“Don’t be afraid to pull,” one said.

“Pull more than one pack,” said another. I was going a bit slower because, hey, I had only tanked a few times before, and not as a paladin. But, apparently displeased with how I was handling things, the so-called-healer (who was not doing his job) began to pull additional packs. My self-heals did not entirely cut it and my friend had to start healing to compensate. The DPS started pulling as well; had we not been all in heirlooms we probably would have wiped countless times. By the end of the dungeon, I was furious, and had to take a bit of a breather. While I said nothing to the individuals involved, I raged to my friends, who tried their best to keep me calm.

An impatient player base leads to unpleasant encounters

Ultimately, the experience brings up a couple of questions: has the advent of commonplace heirlooms made the player base more impatient, or has the player base been more impatient since the inception of LFG dungeons and raids? If a DPS or healer wants so badly to tank mobs, why did they not roll a tank? Is the anonymity of the Internet being misused to treat others poorly? There are many other questions that could be asked. However, such an incident has inspired me to create a list of suggestions for dungeoneers.

For Tanks:

1. Do not be afraid to speak up.

There is often an expectation that tanks will lead the group, so step into the role. If a DPS (or even the healer) is pulling and you are not comfortable with that, or the player is otherwise not attending to their role, say something about it. Request that they let you do the pulling and tanking. Let them know they should be doing what they queued for. If they give you a hard time for it, let them “tank” and die. This does not work as well in low-level groups because of self-healing and heirlooms, so in that case you will merely have to stay ahead of the offending player as best you can.

2. Stay ahead of the rest of the group.

A fair number of classes have an ability that increases movement speed, or a talent that can be specialized into to do so passively. If you are having difficulty keeping a fellow player from pulling then your only choice will be to stay ahead, or to at least keep up with them. A speed increase does wonders in this case, as well as knowledge of the dungeon layout itself. However, be careful not to run out of the line of sight of your healer, or get too far ahead. If a DPS player races too far ahead and gets himself killed, he can blame no one but himself.

3. Be prepared for the worst.

Sometimes, it happens. An unsuspecting player strays too near a large pack of mobs and they are added to the group you have to tank. A player pulls the boss (hopefully not on purpose) during another pull. Or, if you’re in an instance like Gnomeregan with mobs that will alert other mobs to your presence, one gets away and brings massive amounts of enemies to you. Regardless of the circumstances, a wipe can and will happen in LFG eventually, even if you are wearing heirlooms. When it does, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. Chances are, responsibility for said wipe is spread among all the players involved. Sometimes individuals will blame the tank, or the healer for their performance, but often it is just an issue of awareness.

“Okay, who pulled the extra adds?”

For Healers:

1. Communicate with the tank.

If your tank is running out of your line of sight, you should probably tell him so you do not have to repeatedly try to chase him down. The same goes for DPS players, although they are not as important to the survival of the group as the tank is. 

2. Prioritize.

Priorities, people! And by priorities, I mean, if your tank is about to die and so is one of your DPS, save the tank first. If the DPS dies, unless it is a DPS race boss, or that was your last DPS remaining in a dungeon group, you will probably make it through the pull. An important aspect to remember is this: if the tank dies, so does everyone else, unless the mobs or the boss are about to die as well.

3. If a DPS player is running ahead and endangering the party, consider letting him die.

When a DPS player has already been spoken to, and asked politely not to run ahead of the tank, but has continued the behavior, sometimes a little negative reinforcement may help. Simply do not heal the player and allow them to die. Sometimes this will pull them back in line. Other times, however, it may generate more hostility than it will obedience. Therefore discretion is advised. 

“Oh. You’re back. You have the aggro radius of a quasar, you know that?”

For DPS:

1. Do not be that player who purposefully pulls extra trash, or, heavens forbid, the boss.

You are not making the tank’s job any easier by being impatient. While in lower-level dungeons with heirlooms this might merely be a nuisance, in higher-level dungeons or raids this is a recipe for a wipe. Do not get into the habit now.  By all accounts, accidental pulls happen. If you do happen to face pull an extra pack, or just venture too close, own up to it. Everyone will appreciate your honesty and moving on from a wipe will be easier.

2. Let the tank do his job.

The tank probably did not queue up to watch you pull and tank the mobs for him. Some tanks, whether you realize it or not, are new and are trying to learn the role. Attempting to pull the mobs for them not only makes it more difficult to keep aggro, but also to learn a typical rotation because they are constantly attempting to pull aggro off of you, sometimes with grossly inadequate abilities for the job. Not only is purloining the tank’s job highly problematic at times, but it can also be highly irritating for the tank, especially one who is still learning. Some tanks will get entirely discouraged because of this and drop trying to learn altogether, exacerbating the lack of tanks we have already (and, in addition, causing queue times to go up).

3. Stay out of the fire.

This is pretty common sense, but not everyone has common sense, apparently, including me at times. Sometimes, I am so focused on my rotation, or something else, that I do not notice I am standing in a big AoE. That is when add-ons like Deadly Boss Mods and GTFO come in handy, as they will warn you when you need to move away from something, or stay away from other players. Your healer will appreciate it.

Please do not stand in the fire (or lava). Unless it is your job to stand in the fire. Then, by all means, stand in the fire.

For Everyone:

1. Stay calm and focused.

Like any situation that can generate stress, it is generally not a good idea to go into a dungeon already panicked, upset or stressed out. That will lower your ability to deal with any frustrations you might encounter: be it a wipe, or impolite and inconsiderate behavior from other people. Should you find yourself growing unreasonably stressed, take a moment to assess the situation. Decide whether or not you can, or if it is worth, continuing the dungeon in your current state of mind. 

2. Be kind and courteous to others.

Being kind and courteous to others can get you a long way. Do remember that many play games like World of Warcraft to unwind from a long day, or to escape from difficulties in their life. Sometimes it makes the difference between whether an individual will listen, and take your advice, or will completely ignore you. Thank others for participating in the dungeon run at the end, and for resurrecting you instead of making you run back to your corpse. Little things like that are important and will help bring out better behavior in others. 

3. Do not roll “need” on anything you do not actually need.

This happens once in a while in raids, when an individual rolls on an item so they can put it up in the auction house. It also happens when people do not know their class’ primary stats, or just want the loot to make a quick copper. By doing this, you may be depriving another player of an item they actually needed. In some cases, needing on an item just to put it on the auction house is an offense that will get you kicked from a guild or raid. If you do not know the primary stats for your class, look them up. You can save yourself, and others, a whole deal of trouble just by knowing them. 

4. Make it a game rather than a chore.

This is a bit of a silly one, but to relieve annoyance, why not make a game out of a game? Try LFG bingo, or get a DPS/healing meter such as Skada or Recount and push yourself to the limits. If you are going to do the latter, however, make sure you also have a threat meter like Omen so you do not yank aggro off the tank.

LFG bingo can be a highly amusing pastime.

5. Get a guild group, or a few friends, to go with you.

When you know the people you are grouping with it is often easier to cooperate and otherwise get along, even in more stressful situations. In a full guild group you will not have to deal with random other players at all. Even in a small group you potentially minimize contact with obnoxious players, so if you cannot stand dealing with them, then guild groups are the way to go. 

6. Do what you queued for.

Please, please, please do not just queue up for a tanking role so you can get into a group faster, and then DPS instead. This goes for any combination of roles. If you signed up as a tank, tank. Healers should heal, and DPS should kill things. The concept is simple, and will keep the group running properly. 

7. If all else fails, leave.

Dungeons are not the only thing available to do in-game, and they are really not worth a large amount of suffering. A time will come when you get fed up. Instead of whaling on the other group members, just leave and cool off. At times, there are other group members who are completely unable to cooperate with others, and it is not worth the abuse you might experience at their hands just to finish a dungeon.

Adhere to a set of rules.

This is far from a comprehensive list of suggestions, but adhering to a set of rules is a good policy. Gaming with the public can match you up with rude individuals, which can make the task of leveling a frustrating – even discouraging – experience. But take heart, champions of Azeroth; not all people are out to give you a rough time. Now, go forth, heroes! The monster-filled nooks and crannies of World of Warcraft await!

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