Sometimes, there simply are no words that do justice to our friends' lack of play skills. You know the people I'm talking about. We say, "He's a good guy, but ..." or "She's a real sweetie, for someone who ..." Argh! It's the last halves of those sentences that wipe the raid group every time.
So what's a player to do when his friends turn out to be scrubs, terribads, n00bs or any other variety of out-of-tune toon? Sometimes there's hope – but we'll be honest, sometimes things are beyond repair. Either way, you're going to have to decide: can you fix it, or can you grin and bear it?
Dear Drama Mamas: A friend and I have been organizing some PuG Ulduar-10s the past few weeks with about five other regulars, while filling the rest of the slots with friends of friends and vetted PuGs. After a healer dropped out, a Hunter offered to bring in his Priest GF. My friend (who was leading the raid at the time) said that if the GF sucked, it would be on the Hunter's shoulders. The Hunter agreed, and we brought the Priest.
So this Priest ended up doing around 1k HPS, died early in every attempt, and did nothing but spam Flash Heal. On Mimiron. We wiped for an hour and then finally eaked out a win. I guess we did kill the boss in the end, but it was wasted time and repair bills. What's the best strategy for discussing this delicate issue with a PuG friend (someone that you may not know very well but don't want to insult)? Thanks, Unhappy Pally
Drama Mama Lisa: "Package deals" have been part of raiding since the early days of gaming – and like that moment when all eyes are upon you as you open the box from Aunt Brunhilda at Christmas, you have to decide how you're going to react when you see the hideous plaid pants inside.
What do you want out of this particular PuG, Unhappy? If your true wish is to build the strongest group possible, you may have to do it without this Priest. To be that uber-chic, you'll have to put the plaid pants back on the shelf. Thank the Hunter for suggesting his girlfriend, and acknowledge that her subbing in allowed the group to make it through Mimiron. Mention how cool it'll be when her numbers catch up with the numbers of the regular healers – and that you're looking forward to seeing her again when that happens.
You could also handle this part objectively. Let her return and raid again, but implement Failbot to monitor raid performance. (Just be prepared to eliminate anyone else who's not up to snuff, too -- present company included.)
If keeping Aunt Brunhilda happy is more important than being fashionable 24/7, you need to at least wear the stupid pants when she's around. This would be a great moment to offer to play with both the Hunter and his girlfriend. Maybe you can help work through some problems and help her gear up, if that's her weakness. Or you may need to wear the pants all the time – the Priest may get better with practice, or she might turn out to be so much fun to have around that you'd rather compensate than lose her.
Your pants. Your aunt. Your call.
Drama Mama Robin: I love plaid pants! Oh no, I'm that crazy aunt. Anyway ...
The Priestess must know how bad she is. Does she care? Some people have the "It's just a game; I don't want to try hard," or "They should be happy they have a healer" attitude and will never improve. These players are not worth either your time or a confrontation. If she really wants to be better at Priesting, however, she could turn out to be a valuable PuG asset, with help and practice. But how can you tell if she cares, without coming off as condescending?
It's tricky, but chatting with her directly about WoW in general will probably work. Try things like "I think it's awesome that you play WoW with your boyfriend; I wish I could get my S.O. to do that," and "Is the Priest your favorite class? Mine is (insert class here)." If she seems enthusiastic about playing, ask her if she follows any Priest or healing blogs. If she doesn't but seems interested, refer her to a skilled Priest friend that you know to get info from. Also suggest blogs such as our Spiritual Guidance column or World of Matticus. If she mentions anything like "I know I suck," don't agree with her -- but do use it as an opening to steer her toward resources and practice.
If she seems to play only to be with her boyfriend and otherwise doesn't like the game, her class or instances -- just drop it and go back to Lisa's "fashionable" solution. Lisa's extremely diplomatic advice to thank the Hunter and that the Priestess will be welcome back after more practice is a great way to handle it.
Good luck and good PuGging!
Dear Drama Mamas: I've only been in my guild for about a month. They needed ranged DPS, and being a Hunter, I was available. However, another new member in the guild, a Warrior, is quite frankly an idiot. He's a good guy and his heart is in the right place, but he has an incredibly hard time getting the encounters right. We explain the encounters to him multiple times, yet he refuses to do what is needed and treats every boss as if it were a tank-and-spank. I can't stand running with him, but I don't know what to do. Do I talk to my GM about him, or do I talk to him directly? Sincerely, Out of Patience
Drama Mama Robin: Talking to him directly will only cause more drama -- and your raid leader and GM already know he's an issue. If you really feel you need to express your feelings about him, then do it privately to the guild or raid leader. I'd stay away from issuing ultimatums and try not to repeat yourself, though that is sometimes hard when something is really bothering you. Just tell him/her/them how you feel and ask advice as to how you can help.
In the meantime, work on your relationship with your class officer and on your gear and skills. In even the best of us, there is always room for improvement -- and your opinion will be more valuable, the more you earn the respect of your peers.
Hmmm ... I'm really telling you to talk to your leadership and then be patient, but you're out of patience. Maybe you can challenge him to a rap battle in Vent? I hear that's a popular thing among you young people these days. Or you could hold a dueling competition -- best 4 out of 7? Take it to the Gurubashi Arena? Some friendly aggression release may help you bide the time until your leaders either set him straight or send him on his way.
Drama Mama Lisa: Drama Mama Robin nailed it with her very first sentence: surely your guild or raid leaders are already aware of this situation, yes? The only time I might bring up the matter with a leader is if I weren't absolutely, positively certain that they were aware how much agony and grief this guy is causing the rest of the group. Even then, keep it brief; they've probably already got ulcers over this, trust me.
If you think you're up for helping him, try running some groups with him (but casually, under the radar – not as part of an outright skills improvement program) and helping him get a little more experience under his belt. If you really need to vent your frustration, try someone completely outside the game – you'll find this type of situation is fairly easily explained and received quite sympathetically by non-players. Just don't add any fuel to the fire. You want the guy to have a shot at making or breaking it all on his own. He will – and so will you!
Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.