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Ol' Grumpy and the specter of pointless elitism

Matthew Rossi

Ol' Grumpy (that's me) has a bit of a problem. He's started tanking for pickup groups lately. I guess technically that means I have two problems, but doctors probably can prescribe some medication or something for white-hot eruptions of seething rage. I'm starting to think Neltharion was the tank for the dragon aspects' regular 5-man group.

However, my molten cauldron of hate masquerading as a soul isn't what I came to talk to you about today. No, I'm actually here to explain what pointless elitism is and why it's actually bad. I'll use an example from a recent 5-man. I had signed up to tank because I wanted the goody bag of potent bribery. I admit it, I'm weak. I zoned into End Time, said hello to the mostly uncommunicative group, and started charging things, as I am wont to do. Things died, we progressed, no one pulled aggro by DoTing a mob while I was mounted and on the other side of the map -- it was pretty much ideal for a pickup.

Then we got to Sylvanas, killed her, and as someone looted, two of the DPSers begin savaging the third for doing less than they. I look at Skada and saw that all three of them were floating between 11k and 14k DPS overall, with this one player sinking to 7k on Sylv. They were all geared about the same -- a couple of HoT pieces -- so clearly, they were all there because they needed the gear.

I even typed "Shut up, you're all doing about the same, he's fine," but the argument became insults and name-calling. Then the vote kick was initiated as soon as the game would allow it; then the supposed bad DPSer was gone, even though I voted no. As you can imagine, I was not pleased. (I'm often not pleased; it doesn't mean you're psychic.) Not even my desire for my bribe bag was enough to prevent a maelstrom of invective and a dropped group.

The reasons that this enraged me are:

  1. If the group is clearing the content, the DPS meter is completely irrelevant for a 5-man. DPS meters (especially ones with parsing that can tell you more than just raw numbers) are useful for raiding and can even be invaluable in determining what's going on in a boss attempt. Using them to mock and belittle strangers you just met in a 5-man is not their intended use, nor is it a good use of them. Share it with your friends -- use it to feel quietly smug about how awesome you are all you like -- but don't bring it up in party. If people want to see how amazing your DPS is, they can consult their own meters.
  2. Proper execution of basic mechanics is more important in a 5-man. Frankly, I'm OK if the arms warrior is only putting out 12k DPS if he doesn't break CC with Bladestorm, doesn't stand in the black ooze from Sylvanas and die, and hits interrupts to help out on Tyrande. Does the hunter know how to trap the caster dragonkin in the packs before Murozond, and can he use Camo properly to go hit all of the staff fragments in Azure? That guy's a keeper, even if his DPS is low. Gear can improve his DPS, but it can't teach a mage how to run over a Flarecore.
  3. It makes the specific times when DPS matters harder to emphasize. If the group can't kill Murozond because everyone is doing lower DPS than is necessary (and that would mean really poor use of the Hourglass), then I need to be able to tell them this. If you're running off your mouth all PUG long about how awful Joe the Mage is, it dilutes the effect. I had a End Time run where the DPS players were not capable of killing Muro, and so I arranged with the DPS DK to switch roles with him -- and we killed him. I wasn't rude or condescending, and he wasn't upset or defensive, as we both realized his DPS was low because he needed the gear the instance has to offer. It wasn't an ego issue.
Now, we all know there are players who do abysmally low DPS, so low you don't even understand how it can be that low. We're talking the mage in full 378/384 gear doing 3k DPS. Is he on autofollow with a drinky bird hitting a button? Is that rogue asleep? Is that hunter using throwing weapons? What's happening here? We all get irritated about carrying these people to loot. That's fine, and in cases like that, sure, go ahead and initiate a vote kick. I'm not arguing that every pickup group should be treated like your best friends. I'm arguing for civility -- and more importantly, common sense.

I've seen groups fall apart because a player doing 17k DPS seems unable to stop hectoring the players doing 12k to 15k DPS as to why they suck so bad. A 2k DPS difference, and suddenly you're the king of all WoW and we're blessed to be in your presence. This is, in its way, some magnificent horse crap, but it's still pathetic and sad. I know a ret pally who before yesterday's bug could easily do 50k DPS sustained, and you're bragging about 17k on a boss fight and using it to make the guy who only did 2k less DPS than you feel bad? It's ludicrous, pointless, and absurd, and it kills perfectly functional groups even if people don't drop just to get away from you.

Now, a lot of you are probably saying, "But I would never do that, Ol' Grumpy," and the thing is, I know that. I'm glad most of you aren't horrible people, like the people in the other three PUGs I ran this week. Most of you are great, but the concept of my writing an entire Ol' Grumpy Appreciates Good Players post just seems wrong. In the end, it's good players who make me so angry when jerks show up, because they ruin everything and then I don't get my bribe bag. I really wanted my bribe bag. The ones I did get had snakes in them.

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