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Drama Mamas: The case of the disagreeing duo


Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

The duo in the letter disagrees and so does our Drama Mamas duo.
Hello Drama Mamas!

I recently moved in with my boyfriend, Sam, who I dated long distance for two years. I have never been happier! As you know, sometimes certain things that weren't a problem when long distance can become big ugly problems when living together.

When we were long distance, Sam and I made several WoW pairs together, so we could play and be together and have fun. Almost all of those pairs have me tanking (because I love leading and tanking and fast queues keep us entertained) and some of these pairs have him healing me as I tank.

All too often tanks are treated poorly. I understand that tanks may not seem necessary when leveling, but I wish more DPS would understand that many tanks find proper tanking fun, and so pulling ahead and ripping aggro can be an act of outright funsucking.

There are lots of reasons to not pull the whole dungeon in one go, such as knowing that the mobs gouge, stun, root, silence, or drop aggro. There's also me trying to keep the other DPS happy (no one likes being left three rooms behind and unable to get a single spell off) and making sure my healer is within line of sight.

When leveling with Sam we encountered such DPS about as often as you'd expect. I always ask them to let me pull, sometimes pointing out that the healer might tell me in private chat or over vent that he was AFK or OOM, and that I know his gear and playstyle and am trying to accommodate.

Since a DPS is pulling, we're always in combat, and even if we were out of combat most dungeons are over so quickly that 15 minute kick cooldown never gets a chance to expire, so it's my personal preference to see DPS who continue to pull ahead to just die. Hey, they asked for it. I refuse to tank mobs they pull, because I don't find it fun chasing some jerk around trying to pick up what he pulled knowing that once I have aggro he'll go pull the next group. Sam, however....

When we were long distance I might say "Just let that jerk die" but he could come back saying "What? Oh I didn't catch that" or "Meh, I don't feel like rezzing him." It annoyed me, but I could understand him not seeing my chat when in the middle of combat.

Now that we're living together, I KNOW he knows I want to see these DPS die, because I'm right next to him saying so. We recently had a late-BC group where a DPS died on a boss fight, and while Sam was rezzing her a jerk DPS took off to pull the next boss. It was infuriating to see Sam sprint off to keep that guy alive when the rest of the group was a room behind, rezzing and rebuffing. It seems to happen nearly every time we play together!

He says that he doesn't want negative attention from the group by letting such people die, but that means I inevitably get the negative attention when I don't join in on the fight. I would stick up for him, but he doesn't stick up for me. It doesn't feel like he's on my team and on my side when this happens, and frankly it hurts my feelings.

I don't like being angry at him, and him healing rude DPS makes me angry. So I explained that I'd rather not tank for him anymore. I don't expect random healers to be on my side, and so they don't hurt my feelings and I don't get angry at them when they heal whoever they like.

I don't necessarily want to split up our pairs, so I was considering respeccing my tanks into DPS, that way we can stick together. I'm not really looking forward to it, because I adore tanking, but I want to find a happy middle ground. Sam, however, thinks I'm overreacting. He doesn't think I have to stop tanking for him, he thinks we can come up with a different solution.

I don't want to tell him what to do and who he can or cannot heal. I'm not his boss and I don't want to make him nervous or uncomfortable in dungeon groups. However, I don't want to be angry at him over a game, and him healing people who are mean to me makes me angry. Whether or not it's overreaction, my feelings should matter. It doesn't feel like he's a friend on my side when I'm begging the DPS in chat to not pull and my own boyfriend is healing and enabling them to do just that.

Should I stick to my guns and refuse to tank for him? Does that mean I shouldn't tank for his DPS characters either, or just his healers? Do you think there are any other options for us to consider?

Thank you very much for your time and your insight.

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: I know exactly how you feel. It really hurts when your significant other doesn't have your back. But I think an ultimatum is not the best way to have gone about it. Relationships are really hard work and involve compromises and it looks like neither of you are willing to budge here.

I feel the same way you do about the DPSers who pull instead of the tank. But when I complain, The Spousal Unit just says that it's the way the game is played now and I just have to get used to it. The thing is that it's NOT the only way PUGs work and there are so many fun groups where there aren't funsuckers wreaking havoc. Our partners are very "go with the flow" about something that we are very militant about.

One thing in Sam's defense, when you're the healer, the group often blames you for the death of the run-ahead DPS and the subsequent wipes that often happen. I still agree with you and that a reasonable group understands who the culprit really is, but there is still that general feeling. I can see his reticence to put his foot down when he doesn't believe the same way you do about those kinds of groups.

So what to do? Sit down and talk with him again. Explain your hurt feelings and ask him to change his mind about GOGOGO PUGs. If he refuses and insists that you are just too sensitive, then I recommend not using your tank/healer combo. I don't think you should stop tanking for him altogether. You love to tank; keep doing what you love -- just not with his healer.

There's something else you could try if you want to. I think your feelings are completely valid, particularly when Sam is being disloyal. But if these PUGs don't end in massive deaths and if they don't happen all the time, perhaps you could let go of your need to lead just for those GOGOGO PUGs and let the chips fall where they may. (I think I may need to take my own advice on this as well. Ugh.) It will take some practice and a huge compromise of your feelings, but you will be happier in the long run.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: The problem with sitting down with Sam one more time to get him on your side is that it doesn't solve any problems. In fact, you're feeding a larger one. By letting the GOGOGOers die, you're actually fueling dysfunctional, antisocial group patterns and institutionalizing the PUG cultural problem.

Robin's husband has a point: GOGOGO syndrome is bigger than any single player's eye-for-an-eye "education" can cure. Sadly, this disrespectful (not only to you but to the content and the spirit of the game) playstyle truly is the way many players today play. But the thing is, what they're pushing for usually is possible. The group usually can match that pace. And I have yet to see a GOGOGOer cured of his GOGOGOing ways by being allowed to die.

When you reach a point that you're making deals to let groupmates die on purpose, you're contributing to the dysfunctionality of the group. You can bite your tongue and go with the flow, or you can drop group. It's really that simple.

That's not to say I'm unsympathetic to your cause. I am. Once upon a fairly recent time, I took Robin's last suggestion to heart and began running PUGs again regularly, against my better judgment. She was right about one thing: I did get to a point that I could slam through the motions without becoming a seething ball of rage.

At the end of the night, though, I want more from my game than not becoming a seething ball of rage. So I've given up on PUGs again. It meant that my husband lost interest in WoW and left for another game yet again, but we have many other ways to connect. It's more important that we weren't wasting our couples time in a compromise that made neither of us happy.

Life's too short to spend merely tolerating something that should be entertaining. Here's to rediscovering the fun for yourself and for Sam both separately and together, in game and out.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

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