No, this isn’t one of those posts about being awesome and uber and elite and all that. It’s about two traits often referred to as “common” even though they seem to be getting rarer and rarer – courtesy and sense.
Unfortunately, putting people behind their anonymous computer screens sometimes tends to bring out the worst in them. At least I HOPE it’s the anonymity; I’d hate to think so many of them are this rude, arrogant, and/or clueless in their real lives.
PuGs are often a breeding ground for bad behavior. People turn other players down for not conforming to some kind of ideal standard. They kick players who make honest mistakes. They boast, they brag, they argue, they condescend; sometimes they scream and rant… over PIXELS.
Now apply this attitude to real life. Suppose you were planning a long car trip and wanted to find others to go along for companionship and to share the driving and expenses. You have a minivan that seats 12. You know you’ll need some people who can help drive, some people who can help pay for gas and expenses, and some kind of fun or entertainment because there are going to be 12 people cooped up in a vehicle for a very long time.
So you put an ad in the paper or on Craigslist, and people start contacting you. Maybe you get five or six people who can all take their turns driving and contribute a share of cash towards gas and such. Then you get a few who are short on funds, but willing to do more of the driving to compensate, and some who can’t drive but volunteer to buy most of the gas. And maybe you even get one who seems really nice and fun, but can’t drive and doesn’t have much money to contribute; however, he (or she) says s/he will bring all the food and snacks, or even provide entertainment by bringing videos, games, music, etc.
You might be looking only for people who can drive AND pay AND maybe also be fun. But with yourself and 11 others, you probably don’t need everyone to take a turn behind the wheel. If you tried to pick a flat rate of money for each person to contribute, you might end up turning a profit (which nullifies most insurance, at least in the U.S.), so having a few people who can’t pay as much shouldn’t be a big deal. And while it might not be as obvious, you really ARE going to need some entertainment.
So… how would you treat someone who could drive, but not pay? Or pay but not drive? Or couldn’t pay OR drive, but demonstrated that they could still be an asset to the group? Would you berate them or make fun of them or make them feel bad for not being “uber” trip companions?
Now, how do you respond to someone who applies to your LFM and doesn’t have a gazillion hit points or a DR breaker that meets your approval, or hasn’t done the quest but wants to learn it? Would you treat them differently than if the situation were real life, such as the driving trip example? If so, how do you justify this? Are people you know only on DDO less “real” or less important just because you don’t see them face to face?
And then there are the people who never stop to think about what they’re doing and how it might affect a group dynamic. I’m all for playing your own way, but when you join a group, you also have a responsibility to the other people in that group to do your best to be an asset, or at least not a liability, even if it sometimes means getting out of your own comfort zone for the good of all.
I’m not talking about honest mistakes here. We’ve all made them (yes, even the egolitists who won’t admit it). I’m talking about – well, stupidity. There’s really no other way to put it.
This is kind of an extreme example, but it really happened. Slvr and Baz and I were semi-PuGging in High Road a few weeks ago. By semi-PuGging, I mean it was us and two guys who were in one of our chat channels, but whom we really didn’t know. I was on Vic, Slvr was on his bard, Baz had his ranger, one guy was on a FvS, and the last guy was a barb.
The FvS said he could heal but was more of a melee toon, so we talked about bringing a healer hire. Slvr had Andaro on timer. I had Luna, but not on timer, don’t think Baz had one. So we’re talking about this, and meanwhile the barb steps in and, without asking anyone ELSE about who was bringing which hire, pops… Wyoh. Seriously? Wyoh? She sucks in HEROIC content… although IMHO the much larger issue was that he didn’t even bother to check with anyone else.
But we shrugged and stepped in anyway. The barb was being – I don’t even have words for it. We’d be fighting some mobs, he’d look over and see some other mobs far enough away that they hadn’t noticed us yet, and he’d run over and aggro them and bring them back so that suddenly we were fighting twice as many mobs. And he kept doing it, over and over; it wasn’t like he accidentally triggered some mobs once and then stopped. We all tried to tell him, nicely, that we’d like to finish killing ONE group of mobs before we had another set land on top of us. His response? “Hehehehe.”
Because of this, we had a few close calls… like when we were fighting something like three wizards, some wolves, a couple of bears the barb had run off, aggroed and brought back, and THEN, during all this, he saw a rare on the map and ran off to THAT in mid-fight. Just what we needed, BOTH Wild Brothers along with everything else. The FvS stopped healing the barb – couldn’t blame him, after all, the guy brought his own (sucky) healer hire and was a total drain on resources to boot. His hit points were pretty low for a lvl 23 barb, and it was plain that he had poor AC and little or no healing amp. He DID drink a couple of Cure Serious pots, which did almost nothing. Now, I don’t mind playing with gimpy toons, but be smart about it. If you’re squishy and hard to heal, you don’t go around aggroing everything that moves and hope to hell that Wyoh keeps you alive… well, not unless you have the IQ of, erm, Wyoh.
Oh, but it gets better. We’re on the flat area near the waterfall and the FvS says he has a crying baby and a sick wife, so he’s going afk for a few. We’re fine with that – at least, Slvr and Baz and I were fine with it. Real life happens, and should ALWAYS take priority over DDO. So we’re standing there waiting for him, and the barb runs off… again. And ran into a pack of bears. Miraculously, he didn’t QUITE die; instead, he came running back TO US with about four angry bears in hot pursuit.
Well, with the FvS afk, Baz had gone for a drink as well. Slvr was reading something on the forums, so neither of them was paying attention to the game. And thanks to this guy’s utter stupidity, they both got killed. Vic went through a fair number of scrolls trying to heal them, but as she was also running for her OWN life, it didn’t work too well. The FvS NEARLY died but got back to the keys JUST in time to throw a heal on himself.
That’s about as close as I’ve come to really unloading on someone. I think I said something like, “You’re the one who ran off and aggroed everything and then expected us to save your butt but got two of us killed instead. That’s why I didn’t waste scrolls on you.”
You know what he said? “Hehehehe.”
Later, when Vic was down a few levels from an encounter with a couple wizards, she failed a UMD check on scroll healing herself once or twice, and this guy had the nerve to say, “You should be using Yugo pots. Why don’t you have any?” Y’know, there’s a right way and a wrong way to say that, and that was the wrong way. The RIGHT way would have been something like, “I know some toons who use UMD carry Yugo charisma pots for when they have stat damage. That might be something that would help you.”
And it doesn’t end there. We went into A Stay at the Inn, by which point the barb was sulking a bit, I think; he certainly got quiet… until it came to the breakables. I swear we could see his little pixel eyes light up every time he spotted a vase or an urn. We’d already been using our private channel to vent about the guy, and when his breakable hoggy-ness became apparent, we decided to try to beat him to the breakables just because we were that fed up with him. Vic with her repeater and Baz with his longbow had no trouble getting to the farther breakables before the barb, who was racing around like crazy trying to get anything that dropped from them. Then Slvr hit a couple of vases with some kind of sonic spell, and out fell a +3 to +4 Charisma upgrade tome.
Now, barbs don’t have any pressing need for charisma. Baz’s ranger didn’t either; it would’ve been nice for Vic’s UMD but hardly a key stat for her. Slvr’s bard and the FvS – THEY were another story. I figured it should either go to Slvr, since he broke the vase it fell out of, or Slvr and the FvS should roll on it since they were the two who’d get the most use out of it.
Nope. The barb swooped in and snatched it up… and then complained because he can’t use it since he’s never eaten ANY charisma tome, let alone a +3. And of course, it was bound, although I doubt he’d have passed it even if it weren’t.
So we ALL pointed out to him that Slvr was the one who broke the vase, and that Slvr and the FvS were the only ones who could REALLY use it. And what do you think the barb said to that? I bet you can guess…