I noticed an interesting response to a forum post by a blue reported on MMO Champion this week and it’s in regards to a subject that’s been causing me no small amount of bother lately. Dungeons with optional bosses, and Halls of Origination is the major culprit here, tend to get skipped through straight to Rahj, the last boss, avoiding the optional bosses completely in order to just get the place done and collect your daily Valour points.
This is a curious problem. Skipping the question of the social dynamics behind the whole thing for the moment, there are some drops from those bosses that are for particularly hard to fill slots for certain classes. The thrown weapon from Ammunae being a good example. Rogues, unless you kill Ammunae in Halls of Origination and get lucky with the drops, the next best thrown weapon you can get is a lvl 318 green from a quest in Twilight Highlands. There are no other options outside of raids or epic pvp gear. Sorry, you’re shafted. Enhancement Shamans and Hunters are up Shit Creek too, since there are NO other Mail shoulders available from drops other than the Bloodpetal Mantle, also from Ammunae. Shamans and Hunters may be up Shit Creek, but they at least have a paddle in the shape of the justice point Wrap of the Valley Glades, although the stats are going to sub-optimal for certain specs.
I’m also finding it hard to find expertise gear on Fingers, my Rogue, so that means no Mouth of the Earth from Earthrager Ptah. Healers are missing out on the lovely Scepter of Power from Setesh, Ammunae’s Band of Life Energy and Isisets’ Blood.
So. Lots of useful loot, not to mention bonus justice points and reputation from bosses that are being skipped entirely, against the wishes of up to 80% of the groups doing them, just to get the dungeon over as quickly as possible. Why?
Blame the tanks.
Yeah, I know it’s bad luck to speak ill of our lords and masters, but it’s true. If the tank doesn’t want to kill the optional bosses, they don’t get killed, and if the group revolts and demands those bosses get done, the worst thing that’s going to happen to the tank is that they have to take a deserter debuff and do a cooking and fishing daily while they wait until they can get their instant dungeon queue again. Everyone else is stuck in the instance for another twenty minutes waiting for another tank, and the next tank who zones in is going to take one look at which bosses are left and think Christmas and all their birthdays have come at once, pull Rahj before the group can say “Hi and welcome, the last tank was a selfish prick” and leave faster than it takes for the game to report “You have earned 70 of currency: Valor Points.”
In a nutshell, it’s a big game of asshole chicken. The tanks don’t need any of the loot from the optional bosses with the possible exception of the bracers from Isiset, since bracers are one of those slots where relatively few other options exist. They have no incentive to not be assholes. They want to kill Rahj and be done. The dps and healers may want to kill the optionals, they have no incentive to rush straight to Rahj, so they try to impose their wishes on the reluctant tanks. Everyone’s being an asshole, you just sit back and wait to see who blinks first.
You can blame it on poor design and to some extent it’s true. The setup of Halls of Origination lends itself to people being selfish assholes, no argument there, but people still have to make a choice about whether or not they’re going to be pricks to the rest of the group. To be fair, this kind of rampant dickheadery isn’t actually the norm. What I tend to see is the tank asking if anyone minds if they just kill Rahj and be done, and one of a few things will happen. Either no-one cares and everyone’s happy, or a minority want to kill other bosses and get outvoted (usually the rogue), or the majority want to kill more bosses and the tank says “Tough shit” and pulls Rahj anyway. Or he doesn’t even bother to ask.
The problem here, and in other situations like this, isn’t down to dungeon design. It’s that there are no penalties to being an asshole. This is a social game whether we like it or not, and regardless of how special the tanks of the world think they are, they don’t solo current heroic content, it’s a team effort. When you submit to that dungeon queue what you are actually doing is accepting a contract to work together with four other people to achieve a common goal. That common goal may be to blitz through the content as quickly as possible and get out, but if the majority of the group want to farm everything in there you need to either submit to the majority decision and go along with it or say up front that you don’t want to do that and find another group. The time to do this is when you zone in, not when you’re looking Rahj in the face. There’s nothing wrong with being selfish, just be up front about it. Otherwise you’re just being an asshole.
And in Other News
I’ve not been idle the last month, although the lack of blog updates could have easily led you to believe otherwise. I’ve been levelling alts like a thing possessed, working on heroic 25 man raid content, filling gaps in one of the ten man raid teams and generally keeping busy. Our work in 25 man heroic Blackwing Descent was rewarded last weekend with this:
So that’s two down, ten to go! In more amusing news, I noticed this particularly inventive guild recruitment ad in the trade channel:
Yeah, good luck with that.
Cya next time!