GROUP MEMBER INITIATES A VOTE TO KICK THE TANK. REASON:
YES OR NO?
I can't really say if our tank was a nutsack. We had just wiped - quickly - on the first boss in Grim Batol, and I'd been so busy watching my auras, cooldowns, and cast bar that I didn't even notice the rest of my group was dead until Omen printed "ATTACKING YOU!!!" in thousand-point font across my screen. When that appeared, I cast one last Incinerate for all the pretty unicorns, said goodbye to Karuri my ever-faithful imp, then made my peace with the great black and white.
I was reluctant to vote on the nutsackiness of our tank. We'd only been grouping for 5 minutes or so, the trash so far gave no indication of trouble ahead, and I was clueless as to the cause of our wipe. So I just stared at the box on the screen, doing nothing. I hoped it would go away without me pressing anything. After a few seconds, it did. And so did the tank. He'd either been booted back to wherever he came from, or he saw what was coming and bailed.
In general, I'm against booting for poor performance, and back in my Wrath days, I grouped with some SERIOUSLY under-performing people. But I always kept my mouth shut, gritted my teeth, sucked it up, and stuck it out. One tank in particular, whose name has mercifully been erased from my mind, could easily be awarded the grand title WORST TANK EVER. But she liked grouping with me for some reason, and would frequently whisper "Hi Mort! Will you come DPS?" and often throw in little smiley faces to ensure I couldn't refuse. I'd check my gold to be sure I could afford the outrageous repair bill soon to come, then make my way toward the impending festival of failure. With her at the helm, we would wipe at least 7 or 8 times attempting to clear Utgarde Pinnacle - by far the easiest heroic in the game. It was brutal with her, but she was oblivious. "Thanks, Mort! See you tomorrow? =o)" And as much as I feared that possibility, I knew I would definitely group with her tomorrow if she asked. Why? Because behind all the digital armor, there was a real person. And she'd probably already heard plenty of unedited rants about her tanking - from people who either didn't care or consider that real feelings might get hurt. Throw into the mix that she might only be 8 years old, and the right to be verbally abusive gets very shaky indeed.
After the near-fatal Wrath Babies post, I resolved to stop comparing everything to Wrath, stop talking about the "good old days" and get on board the Cataclysm bandwagon. But with grouping there is definitely a huge difference between Wrath days and now, and I'm nominating Nutsack as the poster boy for that difference.
The new-to-me Dungeon Tool does its job very well. It assembles groups and drops them face-first into a dungeon, with no questions asked and no begging for tanks or healers. If someone gets disconnected, a replacement is automatically found in seconds. When you're in a hurry for points, the Dungeon Tool is your best friend. And I've got to admit, it's great being able to do whatever I want while waiting in queue. The ease of grouping has Mortigan at least standing NEAR the bandwagon, if not yet fully on it.
But then there's poor Nutsack. He wanted to group a regular instance. He was probably wearing greens. I never checked. When I landed on my face in Grim Batol, I was too busy trying to fire off my own few buffs while running toward the trash-fight already underway (since there is no longer a period of wait-while-we-all-buff-and-put-our-helmets-on-straight before picking a fight with the opening trash). If Nutsack had been on the old LFG tool, he would have been limited to people on his own server, and would have likely had to use a healer that he already knew. DPS would have been personally recruited for the job, and we all would have had PLENTY of time to figure out how well Nutsack was going to do before we ever even got anywhere NEAR the dungeon. After all, even once the group was full, it would still be another 10 to 20 minutes while people traveled. There would have been time for lots of talking:
Nutsack: "Hey guys, I finally got my green Tank gear! I'm ready to give it a try in Grim Batol!"
Us: "Have you tanked much?"
Nutsack: "No, but we should be good. I've got a GREAT healer."
Warnings would be going off in everyone's mind. The smell of fail would be thick in the air. Enter At Your Own Risk. If anyone went along, they'd know what kind of a ride they were in for. No surprises. And Nutsack would lead us through the brutal wipefest one trash pile at a time. But he wouldn't get kicked. And when we're done, there would be a BOND. We survived the Nutsack Run! And I'd be sure to add the healer to my Friends list, because good healers patient enough to stick out a run like that are worth their weight in gold.
And that's how real reputations would start to form. The old LFG Tool was personal. You could read the names of people already in the group. And if you'd been around, you'd quickly know whether you wanted to sign up or not: "Uh oh. Nutsack's tanking that one. Better wait for the next group!" Eventually, those of us who performed decently built up a loose set of friends that were always grouping together. Even in most random 25-man raids, I'd recognize almost all the names. I'd already run Heroics with pretty much every one of them. I might not remember much about them, but I'd know if they were nutsacks or not.
With the new tool, all of that is gone. If poor little Nutsack really was a nutsack, I guess the new tool works in his favor. He'll be off leading some other group to their deaths within seconds. His name will be quickly forgotten, and he won't end up on anyone's bad list because he doesn't even exist on the same server. Anonymity is his shield and his cloak.
But on the flipside, there is no comraderie for those of us who strive to do our jobs well. The healers I run with now don't need to be on my Friends list. I'll likely never see them again. And I'll never be shouting for one in Stormwind. A healer will be automatically assigned to me. It's great and terrible all at the same time. I absolutely LOVE grouping. I like that the new tool gets me a group quickly, and gets the dungeon started immediately. But I miss the friendship building, and the willingness to stick it out when things get tough. After all, Nutsack will finally get his purples, and there may come a day when he leads us to victory.
Goodbye, Nutsack - whoever you were.
Mortigan of the Half Wagon