Tanking PUGs gives you exposure to the best and the worst of the WoW community. I have to say that I love it. It’s challenging and it’s fun – it can be uplifting but it can also be very very odd. Two vignettes follow.
Our first scene opens at Slave Pens where a brave band of adventurers, thrown together but the winds of fate, set out for fun and fortune. I did say ‘fun’ right? They are led by the redoubtable Bankgrrl who, as a protection warrior since her early days of adventuring – having levelled exclusively through instances as prot - knows a thing of two about tanking. Runs are quick, aggro is held, the healer is protected and thanked at the end of the run (for healing pugs is a challenging role). In the way of warrior tanks it’s not ‘all’ business but it is ‘mostly’ business. She takes pride in leading her teams to good outcomes.
Bank (as she is known to her friends) surveys the team, a priest, a mage, a shaman and a death knight – a sturdy crew who seem up to the task, although… there is something odd about the DK. She can’t put her finger on it. He’s quiet as many of his people are but a little ‘too’ quiet. Shelving her doubts she begins the task.
The first few pulls go well when suddenly early into the fourth pull one of the mobs suddenly flies past our resilient tank’s right shoulder to land in the midst of the dps pack. Instinct kicks in, she slaps out a taunt and charges then works the mob back into the group.
“Please don’t pull the mobs DK (name and server address withheld).”
The instance continues. Bank decides that it must have been muscle memory on behalf of her DK companion, a Death-Gripping hangover from single adventuring until right at the next pull there goes another mob, flying out of the tight group she’s formed for AOE right into the middle of the dps pack. The healing is split, the DPS fracture, Bank blows a cooldown and charges back to grab the mob.
“Seriously? Please don’t pull the mobs DK.”
Another trash pack and more flying mobs. “What’s wrong with you – don’t pull the mobs!” And then the mage pipes up, “He’s not doing any harm.” But he is – he’s slowing down the run, he’s moving the dps between AOE and single target damage, he’s pulling bulk heals from the healer to hold him up while he grabs aggro on elite mobs he’s not specced for tanking. He queued as deeps; what on earth is wrong with him?
Let’s leave the third person narrative here. This odd DK didn’t last much past the first boss. I got on with tanking and stopped talking to him. At Mennu he continuously taunted from me and I taunted back to hold aggro. He never said a word and soon after the boss fight simply left the group. I’ve tanked somewhere between 40 and 50 instance runs on this toon and this guy was the oddest person I’ve come across; he was an enigma wrapped in a passive-aggressive riddle.
Tomorrow – The Most Excellent Warriors!
6 hours ago