Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wondrous Stories


I first told this story back in 2009, on this very Blog. I feel that today is a good time to revisit it.


Zul'Gurub launched in Patch 1.7, back in September 2005. For someone who was at that point supremely casual, completely in blue and in no position to get anywhere near 40 man raiding, ZG was a very attractive possibility. The problem of course was getting there, and finding a group of people in our Guild Back Then was a tough prospect. There weren't even 20 people online on a good night.

One night in late 2005 my husband was asked by someone on his Friends List (a lovely dwarf pally who was for many years a permanent fixture in Stormwind when I was there) if he'd like to come along and heal (because back in those days there was only one spec and for Mr Alt's Pally that meant Holy) for a ZG run. They had a space for a dps too, and I was asked if I'd like to take part. As we congregated outside the instance with the other people I felt more than a little inadequate: these people were better geared and clearly all knew each other very well, if the chat in Raid was any indicator. I could only hope I'd be able to do my best. We despatched the first two bosses (Bat, Snake) with a surprising measure of ease: I learnt later they'd never killed both in the same evening. I scored points for doing as I was told and throwing out decent dps, and made myself generally both useful and unobtrusive simultaneously. Loot drops were all handled by rolling: there was no obvious bias towards anyone, if you needed something you rolled. This seemed a great deal fairer than all the various loot systems I'd read about, far more preferable than DKP. Those three letters scared me.

Mostly I just stood at the back and kept quiet.

Then we arrived at Bloodlord Mandokir. This boss was tough. We wiped several times and it got close to the scheduled finish time. I learnt via a whisper that the group hadn't as yet pulled this boss down. We ended up exploiting the spears in the boss area (which of course they subsequently removed) and he died on the last pull. There was much rejoicing, as this was a significant kill for the majority.

When they cracked open the boss for loot, they found Mandokir's Sting.

End Boss Vanilla Edition.

I can still even now remember how excited that piece of loot made me feel. It was my first ever chance at an Epic Item in an Instance. I'd had Blue items drop before I'd felt the same way about as well, but this was different. This was actual proper Hunter Loot. There was only one other Hunter in the raid, a Night Elf, and I sat patiently and waited to be told when to roll. And I waited. When the call went out, I shut my eyes and pressed my macro button.

I won.

It was only after I was given the item that I realised summat was up. The hunter stopped talking to me. There were some awkward silences. I decided that I was just being silly, and looked forward to going back to Ironforge to make a quiver for the arrows I'd now be using instead of my normal bullets. There was a great deal of internal squeeing too of course... It was only when I'd left the raid and was selling stuff in Ironforge that I found out what the problem was.

'You won MY item :( '

The hunter whispered me and decided she'd tell me how it was. Apparently the bow 'was promised' to her should it drop, and I shouldn't even have been given a chance to roll on it. I was a Dwarf, my Racial was guns, why on earth had I even rolled? I explained as politely as I could that I'd been told what the loot system was, I'd done as I'd been instructed and I'd rolled higher. Therefore, the item was mine. She kept at me for nearly an hour until I logged in desperation. I'd never experienced Loot Rage before, but I knew now at first hand just how mind-blowingly destructive it could be.

In the end, the hunter got us both thrown out of that group. We raided for a few months (with some fun times when AQ opened in 2006) , I picked up a couple more items from ZG and AQ, but as a result of what happened the leaders introduced a 'Wish List' system where you had to say what item you wanted from the instance before you went again and you were only allowed to take items that no-one else wanted... it was a bad idea. In the end, their fairness to just let people /roll failed to take into account you need everyone to be prepared to be fair in the first place. If people won't, no loot system will ever work properly. It actually helped me begin my journey into 20 and 40 man raiding on a note of caution: make sure you know and understand ALL the rules before you go. I'd see the Hunter wandering around in game from time to time, but I was on /ignore.

Needless to say, I moved on.

Up North.

Fast forward to Wrath of the Lich King: I was up at the Tournament, LFG Chillmaw (as was my normal daily routine for some time) when I was invited to a group by a mage. As I joined I watched as my bow-coveting Hunter register my presence and promptly leave. Thirty seconds later the mage made a lameassed excuse about being needed somewhere else and disbanded the group (as both were in the same Guild, something I'd not even realised.) I thought long and hard and then whispered him, telling him that three years to hold a grudge really was a bit pointless, and he should say hi to the hunter from me. I found another group for Chillmaw, and went on my way.

Thirty minutes later, the hunter whispered me as I farmed in the Fjord for leather.

We spent the next hour or so chatting: about how she was sorry about the loot drama, how she'd left that group as well and gone to a Guild with a bunch of people who are now part of our Guild, how that had subsequently  fallen apart and she'd gone to a third Guild and then back to where she was. She spoke about how she missed people who had left, and how things have changed over the years. She seemed to be running 10 mans on her own (which I didn't envy, I know how tough that is) and also seemed genuinely grateful to be able to talk to me about anything and everything. The fact she apologised speaks a lot for me: there's really not much point in life if you don't learn from your mistakes, and it was very satisfying to have someone be that honest and upfront. I also learnt that a lot of those people from that first alliance have gone: burnout, abuse, general lack of interest in a game that still makes me want to play it every day. It just goes to show that people play this game for a huge number of reasons.

It also proves the point that it's never too late to say you're sorry.

It isn't just the game that changes over time, it is the people too. The same things may drive us and motivate, but in the end it is only pixels and it doesn't matter as much as the way you deal with them.


Hamsda said...

Excellent post and a nice trip down memory lane :)

marathalbt said...

Oh gawd the memories and feels.

I started 8 months into Wrath on a brand new server created 2 months after the expansion started. We were for the majority all new to the game players. We had a few raiding guilds that had years of experience, walking around town in their Tier armor, we would look at them in wonder. How many years it must take playing to get to that level. Eventually a wonderful person offered to help me if I was interested, I took all of her suggestions, spent at the time hundreds of gold on gems and enchants, which was a lot of money for me. She invited me to join their raiding guild as a trial. Immediately I was pulled in on a ToGC run for those in guild gearing up alts. They stated at the beginning and it was part of the guild rules, Mains before Alt's. This was my first raid ever so I could use anything. They did have a DKP system and I had nothing banked so I was hopeful for any unwanted pieces.

I was fortunate enough for someone to whisper me how to make a focus macro, to set focus on them, and just DPS my heart out and don't die. I was 19th for DPS, there was a mage in the group bragging about how he burst to some insane at the time number and made a joke about my numbers. I whispered to the person that had invited me, told them sorry I did so bad, TY for the opportunity, and I would leave the guild. It was the first time I ever saw a Raid warning, the raid leader yelled no one leave or do anything.

So I waited. The person that had helped me with the macro asked if I was in Vent, I told them I did not know what that was, they said OMG, stuff is going down big time, the Mage was getting a reprimand for being a total ass hat. From what I gathered while they may have had this huge number they died 2 minutes into the fight, and that in the end I had more damage than them because I lived. The Mage dropped and we went through the rest of the raid, on the final boss a Mace dropped that was Huge for me, there was one other priest on an Alt, so I asked if I could roll and was told ok since it was my main. I won with a 99. There was a pause of a few minutes, the Raid leader asked me if it was ok to give to the other guy, he had run the raid 15 times for the drop. I passed to him. Because of that gesture, I was given a place as an alternate to the progression team and had a chance to see ICC prior to any buffs.

I am no longer in that guild, and have been in many others, but the experience has shaped me into the player I am in how I treat others.

TheGrumpyElf said...

That was a great story.

As mentioned, the roll policy is the best one but only if people are willing to abide by it. Sad part is, even when that is true, it still can create drama. I've seen people drop the raid and /gquit because they lost a roll on more occasions than I can even recall.

The worst part really is when you pug someone in with the standard roll policy. Often it starts to create hard feelings. Like a lock in my group that twice passed on a trinket to try and help someone new to the guild and then that person leaves who decided he was not going to pass again, and I do not blame him, and he lost the roll the third time we ever saw it drop, to someone that was a pug.

Sometimes rage is deserved, sometimes the roll policy, which is the best, is not enough. He had all rights to be upset, even more so when you think of the fact he has twice passed on the item to help the guild and now someone outside of the guild wins it when he had been wanting it for months.

Motto here is, no loot policy will ever be perfect. No matter what, someone always gets hurt.

I am glad that person got over it but most do not. I have never spoken to any of the players that ever quit one of my runs because of a bad roll. Once they get mad, they stay gone, most of the time.

Honestly, I think that is a good thing. Being upset about loot in natural, being a jerk about it is something people should learn to control.