Six Signs Your Dungeon Group Is Doomed
by Tyler Edwards, May 15, 2012
Group play is, by definition, the most important part of any MMO. Most of the time, group play is centered on instanced five player dungeons (or your game's equivalent). The majority of group experiences are fun and productive, allowing you to progress your character in the company of friends new and old. But then there are those other groups, the ones destined to end in bitter disappointment or furious nerd rage. In such cases, your best choice may be simply to bail and find a new group. These are some of the top signs that you should do just that.
6: You can judge a book by its cover:
As children, we're taught to judge people based on what's inside, not superficial things like their looks or names. Usually this is good advice, even in a virtual world. But sometimes, sadly, you can judge a book by its cover.
Picture this: you've just zoned into a dungeon, and you look over the names of the group you've been placed with. Lawlstabqt is an assassin, Meetsheeld is tanking, Uberheelz is presumably providing uber heals, and Lolpewpewlol the spellcaster rounds out your group. A chill runs down your spine.
Your anxiousness grows as you notice they are all from the same guild: < BLOODY DEATH BRINGRS >. Your palms sweat, and anxiousness turns to outright fear as Meetsheeld greets you with a hearty, "WAASSSSSSSSUUUUUP". Minutes later, you are not surprised when the dungeon's first boss ends up peeling your carcass off its foot.
You leave the group in disgust. Later, you at last find a new PUG for a different dungeon, and you see that your group is being led by Bigfireballz of the guild . You curse the day you were born.
The worst thing about groups such as these is that, while stupid names and speech patterns can be an early warning sign, they don't guarantee a bad run. So you never know for sure until something horrible happens.
5: Stay down, kid. It's not your night:
Sometimes, a group will start off perfectly well, only to have things crash and burn later on for no clear reason. Things might not start going wrong until halfway through an instance. At first, bosses are dying and all seems well.
But then your awesome tank gets disconnected. You wait, but he doesn't come back and you're forced to get a new one. That takes a while, and the new tank isn't as good - but you're still managing. Then one of the damage dealers accidentally pulls a massive group of enemies. It's an honest mistake that anyone could have made, but the group ends up getting pounded into the dirt and your healer quits in frustration.
You waste more time finding a new healer, but this one - like the new tank - is a downgrade. People are now dying often, and progress slows to a snail's pace. Suddenly the damage dealers, who seemed perfectly reasonable at the start of the run, are squabbling over a piece of loot and screaming at each other like children. It seems as if the gods of gaming are against you, and what started out as an excellent dungeon run is now a nightmare of epic proportions.
Only in retrospect will you realize that it would have been better for you to simply leave. But it was difficult to heed the warning signs, because you couldn't imagine how such a good group could turn so bad.
4: Drunk tank:
A drunk tank is a type of prison cell used to temporarily contain an intoxicated person so as to prevent them disrupting the peace or harming themselves or others. It's also a recipe for a horrible, horrible dungeon group.
And we're not talking about in-game drunkenness, although that can be disruptive, too. We're talking about someone flopping down at their computer with a bottle of whiskey, logging into an unsuspecting MMO world, throwing a shield on their DPS character, and proudly declaring themselves a tank to anyone foolish or uninformed enough to listen.
When your tank is hammered, you can expect that your group's about to get hammered, too - in a much less pleasant way. Poor decision making ability, sloppy hand-eye coordination, and needing to pause to vomit in the middle of a boss fight are all major liabilities when trying to tank for a group effectively.
One doesn't necessarily need to be a tank to destroy a group in a drunken stupor, either. A drunken healer is also a recipe for disaster, and even a DPS player has the potential to make plenty of trouble once all their inhibitions are removed by a semi-lethal blood alcohol level. Likewise, booze isn't the only substance that can make a player a mobile train wreck. Drugs and other intoxicants work just as well. Nothing ruins a dungeon run like a player tripping.
3: You're the only one wearing the correct gear:
Gearing in MMOs can be a bit overwhelming to a new player. When you're doing your first few quests, you're probably going to be wearing a few pieces that are totally worthless for your class because you don't know any better. But by the time people work their way up to challenging dungeon content, you'd think they'd have figured it out.
There's nothing quite like the sinking feeling of getting into a group and realizing you're the only one wearing gear that makes sense for your class. The healer is melee gear, the casters are stacking defensive stats like a clerk stacks papers, and the tank has the best healing set you've ever seen.
If it were just one person in bad gear, the group could overcome. You might even be able to educate them on what gear they should wear. But when four out of five are dressed to kill (themselves), it's time to accept your fate: you're boned.
2: It's "that" dungeon:
We all have at least one - a dungeon where we have met with calamity before. Maybe it's especially hard, maybe you struggle with the mechanics of its bosses, or maybe you've just had awful luck there. Whatever the case, it's your kryptonite, and you groan as soon as the loading screen pops up.
This is a situation that's most likely to crop up in games with random dungeon finder tools, but it could also come as the result of a quest or event sending you to a specific dungeon, or because you're desperate enough for a group that you'll join whatever's forming.
What makes a situation like this even worse is that other members of your group will often hate the dungeon as much as you do, leading to low morale and short tempers.
A good example of a dungeon like this is Zul'Gurub, a raid revamped for five players in World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion. This dungeon was infamously over-tuned for players with the gear levels available at the time, and the overcomplicated boss mechanics made it a challenge even for well geared groups.
This made for endless wipes and countless threads of rage and frustration on the game's official forums. Its final boss, Jin'do the Godbreaker, eventually earned the gruesome title of "Jin'do the PUGbreaker," and to this day, WoW fans everywhere wake up from nightmares screaming, "The adds aren't dying fast enough!"
Or so we're told.
1: Snowball Effect:
A tough dungeon, an intoxicated group member, bad luck, and sometimes even poor players are all obstacles that can be overcome. But there is one thing that is guaranteed to doom your group every time.
The run will start off well. The first boss goes down easily. Everyone is in good gear. People know their roles well. But then something goes wrong. It could be a simple, honest mistake. Someone spilled their Mountain Dew and walked into a patrol of mobs.
And then all hell breaks loose.
"WTF! Why did u do that?!?"
"U ****ing suck, n00b!"
Suddenly, you're grouped with the cast of the Jerry Springer Show. Everyone is more interested in screaming at each other than completing the dungeon. The chat window becomes a blur of insults and profanity. Everyone is blaming everyone for everything - even things that aren't really problems. If you try to calm them down, you're ignored at best, and at worst you become the new focus of their ire.
The argument turns what could have been a smooth run into an ugly mess. The tank is too busy typing insinuations about the healer's mother to hold the attention of mobs, the healer is letting people die out of spite, and the damage dealers are pulling bosses out of turn just to watch the world burn.
There's no hope for a group like this. Challenges can be overcome, but only if a group works together. A group that can't do that is beyond redemption, and so it is the greatest sign that your group is doomed.