18 Feb 2010

Heroics for Dummy Hunters (a guide for the rest of us!) - part 2

OK, in the last part I covered what you should do before getting into a heroic run, and what you should do immediately on arrival inside. Now let’s deal with some etiquette.

Teleporting in will most likely put you into an instance with four people you’ve never met before. Say hello.

Yes, honestly. Just say “hi”, let people know you’re actually at the keyboard and you’re a real human being. Show a bit of friendliness and people will be more forgiving if you do happen to mess up. But that’s not going to happen, is it?

Generally, the run itself will take place in complete silence unless somebody feels the need to have a pop at someone’s DPS, or someone’s drunk, or stoned, or five years old. Possibly all of the above. Trust me. The only time someone’s likely to say something constructive is to give a terse, one-line instruction about tactics for a boss fight. “Hunter on harpoons” or “Kill rifts first” are good examples.

Don’t let this trouble you. The temptation if you’re slightly more sociable is to launch into a chat about the weather, particularly if you’re English. Do not fall into this trap. Dutch people do not talk about the weather. Italian players will probably not understand what you’re talking about.

If you are drunk and/or stoned, do not admit it. Imagine the other players in your group have the ability to call the police or the Temperance League, or both, and send them round to your home. Feel that level of caution. It will serve you well. Admitting you can see fifteen players in your group who all look like trippy Gnomish Cheech and Chongs is tantamount to having an enormous “Vote to Kick” button above your name.

If you do need to ask something, try to do it outside combat. If you’re typing, you’re not killing and everybody knows it. If you’re asking questions or making observations in a boss fight, you can expect a certain level of personal abuse from other group members who feel you’re not pulling your weight. Instead, do it beforehand – especially if you don’t know the boss tactics. In this case, definitely do ask – you’ll be surprised at how many people say “me too! Lol” when you admit you’ve never been somewhere before.

Admitting you don't know boss tactics is not only a good move, it will take some of the heat out of the tank. He'll generally be the one who explains how the fight works, and at least you'll have some idea of what you should be doing. Few things are worse than a wipe because of bashfulness.

Try not to loot while in combat. I understand how juicy and tasty those sparkly bodies look, and I know that plenty of tanks are so sociopathic they can't wait to get away from the other people in the group and so happily sprint past bodies without stopping to loot them. Understand that tanking is a lonely, foul-tempered profession. That is why they won’t hesitate to go for the emotional jugular as they try to hold the attention of six mobs as well as decide whether to roll greed or disenchant because you couldn’t wait to see what dropped.

Hold back until the dust settles.

Also try to refrain from asking questions about specs, glyphs and gear while in combat. Inspecting other players can be fascinating – they can be horribly misgemmed, badly geared or uber 1337 hardcore raiders draped from head to toe in beautiful ilevel 264 items. Asking about their clothing in combat merely demonstrates you’re more attracted to them than you are to shooting things. That's a bit creepy, frankly - and if you creep them out, as a dps you are easily replaceable with somebody who can keep their mind on the job without sounding like the mad fan-woman from that Stephen King novel.

Having said all of that, do not hang about after combat is ended. Most tanks run heroic instances whilst holding their breath, which means they either finish the run within minutes or suffocate. You’ll get used to it. Just don’t expect them to wait while you pick up dozens of serrated fangs from the pack of mobs you just laid waste to.

Please do not antagonise your healer by asking to be healed. Your experience of an instance is all “wow – that’s awesome, I can see the pub from here” and “the architecture I’m splattering with mob blood is reminiscent of European gothic cathedrals”. The healer’s experience of an instance is five health bars and two or three healing spells, punctuated by the occasional glance at their own mana bar. They know you need healing. And they chose to become healers because it’s a silent profession that allows no opportunity for them to expose their own social shortcomings through unnecessary chatter. Do not bother them. They already know how much health you have and how much you’re missing. In straight numbers and percentages.

Spamming recount is also considered bad form. It quickly fills the chat window, getting rid of such useless information as which player was supposed to be on the harpoons during the boss fight. And pretty much everybody will be running recount anyway... they don’t need to see what your addon has recorded. Add to that the fact that everybody understands you are a hunter and as such will reign supreme at the top of the charts by a margin of several thousand dps, and you can see there’s no excuse for embarrassing others by posting dps meter results after every fight.

When you finally do put a boss to sleep, the loot will fall from the sky like... actually, like dirty filthy acid rain that strips away foliage and pollutes rivers. Most bosses will drop blues which probably won’t be as good as the gear you’re buying with emblems. Don’t worry about it. Size up whether it would be a good upgrade.

In order to do this, know your class. You are a hunter, mighty, proud, full to the brim with agility and attack power. Most other things are useless. Make sure it’s an item you can use. Then ask whether you can roll need on it.

Don’t be scared, go ahead and ask. Nobody will think you’re a ninja if you ask first. Ninjas loot first, ask later (if at all). That’s not you. You politely requested it. When the boot’s on the other foot, let the loot slide. People want it for main spec or off-spec, who – really – cares? There’s plenty more where that came from, and it’s doing someone some good instead of being turned into shards or gold. If you can’t use it, don’t let it bother you.

While we’re tackling loot, let me say right now – greed is the roll for frozen orbs. Not need. Never need. It’s greed. Feel free to tell people who roll need on orbs how you feel... no matter how quickly you type, you won’t beat the tank to personally abusing the miscreant. Tanks, in addition to holding their breath, also have voice interpreters wired to their vocal cords which means anything they mutter under their breath spills out into party chat. It’s just how they’re wired. If it's aimed at you, try not to take anything they say personally. After all, they just spent some of their precious breath on you.

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