In my years of playing World of Warcraft (WoW), I have avoided dungeons. Back before I turned off the Trade channel, I used to see a lot of rants about bad Tanks, incompetent Healers, and useless DPSs, and I just knew if I joined a dungeon group, I would be one of those people letting the others down. So I ran Player versus Environment (PvE), did my quests, and got my first level 85 character without running with a dungeon group. Various characters poked their noses into dungeons (usually along with one of my husband’s characters), but we never finished one.
Last year a friend started playing WoW, and he does do dungeons. He does a LOT of dungeons. I heard about how much fun he was having, and how much great gear he was looting, and I started thinking maybe I would try it. My friend mentioned people are generally more patient with low-level noobs (new players) in dungeons. So I created a new character, got her up to level 15 (when the dungeons become available), and took the plunge using Dungeon Finder.
I decided since I prefer Hunters and Mages, I would run a DPS first. DPS means Damage Per Second, and there are usually three in a dungeon group. Tanks are the ones with heavier armor, meant to rush in and take most of the blows while the DPS do damage. The Healer specializes in healing spells, and their job is to keep everyone alive. A group can carry a not-so-fantastic DPS, but the Tank and Healer better be good, or everyone goes down. A well-run Hunter does a lot of DPS, but takes some effort. Frost mages are easier, so that’s what I chose to learn with.
Not wanting to go in blind, I did some reading ahead of time. I learned about dungeon etiquette, and my friend coached me on some finer points. The Dungeon Finder creates groups from players across many servers so they can run specific or random dungeons (in a range above and below their own level). My first dungeon had patient players who were willing to work with a noob; it went well, and I almost pulled my weight. 🙂 Unfortunately my second dungeon was with players who were not so patient, and I got kicked eight minutes into the dungeon (thrown out of the group). After that I learned how to aim for whatever the tank was fighting with, even if I couldn’t see around him. I learned pretty much everyone gets kicked at least once as they learn; if you get kicked repeatedly, do more reading and ask around about how to play your role. Happily, that was the only time I’ve been kicked (yet).
Playing with a group of people you don’t already know is interesting. Some are quiet, some chat all the time. That means they are typing while they play, and I haven’t quite figured out how they do that, unless they set things up somehow with a macro. (I don’t understand macros, either.) Some have obvious egos, some are more willing to offer help. Occasionally you get a glimpse into their lives, usually with a terse explanation for why they are not at the keyboard. It’s not polite to enter a dungeon if you think you won’t be able to play to the end, but life happens. There are kids who leave because their parent says they have to get off the computer. One parent had to leave the dungeon because their baby was crying (this was at night). One character stopped playing for a couple minutes because “the dogs were fighting.” I had my own interruption last week, when one of our cats came in with a bird they caught outside. Fortunately I was in a good group, and the leader laughed.
The pleasant surprise is that most of the people I have run dungeons with have been nice. Many of the leaders and tanks have waited while those who need to replenish their mana have done so. People have answered questions, and offered encouragement. I have come across jerks, but not a lot. I like running dungeons! You get good loot, you level quicker, and there is a feeling of accomplishment when your group works together and completes difficult goals.
Maybe I will get really brave, and try a Tank. 🙂