The Fine Line

I play video games to have fun.

My girlfriend and I logged into The Secret World to run some Nightmare Dungeons this past Sunday morning. No one in our cabal was kicking around at 6am, so we jumped into a pick-up group.

Anyone who plays MMOs knows that you’re rolling the dice when you play with a PUG. We’ve had some annoyances in the past, but by and large, we’ve met some great people and have a high opinion of the TSW community as a result.

But this time was different.

Now, despite the fact that I’m end-game, I don’t know everything there is to know about The Secret World. I don’t crunch numbers, I don’t craft theories, I don’t min-max, or anything like that. I build decks that I enjoy playing, and TSW’s 500+ abilities ensures that I can play a role numerous ways and correct any deficiencies on the fly.

A particular DPS in our group was armed to the teeth with QL10.4 gear, The Secret World’s best. When he landed a monstrous critical hit on The Darkness War’s first boss, I lost aggro and we had to wipe.

“what the hell was that come on man”, he scoffed when we regrouped before sending me his own tank build entitled “REAL G SHIT TANK” and then rattling off a list of reasons why I suck. I’m always open to suggestions, so I added it to my collection and resolved to take a look at it later. But I knew what went wrong: I had to really lay on the aggro to keep him covered, and so I did.

When we got to the third boss, who uses an ability to break aggro, the DPS ate it again. “gay”, he opined with grace and tact. I realized he must have been getting frustrated; who wouldn’t? So I changed some things up, and the next few boss fights went off without a hitch.

In the meantime, he kept posting messages in group chat that were intended for his cabal between snarky comments:

“DPS really sucks,” he said, and then quickly added, “my* DPS really sucks”. Humility? Not this guy. Misstell.

Then out of nowhere, “a lot of cabals really hate me”. Can’t imagine why.

When we reached the final boss, my deck was nearly unrecognizable with abilities I’d never used before. After a few wipes, he asked, “landiien can you dps”. I told him, “I could, but it’s melee DPS… >.<“. “switch to dps,” he commanded.

A few moments went by while everyone altered their abilities, when suddenly he asked, “what the hell kind of group is this that use melee in NM dungeons”.

“Somone who usually plays as a tank,” my girlfriend responded, “Would you relax?”

I’ve cleared The Darkness War several times before this with the same deck I always use to tank. Up to that point, I’d done my best to understand his frustration, accept his suggestions, and to be as cordial as possible. The guy had managed to insult and ridicule everyone on the team, and had murdered the mood of an initially chatty group. Suddenly, I realized, I was working.

“Good luck,” I told the team, “I play this game to have fun. This isn’t that serious.”

And we left.

It doesn’t matter how good your gear is, how knowledgable you are, or even how skilled; when you’re playing with a group, it’s all about working together.

He could have been the best player in the entire game, but he still left that dungeon short on bullion and with a sixteen-hour timer before he could try it again.

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