HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

When you are the 5th Wheel

It was late at night when I was invited to heal a heroic UK run. By the time I’d arrived at the summoning stone (a 5 minute flight from Dalaran) I noticed that party chat was completely silent.

“Xata we’re going for the On the Rocks achievement.”

We stand around for quite a long time before the first pull. Then the tank announces he’s going to pull the whole room and rushes in. I’m madly spamming Lesser Healing Wave, anxious that when my Earth Shield and Riptide wear out I’m going to have to use two cooldowns to reapply them – and stopping Lesser Healing Wave to do anything else at that time would equal a tank death. Now we probably would have made it if one of the DPS hadn’t pulled agro and died at the start of the pull. As it was, I just couldn’t keep the tank up. We wiped and all the mobs ran back into position with about 5% health left on each.

Nothing is said. We continue to pull each group in a normal fashion.

We get to the first boss and it’s hectic but I was expecting it. I blow through my mana trying to keep everyone alive, fend off skeletons (oh how I wish for Cassandri’s Fade!) and my Earth Elemental saves the day when the tank is entombed as the boss is about to die. Everyone is granted the achievement, nothing is said.

The tank continues to pull, sometimes chain pulling at a furious rate, at other times the group stands around for several minutes for no apparent reason. I start to wonder if perhaps the tank is playing their secondary talent spec.

The second boss is worse than the first. I watch the little >> << agro markers in Healbot jump around as the clothies in the party juggle agro. I lose at least one of them and almost my own life.

“You guys sure like to juggle aggro.” This is my way of saying L2P without yelling abuse at the mage.

Somebody responds with “Oh our tank is just trying out a new spec. Don’t mind us.”

And I think that’s when I knew for sure that everyone in this party was on Ventrillo except for me. I was the necessary 5th member required to get this party going.

The thing is, I know exactly how this spontaneous run of Utgarde Keep came about because I’ve been in their shoes many times. You’re standing around in the city just so you can talk to your friends on Vent. Somebody mentions that they want to try out their offspec and suddenly everyone is switching roles and heading off to the easiest heroic to experiment. But their healer wants to DPS for a change so they pick up a healer from LFG (that’s me).

Every death and mistake is a joke for these four to laugh about over Vent. The DPS push the envelope on purpose, just to give the tank some grief. They’re having fun chatting so it’s almost an afterthought when they do pull. Nobody is there for loot, nobody is there for Emblems.

They’ve probably even said something like “this Shaman must think we can’t play. LOL”

Not long afterwards (a few DPS deaths later) the Shadow Priest pipes up and says “look if you want to DPS I will heal”. And at that point I started to get irritated.

On the very next pull the Shadow Priest opens up with some AOE, before the tank has even pulled. I watch them die and back away. If they had been playing any other class I would have said nothing. But to make a mess of Shadow offends me – it’s what I play night after night.

“If you want to open with Mind Sear you might need to use Fade first.”

We finished the run with just 1 wipe (the first pull-the-whole-room wipe), many many DPS deaths and with two of the players logging out and swapping characters before the last boss. The run took over an hour. And I didn’t enjoy one minute of it.

I’d much prefer to be grouped with a bunch of players who make mistakes but are trying, concentrating and have the same buy-in as I in the success of the run.

I know that I’ll certainly think twice about how I treat the 5th member of any group I’m in when the rest of us are good friends and are chatting outside of party chat.

2 Responses to “When you are the 5th Wheel”

  1. BlackpopeNo Gravatar says

    wow, my guild and i have pugged in 5th wheels before and i’ve never really considered what that person must be thinking/feeling as we all chat and laugh on vent about the stupid mistakes we’re all making cause we’re just messin around. thanks for the insight. i just found your site today and am really enjoying it. you two wright really well about the topics you cover. thanks a lot and keep up the good work

  2. BlackpopeNo Gravatar says

    write* DOH!

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