Despite common sense, I do engage in pick-up groups quite frequently, especially in RIFT where the LFG tool makes it just about as painless as possible. On the average night I’ll run one or two 5-man dungeons to stay on top of the gear curve — and pick up some nice XP and notoriety as well.
For the most part, these PUGs go smoothly — everyone pitches in, we have fun, there’s some light chit-chat, we get the gear and go home. But on occasion you end up with the pugger from hell which ruins the experience.
Last night I was experiencing Charmer’s Caldera for the very first time with a PUG. It didn’t really start well; the tank was too timid and kept doing ready checks before every trash pull, one of the guys disconnected, and we were crawling to the first boss instead of flying. That happens from time to time, so I stayed patient and assumed it would get better.
It did, for the most part, except for one member of the party. He was our support bard, and it took me several minutes to figure out that he was going to be a pain in the rump for the remainder of the run. He was that type of annoying pugger who straddled the line between useful teammate and incompetent, just good enough so we didn’t have a reason to trigger a vote kick but irritating enough that it was going to sour the rest of the run.
His entire contribution to the team was throwing buffs on us before battle and then hopping around while we fought. He didn’t attack, he didn’t contribute to the group healing, just hop hop hop hop hop hop hop HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP. Ugh, I hate hoppers. I used to see them a lot more than I do now, but then or now they’re the epitome of irksome. This is when you’d wish the game would give you a SIDDOWN! ability that could physically pin a character to the ground for a time out.
Above that, he would start skinning beasts in the middle of fights, leaving absolutely none for the rest of us. And he knew he was being a butt, too, because he said things like “Ooh, sneaky sneaky!”
The worst part was after our second boss fight when a really nice leather hat dropped. As both he and I were rogues, we each rolled need, and he won. Fair enough. But then he had to stop and say “Ooh, P’WNED!” “What, the boss?” our tank asked. “No, the guy I beat for the hat!”
A small part of me snapped and my eye didn’t stop twitching until we finished the run (during which I hit level 49, yay). That level of annoyingness is just bizarre to me — why be a jerk? Why don’t you contribute more to the team when you’re asked? Is your cat hitting the spacebar repeatedly?
Now, there’s no larger point to this other than to give a mild vent about a mildly annoying guy, other than to say that sometimes you do end up with people who aren’t outright horrible, but who just get under your skin and you’re too polite and/or helpless to really do anything about it. I know I could’ve quit, but when you invest an hour of time into a dungeon run that took you 45 minutes to queue up for, there’s some incentive to stay put.
Whew. There. I feel better. I almost want to go… jump for joy.