Who doesn’t love stories about random groups gone horribly wrong? I sometimes joke that I like running with strangers just so I have stories to tell and new things to complain about. Last night I had a particularly awful pug that I want to share with you. It was painful, but I think it also says something interesting about the state of WoW in Legion.
To set the scene, I had decided to work on my long-neglected hordie priest last night. She used to be my main back in my raiding glory days, and I always get a little sad when she’s not caught up in a new expansion. She was level 104 and had gotten the story quest for Halls of Valor, so I decided to run it. I’d been leveling as shadow and didn’t want to try remembering how to priest heal so I queued as dps. In retrospect that was definitely a mistake.
We zone in, a few people say hi. I don’t know whether this is because I’m trying to make more of an effort to at least say hello or whether the climate of the game is slightly changed, but I have had far fewer silent groups this expansion. Anyhow we pull the first trash and wipe. The pally healer is there but barely healing, and the demon hunter is still sitting at the entrance. We limp our way through the early trash and to the first boss and the inactive demon hunter finally joins us. Wipe on the first boss. There’s very little healing happening so I’m trying what few shadow priest tricks I have to help things along and we finally clear the fight and move on. The trash up to and inside the great hall goes the same way, people occasionally die and run back. We head to Fenrir first and two things are clear: the tank does not speak english and really likes to run ahead, and the healer is either very new or very unaware and also likes to facepull all the trash. You can see how this might be a bad combination. We wipe to wolves, we pull huge groups of adds. One spectacular time the warlock and I managed to finish things off and prevent a complete wipe. On the boss the healer got focused and did not move but miraculously survived due to pally hax that were mysteriously forgotten by the next boss. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
I had a moment of clarity running back from one of the trash wipes that maybe we should kick the healer or maybe I should just cut my losses and try again another night, but a sick part of my brain wanted to see how things would turn out. We run to the valkyr boss with only one extra healer trash pull. I see on the two mini-boss pulls that the healer does not move to the shield or dodge the evil light orb spam, so I expect the worst for the boss fight. Note I probably could have said something about how the fight works but the 3 of us dps were so traumatized we were just keeping our heads down and praying for things to be over. The tank pulls the boss and keeps her in the middle of the room, ensuring that we get all of the mechanics to deal with. This shouldn’t be a problem on normal mode, but as predicted the healer does not get in the shield or dodge orbs and dies. Somehow between good tanking, my sad shadow heals, and decent dps we still killed the boss.
At this point I suddenly realize there’s still two bosses left and I don’t want to go on anymore. The warlock is complaining loudly, but only in a general way, not calling anyone out. I have to summon my repair mount before we head to Odyn’s room because all our gear is broken. The healer does not come out to repair even when asked to. The tank very earnestly tries to tell us some things that might be important or possibly offensive but I think they’re speaking portuguese and my will is too broken by now to bother pasting it into google translate. We fight the trash in Odyn’s room and the tank dies again. I am truly becoming one with my shadow priest now, praying for the sweet release of the void.
The god-king fight is interesting in a painful sort of way and my mind detaches and watches from elsewhere. The tank pops the shield on the pull, so it is gone by the time we need it. Somehow we live. Nobody wants to touch the aegis after that, so it falls to me and I try not to eff it up. The healer remains morally opposed to standing in shields and pays with their life. Through the power of wishful thinking and also soulstones we still managed to finish the fight but it was close. The warlock and I are brothers now, our bonds forged in stolen souls and void healing and despair.
The Odyn fight is predictably tame by comparison. I already know the details of our failures before they happen. They were etched into the creases of my brain by all that came before. My yogg-saron tentacle pet whispers to me of my shortcomings. Did I summon it? Did it manifest on its own in my weakest moment? I don’t remember. There is so much death. We beg borrow and steal whatever magiks we can and it will never be enough.
And yet, in the end, there is victory. I cannot tell you the details. My mind had entered a void state to protect myself from trying to comprehend the horrors I witnessed. Somehow Odyn deemed us worthy. Truly the mental workings of gods are unfathomable. I imagine my warlock brother and I sharing a silent, glazed-eyed nod before departing back from whence we came. It is finished.
The interesting coda here is that I realized this was the worst pug I’ve had in ages, but we all stuck it out. Nobody raged. Nobody left. Nobody vote kicked the terrible healer. Nobody helped them learn either, but it’s a start. I’m as much to blame for that as anyone else, but by the time I realized how necessary it was I no longer had the energy to bother explaining things. Maybe I could have made a difference. Maybe they would have just gotten mad at me for trying. In any case it made for a fascinating story and weirdly gave me hope for the future of the game. The players might occasionally be terrible but the toxicity has been low lately.
Maybe next time I’ll just queue as heals though.