Hello and welcome to Epic Education – a show of tips and tactics for surviving epic content. I’m your guide Shamgar and this is Episode 5: “Etiquette” alternatively titled “Peanut butter and jelly”
Todays episode is all about playing nice with your neighbors. If any part of DDO is new to you this is your episode. I will be using some fairly broad strokes, but they should give you an idea of how to approach questing in unknown waters without getting eaten by sharks.
So why is etiquette important? Proper etiquette will enable you and others to have more fun playing DDO. It becomes more important as you get higher in level because the player base will get smaller and with epics and end game content people tend to become more selective. Guilds and even individuals who run end game content regularly tend to know who the good players are. They also tend to know who the bad players are. Finding yourself on one person or guilds blacklist is likely to put you on several. The same applies to guilds as well, being in a well respected guild can benefit you just as being in a poorly respected guild can hurt your chances of getting into runs with the more experienced players. Its important to recognize that people, particularly within their cliques, talk to each other. Sooner or later you will find yourself wanting to join a clique of players and it is highly probable that you will be repeating that dance.
Etiquette brings more to the group than just getting along. Teamwork is a vital part of DDO – most raids and high end content are designed with a high degree of teamwork and coordination in mind for a successful completion. Poor etiquette can lead to poor teamwork and poor teamwork can send a raid into quite the train wreck. And it can be as small as one person doing their own thing to start the tail spin.
To demonstrate let me elaborate with a rather mundane example. I want you think about how to make the worlds best peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If there’s any specific ingredients you must have, note those them. Your task is to make 20 of these best PB&J sandwiches. Now imagine that there are suddenly 11 random people in your kitchen whose only goal for the next 30 minutes is to help you complete this task. If your kitchen is as small as mine this probably sounds like chaos. Lets make it even more entertaining. Everyone has brought their own recipe for the best PB&J sandwich. Lets say that you have established yourself as the leader of this little PB&J party and the best recipe has been chosen, whether by dictatorship or democracy. One individual decides that they will completely ignore this decision and begins to make sandwiches according to his own recipe. Another individual has had music playing through their earphones and hasn’t heard a word anyone has said for 10 minutes. A third person reveals that they cannot eat your chosen bread. And still another person has for some unknown reason decided it would be more fun to communicate via charades.
As you can see what started as a relatively simple task has become quite daunting. Unless communication and teamwork are observed this would be a chaotic PB&J making party. It is of course possible that 20 PB&J sandwiches could be made and that they would still be tasty, but the process would be less than pleasant and likely very messy. Now, here’s the bad news. This is only a level 6 raid. There are cookies, cakes, pies, and even a 5 course dinner in your future.
Lets pull a few lessons from this parable.
Lesson 1: come with an open mind. There are many ways to make a PB&J sandwhich, someone will eventually ask you to make one that’s not done your way. Its okay really. It isn’t about whose way is right – because lets face it is there really an absolute right way to make a PB&J – its about agreeing which way you are using. If the tactics and methods are unfamiliar to you, try and learn them, or at least understand why this group likes to use them. They may not be your preferred methods, but they may help you develop your own bag of tricks.
Lesson 2: someones going to be in charge, and it probably wont be you. If you don’t have the star, you aren’t the leader. It is completely appropriate to exchange tactics, ask if a group has tried a certain method, which method they are using, but let the leader lead. There are occasionally times where the leader does need to be usurped. If he asks you to put gun powder into your PB&J sandwiches, usurp them – otherwise if the leader asks you to do something, do it. If its not something you are used to doing, refer to rule number 1.
Lesson 3: listen. This is more than just hearing what instructions are being given, its following them. Listening is imperative in epic questing – especially raids. Everyone needs to be on the same page. With all the options for how to do each quest you need to know which one you are using. If you are in any raid there will be instructions. If you didn’t hear the instructions then you missed them. Particularly if you are new to a raid, don’t join if you know you are going to have a lot of distractions. Needing to deal with kids, spouses, or life is very understandable, but if you have a sleepover with 10 girls screaming in the background, now is probably not a great time to learn a new epic raid.
Lesson 4: Be a guest. When you go over to a friend’s house for dinner hopefully you don’t show up and start giving cooking instructions or insulting your host and their other guests. Be polite to folks. Most raids you join will probably be at their core a guild run – and usually that means they’ve done this a few times. They probably wont be expecting a whole lot from you, if anything, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience as you would dinner at a friends house. Spending half the night arguing why your PB&J sandwich is better than theirs is not going to make you a popular dinner guest. Be the guest that gets invited back.
Lesson 5: Communicate. If you are new, speak up. If you won’t be using voice chat let the party know. Does your class breakdown indicate that you are, say a healer for example, but that’s not what you do? This stuff is all important for your party leader to know so they can fill out a balance party, make appropriate assignments, and make sure they give clear instructions that are understood and heard by everyone. If these apply to you speak up and politely make sure that the party leader acknowledges it. Sometimes its very easy to miss one line of chat.
You also need to communicate if you don’t understand what has been asked of you. Sooner or later you will be asked to use a tactic you are unfamiliar with – particularly if you are new to the quest. Its okay, really, if you need clarification ask for it. Most leaders would much prefer to repeat their instructions in greater detail than watch you do the opposite out of confusion.
Now I’d like to take some time to give some specific tips to the new folks.
First, seriously, let the party know you are new. Unless the LFM specifically asks for experienced players it shouldn’t be a problem. There really is no shame in being new – everyone was new once upon a time. Some people may not want to drag scores of new folks around today, and that’s okay. Unless you like being blindfolded, spun in circles, and tied to a galloping horse you probably don’t want to run with those folks anyways. If you are worried about being new, ask before you join the LFM, but you shouldn’t be scared. A party leader likely will look for someone experienced to fulfill any crucial roles.
Recognize that if you are new, people will figure it out. Yes I really can tell if you’ve never run a quest. Again, its okay to be new.
Stick with the group. Unless you really are experienced, stay within the pack. Use your situational awareness to stay with the group and find someone who has the same role who is experienced. Then practice monkey see monkey do. Every player is an opportunity to learn.
Shrine then loot. Particularly in raids shrines and chests tend to be in the same locations. Unless you are going to be buffing, shrine then loot. Let the buffers do their job while you are drooling over the loot. If you are buffing, go ahead and loot first. The goal is to take care of any necessary roll offs during the buff phase.
Don’t panic. When the train wreck happens, don’t start screaming like a little girl. Stay calm.
And finally, don’t tell us how uber your character is – show us. Think of every PUG as a job interview because the next 10 minutes could determine if you make the squelch list.
That will end this week’s Epic Education. If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at DDOEpicEducation@gmail.com that’s all one word. Join me next time as I discuss the Plane of Night! Thanks for listening