Massively OP’s guide to MMO dungeon run etiquette

    
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Dungeon runs in MMOs can be a socially terrifying situation, especially for those of us who are quite comfortable in our solo-centric playstyle or who struggle with stranger anxiety. I’ve played many games where I’ve never set foot in dungeons as well as others where I ran them as a bulk of my play experience, and I can say that while dungeons have potential to be frustrating and demoralizing at times, some of my favorite memories in MMOs have come from grouping up to tackle foreboding lairs and their dark masters.

But if you’re making the jump into dungeons, you have to be aware that there is a set of unwritten rules that have formed over the years of such activities. Not knowing the ins and outs of dungeon diving social mores could land you in a world of hurt and confusion as your teammates start yelling at you for doing (or not doing) something.

Every MMORPG has its own exceptions and special rules that apply for that game only, but generally there are some guidelines that apply pretty much universally across the genre. Today we’re going to navigate the etiquette of dungeon running in the hopes that it will help you — or someone playing in your group — avoid an unfortunate situation.

Know your role

In most MMOs, you’ll be assigned a particular role going into a dungeon. If you’re a tank, then you’ll be expected to lead and use every taunting ability you have at your disposal to keep the mobs on you and off the squishies. If you’re a healer or DPS, well, you can probably guess what you should be doing. Support and crowd control types need to use a wide range of abilities to bolster their team and shut down the opposing factions. This might seem straightforward, but nothing can sink a dungeon run faster than a tank who thinks she’s a DPS machine or a healer who hasn’t set up a good rotation.

Follow the leader

Figure out who the leader is — this is usually the tank — and make it your mission to make his or her life less stressful. That means no wandering off from the tour; you follow the leader, don’t get in front of the tank, and definitely don’t pull before he or she does. If you’re stepping into a leadership role, then be bold but not reckless in striding forth. Sometimes it’s best to learn while doing!

Have group-friendly skills slotted

It’s all too easy to ignore the fact that some of the skills that an MMO hands to you along the way are much more appropriate in a group setting, especially if you’ve only been soloing to date. Does your game give all players a rez skill? Make sure you have that equipped, along with any group-friendly buffs and other utility abilities that shine in a dungeon environment. Get your hotbar in order before you queue up for a run, not while you’re in the middle of your first fight.

Also? Make sure that your gear is repaired and that you have all of the consumables you require. Nothing is more annoying than a party member putting a dungeon run on hold to dash back to town to fix that broken set of armor.

Roll need if you need (but only if you need)

Everyone wants the shiny loot, and there’s a lot of fretting over how to do this the wrong and right way. These days most games have an interface that allows you to roll need, greed, pass, or perhaps disenchant on premium gear when it drops. The rule of thumb here is that if you need it for your current character, then by all means roll need without seeking overt permission from the group. The faux pas to avoid is to roll need on everything, especially gear not for your class or items that you won’t be using. It’s good form that if you win a nice piece of gear in a run to perhaps pass on other class gear for the rest of the run if there’s another player who also shares your class.

Communicate strategies

You’re probably not going to have a lot of time to chit-chat during a run (and the shame of that is a topic for another column entirely), but you really do need to speak up if you need your team to understand what you’re doing in a fight. Maybe you’re crowd controlling a mob and don’t want anyone to hit it before its time, or perhaps you’ve gotten slammed with some nasty debuffs that require a cleanse from your healer. Short, succinct messages can communicate these facts to your team and help ensure a smoother run for all involved.

Pipe up if you don’t know a boss fight

Nobody wants to come across as a noob, and the temptation to remain silent for a maiden run through a dungeon in the hopes that nobody will peg you as such is a strong one indeed. But even worse than the momentary (and often imagined) embarrassment of admitting that this is your first time is to be the cause of a group wipe on a boss fight because you don’t know what you’re doing. Be up front with your teammates: Tell them at the start of a dungeon run that this is your first visit here, and don’t be afraid to prompt the team for helpful tips and strategies before you tackle a boss.

Alternatively, if you’re experienced in a dungeon and you have someone in the group who’s not, be patient with him or her and take the time to share need-to-know facts about that dungeon.

Be a cheerleader

Team morale is a very real factor in determining a successful — and enjoyable! — dungeon run, and if everyone’s sniping at each other or if there’s a know-it-all haranguing others for their failures, then it’s going to be a miserable time for all involved. Make it a priority to cheer your team on, express congratulations over levels and gear earned, and to put a quick stop to a teammate putting another down.

Also? Use people’s names in chat, not their role (“Keep up with us, healer.”). That little touch of talking to someone as a person and not a tool can make all of the difference in how that person reacts to what you’re saying or asking.

Have to leave? Do it the right way.

Sometimes life intrudes and you have to leave a dungeon run before its conclusion. Just dropping group (perhaps in the middle of a fight) is disheartening for everyone else and contributes to your negative reputation. The best way is to wait for a break in the fighting and to give your team a heads-up that you have to leave and perhaps why. Thank your teammates for the run and take off, knowing that you didn’t leave a stench of jerk-gas behind you.

Don’t get tunnel vision

Regardless of your role, you need to pay attention to what’s going on across the entire battlefield. DPS can’t get so fixated on slashing down a boss that you ignore those incoming adds that are about to eviscerate the healer. Watch out for the danger spots and telegraphs on the floor that indicate incoming death, and perhaps meander out of those areas before the Grim Reaper pays you an express visit.

Be a team player

This is kind of a catch-all that requires you to get past yourself and see the success of the team as more important than personal glory and achievement. Telling others how to play, ninja looting, not paying attention, and spouting offensive dribble into chat are all ways to chip away at a team’s resolve. Instead, support the team, encourage the team, and be a positive component in the team’s makeup. Trust me, you’ll end up having a much better time and usually come out ahead anyway if you do so.

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Celestial
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Celestial

ProfessionalNoob  Brutes in City of Villains were like that primarily because your Rage meter went down the longer you weren’t in combat.  Gotta keep moving…

Then again, I also played the asshole Robotics / Force Field Mastermind that put Force Bubble up and put the Brute on the team on auto-follow, which automatically repelled all of the mobs near the Brute. :D

Celestial
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Celestial

BryanCo  That reminds me of the all Brute Lord Recluse Strike Force…  Good times, good times.

Kililin
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Kililin

Sadly the days where the puller was mostly not the tank (because he would have to body pull) and CC was an important role (you know the holy trinity was once CC, Tank, Heal) are over.
Now its all simplified except for very complicated dances on boss fights.
Additionaly it looks like MMORPG players need rules for not being complete jerks.

mysecretid
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mysecretid

lasterror 
 Preach it, brother!
“Not like the boss will eat the drops”
I love this line. There are gamers who probably need this tattooed on the backs of their hands, so that every time they look down at their keyboard or controller, they’ll be reminded. :-)
Cheers,

mysecretid
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mysecretid

ProfessionalNoob mysecretid 
My lawyers have advised me not to comment on the phrase “tongue orgasm” at this time. :-)
Cheers,

mysecretid
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mysecretid

carson63000 
“Given that 90% of these “rules” boil down to “don’t be a dick”, it’s a
bit sad that you consider it the act of an armchair general to expect
people to abide by them.”
You misunderstand my point. I’ll attempt to be clearer: It’s not that these common sense rules, as written, are at fault — but rather, what a certain minority type of gamer personality typically twists them into ..
… suddenly informal, common sense guidelines get twisted into yet another set of The Rules to be lorded over others in a dungeon setting. My point is there are those far more interested in enforcing the letter of the law (as they understand it) than in honoring its spirit or intent. 
Most gamers will get wjhat Justin’s list is attempting to accomplish here, but — related to something @Damonville. posted yesterday — that minority who really need to hear what Justin is saying, they won’t — often because their egos are directly tied into attempting to demonstrate authority or intellectual superiority over others, so they don’t even fully understand what Justin is driving at here.

“But that’s not the sort of rules Justin is offering up here.”
I knew that. :-) My issue was not with Justin’s list, but simply a lament that the egregious minority of gamers who really need to hear what Justin is saying, they won’t hear it — they’ll simply ignore the guidelines as irrelevant, or re-interpret them in a way which feeds their existing outlook.
Cheers,

lasterror
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lasterror

If you are not a healer, don’t go running your sorry ass IN to fires, mobs, bosses, etc.   The medic is supposed to heal you, not keep you from doing suicide moves.   Everyone should have HP pots.  That and using your damn head should be the first lines of defense and healing.  

The medic is already probably sacrificing their own drops and EXP to heal heal heal and they have a whole team to heal, so when your sorry butt needs a freaking resurrection every 20 seconds, that healer can’t heal everyone else and end up looking bad on top of not getting jack for all the effort. 

Most dungeons do not have timers running. Slow the EFF down and take your time and you’ll take less damage and be able to heal yourself more.  God why do people rush so much anyway?  Not like the boss will eat the drops.

This is why I quit playing medics.  I’m not going to save idiots from themselves when they clearly don’t want to do a THING to keep themselves alive.  Love how Blade & Soul has no real healer class so everyone can focus on playing the game and not drying to be Jesus keeping morons alive when they clearly want to walk into walls of fire.  Do that.  Go into the fire!  Nobody will save you.   I love it.

Michael18
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Michael18

BenMadden 
oh, baad idea. Saying “hi” or – even worse – “hello” (3 more key strokes!) marks you as an inexperienced player, esp. as tank or heal. If later anything goes badly, you’ll be singled out as the n00b that caused the trouble.

If you really can’t suppress your chattiness I advise to complain about something, preferably one of the other’s gear or their load times.

ProfessionalNoob
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ProfessionalNoob

mysecretid ProfessionalNoob No they taste like a tongue orgasm wrapped in awesome and high fructose corn syrup.

Xvim
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Xvim

carson63000 Xvim mysecretid It is part of what draws me away from PvE in games. I have had experiences with dungeons has been as toxic as the worst complaints of PvP (though personal experience shows far worse, it is all a matter of luck of the draw).