I've joined quite a few pug raids in my time. Not a lot, just quite a few. Mostly it's for the weekly raid on my alts, so that probably doesn't really count as a raid. Anyway, with ToC staring at our server this past week and three toons to do it on I had to choose which one would go with guild and which two would pug it.
Tuesday night happened and in went my Shaman with my guild, easy money. Saturday came and I had to run it on my priest. I decided to lead it so I started to post for others to join my merry band of weekly raiders. I wasn't in the mood to require gear score or achievement, it was early and I really didn't have time to care about that. I guess I just hoped that people would know if they were capable or not (please no quest greens, please no quest greens).
Group formed, ToC started. Wipe on worms. Wipe on worms. Wipe on worms. What's going on, can't we just get to Icehowl? Wipe on worms. Tank leaves, dps leaves. I ask healing Priest to go DPS and we get awesome holy Pali from someone's guild...joy. But before that happy moment, I had to, just had to look at the meters to see how everyone was doing. I'm not one who believes that you need 4K dps or some other random number to do ToC (first two bosses). Proper coordination and people doing things at right times (Snobolds, fires, poisons, running away, etc) will get you through just fine.
But there was this other Shadow Priest in the group that was doing 1K dps. Hmm, I wonder what's going on? Being a Shadow Priest myself I understood very well what we're capable of given certain gear and performing our rotation even close to the best manner possible. But I was doing 1K dps in my 70's running regular dungeons. This particular priest had gear from 25M Naxx mostly, plus a couple 245 Emblem purchased pieces. Must be someone who hasn't played in a long time. But 1K dps was, well, really bad for a this particular raid. Very difficult to make up when everyone else was doing around 3K.
So, here I was, raid leader of a pug and a couple people had quit already. What do I do? I decided to talk to the priest. I said that as a group we seemed to be having some issues, but none that can't be overcome with a little more focus and coordination. I wasn't an expert, but I said that I felt like 1K dps was pretty low for these fights and if there was anything I could do to help. They explained to me that it had been a while since they played and they were really trying hard, which I believed. So this is what I said.
"I'll make you a deal. I've give you the choice to stay if you want to. Even though I think your dps output is too low for these fights, I'm willing to give you another chance. If we wipe, I think it would serve the group if you voluntarily left, but I'll still leave the choice to you."
What?!?!?!? Gronthe, you're the freakin' raid leader, it's your job to make sure that the group is well enough equipped for success. Allowing someone doing 1K to stay in your ToC raid is crazy, just kick 'em and replace 'em!!!!
Maybe, but something in me at that moment felt like saying what I did. I think I felt that an introspection would be better than yelling at how much they sucked (not that I thought they sucked, I just think that since they hadn't played in a really long time that this person was struggling with their rotation, etc). Maybe this approach was more offensive, I'm not sure. But if I were made to consider whether my contributions were a help or a hinderance what would I do? Would I be honest with myself? Would I be too hard on myself and leave anyway? Would I lie to myself and say that dps output doesn't matter at all (as long as we have healers with enough mana to keep us alive indefinately, we can take down any boss)?
The priest evidently took some time to think, then whispered back to me "ty for inviting me, I think I'll leave though." That's when we filled the last two spots and finished the weekly without any more wipes. Yippee for us.
But I wonder why I did what I did. It was certainly unconventional, giving the choice to somebody who was clearly not contributing much to the group, but it still seemed right at the time. Yes, I wanted my badges for the week, but this was a pug and I don't care about GS or Achieve. Maybe they would take my adivce on their rotation? They took my advice on other stuff as well, so this person was clearly open to instruction. A part of me still feels bad because I basically told someone that they're not very good. But since I figured there was a reason that could be overcome I should give that player the chance.
I realize that many, many will disapprove of this course of action because I put the needs of the group behind the needs of the one. But you know what? I'm so sick of people being rude to each other, of not helping or offering suggestions in a constructive way, of not giving people the chance because they only have 213 gear on, and all other demeaning behavior towards other people. I'm so sick of it and I had a chance to not be that guy. I had a chance to give someone a chance and I took it. If the group disbanded we'd all find other pugs to join, so it's not like I prevented people from success, just maybe risked a delay in it. But I don't regret it, people need to be given a chance to prove themselves, especially those who are willing to learn.
Would have there been a point where I just kicked him? Admittedly yes, I said as much. Basically I had given this player one more chance, because I didn't completely ignore the needs of the other 8 players there. I hope this person has found a group that can carry him, I really do. We just were not that group. But I'm glad I didn't kick 'em after the first wipe, but I wonder a bit if what I did was still worse than demeaning him in front of everyone. I guess I'll never know.