So I had the most surreal experience last night.

Since layteknight is in warlock mode lately and talking about nothing but, I caught the DoT, so to speak, and felt the urge to pick up my own demonic caster. She’s level 19 and looks very cute in heirlooms and is spoiled beyond all belief because if she wasn’t I would fail abysmally. Me and ‘locks…not a winning combo unless I’m tanking for them.

Anyway, I haven’t played her in ages, so I think to myself, meh, why not? I pick her out of my character list and load her up. I spend the obligatory fifteen minutes cleaning up her bags, bank and mail, revisit her spec to see if it makes sense to me (nope, but then, it never did), and look in my quest log to see where I want to go. My reaction to its contents is roughly equivalent to “ew,” so instead I pop into the LFG.

Normally I am loathe to do the LFG if I’m unfamiliar with the class I’m playing. Sucking publically and/or inconveniencing 4-24 other people are not attractive thigns to me. But I figure I should be safe in this one case because I’m level 19. Nobody at that level knows what they’re doing. And it’s just a lowbie run; these things are keyed to be easy. Should be nice and low pressure. A much needed break from the high pressure, self-absorbed, too fast, unfriendly, half-finished PuGs in heroics. Right?

Right?!

Wrong. First thing I see when I load up in the instance (SFK)? I’m alone at the entrance. The group’s already past the first boss.

Oh. Okay. Whatever, that’s fine.

Then the first words out of the tank’s mouth are: “7 minuts til we kik u lil dickhead.”

“Ya,” chimes in the rogue, “fuckin rtard. u better put thos shuldrs on.”

“Wow,” I comment in the party chat, “what a friendly group I’ve joined.” I throw in a happy face, ’cause, you know, deescalate the situation maybe? You’re level 20. You’re not going to make it to 80 if you’re getting that mad already. Trust me.

“Fckng rtrd tnks hs mele,” the rogue informs me, apparently so angry he’s lost the use of his vowels. “AND HES GT 7 DPS. IM DOIN 35 WTHUT AMBUHS!!!!!!!”

And, despite the fact that this is obviously srs bzness, I giggle. Because…OMG, for real? 35 DPS? And this is a big issue for you? Don’t get me wrong, that’s decent DPS for that level assuming absolutely no extenuating circumstances, and yeah, 7 is probably low…I don’t know. Raiding has sort of removed the meaning from any numbers under 2000 for me. I’m just used to people screaming something similar, only with a couple zeros after it, that’s all. It’s funny to see it all naked, let alone to see someone so upset over it.

Anyway, the rogue continues screaming in caps at the hunter – who, apparently, ninjaed “his” shoulders. The hunter’s shoulders are naked, so the Rugged Spaulders (+8 AGI, leather) look like a valid need roll to me, but I wasn’t there, so I don’t comment. But I am vaguely frowny about the yelling and the swearing. Level 19 Hunter fighting in melee, talking in the say instead of the party chat, won awesome shoulders of the nothing-else-at-this-level, but doesn’t equip them? Poor kid’s probably brand spanking new to the game, and what a wonderful introduction he’s had so far. But before I can say anything non-vitriolic to him, they’ve kicked him. I vote with them, since, as I said, I wasn’t there and don’t know the details, and new or not, party chat or say, the kid is swearing his own blue streak right back. I am obviously surrounded by Quality Gentlemen at this point.

“You wouldn’t believe who you’re replacing,” says the tank, with a shake of his furry, ursine head (or so I imagine). “A pally with a GREEN sword and a SHAMAN offhand DOING 12 DPS.”

Um…I’m sorry, but we’re all level 20 or under, here. Did you seriously just complain about someone’s gearscore?! The only reason I’m not in greys is because, once again, I’m a stinking rich, spoiled rotten alt decked out in heirlooms. She was wearing vendor-whites as soon as I could get to a mailbox to pick up my free money. Most under-20s aren’t so privileged.

Then the tank says “hury up guys go,” and proceeds to chain pull the entire instance.

Between looting and skinning, I participate in maybe one of three trash pulls. Stuff is dying faster than I can put DoTs on it anyway so I don’t care much. Every time the healer and I stop for mana, the tank says “hurry up” and the rogue says “gogogo” and the move on without us. The pally pulls aggro like a bitch and constantly links the damage metres (literally about every other pull) to show she’s on top. The damage metres. At level 20. Why is Recount even on?

The tank leaves for work after Fenrus. We rejoin the queue and pull in a warrior to tank for us. Immediately after she joins the group, for reasons beyond my comprehension, the rest of us mulch through everything between us and Arugal without waiting for her to navigate the marathon that is that instance. As I’m nervously staring at Arugal, knowing that he is seven kinds of nasty at this level, and typing “maybe we should wait for the tank”, the pally runs in and aggros him. The warrior makes it to us halfway through the fight, but not in time to prevent a wipe.

It is a long fucking run back through the instance.

In the end, I won Odo’s Ley Staff, the Feline Mantle, and the Belt of Arugal. I dinged 20. And yet, despite the material rewards, I felt frazzled, bewildered, and kind of lost. I hearthed back to Dal in a daze and only just remembered to open my loot bag before logging (a blue bloak “of the bear”, which was the crowning achievement of the run).

All I could think as I closed the game headed to bed was, I don’t have to wait for Cataclysm to run heroic SFK.

I think I just did.