I wanted to make a post about an often overlooked / taboo topic: Pugging. I don’t expect to change minds here, but mostly wanted to make a post titled Pug Life.
During the last Icrontic WoW hiatus, I found myself still interested in raiding and thus found myself pugging quite a bit.
I’ve noticed that lately Icrontic folks only tend to log in 2 nights a week (happens to be the worst 2 nights of the week for me!) and thus I still end up pugging during the best nights of the week to play.
The idea of pugging is repulsive to some. Even using a random player when we're short a role seems to be against the Icrontic mindset (eg, this past Sunday night).
There’s a continuum of why each of us play the game between community and the game itself. For me, it’s not firmly planted on either end… so pugging is still a fun approach to WoW. Especially since there are weeks I'd like to raid more than 2 nights.
We’ve all heard of the downsides to pugs:
Playing with strangers, potentially asshats
Ninja looting / loot issues (I’ve been burned once in hundreds of groups - but it happened)
Lack of organization/communication
But I wanted to draw your attention to the upside to pugs (from my experience):
Randomly meet up with interesting groups of people. Especially if joining a mostly guild group. Some groups are quiet, others are lots of fun. There are many decent groups / individuals out there.
Learn new tactics / strats. Gain new perspectives & raid styles. I’ve seen amazing amounts of coordination and structure on pug runs. Interesting break policies, etc.
Learn more about your play style and class from people who are better than you. Check out other’s armory, rotations, etc. Learn what works. On the flip side… help others out. I’ve given a bit of unsolicited, but appreciated advice out to people who clearly are missing something in their setup.
No commitment to a fail group. You can just leave if the group is having a bad night.
Forced to learn mechanics. Most groups have little tolerance for PUG mess-ups. I’ve been kicked from a few groups.. it hurts & is frustrating… but I will never screw up a Maidens bomb or Blackhand mark again!
Groups quickly drop idiots - giving your group a decent make-up and skill level - though it may take a few pulls to sort that out. (see above point).
Can try encounters at your own pace… preview encounters ahead of where the guild is - one less person to learn the fight (and less loot needed for the guild)
Convenience… can jump into a raid working on whatever boss you want to. Jump out just as easily. Much better now that bosses are loot-locked rather than a leader lockout.
Tue/Wed, Fri/Sat are the best 4 days to find groups. Tue/Wed for first half of dungeons, Fri/Sat for later bosses.
Choose groups with the highest iLvl requirement you meet - pure dps/hps makes up for some execution slop
Choose groups that are mostly guild or advertise as “guild” groups.
Avoid groups listed as "prog" (progression) unless you, too, are learning a new boss or are very patient.
Only choose groups using voice (download TS3, Mumble, Vent so you can use any)
Join with a friend or two.
Ignore LFG titles. They aren't always updated. Look at group comps and lockouts.
Don't count on LFG titles to call out the boss you want. Thogar, Op, Operator, Trains all refer to one boss. Best to just search for Heroic Blackrock and check out each listing individually.
Groups will likely Armory you (especially for end bosses)... feel free to Armory them, as well. No need to invest time in a group with a leader that has 2 Heroic kills logged.
Worried about loot ninjas? Ask RL to confirm loot rules in chat- ask “Main spec > off spec, high roll wins?” Note that “MS>OS” is not sufficient in the Blizzard Court of law… as that might mean “My spec> Other specs” - silly, I know, but it’s been documented. Again, it’s rarely an issue, but not non-existent. I usually don’t stress much about loot and just go for the bonus rolls.
Anyway… I realize taking a second look at pugging won’t convert many, but I find it to be a fun aspect of the game that might be worth trying - especially if you enjoy the raiding part of the game. There are nights I bounce from group to group and get no where - just frustrated, but other nights are very fun and satisfying. YMMV.