Thursday, March 12, 2009

Puggin' it up: A guide to not pull your hair out

Around the WoW community, there is a general disdain of pugging. Everyone has had that terrible experience with a bad pug that just could not get it together. This guide (tongue in cheek) is mostly for level 80 pugs, but can apply to pugs of all shapes and sizes.

Commandment 1, Thou shalt not be afraid to leave unannounced:

It is not your "responsibility" to stay with a crappy group and rack up the repair bills. If they are your friends then that is another matter altogether. A true Pug is a bunch of people you generally dont know. You can usually tell when a pug will be bad right from the beggining. You are looking for a tank and all of a sudden, the group is full....and the tank is a fury warrior with 17k health....tanking in fury gear. Another good sign that this group may be a fail pug is over use of leet speak. Most people in the game use some leet speak now and then, but when all you see is "Lolz, I ned the hawt purplez off teh last boss plz K thx", there is a good possibility you are headed for a train wreck....especially if this is the tank or healer.

Commandment 2, Thou Shalt Inspect each member before commencing PUG:

Do not feel bad about inspecting people. Especially once you hit heroics. Every person should have the common decency of at least gemming their gear in Northrend green gems. If they are rocking a bunch of quest greens, they have not really been trying to gear up. Having gear not enchanted can be acceptable in this situation as it is very likely there will be an upgrade very soon. People who go on runs without gemming their gear are lazy and doing the group a disservice. These people deserve to be kicked. Would you show up to work without your pants? If the answer is yes, then go seek help. Ret Pally in spellpower plate is bad, Tank in anything but plate is bad, Hunter wearing spellpower gear for mend pet is bad MMMMKAYYYYY.

Just as you inspect their gear, take a gander at their build as well. If they have every point in a single tree, it is highly likely that they have no clue what they are doing. "LULZ, I am a beastmaster huntr, thats y i haz alll of the pointz in der". If you are reading this blog, you likely do research on the game outside of the game and have a grasp of what decent specs should look like.

Commandment 3, Thou Shalt run a damage meter:

There are a lot of people who say that meters do not matter. This is what bad players say to make up for the fact they are bad. Healing meters dont always matter....damage meters almost always DO matter. If there are two people doing 2-3 K DPS and not pulling off of the tank, and one doing 1k, the last one is dead weight. Do not be afraid to link the meters and question people. Some classes will have it hard as fresh 80s. Warlocks and Rogues come to mind. There should still be no reason for them not to break 1500 DPS. The people that do 800 dps in a heroic are just on for the ride and taking advantage of a good group. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. This is how we get well geared bads.

Commandment 4, Thou Shalt make your own PUG:

This one seems obvious, but it is not always so. If you are the group leader, you can determine who comes into the group and who does not. This is when armory is our friend. You can ask educated questions ahead of time to figure out if this person should be going. "It shows you as Arms spec in Armory....are you prot now?", "I see you have no gems in your legs in armory....have you fixed that". And if the answer is ever "I dont have the money to respec/gem/repair", then they should certainly not be invited. It is incredibly easy to make some money in this game. Being completly balls out broke is just lazy. If you make your own pug, then YOU have to control. This includes kicking people for any of the above, and not having to leave the group yourself.

Commandment 5, Thou Shalt let thy community be aware:

I am not saying that you have to go blast the bads on the realm forums (you can if you want and it may make you feel better). At the very least, you should help add to the guild blacklist. This can include either an individual player or an entire guild.

Example: On my server, there is one player I will not run with (a DK and formerly a Fury Warrior, and former guildy who is one of the biggest douches I have ever heard) and one Guild (The Danger Rangers...yes, that is the name of their guild).

It may be odd, but I also hesitant to run with three kinds of players based on their guilds if they are not really established. They are:

1) Guildless: Why is this person guidless? Are they bad? Are they douchebags? What is the deal?

2) Guild that spell their guild names in all lower case letters: This usually signifies that it is run by a 12 year old. The guild message often reads "Recruit more ppl pls x thx bai".

3) Guilds who can not spell their guild name correctly: See number 2 for explanation.
Commandment 6, Be Helpful: (from Occeleta)
Not saying all the time. You see a players gear and it's got AP gems where there should be Strength. Maybe thst player is putting out slightly below average dps but with his gear could be doing better. Make the gem suggestion or ask what his rotation. At this point you can find out if he just doesn't know any better and whether that player is willing to learn. Or if he's just lazy or doesn't care to improve. If you find a player that is willing to learn take a few minutes, point them at the various sites that fan help. Or even give a few tips yourself if you know his class well enough. If you can turn him into a good player then that's one less bad player.

Follow these commandments and you are golden. If you have any good commandments out there, feel free to leave a comments, and I may adds it to the list :)


Fish said...

LMAO. yeah, after the run with pali-fail, I have a semi bad taste in my mouth on pugs. I agree with your points wholeheartedly. I am a fairly broke wow player, I can't really afford a flyer right now for my main, I can still aford gems, they're like a gold apiece, seriously. Enchantments, I understand, price/benefit normally not that great but gems? Its not like you need perfect cut blues to run stuff. I agree with your guide wholeheartedly, and it makes me feel like a bad jew seeing hebrew and having no idea what it says lol

Anonymous said...

Give the guildless a chance (provided they meet all other guidelines). I have one toon that I keep a guildless alt so I can be sometimes be absent from my guild roster; my main is a healer and I hate to tell guildies 'no' so I hide on my guildless toon when I need a break.
Last week I was kicked from a 5-man because I was "guildless and wearing browns"--I guess the leader didn't know about heirloom items or bother to look at the stats they provide. doh!

Darraxus said...

Lol at getting kicked for wearing browns. Yeah, I usually give a guildless person a chance if all other things look OK. I have some of my alts in a friends only guild that doesnt raid or anything. That is my version of being guildless.

Occeleta said...

I would like to add, Thou Shalt Be Helpful. Not saying all the time. You see a players gear and it's got AP gems where there should be Strength. Maybe thst player is putting out slightky below average dps but with his gear could be doing better. Make the gem suggestion or ask what his rotation. At this point you can find out if he just doesn't know any better and whether that player is willing to learn. Or if he's just lazy or doesn't care to improve. If you find a player that is willing to learn take a few minutes, point them at the various sites that fan help. Or even give a few tips yourself if you know his class well enough. If you can turn him into a good player then that's one less bad player.

Tom said...

Aren't there 10 commandments?!?

Just giving you crap :) nice post

Occeleta said...

What do you expect? Darraxus is just a Dwarf, so what ifhe got drunk and smashed a tablet over his own head. Least I was there to decipher another commandment out of a few of the pieces. Maybe with some help we can squeeze a few more out of the rubble.

Anonymous said...

I kinda have an issue with the whole "thou shall use damage meters". The reason why is because they can be at least partially inflated by using aoe damage. I can hit 2k or more dps on my lock just spamming rain of fire all the time, but once I have to single target my dps will go down to 1400ish. I guess it would all just average out, but that won't happen until the end, so using the damage meters early in a dungeon wouldn't be a good measuring tool of dps in my opinion. DAMAGE METERS LIE! Ok ok, maybe not as much as they used to...but there are ways to trick them, and those methods are usually not too great for the group.

Darraxus said...

Yes, with AOE, they can be exagerated a bit, but it also shows the person who is doing 1k dps. That is low in any situation, not just AOE.

Syrana said...

Overall I love these :)

My two cents about Commandment #3 (being a fresh 80 'lock) is that the meters can be tough on us. Especially when I'm with the rest of my guildies that are better geared... as they are doing really high damage, things are dying too fast for my affliction ways.

But, that's not me going into a PUG either. That's me with guildies that know where I'm at with my gear and they are helping me out... so it's a bit different.

Just sayin'! ;)

Kusamoto said...

"Thou shalt not take over a PUG you were invited to just because of your experience, class, or level." The most irritating thing, to me, is the guy you invite as OT or secondary DPS/Healer who joins and immediately starts interrogating people about their gear, spec, experience level, racial abilities, DPS, DEF, etc., etc., etc.; after which, they anounce "I've run this instance 1,357 times and got all the phat lootz dropz, so u follow me kk thx." I've kicked my fair share of these asshats from PUGs before, and will again. I hate that crap. Here's the hierarchy once the PUG is together that I've seen (taking for granted a standard 5-man): 1) MT, 2) Primary DPS, 3) Healer, 4) Secondary DPS, 5) OT/Tertiary DPS/Secondary Healer/Assclown leet. Guess where these guys fall in the food chain? I guess you could turn this commandment into "Thou shalt not anger the rest of the PUG by being a douchebag" and it would work as well.

Stormstrike said...

I was guildless and a fresh 80 doing crappy DPS when my guild gave me a /ginvite, and it paid off for them eventually -- I did 5k on Patchwerk last night, 5.5k on Noth and 7k on Thaddius. As an Enhancement Shaman. With two crappy weapons from heroics. And rep gear filling out the gaps.

As you said, some classes simply don't do well when they first hit level 80, before they're able to gear up.

And I wholeheartedly agree that language is one great indicator of whether a person will play well or not. A player who speaks in complete sentences is bound to work out better than the "OMG, kk" types.

Point is, a player can be an unguilded, fresh 80 and still know what they're doing. I was unguilded because I took a month or two off before WotLK dropped and when I came back for the xpac, my guild had been disbanded. Many other people find themselves in similar situations, and I'm glad my guild takes a chance on them because we've had quite a few work out.

The way to evaluate a Pugger, the way I see it:

- If they can express themselves like a human being rather than a lolcat
- If their gear, even if it's crappy, shows an understanding of proper itemization
- If they move well, survive and contribute on fights
- If their talent spec shows an understanding of their class and the role they've chosen

And while it may be tempting to bounce from a bad PuG without a word once it's clear things are going south, there are usually at least one or two other decent players suffering with you in the group aside from the tank who can't hold aggro, the healer who doesn't pay attention or the huntard who pulls everything. Signing off with a simple, "Sorry guys, but this group isn't working out and we should spare ourselves the frustration and repair bills" is often better for your reputation than just dropping group and leaving.

Omoh said...

I ran a heroic pug with a priest healer all in greens and had a +AP trink. He announced 'wow I can heal you all', but probably didnt notice me swapping in and out of Moonkin form to save the tank, other dps and him all the time.

Anyway, I agree you need to inspect and I should of left that 13yo to heal the heroic alone, but I like a challenge

Anonymous said...

Good tips. I agree with the AoE comment and damage meters. It's hard for rogues to compete when the other DPS are mage/hunter/lock/DK, etc, but I still expect a decent amount.

I also feel like I'm the only person who isn't jaded about pugs. I tend to pug more than I can run with my guild and the majority are quality runs where people are friendly and know what they are doing. There are occasional times where I'm in a group with the 500 dps person who has no clue or gear, or the tank who isn't D-capped and doesn't seem to try to escape the pound/whirlwind etc, but for me those are few and far between. Maybe I'm just lucky.

Darraxus said...

Truth be told, I pug more than anything else and mostly enjoy it. Just those bad ones are so DAMN BAD !

Anonymous said...

These are absolutely terrible suggestions.. they only apply if you already know the PUG's class and spec on a personal level. You sir, are definently a bad person to pug with. I can easily imagine you as the person who keeps wiping the group to be on top of the damage meters and then runs off with the epic leather because you "made the group." I bet you even complain about people who gave you shit for it too... Noob

Darraxus said...

Yes, trying to top the damage meters as tank. Nice job anonymous. WINNER!

Anonymous said...

I tend to be pretty relaxed about pugging mostly because if you take too long trying to find people the group ends up losing patience and you lose members one at a time. So what I do is ask the person straight off what their DPS or HPS is right off the bat. This lets me know whether or not they care enough about their capablities to know that information. Also I found an addon that lets me add notes to friends on my friends list. After a successful pug I add the memembers and put their DPS or HPS beside their name and a G beside it if they were a good player. After a month of doing this I have a full friends list with loads of people who i can run instances with.

Anonymous said...

Though I'm only a level 27 at the minute, I've had my fair share of experience in PuG's from back in the day, though only pre-Wrath.
I have to say though, I agree strongly with the Sixth up there, that you should try to help if the situation looks like it could benefit from it. When I first started Pugging, I'd just respecced ti fury, and to be honest, I didn't have a clue what in the hells I was doing. Luckily for me, the tank also played a Fury when he didn't feel like standing infront of the big guy, getting the crap beat out of him.
A few questions and suggestions later, I actually had a decent rotation going on, and I felt more useful in the groups afterwards.
Admittedly, there are those lazy types out there who're just along for the ride, but asking a few questions can really boost a player towards bettering themselves.
Anyways, thats my two cents :)

Anonymous said...

Also i tend to find that if u ask strait up if people have done the run or not, you tend to get an honest answer, strangely enough, 9 / 10 times. SO ask!

eadipus said...

I think it depends on the instance, I play a druid tank and I regularly finish top on dps on the easy heroics (VH, UK etc) with pugs. If the group is friendly and does as they're told most heroics aren't a problem.

people not being gemmed/enchanted does kind of get me though, money in WoW is so easy to come by and gems in particular are dirt cheap. I actually felt bad about tanking stuff before I had my meta gem hat

Anonymous said...

Being guildless and not getting to go on a PuG is BS...and I don't mean Blacksmithing.

I recently just left my guild...does that mean I shouldn't go? Hardly. Why? Cause my guild was solely a BANKING guild. I'd get all the stuff drop it into the gb and then my alts or banker could use it to skill up professions or make money in the AH.

Being in a guild means crap. It does not automatically mean you know how to play.

Not being in a guild is nice because I can do what I want when I want. I am not on anyones time schedule. I do not have to say no I don't want to go do X or Y at this time and worry I may be /gkick'd. I do not have to worry about pissing of the GM because I wanted to do OS-10 with friends (yes it just happened to a friend of mine, so I'm not talking out my bum.)

I am as geared and gemmed as I can be without going into Naxx. I know the rotation I should be using to produce as much dps as I can. I have done all of the heroics, except Maly and Naxx, several times...but based on what you say, I don't get to go. Thanks.

Why not find out more about the player BEFORE you ignore them for PuG's based on guild status...because otherwise you could be ignoring a damn fine player.

-A truly independent and solo player.

Anonymous said...

i think this was nspired by a troll thread in the wow gen forums

Anonymous said...

"this'll be Cake! gogoogogogo!!" == /kick

Impatience is a major factor in wipes. So is overconfidence. I read anything that smacks of those, and especially together which happens frequently, and if leader I'll boot yer behind, or leave otherwise.

the only time it is acceptable is friends who are trying to be funny, but as stated, that isn't pugging.

Anonymous said...

He didn't say to not take someone guild-less, just to be hesitant and scrutinize them.

Zuckerdachs said...

Gonna have to add my voice to the chorus of people supporting the guildless. Some of us are just tired of the crap that guilds bring. I have enough friends scattered across my realm and enough connections with good raiding guilds that I don't even need to worry about a guild. Being guildless doesn't necessarily make any difference.

Miyazana said...

pugs are a funny creature. ive met great players that i can call on and expect to do a good job, that alone is reason enough to pug. That said, ive meet some REALLY bad players.

I try to get a feel of ppl im playing with before the pug starts, id rather wipe with smart nice ppl then complete a heroic with a bunch of kids or jerks.

and damage meters are a must. haha, proove to that "melee hunter" that he is not smart.

Anonymous said...

I don't really agree with some of what is on the list, but respect everyone's right to their own opinion. I don't have gold to waste, either, and have on rare occasion asked someone to leave a group (gently, I hope). If you feel compelled to kick someone I would hope it could be done with a modicum of kindness and some constructive comments. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. It's just not necessary to be rude to other players (and it's bad karma).

Anonymous said...

Commandment 4 would actually be helpful, if not for the fact that NOBODY joins a DPS-formed group.

Damn, I'M a DPS and I won't join a group unless there's a healer and/or a tank in it. Tanks and healers do the same, if it's 3 DPS looking for tank and healer, no way, Jose.

PeteThePallie said...

haha, I thought this article was tongue-in-cheek, ie. all the things you shouldn't do when forming a pug.

I must be a pretty laid back player I guess, but I don't give a damn what gear/experience a player brings to a group just as long as there is a healer of some sort to heal my ass (I am a tank) and an all round good attitude to what we are about to attempt.

You know you are in trouble when your group is wiping to the trash but I see this as an opportunity to start to use our collective brains, not an excuse to blame, or even worse, kick those who are under-performing.

This is when real PLAYERS earn their stripes and get a chance to learn their classes and the art of teamwork at a much deeper level then any OP'd run will ever allow. Remember when we had to use CC to get through past content, we'll an undergeared group gives you a chance to dust off all those old skills and really PLAY the game.

It's also kind of fun and a hell of a lot more rewarding when, as a group, you do eventually bring down that final boss.

Many a friend is forged in adversity. Everything else is just another day at the office.

Anonymous said...

"who is one of the biggest douches I have ever heard)"

Oh, sweet, sweet irony. How you tease me so...

Anonymous said...

I think the post is aimed at higher level people, but it's depressingly familiar already (on my first toon, a lvl62 NE Hunter). My worst so far? A cloth-clad DK

I disagree on two points though.

Firstly, I wouldn't write off guildless people - I'm not in one because the only ones that asked fall foul of the list in commandment 5. It's catch-22 - I need more experience to get in a better guild, but I need a better guild to get the experience.

That leads me to the second point: you need to put commandment 6 higher up. I am not very experienced, and reading blogs won't teach you everything. So if I'm not doing things the right way I'd be extremely pleased to have an experienced player point out (nicely) where I'm going wrong.

If more people did that then perhaps PuGs wouldn't be as painful.

Darraxus said...

I certainly dont immediately write off a guildless player. Obviously they are not all bad. It could be a personal choice, but if it isnt, you will soon find out :)