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Posts with tag pickup-groups

18 observations from a leveling healer

I've been leveling a goblin priest for something I call the Low-Level Tank Project, which is a count on the class representation he sees among tanks in the Dungeon Finder. Between the goblin and my restoration shaman (who reached 85 about two months ago), I've had two healers leveling mostly through dungeons recently, and a few commonalities have emerged.

This is sort of a spiritual successor to 20 observations from a leveling tank, if you'd like a more tank-flavored look at leveling groups. This outing is a more generalized approach, possibly because I take a more observational role in my groups whenever I'm healing, like Jane Goodall among the ungemmed and unenchanted chimps.

1. DPSers are enormously indifferent to aggro in early dungeons. You're not healing one tank -- you're healing four. Five, if nobody bothers to stomp the mob making a beeline for you.

2. Early dungeons aren't necessarily good training for everyone involved. I wouldn't go so far as to say they're a terrible experience, per se -- they're quick, easy, and a good way to build confidence for new players -- but the usual mechanism by which players are encouraged to behave themselves (ugly death) is a remote possibility at best.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: The insomniac's dilemma

OK, so I have a weird sort of problem. When I can't sleep, I tend to run pickup groups, doing anything from starter Cataclysm dungeons to the Hour of Twilight heroics. I freely admit I go in there to cut loose, maybe get some shards out of the deal, and play around with specs that are suboptimal for raiding to see if I can shake them around and get some idea of how well they can perform. As an example, I'm learning that Single-Minded Fury can burst pretty high with the right cooldowns and gearing.

That's not my problem, however.

My problem is that I'm an irascible old grump who kind of enjoys it when a group is full of jerks so I can just be as big a jerk back. And lately, that's not happening. I've had nothing but good behavior from you guys. Even the runs where the tank can't hold aggro or the healer doesn't seem able to keep us up or the other DPSers seem to have forgotten where their buttons are, everyone's so apologetic and civil about it that I have to wonder: What happened to all the buttheads? I mean, I'm the guy who used to get heroics with tanks who had a racist macro on their Avenger's Shield! I'm the guy who couldn't zone into a dungeon without the tank asking me if I had a tank set on me, or the healer telling us all that he or she was simply too drunk to type and was gonna try and remember his or her keybinds.

Did those people all leave? Because lately, everyone's being so nice that I'm kind of confused. When I cut loose on Archibishop Benedictus, people go out of their way to compliment me. When I slapped on a shield and taunted the adds when the tank died on Queen Azshara, the group praised me. Praised. Who are you people, and what have you done with my usual pickup groups? If this keeps up, I'm going to have to be nice to people by default.

How are your pickup groups progressing?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Is silence golden in PUGs?

PUGs. We've all done them. In my guild, puggers are some of the most complained-about people in the game. Much as they are probably perfectly reasonable, lovely people, something about being put into a group of randomly selected strangers to perform a cooperative task doesn't always bring out the best in players.

5-man Dungeon Finder PUGs follow a predictable pattern through patches. At the beginning of the patch, when the content is fresh and new and (in some cases) difficult, puggers are talkative, helpful and generally more friendly. You just wiped to Queen Azshara? "Hey," a DPSer might say, "we should kill the Hand of Azshara as priority." "Ah, I see," the tank replies. "I didn't know -- sorry, I'll put a skull on it."

Now, that may well be either my being lucky with a PUG I was healing or my memory distorting past events. However, it seems that as patches progress, talking in PUGs becomes ever rarer and ever less kind. At this point, you're lucky to get a "hi" at the start of your PuG, and if anyone does talk about the Hand of Azshara, it's most likely just someone spammming a macro that yells "HAND." I think the same behavior holds true in the Raid Finder, too.

As you may have noticed, I am a talkative soul and often try to chat in PUGs. I'm generally ignored ... but it hasn't stopped me yet! So would I drive you round the bend? Are you just there to get a job done and don't care for pleasantries or making a connection with strangers you'll likely never encounter again? Or do you long for a bit more conversation? Is silence golden in PUGs?

Also, a personal gripe -- is it so hard to reply "r" when asked "r"?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do you actually enjoy PUGs?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

We have all heard a friend or a guild member share a PUG horror story. Most of us even have one or two of our own. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King, WoW was not very PUG-friendly. There was no random dungeon tool, trash was not the AoE-fest it was in Wrath, raids didn't have normal and heroic modes, there wasn't a lot of 10-player content -- the list goes on and on. However, unless you have had a truly sheltered existence in WoW, you have joined a PUG. Surprisingly enough, sometimes PUGs can even be fun and rewarding.

I have my fair share of PUG horror stories, but I have had a couple of great moments in PUGs. In BC, I joined a PUG Mag's Lair and ended up meeting members of a new raiding guild I got invited to after I saved the raid from wiping. I met numerous friends while tanking dungeons, both in the leveling process and heroics. I even started using the random dungeon tool again since 4.03 so I could get exalted with Gilneas prior to the Cata launch. With some of the AoE tanking nerfs and the tanking changes, I was actually enjoying tanking heroics wearing complete DPS gear. I even did a couple of successful PUG achievement runs to try and finish off a few remaining things, so I could focus entirely on new content. Most importantly, I was having fun while pugging.

Do you have good PUG stories? Do you actually like or even prefer to PUG? Or do you avoid PUGs like the plague?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Drama Mamas: Mismatched ambitions in the Dungeon Finder

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Last week's discussion on how (and how not) to offer advice to underperforming Dungeon Finder groupmates garnered hundreds of comments and reader e-mails. Whether you choose to kick underperformers or to press on, it's how you handle the situation that makes the group (and you) worth being around. We aren't alone in feeling that softening the barrage of criticism that seems to be going around is the real matter at hand.

"I was so pleased to read your last column about PUG drama with the new Dungeon Finder," wrote in reader Necrodancer of EU Terokkar, "but I was really disappointed to see that most of the commenters were discussing what DPS and gear requirements are required for this or that Heroic, rather than how we behave towards casual or less experienced players in PUGs. DPS and gear requirements may well be up for debate, but what isn't up for debate is that we should be treating each other in a friendly and respectful manner.

"The reason I'm writing is this: please, please stick with this issue for just a little longer. A worrying attitude is spreading through the community that it's perfectly ok to be rude, abusive and cruel to players whose only crime is playing WoW less frequently than the hardcore set. A good hardcore player should recognise that not everyone is going to play the game the same way they do. They can't expect every PUG to be full of power-players decked out in Tier Bazillion gear and pumping out 5K DPS in every fight. To them I say have patience, be nice and above all, remember that it's all for fun."

And so we come to this week's question from a Dungeon Finder fan who's feeling a bit "Abused and Confused."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Features, Drama Mamas

More options for party communication

Our buddy Rufus from the WoW LJ brings word of a sneaky change in the recent patch: raid warnings (those warnings that pop up in the middle of your screen, created by typing "/rw" while leading a raid) no longer work in parties. Apparently you have to be in a raid to actually toss off a warning. Of course, that could have happened before this patch, but at any rate, it's in the game now. No more /rw in party chat.

Not only is it a bummer because some people used to use it constantly to keep party members in line, but this also means that there's one less means of communication between all of these random parties forming out there on the realms. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would know the fights and chat would be enough to make sure everyone was on the same page (or depending of your vision of a perfect world, everyone actually uses the in-game voice chat -- a quick survey of our staff here presumes that it works in cross-realm PuGs, but given that I've never actually seen it used on the live realms by anyone, who knows?), but we're hardly running instances in a perfect world. Sometimes chat is not the best way to get a complicated boss fight organized and ready.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Walkthroughs, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Instances

WoW Rookie: PUGging without the bad apples

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic, and be sure to visit's WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.

PUGs (PickUp Groups), which are groups of players that come together on the fly to run instance groups or raids, are a fact of life for most WoW players. Especially in today's WoW, when instances fly by more quickly than ever before (a quick TotC before dinnertime, anyone?), PUGs help you accomplish your quest, gear and achievement goals when you can't run them with a regular group or guild. And now that most players are concentrated in endgame content, PUGs are likely to be the only way you'll get a shot at running earlier instances as intended, with a group of the appropriate level.

Sounds like a winner ... So why do PUGs get such a bad rap? Mostly, it's the bad apple theory – but as Donny Osmond warbled so winningly above, "one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl." In a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG like WoW, you shouldn't be afraid to get involved with other players. Let's see how you can dig into PUGs without biting into (or being) the worm.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Raiding, WoW Rookie

Requiring epic achievements for normal runs

Leafshine echoes a concern I've heard a lot around the community and even here on lately: why are some Naxx pickup group organizers requiring the epic achievement on characters joining the raid when they're only running Naxx 10? Sure, we'd all love to have raids full of epic characters, but when you consider that to even get that gear, you have to topple Naxx 25, it seems a little silly to require a raid full of characters that don't actually need the run you're going on.

Then again, you could (and probably do) subscribe to the "free market" theory of PuGing: if you think that's silly, don't join that raid, and eventually people who want those requirements won't have anyone to run with (and if they do have people to run with, then apparently even those who have conquered Naxx 25 still want to go back and run 10, for fun or badges or offspec gear or whatever). But that does leave out people who really do need to (and can) run the instances -- just because you don't have a character full of gear from Naxx 25 doesn't mean you can't perform respectably in Naxx 10.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Raiding

Defining "PuGgable"

Alan over on WoW LJ has a great question: just what is PuGgable? Lots of people are talking about Naxx and Vault of Archavon and Obsidian Sanctum as PuGable, or able to be taken down by a pickup group, but just where does the line get drawn? Is 25-man Naxx able to be killed by a PuG? Sarth with three drakes? Ulduar?

Most of the 10-man instances are generally easy enough to be dropped by a pickup group, in my experience, though probably not for the achievements. A well-geared PuG can roll right through Naxx or VoA without any problems at all. But when you start getting into the achievements (Sarth with drakes) or the higher content (Eye of Eternity is tough unless everyone in there is experienced), then things get a little shady. Which is why lots of PuG leaders will be checking gear and achievements -- they'd rather take along someone who's already done the content than worry about pulling newbies through. Services and reputations can help that a little bit too -- a good friends list can come in very handy for PuGging even hard content.

And I'd say Ulduar is not PuGgable, yet, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's brand new, which means that most pickup folks won't know the fights, and that leads to wipes and only about one or two bosses down. Plus, since it is so new, every raid reset counts, and guilds don't want their raiders using up their resets when there's a guild run later in the week (of course that's not an issue for Naxx, which most guilds have on farm anyway). Though as more people gear up and more guilds make progress in Ulduar, you have to think there'll be PuGs in there as well

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

How are those Heroic PUGs coming?

Lane asks a good question on WoW LJ that I'd like to ask you as well-- how are those Heroic PUGs coming? With the recent changes to reputation requirements for Heroic dungeons, there's probably a whole lot more players out there ready to run Heroics and looking for groups to do it with. But as classically unorganized as most pick up groups are, and as much concentration and skill that Heroics require, I can't imagine a Heroic PUG would ever been a good time, unless you got really, really lucky. Heck, I have enough trouble running with a normal PUG-- a Heroic PUG seems like it would be hell and a half.

I'm sure it's not impossible-- if you've already got a good tank and some good CC, you can probably PUG a DPS or Healer and do OK. And I'm sure that, just like real PUGs, every once in a while, you'll strike gold and get a group that really has it together. But as easy as badges are to come by nowadays, I have to stand in awe of the people who still go for Heroic PUGs. How's it going out there?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Leveling

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