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Posts with tag pug

Breakfast Topic: Do you still PUG?

The idea of playing in a PUG -- or a random pick up group -- was once a painful one. You might spend ages in chat trying to find random players willing to join you for a dungeon only to get stuck spending hours trying to successfully navigate the dungeon... or even longer if you were unlucky enough to be trying to run Blackrock Depths. Grouping could be painful, which meant you tended to stick with guildmates or friends for dungeon runs that wouldn't leave you wanting to tear your hair out.

Of course, in today's game, the dungeon finder and raid finder make getting groups together a simple task, and dungeon running itself has been streamlined to make it easier for random groups to succeed. With these changes, it's gotten a lot easier to run a random dungeon, and so some of the stigma around PUGs seems to have faded -- or perhaps just transferred to LFRs.

For today's discussion, I'm wondering: do you play WoW in random groups? Or do you rather stick with guildmates and friends?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Getting out of your comfort zone

Have you left your comfort zone yet
Have you been to the proving grounds yet to try a role you normally don't play? Trial Master Rotun seems awfully lonely in his little corner of the Temple of the White Tiger with everyone so busy collecting Timeless Coins or sieging Orgrimmar. What about flexible raiding? Have you tried taking the step up from raid finder?

Blizzard has sent a clear message with patch 5.4: they really want you to get out of your comfort zone.

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Filed under: Add-Ons

How long are you willing to wait for a group to form?

How long are you willing to wait for a group to form
In the leveling homestretch, I tend to follow a pattern. My main goal is to boost my ilevel as soon as I hit 90 to get in on Raid Finder. Although, once I get there, I end up feeling bitter because waiting in a Raid Finder queue isn't fun. Even if you're not into Raid Finder, WoW presents players with plenty of opportunity to wait around at some point -- battleground and dungeon queues, or even sticking around for a PUG to come together.

As a tank on my main, I groan when thinking of entering Raid Finder, mainly because of the wait. There are only two tank roles, after all. With the new loot specialization coming to 5.3, players looking to win tank gear have hope of a less painful wait in a DPS role, at least. Even if you're used to the long wait, everyone has a limit. I remember waiting as a tank in a Raid Finder queue for an hour and forty minutes. I'm not usually willing to wait that long. I'm relatively comfortable with waiting about thirty to forty minutes before moving on.

When it comes to PUGs, I'm quite patient, usually waiting longer than I probably should. In a PUG, I tend to have a personal connection to at least one of the other players in the group, so I'm not quick to leave.

How long are you willing to wait, whether it be for a dungeon, Raid Finder, battleground, or a PUG? While in queue, how do you pass the time? I usually find myself completing dailies or battling pets. But at what point do you throw up your hands and leave?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

The most reassuring title to see on a player

The most reassuring title to see on a player
Whether we like to admit it or not, we tend to give other players the once-over whenever we zone into a Raid Finder or dungeon PUG, particularly if you've had a run of bad experiences while getting valor-capped for the week. A recent thread on the Tanking forums about the best title for a tank to sport is both a sideways acknowledgment of this and a question as to which title best suits your role in the game. For healers, one could argue that Undying or Immortal means you probably had job security for the length of Wrath, but that kind of ignores everyone else's responsibility to not screw up in Naxx. Possibly Herald of the Titans/Conqueror of Ulduar would have been the equivalent for DPS players, although a raid had to fire on all cylinders for those achievements too.

Before achievements were account-wide, and leaving aside obvious ringers like Light of Dawn/Bane of the Fallen King before Mists, I would have nominated Loremaster or Seeker as the most reassuring titles to see on a player regardless of gear quality. I can't say exactly what link exists between the persistence needed to get these titles and overall competence, but I have yet to see a Loremaster or Seeker player do something screw-the-pooch crazy in a PUG. These days, it's tougher to guarantee that a player sporting a title is doing so on the character that originally got it, so maybe The Undaunted is probably the single best outward indicator of competence.

Having written all this, I've also had the pleasure of knowing a world-class hunter who never bothered using titles, and we have to acknowledge that a generic, funny (e.g., "Chef Boyardee"), or absent title means nothing at all. But if you had to pick one that said, "I will not get you killed in this PUG," which would it be?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

It came from the Blog: Random dungeon group LFM

It came from the Blog Random dungeon group LFM
Every month, It came from the Blog hosts an event for fun and sometimes profit, so we'll definitely be having a Feast of Winter Veil romp after the holiday begins. In the meantime, and until further notice, Crikkit the pandaren mistweaver monk is going to be dungeoning up to at least 85 and she wants to do so with friends.

Starting tomorrow and every Thursday hereafter, level 15 Crikkit will be randoming dungeons with whomever shows up to join her.
  • When: Thursdays starting Thursday, Dec. 13 (tomorrow) at Noon EST (9 a.m. PST, 10 a.m. server time)
  • Where: Meet at the fishing hole in the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H)
  • Who: Any Horde character within one or two levels of Crikkit at the time -- this week, levels 15 and 16
  • How: Ask Crikkit or any It came from the Blog member for an invite to the guild
I'll PUG if I have to, but there are already a couple of guildies signed up to attend and I'm hoping we'll have more -- particularly as the weeks go by. If we get too many, I'll choose from those whom I'm comfortable with and where our needs lie. If we have leftovers, we will do what we always do and form more than one group with a common chat channel.

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Filed under: Events, It Came from the Blog, Choose My Adventure

Sphere of Jerkitude: That's it, I'm outta here

Breakfast Topic That's it, I'm outta here
One of our readers, Bowzer, wrote in the other night about dropping a group instantly on seeing a homophobic slur in party chat. As he observed, running across questionable-to-cruel comments in the Dungeon Finder is certainly nothing new, but he asked, "Am I wrong for being sick of the 'It's the internet, have a tough skin and get over it argument?' Is it so wrong to be a decent person?"

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't had similar thoughts. Thankfully, running into a genuine jerk is uncommon, but each one can ruin your day. I think what bothers me most is the sure knowledge that the offending player is not only entirely unrepentant, but may also be getting a kick out of making the group uncomfortable.

Worse still, there's no surefire way to deal with it. Try to address a nasty or bigoted comment in party chat? You're just giving them the opportunity to troll you further. Kick them? You may not have the votes. (If it's a guild group, you definitely won't.) Stay silent? Drop group? Submit a ticket? Or maybe just hope that the Loot God smites the offender at some point in the near future?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Drama Mamas: Bullying is not welcome here

Drama Mamas Did you mean what you just said
Mishandled humor is one thing. But stereotyping, disdain, and bullying? The WoW community has no room for players who've made those a part of their rotation.

Dear Drama Mamas,

Starting things off; I'm a Moonguard player. Hear that sound? I know you do, because the mere word Moonguard invokes it in so many players now; words like "obscene" or "immature" or "inappropriate" jump to mind. And it drives me absolutely crazy.

Let's get the obvious out of the way; Moonguard has a bad reputation because of Goldshire. And Silvermoon City. Okay, fine, yes, we get the point. But every single time I get into a group, every single time I enter a Battleground, or an Arena, the moment I even say anything (or sometimes when I haven't said anything yet), it begins. The more polite chuckleheads spew it into the public chat, every possible Moonguard joke and comment they can think of, and a couple of personal attacks against anyone who would dare to touch the place with a ten foot pole.

The less polite ones start whispering, telling you to get out of the group, or to disconnect, to stop being a child or stop being a freak of nature. Heaven help you if ANYONE in that dungeon group turns out to be bad, because it can and will get blamed on you. If your team ends up down 0/2 and you mention it's because so-and-so is dancing on the roof not attacking or defending, you could be in the enemy flag room, with the flag, having downed half of the other team solo, and it's your fault because you're a filthy Moonguard player (this is also about the time you get the wonderful suggestion that you should kill yourself).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Do you PUG?

Raid
I have a love/hate relationship with pugging. I'll have a mediocre to wonderful time, random after random, and then one horrific experience makes me quit PUGs for months. I have a thick skin for writing on the internet ... er, let me rephrase that. I now have a thick skin for writing on the internet for over five years. But playing with pick up groups for the same amount of time still hasn't toughened me up.

Battlegrounds? No problem. I'm not sure why. The language and verbal attacks are often much worse there, and I know that's why many people stay away. But I guess it's more impersonal there and much more common. Maybe that's why I can handle it so easily.

It is definitely much more personal in a 5-man group. That's certain. It's not "you all suck," but "you suck, Laurel." If I'm really not doing well, there are better ways to tell me, obviously. More often, however, the blamer is the one with the problem. "Learn to heal!" -- says the rogue pulling the entire room while the tank is waiting for the casters to regen mana. "[expletive deleted]," he goes on to say. These experiences really bother me and I just can't deal for a while.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Drama Mamas: Too skittish to face the mob

Drama Mamas Too skittish to face the mob
When the fear factor of an MMO revolves more around social hits from fellow players than it does physical hits from monsters, you know something's out of whack. After reading this week's letter, I certainly felt like whacking something -- namely, the ugly atmosphere that makes grouping a hellish prospect for anyone who's been dragged through the dirt one too many times.

Dear Drama Mamas,

I've been playing this game for three or four years now (I'm still a teen, though) and I really wanted to ask you about something.

About two years ago, I first started raiding. I continued going to the pug many times, always with the same raid leader. (Let's call him R.) I started talking in vent with him and his guild, and raided with them quite a lot. I was really sheepish at first because: 1. I was a kid, 2. I'm afraid of social interaction, and 3. I'm a girl. Everything went fine though, for several months.

It was when R needed to go off to work, and couldn't lead the raids anymore when things got bad. I wasn't in his guild, but he felt that I could be trusted enough to be the raid leader. He passed it over to me, handed over his group macros for recruting, and told people I would be leading. He also put two people with me to be my raid assists. (Let's call them Andni and Pir. These are not their actual names.)

I would always start of the raid slightly paniced, but by the end I was joking around with everyone and having a good time. But during one Black Temple run, everything went bad.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

The Azeroth Ethicist: Cheating (or not cheating) the roll system

Image
I was healing a Well of Eternity PUG a few days ago when I got a whisper from the group's warrior tank.

Warrior: Could you help me out with something?

Me: Sure, what do you need?

Warrior: If Varo'then's Brooch drops at the end, would you roll on it for me?

Me: Um ...

I'd been off in my own little world watching health bars and thinking about next week's Shifting Perspectives column and hadn't paid any attention to the group's composition. It turns out the DPSers were a mage, a hunter, and -- oh, there we go -- a frost death knight. So in the event that the strength trinket dropped, the warrior tank wanted me to roll on it and, if I won, give it to him over the DK. He probably asked the mage and the priest to do the same thing, but the group was quiet in party chat, so I have no way of knowing.

We had a small and, to his credit, civil conversation over it, and there are a few issues here on which I'd like to get readers' opinions.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Your evil, animatronic late-night pugging is back

Image
Why hello, insomnia. Fancy seeing you around here again. It's been what, a week? I guess that's enough sleep. As is my wont, I tend to log onto WoW and do ridiculous things when I'm tired, like run Dungeon Finder groups over and over again. I don't need the points, as I usually cap valor just by raiding, and I don't need the gear. Sometimes I tank, sometimes I DPS. (I have yet to figure out how to queue my warrior as a healer.) I've figured out, to some extent, why I do this.
  1. I test out build ideas in PuGs. That prot spec with all the threat talents, or the other one that cherry picks for Second Wind and Blood Craze. (Yeah, I tanked with that one. It worked OK, but man, I missed Blood and Thunder.) My fury spec that has both SMF and TG for no good reason aside from switching between Gurthalak and Souldrinker every few minutes. (Gurth's way better, in case you were wondering.)
  2. I like killing things in video games. No real surprise there.
  3. I indulge my transmog jones. There's something about running Well of Eternity in tier 2, then going back and transmogging into level 40 greens and running it again. It amuses me.
  4. I get to feel like a superhero. Seriously, a lot of the time I get dropped into a run halfway through that's struggling on Azshara or Murozond, and I can just kind of go completely and utterly bonkers on said boss. Yes, one of the reasons we collect all this gear is so we can feel powerful. I don't go around posting meters or bragging; I often say very little aside from an occasional joke.
Number 4 up there is the easiest one to be obnoxious about, so I try never to be that guy going on about how awesome his DPS is or pulling threat because he couldn't wait for the tank. Yeah, I could probably do more if I opened up sooner, but I don't feel like it's necessary. I'm there because it feels good to show up and help lift a group over obstacles, not to become an obstacle. I did enjoy the one group where everyone was very encouraging to see exactly what I could do, though. It was fun to just cut loose on Dawnslayer for once.

How about y'all? Ever up at ungodly hours? If so, and you see that guy above, he might be me. (I change looks by the hour.)

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

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: Spill your 5-man PUG stories here

Bad PUG stories used to be a perennial feature on this site, and I've been missing them lately -- good PUG stories too, I suppose, but the bad stuff is always more fun to talk about, mostly because you get to share a sense of outrage with fellow reasonable players. Spill, folks: What's happened to you in 5-mans lately?

I'll start. I usually tank heroics but decided to heal recently (that was my first mistake), and I landed a group of guildies from another realm in a Well of Eternity PUG. Now, the average Cataclysm heroic isn't all that tough to heal these days as long as you're sensibly geared, but it didn't take me long to realize that this group was blowing through an unusually large percentage of my mana pool. They stood in front of the Dreadlord Defenders' Carrion Swarm, couldn't find an interrupt button with two hands and a guide dog, and seemed to DPS at an unusually slow rate even with the crit buff given by Illidan's Shadow Walk.

It was around the time I noticed most of the group sitting in Peroth'arn's Fel Flames that it occurred to me that either this was the most legitimately incompetent group I've ever had the misfortune of encountering, or they were doing it on purpose. But because they never quite managed to get themselves or myself killed, I let it slide. I left at the end with 50 gold and a Forest Emerald from my Satchel, wishing for a Dungeon Finder system sufficiently advanced to recognize that some groups are definitely worth, say, a pony.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Shifting Perspectives: The best and the worst of patch 4.3

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we chortle our way through 5-man trash.

Oh, patch 4.3. I didn't know what to expect from you after so many bad, ugly, or just plain bizarre PUGs on the public test realm, but you turned out to be pretty cool. I don't have to wear ugly gear anymore, the Dragon Soul raid is live, Vengeance blows up like a grade school volcano science experiment, and Deathwing no longer roasts all my archaeology dig sites with the sadistic glee of an NPC who knows that I will never get the Crawling Claw if I am dead.

On the downside, I have to deal with Echo of Tyrande trash ("Hey, where'd the healer go?"), and Thrall still does not seem to have realized that the rest of the world moved on to epic mounts several years ago.

You win some, you lose some.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Tips for great success in the Raid Finder

The Raid Finder is now live and active. This tool is probably the single greatest boon to casual and solo players added to WoW since ... well, I'd have to struggle to think of something more exciting. If you can't commit to a raid night or more than one raid night in a single week, the Raid Finder means you can still participate in the raiding game. Sure, your item level may be a few steps behind players involved in traditional 10-man and 25-man raiding. But now with the glorious Raid Finder, you can actually take part in the story.

Of course, for newer players, using the Raid Finder can be intimidating, especially if you've never spent any time in PUG raids before now. Grouping up at random with 24 other players is intimidating. You can't just ignore that; jumping into a raid group that has expectations and demands about you can be a scary thing.

With that in mind, here's a handful of tips to make sure your Raid Finder experience goes as smoothly as possible.

Read more →

Filed under: WoW Rookie

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