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Posts with tag pugs

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 headspace of switching roles

The headspace of switching roles
It's about as easy to switch your role in World of Warcraft as it has ever been in the history of the game. With dual spec, you can have two ready to go. With the justice/valor system and heroic Hour of Twilight dungeons, you can have a passable off-spec set in a few days. The problem nowadays isn't gear, and it isn't having to go respec to do it. The problem is ingrained habits, and that problem can be the hardest to overcome.

It's certainly far from impossible, though.

The first thing you have to do when switching from tanking or healing to DPS or vice versa is abandon how you approached the job. You're not doing that job anymore. When I first went DPS in Firelands, it took me two weeks to get myself to stop trying to intercept mobs running for the healers or other DPSers and getting myself killed. That was because no one was healing me -- not because they didn't care, but because they had no idea I was about to get aggro on Firelands trash. Why would they? I wasn't a tank. It's not that they didn't appreciate it; it's that they had no way of anticipating I was going to do it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Cataclysm

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

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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: 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

Officers' Quarters: Rebuilding your roster

orgrimmar's gates under construction
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

If there's one phrase that drives sports fans crazy, it's "rebuilding year." In sports, a rebuilding year is one in which expectations for the team are low, either because the team traded away aging veterans, gave starting positions to young and inexperienced players, or both. But sports fans are an impatient bunch. We don't want rebuilding years -- we want championships. Thus, teams do everything they can to deny that they are, in fact, rebuilding.

The same is true for guilds. Potential recruits don't want to hear about rebuilding -- they want to join an established organization in its prime. Thus, when your guild is in that starting-over situation, it can be very difficult to dig yourself out of the hole.

For some reason, I've received three emails about this topic over the past two weeks, so I figured I'd feature one of those emails here. I chose the one that bounced my message back when I tried to reply to it, so at least that person will know I did respond!
Dear Scott and the Officer's Quarters,

I am writing to ask for some perspective on the current state of my guild and the actions I could take to turn things around. I am the GM of a small guild on one of the older, more established WoW servers. I am told this server has been around since the early days of vanilla WoW.

As with any established server in any game, cliques are formed, reputation is king, and small guilds have a hard time flourishing when three quarters of the active player base belong to one of a few monster guilds. Our server has both monster progression guilds that field multiple 10-man raid groups in addition to 25-man groups as well as the Mega-store bargain perks blowout guilds that give every member the ability to invite new members with no real guidelines for membership.

My humble guild began as a way for a few real life friends to play together. Raiding, progression, and consistency were never a big deal for us toward the end of Wrath. Once Cataclysm came along with guild levels and the perks associated with them, our roster of casual and fun people plummeted. Some left the game completely because they were accustomed to blowing through the Wrath content without any difficulty. Others were deployed with their military units to the ends of the earth to fight real life wars. At this point we are left with the few real life friends in addition to a mere one or two other active members.

Enough of the back-story, now it is time for the point of my email:

How can a weak-roster guild survive amongst the concrete establishments of the dominant guilds? What can I do to find new members who could be beneficial to the guild and our goals of breaking into raiding without having to beg?

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Drama Mamas: Much ado about funsuckers

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I will be insinuating something later, hence this week's video choice.
Hi there!

I'm writing to you as a non-hardcore player, but one who's been playing since WoW started. Heck, I even played the Diablos on! As a long term player, I can't help but notice the venom increasing from other players to the more casual or new. You go into a battleground only to hear the newbies being yelled at for not having PvP gear, or into a random instance to hear the same about raid gear.

I've been married for going on 7 years and it was only a year and a half ago I got my husband to play with me. He certainly took to it like a duck to water, but the abuse from player to player made him so angry he eventually quit playing around the time Cata hit (he never had to deal with much abuse hurled at him as he geared up and learned to play quickly).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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

Knowledge, newbies, and why kindness pays off

I played WoW on dial-up for a while, and during that time, it was close to impossible for me to raid anything but add-light 10-man content. So I did the only thing that seemed doable: leveled alts. A lot of them. While previously I had vowed to only level my rogue (my original main) to max level in any given expansion, I was suddenly the proud owner of six level 80 characters.

Even after I got back on actual broadband internet, Cataclysm's introduction of new races (especially Races That Are Worgen) gave me some more incentive to bring my number of max-level characters up to, well, its maximum level. So I finally listened to Matt Rossi and made a worgen warrior. He's awesome. And he tanks, a first for me. I've been leveling him almost exclusively through the dungeon finder, taking advantage of the instant queues for a dog what wears plate armor.

I'm still pretty new to tanking, but between new talent trees, heirlooms, and questing/dungeon gear with better stat balance, most low-level instances are a breeze. So I move fast. Sometimes a little faster than other people. The same kinds of people who attack from the front as a melee class or hit "need" on spirit weapons as a mage. And I would make snide remarks to those kinds of people.

Then I realized something. I was being kind of a jackass.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Moviewatch: How to determine a PUG's personality

Work warning: Language might be an issue, if you're playing this during the work day.

RomireVids has released their new video How to determine a Pug's personality. There's a few notes about the community in this video, so try and follow me here for a second. Romire especially thanks Propostris and Wowcrendor for inspiring this video, and the short film definitely includes cut-outs from the Icecrown Raiding. On the video's YouTube page, RomireVids also thanks a small legion of WoW machinima personalities, including EmberIsolte and Gigi. There's too many to list here, though, so please check out the YouTube page. With such a long list of attributions, it's almost impossible for me to tell who did what. It's kind of an interesting situation.

Nonetheless, How to determine a PUG's personality seems very clearly inspired by Wowcrendor's style. It's got that same kind of dry-toned humor, and displays the same kind of love for WoW. The creator obviously enjoys the game, but is somewhat nonplussed by the people he comes across. It's a pretty universal experience, and a lot of your enjoyment of this video will probably stem from whether you share the creator's opinions.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Daily Quest: We heard you like pugs

Here at, we're on a Daily Quest (which we try to do every day, honest) to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere. Is there a story out there we ought to link or a blog we should be following? Just leave us a comment and you may see it here tomorrow! Take a look at the links below, and be sure to check out our WoW Resources Guide for more WoW-related sites.

This weekend I noticed an achievement and a pet I was missing. So I pugged my heart out, and at the end of the run of pugs, I was rewarded with a pug, so I could pug when I PUG. Or something like that. Everyone's got something to say about PUGS:

Filed under: The Daily Quest

WoW Moviewatch: How to win at PUGs and GearScore

It's been a little while since we've heard from the enigmatic Wowcrendor, but it looks like the maestro of narrative parody is back with How to win at PUGs and GearScore. This video is a return to his classic form, even featuring that everyman named Billy. Wowcrendor takes Billy on a tour of your average PUG member, right down to that guy who keeps screaming "Go go go go go."

How to win at PUGs and GearScore doesn't actually spend very long talking about GearScore, but it does throw in a mention of the Celestial Steed. I'm defintiely glad this video came out before Cataclysm. It'll be nice to bookmark this summary of PUG life to compare it in the next expansion. While I'm not naive enough to think things will change radically, I am still hopefully that new designs and instances will make your average PUG at least slightly friendlier.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Light and How to Swing It: Bad habits in dungeons

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.

If you've never seen the "How to Paladin" series by stoker2 ... don't. If you have seen it, my apologies and I will continue to attempt to stop Michael Gray from linking them in Moviewatch. However, I thought it would be a perfect example of things paladins shouldn't do for a lead into my article.

We're going to talk a bit about bad habits. Some of these bad habits come from learning your class while soloing and the differences you have to make in your playstyle when questing versus when dungeon running. Some of these bad habits are born out of running mostly PvP content and then moving from there into PvE, where the same tricks are more harmful than helpful.

Still other bad habits come from having extremely powerful gear. When you overgear content, you start to lose sight of what it's like to have to work at things. You forget that you used to do 1,800 DPS on a good day in your quest greens and what tricks you used to work through each pull. You also start to do stunts that would have wiped your party without question three tiers of content ago.

After the break, we'll take a look at a variety of these bad habits and talk about why you might want to break those habits before the Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Breakfast Topic: A chat channel with a bank

This article has been brought to you by Seed, Aol's guest writer program that brings your words to Watch for the next call for submissions and a chance to submit your own article. The next new byline you see here may be yours!

When Wrath of the Lich King was first released, my guild was red-hot for Naxx. We recruited. We started a website and started swapping ideas, posting videos, strategies and of course developed some great friendships. Although we didn't steamroll over content like a lot of our other guild peers on the server (a lot of us seasoned players had been there/done that with the hardcore raiding guild scene and were over it), we still went along at a decent pace and were satisfied with our overall progress.

Things were going well. Ulduar was around the corner, and everyone was ready to do a great big cannonball into new content. New strats, pics, videos and posts were going up on the guild forums. People were reading up, doing their homework and ready to roll right into Ulduar. We were getting through the first couple of bosses with no problems, but then we ran into a boss in that my guild failed to read any strats or watch any videos on: the RL Boss.

Our guild could not get past the RL Boss. People were getting married, getting divorced, buying a house, losing a house. You name it, it was happening. As luck would have it, it wasn't our second-tier raiders either; it was the performers that were taking a four-quarter breather from the game.

After a while, the guild leadership just gave up. Any senior raiders who were left started pugging, and there were a few months with absolutely nothing on the guild calendar. There have been a few half-hearted attempts, but those were over before they began. Rumor has it that the GM has put the kibosh on recruitment, effectively making the remnants of our guild a chat channel with a bank.

Has your guild wiped on the RL Boss enough times to discourage any guild activities, even to the point that the guild actually disbanded? What happened?

Filed under: Guilds, Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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