Category Archives: Pugging

Adventures with four random people.

I’m Rolling Need on You (Lara)

This is a guest post from Lara at Root & Branch, the musings of an Azerothian healer. I saved it for last because it is poignant and lovely, but I’ll let you discover for yourself!

If anyone tells you it's foolish to run Magister's Terrace at level 68, well, they're probably right. But try it anyway.

 

You may not realize this, but every single time you run a dungeon using the dungeon-finder tool, regardless of your level, there’s a chance you might win epic or even legendary quality loot.  What’s more, such loot can potentially drop for every member of the party.

Now, some of you may shake your heads with disbelief when you read this; others may scramble to look up the loot tables on WoWHead to see what you’ve missed.  Don’t bother looking!  You won’t find it there.  But believe me, it’s true.  The kind of loot I’m talking about, however, isn’t something you’ll find on any boss’s loot table.  It’s not a funky trinket, a glowing sword, or a powerful belt.  The loot I’m talking about here is friendship, and it’s the very best loot you can possibly get.

Friends don’t drop in every single dungeon you run.  In fact, the drop rate on friends can often be very low, sometimes!  However, when a friendship does drop, it’s so much better than any other random item you could find.  Friendships are bind-on-player, they are transferable across servers, they scale with your level, they’re not specific to any class or race, and in some cases they will even work outside the game.

It’s my feeling that friends are the best and most important kind of loot you can find, and they’re what really makes this game of ours worth playing.  Without some friends around to share in the struggles, the victories, the defeats, and the puzzles, even the most epic drops can’t keep things fun; all the other rewards of the game can lose their meaning.  World of Warcraft isn’t meant to be played alone:  Compared to dedicated single-player games, it’s not all that engaging when you go it alone.  However, once you toss some friends into the mix, it has the potential to blow those other games out of the water — even the ones that have much nicer graphics.

There’s no doubt that the dungeon-finder has been a mixed blessing for this kind of friend-loot.  The ease of assembling a group of players has made it much easier to meet a diverse group of players from a variety of servers, and the time you save by teleporting straight to the dungeon helps you find more groups in the same amount of time.  This is great!  In the dark days before the dungeon-finder, you had to find people on your own server, and it could often be really hard to get a group together.

On the downside, however, the dungeon-finder has encouraged a kind of “dungeon tourism”, in which groups pop in, waltz through the place in a superficial way, and pop back out, sometimes without even speaking to each other!  Maybe you see a cool suit of armour a shiny weapon, and a pet?  I see a loud, red-faced, pushy American tourist in a loud floral-print shirt wearing a crappy instamatic camera on a lanyard around his neck, bellowing at a harried concessionaire over the price of a hot dog.  It’s a lot easier to understand why some groups behave as they do when you look at it this way.  The Hunter with Tourette’s Syndrome shouting “GO F*ING GO GODDAM GO” and pulling everything in sight?  That’s him.  And just like when you see this as you’re trying to peacefully experience the grandeur of some ancient wonder, it’s all right to be embarrassed for him.

Don’t lose hope, however.  Not everyone is like that.  I promise you, it’s true.  If you keep your heart light, and your eyes open, you can still find those polite, helpful, friendly, patient players who want more from the game than to blunder through the sacred sites snapping blurry Polaroids and bleating about how they wish they were at home.  It won’t happen every day, and sometimes it takes a little encouragement, but when you do meet them, it’s like a little moment of magic, something you may remember for years to come.

Right now, our friends-list doesn’t work across servers.  I hope they’ll fix that soon.  But even without that, and even if you don’t want to give people your RealID information, we can still keep in touch.  How?  One thing you could do is to use an IM account — something like AIM, Google Chat, or Jabber.  Sure, it’s not as convenient as an in-game whisper, but it’s better than losing track!  Are you worried about revealing your real identity for professional reasons?  No problem — it’s easy to create yourself an e-mail address you can use just for gaming purposes.

Whatever you do, though, please don’t click “Pass” on potential friends.  Before you leave your group, take a moment to look at the real loot window, otherwise known as your party interface:  Even a little friendly banter can sometimes lead, in time, to a wonderful and fun friendship, in this big and interesting game we all play.

Don’t believe me?  Well, dear Reader, if you’re reading this blog then you should know that what you’re reading is here because of how Vidyala and I met:  Through pugging.

 

Very few bears were harmed in the making of this picture.

 

Let’s Be Friends, When We’re Not Trying To Kill Each Other (Rades)

 

This is a guest post by Rades at Orcish Army Knife, where he records the observations of an orc beast mastery engineer hunter. Did I get that right? Anyway, he likes to blow things up and has tusks. It’s not technically about pugs but I relaxed the topic rules in his case because it’s still a very interesting read!

Vid says, "Some of us are apples, some of us are oranges, but in the end, we're all birds!...wait, no."

It’s always interesting to examine the cross-faction cultural bonds and alliances that exist in WoW, and see how and why they work. There’s many neutral parties that welcome both Horde & Alliance races into their fold, such as the Cenarion Circle/Expedition and the Argent Dawn/Crusade. And it’s always fun to find those oddball NPCs who are working for the wrong faction, like the great Mr. Smite (a Tauren), in the Alliance-centric Deadmines.

But what about between actual player races? Currently there are very few examples of cross-faction bonds, which is a shame – I think some races have such similar ambitions, motivations and character traits that they could strike up great friendships!

Druids have a unique kinship through their beliefs in nature, leading to a warm relationship between the Tauren and Night Elves, a unique bond amongst all Warcraft races. The fact that both races are very respectful of and attuned with nature certainly helps. The most fascinating thing about this friendship was that it even extended to players for a time – the unofficial “Druid Truce”, where opposing druids wouldn’t attack each other in battlegrounds and world PVP. Granted, some of this was because both druids were likely to be restoration (which would make for a thrilling battle, I’m sure) but there was definitely a degree of actual player camaraderie/respect involved, too.

I find this idea amazing, and really cool. I wasn’t playing yet when this was commonplace, but as a member of the much-maligned family of Beast Mastery hunters, I find I feel the same way towards other hunters who are also sporting a Devilsaur, Core Hound, or Spirit Beast. Instant love.

(However, I’ll still kill them in PVP. Love only goes so far.)

What other races have established cross-faction ties? Well, they’re not Horde yet, but the obvious rivalry/friendship between the Goblins and Gnomes comes to mind. Despite their ongoing competitions and efforts to outdo each other, you never get the sense that there’s any real malice or hatred behind it. It’s always good-natured and lighthearted. I can definitely imagine Goblins & Gnomes laughing and drinking side by side after a fun day out at the Mirace Raceway. Their rivalry is more like a sport than anything else – I’ve often said that a Goblins vs. Gnomes battleground (much like Warsong Gulch is Orcs vs. Night Elves, and Eye of the Storm is Blood Elves vs. Draenei) that focused on crazy engineering gadgets, vehicles and bombs would be the funnest thing ever. Both races probably don’t care at all about the so-called faction “war”, and only participate at all because of their friendships and allegiances to their more combative allies.

Speaking of more combative races, I believe Orcs and Dwarves could also be GREAT buddies, for a number of reasons. First things first – both races LOVE to fight. Nothing makes an Orc or Dwarf happier than a good old blood-pumping brawl. Not killing, mind you – just scrapping. Both races also dislike and distrust arcane magic (though this is changing in Cataclysm), deeply respect bravery and valor, and have strong familial clan hierarchies. The stiff-necked Bronzebeard Dwarves might cast a disapproving eye on prospective Orc allies, but I think the looser Wildhammers – with their more wild nature and deep respect for the shamanistic ways – would easily laugh, fight, and drink alongside Orcs with great gusto.

I also think the Dwarves would be willing to forgive the Orcs for the crimes and assaults committed by the Orcs of the past. Look at Muradin’s interaction with Varok Saurfang when Saurfang comes to collect the dead body of his son – Dwarves seem unblinded by petty things like grudges or racial hatred. They’re the most…down to earth, if you will. ;)  Unfortunately, the Dwarves are so closely allied with the Humans that the idea of making peace with Orcs would never be acceptable to Varian, despite that one moment of compassion towards Saurfang displayed in Icecrown Citadel. Silly Humans.

For an idea really out of left field, what about the Forsaken and the Draenei? At first glance, there’s not a lot of commonality – they seem completely opposed. But the Forsaken hate everyone for…not falling victim to the Scourge’s plague as they did? Or not saving them? Or maybe because they are despised by their former kin simply for existing. In any case, the Draenei weren’t even <i>on Azeroth</i> when Arthas’ murderous rampage through the Eastern Kingdoms took place, so Sylvanas’ people can’t really hate them for any past history.

The Draenei, on the other hand, are very familiar with racial tragedy, and after being hunted & chased by the Burning Legion for hundreds of years, know well the pain and hardship of being threatened with genocide for the “crime” of living. They are also extremely accepting, forgiving and trusting – if any race could find it in their hearts to treat the unsettling Forsaken fairly and without suspicion, it would be the space goats.

Finally, there is one overwhelming, common bond the two races share – an complete and utter hatred of the Burning Legion/Scourge. No other races have suffered at the hands of the Legion/Scourge as much as the Forsaken and Draenei, and their deeply personal ambitions of vengeance (Forsaken) and justice (Draenei) would likely be strong enough to overcome mundane concerns like faction allegiances.  Destroying the Legion would mean ending the driving power behind the Scourge, and destroying the Scourge would mean neutralizing one of the Legion’s strongest weapons. I could definitely picture Sylvanas and Velen working together wholeheartedly to end these threats and accomplish their mutual goals.

Plus, I hear the Forsaken really like to get down, which makes the Draenei a perfect match! After all, I hear the Exodar is a great disco…

 

Vid says, "I don't remember signing a release form for this image. THIS DIDN'T REALLY HAPPEN!"

 

A Brief Guide To Races In Pugs (Anea)

This is a guest post from Anea, formerly of Obeying the Muse. Her blog is on hiatus at the moment, that’s why you can’t click on it, but she is still awesome and was kind enough to write for me!

 

Vid says: "I just saw that someone's name ends in 'hemroid' here and blocked the rest out."

 

Have you ever been in a PuG with four Dwarves in it?
It’s an amazing run of speed an accuracy.  Have you ever had a run with three Gnomes in it?  Things can get pretty hairy.
With my highly extensive professional pugging experience, there are certain races that you should be wary of when pugging.  Those stereotypes that you always hear?  They have some basis in fact, not unlike some myths and old wives tales.  True, they do have some connections with race and class combos (Night Elf hunter, anyone?) but even in my experience, there are certain races that are cause for my mood to lighten and cause for worry when I first zone into a pug.
Firstly, let’s get the “obvious” out of the way.  Undead.  Bad.  News.  Yes, while a self-professed spacegoat at heart, I have done some pugging on the other side of the fence (the grass seems greener every so often) and my poor Troll knew she’d be in for some civilized conversation and focused gameplay whenever there was an Undead character in her group.
I’m sorry, that was a little deadpan, wasn’t it?  Did it show?  I apologize.
The other side of the spectrum though?  Dwarves.  Solid and always dependable.  Not many people do play Dwarves, of course, but it seems like you can always depend on a Dwarf with Dwarven qualities.  That PuG I mentioned with four Dwarves?  I was in it, as one of the Dwarves.  I had three other Dwarves with me and I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my groupmates after zoning in.  (I think if we’d had a fifth Dwarf pug the world might have imploded.)  And that run was the smoothest, most coordinated run I’ve ever been on, with everyone performing their roles as they should.  Which, in a leveling pug, can sometimes be hard to find.  But given the racial makeup of the group, I wasn’t surprised in the least.
Draenei are another “good” race that really has next to no worry when I’m grouped with them.  Most other Draenei I’ve grouped with have been quiet, sure, but they’ll focus with a minimum of fuss and they tend to be quite polite players.  *preens*
There are some races that really give too many mixed signals.  Night Elves as a whole, Blood Elves, Tauren.  Trolls?  Yes – they have the voodoo!  Humans?  … ergh.  With such a large volume of players as humans, it seems like bad apples take over the barrel now and again.  And now that I think about it, Orcs tend to be on the same tier as Dwarves – they know how to get down to business.
Gnomes.  Melee Gnomes tend to be hit or miss (mostly miss) but you’re not too badly off if you have a small caster in the group.  They can be quite silly though (in the best of ways) I notice.  Comedic relief, the Gnome!

 

"Push me."

 

Stupidity Filter In Grid (Zelmaru)

Zelmaru is a co-author of Murloc Parliament which talks about very Srs Bzns Murloc Government. And other stuff like healer addons.

In keeping with the series of Grid articles I’ve been doing lately, I’d like to draw your attention to a new plugin called GridStatusStupidity by Bee Pit Enterprises. The goal of this plugin is to remove or deemphasize the health frames of people who are stupid so you are not tempted to heal them and reward their stupidity.

Now, a similar addon exists called GridStatusIgnored, where you can dim out the grid frames of those people on your ignore list. However, you still have to evaluate the person’s stupidity manually and determine whether the person should be placed on the ignore list. You don’t need the aggravation of this extra step.

How The Plugin Works

This highly-configurable plugin allows you to set a “Stupidity Threshold” which is a numerical value of your choosing. When a person hits the threshold, his or her frame is dimmed or removed entirely, depending on your chosen settings.

A person reaches the Stupidity Threshold by his or her actions or choices (“Stupidity Factors”). You can set which Stupidity Factors will count toward the Stupidity Threshold and designate a value for each Stupidity Factor, although the addon comes with fairly workable defaults already programmed. The addon will actively scan your group in real time for such behaviors and, if the stupidity threshold is reached, make the UI change accordingly.

Stupid person is now invisible (yay)

Configuration

Opacity: You can determine whether reaching the stupidity threshold will dim the person’s grid frame, or remove it entirely (in which case, set the opacity to 0).  You can also use the “incremental opacity” feature which gradually dims the person’s grid frame as the person accumulates stupidity points.

Exemptions: The plugin comes with the following options for exempting people from the stupidity filter. Their frames will never be filtered even if they are incurably stupid.

  • Tank. By default, the tank (as designated by the dungeon finder or by a raid leader) is exempt. Turn off this exemption at your own peril.
  • Guildmates. This exemption is on by default. If you turn it off, you may have trouble with guild relations.
  • Friends List. This exemption is on by default
  • White List.  You may manually add people “on the fly” to the “do not filter” list through the grid interface or by right clicking on their name in an instance and using the drop-down menu.  This may be necessary if a person is flagged by mistake.

Stupidity Exemptions

Stupidity Threshold: The plugin has a default threshold of 50. I set it to 20 when I am feeling irritable.

Stupidity Factors: In general, the plugin’s authors have done an excellent job of identifying triggers (that can be enabled or disabled depending on your preferences) and assigning them appropriate weights. However, you can always fiddle with the settings depending on what pisses you off.

  • Improper Spec. Because of the vast array of acceptable specs, this factor only weeds out the most obviously bad specs, such as 71 points in the same tree.
  • Improper Gear. Again, because of the vast array of acceptable gear, this factor only triggers with obvious errors such as a priest wearing gear with high agility.
  • Naming Stupidity. A person may be filtered almost immediately if the person enters the instance and the plugin discovers a name that meets the stupidity criteria, which include:
    • Characteristically annoying names that suggest a person put almost no thought into the name.
    • Rude or offensive names. The plugin creators have plugged in an extensive list of rude names or parts of names, including those used to get around the filter, such as “bewb” and “cawk.”
    • The user may add specific names to this list in the interface.

Naming Stupidity.

  • Behavioral Stupidity – Chat.  A person’s stupidity rating will rise upon uttering certain trigger words or phrases in chat, including:
    • “gogogo” or a variation thereof
    • “FFS” or a variation thereof.
    • various obscenities
    • The user may add specific words or phrases through the interface.
  • Behavioral Stupidity – Actions.  A person’s stupidity rating will rise upon doing certain actions, including:
    • Taking a specific amount of damage from avoidable sources (amount of damage configurable)
    • Pulling aggro a certain percentage of the time if not the tank (percentage configurable)
    • Having the AFK flag appear
    • Breaking crowd control a certain number of times (configurable)

In Practice

In practice, I found this plugin extremely useful, though often my box and the tank’s were the only ones remaining (only because I have filtered tanks to always show).  I would recommend it to anyone who is having issues with stupid people.

Can’t Spell PUG without UP (Traxy)

Hello, I’m Traxy. My blog is called I Like Pancakes, where I post about whatever is on my mind when I think of something interesting to post. Vidyala’s kindly allowed me to share my experiences with pugging. I am not by my nature an avid pugger. When I do pug, it is almost always with someone I know (typically my friend Leafie, who posts at Leaf-head. In this way, the experience of the pug, whether horror or joy, is shared. I think the one thing that pugging does best is give you a tale to tell. With that in mind, here’s my tale.

 

asdf

Traxy and Leafie.

 

You Can’t Spell PUG Without UP

Scene: A skillful fire mage named Jana needs another ten frost badges before she can buy her fourth and last piece of tier 10. With that in mind, she has recruited two of her good friends to go on a random daily to get a couple frost badges. First is Traxy, a death knight tank. Second is Leafie, a resto druid. Both Traxy and Leafie are very well geared and have no further need for frost badges. Traxy, Leafie and Jana are all on vent, though of course the other people to join their group are not necessarily aware of this.

This is also set before the time Blizzard made improvements to the LFD queue, such as allowing a quicker vote to kick.  And if that’s not foreshadowing I don’t know how to do it.

Traxy queues the group up and a millisecond later, the queue pops.

Leafie (over vent): That took forever.

Traxy, Leafie and Jana all confirm the assignment. Fifteen seconds later, the second of the three dps accepts. Fifteen seconds later, the last dps fails to accept, and the three are tossed back in front of the queue.

Jana (over vent, imitating Count von Count): One AFK dps, Ha Ha Ha.

Three seconds later, the queue pops again. This time, each of the other dps accepts, and the load screen pops up.  The Instance: Utgarde Pinnacle, home of King Ymiron.

They are now joined by two puggers: Mcstabbin, a rogue, and Bladstromin, a warrior.

Traxy (in party): Good afternoon!

Leafie (in party): Hi there!

Mcstabbin (in party): brb gotta go to the bathroom lol

Jana (in vent): Warrior looks good, but we’re going to be carrying the rogue.

Traxy (in vent): Good thing we can three-man this.

Jana casts ritual of refreshment, while Leafie buffs the party. One half second after the refreshment table has formed:

Bladstromin (in party): lets go hurry up

Traxy (in party): The rogue’s AFK.

Bladstromin (in party): we four-man this [expletive].

Jana (in vent): That’s true.

The first pull goes fairly smoothly, and the group starts to move outside to engage the second group.

Bladstromin (in party): go wtf.

Bladstromin charges into the second pack of mobs and then uses bladestorm. Traxy frantically taunts mobs trying to acquire aggro on them, while Leafie uses roughly two-thirds her mana trying to keep Bladstromin healed. The second pull is done; Jana and Leafie sit to drink.

Bladstromin (in party): go

Leafie (in party): Don’t do that again.

Bladstromin (in party): wtf we were fine lets go lol

Traxy (in vent): If he does that again, don’t heal him.

Leafie (in vent): He’ll be lucky if he gets a heal from me again this instance.

The next few pulls go smoothly, until the party reaches the end of the first hallway and the four-pack there.

Traxy (in vent): One second, DnD is on cooldown.

Bladstromin charges in to the pack of mobs. Neither Traxy, nor Leafie, nor Jana lift a finger.  Bladstromin dies.

Jana (in vent): You told him not to do that, didn’t you?

Leafie (in vent): I did.

Bladstromin (in party): wtf healz

Traxy (in party): We told you not to do that.

Bladstromin (in party): f you we woulda been fin eif you didnt [expletive] suck.

Party chat and vent are quiet for eight seconds.

Bladstromin (in party): rez

Leafie (in vent): Not a chance in hell.

Party chat and vent are quiet for ten seconds.

Bladstromin (in party): wtf healz rez lol

Traxy (in party): Run back.

Bladstromin (in party): shut the [expletive] up if you werent a [expletive] tank i wouldnt be dead

Jana (in vent): Can we kick him yet?

Leafie (in vent): Sadly, no.  It hasn’t been nearly fifteen minutes.

Bladstromin (in party): [expletive] you, you bunch of [derogatory term for homosexuals]. i bet your all sitting around sucking each others [part of the male anatomy, plural]

Traxy (in vent): I can’t believe he hasn’t just run back by now.

Bladstromin (in party): where the [expletive] is [expletive] rez healz

Leafie (in vent): He hasn’t figured it out yet.

Jana (in vent): No.

Bladstromin (in party): [expletive] you, i dont [expletive] need this [expletive] [expletive]. Bunch of [expletive] [derogatory adjective indicating sexual orientation] noobs

Vent and party are silent for twenty seconds.

Bladstromin (in party): rez plz lol

Leafie (in vent): Oh, because he said plz I think I’ll change my mind about rezzing him.

Jana (in vent): Seriously?

Traxy (in vent): What the heck.

Leafie resurrects Bladstromin. Three seconds pass; Bladstromin is still at 10% health and he has not eaten.

Bladstromin (in party): go wtf

Traxy (in vent): He’s not serious?

Bladstromin charges the pack of mobs, and dies about two seconds later.

Bladstromin (in party): wtf tank i said go

Traxy (in vent): He was serious.

Bladstromin (in party): rez

Leafie (in party): If I rez you, will you promise not to be an idiot?

Traxy (in vent): Oo, make him apologize for the swearing.

Jana (in vent): And get him to wear some deodorant.

Bladstromin (in party): [expletive] you you [expletive] [derogatory term for homosexual]

Leafie (in vent): I don’t think he’s going to get rezzed.

Bladstromin (in party): you can [phrase indicating sexual act performed on males] you [expletive] [expletive]

Traxy (in vent): Should we all just go back to Dalaran until he leaves group?

Bladstromin (in party): ur the [expletive] biggest peices of [expletive]  [expletive] you all

Bladstromin leaves the party.

Jana (in vent): Well, he sure told us. Get us a fifth, Traxy.

Traxy requeues to get a fifth person in the random. Thirty seconds later, the requeue fails because Mcstabbin does not accept a role.

Traxy (in vent): Crap, the rogue’s still AFK.

Jana (in vent): Let’s just keep going.

Leafie (in vent): Don’t know if we can do the boss with three.  What if she teleports you?

Jana (in vent): Argh, didn’t think of that.

Traxy (in vent): We can do this pack, though.

Traxy pulls the remaining four-pack at the end of the hall. They go down without incident.

Traxy (in vent): So we wait.

Two minutes pass.

Leafie (in vent): You know, one of the funny things about our warrior friend — he probably couldn’t conceive of any of us actually being female.

Traxy (in vent): Yeah.

Leafie (in vent): I mean, the insults just don’t work. It’s beyond the realm of his consideration.

Two minutes pass.

Traxy (in vent): We can’t kick him for another six minutes.

Jana (in vent): We should just leave and requeue. We’re not that far in.

Mcstabbin (in party): back

Traxy immediately requeues for another dps.  This time, everyone accepts a role, and a new dps is brought into the instance.  It is a death knight named Holyoverlord.

Traxy (in party): Welcome.

Holyoverlord (in party): how far in

Jana (in party): At the first boss.

Holyoverlord (in party): good i need stuff lol

The group, now fully formed, goes to take on Svala Sorrowgrave.  The fight goes well until Jana is grabbed to be paralyzed under the sword. The banshees do not die in time and Jana dies. Shortly thereafter, Svala dies.

Jana (in vent): What the hell happened there?

Traxy links the Skada report in guild.  Jana has done 60% of the damage, Traxy 30%, Holyoverlord 6% and Mcstabbin 4%.  Holyoverlord’s dps is 580.  Mcstabbin’s dps is 450.

Traxy (in vent): We’re basically three-manning this.

The group proceeds up the stairs toward the second boss. The going is slow, but steady. After the last pack in Gortok Palehoof’s room is pulled, Jana and Leafie stop to drink.  Traxy goes over to the pedestal.

Traxy (in vent): Ready?

Jana (in vent): Yeah.

Leafie (in vent): Where’s the rogue?

The group looks around, and then to the minimap.  The rogue is back at the bottom of the stairs.

Traxy (in party): Mcstabbin, you there?

Thirty seconds of silence follows.

Jana (in vent): I guess he went to the bathroom again.

Leafie (in vent): Can we kick him?

Traxy initiates a vote to kick Mcstabbin. Unsurprisingly, it passes.

Leafie (in vent): Hopefully we won’t have trouble replacing his 450 dps.

The group requeues for a fifth and gets one: a warlock named Soldursoul.

Jana (in vent): Oh good!  Someone to cast focus magic on.

Traxy (in party): Welcome.  We’re just before the second boss.

Soldursoul joins the group a minute later, and the event starts. The group has little difficulty with the boss. A show of recount has Jana doing 46% of the damage, Soldursoul 26%, Traxy 23%, and Holyoverlord 5%.  Conspicuously, Holyoverlord’s dps is again below 600.

Jana (in vent): Holy crap does this death knight suck.

Palehoof drops Ferocious Pauldrons of the Rhino. Holyoverlord rolls Need and wins them uncontested.

Traxy (in party): Grats!

Leafie (in vent): Oh my… I think I’ve figured out why our death knight is having trouble doing dps.

Traxy and Jana (in vent, simultaneously): What?

Leafie (in vent): Inspect him.

There is silence in vent and in party chat for a full minute and a half while Traxy, Jana and Leafie inspect Holyoverlord. Holyoverlord is specced 71/0/0.  His gear (shown via Warcrafter Sandbox, and linked below).

Head: Crown of Forgotten Kings
Neck: Amulet of Wills
Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Colossus
Back: Centrifuge Core Cloak
Chest: Breastplate of Jagged Stone
Bracers: Catalytic Bands
Gloves: Gauntlets of the Water Revenant
Belt: Savage Saronite Waistguard
Legs: Legs of Physical Regeneration
Boots: Terrace Defense Boots
Ring 1: Mobius Band
Ring 2: Band of Enchanted Growth
Trinket 1: Forge Ember
Trinket 2: Offering of Sacrifice
Main hand: Cursed Lich Blade
Off hand: Eternally Folded Blade
Sigil: Sigil of the Dark Rider

None of his gear is enchanted. None of his gem sockets are filled.

Traxy (in vent): Half of his gear is for holy pallies, and most of the remainder is for tanks.

Jana (in vent): It’s like he has no idea what gear to wear.

Soldursoul (in party): go wtf

Traxy (in party): Yeah, sorry.

The group begins the gauntlet for Skadi the Ruthless.

Jana (in vent): I can’t believe that DK.

Leafie (in vent): How can people get to this level like that? I mean, how is it possible that he doesn’t know by now spell power is no good for him? Or that defense is for tanks?

Traxy (in vent): Maybe he thinks he’s doing fine.

Jana (in vent): I’ve got harpoons.

Traxy (in vent): I mean, on the first boss he did beat the rogue.

The fight proceeds. Holyoverlord dies when Skadi whirlwinds for the first time, but the fight otherwise goes without incident.  Skadi’s Iron Belt drops. Holyoverlord rolls Need and wins, uncontested.

Traxy (in party): Grats!

Soldursoul (in party): dude that’s no good for you lol

Holyoverlord (in party): sure it is lol

Soldursoul (in party): it has block value DKs cant use shields lol

Holyoverlord (in party): its PLATE lol

Jana (in vent): That explains a lot.

Soldursoul (in party): ok whatever lol if you want to be a [expletive] ninja, [expletive] it lol

Traxy (in vent): The sad thing is that he really thinks that’s good for him.  Maybe he’s building a tank set.

Jana and Leafie shudder so loudly that it can be heard over vent.

The run proceeds after Skadi, as the party descends the stairs without incident. The next pull, the one where Traxy needs to pull casters through the hallway, brings adventure.

Traxy (in party): LoS pull here.

Traxy attempts to pull the group of casters through the hallway, using an icy touch on one and then hiding behind the wall, dropping a death and decay just at the entrance to the hallway.  Holyoverlord is having none of this strategy; he barrels off happily after the casters, meleeing them. Soldursoul shadowbolts the casters.

Traxy (in vent): [expletive]

Traxy barrels out from her hiding spot and goes to engage the mobs.

Jana (in vent, about three seconds too late): Let them die.

Traxy runs down the hallway, and a furious button mashing later seems to have controlled the mobs.  A Ymirjar Berserker casts Terrify, sending Holyoverlord running smack into the middle of the room, pulling the six mobs there.  Holyoverlord dies. Coming out of the fear, Traxy manages to gather the mobs together and gain tentative aggro on all of them. Jana, Leafie and Soldursoul come running into the room. Twelve seconds later, a series of living bombs go off, sending mobs aggro’d to Jana. Jana ice blocks. One mob gets aggro’d to Soldursoul. Soldursoul fears the mob aggro’d to him.  That mob runs over and aggros the abomination off in the far corner. That abomination aggros to Leafie.

Leafie (in vent): Mob on me.

Traxy (in vent, desperately): Working on it.

Traxy is able to pull the mob away from Leafie.  Jana, her ice block now worn off, casts mirror image.  With threat no longer a concern, Jana AoE’s the mobs into ashes. Combat ends.

 

Leafie and Jana.

 

Jana (in party): Well, that was fun.

Holyoverlord (in party): rez

Leafie (in party): One sec.

Soldursoul (in party): wtf tank why dint you get those mobs

Traxy (in vent): [fumes]

Jana (in party): It was a LoS pull.

Soldursoul (in party): you mean a LoSer pull lol

Holyoverlord (in party): lol

Traxy (in vent, angrily): Does no one know what a LoS pull is anymore?

Jana (in vent): I think these guys are challenged every time they are asked to enter their passwords.

Leafie (in vent): Just two more pulls.  Just two more pulls.

Leafie rezzes Holyoverlord. One of the trash mobs had dropped a Super Simian Sphere.  Soldursoul wins the roll.

Soldursoul (in party): woohoo ive wanted this for ages lol

Traxy (in party): grats lol

Traxy (in vent, sarcastically): Lol.

Leafie and Jana (in vent): Lol.

Soldursoul activates the trinket and then bounces around the entire lower hallway as an ape in a glowing ball.

Soldursoul (in party): this is awesome lol

Jana (in party): Let’s get going.

Soldursoul (in party): hold on theres one thing i want to do lol

Soldursoul runs back to the stairs, jumps up the stairs and then jumps back down the stairs. He does this three more times before the buff wears off.

Leafie (in vent): He is jumping down the hole in the stairs.

Jana (in vent): Well, the trinket suits him.

Soldursoul (in party): ok lets go lol

The group heads up the ramp silently to take on the last set of trash mobs. Those mobs go down cleanly. Jana and Leafie sit down to top themselves off.

Soldursoul (in party): go wtf lol

Traxy (in vent): Is he serious? We spend five minutes waiting for him and his Super Simian Sphere, and now he can’t let you drink?

Leafie (in vent, sarcastically): Well, that was different.

Jana (in vent, sarcastically): Yeah, come on, Traxy.  That was an ape in a ball.

A shadowbolt flies out of Soldursoul’s hands at King Ymiron.

Traxy (in vent): [expletive].

Traxy charges after King Ymiron. Thanks to Jana’s ability to blink, every man, blink and ice block out of the stuns, she blows King Ymiron up really well, and the boss dies without incident. The fight is over, and Skada shows that Jana did 60% of the damage, Soldursoul 19%, Traxy 18% and Holyoverlord 3%.

King Ymiron drops Red Sword of Courage and Ornamented Plate Regalia. Holyoverlord rolls Need on both and wins, uncontested.

Holyoverlord (in party): woo epic!!!1!

Soldursoul drops group without a word.

Leafie (in vent): Well, we got you your badges.

Jana (in vent): I don’t want to random again for another month.  Screw T10.

Traxy (in vent): That was the worst run I have ever been on.

Holyoverlord (in party): another? lol

From Bad To Less Bad: Pugging As a Tool To Improve (Joe)

Hello; and welcome to this guest post edition of the Pugging Pally blog! My name is Joe, and I don’t have a blog to link to, but that’s okay because I can still babble at you and make a coherent point.

I became a fan of the Pugging Pally blog, because of the original design – of taking a character, and leveling solely through the LFD tool; and I fell in
love with it, because it combines three things I really enjoy – pug groups, dungeons, and the horrific train wrecks that come from combining the first two. (I’ve stayed for the cookie recipes).

To give a cliff notes summary of my WoW experience, I started playing in the tail end of Burning Crusade, a few months before Wrath dropped. My friend recruited me for the Zhevra mount, and he and his brother talked of dungeons and raids they had pugged into – funny enough, as a warrior tank and a holy paladin.

Burning Crusade, I now know, was not “pug friendly” for raiding. There was a “gear up via raid” flowchart I saw once that started from Karazhan, and ended with me going cross eyed somewhere around Gruul’s Lair – so, I like to think this means they were very good at what they did.

 

It makes perfect sense, now: you jus-dwoah, there I go cross-eyed again.

 

This is the somewhat mercenary mindset I “grew up” with as I played my little baby warrior. While they were doing whatever it was end game players did in Burning Crusade, they were watching trade and it’d come up in guild chat – “There’s a ____ raid starting, wanna go?” And off they went!

Personally, I like the somewhat mercenary mindset – from a character perspective, it certainly makes sense that a band of warriors (or warlocks, or death knights, or druids) could come together and make a change in the world by killing internet dragons. From a selfish point of view – pugging worked with my work schedule. I couldn’t always guarantee I’d be available Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 5 PM server from week to week, but when I wanted to pug – it was available, or it wasn’t.

Well, I quickly learned that “knowing how to push a couple buttons” wasn’t going to cut it when I was the dead weight in a Naxx10 run a few months after hitting 80. I was -THAT- Death Knight, you know the one. The one with spell power plate. The one with 71 points in the Unholy tree. The one who thought “Oh I just need frost presence to tank.”

This is pre-LFD, by the way, so if you sucked hard enough, trade heard about it.

 

Commissar Dog isn't angry with you. He's just disappointed

 

But, this is important – you can’t improve until you see where you stand; you cannot be better until you know you suck. So, I kept pugging, I started reading Elitist Jerks, and even better than all that; I started learning. I tried new things – and I kept on pugging. I tried new things, I dug into my skills book to read and see what I had available to me, and back in March I pugged into a group that was something most groups I was joining in on didn’t have. For whatever reason… five of us just kind of clicked. There’s no real rhyme or reason as to why or how, but it happened. Someone offered, “Hey, do… do we wanna do this again? Like, next week? And make it a static thing?”

Well, I did. My next couple of weeks I was going to be available – I changed jobs – and I found myself more available, and our “static” slowly was folded into the main guild – that we all came together as pugging players and we faced the challenges together that Icecrown Citadel had to offer. That we struggled together on the same bosses everybody struggled on (magic: still pitiful; prone to sudden, yet inevitable betrayal), that we all worked as hard as any guild had to get our achievements.

We were a pug group that became friends first – that continued running together because we LIKED each other – that became a guild.

My own experiences with pugging are wide and varied, but like anything in WoW, if you’ve got friends to talk to and share the experiences with, it’s incredible.

I don’t know if this makes me a “casual WoW player” because I did things on my own time rather than stuck with some kind of rigid, form fitting schedule with a raiding guild that spent thirty hours a week on content, dictated professions, scorned – nay, HATED AND LOATHED people who screwed up just a little bit, held you to the most precise of precision choices for talent points… but, I’m still a Kingslayer.

I’m still having fun.

I’ve said “When this stops being fun, that’s when I stop playing.” So, I kind of hope it doesn’t, because Cataclysm looks NUTS and I’d love to go on with my friends and kill more internet dragons. Or, at least, my friends and 2-3 random pick ups for our group.

Pugging works for us, for some reason.

 

Vid says: This is where Joe rubs my nose in the fact that he has this mount and I don't! (Just saying).

 

A Day in the Life of a PuG Tank (Beruthiel)

This is a guest post from Beruthiel of Falling Leaves and Wings. She blogs about healing, raiding, and being a resto druid.

*Yawn* *Stretch*

Little Nadine stretches out after a bit of inactivity, loosening up her muscles. As she feels them respond she starts checking her armor, making sure that each piece is in place and in good condition. She gives her sword a few warm up swings, enjoying the swooshing sound as it whizzes by her ear.

She feels ready for action.

“Hmmmm”, she wonders, “Do I want to quest or try my hand at an instance.”  She stands there for a bit, scratching her head with the hilt of her sword, pondering her options. “You know, I get good experience in instances, and they are good practice for me, perhaps I will start tonight’s adventures there.”

She switches her gear around, digs out her shield, and opens the Looking for Dungeon finder to help pair her up with other friendly members of the community that are also looking for a bit of practice.  She debates for a minute about queuing in as DPS – but decides to tank, because she knows that there aren’t a lot of people out there willing to do the job.

She whistles as she carefully places the check box in the “tank” option, and selects the “joins dungeon” button.  In seconds the Looking for Dungeon Tool has paired her up with a group, and she accepts her invite.

And waits….

And waits….

And waits….

SOMEONE HAS DECLINED THEIR INVITE, YOU ARE NOW RETURNED TO THE FRONT OF THE DUNGEON QUEUE.

Nadine mumbles a few choice words about how people at this level have no excuse to be AFK for dungeon queues, they should be continuing their questing until the queue pops.  She takes a few deep breaths, finds her zen, and calmly accepts her dungeon invite…again.

As she zones into the instance, she observes her groupmates.  Ok – token DK, elemental shaman, moonkin…and feral druid?  Oh wait, the druid seems to be changing specs…but not gear.  Oh wait, there it goes, the druid is gear swapping…piece by piece.  Nadine grinds her teeth and politely lets the druid know about how great the equipment manager in the interface is, and how it helps with gear swaps.

“Oh, yea,” says the druid, “I’m just too lazy to set it up.”

So you’d rather take 5 minutes to swap all of your gear around and make us all wait?  Nadine quietly thinks to herself, but politely waits as he gets his gear organized.

“Huh, I can’t seem to find my off hand.  Oh well, let’s go.”

Wha?!  So not only can you not be bothered to make your life easier…you want to heal me without an offhand because you can’t find it in your bags?!?! I went through all of the trouble to make sure that I have a full tanking set just to make your life easier, and you can’t be bothered to make sure that you have your gear?! Ok.  No biggie.  Nadine again takes a deep breath and finds her zenagain.

“Ok – is everyone ready?” She asks.

*crickets*

Hrmph, I guess silence means yes?

Nadine starts to pull.

The very first pack has 3 mobs in it, and she has control over all….KABAM!

Wha – where did they go?!  Why aren’t they in range anymore?!

/sigh

Knockbacks.  Great, and the caster that she was able to pull in with Avenger’s shield is out in the middle of nowhere happily shooting at her, and she has no way to silence it again and pull it back in. No problem, she thinks as she goes out to round them up again.

“Please do not knock back, it makes it very hard to keep control of the mobs,” Nadine politely asks as the last mob in the pack dies.

She scopes out the next pull, and see that it, too, has a caster.  However she cannot just charge up to this because there are other enemies in the way.  So she asks the group to stay put, and goes to pull, deftly sneaking behind the wall to force her enemies to come into her.  Everything is going well – all of the mobs are heading to her.  And then she sees it.

CHAIN LIGHTNING! It rips through the air, crackling as it passes by her.

Crap.

Not one of the three enemies had made it to her yet – but the pretty lightshow that the shaman just showed them sure had their attention.  Alright, you can do this.  Go and save his sorry butt before they melt his face.

“Please wait until all enemies have reached me before starting damage,” Nadine politely asks.

Ok – let’s move on, she thinks.  She again scopes out the room in front of her that has many mobs, and carefully selects her target. Having done so, she moves out and pulls, bringing her foes to her team.  Things seem to be going smoothly, when she notices that all of the sudden EVERYTHING IN THE ROOM IS RUSHING THEM.

Oh god.  Why?  How?

Even as she is asking herself the question she see the stars falling from the sky as the moonkin bounces about.  Ok Nadine, you can do this, it’s just like training!  She gives a groan, unleashes a hand of protection on the moonkin and rushes out to meet the coming onslaught. As her enemies pummel into her, she starts to feel weak and pulls from all of her inner strengths to survive.  Finally the last of her foes have fallen, and much to her amazement all of her allies survived.

“Tank.  Do you think that you could maybe pull without getting the entire room.  I’m not superman here, y’know,” The resto druid states.

Nadine grinds her teeth and bites her tongue before something sharp unleashes from it. She takes a deep breath, and struggles to find her zen again.

“Please do not starfall in rooms where there are lots of mobs,” Nadine politely asks.

As she starts looking for her next pull, she observes that her healer is completely out of mana, and respectfully waits for him to med up.  Well, that was her intent anyhow….

DEATH GRIP!  OMG WE AREN’T GOING FAST ENOUGH MUST PULL!

Again, Nadine grinds her teeth and rushes in, taunting the foes from her Death Knight in an attempt to save him.  It’s a challenge, because, of course, he accompanied that death grip with a Death and Decay, so Nadine struggles to gain their attention. Finally she succeeds, and they successfully defeat their foes.

“Do you think that you might be bothered to wait to pull if I don’t have mana? I don’t know how you expect me to heal you on empty,” the Resto Druid states.

Nadine is fuming.  Hot.  Mad. She takes a deep breath, and gives up on zen.

“Please do not pull for me, if I haven’t pulled yet there is a reason for it.  I promise that Iwill keep us moving through the instance quickly,” Nadine politely states.

Taking yet another deep breath, Nadine moves forward. Pull after pull.

KABAM!  KNOCKBACK! STARFALL! CHAIN LIGHTNING! DEATH GRIP!  OMG MY MANA!

Nadine starts to wonder if the entire party has placed her on ignore.  She was sure that she was polite in her requests, she’s not often rude. And yet, nobody seems to have respected her requests. Mercifully, they are finally facing the last foe in the zone.  Nadine pulls, thinking “at last – what more can possibly go wrong?  We are almost done.” She should have known better.

ARMY OF THE DEAD!

Taunt, Taunt, Taunt, Taunt, Taunt.

*sigh*

Her group successfully finishes the instance, it was a challenge to keep on top of everything, but that was what she was here for, right?  To learn, to become better.  To face the challenges that were presented to her and to come out on top. She feels confident that she succeeded in that.

“Hey tank, you really suck, L2Threat.” The final parting shot from one of the members of the group as they leave the party.

Nadine’s jaw hits the floor.  I what? She throws her hands up in disgust.

As she sits outside in Grizzly Hills analyzing her performance, trying to find where she made mistakes, where she screwed up, feeling like she failed, she realizes something.  No, no she didn’t fail.  She kicked ass.  Her group survived, she successfully navigated everything that both her adversaries and her allies alike threw at her.  No, the problem was most definitely not with something she did wrong. She was a good tank.

Having come to that realization, she looks at the clock and thinks “I suppose I have time for another.”  Only this time when the LFD opens up and asks her what role she’d like,she thinks about it, reflecting on the abuse she suffered in the last group, and selects “Damage.”  Nadine starts whistling as she opens up her quest log and gets down to business while she waits for her group to form.