There are certain things in life that I avoid, because I know myself. I’ve never gambled on anything – not scratch tickets, bingo, slot machines, horse races. I try not to keep junk food in the house, because it has a powerful lure. I know I couldn’t stop at just one cookie, just one go-round with the slot machine. Throwing my money and my health away doesn’t sound like a good idea.
Joining pick-up groups (especially since LFD was introduced!) has the same shiny allure. You know when you were a kid and you’d pass by the machines at the grocery store that have candy and toys? I loved those things. You can see the toys inside and they look awesome. It’s a miniature dinosaur, or one of those sticky hands you can use to… well, hit your brother with. But PUGs are just like that. (Including but not limited to the fact that sometimes they make you want to hit them like you did your brother, but again…this could just be me).
The cruel reality of those machines is that whenever I put a quarter into one of them – I very seldom got the thing in it that I’d actually wanted. Hoping for Silly Putty? Oh, it’s a… plastic ring with a spider on it. Awesome. But maybe this next one will have something different!
I’m not really the queen of pugging. I think there are other people out there who pug more than I do, who’ve leveled multiple characters via pugging, and who are still doing it today. But I seldom let much time pass before I spin up the “Pug O’ Wheel” and see what it’s going to bring me. I love the thrill of the unknown. Is it going to be a really awesome pug? Will it involve a fun conversation? Will it be so bad that it’s hilarious? Can I write about it?
First and foremost, I enjoy running instances. I have a great guild, and we do that often. But the thing is, the folks in my guild are good. Everything always goes off without a hitch, and we could run most of these instances in our sleep. So it’s more of a social occasion – let’s hang out on vent, talk, and absentmindedly kill things in the meantime. A pug, for obvious reasons, is not like that. I love it, personally – if I’m in the right mood. There were times when I was leveling Vid when I just didn’t want to face the masses. Tanks with no shields, tanks that would never wait for me to drink, DPS and tanks squabbling, people being rude, people being clueless. It all seemed like too much.
Eventually I’d throw myself in there again, per my pugging “rules,” but there were stints when I took a break. It’s important to establish a balance. You can’t always subject yourself to pug after pug without a break. That’d be like only ever eating candy from vending machines. (For good or for ill – I like the sort of sour gum chew things, but nothing with licorice, and nothing that will stick in my teeth). Running things with my guild after too much pugging is comfortable and relaxing. Occasionally it gets too relaxing – then I pug things to remind myself just why I’m in a guild in the first place. It’s a fine balance, and it works for me!
Think about it. Pugging brings:
Most of us have run all of the instances in the game many, many times. (Especially the “current content” ones). I think if I tallied them all on my current characters, the number of times I’ve run instances might depress me. I like running instances, true, but the 200th time you’ve heard Svala Sorrowgrave yell in her raspy voice, “I will be happy to SLAUGHTER them in your name!” it gets kind of old. The people you’re in the instance with are the only thing that ever changes about it. This is especially true in the case of a pug – it’s same-old same-old, until you throw yourself into the unknown. The results can be disastrous or mundane, but you won’t know until you give it a shot!
The things I’ve seen in pugs range from the hilarious and the unbelievable, straight through to the absurd. I’ve seen a hunter who flat-out refused to leave Aspect of the Viper, needed on the Frozen orb at the end of the run after waiting for everyone else to greed (back when this was possible) and then asked, “Another?” I’ve seen one player repeatedly tell the tank about the cake he had (with cocnut [sic] FOR REAL). You’ll have to read that one for yourself, though.
It may be a comedy of errors or just a comedian – in any case, pugging is usually good for a laugh if you don’t take it too seriously. I find it’s better to tend towards the side of “laughter.” Ridiculous and stupid things can happen in pugs, but if I can’t laugh it off I know it’s probably time to take a pug break!
Nothing makes me appreciate my guildies and friends more than accomplishing things with a random group of people. Realize that I don’t necessarily mean “All of these people are SO BAD, what a relief!” (although that’s sometimes the case). It can be something as simple as taking a longer time because not everyone has awesome gear, to having one of those “smooth and silent” runs. Sure, they’re okay. But they aren’t very memorable, and they aren’t very fun. The best fun to be had in the game, for me, is the interactions with other people – whether they are complete strangers, old friends, or a mix of the two. No matter what, I’m sure I’ll never be able to resist the pull of a pug to keep things interesting. (Yes, since folks have been asking me, I likely will PUG Vid to level 85 when the time comes – but only after I’ve leveled my main!)