Monday, April 23, 2007

PUGs, or "I'd Rather Get Slapped with Three-Month-Old Halibut"

Non-Gamer's Guide to This Post

A PUG, or Pick-Up-Group, is a group of strangers banding together to run an instance. Most instances can't be handled with less than 5 people, and if your friends aren't on (or you don't have any friends), then you may just have to settle for a PUG.

The "Looking for Group" icon is a small green eye on your task bar between the Social and Main Menu buttons. Most PUGs are formed by players using this resource to find other players who want to run the same instance. Other PUGs are formed by players loitering at the entrance of an instance and begging to join anyone who passes by.


Can I say, for the record, that Dustfire is NOT and NEVER WILL BE available for running instances with groups of complete strangers? Dustfire, believe it or not, has friends -- friends who won't let her subject herself to the social equivalent of eating kitty litter.

And even though I know that the people who have been asking me EVERY TIME I LOG ON to instance with them will never ever ever read this, I just want to say: No. I don't want to instance with you. It would be horrible, you're just asking me because I'm a priest, and after finding out I can heal about as well as an Oily Blackmouth, you'd end up leaving me to die.

I think I'm going to start paying more attention to their names and "ignore" them if it's the same people every time. Because I'm not kidding -- I've been asked to instance 1-4 times (by complete strangers) every single time I've gotten on since my vacation. I keep saying "No thank you." Some of them even tried to argue with me about it -- like if they pressed me hard enough, I'd stop questing and run to their aid. I'm sorry, but I'm a full level lower than the rest of my group, and that's after all the questing I've done this weekend. I'm playing catch-up. So I have that on top of all the extremely rational, sanity-saving reasons to say no to random people.

Now, how do I know PUGs are bad?

Let me recount a few stories.

Story 1 (Dramatized)

Guildmate 1: Level 44 Shaman
Guildmate 2: Level 36 Paladin
PUG 1: Level 40? Rogue
PUG 2: Level 38? Warlock
Dustfire: Level 33 Priest

Guildmate 1: Wanna run Scarlet Monastery Cathedral?
Dustfire: You aren't a complete stranger, so yes. Thank you very much.
Guildmate 2: Terrific.
[inside the instance]
Dustfire: I died?
PUG 1: I lived. No one else did, but I'm a rogue and can't resurrect you.
Dustfire: I'm pretty low level for this. Should I leave?
Guildmate 2: No, it's cool. I'll heal.
Dustfire: Ok.
PUG 1: [leaves]
PUG 2: Let's go!
Dustfire: I died again.
Guildmate 2: I'll res you.
Dustfire: Yay!
PUG 2: [disconnected]
Dustfire: Oh dear.
Guildmate 1: [very smart tanking]
Guildmate 2: [very smart healing]
Dustfire: [vampiric touch + shadow damage = tiny healings] + [Shields for everyone!]
[We 3 Guildmates Finish Without Dying Again At All]
Dustfire: Yay!
Guildmate 1: Good job, guys. Gonna hearth. [hearths]
Guildmate 2: Let's run back!
Dustfire: Ok! ^_^ [elated]
[upon leaving the instance]
PUG 2: [who has been standing by the entrance, probably waiting for another group] Oh, hi. lol
Dustfire: /wave [almost dies] [hearths]

That was actually a pretty cool experience, because we took down the bosses with just us three. It demonstrates the power of decent teamwork (and NOT overaggroing!).

By the way, disconnecting yourself is a sneaky tactic sometimes used to get out of a group without having the stigma of just leaving. I know Nevari has done it before, when she was in a group that was turning out to be one of the worst mistakes of her gaming career. But more often, people disconnect when one member leaves because they think that a 4-man team can't possibly run an instance. Irony was, we did it with 3.

Story 2 (Dramatized)

Two of our level 70 guildmates joined three level 70 guys from another guild for a Steamvaults run. Our guys had been waiting for a group all evening and needed a few drops and some reputation.

This is copied verbatim from my guildmate's post.

Jerks: Which way to the Key fragment?
Guildmate 1: Worry about the key fragment later... lets get some stuff done... we gotta open unlock this door.
Jerks: Nah... we don't open any doors... just go into the water...
G1: We are doing the whole instance right?
Jerks: Yeah... I want my robe.
G1: Ok good.
insert section where they just jump into water and grab their key quest]
Jerks: Ok... we're done... we gtg
G1: /spit Jerk1
G1: /spit Jerk2
Guildmate 2 (in Vent): HAHAHAHAHAHA! You make me laugh so much... I think you should be a comedian! On the television! And completely rich! Lets get married!
Jerks: Oh... we were just here for the key quest.
G1: So... when I asked if we're doing the whole instance and replied yes... you were lying... lying to keep us in your group so you could get your key and then ditch. It was your intention all along, and it's downright rude!
Jerk3: Don't worry man... we'll get another two guys for DPS
Jerk3: /disband


I'd wanted to add a third, where I went into an instance with nothing but a PUG, but didn't have the guts for it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm a coward. I'm afraid of really bad Warcraft experiences. (Seriously, I kept thinking about it, thinking I should do it for the sake of the blog, and then I'd cringe and back down. Like when someone dares you to belly-flop into a pool and you just know it's going to sting like the dickens. . . . Except this would sting for about an hour.)


  1. *Clears Throat* Ah... PUG stories... could I tell you some PUG stories!

    When I first started the game, I chose mage. They looked cool to me and I liked the idea of being a caster (since I tend to like a challenge). This mage was my first character to hit level 10 (I'd also tried warlock and rogue) and he soon shot up the level ladder and got himself ready to do Deadmines for the neat-o staff reward.

    I went into Deadmines some TEN times.


    I NEVER got my staff. EVER.

    I went in on one occassion with the following group of level 16-20 folk: Rogue, Rogue, Mage, Hunter, Warrior. We died. A lot. I'm a mage, right? So I'm USED to dying a lot. What I'm NOT used to is respawning elites. NEVER go instancing without a healer... NEVER!

    Second or third group (don't remember) was the following: Mage, Mage, Rogue, Priest, Druid. The druid wouldn't tank. He was caster-spec (whatever that's called for druids). At the time, I didn't know druids COULD tank. The priest also wouldn't HEAL, so this is how it worked... I ended up pulling, the priest ended up DPSing, the rogue ended up "tanking", the druid ended up healing and we ALL ended up dying.

    Another sucky thing about PUGs is that people get angry about loot and stuff like that. When's the last time we had an argument over a loot rool, Bird? Eh? NEVER.

    Yeah... PUGs are bad. Really bad.

  2. Accidental double-post. This makes three. Yay!

    P.S. - There IS a way to make PUGS work. Anytime you play with someone who isn't a complete tard, add that person to your friends list and contact them from time-to-time to see if they are on the same quests you are. Often times they will invite you to instance with them or vice-versa and you will be able to form a decent core group. Nevari and I rolled a warrior/priest combo as our first co-levelled characters JUST BECAUSE we wanted to be able to control PUGS (rogues are a dime a dozen... you can always kick the rogue and get another :D , but decent tanks and healers are rare commodities).

  3. I love having a fantastic guild. They really are great... I love them so much... really... really... really. I worry about what will happen when/if I have to go with a PUG group again. That time I disconnected myself... I literally got a migraine and the experience put me in tears. I was new to the game (and am just a very sensitive person) and know that I would handle the situation MUCH differently if something like that happened again. I would have told them I was leaving, why I was leaving and then I would have left and not thought twice about it. I can handle stupid (which PUGS often are, sadly), but those people weren't just stupid, they were rude and downright mean. I have no time for people like that. Just thinking about it makes me need chocolate. =D

  4. Chocolate never needs a reason, or an explanation.

  5. I am loving this site (even though I'm 2yrs late in finding it)! lol It's too funny! Some people take the game a little to seriously, but I think they're playing RP realms.
    As far as PUGS go: I have met some awesome people this way. I have, of course, met some very pathetic players and some jerks too. I don't have a great guild, so this is a great way to meet players. Questing together is ok, but even a sucky player can quest and seem like he knows what he's doing. An instance though, that is where the real mettle is shown! I hate when I've been grouping with someone for quests for a while and then we try to tackle something big and I have to save them instead of count on them.
    I love a good challenge. I almost all group quests by myself. It's a great way to get to know your char. I play a Warlock named Epinephrine on Muradin. You would not believe some of the things I've lived through! This game has more strategy than one would expect. So grouping with other people can net you strong friends, even if you have a poor guild. Just be polite in your PUG and give pointers when you think they will be well met. =)

    P.S. As a lock, you can save groups even after you're dead. It just takes some thinking ahead and knowing that you're gonna die. I've been in groups where I've saved ppl more than the priest did. Just make a strategy of what to do if...


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