Saturday, January 3, 2009

Guild Grouping, or "Anything to Avoid a PUG"

Today I'm going to talk about how to use your guild panel to form a group.

First Step: Tanks and Heals

You'll need to see if there are any tanks or healers on! If you don't have these, you can't do anything, so.

Open up your guild panel and look specifically for any class that can tank or heal: warriors, priests, death knights, paladins, druids, etc.

Right now, you're just seeing who's on, not asking anyone yet.

Second Step: Check Levels

Who meets the level criteria for your instance? Remove anyone from your mental list who isn't at or above the right level.

Third Step: Check Locations

Where are they? A person's location tells you what they're doing almost as well as whispering them.

A city usually means auctioning or leveling a profession or just standing around bored. Feel free to ask these first as they're the most likely to go.

A world zone usually means leveling or helping someone else. Feel free to ask these but they usually don't want to go -- people in world zones are most often specced for dps and focused on leveling.

If someone is in a raid or instance, they definitely can't do anything right now! But it also means they're interested in instancing and might be willing to run something with you when they're done. Feel free to whisper the tank or healer in an instance and ask if they're interested in running your instance after theirs. If you're very lucky, someone will be leaving their group anyway and they'll slip you in.

If someone is in battlegrounds, they're either grinding honor or killing time. Feel free to ask them. If they're in arenas, definitely don't bother them. They need to focus.

Just focus on tanks and healers for now. Don't fret if people say no, or if someone isn't the right spec. Just be polite, keep moving down the list, and keep an eye out for anyone logging in.

If you can't find a tank and healer, you can try pick-ups. Most people would rather not instance than do this. The options are to pug or to give up for now.

Fourth Step: DPS

If you do find a tank and healer, go ahead and ask for dps in guild chat. Dps is the easiest part of the group to fill in because they're the most common. To play fair, I generally invite the first to speak up. If you don't want to take someone in particular who's on, then just whisper the dps you'd be willing to take. More time but less drama.

Fifth Step: Trouble-Shooting

Problem: Everyone's too busy.
Solution: Schedule for a time when they aren't busy.

Problem: They aren't the right spec.
Solution: Offer to pay for two respecs (one to switch and one to switch back).

Problem: They don't like that instance and will never ever run it.
Solution: Find another person or pick another instance.

Problem: They want to run a different instance.
Solution: Compromise and run both.

Problem: No one's on.
Solution: Find out when tanks and healers will be on and try to get in touch with them before then to schedule something. Best resource for information is your guild forum, an officer, or just plain ol' gchat. This is usually more of a scheduling issue than a lack of resources. Half of my guild's tanks and healers don't log on until 10:30pm EST. If you find out when they're most available and arrange your runs around when it's convenient for them, you'll be golden.

Problem: Everyone's on but no one will go.
Solution: Depending on why people won't go, try other avenues. Someone focused on leveling is unlikely to want to instance either now or later, but someone who's just tired of instancing today (or is busy with arenas) will be a likely candidate later. Try and pin down when they're available and either pre-schedule them or try again at that time.

Final Thoughts

People focus on one thing at a time. Most people are unwilling to change their focus if they're on a roll with something they want to do, but that doesn't mean their focus will never change. To make it easiest on yourself, you need to probe into the following:
  • Schedules. When do people log on? Log off? It's pertinent to know how much time they'll be staying on and how pressed for time they are. People with no spare time have none to give.
  • Goals. Some goals don't include instancing at all. Others include it under certain circumstances. Being willing to fulfill a goal with your group will get you an automatic member.
  • Specs. People often change specs -- find out when and why (including plans for endgame) and either catch them at the right time or make it worth their while to change it for you.
  • Reliability. You can do all the legwork to plan something, but if the people you ask aren't reliable, it's a disaster in the making. Some members will show up on time and prepared based on a simple verbal agreement. Others won't. Keep going back to the people who prove they won't let you down, and keep sampling your guild for more reliable people.
It is vital to know your guild's tanks and healers -- who they are, what they want, and when they're available. If you arrange your group so that it's easy for them, the rest should fall into place.


  1. I find running with random people through an instance is not too bad as long as two criteria are met. The tank is solid and the healer is solid. Doesn't matter what the dps are like in my experience, the root cause of most issues I find is either the tank or healer.

    Now for me I only need to meet one criteria usually, that the tank is solid because as a druid that floats between resto and balance I will always offer to heal and respec to resto if need be. As I'm healing I only have my self to blame and I know when it was my fault or not.

    What I also do is every time I run an instance with random people that went really well I add them to my friends list, and I ask people to add me and to let me know if they are ever short a healer. As a result I now have a big friends list that I can ask as well as my guild and I sometimes get asked to help out in an instance based on my past performance

  2. I wish it were this simple. I'm in an altaholic guild with not many accounts. We have several people who -could- tank, but only one healer (me, but i only just dinged 78!) :(


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