Recently I attempted to get an article published on WoW.com. The fact that I can publish the article here means… well… anyways. If you happen to like this article there will be a better one on WoW.com at some point.
A Pick Up Group or “PUG” is defined as a body of players (or an individual) needing additional members to complete a group attempting to perform a task in-game. These picked up players, often referred to as PUGs themselves, aren’t always friends or known associates of the original group. This often leads to clashing play styles/manners/gear/skill/willing to be fair or even act like IRL you’re a human being and not a troll.
I have written numerous pieces warning against expecting a PUG-filled raid group to be successful and fun. If you are picking up an entire group for a raid then you are doing so at your own risk. If you have a core group of players and you want to pick up a few unknowns to try to get that next boss down, then the following are my recommendations on how to (and how not to) do so.
The video above is just fun. Have just fun with it.
I finally have something to say again. I also finally have the time to write again. With the school year coming to a close there are various things that gamers are anticipating. One major headliner coming up not too far after summer is over is Blizzcon. If you’re unsure of what exactly a “Blizzcon” is, it’s pretty much a convention based around the games of a company known as Blizzard. They are the evil masterminds behind the Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft games. Now to the part that I actually care about: World of Warcraft.
With Blizzard currently in the Beta phase of testing for the new Cataclysm expansion for their World of Warcraft game I’m left with one question: who is beta testing all the idiots playing the current expansion?
At this point in time, we (we henceforth defined as “persons that actively participate in playing World of Warcraft specifically the latest expansion ‘Wrath of the Lich King’”) are wrapping up the end-game content of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. When this happens many people take a break from World of Warcraft. Other writers might list interesting things those people might be doing. I personally don’t care if they are eating babies. I’m still playing World of Warcraft.
For those of us that are still playing we have reached something of an extreme dichotomy between players that just reached the maximum level and are trying to get some gear, and the players that have all the gear a person could want.
What does this mean?
This means that Beginner Ben might get grouped up with Pro Pete and have no idea what he’s gotten himself into. Players that have top notch gear don’t need to play quite as smartly as they did when they had starter gear. If you accidently (or intentionally) divert enemies to attack you instead of the Tank, you’ll likely live because of your gear, the Healer’s super gear, or maybe you have a super Tank that gets the enemies back on themselves. If the Healer has no gear, maybe the Tank has amazing gear. Maybe the DPS (the guys that do the hurting) are super geared and they can provide mitigation of damage via superior firepower. Whatever the case may be, scenarios like this have led to some pretty bad habits.
What may be even worse than good players getting into bad habits is new players learning those bad habits as standard procedure.
Let’s take a step outside World of Warcraft for a moment. Imagine you just started working at Pizza Hut. On your first day, you see all these veteran pizza makers doing their thing. Let us also pre-suppose that these aren’t just veteran pizza makers, but some of the most over-experienced pizza makers on the planet. They don’t just ladle the sauce onto the dough, they slam their fist on a sauce pouch and let it fly neatly into place 10 feet away. One guy is throwing blocks of mozzarella across the room towards another that is grating the cheese in mid-air with his bare, yet clean, hands. Out of nowhere comes one inch meaty discs bank shot off oven onto the pizza. This all occurs while the dough is on the oven track making its towards being baked. Once it comes out a human-size turtle with a blue bandana over his eyes, slits cut so he can see, throws the pizza in the air and cuts it with two katana blades and it lands in the box ready for Tony Stewart to race off to the delivery site.
A bit over the top?
It would be a horrible place to learn to make pizza (well… horrible to get an idea of how pizza is generally made) because it’s just NOT how things are done under normal circumstances.
This is, without exaggeration, pretty much what occurs in what we call a “Random Dungeon”. It’s not called “Random” because random things happen in the dungeon. There is a system of queuing up to run a dungeon, where you are placed with random members into a random dungeon. There are rewards for letting the game decide where you go and who you go with. These rewards are great not only for beginners trying to optimize their gear, but also for the Pros that want to earn some extra money or finish topping off their amazing gear. So beginners are showing up and getting the idea that this is how things work.
One thing that is beyond annoying in all of this is that even very skilled players are being made to look bad. One example is that I have recently become interested in trying out Paladin tanking. I’ve been playing my Paladin for a long time now, but I have always been a Healer or DPS. I’ve got a starter tanking set, and I know how to play the tanking role just fine. The problem occurs when no matter how right I’m playing, the other members of the group out-gear me by so much that I just can’t keep all of the enemies attacking me all of the time. The very well geared players should know how to moderate their threat, but they either don’t care, OR they don’t know how to. In this current climate of “faster faster faster” running these random dungeons, many players have never even seen what it takes to moderate their threat levels. It takes more than “hey, the tank is in the general proximity of the enemies, time to unleash hell!” The Tank needs a moment to establish some threat on the enemies, that is, to make sure the enemies want to kill him and only him. This really just never happens anymore, and leads to some irritating situations.
Fast forward now to sometime circa Fall 2010. Blizzard has just released its new World of Warcraft expansion “Cataclysm”. You buy it. You level your guy a bit. You start running some of the cool new dungeons. The Tank goes in, the DPS start blasting, the Healer is going at it.
Ok take two… and….dead.
Oh yeah, we’re NOT super-over geared anymore. Hmm… how does this work again?
I’m scared. I’m scared for all of the players that have fallen into these bad habits. I’m scared for the generation of players that got their start in Wrath of the Lich King. I’m scared for players that will be trying to make sense of it all when Cataclysm hits.
As for me, my guild is made up of people that CAN super destroy the random dungeons. We’ll probably have good enough gear to do this when the new expansion drops. Will we play that way? Not likely. We just don’t operate that way. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s super fun to go into a dungeon and go bonkers. The difference is that when the smoke clears, no one will be mad at each other, no harsh words, no frustration, and most importantly- we don’t leave thinking this is how things are done.
Man, it’s been awhile. With budgets being the way they are in the state of California cuts will happen here and there. Education isn’t safe, and thus, neither is my job. Due to this fact I have been busy getting things in order for next year, but after an excellent Spring Break, I feel rejuvenated enough to start doing things I enjoy again.
During my excellent Spring Break I caught an excellent Bad Religion concert. The clip above isn’t from the exact show I went to, but the same venue etc. It’s been many years since I’ve had the chance to see a show, and it was well worth the trip I made (about 4 hours drive + traffic jams) to get to Anaheim and see it.
I’m inspired again. I have played in many bands over the course of many years of my life and suddenly I want to start another band. I want to play music again. I don’t really care what or who with. It’s amazing to me to find that just when I think I won’t be in a band again I’m on the verge of starting another one.
The thing I’m wondering is “can this also happen for me with video games?” It’s been awhile since I was a really consistent mainstream gamer. Going on about five years, actually. Is there a game out there that can bring me back into gaming, beyond WoW and the Wii bowling game? Beyond getting schooling in SFII vs. my bro and pulling my hair out playing Little Big Planet?
Hello everyone! I have not made a post in a quite awhile as I have been busy with various things. I have, of course, had time to play my favorite social pass-time: WoW. Today, I am going to be covering a topic that I am constantly researching and learning new things about- – successful casual raiding. You might wanna heat up some dinner and grab a drink, this will not be a short post.
So for that past few weeks I’ve been getting recognition for contributing the community blogs at Gamerlimit.com. I’m honored to think that my writing is noteworthy in the eyes of someone other than myself. One thing that confuses me though is how little can be understood or even related to by “outsiders” of the WoW community. The teacher in me is motivated, even compelled, to attempt to make the information digestible to all. As a result I have decided to craft a post about WoW from the perspective of various gaming icons. Hopefully I can shed some light on the mystery that is my blog content.
Just like the slave-driving Bender once did, many group leaders (often perceived as the tank) will not only crack the whip, but find an even faster way of doing it. You’re stuck. You’re helpless. You’re just trying to help accomplish the goal and you end up feeling like you’re the only one doing any work at all. Does this sound familiar? If so, I believe I have the solution(s) that you may be looking for. Please try to remember, I’m not giving the slave drivers pointers.
For a guy that warns against PuGs so much, I sure participate in a lot of them. I see them as an means to an end. I need badges. I need gear for alts. There are only so many opportunities for these. I also use the Dungeon Finder system to level my alts without questing very much. You may ask “why complain about something that you subject yourself to knowingly?”
Because it’s funny. Like grandpa’s old war stories, but funny instead of depressing.
I was hesitant to write another post dealing with PUGs in WoW so soon after my “Why joining a PUG raid is like going to the ghetto“, until a small chain of events made it an inevitability. The first thing that happened to me was that I remembered my idea to write a column about getting guild leadership advice from the various captains of the Star Trek universe. In researching a suitable episode to pull wisdom from, I realized that “The Trouble with Tribbles” was pretty much one of the only episdoes I was familiar with from the original series. So much of what occurs in the episode reminded me of PUG groups that I could not help myself. Alas, here I embark on yet another journey into the realm of the PUG LYF.
Admittedly, I was never a big fan of the original Star Trek series (ToS).