On Sunday, I was invited to two different PUGs, who asked me just about the same question. Both reacted in somewhat the same manner, but how they chose to go about expressing it and their actions that followed greatly differed.
The first PUG was one for Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. They needed a healer, and I needed heroics (and still need that elder). On my way there, I remarked in party chat that I had never been before, neither on normal nor heroic, and wondered if someone could give me a quick rundown of the bosses.
The immediate response was a wish to know my healing and spirit. Knowing it was lower than many preferred, I told them 1200ish in caster, with over 800 spirit, and 1330 healing in tree form.
What followed was a long, uneasy stretch of silence. After about five minutes, there was a sort of uncomfortable “I guess we’ll try it” and the bosses explained in about two sentences. The rogue disconnects.
I get to the instance and the lock and I start summoning. Four people are there and we run inside. Another person disconnects. Then the tank disconnects, and it’s just me and the warlock. Though of course I have no proof, I strongly suspect it’s due to the numbers I put in chat. Insulted, I thank the warlock and hearth.
Fast forward a few hours, and I’m in Dalaran when someone advertises for a healer for heroic Old Kingdom. I’ve also never been here, but I need badges and gear. I whisper the one asking. He also asks me for my healing, telling me it’s a difficult heroic. I reply with the numbers, and tell him I’ve never been, and it’s all right if he wanted to find another healer. He is also unsure, but he gives me a chance. A healer, who in his eyes is dangerously close to undergeared, who has never been, will still get a chance.
I have never had so much fun in an instance. It was challenging, forced me to focus and kept me on my toes. I think there were three deaths throughout the instance, and one wipe due to an accidental double pull. We made the corpse timer, I got two pieces of loot, and the tank was thrilled with me.
Gear isn’t everything. That tank took a chance bringing me along, and it paid off. I understand not everyone wants to take that chance; that people can be “elitist,” or at least jaded from bad PUGs. They could want an easy ride or simply think if you don’t hit a certain number, then you can’t do it. Sometimes gear means a lot; there are caps tanks need to meet, a certain amount of hit dps needs, but other stats aren’t always so regimented and a lot does depend on skill.
On Tuesday morning, I ran with a prot paladin with only 19k health, whose first instance as a tank was Heroic VH. I was forced to swallow some of my own advice; despite my irritation at his inability to hold aggro, and how he never used Captain America, the group as a whole worked with him to improve his tanking. They held back on DPS so he could generate threat easier, I blew cooldowns like a madwoman, and we helped him by reminding him to throw his shield and how to prioritize the different targets. In the end, VH went down, we all got loot, and there was only one initial wipe. It was difficult, but the tank improved and we got our badges and spirit shards.
Give people a chance, and don’t always judge them by their gear.
EDIT: I would like to reiterate that the part that insulted me the most was the fact that they chose to disconnect; if they had told me they were not comfortable with me healing, that would have been fine and I would have respected that choice, just as I told the tank looking for AN that he could choose not to take me.