Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Puppy Love

The general feel, I find, is that PUGs suck, and no one likes PUGs. I do not mean the small little dogs, as they tend to be adored by many. There are people who dislike the little buggers, but generally not to the extent that has people spewing vitriol across the interwebs with enough fury to melt pixels.

Nah, what we're discussing is Pick-Up-Groups. And I'm here to be that small, tiny, sheepish, dissenting voice that knows it's about to get odd looks and patronizing tones, as well as questioning of its sanity. I understand this situation well; it happens every time I'm in Sidhe Devils chat talking about how much I enjoy world PvP and even being ganked.

I love PUGs.

Where else do you get to meet new people? Where else can you break out of the mold, of your clique, of your guild, and expand your network of competent people? Perhaps gain the respect of members of high ranking guilds who just need another? Or gain the interest of people who are looking at joining your guild? Or perhaps someone who will one day need just. One. More. Healer. for that run you've always wanted to do, but that no one will take you to because they want people who know the fight (rather than just having the skill to do it)?

Or even finding out which people to avoid, to not associate with, to warn your friends and guildmates about?

Of course, there will be PUGs you just cannot stay in. Someone grates on your nerves, someone is a jerk, someone just can't cut it and they're bringing the group down. I'll be the first to say that, even if it's to a lesser extent, that happens in guilds, too. In fact, it's worse when it's in your guild, in my humble opinion, because it makes leaving the unfortunate situation even harder. You will have to see these people again the next day, and the next, and so on.

And PUGs serve their purpose for a lot of people. They generally give me quick access to badges and reputation where I would otherwise stand around in Dalaran for an hour waiting for my friends to log on or wake up. They give me a chance to try new things without endangering people I know, and I can even help people out along the way. I offer to go help PUG CoS timed runs all the time. I won my mount my first time in there, and there's nothing but offspec gear in there for me; but it's quick badges and rep, and someone gets another chance at the mount.

Also, pugging with people who don't always bring their best has actually improved me as a healer. When I can keep a shaman up for five minutes against a boss in VH, when I can take down Heroic Loken with just myself and a tank...I think I've learned something. I see others' mistakes. I see my own. I see how things can work and how they can fail.

I've met amazing people through PUGs. Sannhet, another author on this blog, was PUGed into my first ZF run, and it was the start of a frankly amazing friendship. I have people whisper me all the time to see if I want to do runs or help heal a raid. Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are randoms from trade, true, and some are people I've PUGed with.

I don't think PUGing should be knocked as hardly as some people do it. I've PUGed over half my experiences in WotLK, and my experiences have almost always been positive (almost). There were some bad ones here and there, but truly...

I just love PUGing.

(This seemingly pointless talk about PUGing brought to you by oshi-I-have-four-midterms-this-week.)


Neil said...

If I run with my friends, I'm more or less guaranteed a smooth run through any instance/heroic, barring some kind of unusual occurrence or that instance being Oculus (HATE HATE HATE).

If I pug, I don't know what I'm in for. I could come across excellent, unremarkable, or terrible people. That unpredictability kept me from pugging much in BC.

WotLK's dungeons and heroics (except @#$%! Oculus) tend to be easier, though, and high quality entry-level gear seems to be far more widespread. My pug experiences have ranged from pulling one person from /2 into a guild heroic run, to mixing 10 pugs with 15 guild members for a 25-man Naxx run, and by and large they've been positive. I try not to let the few (inevitable) bad apples ruin the whole process for me.

I've made some great friends that way, as well. It's definitely worth keeping one's mind open to the occasional pug :)

Bell said...

@Neil - I probably should have mentioned that all of my friends refuse to go to Occulus, so when I finally set foot in, it's going to be a PUG. ><

Dulcea said...

I started warcraft as a hunter (and turned into a pretty good one if I do say so myself...), so when I started playing my priest and resto druid I used to panic when someone's health dropped to 90%. Mostly because I was so used to always DOING something. PuG's taught me how to heal, without torturing my poor friends.

And its fun to go in one sometime. The good ones are nice! The bad ones remind me how lucky I am to have the friends I do.

Anonymous said...

Good PuGs are few and far between. I have yet to find a day where a PuG group is better than any group with friends or guildies, but still, PuGs can suck it :)
- tremlos

Arrens said...

I didn't mean to refer to ALL pugs being bad. Hell, I'd venture to guess 85% of my Wrath 5-man pugs have been sweet, emblem-giving rides of awesomeness.


When you start getting more than 5 people in a group, the odds of typical asshatedness showing up increases exponentially. These days, if I want to PUG Naxx 10 or OS 25, it's usually with a large group of people I've pugged with before. This way, we know how everyone operates. They may not be in my guild, but at least they (and, in turn, myself) are not an unknown quantity.

ace danger said...

I've had pretty good luck with the pugs on my server. I've had a few bad ones but nothing at all like I read about on other various blogs.

Good luck on your midterms!

Brajana said...

Ah, midterms... the perfect time for pointless posts! :)

I tend to say I don't like PUGs, but the more correct response is PUGs take too long. I don't have time to wait an hour looking for a tank or healer, or to wait during the run for you to go AFK to have a shower. :)

However, I've had pretty good experiences PUGing on my healer. Really, I just have to open up the LFG tool and I've got 2 invites already.

So I think class does affect the PUG perception a bit, at least for me!

Myri said...

It's nice to see the opposing viewpoint sometimes. Personally, I find there aren't words strong enough in the English language to describe how much I hate PuGs, but I'm glad someone likes them. It makes me feel less guilty about not considering pugging; someone's out there answering all the "LF1M for (fill in the name of the instance)" calls.

Matunnos said...

The main thing I like about pugs is that, as a resto druid, pugs help me hone my skill - cause you never know what you're gonna get.

Pike said...

I love PuGs too! It helps that I'm in such a small guild, it's very, very rare that I can pull together a group of five from my guild so I'm pretty much always guaranteed at least a couple pickups in our group. To be honest maybe it's just my server but the number of good PuGs I've been in far outweigh the bad ones.

Zaralin said...

I have actually had a lot of good experiences with PUGs. I have met some really awesome players that I still run with. That being said, you are correct that it also allows you to figure who you don't want to run with.