Monday, January 26, 2009

Of PUGs and People

I want to do more 25-mans, but don't want to commit to an X-day-a-week "mandatory" schedule or spend precious hours wiping with a$$hat FPUGs. I also don't want to transfer or leave my guild (which I cannot do 25's with, since my classes will clash with their raid nights this semester). I'm in a predicament.

That was me, circa January 23rd when I wrote this post. Today, I stand here a new man.

I PUG'ed some 25's. I'm not entirely sure why I ignored my inclination to avoid what ordinarily ends up being hours of wasted time, but the allure of shiny new gear overtook me.

I'm also pissed about it.

First up, a pure pick-up group in trade chat was seeking healers and additional DPS for Obsidian Sanctum. The group was not terrible. They were doing it with no drakes up, which I can understand since it was a PUG. The drakes went down quickly, even though the trash pulling was painfully slow. No one died to flame walls on Sartharion. The tank bit it with 5% left on Sarth, but some death knight picked him up and we burned the crap out of him. Cool beans, I killed a 25-er that wasn't Archavon!

Then the loot happens. It's not on master looter, and it's a PUG... not everyone is on Vent, but the raid leader calls out "everyone pass, we'll /roll for stuff." Being an untrusting S.O.B., I didn't do anything, I just held my rolls for everything that I cared about. Fury of the Five Flights, the Conqueror glove token, and the satchel and bag, along with Illustration of the Dragon Soul and a Vanquisher token, dropped. Four of six mattered to me.

Some a$$hat paladin rolled greed on everything. Glad I didn't release my rolls. We /roll for the loots, and I lose the "fair and square" rolls for the blessed trinket of awesome and Conq token. I pass on those and they go to dumba$$ paladin ninja greed roller, who did not bother to /roll at all, and has not said anything in raid chat to this point, and is not on Vent to hear the commotion. I don't wait around for the satchel and bag, I just leave. There's no point in me sticking around, even if they do put in a GM ticket to transfer the loot from this guy to the "true" winner, that winner isn't me, and I don't care enough about the bag or satchel to deal with it.

Master loot for the win, people. Don't PUG without it.

After a break for some food, I come back on and get a random tell whilst questing in Icecrown - "hey wanna come to naxx?" Not being saved to either version, I am intrigued. I grill the whispering warrior from a guild I'd never heard of about the group and the rules - he says they're master looting and doing /roll for everything, main set priority. It's a 25-man run: they've cleared all but the Construct wing and are just looking for a few healers and a DPS or two. It's mainly a guild run but they don't have the numbers to keep it in-house, so they're filling the rest from without. I didn't bother to ask how he came to whisper me, but I would later learn he just did a /who paladin and I came up. Hooray for names that come early in the alphabet, I suppose.

When I'm done grilling the poor guy, I say "sure I'll come, but FYI, I'm ret." "Aw dammit," the warrior responds. I suppose he was hoping I was holy. I suppose he also doesn't know about this blog. And he probably has no idea that I haven't had a single point in the holy tree (aside from Divine Strength when it was located there) in months.

He invites me anyway, though.

After they round up additionals, I find that there's only one other paladin in the group, but there are a few DPS warriors and death knights for me to compete with for plate drops, and plenty of priests to grab the conqueror tokens. Oh well, something is better than nothing, I guess.

They wipe twice to Patchwerk due to terrible healing on the hateful tanks. Sign #1 of terribad FPUG. But third time's the charm, no deaths. Huzzah! I end up #10 on damage done, but #1 in effective DPS. I waited a few seconds before starting my damage, 'cuz I was afraid of getting hateful'ed like the first 2 times. Nothing I want from him, so I navigate the frogger boss and wait to move on to Grobbulus.

Several people keel over in the middle of the slime highway. Sign #2 of terribad FPUG. Whatever, lag and such, or maybe they haven't been here (eep, worse thought...). I wait for them to fill positions that were vacated in the raid so we can pull Grobb.

Grobbulus goes off without a hitch, even though they took forever to pull. I definitely think I was top or near top damage on him, as one of the hunter's recount meter put me at #3 in damage from Patchwerk to the end of Grobbulus.

Then came Gluth. Gluth is, I think, a simple fight. Tanks trade aggro, a few people slow and kite some zombies and keep them the hell away from Gluth, and rogues/hunters keep the big bad doggie from enraging. Other than that, kill the zombies when Gluth does Decimate, and then go back to stabbity-stabbing the dog in the arse.

Apparently it's not so simple for other people. The 3 kiters had tons of trouble keeping the zombies away from Gluth, and then the DPS didn't switch to the zombies fast enough. Our first attempt, Gluth ate a handful and healed nearly to full. Double you tee eff.

Raid leader determines that it's a kiting problem and asks for additional kites. No one steps up, so I say "f*ck it" to myself and raise my hand. I throw on my prot gear for additional health and armor, buff up Righteous Fury, and get ready to run around like a maniac tagging loose zombies.

The second attempt goes better, but the tanks die due to terribad healing, and the other kiters don't drop their slowing effects (Earthbind Totem, Frost Trap) in good spots. Wipe.

Not wanting to sit there while things get sorted out and the raid leaders of this quaint little guild reinvent the wheel, I chime in on Vent. I assign the slowing effects to zones and have them drop their shiznit in those zones. I swap the paladin healer from tank healing to kiter healing and have him use Righteous Fury to keep the zombies in a controlled area. I then tell the other kiters to pull stuff off the healers ASAP and run around tagging everything.

Dead dog. I are effective raid lead.

Conqueror chest and shoulders drop. I lose both rolls. I are sad paladin.

More replacements are shuttled in as we move to Thaddius. I have a mini-panic attack when they start discussing strategies over Vent that involve the tank being stationary and the random rabble of this PUG needing to watch their own charge, their own relative position, AND the tank's charge and his position. Not only is that more complicated for everyone but the tank, it also makes the melee stand out if they don't have the same charge as the tank. The way I'm used to doing Thaddius, if you're positive you're on the right, negative on the left, and everyone rotates around Thaddius clockwise if their polarity shifts.

I explain this to the raid lead in whispers, and he says "hmmm, good strategy, but we'll try it this way once or twice first."

Everyone gets fried on transition.

They then shove Thaddius on the right side of the platform and have the tank in the corner, and they have the DPS shuttling in and out according to their charge.

Morons cross the charges in transition and fry almost everyone. The remainder, who aren't morons and did what was described, keep going until the enrage. I was DPS-off for most of the fight, as I had to stand at range to avoid frying the opposite-charged melee DPS.

I plead with the raid leader in whispers to put the generally accepted and successful "rotate clockwise, don't suck" strategy into use, but the raid falls apart due to the lateness of the hour. Anger abounds, but I politely leave the raid without further discussion.

Hours spent, and nothing to show but a handful of tokens, a hefty repair bill from Naxx, and further confirmation that I hate PUG'ing instances for a variety of reasons. WTB a Leftovers-type raid system for Malfurion-US 25-mans...


Anonymous said...

I had just the opposite experience this weekend (and I put this on the Maintankadin Success thread if it sounds familiar). I was needing a change with my WoW life, so I respecced to Ret, with the intention of that being my new main spec.

On Friday night I had spousal clearance to WoW my brains out, so I joined a Naxx25 PUG that was forming - and there were several forming at the time. After a few minutes they were up to 17, but, and here comes the moral dilemma, I then saw yet another Naxx25 forming that was led by a dude I know to run OP PUGs. He's pretty demanding, assigns loot according to *performance* and what seems right to him, etc....and his PUGs generally have awesome DPS and one-shot stuff. So I jumped ship to his, even though it had fewer members.

Then it took a good while to fill up while my previous PUG filled and stopped advertising in LFG. Were the karma gods punishing me for desertion?

Then he calls for people to zone in with only about 23 people in the raid; in fact we never did fill. I got saved to the instance immediately, which seemed weird. No trash at the beginning of Plague worried me, and no Noth confirmed that this was a continuation - shoot, how many bosses were left for me?

Turned out that only Noth, Patchwerk, and Grobbulus were down. The raid went on to one-shot everything except Thaddius, Sapphiron, and 4 Horsemen (took 3 tries, 2 tries, 2 tries). I got two awesome upgrades, as well.

So my advice to you is this: If your realm is anything like mine, there are a lot of PUGs happening right now, and many of them are routinely scheduled, sometimes advertised on the official realm forums. Get to know the leaders of the good PUGs and try to run in those; there is a world of difference between them and the fail-pugs you've been the victim of.

Or, you could start your own - I'd suggest getting commitments from solid raiders that you know, then putting a notice on your realm forums inviting people to sign up there (and mentioning what positions you need; ideally, you'd have some tanks you KNOW are solid, and healers as well). Start invites 30 minutes before scheduled start, then advertise in Trade and LFG for the rest. Most PUGs on my realm are only doing the last step, but AFAIK the ones that are *clearing* Naxx are somewhat scheduled and stacked ahead of time, as much as possible.

Sounds like you know the fights and can detail the strats, so give it a shot! Good luck!


Suicidal Zebra said...

Funniest group loot situation I've heard of was from the (now classic) Zalgradis PvP movie number 3. The raid downed Prince Thunderaan and then up pops the Dormant Wind-Kissed Blade on need-or-greed. As the vid says, 'group loot on Legendary is pro".

Anyway, I feel your pain Josh. I'm riding high somewhat right now with heroic pugs (though they've been the easy ones) but I'll be damned before I venture into a 25-man non-VoA PuG. Especially on group loot... *shudder*.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what your talking about mate, my only recommendation to you is to get a bunch of prot gear together, start running your own runs and go in as a prot pally and MT, that's 1 less pug that you have to rely on.


Josh said...

To my knowledge, there aren't any regularly scheduled PUGs on Malfurion Alliance-side. And all the solid raiders I know are in raiding guilds that take their 25-man IDs for in-house raids. Hence my predicament.

I have prot gear, and I don't mind tanking. I just don't have trusted raiders to come with me. All the people I want to raid with are, as mentioned, saved to their own guild raids.