Northrend Roulette

February 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm 4 comments

Tobold posted a complaint about PuG’s (“Pick Up Groups,” to those fortunate enough never to need them!) that I’ve seen echoed elsewhere on ‘Net:

There is a general trend I’ve noticed in which the requirements for PuGs are getting more and more ridiculous.  You can get kicked out of a PuG for a simple heroic because you don’t  have 2,000 spellpower.  Which is of course difficult to get if you can’t get into a group to do heroics in the first place.  Basically what these people are advertising is that *they* want a free ride some place, inviting only overgeared people.  And then of course there will not be any crowd control, no sheeps, no shackles, no saps, no ice traps.  Everything will be AoE’d instead.  Minimum skill and time requirement, but only completely geared up people are welcome.

I understand the frustration, of course, but I’m not sure I agree with the sentiment.  

If a newly ding’d level 80 Ret Paladin in quest greens is spamming trade with something like this—

/2 LF4M HC Old Kingdom, need Tank/Heals/2 DPS!  PST with Northrend Dungeon Hero achievement.  Twilight Vanquisher is a plus.  Must be defense capped, hit capped or have a minimum of 2000 spellpower.  No plate-wearers, please.  [Frozen Orb] is reserved.

—then yes, I agree.  He clearly wants to be carried and deserves the public ridicule he will no doubt receive (much like the 12 year-old Shaman who “led” last night’s For The Horde! debacle, come to think about it.  On his second attempt at the PvP-go-’round, he was only accepting levels 75+ … as a level 71, himself.  /cough)

But what about those of us who have already done our time?  I wiped for hours on Loken when I ran Heroic Halls of Lightning for the first time with my guild, decked out in 4-piece T6 and rocking a blue weapon from the Amphitheater of Anguish.  Why in the world would I want to subject myself to that zeppelin-wreck of a “learning experience” again, much less for four strangers who haven’t invested a fraction of the time or effort into their gear that I have?

I don’t mind “relearning” instances with guildmembers for the simple reason that I’m commited to them.  Our new Holy Priest wants to farm the Mace of Unrequited Love from Heroic Nexus?  Sure, no problem.  I’ll respec elemental and suffer good-naturedly through a few wipes while he figures out how to heal us through poor Keristrazsa’s demise. 

PuG Priest with identical gear and experience spamming trade for a quick run-through? 

Nuh-uh.  No way.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t blame these hypothetical PuG’s for being undergeared.  We were all new to endgame once, just like we all level and gear at our own pace.  The fact that that tank isn’t defense capped yet doesn’t make him a bad person, or even a bad player … but I’m still not going to heal him.

Does that make me a bad person?

Obviously, I’m a little biased.  But I don’t think so.

When I run a Heroic, I often have a limited amount of time: 45 minutes before raid invites, for example.  I want to get in, get my badges, and get the hell out.  I don’t want to explain the mechanics or movement of a fight to someone who has never seen it before.  Nor do I want to wipe five times on the Azjul’Nerub gauntlet because the Hunter can’t break 800 DPS, or spend 20 minutes kiting Ley-Guardian Eregus to death because the tank’s UI wasn’t set up for a vehicle fight and the DPS didn’t know how to use their dragons.

I don’t consider myself an “elitest” — far from it!  I occasionally forget how to kill bosses I haven’t seen for a while, and alt-tab to WoWWiki between pulls for a quick refresher.  I find vehicle fights awkward, and fake my way through them as often as not.  (I did come in second on damage for Malygos P3 the other night, though.  Go me!  … and nerf Keaton.)  I still get lost in instances, to the point that my guildmembers all know not to let me stray too far behind and I often have an assigned escort in Naxx.  (Hi, Aly.  *wave*)

Even my achievements are unimpressive, because they’re divided between two characters.  My Warlock is a Champion of the Frozen Wastes, but my Shaman is still three Heroics shy of becoming a Northrend Dungeon Hero.  Yes, that’s right: I can two-heal Naxx 10, but I can’t get an invite to a trade channel PuG because I can’t bring myself to run Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle again.  (Three months, two elated Paladins, one jubilant Hunter and a perpetually dour, but still well-armed, Warrior later, I finally saw — and disenchanted — my first Girdle of Bane.  Sigh.)

So, if I’m not a spoiled, snobbish, elitest brat who thinks she’s too good to PuG … and not a lazy, undergeared, (what is it Gevlon calls them?) M& S looking to be carried … what exactly is the point here? 

The point is simply that I understand why someone who has invested in his gear might not be inclined to carry someone who hasn’t — just like someone who has already suffered through learning all the fights in particular Heroic might balk at the idea of repeating that painful process all over again.

The reasonable thing to do, in my mind, is PuG content with players at approximately the same level of gear and experience. 

Yes, the overgeared group is going to AoE everything.  They won’t bother with crowd control or kill order; they won’t pause for more than a second or two to eat or drink between pulls; and they certainly won’t stop to explain the next fight.  They will simply charge in.  The bosses will die, and Dream Shards will fall like rain.

Meanwhile, a lesser geared group will progress through the instance at a slower pace.  Good, undergeared or even appropriately-geared PuG’s will mark targets, utilize crowd control and follow kill order.  They may even discuss new bosses as they encounter them, sharing strategies and tips based on their diverse, if limited, experience. 

roulettewheelBad PuGs will simply wipe.

And wipe.

And wipe some more. 

It’s Northrend Roulette, really. 

But those requirements that Tobold thinks are “silly” actually serve a purpose: they help the better-geared players — the ones who simply want to hit and run — to find each other.  The corollary is that by shutting undergeared players out, they also create a second, de facto tier of PuGing for beginners.

If that elite group won’t let you into their power-run because you don’t have the right gear (which could very well drop from the Heroic you can’t get into), what do you do? 

You team up with other players who can’t get into the power-runs and do it the hard way, using CC, kill order and careful planning.  And thus you learn the boss fights, master the instance and earn the gear that will get you into those power-runs in the future.

Personally, I wouldn’t join a trade channel PuG if it came with unreasonable pre-requisites — even if I met them — because, dramatis personæ notwithstanding, I’m not the most confident player in the game and would be so terrified of falling short of expectations that I probably would.  (Self-fulfilling prophecies are a bitch.)  But at the same time, I’m not going to look down on someone who asks potential PuG’s to provide some basic stats, either, because I know where he’s coming from.

Been there, wiped on that.

*  *  *

In completely unrelated news: I invited one of our Shamans to raid on his Hunter last week, since he seemed to be heading for healer burnout.  His response?  “Fo’shizzle. =D”

I giggled.


Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: , .

For the Horde? Demonic Circle > 3fps

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kavika  |  February 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I miss being able to use pvp gear to fill in the gaps to reach those “ridiculous” requirements. I mean sure, some of the stuff in wrath is somewhat useful, but most of it is about as good as heroic blue drops, which are certainly not going to get you the stats you need to to get into groups. At least in TBC, you had the solo option of pvp to help gear yourself. Of course, this meant people would run the dungeons less because they were grinding pvp honor. But for a newly ding’d 80 that missed the initial wave of gear upgrades, they are just faced with a brick wall in wrath….no solo option for getting decent gear.

  • 2. Elleiras  |  February 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I can’t comment on PvP gear, because I detest battlegrounds. I got hopelessly lost in Alterac Valley just long enough to buy my Medallion of the Horde for Mount Hyjal, and haven’t set foot in a BG since. Holiday achievements don’t count. 😉

    I’m not sure I agree that PvE gear is harder to come by in WotLK. Granted, none of the new crafted epics have the longevity of Frozen Shadoweave, but tailoring has some decent starter pieces, as do leatherworking, blacksmithing and jewelcrafting. Also, since all raid bosses have one BoE item on their loot tables, there are often good quality, ilevel 200 or 213 epics for sale on AH. You may pay a pretty copper for them … but I’d much rather grind gold (<3 Gevlon) than honor.

    Another difference is that Heroics are now accessible at level 80, so there’s no need to grind reputation in non-Heroic dungeons before you can even *dream* about seeing your first epic. (Come to think about it, this could be one of the reasons that PuGs are becoming increasingly selective, too. Once upon a time, having a Heroic key was sufficient evidence that you’d experienced a particular instance before. In WotLK, if you want to know if someone is capable of running something, you have to find ways to ask … which brings us back to Tobold’s point, and yours.)

    So, I do think there are options for getting decent gear — even solo. But I also think it’s unfortunate that so many players assume that if they can’t get into the overgeared “power PuGs,” then there’s no point in PuGing at all. It may take an undergeared (i.e., in quest rewards and non-heroic instance drops) group longer to clear a Heroic, and they may have to slow down, use CC and actually think about what they’re doing … but they can still kill bosses and win loots. 🙂

  • 3. Tara  |  February 18, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    What about alts, though? My main is a geared resto shaman. I know all the fights, I’ve been to all the heroics and all the raids. I have a shadow priest who hit 80 recently and I don’t want to suffer through slow, failing pugs because my gear isn’t great. I know the fights, I won’t stand in anything that will insta-gib me, and I’ll pull better DPS than some people geared way better than I am because I know what I’m doing.

    I’m with Tobold on this one!

  • 4. Elleiras  |  February 18, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I understand where you’re coming from — and maybe that hot-shot PuG leader will too, when you give him your main’s name to look up in Armory. 🙂

    But here’s the thing: gear matters. Sure, intelligence and skill matter *more*, but good gear can be the difference between beating an enrage timer, mitigating spike damage or healing through those O SHI– moments … or not.

    Like you, I have a geared main and know all of the fights. I won’t stand in The Bad, and my alts can often outperform their gear because I know what I’m doing.

    Still, I didn’t expect geared PuG’s to carry my resto shaman alt through heroics. As a new 80 in quest reward blues, there was no way she could have healed through the chain-pulling, CC-shunning, AoE madness that power-runs have become. I would have held a geared group back, so I wouldn’t have blamed them at all if they politely declined to take me.

    After all, that’s what guildmembers are for. 😉


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