Saturday, December 19, 2009

"They're More Like Guidelines Anyway."

Ah, LFG. It's gone over a great many changes over the last few years. It was once a channel that you could spam day and night anywhere. Then they introduced the LFG interface; put yourself in, state what roles you are willing to fill, go do whatever you want, wait for people to ask you to go to x. People mourned the loss of the world wide LFG channel, and custom channel popularity soared. Other than that complaint, however, most people enjoyed it. It was convenient with little fuss involved. Except for the time factor as one is sitting in LFG just looking for people to pick them up. Or them asking every other group they saw if they needed [tank/healer/dps]. Time that some people didn't have. Blizzard noticed the flaw with their plan, and decided to, once again, change it. They returned the missed LFG channel to the cities, and put in a new system. You still state your willing role [no more days of asking “what spec are you?”], queue up for a random heroic, normal, or even a specific one of either, and just wait... a fraction of the time that it took in the past.

As a tank, a queue will appear almost immediately.

As a healer, a queue will appear in a minute or two.

As a DPS... well. Good luck. Queue will probably pop sometime after that set of Sons of Hodir dailies as well as a round of mining around Sholazar Basin.

Unless you tag along with a tank. Then you get the benefit of the fast tank queue. If you tag along with a healer, the following scenario happens:

Group: “We need a healer!”
Blizzard: “Here's on—Oh, no, wait, there's a DPS attached. Sorry.”
-a minute later-
Group: “We need a healer!”
Blizzard: “You know that healer we wanted to pass off last time? They're still grouped with that DPS. Try this one instead!”
-another minute-
Group: “We need a healer and a DPS!”
Blizzard: “OH THANK GOD we couldn't get rid of that darned DPS, here you go, TAKE THEM!”

On your end:
Healer: “That took a long time. Lets go.”
-Enter Dungeon-
Healer and DPS: “... I hate Blizzard. Freaking Halls of Stone. Again.”
And the instance starts.

That's, as far as we can tell, about what happens. Healers have it easy, tanks have it even easier, and DPS are mostly out of luck. The reasoning is easy enough: there are a small number of healers out there, but there is an even smaller number of people willing to tank. If you're one of those people who don't mind tanking, 98% of the time, you'll get assigned to tank. Even if you said you could DPS. Even if you said you could heal. You're tanking. Better enjoy it.

That slightly bigger fraction of people are made up of healers. Maybe not the best healers in the world, but DPS gear could become healing gear no problem, and with a halfway okay spec, most people could get by as a healer. And some people do just that so they don't have to wait around for ten minutes.

BigBearButt had an article out yesterday about people leaving. All I have to say to that is: “please don't”. No instance is really THAT BAD [except, maybe Halls of Reflection, but you still shouldn't leave right off]. There is little more frustrating than getting an instance and seeing people leave almost right away. There may be eight hundred people in queue waiting for that spot, or there may be ten. It doesn't matter. What matters is that the four other people who were put with you counted on YOU to do the job, not the next person who might get put with them. covered specific, class by class ways of how not to be a bag PuG. But what about in general? What are some things one can do to build “karma”, per say? Sure, there's no “hey, look me up if you enjoyed either my skills or my personality!” or “join our channel!”, but you can still follow some basic guidelines to not only make runs smoother, but to avoid stepping on any toes and keeping tempers down.

Thing to Keep in Mind:
If you're pugging, generally that means that A) you're looking for a fast group to get some badges, B) you just want the “Luck of the Draw” buff for your already made group that's short one, C) you just want your frost badges, or D) you're bored.

If it's the first three, the last thing you want is to have drama that somehow holds up the group. Whether it's by someone leaving or someone that's just being stupid [pull before the tank, hit stuff before the tank hits it, stands in X doesn't avoid Y], you'd rather not deal with it. With this in mind, try to hold yourself to the same standard. Don't stand in X, do avoid Y. DPS isn't all important. If you need mana and your tank and healer are fine and want to keep going, sit and drink; you can catch up to them. If you die three pulls in and it looks like a rez will be a long time coming as they just started a really big pull, run in. You could even probably help finish the pull rather than browsing the internet, looking at gear in Atlasloot, playing Peggle/Bejeweled, or planning what you're going to do next. It would help the healer and make things go faster.

If you're bored and you're running instances, great. While you might not be interested in the same thing others are running it for, you would still (hopefully) want a smooth run so you can go on. Last thing anyone wants these days is to be stuck in Heroic Azjol-Nerub for forty minutes when it could be completed in ten (which we have done before) because someone liked to talk more than kill or heal. Or complained about everything and held up the group. Or took more AFKs than actually being there and they're still standing over the body of the first boss after the rest of the group moved on and cleared without you.

Don't be that person that holds a group back.

You signed up for tanking. Fantastic. You get a quick queue and everyone loves you.

Well, maybe not everyone, especially if you're a DPS that queued for a tank because you have Frost Presence. Or a shield. Or bear form. We'll state it right now: None of those make you a tank. Do try to have a tank spec and the required amount of gear for tanking if you want to sign up to tank.

Experience is not required, but it is nice, as well as an inkling of how to tank, threat mechanics, and knowing not to push your healer or dps than they can do. The healer won't give a flying penguin if you're geared in Heroic ToC25 gear if you charge a big group of mobs out of their range and take more damage than your gear and their gear is capable of healing you through. Nor will it be their fault if you die because you pulled while they were manaing up.

Make sure they're ready. A good sign is if they're ahead of you, or standing close to you. Some healers (especially the newer ones) would prefer full mana, or close to full, before being ready, but most will give some sign that they're good to go.

Otherwise, try to keep things that cleave facing away from the dps, move out of X, dodge Y, the usual and everyone will thank you. Keep up a decent pace, and keep up the good work. People appreciate you, we really do.

I'll say the same thing to you guys that I said to the tanks. Be geared enough, or have an understanding on how do fulfill your role. If you know you aren't up for crazy tactics, tell the group so. Let them know that you'll need a bit of babying, if you need mana, or if the tank is pulling too much/fast. Or the opposite and they're welcome to pull whatever and however much they want as long as your mana is above Z. Your priority is to keep everyone alive (within reason). If they die, pick them up after combat.

[Disclaimer: the stipulation of “within reason” comes from if the DPS has a death wish of purposefully doing the X and Y I have mentioned several times. That's not to say let them die, but if someone trying not to be suicidal requires your healing power, lend it to them instead.]

Your task is easy. You know that your spot is valuable – all you have to do is look at your ten minute plus queue to remember – and that you can be replaced. Do your best. You might never have to see the people again, but why should that keep you from your best? Just show everyone else that you can pull great DPS while never pulling aggro and you know where your interrupt button is. That's all we ask of you.

Wrap Up:
In an ideal group, a combination of all of the above happens and the group goes successfully.

In reality, people will pull aggro, misplace their aggro drop button, forget where their interrupts are, speed ahead and leave their healer or tank behind, then complain when they die.

In an ideal group, people talk to each other other the problems they're encountering and work on fixing it.

In reality, if things do go well, the chances of them leaving are very low, and the chances of them choosing someone as a scapegoat are very high. They will boot you for their mistakes (such as running too far out of range of a drinking healer).

Do your best, that's all you can do. If the group dislikes your best performance, it sucks, yes, but you can say you gave it your all. Try again. Maybe luck will be on your side next time. Maybe one day they'll see that they're in the wrong.

Good luck, enjoy pugging, and most important of all, have fun. When it stops getting fun, step away. It's only a game. Just remember that.

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