Mr Hawley Goes to PUGgington

January 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

There is a part of me that longs for the harsh, blasted wastelands of Fallen Earth, that dreams of the vast emptinesses of Eve Online, that yearns nostalgically for Lord of the Rings Online.

But the realist in me realises that without putting some time in on World of Warcraft, I’m not likely to get the “most” out of the game over the coming months.  Levelling and gearing up so that I can get into raiding before it’s old, rote, and lacking in challenge is something that I want to do.

Focussing in one direction means a lack of direction in another, hence a lack of apocalyptic, space, hobbity action.

What it has meant is me making more of an effort to get into instances, because of World of Warcrafts heavily laddered/tiered progression.  Normal instances to Heroic Instances to Raid Instances to Bleeding Edge Raid Instances; jumping a tier is much more difficult at the start of an expansion than it is later on.

However, whilst it’s more likely that a guild run on an instance is likely to happen (more members on due to newer content, more interest in seeing the instances, more need to get gear from those newer instances) there are still the same issues when it comes to putting a group together.  Largely the need for tank, healer, dps, in their necessary ratio amongst 5 people.

This has meant, in many situations, utilising the LFD tool.  Now, anyone who isn’t new here will know that I am not a natural PUGger.  I have certain gaming sensibilities, which seem to be inimicable to the average PUGger.

And whilst I might not utilise various arcane technomagically-powered bits of software to work out the best rotations, I have at least the glimmerings of how MMOs work, how aggro mechanisms work, how AI tends to behave, and I have good enough situational awareness to realise when to shift role in order to survive an encounter.

Yet I’m also a Darwinist when it comes to MMOs; Evolve Or Die is something I’ve blathered on at length about before, and will no doubt blather on about again.  Getting geared up for raiding fun and frolics has meant evolving as a player, and the necessary evolution has been to allow the fact that I can’t rely on full guild groups, and that I am going to have to PUG-up in order to gear-up, and get into instances.

So, in an homage to Spinksville’s “It came from the Pug” series, here is a small selection of the joys I’ve experienced as an evolving PUGger:

There was the fantastic Mage – let’s call him Sage-Mage – in my return to the Deadmines, who sagely advised that if I watched my aggro, I would die less.  I’d died once, to a random monkey-poo-thrower.  This was, of course, before we realised how the random monkey-poo-throwers worked.  Sage-Mage also advised our healer to heal more, and was most put out when he kept dying, to the point of initiating a kick vote to get rid of the healer.

Now, not only is that a little mean when the healer is having a hard time keeping a tank up as well as an aggro-whoring Sage-Mage, but it’s also a little stupid when the party comprises of Sage-Mage and four players *from the same guild*.

Cue an immediate response from the party tank, wherein Sage-Mage was booted unceremoniously from the party.

Personally, I liked Sage-Mage.  He made me laugh, and I wanted to keep him as a sort of mascot.  Regimental Goat, and all that.  But I also realise that he needed kicking as a sort of wake-up call or at least a lesson in guild loyalty.

There was also Warrior-In-A-Rush, who dropped in to the Halls of Origination when the party healer had to go, and the paladin tank moved to healing.  The paladin was a fellow guild-member, and the group was going for a full run.

Warrior-In-A-Rush, however, was not.  There was a surprising amount of grumbling, as he just cared about getting to the final boss as fast as possible.  He even used the ultimate argument (and I quote); “this isnt WotLK”.

Huwah?  The boy wants a speed run, then tells us that we’re not playing Wrath of the Liche King, official Home of the Speed Run?  I laughed.  I didn’t want to keep him as he wasn’t as much fun as Sage-Mage, but he jumped on his own when we weren’t going fast enough for him, requiring a second tank to jump in just before the last boss.

No, I didn’t get it either.

Now, as well as the funny, there has been the sobering; realising my healing gear just wasn’t good enough to keep a pug together after a couple of attempts at the first boss in Heroic Grim Batol meant me holding up my hands, reporting that I just didn’t have the oomph to get us through it, and dropping out with no hard feelings on either side.

That sort of knocked the wind out of my healing sails, so I’m quietly and calmly raising the quality of my healing gear, and will catch the wind again when I’m better equipped (and hopefully tanks are too).

I have also found that the atmosphere in pugs has generally tended to be much better than I remember from instancing in Northrend.  For a start, there is much more communication, especially where tactics are concerned.  Sometimes, during Wrath of the Liche King’s later days, it felt that communication beyond “gogogo” was for the weak and noobish.

Instance runs were also all about the speed, rather than the fun of the experience.  Because most players were over-geared for the instance, and it was just an exercise in collecting tokens, all that was required was to run in, kill everything as fast as possible, and rely on the healer to keep everyone up.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy that sort of play.  I do, however, enjoy the better atmosphere of ‘Clysm.  Oh, I’m sure it will all change soon enough, but right now it seems that PUGgers are far more willing to explore all of an instance, to drop all of the bosses, even to chat, rather than just do what’s required to get the tokens/points.

Warrior-In-A-Rush notwithstanding, of course.

The natural order will probably be restored as we revert to speed-running through instances for Valour/Justice points, but that won’t be for the next couple of weeks at least, and I for one am happy for that.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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