WoW Wednesday: The PuG
By Meredith Watson, OnRPG Journalist
n. PuG (pg) acronym for pickup group. Used in MMORPGs.
A few months ago, after playing the World of Warcraft for seven plus years, I decided to create yet another account. This is my third account, my second EU account, with the first being the original US account. Why would someone start a third account this late in the game you ask? I must really love the World of Warcraft, right? No, that isn’t it. It has been a good game and it is my go to game when other games fail to deliver but I didn’t start a new account out of love. I started the third account because I wanted to see how the game had changed with Cataclysm. I wanted to experience it as a new player would with no help from my retired raiding characters, no BoAs, and no gold. The previous two accounts would both be cancelled and I would start completely from scratch. While all that presented a fun challenge what I really wanted to do on this account was PUG.
Up to this point, instancing was with guild members only or partial PuGs. PUG-ing without guildmates would be a new experience.
The World of Warcraft PUG is a much maligned thing. Everyone knows (if they play WoW) that PUGs are a necessary evil if you want any decent gear. PUGs are a hotbed of foul mouthed youths, ninja looters, and moronic hunters. Or so that is what other players would have you believe.
I wanted to see how bad it really was.
The biggest complaint since patch 3.3 and cross realm LFG is that there isn’t any communication amongst party members. This is still quite true. Most PUGs are done in absolute “silence” and as quickly as possible. As long as the run is smooth, I don’t mind the silence and it is certainly better than the alternative (flaming).
“Who pulled the surger with the corehound? I think a hunter did but he’s dead now”-MC Raiders by Myndflame
In PUGs you will see the worst the community has to offer but you can also experience the best and this has been a theme since vanilla. The biggest difference now is players not understanding their classes or group dynamics. They are not team players. Given the current pace of levelling, new players or even Wrath babies aren’t fully cognisant of how to behave in a dungeon or aware of the intricacies of their class. The amount of rogues I see not stealthing then standing in front of the mob while fighting is astounding. The worst played class historically has been hunters and even now in Cataclysm this has not changed, which is a shame because the hunter played properly is a great class. Hunters still aren’t dismissing pets before jumping or turning off growl. Tanks think with a healer behind them they can pull whole rooms, healers only healing the tank, mages and warlocks AoE-ing everything in sight when there is no need are par for the course in a bad PUG.
It isn’t just bad playing. It is also bad attitudes. Players ganging up on other players to kick them, flame wars, and needing on items not meant for your class just to be a jerk are just a few more examples of the bad PUG. This is not a new phenomenon however. Bad behaviour has run rampant in WoW since vanilla. With the introduction of cross realm LFG it certainly has been amplified given that players can do what they like as it won’t affect them, outside the dungeon, on their realm. Before cross realm LFG players, if they cared, had to worry about their reputation on their realm if they ever wanted to get a group.
On occasion though you will find a great PUG and this is where friends are made but it is generally more about a means to an end versus friendship. The good PUGs are those where the players know how to play their classes, are team players and understand their role in the group. While they are far and few between, these types of PUGs will often run several dungeons together because they know they are onto a good thing.
What I have learned about PUGs is that it is something that has to be done if you want gear, experience or achievements. Is it the most enjoyable part of the game? In a word, no. The best way to run dungeons is with friends or guildmates but for whatever reason that isn’t always possible. If you have a fairly thick skin and a degree of patience PUG-ing will get you what you want.
We can connect you to other players, but we can't force people to talk or be social. It's going to take effort from the community itself to make it a more social experience by being social. - Blizzard Community Manager.
Blizzard is correct in stating that the change needs to come from the community itself. We can’t hold Blizzard accountable because anonymity and the internet make some people act like fools. No, the WoW community needs to change but it doesn’t so therefore everyone must be happy with the way things are. If we as the community are happy with the PUG the way it is, then we should cease complaining. Simple.
What is your experience with PUGs? Do you think the community needs to change or does Blizzard need to do something and if so, what?