An Ex-Gnome Tank's World

Being the Best Damn Tank you can be

January 12th, 2009 Posted in Dungeons

“I never PUG. Almost every time I have been in a PUG I have regretted it.”

-Tankette, here

A common point of view, and it’s one that I myself have espoused in the past, here.  I have, however, come to realise that there is an infinite amount of learning to be done in pick-up groups. As Forrest Gump might have said, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get.

Obviously there can be warning signs, such as struggling with healing on the first few pulls, and if that’s the case I wouldn’t hesitate to drop the group as quickly as possible, whicle being polite but firmly honest. My usual line is something based around the following:

“I’m very sorry, but something isn’t quite right here. I’ve had to blow Last Stand and Shield Wall to stay alive in the first two pulls, so I don’t think this is the best instance for this group today. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time by trying bosses that we’re not going to get down so I think it’s best if we all skip this run. Thanks for the run anyway.”

It works, reasonably well. I hang around in the group for a couple of minutes and everyone is generally polite – there’s nothing worse than a group where no-one will admit there’s a problem. Generally speaking, there will even be agreement from other people in the party.

Anyway, although a stress-free life means that you should avoid pugging, in this case I recommend the stress. The more and more unexpected things that can happen in a run – people breaking the wrong crowd control, nuking the wrong target, pulling something unexpected – the better you will get at reacting to these events and  therefore better at reacting to events which aren’t entirely within your control, such as any encounter where the raid is swamped with more and more attackers (eg. Gothik the Harvester).

The more you run with unfamiliar people, the better you’ll be able to react when the unexpected happens in one of your guild’s raids. You might not enjoy it so much as a sub-30 minute clear of Utgarde Pinnacle with your guild (incidentally, still no Red Sword of Courage), but it will make you a far better player in the long run.

So, when you have an hour or two to spare, give it a go. Open the LFG pane and join the LookingForGroup channel. One short sentence is all you need:

Tank/Healer/Whatever LFG any heroic

It may not be the fastest run, and you may come across any number of nefarious or just plain bad players, but you’ll have learned far more at the end of it than if you had taken a bunch of your guild mates who know you so well that you can predict their every move, and vice-versa.

Go on. What have you got to lose, other than a bit of spare time and a repair bill?

  1. 5 Responses to “Being the Best Damn Tank you can be”

  2. By TGAPGeorge on Jan 12, 2009

    You have a great outlook on PUGs. Yes, sometimes that can be terrible, sometimes they can be awesome.

    Most times I’ve found that they are ok. If we do HoL, we don’t down Loken, but we get to him. Or Pinnacle, PUGs have trouble picking up harpoons or jumping sides in the corridor, but at the end of the day, I spend fifteen minutes for a few badges and occasional loot.

    More important — as you pointed out — is the training and experience aspect. Things go wrong in guild raids, they do. It happens and people are sorry and we go again.

    In PUGs, things go wrong a lot. But my fingers now automatically hit heroic throw, taunt, mocking blow, intervene, or challenging shout in guild raids when things go bad. I was quick before, but now I’m faster. And even better, I recognize exactly which method to use in which situation for the best results.

    Why? Because it’s the 1000th time I’ve taunted one mob while intervening another while mocking blow a third for some dumb dumb DPS — leaving my challenging shout ready for the adds that run through the blizzard soon after.

    Politeness, professionalism, and maturity go far in this game, or so I’ve found. Your quote for jumping ship from a bad PUG is excellent. I’d like to copy/paste for later if you don’t mind.

    My guild is about ready for it’s second raid group to go to Naxx. You know why we can? It’s because we found 2 great healers and 3 great DPS while out pugging it up.

    You get gear sometimes. You get badges most of the time. And occasionally, you meet some great people.

    PUGs don’t wipe – Stupid players who PUG wipe

  3. By Tankette on Jan 12, 2009

    If I was going to PUG a lot I would take pretty detailed notes on who I like to run with and who I didn’t. I know people that PUG all the time but they have a very long list of people they have run with that they know will be ok.

    I’m not sure I agree with all your logic about the benefits of running PUGS, however. The difference between a guildie and a PUG member is sometimes one of skill but it is mainly a difference in attitude and courtesy. I get all the experience you mention that you get from PUGs by doing 5 mans with guildies. Many just turned 80 and need gear. Many are new players and don’t have skills that are up to par. Trust me, I get a lot of unexpected circumstances in 5 mans that I learn from. What I don’t get are people that are unpleasant (trying to use nice words here) and uncourteous. Even if they would be like that to strangers they wouldn’t dare act that way with guildies. Our guild is dominated by kind hearted and courteous people anyway.

    Remember that guy who flew up and stole your mine or herb while you killed the mob that was there? That’s your next PUG member. At least that is my experience. I get people that could never admit when they made a mistake and try to blame someone else instead. I get people that would hit need on the primal nether / frozen orb and laugh if you called them on it.

    They aren’t all like that, but there’s more like that than are people that are actually a pleasure to run with. And that’s why they PUG, because they’ve been kicked from guild to guild and have no guildies to run with. Maybe I’m just spoiled to never have to go outside the guild to get a group for a 5 man.

  4. By Durnic on Jan 12, 2009

    I could not agree more! PUGs might occasionally be a source frustration but it’s also the best way to increase your tanking skill and meet interesting people that might need a guild.

  5. By Yakra on Jan 14, 2009

    One of my big “weaknesses” is that I’m married to a healer, and 99.9% of the time I’m able to run an instance, its with her. So in five man content (and in ten mans, even), I’m always rolling with a big stack of HoTs – and it can affect how I see my health move in many cases.

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