Sunday, December 27, 2009

A reality check on PuGs.

There's been a lot said about the new LFG-tool. Hardcores not agreeing with Triumph badges being that easy, the eternal debate concerning mainspec/offspec/need-or-greed-orbs/bads/carrying, praise for inventiveness, DPS complaining about long queues. Since my paladin turned 80 a week or so ago, I've more or less lived in the LFG-tool, enjoying the company of many a random. And overall, I must say, I'm rather pleased with the outcome. Blizzard definitely nailed the system, it's close to flawless and spot on. And the player base, much have been said about casuals, bads and tagalongs lately, so I decided to share two stories.

1. The Violet Hold.
As we enter, I get a good feeling. No reason, really, just one of those "this'll be smooth"-thoughts you sometimes get. Granted, the tank haven't got a single item over ilvl200, but that used to be enough back in 3.0 when I was tanking here myself. Hell, I did it in Kara gear, no reason to give him any stick. Besides, the healer looks good.

First pull, I realize he's apparently not hotkeyed charge, takes 5 or so seconds per pull to Thunder Clap, don't pick up adds and have a massive 700 tps on main target. So I lean back and let autoattack and Seal of Command do the job, still picking up aggro if I nuke offtarget, but hey, I get to press Sacred Shield, fun! The fact that I get to experience mobs in here I didn't even know existed (there's a third wave of belf mage hunters if a portal stays open too long) adds to the experience, and non-elite as they are, I start playing around with my stuns and CC, killing and kiting as I see fit before I go back to autoattack main target. Poor tank, he really was working his arse off, he just worked really inefficient.

At the end of the run, I account for 50,4% of the group's total damage, more than two thirds of this autoattack and Seal of Command. Mage in Naxxramas-gear pulled a solid 800 DPS in frost spec, shadowpriest managed 1700, but Mind Sear appear to be his number one damaging ability, and we did get a fair few AoE packs. If I ever felt like carrying a group, it was these guys. But the healer was decent, he kept his cool and watched over my little adventures with a steady hand. As with regard to labelling, the tank may have been casual, the two DPS were definitely bads. Do I care? Not one bit. I got my badges, a shard, didn't die and it took perhaps ten minutes longer than it does with my guild. In fact, it took along the lines of what it took at launch, with regards to time spent. A bad PuG experience? Yes, but in reality, it wasn't really that horrible.

2. Glory of the Hero.
Last night, my guild decided to try and chase down some achievements for our red Proto-drakes. Mage, retridin, protadin and feral is a fairly decent setup, so we decided to make it interesting; let's use the random tool, see what we get, and ask the healer if he's OK with trying this and that (we'll pay for your wipes). To the healer community on battlegroup Reckoning [EU] - you guys rock. The holy priest who safed us through Watch Him Die as the most natural thing in the world, the disc priest who joyfully thanked us for making Oculus interesting again by going for a Void and Make It Count, not to mention the resto shaman who joined us for Zombiefest and kept us safe and sound when we realized we'd make the timed run if we pulled the rest of the alley and zerged our way to the top. And most of all, the priest who sat through an eight minute Gal'darah-kill, waiting for the mage to get impaled. You - and all of you that I've not mentioned - were brilliant. Your patience with four friends hellbent on achievements deserve a huge thanks, we couldn't have done it without you.

In short, my view on the LFG-tool is that it's the best thing Blizzard has done since... well, since I started playing, actually - for the MULTIPLAYER aspect of the game. Sure, I've met the tank who refuse to do more than two bosses in Halls of Stone, he's only after the two Frost badges anyway. Sure, I've lost stuff to ninjas. Sure, I've wiped from stupid, bad and inexperienced play. But I don't care. Today, I carried a casual tank through an instance, earning him the badges he need without giving him grief. I'm quite convinced he gets enough of that already - not getting it from a well-geared raider could, for all I know, make him feel better about himself. And when you meet the people that just wanna join you and have fun, you usually end up having fun.

And to me, that's worth all those bads and ninjas that apparently ruins it for all. I'll let you know when I find them.

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