A PUG’s Doom Knell: Link Achiev Or No Inv


This PUG will self destruct in five seconds. The first whiff of a short, lit fuse? A group leader spamming the beastly phrase “link achiev or no inv”. I believe it’s a doom knell for any PUG. It makes Dalaran and trade chat more dangerous places for a group than a fire breathing dragon with left-side whelps.

Perhaps you’ve not heard the phrase. It’s often used as a recruitment method by PUG leaders.  They are demanding that potential group members whisper them with a link to their completed achievement for the relevant instance. It does seem to have benefits for both group leader and applicant – call them Lichknig and Armand:

  • Lichknig can suppose that Armand knows tactics for the encounters
  • Lichknig can suppose that Armand is well-geared enough to do the instance, having done it before
  • Lichknig can suppose that Armand doesn’t have the attention span of a concussed goldfish, as shown by his completed achievement and the fact that he bothered to link it
  • Armand can suppose that the PUG has a good chance of completing the instance as everyone is being vetted
  • Armand can suppose that the PUG has a good chance of filling up and starting quickly as Lichknig is regularly singing out on trade and recruitment channels

Lichknig’s request of players to link an achievement and then Armand’s linking of the achievement is like a negotiation. It gets both players what they want. It also creates a sort of trust between Lichknig and Armand, and an identical bond is created between Lichknig and each player that joins the raid group. The group’s parameters of teamwork, or safety nets, are set.

The terms are not necessarily fair, though. The unspoken subtext is that Lichknig is washing his hands of error – he’s looking for an easy raid with little input from him. He’s saying “you’ve done it before – you will just do it again” to his group members. He and others like him don’t want to put the effort in to lead or direct the group. Lichknig wants to be able to crack open a beer and sit back; the group should run like a machine for him. He can put in as little interaction as he likes – both with the instance, which he will be carried through by his mechanical group – and the players, whose questions he doesn’t necessarily need to answer.

This puts group under unfair pressure to perform. This is particularly hard without direction. Almost everyone recruited into a linky linky group will have slightly different tactics from their previous PUGs or guild runs for each encounter. Think about it. Without solid direction from the leader, the group will employ three to seven different essence tactics in the Twin’Valkyr encounter, merrily exploding itself and saving the bosses the hassle.

Armand and his fellow group members have little room or excuse for error during the run. The trust bonding the group is tenuous as it can be broken as soon as someone makes a mistake; players are almost absolved of having to be patient with their teammates by the terms of negotiation. Not so long ago I was in an Ulduar25 PUG – as soon as we wiped someone reacted with “WTF? I thought you invited people who knew tacts”. What linky linky group members are under strain to prove is their worth; why they should be included. This may result in such a chilled show of professionalism that the atmosphere is icy cold and no-one says a friendly word. It may also result in players pouncing on the chance to blame someone else as soon as anything goes wrong. I mean anything – whether a tail swipe in Onyxia leads to a brief but controllable flurry of whelps or a messy wipe, players may be ready to draw attention to it as long as it diverts attention from themselves.

This isn’t a problem if the run is successful – the group may even bond if the run is fun and there’s some good humour going round. Say that doesn’t happen or someone like Armand makes a mistake, though. The initial parameters of the group will be revealed to be superficially flimsy – not a real safety net. Lichknig and the rest of the group are not guaranteed to show any patience and so Armand may find himself insulted, chased down or simply kicked.

Armand being kicked may be a bad thing for the raid. He may be a great tank and was just using slightly different tactics or his own initiative to rescue a bad tactical situation – but who knows what’s right if Lichknig hasn’t spoken since trade chat? Now that Armand’s gone the group will spend a fun two hours sitting in LFG waiting for another tank who can linky linky. Meanwhile, Lichknig’s reputation may be on a slippery slope as Armand tells his friends and guildies about his experience. Not only that, Armand may have assembled another group and led them to victory over the same instance by the time Lichknig links up with a replacement.

That’s just one reason why a linky linky group could doom you to an evening of frustration.

  • It damages recruitment chances by needlessly cutting out great chunks of potential recruits who may genuinely have the skill to learn the instance anew or the knowledge to do it from experience on another character. All because their toon doesn’t have the achievement.
    • A friend of mine has a geared but unachieved alt who keeps getting declined for the last spot of linky linky Onyxia 25 runs, yet his main regularly main tanks and raid leads successful Onyxia 25 groups
  • It’s all about ‘ez mode’. Linky linky groups want the run to be fast, almost mechanical, with as little difficulty as possible. It’s almost like expecting a group of strangers to boost you, and at level 80 end game content, for Pete’s sake


  • It’s exclusive and Not Too Bright ™. If you teach more players the tactics or encounters then you personally will have a bigger pool of competent players from which to recruit. They’ll be used to your tactics and be grateful for the experience
  • It’s prone to turn into a needlessly competitive environment in which players forget that their teammates are other people who they might enjoy chatting to, just as much as they forget that epics are just purple pixels. I’ve actually seen people insult other DPSers of their class in VoA runs, and have often wondered if they’re trying to reduce the competition for loot
  • The longer term effect of ‘linky linky’. All of the above can combine into a solid mindset that seeps into a player and through a realm to produce a tendency to make snap judgements about other players’ skill based on very little information

So what am I talking about with the last point? I was recently PUGging on my restoration shaman Apeorsa alongside a tank friend of mine. We’d not long hit 80 but were both gearing fast and are experienced players. We’d had bad luck in PUGs that week but the ‘caek’ was really taken on the Friday evening when we joined a VoA25 group. The raid leader was not exactly Mr. Chatty (albeit hereby christened so) and when my tank friend asked who the MT was, she was unceremoniously kicked. Apparently this was payment for her asking stupid questions like who the tanks were and for having “pathetic” health.

All very sad but so what, I hear you cry. Well, I think Mr. Chatty’s attitude was partly born from the longer term linky linky effect that I mentioned. I’ve noticed an unpleasant tendency for some PUGgers to assume that everyone who wants to be ‘on their team’ will be kitted to the teeth with iLevel 245s – or at least they jolly well should be, by gosh. Anyone who isn’t so kitted is in danger of being automatically weighed, measured and found wanting before they’ve had a chance to prove they’re more than their gear. Indeed – it happens the moment they set foot in the raid or draw attention to themselves by asking the simplest of questions.

And once attention is on them – well, it’s too late. The other player will judge them based on mis-information, forget that different classes and players prioritize different stats, or just look at half a picture of their stats – such as Mr. Chatty looking at the tank’s health and drawing conclusions. Heaven forbid that he might look them up and get a full picture of composite stats. My tank friend wandered off after the disastrous and brief recruitment into Mr. Chatty’s VoA group to easily tank Ony25. Mr. Chatty, having lost a tank and main healer team, was still in LFG 25 minutes after the incident.

There also seems to be a nasty accompanying assumption by some players that basic group information doesn’t need to be shared and that anyone who asks questions is away with the fairies – or that possibly the fairies will sort everything out so they don’t have to. Not only that, there’s the simple fact that my tank friend felt thoroughly dejected after the response he got from Mr. Chatty. Why should we care? Simply because this is a social experience. Being an unfriendly twerp isn’t going to improve the game for anyone involved.

So all in all I firmly believe that the linky linky mindset is destructive and can be emotionally taxing – or even turns its players into machines. I agree that it can be important to vet PUGgers for some things – particularly higher end raids. Personally I favour an approach which allows anyone to apply for a group spot regardless of their knowledge of the encounter. It’s important to take a player’s gear into account to some extent. I check everyone on WoW-Heroes before deciding if they get an invite. This gives me a better indication of their overall gearing level and stat logic for an instance than does merely looking at their total health. And to be honest – the other thing they need is not to be our Mr. Chatty. I can teach someone tactics; I can’t teach them to be a Nice Person. That’s when their wheels fall off as far as I’m concerned.

So what do you think? Do tell, as I’d love to get a debate going on this one – it’s been a bee in my bonnet for a while now. All opinions welcome! Am I being too harsh on linky linky? Do you like the peace of mind the mindset conjures and look for raids which require you to compete and/or prove yourself? Have you had any really bad or good experiences in such a raid? What do you think the real effects of this particular – or other – types of PUG are?

And FYI – this week’s picture has been photo-shopped to remove trade spam and protect the identities of people involved.

This is a post by Mimetir, a boomkin of a raid leader. You can find my twitter feed here.

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  1. Wow this is a really insightful post. I always wondered why I had similar experiences with these types of PUGs and now I know why.

    One of the most frustrating PUGs I’ve run recently was for a ToCG 10 group. We had numerous toons from several well respected guilds and people who were unquestionably geared. However, poor leadership aka “Mr. Chilly” killed us. Some people had only done ToC 10 regular. Many had different ways of handling the encounters. Even though this was hard mode we seemed to lose people on every unsuccessful attempt (seriously you expect to 1 shot hard modes with 9 people you don’t know?!). We never made it past Lord J.

  2. I’ve had countless PUG experiences that seem to stem from the same outrageous requirements that group leaders have come to expect from perfect strangers. I agree that for high-end content, a gear check may be necessary, but you are pugging a raid, and should probably swallow that pride and take what you can get.

    I was once picked up to DPS a 5 man heroic on my paladin, and the healer, upon seeing our 25k tank, opted to leave, saying something to the effect of: “I thought this was a fast badge run. I’m out.”

    …Seriously? It disgusts me whenever a player wants or needs to be carried through content. And that is what this post is about, I think. I know Mimetir did an excellent job of spelling it out, too.
    .-= Xirella´s last blog ..ToC/Ony =-.

  3. My server is not very good for pugging content. Even 10-man ToC usually fails on Northrend Beasts. Linky-linky is virtually non-existent. People just ask that people know the fights, and discover that knowing the fights means that they got to Acidmaw and Dreadscale the last time they were there. (Seriously, that happened when I pugged on my alt.)

    As a raid leader though, one night I found myself short a dps spot for a 10-man guild run and didn’t want to keep everyone waiting, so I asked in Trade for a dps and asked them to link me their achievements. People who I never would have seen in a pug immediately responded, including one of the best hunters on the server.

    The response was fantastic. Perhaps I had such a fine crop of people to choose from (I had to turn down over a half dozen people) because linking achievements doesn’t happen on my server’s pugs, so the fact I asked was very unusual and the people who were discouraged by the poor pugging were willing to take a chance on a group with experience.

    But I was still leading the raid just as I would any other run. I looked at having the achievement as 1) having the gear and 2) knowing the basics of the fight. Obviously any specifics such as how the raid’s going to split up on Twin Val’kyr or deal with Faction Champs still needs to be decided by an actual raid leader. A pugger can’t be expected to just “know.”

  4. I agree with pretty much everything you say, Mimetir, though I have to say I understand the rationale behind the ‘linky linky’ and the ‘your Gear Score must be this high to attend this raid’ attitude to a point. I actually think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Wrath has seen the rise of the short, quick and (sometimes) easy raid. Raids like OS, VoA and Ony, people expect to get in and out in 20 minutes. When it doesn’t happen, they get nasty. VoA is especially prone to this, I’ve noticed.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Ups and Downs: 2-1/2 Years of WoW =-.

  5. My problem with the linking of achievements is… well… people can buy achievement runs. I’ve seen guilds do it. so with that in mind asking to link achievements doesn’t mean that the person knows the fights, or has the gear. It may just mean they had the gold to buy a run for ToGC: tribute to insanity. Maybe I’m an odd one, but I don’t ask for achievements or what dps are you or ask for links. Takes part of the fun out of the game. As far as I’m concerned the only question I ask is if the tank is def. capped. other then that I just grab and go.

  6. I was afraid this was going to happen when achievements were first introduced. What am I supposed to do if I’m on an alt that hasn’t done it before? They really should only be giving achievements for doing something special within the dungeon/raid and not just for completing it.

    Anyway, isn’t there a mod that will fake an achievement for you to link to someone? There used to be from what I remember.

  7. I am also not a fan of linking achievements.

    It is no indication of skill or knowledge of your class or the encounter.

    I regularly PUG heroics and raids. I have seen awesome, top-geared characters just perform terribly, while an under-geared character performs exceedingly well.

    My alts also struggle to get into linky raids, although they are well geared for the content. But I found that most of my raids invites came from raid leaders that got to know me from heroics and prior-content raids.

    Just last night I was part of a NAxx25 badge run that failed to get past the 2nd boss in Spider wing. Why? The Raid leader did zero coordination other than saying who the main and off tanks were. No loot discussion, no strategy discussion, no healer assignments, no marking – NOTHING.

    I bailed after the 3rd wipe. Not worth my time educating a bad raid leader.


  8. I found this to be both very insightful and apt. However, about wow-heroes — I don’t think it’s a sturdy method of measurement, not even for ballpark figures. My friends, some of my guildmates, and even I have been declined invites when the raid leader checked wow-heroes and saw PvP gear.

  9. My mage was declined a spot in a heroic run because I had last logged out with my fishing pole equipped and wow-heroes reflects your status at your last login, not your current gear.

    When someone’s doing mandatory gear checks, they don’t want to hear you whispering that your gear score is actually almost 400 points higher since you now have an actual weapon and offhand equipped instead of a fishing pole.

    It’s just a silly means of measuring.
    .-= Rhii´s last blog ..Stret ching Out the Dis cus sion. =-.

  10. My favorite example of this nonsense was during the hallows End holiday event saw this in trade:
    “LFG HH must have 245 gear”

    I’ve done (too)many PUGS. Best ones for raids usually have something like this.
    “Who has done this fight before with your current role(DPS/Tank/Healer)?”…
    If anyone says “NO” the fight is explained.

    Sadly, I see many well geared players sucking in PUGs because they think their uber gear is enough to make the bosses lay down for them.

  11. I’m a big fan of WoW Heroes. Having said that, I very much doubt Mimetir was suggesting that raid leaders just accept its ratings blindly without even a cursory glance. Let’s face it, if the raid leader couldn’t spot that your score was low because you’ve got a fishing pole equipped, did you really want to raid with him anyway?

  12. What I find with the linking of an achievment is that you now become expected to perform, because you’ve done it before. There is nothing wrong with expecting someone to fully understand the concepts of a fight. Which is what the achievment means, you know the concepts of the fight. To assume an achievment means you’re an expert on all tactics and ways to execute a fight is to be an underperforming raid lead. The article seems to mix Hands-off raid leading with using an achievment as a gauging tool. A hands-off raid leader will appear to do all the above, using the achievment as a gauging tool often entails understanding the player knows the fight mechanics and abilities, but not the specifics of how you want it done.

    The best metod is to have an achievment linked but still explain fight details on how you expect it to be done.

  13. I just ignore all the ‘Link Achiev’ and ‘Gear Check’ pugs, to be honest. Gear does not prevent someone from standing in “The Bad”™. The fact that a guild cleared Ulduar in nothing but blues made gear checks irrelevant.
    .-= Forreststump´s last blog ..OT: Classic mistell =-.

  14. While i do stay away from ‘linky linky’ PuGs, if i really need an instance ill give it a go.
    The Underachiever addon is used for getting my alt into PuGs.
    LF VoA pst achievement. Wow, my level 2 now has the achievement for VoA. No one will know!

  15. This is a great article piece and a informative one to at least let people know the kind of tactics your seeing in allot of PuGs for stupid reasons and for people wanting easy modes vs enjoying the challenge as well as having fun.

    I’ve been seeing this same thing on my server as well for some time now because im always logged into LFG channel whether i’m in a City or not and I usually don’t spend that much time in cities either since i’m usually busy doing something.

    I’ve not seen as many Heroics with link achievement for invite but mostly raids for almost everyone. Often when i see link achievement for X raid i sometime switch browser and check the armory of the person asking for link and not all the time but often enough the person asking for the link don’t even have the achievement of having done the dungeon before. As well looking at their achievement of other things comparable you can see that they dont have a long history of being a experienced raider either. There is more than one thing in a person achievement you can look at to get a fairly good snapshot of a person experience on content vs just the current achievement as well.

    But PuGs are PuGs and some people can act like idiots and take things to the extreme and not acting like a real leader. Yes you can at times for whatever the reason ask for someone needing a achievement for a very hard content your doing and need a specific lvl of person to fill the spot. But you cant expect everyone else in PuGs to use level headed thinking or be rational about things. The attitude of players and experience or inexperience of people across the board in PuGs is too varied as well as people who want to play raid leader as well. Thus some people playing Leader whether in 5 man or raid can start acting as idiots and thus on everything start demanding hell I only want people that have the achievement if i’m going to run this X dungeon since i want ezmode and don’t have to really lead since they are now suppose to know just what to do. That arent quite being a leader as a leader lead and can delegate and tell people what to do if they don’t. And this is where many PuGs seem to be headed with allot of this tactic.

    Many times I see link achievement for X raid or dungeon, i refuse to answer any of them. Now im a good experience player, I’ve been infamously PuGing since way back in tBC when PuGing wasn’t even cool by any means and I happily PuGed whatever. I play a Tank and I loved to PuG. But with seeing the recent link link Im going to assume your a lazy ass or a idiot in some way good or bad and im not going to answer the person demanding the link link even if I may have the achievement. Thats my attitude about it as a response since I don’t have to answer a pug anyway.

    As a Tank that have tanked in Raids though not as much in WotLK last few months due to being busy doing other things I often PuGed and 5 man, just my style. Never in a PuG i’ve ever demanded a person have any achievement and 99% of the time I made the group and lead it. All i ever needed is a warm body to fill the dps slots. If one or two person was undergeared in Heroics I carried the whole group as long the healer was fairly good. I just adjusted my Tanking tactics to match the situation.

    If people are asking for link link to do everything then thats bad for the server as a good portion of server will never get to participate in doing allot of things. And when many people play Alts as experienced raiders as well they will also get caught in that same loop eventually wanting to get into a raid but they alt lacking whatever achievement now having done it as yet. And if enough people are having bad experience from people that are demanding X achievement for invite to raid eventually that wont be good for PuGing eventually either on whatever server your on. People will start sticking to their guilds vs risk chance of dealing with other idiots.
    .-= Ardent Defender´s last blog ..I Know You Really Want It! =-.

  16. @salvar, @xirella – Thanks! Sounds like you both experienced the classic example of what I was talking about. Xirella – you had that happen on a 5 man? For a reasonable 25k health?! Heh. Have either of you had any similar groups recently that have gone well?

    @Hana – interesting, sounds like your server is a bit different – and that linky linky has a different response there. Even so, it probably helped a *lot* that you had a caring and leading attiude for the raid, too – as it sounds like you did. What’s your run down of leading style?

    @jeffo – Thanks 🙂 Yes, I understand the mindset to a certain extent. To a certain point it’s essential that players are ‘tuned’ or geared enough for an encounter – but I think that some players and leaders rely too much on a generated score, forgetting other things go into a player like skill and niceties. And yes – shorter raids are the worst examples of this! How much do you think the balanced approach to other players is important – and then, how lacking (if at all) do you think it is?

    @Lodur – Quite right! Players buying runs is a point I’d completely forgotten -rather puts the lie to the whole system imo.

    @Kavika – Quite – I think your alt just isn’t meant to get into a run or something! 🙁 Though, well, the response I had when I questioned this on trade chat once was “make a run yourself and teach em if you don’t like it” – make what you will of that. I think there is such an addon but I don’t know what it’s called – anyone got any info on it? lethal?

    @Draco – Your points have made me wonder – is Naxx a particularly bad place for sloppy raid leading? I’ve had some bad runs there too. I wonder whether it’s because of the way it’s set up in wings, or because it’s one of the early (and easy) ones and people can just get used to bad habits. What do you think?

    @BubblesAnon @Rhil @Ekatrina – Re: The wow heroes thing. I don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all of checking – and group leaders *shouldn’t* be using the gear score as a guide. Wow heroes is more use if one takes a look at a player’s actual gear, enchants and gems. It doesn’t give a picture of the player’s playing ability or social skills but seeing where their stats (and stat comprehension) is at, is a helpful hint. Does that make it clearer – and do you agree any more? No worries if not, would like to hear either way!

    @Canedom – Yep. In my opinion and recent experience, many leaders who use the linky linky tactic don’t then go on and give a set of tactics for everyone to follow (as you suggest, and I agree, is the best thing to do) – hence the way the article reads. Do you think that it’s 100% safe to assume everyone who has the achievement knows tactics even though they could, say, have been boosted by their guild or bought the achievement run?

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Keep them coming – a lot of people seem to have problems with linky linky, does that include you too? Does anyone really really like it, and if so, why? We won’t bite! How do you feel about it if you’re a raid leader setting up a group competing with other groups recruiting like that?
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: Happy weekend to everyone! Also a big hello and thanks for the new follows! @ohnoitsadam @_emp_ @inachinashop @Tyben @crshnburn @BlindseerJB =-.

  17. Also briefly – does anyone know anything about a ‘gear score’ addon I’ve just heard about? Apparently it gives a score based on item iLevels or something? Doesn’t sound very reliable?
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: Happy weekend to everyone! Also a big hello and thanks for the new follows! @ohnoitsadam @_emp_ @inachinashop @Tyben @crshnburn @BlindseerJB =-.

  18. I think you’ve summed it up perfectly there. The idea of “linky-linky” completely takes away any of the responsibility on the RL and places it squarely at the feet of each individual player. It is expected that each and every player should know their role and the roles of the other 9 or 24 people – whom he or she may never have run with in the past. I have been in several of these PuGs in the past and without fail, every wipe is greeted with one to four players leaving the run, blame being tossed about like a ball and the general enjoyment factor grabbing its keys and walking out the door with a parting two-fingered salute.

    Hell – on Aman’Thul I’m seeing “link achiev or no inv and gear checking” for Naxx 10 and heroics! How are new 80s supposed to get a foot in the door and a bit of post-instance gear on their backs? It’s like a friend of mine on Blackrock. Her belf prot pally was kicked from a 5-man group because her gear wasn’t up to par. She had all of the basics covered, but because she had a couple of greens and pre-instance blues, the group didn’t want her. Ironically, another group saw her plight, snatched her up and took her on a whirlwind tour of Northrend’s dungeons. She was on her fourth instance when the original group finally managed to find a replacement tank.

    On a side note, it is surprising (or maybe not) to see the number of PuG leaders using the “linky-linky” system who DO NOT have the achievement they are expecting of others (and they get VERY defensive when this is pointed out to them in Trade). It’s similar to the level 72 saying “80s only [For the Alliance] run. It essentially means, “I’d like a group of highly skilled and geared individuals to carry me through [insert dungeon/raid here]. I’ll be putting myself on /follow behind the healers and watching TV in the next room if anyone has any questions”.

    I have, however, used the “linky-linky” system to my advantage and received more than a few laughs in the process. My main is a Draenei ret/holy pally (no hate mail please!) while my alt-of-the-month – I have three who take turns at being my favourite – is a Draenei enhancement/resto shaman. After a guild Naxx 10 fun-run, said enhancement shammy whom I refer to as “little-muu” managed to bag herself all of the relevant achievements for that raid including the “Undying” achievement and title.

    Needless to say, I was on the lookout for a “linky-linky” Naxx 10 run come Tuesday morning and when I found one I pounced on it, showing off my new title and linking my achievement with pride! On entering the instance and jumping ion their vent, I was greeted with something very close to the following:

    RL – WTF!?! You’re not even hit-capped
    Little-muu – I have the achievement
    RL – Green trinkets! BoA mace with Spellpower!?! That’s an alt?!? Thought you were enhance?
    Little-muu – It was the best-looking mace at the time – and I have the achievement and need the gear in here
    *Sniggers from more than a few people in the vent channel*
    RL – Nah mate, come back when you’re geared
    *Kicked from raid*
    Little-muu – But, but, I have the achievement. You didn’t say anything about “no alts who’d been carried through”!
    *The sniggers have become guffaws by now*

    After leaving that vent, I received several whispers from people in the raid congratulating me on supplying them with a good laugh at the RLs expense – and an invite on an Ulduar run to help myself and a few others gear up their alts. I had a great time and had none of the usual PuG blues. We wiped and wiped on Kologarn (DPS was waaaay too low for Ulduar), but each wipe was met with a chuckle as we picked ourselves up and tried again.

  19. I’ve definitely got to agree.

    This doesn’t apply only to WoW, either. I’ve been spending some time playing Guild Wars lately, and titles on GW function pretty much the same way Achievements do. People discriminate based on how high of a rank you have in a particular title, but in reality it often has nothing to do with actual player skill (with a few notable exceptions.) The only real correlation is with time spent farming ranks.

  20. Great article. On my server, this is terrible. I had a main healer who did all the new 80 content up to the beginning of Uld. Knew the fights, had the achievements. After a summer away, I leveled up a lock. She’s been trying for three months to get into a Naxx PUG and darkened the doors once. Never even finished the darn thing.

    For some of the higher content, I appreciate the gear checking. But for the basics, especially when the majority of players are beyond the basics it’s a little crazy. So thanks for taking our soapbox and standing on it 🙂

  21. On my realm, for new content that’s just release within the week, we have people pugging for heroic mode while requiring you to have done the ten-man mode. For older content, we have pugs that require you to have the achievement before a certain date.

    For example the Emalon achievement must be before the first nerf and so on.

    I think it’s all about the cost of pugging. With a bad group, you could “waste” one week of progression, and you don’t have that many weeks to waste. With mounts being awarded for raiding achievement, Blizzard also further pushed up the opportunity cost of a failed PUG.

    In making end-tier content accessible to all, Blizzard had also pushed up the pace of progression for all. Because it is all within reach, you don’t want to “waste” time on lower tier content just because other people made mistakes. And with the limited try mechanism, the cost is even higher.

    Hence the vetting process becomes more stringent, requirements inflate, and people are even less tolerant of mistakes.

    Achievements have been killing PUGs since Tier 7, when my then social guild organizes guild runs for the sole purpose “so that you can get into pugs”.
    .-= Maaya´s last blog ..Cultural shock in TWOW =-.

  22. I 100% completely disagree.

    If I don’t know the person at all, and have never raided with them before, what kind of metric am I supposed to use on determining if they join the raid or not?

    If I’m putting together a 25 player raid, That means I have to make prohibitively heavy use of the armory, or some other service. (IE; Be.imba mass check.)

    The bottom line is the same. I’ll see if you have your achievement for the raid, AND I’ll thoroughly inspect your gear, gemming, etc… AND, I KNOW what your gear should look like. (I have an 80 of every class and research them thoroughly, and keep up to date with changes.)

    So, what you are arguing for, essentially is for the raid leader to NOT check the gear/experience of raid members, fill slots, and then try and cover for the incompetence of the people will will inevitably be bad? In addition, the other raiders who ARE geared, will be extremely resentful of the poorly geared/experienced raiders, and the raid leader for inviting them!

    By not applying some sort of standard to the raid members, you have a very good chance of not completing the raid and wasting your time. I can’t possibly test every players competence by having all the DPS pound away on a dummy for a few five minute blocks.

    Using your system essentially creates a situation where geared and experienced players are doing all the work, when the hunter is doing 1k dps in quest greens. Thats just as bad a situation (If not worse, b/c you are unlikely to complete the encounter at all!) than the “mechanical run”. I don’t want my pug run to be super friendly. I have a guild for that, I want the pug to get in, down the boss, and get out with minimum idiocy.

    Gear and achievement checks are the only possible way to even try and sort out the good from the bad.

    I don’t have fun raiding with fail people.

  23. Linking Undying, 3 Drake OS 25, and Val’anyr’s enough to get me into most pugs ^^. It’s my all access pass!

  24. Thanks everyone!

    @Big-muu – turned away from 5 mans with greens? Really? 5 mans? … What are those drops for in Heroics? Ah wait, they’re for DEing, not for someone to equip!
    Though *that’s* a good way to deal with the linkylibky raid leaders, kudos to you! Sounds like you had fun in Ulduar which is the main aim. And besides why *not* bash away at Naxx and Ulduar in non-245s? It’s entirely possible to complete them both in blues, as Foreststump reminds us.

    @Kaelin – interesting, I hadn’t considered that it might be a problem in other games too. What do you think that says about the MMORPG community as a whole atm, and do you think it’s worse in one or other game?

    @Krin – quite. Well, I wonder if some servers will see players flock to other servers where they can get into say, Naxx. Then what will their previous servers do for a lack of players, I wonder? Hope you get a chance to set things on fire soon!

    @Maaya – I think you’ve got something there (and that is quite a tough Emalon requirement). People don’t like ‘wasting’ time – it’s about personal attainment and achievement rather than group teamwork and achievement as guilds felt and sought in TBC. I wonder if this was one of the automatic outcomes of Blizz deciding to change raid accessibility. What do you think?
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: Preparing for Twin Valkyr (10) heroic tonight. Seems most groups use sameish tactics as normal mode. Anyone do anything hugely differently? =-.

  25. @Greg – “So, what you are arguing for, essentially is for the raid leader to NOT check the gear/experience of raid members, fill slots, and then try and cover for the incompetence of the people will will inevitably be bad?”

    Given the few disagreements above relate to Mimetir saying “DO use WoWHeroes”, I think it’s safe to say that she does in fact suggest checking gear!

    And, as noted above, having an achievement and being competent ain’t in any way the same thing. If there was a way of checking if people were competent I’d love that, but achievements ain’t it.

  26. Ahh, achievement linking, I remember when my lowbie, blue kitted warlock, got the VoA 25 achievement for the first time. On Emalon, I walked in, died instantly, and the raid won anyway. So I got the achievement, despite being completely useless, and having nonexistent dps.

    Ah, but what about being a tank? They’ve got to stay alive to get an achievement, haven’t they? Well, not if they did the thing in DPS.

    Kit checking is a bit better, high level kit tends to suggest that someone’s been raiding for a while. However, this isn’t a true indication of their ability either, as you can raid for ages with an accommodating guild, be terrible, but still get kit. Less likely though.

    In the end, getting to know people, and their abilities is the only sure fire way to judge, but frankly just about anything’s better than achievement linking.

  27. A gear check or an achievement test, can be just as easily a measure of the players attendance on raids and will in no way in particular reflect on their ability to play in a manner that will see the PUG succeed.

    Firstly as a RL ask yourself what your goal is, if the run is about selling loot and making lots of emblems then tailor your run to achieve that. If the drops don’t matter as they will be disenchanted or sold why run an instance that will provide gear? If this is your goal then running an instance with people suitably geared to defeat the chosen instance should be the main goal in composing the raid.

    In this instance couldn’t a good RL balance and juggle different gear levels and achievements to make a workable group? If there are 6 toons with a gear level of 230+ going into Naxx then maybe taking on a few undergeared Alts may still work into the overall aim of the raid?

    If you are wanting to run an instance to progress your own gear level, then probably you should be expecting 9 other people all similarly geared, after all you will all be sharing a similar goal in the raid. You should also expect here that people may not have done the bosses or have seen it all.

    You may travel in by just a hand full of bosses and the wipe too many times, but if you saw even a few bosses and some players took home some loot then I would argue this raid actually achieved its goal.

    From what I am reading there seems to be a third type of raid, where people want to gear up and without the risk associated with other people who are gearing up. I don’t see a problem with setting up a raid like this as such.

    Here the aim of the raid is in line with my first scenario but rather than taking on undergeared folks as a response to having a core of well geared it starts with a group of undergeared folks and looks to add better geared players into the raid.

    The trouble I see is posting in trade chat “Me and 3 mates are looking for 2 DPS to help us gear up by running Naxx, looking for 2,000 dps plus.” would leave a lot of people not wanting to join that group. However, posting “LFM DPS link gear and achievements” probably will get more responses and offer the RL More choices.

    The first posting is probably going to create a happier raid if it forms, all the players involved will have the goal of the raid clearly defined and understand what they are trying to achieve. The second quote will probably have the raid form, but overall it will most likely fail because the goal of the raid hasn’t been defined.

    If as a RL you are properly communicating the aim of the raid and the players are being somewhat honest as to their capabilities to fill their niche in the raid then all you need these tools for is to have them act as a check. Will a WOWHeroes score of 800 really provide sufficient DPS to hit the 2k advertised? Will the guy that posted up a score of 2900 actually have a good enough spell rotation to out DPS the guy who posts up a 2750 score?

    At some point the RL will be taking a judgement call as to the benefit of one player over another. Herein you have the greatest incentive to be honest as to your capabilities as a player, if you oversell yourself you will only get invited once, if you meet the expectations of the raid (even if those expectations are not set high) you will find that you get invited back.

    So as RL communicate the purpose of the raid and as a player define how you can contribute for that purpose. Communication is the key, the more the better for everyone. Eventually your ability to run or play in raids will have one overriding factor that gets you included or excluded, your reputation.

  28. Holyschmit says:

    Walking or Talking?

    Blizzard wanted casual players to experince top-end raiding – they have succeeded to the extent that gear and achievements are no longer a guide to a players raid ability. Old skool raids like Gruuls or Mag were PUG killers – one shotting them was hard for a guild – almost impossible for a PUG. If u had these achives and gear at this level u could Walk the Walk – not just Talk the Talk.

    These days I see talkers – lots of them – finding Walkers – not that easy – should be a achivement in its own right (Complete a PUG raid without any player acting like a little bitch at any point during the raid lock out period)

  29. The other thing that bites me if I’m pugging is the old 4k dps for loot. It’s complete bullshit for a number of reasons.

    1. Flawed to the Max – tanks/heals could be very fail but still have more access to loot than a 3.9k dps.
    2. To me this says that the RL doesnt understand fight mechanics, so that poor guy who’s on ice in Anub does a fantastic job but sits on 3.5k dps doesnt get a shot. Fight would have been fail without him. This is usually the RL who puts pallys on raid and holy priests/druids on tanks

    I’m lucky that I rarely pug and I am generally getting psts every 10-15 minutes asking me to help out on heals from those I have run with in the past. I like to think this is because I’ve proved myself to be a helpful and useful raider.. could be wrong, could just be looking up my gearscore 🙁

    .-= Upyursh´s last blog ..UI Coming Along – I think =-.

  30. @Greg – thanks for adding your thoughts to the debate! However I have to disagree with you – I think you’ve missed one of my main points. I said I believe gear checking is useful if not essential for higher instances but that a) some raid leaders check the wrong things or only take a brief glance and b) a gear check should only be one part of the decision on whether to invite a player. Gear doesn’t 100% = skill (I know many good players who when in blues have out DPSed players fully decked in purples). Also, getting a feel on whether they’re friendly is a big one for me. These three things together, *including* gear checking, are important imo.

    Also imo it’s important to remember that neither full greens nor full purples automatically mean that someone is competent and not going to be lazy. I’ve seen players of both gear types assume they don’t need to put that much effort in. How do you prepare for that attitude in correctly-geared players?

    @Amanal – sharp analysis, and thanks for adding a new dimension. Yes, assessing goals and having the whole group aware of them is fairest on all – and will lead to greater overall success for the run. That honesty may also lead to repeat invites as you say, or building a network of reliable players on whom to call in the future.

    @Upyursh – the ‘4k DPS for loot’ isn’t something I often see but yes, good point. It rather shoots itself in the foot imo. Sure, you might not run with these people ever again but – maybe that bit of kit for the 3.8k guy will help him progress, whereas you might say the 6k DPS guy who’s sitting back in near as nitwibble full 245s doesn’t need upgrades as much. If they both put in equal effort and did their best, why should some get priority? I think the longer the run continues with that sort of rule the more fractious the group will become – some players may decide they may as well give up and others may shout and scream. Do you agree, or?
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: Preparing for Twin Valkyr (10) heroic tonight. Seems most groups use sameish tactics as normal mode. Anyone do anything hugely differently? =-.

  31. Re: Gearscore ( and @ Mimetir) – the “gearscore rating requirement” most pug leaders use is an add-on and not the Wow-Heroes value (which is generally about half of your actual combined gearscore.) Check out wow.curse.com for the actual mod.

    Regarding the whole debate of qualifying players for PuG content, it seems to me that many leaders are looking for the easy way out, shirking responsibility and accountability for what they believe is a formulaic path to success. This is never more apparent to me than when I hop on one of my baby alts (who aren’t guilded in my main’s guild) and try to PuG. I’m every manner of titled on my main, but I have to resort to sales pitches to even get an invite if I want to bring my semi-geared DK to a heroic. (Oh yeah, I’ve been turned down for heroic because my Ulduar gear didn’t measure up.)

  32. I think this article is pretty far from a neutral point of view. My first complaint is with the screenshot, no matter how nicely put, a comment like that is bound to cause drama. In situations where a raid leader makes a call you don’t like, it’s best to just leave the group with a minimum of fuss. It’s also misleading as it implies the person was kicked solely for not knowing who the main tank was, but it’s mentioned later in the article that the person in question was kicked because his/her HP were to low.

    As for the basic premise, the article supposes a whole host of maladies as a direct result of the raid leader restricting the raid to those who have completed the event and have the appropriate gear. On to the specific points addressed in the article.

    The one thing I agree with the article on, is that the restrictions certainly do make the eligible player pool smaller. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I’ve been in many pugs without even a modicum of quality control that fill quickly with people in blues and greens and then face plant on the first boss.

    If I’m not mistaken most people join a pug hoping for a smooth and easy run, or as you put it, a fast almost mechanical run. Certainly I’ve never gone into a pug thinking “I hope we just down the first boss and then wipe alot”. A raid leader wanting to make a run fast and painless is an attribute I’d like to see more often. I’ve been in lots of pugs where the raid leaders just try to fill the raid in a hurry and try to push through encounters most of the players don’t know or are not geared enough for. Todate this has almost never ended well.

    As for the comment about boosting which of these players sound like they are expecting boosting more, The raid leader who is trying to make sure everyone can pull their weight, or the player whose never done this encounter on his alt and is inadequately geared for it?

    As for judging someone by their gear score and achievements, what other empirical data is there to judge them by? You see this has been an argument on my server and in my raiding alliance for quite some time, and is ultimately what drew me to comment on this article. This article and many others of it’s ilk say raid leaders are blinded by these metrics and are turning away good players right and left. This argument falls apart upon closer examination.

    First most players are going to be of approximately average skill level, second most players are better at their mains than their alts, third if you don’t have gear you will need to work much harder/play better to be as effective as someone who does.

    So what are you Losing by not letting an under geared alt that has never finished the encounter into your raid? Most likely an average skilled player who is on a character that for one reason or another he doesn’t normally raid with, and will very likely not be able to keep up with the better geared players.

    What do you gain by taking someone who has the appropriate gear score and achievement? Someone who knows at least the basics of the encounter on the character they are taking, and given average skill won’t do terrible in the role they are performing.

    Sure there are exceptions, someone could have been dragged through an encounter by their guild, and/or had a lucky spree of VoA runs, but those are far less likely occurrences than a player who got the gear by working for it and made it through the encounter on their own merits.

    Judging players by their characters gear score and achievements isn’t fool proof, but its a damn sight better than just believing that they are good players.

  33. Another side to achievement-linking that you forgot to mention is that addons exist for creating fake achievement links. Raid leaders who want people to have the achievement but are too lazy to check it themselves deserve what they get when given fake links.


  34. @Grimgold – thanks for the feedback! Firstly, on the picture – apologies if it seems misleading to you. it was intended as a visual example of what I was talking about. Yes, there was more to it but I am limited on picture size and what is shown is all that I could fit into the space unfortunately! Hence the disclaimer.

    Secondly, yes, this article is far from neutral. It’s meant to be. I wanted to share my opinion on something that I, as a player, really dislike in the game and get others to do the same – so thanks for entering into the debate..

    I’m not saying that a raid leader is blinded by the empirical data of an achievement and gear score. In fact, I say that those are useful. But the crux of my argument is that those may not be representations of the truth. As people have said in comments here – what happens if someone has bought their achievement runs?

    Or their guild ran them through things?

    Or they died in VoA and still haven’t got the idea that fire is bad?

    Well, in all those cases they still have the achievement but don’t necessarily have the assumed skillset,. Meanwhile, someone on an ‘unachieved’ alt might know the tactics inside out. Or that guy in your group who’s in blues? Well, he might have completed Ulduar along with the rest of his guild, all in similar kit.

    Also, personally, my main reason for joining a PUG is not to get a smooth and easy run. I don’t just want loot or badges. My main goal is to have fun, hopefully with friendly people. If we smash through the instance, great. If we wipe – nevermind, so long as we have fun (and learn!) while doing it. Don’t know if I’m in the minority on this – I seem to know a fair few people of the same mindset, but how do you guys feel on this?

    In my opnion it’s important to remember that assumptions, such as those based on certain empirical data such as gear score and achievements – that is, things that may be flawed – are not safe measures. Just maybe there are no safe recruitment measures, what do you think guys?
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: So Herding Cats made progress in ToGC on Sunday. Tough times but by gods we had fun doing it. =-.

  35. I posted an entry on my blog roughly a month ago touching on this topic, but I attacked it from the angle of gear score and the PUGs that require it (a certain gear score). I’ll just paraphrase a bit from that, where I was in Wintergrasp after a victory and VoA pugs were forming. General chat went something like this:

    Person A: LFM VoA 25, link achiev
    Person B: Better off asking for GS. People can be carried to achievs
    Person A: People can get carried to gear
    Me: “People can get carried”
    Me: There is a pattern here.

    Got a couple of proverbial pats on the back in chat and tells after that, heh.

  36. @Kazgrel
    That’s a nice one. =D

    My Druid is nearing 80 and I’ve been thinking about this problem, too. I’m on a fresh start, a fresh server, and only recently got invited to a guild. Although the reason for the invite was someone found my healing acceptable in the dungeons, I don’t think I’m anywhere near the core of the guild, that is, I’ll have to gear up on my own outside of the guild.

    It is times like this that achievements really hurt.

    But after lurking in guild chat and another independent chat channel, I’ve found there’s also a lot of groups that silently go for heroics and raids without much of a gear check or achievement check. Perhaps the situation isn’t really that bad, perhaps there’s till hope for us, laying deep in the hearts of the people that really play this game for the fun of doing PUGs?
    .-= Maaya´s last blog ..Ditching TellMeWhen for SexyCooldown =-.

  37. ZachPruckowski says:

    Grimgold – I don’t think the complaint is with PUG leaders refusing to take undergeared people, it’s with PUG leaders refusing to take people for which the content is not farm content.

    You don’t need 35k HP or 2k DPS to do Heroic Utgarde. Someone pulling 3k in Ulduar isn’t failing, they’re at the point where it’s progression content for them.

    I don’t think anyone’s saying that PUGs should take a 1200 DPSer to Koralon, but simultaneously, you’re leaving out a lot of good players by only inviting people who have the place on farm.

  38. I often wonder about the pug leaders who are using/ misusing achieves to grade the players in their raid, do they themselves have the achieves they are requesting or are they after a free ride, how would they react to being asked for their own achievement record linked.

    The other pet hate of mine is the raid leader who has a specific healer preferance without understanding the mechanics of the classes, on one occasion I heard a player asking for a priest healer, as they were the only class that was competent enought to keep the raid topped up. I took great offence to this being a resto shaman. I currently play a resto shaman and often keep an eye on the entire raid and top up the tank when the tank healers need support.

    I am on of the lucky few who doesnt need to pug I am in a guild that runs regular raids and can really on improve my gear with progress runs which we do on a regular basis. While I will help friends with thier own progress I prefer not to pug due the the arrogance bullying and rudeness of some players who spoil the game for others and putting off players who given time could prove to be epic players.

  39. Yeah, you’re right. It’s my first time to encounter this phrase: “Link Achiev Or No Inv”. It sounds horrible, huh!?.. But it’s quite interesting.

  40. As a raid leader in my guild myself I can see where you are coming from. Sometimes pug raids take it way to seriously and aggressively (I saw an epic achievement being required for Obsidian Sanctum the other day). I have been in some situations where I am on an alt who is quite well geared and even when I tell them that I am my guilds raid leader and that I have a fairly thorough understanding of the mechanics, and have done it many times on my main I still get declined. While this is annoying, because I KNOW I can pull my weight, I can understand where the raid leader is coming from, and as long as he remains civil and politely informs me that he is really looking for people with the achievement, I wont take it personally.

    I have been in situations where I have asked for an achievement when I need one or two pugs for a guild ToC raid (fairly casual guild, with people in odd timeszones). I don’t think its necessarily a bad thing to do – Its just something you don’t want to rely totally on. They link the achievement, I go to be.imba (Wow-heros runs really slow for me for some reason) have a look at their gear, and if it is a class I am rather familiar with I might check out their talents to make sure they have certain core abilities.

    I have in the past taken quite a few people without the achievement, even when advertising that I want it. As have some other raid leaders when I am on my alt. But these are the people that whisper me and say ‘Hey, I don’t have the Achievement, but I have researched it on wowwiki and am fairly confident I can do ok’.

    I use the achievement as a way to say ‘I want you to be kind of serious, and know vaguely what to do’. If you don’t convey that message, you are liable to hunters who do 900dps despite using 232s, or healers who don’t understand that when a leader asks you to heal the people with incinerating flesh for the third time, you have to heal that target. Yes, I know – their people too. But there are a fair few players who haven’t quite grasped how raiding works out there. And while its more than fine to help these people gear up in your guild, when your doing a pug there is no certainty they will listen or learn.

    Also I don’t think your sweeping comment you make about pug raid leaders is fair; ‘sitting back and getting a free ride’ is not something that regularly happens for me. Sure some pugs undoubtedly do it, but I have found that most pugs that require achievements on my server will have a leader who organises things and makes sure everyone knows what they are doing.

    In the end it boils down to the fact that some people aren’t so good at raiding, and since most wont care to admit this (Theres a shaman in my guild who I wont take to harder raids anymore, because after his 10th onyxia run he still asks how to work out where the deep breaths are coming from, despite being told repeatedly), you have to try and vet people so that they don’t slip through and your raid can succeed.

    Nasty people will always be nasty, lazy people will always be lazy. Have to strike a balance between being to serious and to laid back. Yeah its a game, and yeah its about having fun, but wiping over and over because someone isn’t doing their job isn’t fun, it just annoys everyone else.

    Ciaran of Caelestrasz

    PS. To add an interesting anecdote, last weekend I did a ToC pug on my Gnome Death Knight (Different server to my main, I go there to hide when guild drama happens). A DPS death knight showed up weilding a red sword of courage, no offhand and blue pvp gear – as blood spec. If you don’t play a deathknight heres an overview of the specs;
    -Blood Two handed mainly physical damage.
    -Frost; Two handed or Dual weild depending on your setup.
    -Unholy; Disease damage, most people say two handed here.

    When I pointed out that Death knights really didn’t want to be using single handed weapons, and that if they did, they wanted to dual weild. I was ignored.

    Ten minutes later he caused a wipe on Icehowl. Not by dying to the enrage, he had died to fire on Gormok. But because the yeti got enraged and I died before our hunter could dispell the enrage. OK thought I, the other tank picked him up and we were going along ok. The next thing I know, the Warrior who was tanking Icehowl has left the group. I didn’t think he was the type to ragequit as he had been very civil when we were working out the tanking assignments, and especially when the boss was nearly down. It turned out that the Deathknight (Who had been demanding assist earlier, and had been given it because the raid leader was in the same guild as him) had removed the warrior while playing around with the options. Needless to say, the warrior was no longer on the confused healers bars, and it was a wipe.

    As expected the raid leader got kind of annoyed and kicked the death knight out of the raid. In this particular instance, a gearcheck/vetting process of some kind would have been in order.

    Wow that turned into a long comment o.O

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