It Came From the PuG!

It Came From the PuG!

Definition : PuG

Pickup Group; used commonly in WoW and other MMORPGs. Basically means a group that isn’t formed by people you know; instead, it’s formed up of random, possible noobs that can completely wreck whatever experience you are getting the group for.

Ex. “I was in a pug with Oversoul and that F#$*& ninjaed T7.5 glove what a dick !”

We’ve all had those moments where we’re really bored, or we have an alt that we want to run through an instance that that rest of the guild is done with or just isn’t in the mood to run. Others of us are professionals at this and stick exclusively to doing raids this way. The item I’m talking about is the PuG. or Pick Up Group. This is a random assortment of players taken from either Looking For Group or sometimes trade chat. The power of a PuG is quite amazing honestly. You’re taking players that most likely have never met, never played together before and you are taking them in one direction together.PuGs also have some amazing stories attached to them. They are terrible, awesome and often times hilarious.

Personally I’ll admit I’m a glutton for punishment. I love PuGs because they give me a certain amount of freedom I don’t have when we’re running a raid or when it’s an all guildies group. I can do and try zany and weird things I couldn’t otherwise get away with  and see if they work. I’ve had amazing PuGs and I’ve had ones so terrible you can’t help but laugh hysterically

Let me share a couple gems from my recent PuG experience

I often miss my guilds 10 man runs on Lodur due to real life popping up. Sometimes late night I’ll log in and park myself in Dalaran, grab a beer and sit around trade chat waiting for a Uld / VoA  10 group to need a healer. I dutifully send my tell and when they ask my gear level get to gleefully tell them “working on rounding out my T8.5”. Needless to say it is not long before the invite comes in.

A little over a week ago I found myself looking for an Emalon 10 group. I hadn’t killed him that week and badges with a chance at free pvp / pve loot is always welcomed. I get in the group and find my way down to the vault as the group is being filled up. They were looking for a second healer when someone noticed my name.

“wait… Lodur… Lodur from world of matticus Lodur? Guys stop looking for another healer just let this guy solo heal it!”

Obviously he was just yanking around and we all had a good laugh at that and found a nice restoration Druid to come along with us. The group went really well despite a couple wipes and things came together after everyone figured out where to stand. We had a warlock that kept cracking jokes about going healing spec and helping out. It was a good PuG, we all had a good time and a couple upgrades were found for members of the group. Everyone was even tempered and were having a blast making crude comments and bashing a few mobs in the face.

Before that on a late night for me a guildie asked if I wanted to come heal Iron Council for a PuG Uld10. I said sure and hopped a bird. Got there and got in, popped a couple elixirs and got ready for the pull. There was a green Resto Shaman and a paladin healing with me. This time I did step up and organized who was healing who and doing what and we began. About 45 seconds into the pull a tank goes down. I’m laughing because I immediately get 4 tells saying “sorry we’re normally better then this”  we dust ourselves off and go back in and at it. The druid tank was making all sorts of bad jokes in between and even though we never downed IC, it was fun and I made a couple new friends. I also helped a new resto shaman out with ideas and tips to help him become competitive for raids.

A little time before that I was on my Death Knight and I got a tell asking if I was DPS or Tanking spec. I replied with “both” and I got an invite right off. The group was for a Naxx 10 run so I figured why the hell not I’ll go along with it. 3 DKs, 1 Boomkin trying to heal, one Holy Priest and one Resto Druid with a couple hunters and rogues. We make our way in and do pretty good. The group had already cleared most of the wings and only had military and then Saph and Kel. 4 Horsemen took a while to get but we eventually did it, but that’s when things went south. We get to Saphiron and the guy tanking it starts explaining the fight… but he’s doing it wrong. I pipe up and correct him on some of the things. (like the fact you DO NOT want to stand behind big angry skeletal dragon…). He immediately gets pissy and throws a bit of a tantrum. Five minutes later he calms down and we do the pull… only to have him turn her towards the raid. Two dead healers later we wipe. Not only did this happen once, but two more times after. I asked him nicely to turn the dragon away but he kept doing it. So, I hop into my tank gear, switch to frost presence and sit where the dragon should be facing. I see the dragon start to turn, and I taunt keeping it where it should be. He taunts to get it to face him, I taunt back. Eventually I get kicked from the group and get a nasty tell. I personally thought it was hilarious.

Lately though I haven’t had to pug much. I’ve been spending more time doing guild only runs and even on my new DK over on Icecrown, Rhyane, Nytesong, Ezrii and the rest of the Black Powder Foundry crew make sure I don’t have to PuG. (thanks again guys!) But truth be told I feel the itch again. I think I might have to find my way to a couple late night PuGs to get my fix.

So how about you? Have any PuG stories to share? Do you love PuGs or hate them?

Until next time, Happy Healing


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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.


  1. One lesson I learned the very hard way is that seeing “LFM for Naxx, Spider Wing down” is a bad sign for a PUG. If a group broke up after spider wing, odds are they are really bad. I joined one such PUG, and the nominal leaders weren’t doing anything besides inviting people. We started on plague wing, and it took us a long time to even get past the first round of trash. A half dozen or so people left before we even got to the first boss. I probably should have done the same, but there was that incredible train wreck aspect to it that I couldn’t turn away from. Also, some random member of the group stepped up and started taking charge, and he was pretty entertaining, so it wasn’t too soul crushing. Eventually we downed the first boss, but people were totally unable to do the dance on the second boss, so we broke up there.

    Other than that, though, my PUG raiding experience has been fairly positive. I’d recommend that you only join groups doing gear checks, but the super bad group above also claimed to be doing them. Another warning sign: a group that claims to be doing gear checks sends you an invite seconds after you ask to join the group. They can’t be doing a very thorough check.

  2. LOL @ the Saphirron story. Thats just amazing.

    My friends have been trying to do some Naxx25 the past few weeks (mainly to gear alts/friends who are now 80) But after 2 weeks of headaches I didnt go again this week.

    first week: I really didnt realize after 2 quarters down that we only had 4 healers… me almost solo healing everything lol. Once we got to Patchwerk the tanks went SPLAT! I tried organizing the healers, some people even switched into their resto specs but it didnt help and the group broke up after people kept dragging green blobs to us by patchwerk >.< So we probably looked like complete noobs, even though ive done the fight quite a few times! The group broke up after awhile, I forgot what happened. Maybe its better if I dont remember!! ;(

    My guildies were in a Naxx10 last night and were crying for a healer. I was already locked, but someone else went to help heal Maexxna. They couldnt even down the boss (no one was dispelling poison) – and I found out they were in Spider wing… for 2 WHOLE HOURS. I dont even understand how you could be in there for 2 hours LOL I did not envy them!! 😡

    Antimonis last blog post..I’m still alive I swear

  3. Some pugs really suck, and make me want to cry. But I always come back for more. Very simply, I love to run dungeons, and pugs are the best way for me to get to do that.

    elfennaus last blog post..Patch Day, version 3.1.3

  4. I run PUGs all the time on my Paladin, some are good, some are bad, some are just abysmal.

    The heroics seem to work out even if the rest of the group is bad, seeing as I am the tank or the healer, I can generally make it happen.

    Raids, however, well, can’t really control that, bad things happen, they don’t always work out, but there is always a great story behind it.

    PUGs are actually one of the categories I am writing about in my blog, I enjoy reading about people’s crazy experiences, so why not share mine?

    Xylchs last blog post..“I Can’t Afford the Repairs”

  5. Last night I ran an epic VoA-10 PuG.

    The group was filled with solid players who knew their roles and had great gear. I think my shadow priest came in at the bottom of the meters on Emalon doing 2.5K DPS because Shadow Priests suck at target switches (not that I’m bitter). So clearly we have decent players.

    But PuGs rarely have good communication.

    When Emalon hit 15% health, our Resto Shaman popped Bloodlust. At something like 8-10% health, Emalon Overcharged an add. Half of the DPS switched to the add, while half of the DPS kept burning Emalon. The end result was that there wasn’t enough DPS to kill either Emalon or the add before the add exploded. Suddenly there was only a Resto druid left standing, who immediately high-tails it and runs away. As Emalon starts to chase the resto druid, he dies from DoT damage.


  6. I. Love. Pugs. I’ve never tried to hide that I was the queen of pugging Kara back in TBC, and I still love to get my share of poorly organized players. There’s just something awfully charming about bunching up with a lot of strangers, expectiong nothing, and getting a lot. I’m not talking about loot, places like Naxx 10 and such usually has awfully little to add for a Ulduar raider. But it’s the people, gosh darn what people I meet while pugging. Laughing, wiping, it’s just fun.
    People of Azeroth, join a pug! I demand you.

    Consoleas last blog post..Baer drood saz no mewmew

  7. @ Juzaba
    LoL, I love that story… that is just epic.

    Xylchs last blog post..Downtime, Yet Again

  8. PuGs are such a mixed bag. I met my current guild through a random VoA PuG, and we always have a semi-PuG raid due to our lack of geared members. These have often been some of my favorite times in WoW. Especially when you pick up a guy in T8 who isnt saved to Naxx because his guild doesnt run it anymore :).
    On the other hand I have had absolutely awful experiences as well. I got in a 25 man Naxx that included members from some of the top guilds on my server last night, including some who had clearly spent a few weeks clearing Ulduar at this point (even a Champion!). Not only were they not very impressive, they were also huge jerks. They made lots of cracks about scrubs and how bad they were (presumably I fall into this category, being from a mostly social guild with no rep on the server). Then my ret pally in 200/213 gear pulled out-DPSed all but two of them on the gargoyles in plague. Since we failed to kill a boss, that was the best test I got of DPS. 4 wipes later with no boss kills and I decided it was time to go.

  9. Teazone says:

    You never know what you’re going to get with pugs, but for me i always find it hilarious. For bad groups i always find it as a gear check for myself to see if i can keep them alive even if they’re lava surfing, and for good groups its always some quick gold and a few badges.

    Favorite pug comments
    “stop casting angel form, you die every time you use it !!”
    “lf2m priests naxx25 military wing + saph+ kt”

  10. Neviril says:

    I have a pretty good story of two bad pugs. I count them in one because they happened on the same day, not too far apart.

    I was a recently ding’d 80 shaman, maybe a couple days at 80. I’d bought a few BoE epics, 2 of which I still use now, working through Ulduar. One run was for Heroic Nexus; the other was Heroic UK. The Nexus group was going fairly well, although the tank seemed to have a bit of a problem holding aggro. Nobody died, and I had figured it was the dps over doing it, until we get to the first boss in Nexus. We pull, get her to around 50% and I start getting hammered. I announce it in party chat, and die. This happened a couple more times and I eventually was kicked, with my healing being faulted for the wipes. My reply was simple: You are aware that I was the first person to die, right? That the tank never taunted off of me? Well, yea, but it’s still your fault. I have staunchly refused to group with that guild; in fact, I’m not sure they’re even still around.

    The group in UK was much the same; first boss, multiple wipes. This time, however, I was getting Ice Cubed and not getting broken out. Kicked again, same reasoning, heals not up to snuff.

    Those are pretty standard of my experiences with bad PuGs, and most of the reason that I’ll so rarely ever PuG. My gear has come a long way since then, as I was wearing a mix of L80 blues, BoE epics and some of the better L70 badge gear. I was just under 2k spellpower buffed, and around 400 mp5 buffed. But hey, I sucked at healing so hard, that a couple days later I did a timed run in CoS wearing that same gear 🙂

  11. @ myself.

    For some reason part of my story is missing o_O;; whoops, maybe it was the emotes i was using.

    second week: we get another 25 people together, mostly guildies on alts too. everything is going well, although the dps/tanks arent up to par this time. one of the hurdles we went through was trying to kill razuvious – my friend and I were the priests and MC kept breaking every few seconds! I found out later by researching online it was probably a shadow pally’s shadow aura breaking them. “So we probably looked like complete noobs, even though ive done the fight quite a few times! The group broke up after awhile, I forgot what happened. Maybe its better if I dont remember!! ;(”

    now it makes sense :D;;

    Antimonis last blog post..I’m still alive I swear

  12. I agree, I love PUGs. I get to meet new people (only a minority of which are asses) and have some fun. PUGs are a must-do in my day.

  13. On an alt I joined a PUG run for “Just Flame Leviathan” which is bad news already, but it seemed like a shallow enough commitment that if it went south it would be no big deal. It was terribly bad and a miracle we downed the big guy.

    1)The RL started the event by enabling hard mode. Which meant we had to clear everything to undo it.

    2)A death knight kept dying multiple times in his motorcycle as we cleared the trash. He also was not in a vehicle and mounted on a horse the first time FL came out.

    3)We wiped and upon taking a look at Mr. DK, he was in @#%& green gear! His motorbike had 50,000 hitpoints, less than 10% of the usual HP for a bike.

    4)RL did not set Master Looter, so when we did down flame leviathan the roll windows popped up. We all rolled but I cringed when I saw the ungeared DK roll on Ironsoul, a nice 2H weapon. Luckily he didnt win it.

    It was so bad it was good 😉

    Most of our issues was the raid leader’s fault. If you decide to organize a pug, please put the minimum effort into getting appropriate members for the group, you will reduce aggravation for all others involved.

    *edited for spellz

    Davids last blog post..Fun Ulduar is Fun

  14. Galoheart says:

    I love PuGs.

    PuGs are an Adventure!

    All the good game Fun I’ve had was from a PuG.

    Many my Headaches was from a PuG as well. But I would never go back and change it.

    Many good things i’ve learned was from being in a PuG.

    Many friends I met in a PuG. Many people I helped gear up Tanking PuGs.

    I knew at least 1/3 my server I’m sure just from constantly running and Tanking 5 man PuGs for Reg or Heroic Instances. That’s allot of runs!

    I met my GM and his Wife in a PuG. As wellmy first raid guild GM was the same guy I met in a PuG. A great guild it turn out to be.

    My first Instance and Heroic was a PuG.

    Every single 5 man Heroic I Tank is almost 100% PuG and PuG friends.

    I learned to Tank in the trenches of Pugging everything.

    I’m no scrub but I sure love PuGs even on a bad day. They are just too much unpredictable fun. Always unpredictable, and just as fun.

    Ardent Defender

  15. Used to pug a lot, not so much now, but been to 3 recently on different chars. Dunno what’s up with my server but the first time I was astounded – message in /2 “lf dps uld 10” whispered on my dk and about 5min later an inv popped up. When i got there I noticed every single person was from a good guild, we tore through 8 bosses before calling if for sleep. Wasn’t as surprised when the same thing happened 2 days later on my priest – uld 10 again, 3am group – mostly alts of serious raiders, the only challenging thing was keeping my recount numbers up there with the other heaers (I know, vanity, but priests should be putting out a lot of hps in uld). Then yesterday went with my dk to a sarth 10+3 pug, was bored had plenty of rep money and fancied a shot at the mount – we 2 shot it…

    Seems a lot more quality players are pugging on my server now 😀

  16. I think my worst was a pug of Heroic Shattered Halls last year sometime. 3 guildies (Palatank, Warlock, and Healadin – me). Picked up a Rogue named after a pornstar who was hitting on our warlock all night (a real-life girl — she remembered pugging with him before and having the same thing happen) and a second warlock who told us he had passed out earlier in the day for no good reason and knocked out some teeth. Had to go afk at one point to ‘stop the bleeding’.

    We didn’t get past the gauntlet, and had an argument about Palatank weapons that actually spilled over into general chat afterwards. As thing were quieting down, Head Wound Harry the Warlock told me he didn’t think our healer had a great night (true, I didn’t) — I don’t think he realized I was the healer.

    jeffos last blog post..My Secret Identity

  17. I’m not thrilled by pugs, but since my schedule keeps me from raiding with my guild – I grit my teeth and try it from time to time. Especially as a healer, if a pug fails – it’s on our heads first.

  18. I almost always play solo or with just one other, so you might think PUGs are nothing new to me. But with WOTLK I really just began to PUG nearly everything. I have been in guilds that raid and in raids that came together by simply knowing a few from different guilds. But now that I left the guild and raids are disbanded I got into a few PUGs for raids which were really really bad (like the two hours in Spider wing…) and some that were alright but had bad raid leaders. And then there are PUGs that are just glorious, like that Naxx25 PUG with people from three raiding guilds, some I had not seen in over a year – and you tear through Naxx25 like a knife through butter on a rainy sunday afternoon – good moments.

    But I never completely regret PUGs (even if bad) because you always have at least one soul you share the agony with in tells. 🙂
    And you keep that contact. I’ve had several good heroics that were just glorious and almost always we do another one or two after we finished the first. I like going online at odd hours to see what kind of crowd hangs out at 2am – the drunken tank or almost sober mage is always hilarious or the half asleep healer who talks absolute nonesense (me).

    PUGs are a good way to get to know people – there sometimes might be someone you leveled your first toon with back 3 or 4 years ago, who knows?

    And you quickly learn that a Tank in all blues claiming he will MT that Naxx10 raid and they will clear the instance in about 3 hours? Nope, not going to happen. Even sleepy healers have to be in the mood to get the blame for every wipe for the next two hours… 😉

    pokayokes last blog post..Cascade Swans? WTF?

  19. I too love pugs – you do get some bad ones, but I find most of them are fairly competent and more importantly fun.

    And like Teazone said, the bad ones are a real chance to push yourself a bit – healing a mostly green geared tank in a heroic is always fun.

  20. I never really appreciated all of the negativity which is associated with PUGs. It all seems to have stemmed from WoW too as in other games PUGs are a lot more common and positive experiences. I think the problem with such a large player base is that we end up with a lot of players who don’t have any decent group etiquette.

    I wrote an article about PUGs when my blog first launched. Without PUGs I would never have met half of my online friends.

    We Fly Spitfiress last blog post..World of Warcraft – The Great Uniter

  21. Bubbles says:

    I’m leveling a pally in Outlands and may have possibly encountered the worst tank ever. A Blood Furnace pug, two dps, a healer (me), and a level 76 DK. I figure, well, this shouldn’t be too bad. I can solo the place on my 80 DK, so a 76 shouldn’t be having too much trouble.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to aoe tank. Our two dps (doing around 300 dps each) were *both* pulling aggro because the DK was not using DnD or Unholy Blight or Blood Boil. And on practically every pull, I got aggro as well. The kicker, though? Is when he said to me in party chat “lolol I can’t believe the mobs keep heading for you whenever you heal!”

    …. /facepalm

    WTB [People With More Than One Brain Cell]. PST.

  22. I have taken to putting people on ignore who drop out of pugs. One or two wipes is not bad when we are close each time, esp if we discuss and know exactly what went wrong. But it seems most people don’t want challenge they want an easy road to more badges/epix/honor and think the rest of us are here just for them.

    I understand if it seems hopeless, but if not then people who drop group I won’t ever group with again.

    Last week we died in H UP twice on the gauntlet, the first time the tank didn’t grab up the archers in back fast enough and i died, the second time we easily got to the boss and had him almost dead when I forgot to heal myself from his poison arrow 🙂 Yeah a dumb mistake but we had it except for that. So I said sorry I had tunnel vision we can do it, but then the tank quit and so we were done and we basically wasted all that time. We could have finished easily but he decided to be a baby about it.

    Last night we were in 25 naxx, our guild has to pug about 5-10 spots since we aren’t large enough. We don’t exactly have it on farm, we can clear 10 man over 2 days but I don’t think have ever cleared 25 yet. So anyway we finish spider wing with no wipes, not super fast but ok, and started the deathknight wing, and we wiped twice to the curse, we had only 2 people decursing to do an unfortunate mix of classes, and they were doing their job but 2 is not enough. (well the first time we died since we asked both DKs to pop army and apparently the army gets the curse too! heh )

    So we knew what was wrong and what we needed (we had only 23 or so so we could have gotten another mage) but instead one guy says “I was informed you guys cleared naxx, I was informed wrong” and quit. This guy was from one of the higher end raiding guilds. Guess it was an alt or something. Anyway we laughed. He too just wanted easymode.

    When things go well upgrades flow easily, if that’s all someone wants I wonder what they are doing playing a “game” which supposedly involves overcoming challenges, or if they are the type of player to show up to progression nights for their own guilds.

  23. I don’t like to run 5-mans if I can’t trust the healer. That’s why I pug only with my own healer, my little tree.

    But pugging can be really good. You get to know new people and can sometimes meet great players.

    And sometimes, the group just sucks. But that the reverse of the medal. And pugging raids is different from pugging 5-mans. Because you waste the time of more people in a raid, its creepy to get unknown players for a raid leader. Like it’s frustrating to waste a raid ID on a bad pug.

    Anyway, I quite like it. My favorite pugs are half-pugs. I like to do 5-mans with 1 or 2 guildies on TS, if the others suck, you can spend the time joking about it on TS.

    And went pugging, I would never kick someone for being bad at their role, but because someone is a dick. If you’re a terribad dpser but a funny guy, then you’re a great pug. 🙂

    Nefernets last blog post..Rainding for first kills server.

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