PUGs: The Magic Recruiter


This is a guest post by Thespius, a raiding Priest and blogger of Healer By Nature.

We’ve all had moments and ventures with guilds that are struggling to get their membership up. I’ve 19-manned a couple bosses in Ulduar; I’ve accomplished the "Less is More" and "Dedicated Few" achievements only because we had no choice. Although there is something to be said about the pride that swells when you hear that magic "DING" sound and seeing your newly-minted bragging rights displayed, it’s hard to go into a raid night after night with low numbers. As people have stated in a variety of mediums, there are many resources out there to help build up your team. The recruiting forums, various websites, etc. all have ways of finding what you want. However, think maybe about a resource that few people ever tap because of how much we’ve grown to hate it.

Yes, I’m talking about the PUG. *shudder* *cue horse outburst and lightning from "Young Frankenstein"*

We’ve all been there. Remember? Guildless–finding your place in this crazy MMO. I joined because of my brother (and I curse him every day for it). He was already locked into a guild that wouldn’t accept friends and family, or alts, so playing with him was a no-go. Even his alt guild wasn’t accepting new people. I was forced to solo pretty much everything, until I started getting quests for Zul’Furrak. It was the hurdle that I needed to pass to get enough experience to get the next level so I would feel comfortable moving on.

In general chat, I saw a hunter named Frostyman looking for people to do ZF with him. I joined up.  Things went wrong, wipes ensued, repairs bills went up.  Despite all that, I had fun.  The tank we had showed and explained to me about kill orders, asked me to chain-fear (this new idea to me called "crowd control") a mob, and when to DPS.  They were helping me.  This was awesome. 

"Hey, Thespius, are you looking for a guild?"

"Umm… sure?"

-Thespius has joined "Sword Through the Horde"-

I found myself surrounded by people JUST like that.  If I had a question, they could point me in the right direction.  Another warlock helped me with my spec.  If I wanted to do something off the beaten path, there was always someone up for joining me.

Since then, I became…well…hooked.  I started researching more about my class, more about raiding, about PvP, whatever I could get my hands on.  I wanted to get better, and I wanted to feel part of the Team. 

My philosophy about my playstyle is entirely based off of that first encounter in ZF.  We’re all here because we enjoy playing this game.  It provides an escape, an adventure, a different world than we’re normally used to.  Yes, I even try to implement this philosophy when it comes to PUGs. *thunder/lightning*

I’m well aware of the initial global trepidation when it comes to PUGs. *thunder/lighting* Sometimes it’s plagued with ego and infected with fail.  A tank that chain pulls without the dps/healers at the ready.  DPS that have delusions of being the tank.  Healers that wand the boss while the tank is on empty.  Here, however, is where you can turn this all into your favor.

First, make a suggestion in a calm tone about how adjusting the strategy could vastly improve the result.  This is designed to see if the person is willing to listen or not.  If they’re not willing to listen, then you just hold on and hope you reach that Orb at the end with your sanity intact. If they are willing to listen, then keep your tone informative and supportive:

"Hey X, you’re doing a good job doing Y.  If you don’t mind, could you do Z so we can all ABC?"

This is much more warm and helpful than:

"Dude WTF!!  Put up CURSE OF ELEMENTS R-TARD!@!@!!@"

In most cases, you’ve just earned a spot on their ignore list by responding with the latter.  It’s easy to lose your cool, but it’s even easier to prevent your raid membership or guild membership from growing exponentially.  A lot of players I know want a friendly environment to raid in.  In my opinion, there can really only be a minority of players that like to be brow-beaten into success.

Fundamentally, you want the PUG *lighting/thunder* player to feel included and part of the process.  Here’s a couple tips to facilitate that:

  • If you’re doing chain heroics, ask if there’s anything in particular they’d like to run.
  • If in a raid and explaining a boss fight, ask if there’s anything they’d like to add.  If they don’t know the fight, make sure you take your time explaining and making sure they understand.
  • When it comes to loot, make sure they feel comfortable with rolling on something they need.
  • Be open to the idea of letting them roll for Abyss Crystals or other enchanting mats from unused gear.  They’re a part of the team and deserve as much of the reward as everyone else.

In a good portion of cases, you may find that this player has never been treated so fairly before.  Maybe they’re unhappy with their old guild and are looking for a place with like-minded people.  Instead of torturing them to get better, you’re nurturing them to get better.  What you’ve just done is encouraged somebody to want to play this game better. 

What happens next?  Just keep doing the same thing.  Maintain a fun supportive environment, keep inviting that person along when you have the room.  As long as you and your group/raid feels comfortable, start treating that person like an applicant/guildie, without saying, "Come with us and we’ll give you 1, 2, and 3."  Bribery only attracts the gear-hungry guild-hoppers. 

I know the counter-argument to this: "But then everyone knows we’re giving stuff away!" Maybe, but by giving yourself the reputation of being open and equal, you can build a big base of people to choose from.  People you know are there to do well, have a good time, and who won’t take advantage of your kindness and generosity.  It affords you the ability to exclude those bad apples that are detrimental to raids and guilds worldwide.

This method, of course, isn’t a guaranteed 100% recruitment outcome, but it can definitely increase your chances.  You can find and cultivate some pretty amazing raiders this way.  Not to mention it ups your status as a "great guild to run with".  All while simply doing dungeons or raids, which is what we PvE’ers love to do anyways.

By the way…. PUG!  *thunder/lightning/horse*

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.



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