10 Things I’d Rather do Than Heal PuGs

10 Things I’d Rather do Than Heal PuGs

A great part of WoW’s healing base has foresworn the dungeon finder tool ever since Cataclysm, avoiding PuGs like the plague, running away and screaming in terror. And we all know why of course: a lot has changed in the mana business and also, heroic dungeons require a lot more cooperation, tactical approach and CC than they used to in Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard’s promises in that department have come true.

Now I’m probably not your best candidate because I’ve been a PuG-misanthrope ever since… ever. Sometime through my late level 50ies of vanilla WoW, I did one sucky corpse run too many or heard a stupid comment too often from a random lol-DPS in Stratholme, Diremaul or Scholomance, to put me off anything public or pickup in WoW permanently. Which is probably good to highlight in this context: Yes, there was stupid back in the “good old days” too.

I’ve stuck to my own raid guilds for dungeons ever since then and I’ve been so fortunate to always have more competent groups of players at hand. Yes I’m a spoiled holy priest – but then, I’ve also done a great load in order to keep the guilds running I’ve been in. Nothing comes for free in the World of Warcraft.

I’ve still pugged a handful of 5man runs, especially in the later stages of WotLK as Blizzard was so cunning to make pugging an achievement that comes with a pet (ugly as it might be). You got me there! And it wasn’t even the worst experience; in fact it’s showed me that not all PuGs are completely horrid, even if I still considered them a waste of my time.

But that was in WotLK. You know, “I can get free badges while walking my dog puppy”-WotLK, the expansion of free rides and blissful matters-not-just-AoE-olol. The era of pretty dead party chats too, so dead in fact that exceptions of the rule almost felt outrageous.

That doesn’t work so well in Cataclysm: The new heroics make the best team of guild mates facepalm after 2 hours have passed. And you only really stick around for that long because you actually know these people and enjoy their company. Alternatively, you can be openly grumpy and abuse them in party chat for being blind as a bat, without them going into an emo-fit which makes up for a little at least. I still luv my tank mate despite the fact that he made me run heroic Deadmines for 3 hours on launch week.


Those saints among saints

Healing Cataclysm heroics is a challenge and having to do so in a group of complete strangers who are likely not nearly as vocal, cooperative or forgiving as guild mates , doesn’t make things easier. It has a good chance of making things hellishly frustrating, in fact.

Some healers however, are still bothering. They are still healing PuGs and going in fully prepared to supervise the party and make it succeed. They have the sort of patience that I’m not sure whether to call noble or slightly nutty, but in any case I have big respect for them to put up with the risk. It’s not just the whole coordination part after all: PuGs are time-consuming. The chance for these runs to take longer than usual is high, already due to limiting factors such as party chat. It is a lot of extra playtime to put into something that has a high risk to go wrong. And while in times of precious mana, DPS and CC have probably become more important than ever, the high pressure on healers and tanks is unchanged and so is the blame-factor. Not everyone has switched boat from WotLK yet.

In her most recent blog post, Ophelie tells us why healing PuGs can work out and how healers can contribute to that success. I’d never have the willingness or dedication (and I secretly suspect her to create her own WoW hard modes that way, things are not yet hard enough for Holydins it seems!) but it’s definitely a great guide if you’re a healer and looking to PuG heroics without wanting to throw yourself off a bridge after the first 30 minutes.

I raise my hat to all who try and risk their sanity and self-confidence in the progress. What many people do not know: a bad PuG can make any healer feel shitty. You can know that there was nothing you could have done differently – still: SHITTY!

Before you call me out for speaking without experience, I’ve in fact blundered into 2 PuGs in Cataclysm myself. Number one ended at the first boss, after approximately 10 wipes of the exact same fashion and loads of “GOGOGOGO!!!”. A chronic case of Speedius Nubicus. The second PuG lasted exactly 3 minutes before I pulled the plug – and you’d have done the same. Let’s just say it doesn’t bode well to enter a heroic Stonecore where the rest of the group is already in the process of corpse running, because their last healer fled in terror. Not the finest act to leave them mid-combat, but then…who among us to cast the first stonecore?

PuGs like these aren’t only plain painful, but I simply don’t have time for this. My gametime is more limited than ever these days and what I need in order to be ready for my guild’s raids asap, are efficient runs. I love the new dungeon difficulty, just so there are no misunderstandings here: challenging doesn’t have to equal mind-numbingly long though. I’m more than willing to admit that I don’t take the lead in PuGs usually and that’s probably a wrong perception of my role. It is certainly not by default the MT’s. Furthermore, I don’t actually make use of vote-kicking. Why not? I just CAN’T BE ARSED! If I need to kick and replace five people first before I can start a run, I rather go do something else. By the time we’ve finally found “teh perfect tank” the first person who got replaced is probably already so bored that he decides to bugger off by the time we look halfway ready.

clip_image002

My contribution to a serious topic

I’d still like to contribute in a more productive or rather creative way to the whole PuG-healing thing and since I’m not a saint who can tell you how to make it happen, I’ll tell you what I’d rather do instead of making it happen!

When starting to think about this, the first spontaneous things come to mind, were:

· Running a screwdriver through my left eye. Real slow.

· Jumping off an airplane with no parachute on. Working as intended.

· Entering a den of rabid wolves in a meat skirt.

But….that’s not realistic, I know! So, I’ll be good and limit myself to things that are actually there in the game, painful and annoying and… still so much more preferable to healing PuGs right now!


10 things I’d rather do than heal PuGs

I would rather…

  • Get exalted with Silithus. Again.
  • Repeat the entire Argent Tournament daily jousting-grind to buy all available pets and mounts.
  • Travel from Bloodmyst Isle to Booty Bay. Via Northrend. By foot.
  • Give gold to every lvl 5 beggar in Elwynn Forest.
  • Run guild alts through Gnomeregan 5 times a day. Make that 10 times.
  • Re-skill both my professions up from zero.
  • Follow the public channels. Yes, that’s general and trade chat.
  • Change my holy priest to worgen female…./gasp. Okay, for one week.
  • Read the quest texts of all new Cataclysm quests. No word skipping.
  • Hang out with THIS GUY!

This list was originally a lot longer, but I forced myself to keep it short, just like the rest of this post. And with that, I’ll wish the saints among you who are still out there facing their PuGs good luck and hold on to that halo! You’ll need it.

Sylvara

Adrenaline, Stormrage EU

P.S. No random pugee was vote-kicked or otherwise harmed in the process of writing this article.

I Will Not Carry You

I Will Not Carry You

My good buddy Matt just wrote an article likening himself to “Samwise the Brave”.  The noble friend, no matter the circumstances, who is willing to swallow his pride to bring up the team.  It’s admirable.  It’s considerate.  It’s exactly what I would do…

…for certain people.

A friend, alt or no alt, who needs some help getting geared.  Maybe it’s his/her first 80.  It’s all good, because I know this person.  I understand that he/she is not trying to take advantage of the time and effort that I’ve put into the game for selfish benefit.  I’m more than willing to lend my knowledge to help make them a better player.  Because let’s be honest, you’re training a new class of raider/gamer when you do this.  I, myself, have 2 friends that I’m leveling alts with.  I teach them about kill orders, focus-firing, and CCing.  My hope is to get them ready for hitting 80 so they can come into raids with us.

Likewise, a new 80 who lays it all out up front.  Totally honest about their gear or their skill, and isn’t a jackass about it.  Someone who is looking to the veterans for guidance.  An under-cap tank that wants me to heal them through the early heroics to get some basic gear.  A dps or two that may need the fight to go on longer than usual because they can’t quite pull their weight yet.  I have no problem taking longer on a fight because they’re working on their rotation and getting numbers up (though that’s also what Target Dummies are for).

However, I can’t heal stupidity. 

I’m serious.  I may try to throw heals, but my finger goes numb and can’t press the hotkey.  I could try to shield, but the mouse button turns to stone.  It’s immovable.  I won’t hear that “click”.

Flash Heal won’t work on a tank that tells me he’s Defense-capped, but admits later that he’s only at 510 Defense while trying to tank the upper-level heroics.  “I needed a healer to carry me through so I can get PhAT lEwtZ”, they may say.

Prayer of Mending just refuses to bounce to that one DPS player that ignores the “Targeting You!” over the mob’s head, or dismisses Omen because it’s too distracting.  With all of the “aggro drop” skills that are available, utilizing them might break the healing immunity that seems to have plagued my heal targets.  Assisting the tank takes 1.5 seconds.

My new battle is trying to Shield the player that constantly hollers out “GO” while the tank is marking targets, or while the healer is drinking, or the other DPS are figuring out any CC that may be needed.  It’s especially difficult when that player has the “Patient” title next to their name.  Apprently that’s just a front, like a pub is a front for the Dwarven Mafia.  My PW:Shield is simply answered with “Invalid Target”.

I always try to be a great player to run with.  I’m always willing to help, if needed.  If you need a fight explained, sure.  If you need some advice on a talent or gear choice, no problem.  However, if you find yourself a version of any of the latter three examples, then I have to apologize for the ineffectiveness of my heals.  I can’t control them!  =D

Cheers,

Guest Post: Heroic Pugs are Not Heroic

Matticus’ Note: This is a guest post from a friend of who has no blogging experience whatsoever but still did a great job nonetheless. I have another exam in about an hour. Thanks Brendan! Post has been edited for clarity and such.

First off, let me say I’m not a writer/blogger in any way, shape or form. I’m writing this because an idea popped into my head, and I’m tired of studying for finals. This blogging stuff is a nice change from the 17 credits of math I have this semester that engineers are supposed to know.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my view of PUGs (Pick-Up Groups) has gone downhill since BC came out. It started out fine, pugging some people to get some experience while exploring the new instances in outlands. As a druid, and usually feral to boot, I wanted to get exalted with Cenarion Expedition ASAP to pick up my Earthwarden (best tanking weapon until SSC trash). I was in a small guild at the time and there were only a handful of us hitting 70 at the same time. It wasn’t easy to get a group to grind out Steam Vaults a dozen times a day for the required rep. I would turn to PUGs to accomplish this. For the most part, this went the same way to get revered with most of the factions. Even with quested items and random greens in most people’s gear, normal mode was still fairly easy. Subsequently, after doing countless runs of instances for rep, people would replace their greens with decent blues and fill out their dungeon 3 sets. More importantly, people would learn the instances, know what bosses/mobs did what, who to CC, where to go and such. By the time the rep was obtained to be able to hit up the heroics, people had knowledge/gear to stand a chance, and knew how to play their class.

This is all well and good, but then comes 2.3 and heroic keys only require honored. With pretty much any faction, you can obtain honored by doing their quests and 1-2 clears of each of their instances (sometimes even less than that!). What does that mean? People try to get into heroics still wearing their quested blues/greens, and not knowing what the heck is going on. It used to be a reasonable bet that when you pugged for a heroic, the people you got were somewhat decent, because they had done the run on normal at least a dozen or so times, and had decent gear. Now, you don’t get that confidence.

I’ve heard many stories (and experienced a few) in guild chat, of people pugging a couple slots for whatever heroic when there weren’t quite enough people online from the guild to do it with. There have been melee hunters that shoot their own traps, priests that only used flash heal (“lol greater heal takes too long”), tanks that can’t hold aggro on a single mob, mages who don’t know what a sheep is, pally tanks who consecrate on top of all the CC, and multitudes of other things. Even if you don’t get these kinds of people, there are simply people that don’t have the gear and they will get destroyed by the trash. In some instances, groups will not have enough DPS to burn down adds on bosses, making heroics all but impossible. Then there’s the issues of ninjas, people leaving unexpectedly, “know-it-alls” saying that their strat works and that t4/t5 group leader doesn’t know what he’s talking about… but those are just general PUG rarities that can happen anytime.

Now, this may sound like just a gripe with the heroic key rep change. It’s great for people trying to gear alts who don’t want to grind out the reputation to do the instances, and usually can be carried through by decent guildies. But that’s an entirely different story. The issues mentioned are more adamant to happen with PUG groups. And at least with people you know, usually there is some sort of voice communication being used, which lessens the pain of inexperience in one or two group members.

All in all, I tend to stay away from PUGs. For the most part, it’s just a repair bill waiting to happen. One of my friends who would accept a PUG invite on his main to anything from RFK to heroic Shattered Halls (one of my least favorite instances w/o a well geared Paly tank, or 2 Druid tanks), now thinks twice before pugging anything past normal difficulty. I refuse to do them, and I get at least a couple of tells a day asking to tank or heal PUGs. I usually let them down nicely, saying I’m not the spec they want (people go away so fast when I tell them I’m balance), or that I’m logging soon (which is usually the case).

This wasn’t really an informative post, just my personal gripes with heroic PUGs, which I’m sure more than a few people can relate to. Hopefully at least a couple of you agree with what I wrote, and it wasn’t an entire waste of time reading. But if not, I’ll go back to my horrendous amounts of number crunching engineering stuff and leave the blogging to the bloggers.

When Brendan’s not busy crunching numbers, he plays a horde Feral druid on… some server. I can’t remember. But thanks for the heroic insight!