Monday, 8 February 2010

PuG Raids - some tips

I was having an argument in trade chat with a warlock (no, really). Now I like to think I've matured enough to rise above that channel where the only thing being traded is insults but something this lock said to me stuck.
"I've done heroics but now I'm as geared as I can get. I can't do raids because everyone wants an achievement"
Which struck me as a little depressing. My response was for him to form his own raids which he veto'd on the grounds that he's semi retarded (his words not mine). So I had a little think about what I'd do. I'd form my own raids and gear up that way.

I've been raiding since the end of Vanilla (Nothing special, a bit of a go at MC and lots of ZG) and its only really in the last year or so I've gotten back into forming my own raids to have a crack at the content. I've been an officer for around 4/5months and now help lead our progression raids but as an aside I still run our alt ICC25 and TOC25 runs.

Before I start I should probably point out that the dedication some of our main raiders show to their alts means I instantly have a much easier job a lot of the time we raid. Generally those who aren't Guild members are drawn from the social circle of those I play with or have played with in the past. But this wasn't always the case...

Possibly the biggest advice I can use if you want to start forming your own raids is the Raid planner tool on the MMO Champion website. Play about with it and work out the different places you can bring the buffs in from. The second biggest piece of advice is to try playing every class or role because the better your understanding of the game the easier the time you'll have in the instance. It makes it a lot easier to overcome boss mechanics if you know what each class can do and where the unique buffs are coming from. Also, at least try and know what you're walking into fight wise. I've led without having a clear idea of the fights and we wiped because I couldn't point out what was going wrong. Also pick a time for each run and keep it regular.
Also - make sure you're playing your character properly. It's hard to maintain authority when you're putting out tank level dps.

Whore yourself around
Play with lots of people - its the only real way to meet players you'll be happy to invite. As I pointed out at the start, I have it easy these days but it wasn't always the case. Back in Naxx days although I knew we'd clear the place, I'd often have to shuffle lots of people around and mainly fill with PuGs. Having a good social network in the game will lead to better quality raid.
When you do get more people asking to come than you have spots, tailor the raid to the difficulty of the instance. I tend to do more entire guild alt runs of TOC25 than I will of ICC purely because I set the standards high and warn people I'm doing so. As long as you don't fanny about and are honest, most people won't stalk away with their nose in a sling when you tell them you think they need to gear up more. If they do and it causes drama make sure you have a concrete reason for keeping them out.

Learn to be a jerk
Often people will do things that are stupid. You have to tell them not to do it and (because its a PuG) give them incentive not die in fire/goo/explosion every attempt. I use a system to distribute loot that punishes poor performance. I'll state before each boss what I don't want to see happen and if you do one of them - I add a gear point. You also get gear points (or GP) for each piece of loot you get. If you have 2GP and you roll against someone with 1GP - they automatically win the item regardless of roll.
This does cause nerdrage and a whole load of excuses, but generally if you're sensible it's appreciated by the mage who's done a steady 7k dps the entire instance who'd have otherwise lost the roll against the mage doing 4k dps and dying in every boss ability. Being fair with the loot and keeping the run free of idiots means over time people who are sensible will gravitate to your run and it will get easier.

Don't use GearScore
If you're relying on a gear rating addon to tell you whether people can play their class you're a lazy douchebag who needs to learn to use the armory. 5s looking at their enchants/gems and gearchoices says a hell of a lot more about a player than an arbitrary number will.
MMO champ featured an addon called EliteGroup which actually might help and comes recommended by a couple people I play with.

Make realistic goals
Set an easier target to reach and build from there. It will help focus the people in the raid. Its an anticlimax if you say "we'll" down putricide and we spend the whole night wiping on precious and stinky.

Have fun
Don't let other people fuck you around and enjoy it. It's one of the most rewarding things the game has to do. If it isn't for you, then find someone who is prepared to stick their neck out and reward them by playing sensibly and turning up once a week.

/echo out


  1. There's always PuGs that don't ask for achievements. Really. I haven't pugged a lot lately (since I'm in a guild with regular alt runs), but I did do it a while ago and it's not impossible to get into a group. Just aim low (i.e. first ICC 10, not 25), then explain to the RL how you've done the other and you read that strats and blah blah. Being articulate increases your chances. (Of course, make sure you're actually geared for the raid you're aiming for - the other 9/24 people aren't there to carry you.)

    I wouldn't organize my own raids, way too much pain in the ass, but even I know that GS = not so important, achievements = not so important, illeterate lazy ass = not in my raid (well, at least that's what I'd do).

    Oh, and actual on-topic advice: if you can't remember, *write down* the specs of the people you're inviting. "Healers type 123" is one of the most annoying things I find in PuGs, and I've seen countless "oh, we invited 3 tanks, oops", /kick one of them.

  2. I had an argument in trade over this the other day - too many people demanding achis rather than giving people a chance I mean. I was much less practical about it than you are though - more fool me, I guess, not that arguing in trade makes you anything but a fool :P But I was on my level 24 huntard so I felt completely liberated to sound off.

    All the same, I feel for the warlock - it's a damnably difficult situation.

  3. Well as I say I've always felt achievements are a crutch raids have to use to get further in the content.

    I tend to work off how they /w me. I always have my dnd up with essentially
    "Echo: If your message isn't related to what I've asked for in trade, please do not expect a response"

    On new content I'd expect maybe an achievement - on older stuff ie. Toc down I wouldn't bother.