Monday, October 22, 2007

Bringing Decent Players back to PUGs

I had just recently leveled my shaman to 70 and this weekend was the first time I tried doing some dungeon runs to improve my gear. The only problem was of course that most of my friends don't have any alts who just hit max level like me. As a result I was basically asking for 1-2 hour commitments without any benefits for their characters. Now most people don't mind helping out a friend but you can only bug them ever so often before you start to become a pest. After all most players fall into the achiever category and they also want to improve their characters. Unfortunately, the only other option left to me was to use the LFG tool and try to find a pick up group.

Weekend PUG Attempts

Attempt 1: Shadow Labs
Our tank would only use sunder on one mob in a single pull. Our healer eventually asked him why he wasn't thunderclapping and he replied "I have to tank in defensive stance and can't use it" Could only kill the first boss. Rogue continuously went afk without telling anyone but was always back in time to roll on armaments.

Attempt 2: Mana Tombs
Our dps was comprised of me and two mages who continually broke each other's sheep. As a result the ethereal casters that summon mana elementals continually killed us. Eventually the priest left after dying five times before getting to Tavarok, the second boss.

Attempt 3: Durnhold Keep
Once again we had two mages in the group but this time they knew to coordinate crowd control. However, our paladin healer continuously went afk and died during the escort of Thrall because of it. When he came back to the keyboard he exclaimed "WTF" and left even though we were just waiting for him to start the Epoch fight. Still the most successful pug attempt this weekend.

Most of the people I grouped with were moderately skilled players but the problem was of course that it only takes one bad player in the group to cause a wipe. A lot of times this player was someone who was obviously unaware of the abilities and skills to use in group content. Other times a player was just completely rude and lacked any sort of group etiquette which eventually rubbed someone the wrong way. Percentage wise it seemed like about 1 out 4 players in a pick up group were either unskilled or a complete jerk.

So where are all the decent players and why aren't they using the LFG tool?

Why Decent Players avoid PUGs?

1) A large number of level 70 players can no longer get any upgrades from dungeons. The epic items for badges of justice are only about equal to Karazhan loot thus most raiders in a guild that can beat Nightbane don't even bother with heroic dungeons.

2) Good players mostly depend on guild members and friends to form dungeon groups. They might use the LFG tool to fill in that one last spot but they tend to avoid using it.

3) A lot of players only do PvP nowadays since a combination of arenas and battlegrounds can get you better loot then any 5-man instance in the game.

Blizzard has noticed the decline of players participating in group instances and has planned out several changes in the next patch which should encourage people to return. Most of the changes seem oriented at offering a reward to higher geared players for doing normal and heroic dungeons. Now most of these people are going to try using guild chat first to start a group but chances are some of them will end up in the LFG channel. This should do a lot to flush out the average pick up group since one well geared player can make the difference especially if its your healer or tank.

Patch 2.3 changes for 5-man instances

1) New Daily Quests for a random heroic and normal mode dungeon.
Earn gold and reputation by helping out your lesser geared brethren

2) New Armor Set available via Badges of Justice
Should encourage the running of Heroics, Karazhan, and Zul'aman

3) Heroic Keys now only required Honored faction
Now alts wearing half Karazhan hand me downs can be useful.


Galoheart said...

As a unguilded lvl 70 player (Protec Paladin) and someone i consider a both a dedicated character player and decent player the reasons can be various to your question.

Excluding both PVP Arena & Kara Raiding level players you have the players that are left or working their way to pre-Kara. Good players possibly. You also have those working on grinding out their faction reputations to those that it does matter to busy with that.

You have all kinds of players at 70 some unskilled/moderate skilled/high skilled. You also have some players that are loot hungry, unconsiderate players and some that are just total jerks. You also have large group of guilded players that only choose to Instance with their own chosen guildies as a choice only. Thus those players are often unavailable as players to instance with whether they are good players or not.

People with Arena PVP gear have better gear that any 5 man instance and not usually going to be running the normal 5 mans unless for a guildie or friend maybe. People doing Kara already have epic gear and not usually going to be doing 5 man unless they still need certain gear or rep points and its usually higher level dungeon. Yet they are selectively enough to usually do thier instance runs with their guildies usually. Now your left with everyone inbetween.

Now enter the group makeup needed for instance and player mindset. I'm a Protection Paladin and tank thats unguilded by choice. All my time is spent ingame in LFG and thats how i instance day in day out. I encounter all kinds of players some skilled and some barely. Over time having many good runs people put me on their friends list as do i have good players on my friends list also. So if i need to do a run i can ask certain friends. But i instance enough to make varing amounts of friends though unguilded.

What's often hard to find are good Tanks and Healers as dps is usually easier to find. Its not that Tanks and Healers are hard to find. I rather think they are selective in who and where they choose to instance in 5 mans. Yet as a Tank their are times when a random group asking for LFG for instance that wants to PuG that i don't respond back to myself. I'm busy doing something else important to me. Sometimes as a tank you have to put up with unruly idiotic players sometime that lack consideration to other players or group in all kind of ways. Those players cause me a lot of repair cost. Sometime i just rather go grind out my faction reps or something else or instance with friends. Thus some good players can be hard to find.

Now when friend of mine that i have grouped with before wants to do a run with some their guilds or friends i'm more tuned to go and tank for them as a decent player. But yes some decent players are hard to find in 5 mans and the reasons are various.

Relmstein said...

Wow thats one long comment galoheart, good response.

Just wanted to add that while the 10 man instances will be dropping badges of justice the fact that 25 man raids don't should encourage more raiders into the Heroics. Now true being a raider doesn't make you a good player but it does usually mean your gear is better. And honestly in WoW the two are interchangable to a certain degree.

khassad@jaedenar-EU said...

I am a guilded HOLY pally. Before raiding Kara with my guild i have run a lot of heroic instances with PUGs (i have collected more than one hundred badge).

In my opinion running heroics is someway harder than raiding. Heroics are really stressing for an healer, and i run those heroics with pre-kara gear (almost blues).

A few weeks ago i run a SP-heroic in a PuG, to help a friend making rep. We found a warrior tank specced FURY with a kara-level gear. It was incredible, we cleared SP with only a wipe on trash mobs (pull with fear near last boss).

So I agree with relmstein: "Now true being a raider doesn't make you a good player but it does usually mean your gear is better."

Now in running PuGs I prefer good players over geared players.

Anonymous said...

While gearing up my warlock alt I had to run quite a few instances to get rep for among other things the head enchant.

I found that while the problem can be that 1 or 2 of your comrades dont have an iota of skill, most often the problem is coordination.

What helped me is to take charge even though you might not be the group leader and start micromanaging. Most players are too lazy to do this they just want to come along for the ride and will happily be led. 3 out of 4 times I would end up with the group leadership and things would move along nicely bar the odd whipe where we couldnt type fast enough (I refuse to use the new voice chat)

gt said...

Good players are hard to find in the 5mans...

I would prefer a 5 man over 10 or 25 but the awesome looking loot and cool end bosses with lore and prestige are not in the 5 man dungeons.

To bring decent players back to the PUG they should really make 5 mans
worth the effort.

"2) New Armor Set available via Badges of Justice
Should encourage the running of Heroics, Karazhan, and Zul'aman"

Kara and Zul are 10 man... Sure more guilds will farm the 10 mans but I feel this move is actually devaluing the 5 mans.

This simply tells me that Blizzard thinks 5 man dungeons are not endgame but rather a nice way to waste your time when you can't play "real WoW".

PUGs are for Guild Wars where it only takes 8 players and an hour or two to run any endgame situation.

Relmstein said...

Honestly, the upgraded loot for the heroic version of dungeons were done very piss poor in my opinion. If you make every boss harder in a heroic then there should be a chance of them having better loot. Half the dungeons though only have upgraded loot on the end boss. Its a real shame and one of the reason 10 mans are going to be more popular then heroics. Then again I wouldn't say blizzard is writing them off since most heroics have been made easier since the TBC launch.

Capn John said...

Decent, considerate players can be hard to find at all levels.

I was attempting the Defias Traitor Escort quest yesterday on my 15 Rogue. I'd already failed it once when I'd had to AFK to attend to my 3 y/old daughter. On the second attempt my hopes were raised when a mid 30s Gnome Rogue one-shotted a Defias Mob I was fighting, then ran ahead of me into Moonbrook. We made it to the Fountain where we aggroed two more Defias, and while we were killing the Melee Mob the caster took me out. As I lay there I watched the Traitor melee the Caster but he was taking a lot of damage and I was wondering where the mid 30s Rogue had got to.

/1 Protect the Traitor please

Refusing to click Release I watch as the Traitor's health slowly falls. But nobody comes to my (or his) aid and he finally goes down.

Quest Failed.

/1 Too late.

Someone then responded,
/1 Sorry to be a dick but...OWND

I typed out /1 I'm not sure you're that sorry...but I never hit enter. I bit my tongue, corpse ran back to Moonbrook and Rez'd and headed back to SH for attempt number three. And again my hopes were raised when I saw someone ask in General Chat for help with the Traitor Escort quest.

/t I'll help. I need to do it too.
"Name" invites you to a group.
/p Thanks. Just running back from Moonbrook. The Traitor and I just got killed.
/p This will be my third attempt.

As I got closer to SH I noticed something a little disconcerting. The arrow pointing to "Name" was moving away from the arrow pointing towards SH. My fears were confirmed when I arrived at the SH tower and the Traitor was nowhere in sight. I hit M and sure enough, "Name" was on the path heading towards Moonbrook.

/p You started it already? I need this quest, too.
"Name": come help me

Right Click on portrait, hover Mouse over Leave Party, finger poised over mouse button. Grr!!! Damn this moral code that only I and my Guildies and a handful of other players seem to have!!!

/p Ok, on my way to Moonbrook.
"Name": thanks

I catch up to "Name" and as we're heading in to Moonbrook most of the Defias are getting killed by higher level toons.

/p Where were these guys five minutes ago when the Traitor and I got killed?

We kill a few Defias of our own (much easier with two people) and make it to the entrance of Deadmines where the Traitor makes his spiel then despawns, and I know "Name" has completed her Escort Quest.

"Name": thanks
/p You're welcome. Now back to SH so I can...
Name has left the party.
Your group has been disbanded.


There's been a couple of occasions in WoW where other people have really pissed me off, but man, that one just beat them all hands down!

Frank said...

I'd have to second that PUGs aren't going to get better, even post 2.3. If you're level 70, you're unlikely to do PUGs unless you're wanting to do the daily heroic. My 70 resto druid still sees the same problems pre-2.3. Everyone wants her to be feral, and I've had on more than one occassion been told to respec. Also, since Badges of Justice drop in 10-man raids, people are less motivated to do pugs.

On the other hand, I have a 30 shaman alt, spec enhancement (why? If I need to heal, I'll pull out my druid.) and had 3 sucky groups to Gnomeregan. None of the groups offered to help me with quests in there, and I was basically given no voice. I've had to fake a DC once, and I left the last group simply due to an arrogant tank, who wasn't listening to us, and insisted that the lock he kicked out caused the trouble. I always hate to leave groups, but I do it if it's necessary to leave.

The only salvation for PUGs is a good rating system on other players, similar to what is used on sites like Wowhead. Instead, my ignore list fills with idiots like that.

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