04/06/2012

My first pug operation

There I was, having just completed Lost Island hard mode with some guildies, when I returned to the fleet and saw a call going out in general chat that someone was looking for a healer and a dps for normal mode Eternity Vault. It wasn't exactly as if I felt a particular urge to go pugging, not to mention that it was way too late in the evening for any sensible person to embark on an adventure like that, but well... I couldn't help thinking that it would be nice to get my Sage alt into EV, and more importantly, the person doing the asking was someone whom I vaguely knew to be a very nice person. So I volunteered, and dragged a guildie's gunslinger alt along with me to fill the last spot too.

Interestingly, nobody checked our gear or asked how much experience we had. We were just implicitly trustworthy. I have to admit I sort of assumed that someone putting an operation pug together would probably be fairly experienced themselves, so I was quite surprised when it turned out that my guildie, another gunslinger and me were actually the only people in the raid who had done all the fights before. My guildie expressed some worry to me that this could potentially end up taking longer than expected, but at the same time we were happy to share our knowledge of the fights.

We were quite pleased when the first boss went down on the first attempt, and I couldn't help being slightly amused by watching the more inexperienced players in action. Usually you expect someone who doesn't know the fight to stand in the fire or something, right? With these guys, you could tell that most of them were PvPers because they didn't - instead they ran away from anything that looked even remotely dangerous, even if it wasn't. PvP doesn't have enrage timers, but it certainly teaches you to do your damnedest to stay alive.

The loot distribution featured an unpleasant surprise as the third gunslinger in the group rolled need on everything. I have to admit I immediately found myself wondering whether he was a current WoW player. There was some angry muttering about how you shouldn't need on anything you weren't going to use, but we moved on. Nonetheless I was annoyed, especially as the ninja had managed to prevent both me and the other Sage from getting our Columi gloves. My guildie vocalised what I was thinking when he said that he wasn't going to keep going if it was going to be like this all night. Since I noticed that the ninja was from the same guild as our raid leader and a couple of others, I whispered the former to gently remind him to make sure that his guild mate played nice. He apologised profusely for the ninja's behaviour and promised to take care of it. It wasn't a problem again.

Gharj was once again sort of humorous to watch as people flailed around in the lava and died to being stomped whenever the boss jumped. Fair enough though, some mechanics you have to see in action before you really "get" them. Once again our pug didn't let us down and the second attempt was pretty much perfect.

"The next two bosses are really easy," I commented afterwards, trying to sound encouraging. My smuggler companion immediately reprimanded me for getting overexcited. And he was right to do so, as we actually managed to wipe on the Pylons after one of the inexperienced players started the fight way before people were ready, one group got wiped out just before they could finish their side, and then the whole encounter "timed out" and reset. I didn't even know it could do that.

Again, the next attempt was smooth sailing, as we made sure to have an experienced person do the puzzle on each side so that we didn't have to explain the whole shebang to everyone there and then. I suppose at the very least it taught some people one of those unspoken rules of raiding: that it's never a good idea to press any buttons if you're not sure what they do. (Same goes for speaking to strange NPCs, or running in before the tank.)

The Infernal Council at least was pulled off without a hitch right off the bat. While a couple of people were quite slow, everyone finished off their mob in time so that was good enough.

Soa was the big question mark, as he's a lot more complex than the rest of the encounters, and we didn't have any voice chat. My smuggler friend gave a quick rundown of the most important abilities while immediately saying that he fully expected us to wipe at first. We marked up the experienced people and advised the newbies to stay close, and then we pulled and hoped for the best.

All things considered, I thought that we did very well. One or two people inevitably fell to their deaths, but it could have been worse. We actually made it all the way down to the bottom and only died to Soa's enrage eventually. Our second attempt was pretty similar, only that this time too many people got caught in mind traps at the end. The third time was the charm however. Our main tank had died to fall damage again, so the experienced gunslinger from another guild somehow ended up tanking, and he pulled Soa under every single pylon without fail. Gunslinger tanks, you heard about them here first.

I suppose in many ways this wasn't a remarkable pug, but considering how much WoW's pug raiding culture had deteriorated by the time I left, it still felt like a breath of fresh air.

Nobody was obsessed with other people's gear or performance, as long as it was "good enough".

Veterans were happy to coach the inexperienced and share their knowledge around.

The ninjaing issue was resolved calmly and without any drama or needing to remove anyone from the raid.

And most importantly, at the end of the night, everyone had got something out of it and had some fun.

4 comments :

  1. I've been very pleasantly surprised by pugging so far, though I've only pugged heroics and flashpoints. Maybe I've been lucky but people seem to be patient and courteous for the most part in SWTOR.

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    1. I think the game isn't really designed to appeal to impatient people. Add to that that the population is quite spread out on most servers and that grouping with others is genuinely beneficial, and most players will actually be glad to meet someone and team up.

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  2. I echo your sentiments exactly, Shintar. My three PUG experiences on Shien have been ludicrously good. And not in the "free lewtz!" way, but in the attitude way. No one checked gear, no one bickered, everyone listened (for the most part). It was actually really enjoyable!

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    1. It's funny because I'm actually being reminded of how I used to like pugs before the dungeon finder slowly beat it out of me...

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