Monday, January 5, 2015

The PUG Stigma

Up until around the middle of Cataclysm, I was always in really good guilds. I had only been in two ever, but they were full of good people who played well. The prospect of a guild group was always better than considering the idea of bringing random strangers. Picking up a pug seemed like a worse option than not even going to the dungeon.

you probably boosted that character

Then, my second ever raiding guild declared that they were no longer raiding and I took a break from the game. The third "guild" I had ever been in came into the picture soon after I returned, and it was the first time that I found myself in a place where a guild group was not guaranteed to be good. The crazy thing was, those players - players I found myself actively avoiding grouping with in favor of pugs - still considered pugs to be poison.

vile creature

My guild leader would frequently dual box another of his toons in five man dungeon guild groups in lieu of queuing up for a random fifth. Considering how it's nearly impossible that a pug would do less damage than a toon that was unmanned on autofollow, it was absolutely bizarre to me, not to mention the fact that I obviously was regularly successful in random LFD groups and other pugs.

I've been in a new guild now for over a year, and even though we're going through a rough patch, I generally consider them to be good players. Unfortunately, I've had to resort to pugs in order to progress and keep up with the general populace. As mentioned previously, this is why I've sort of been fading in and out of my interest with WoW.

But what I'm really getting at here isn't a post about my guild, but rather that I think we've come around from the stereotype of the 'pug'.

I tank in berserker stance right?

'Pug' of course started as an acronym for the phrase "pick up group" which is a group where you find random people you may not know personally. It's now used as a noun to mean a picked up player along with still being used to describe an actual picked up group, but that's language for you.

It isn't even just recently that I've noticed that pugs are nowhere near as headache inducing or rage inciting as they were considered to be back in the olden days. Surely, with the current raids being brand new and the introduction of the premade group finder, it is starting to become even more clear than before, but I started to notice it even before WoD release. Being in that bottom rung guild back in the day really shined a light on it for me, but I think the end of the pug stereotype is coming into play more than ever with cross-realm groups and the introduction of the premade group finder.

Of course, if you're still in a cutting edge raid guild, you probably find a lot more success with guild groups than with pugs, but when you're strapped for guildmates, pugs aren't going to be as bad as they are imagined to be. After all, pugs are the same players that make up guilds - you are a pug when you join a group. We're all pugs, in the essence of things.

your typical LFR

It took me several hours and several groups, but because my guild hasn't been progressing, I used the premade group finder to attempt heroic Highmaul. I was more successful than my guild has been, clearing 5/7 heroic with four groups over a total of six hours, which includes finding new groups in between, along with one of those groups being a total dud and disbanding without killing anything. Maybe it's the playerbase as a whole, but this is an entirely different world compared to the early days of release and TBC, at least for me. Perhaps pugs have been climbing the ladder of competence for awhile now and I just haven't noticed, but it's definitely fair to say that you can be pretty successful in this game without a raiding guild.

I hope to progress with my guild in the next few weeks, but it's pretty neat to know I don't have to miss out on boss kills entirely if I miss a raid or we can't keep up. It makes it easier to stay, and makes my interest in WoW a little easier to hold onto.

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