Man, I love a good PUG. The bad ones are OK, too. And these days, Blizzard will even reward you for loving PUGs. First you get the title "the Patient" - which is easy enough to get for all you impatient people, then you get the Perky Pug companion (you only need to group with 100 people to get him). I didn't like my Perky Pug very much at first. He was a typical yappy little dog. But when he started scooting around in circles, wiping his butt on the ground, it was instant love. COOLEST PET EVER!
I keep forgetting to check if there's a stat available for how many people - or even how many PUGs - Mortigan has grouped. It's exponentially more than the 100 I've recently run to get the Perky Pug, that's for sure. Thinking about the total number has me thinking - I'd don't group very much with guildies. I don't raid much, either. But I PUG the heck out of Heroics. And so I thought I'd try to pass on a few gems of wisdom I've gleaned from my vast expertise in pugging heroics.
Let's get started.
1. Go pee. Don't need to? Do it anyway. Run the faucet a minute real slow. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
2. These days, the 5 minutes of buffing, drinking, eating, making potions, and knitting socks at the start of a dungeon is OVER. When the Dungeon Finder drops you face-first into whatever random gauntlet of torture it has selected for you, you'd better be ready to roll. You might get one or two buffs on the fly, but don't count on it. Be as absolutely self-reliant as possible. These days, I drink my potions about 5 minutes BEFORE my queue-time hits the average wait time (which with Patch 4.1 can mean drinking immediately after queueing - hooray!) By hitting the bottles early, I'm not going to be fishing around in Haris Pilton's Gigantique Bag (yes, OF COURSE I bought one!) looking for the right potions. I also make sure I got my Imp Karuri out and ready; Soulstone and Healthstone created, and all repairs done.
3. If you land in a Heroic you've never been in (which can easily happen due to limitations on which instances an 85 can enter in normal mode, coupled with the Dungeon Tool's extreme preference for making you run Halls of Origination over and over), announce your lack of experience to your party. Do it in a professional manner. Or at least with style. I prefer to say, "Please be gentle. It's my first time... in here." I've never been booted yet. Of course, I've also run out of opportunities to use that fantastic line. But I've never booted anyone else for not knowing the fights, either. For the most part, you don't really need to know the fights so long as you pay attention to the general rules. More about that in a bit.
4. Kiss up to the healer. Sure, my last blog post was a big rant about some healers I've run into lately... but I wasn't in a GROUP with one of them while typing that up, either! A healer is always your new best friend, even if you'll likely never see him/her again. So kiss up. I like to bestow a little Dark Intent on them, to periodically improve their speed. It's a nice gesture, and also eliminates me having to figure out who in the group could actually benefit MOST out of Dark Intent. They had it all worked out with flowcharts and diagrams on Elitist Jerks, but my mind went completely numb before I could absorb it. So the Healer gets it automatically, and I get good vibes in return. During the fights, throw in a compliment here and there. "Great Heals!" You can even throw a 'z' and a few extra exclamation points on it to forge an illusion of youth (if you're old like me): "Great Healz!!!"
5. Ask "Anything special to know about this boss?" if you don't know the fight, but overall, don't sweat it. Pay attention to WoW's general mechanics instead. Whether it's a big rock about to smash you, an underground spike about to impale you, or an explosion of fiery lava about to roast you, there is always a warning hint: The shadow of the rock, rumbling loose shaky ground where the spike is going to appear, or a glowing red spot of impending lava. FRIGGIN MOVE. Stay out of the fire. Keep away from black steaming pools of nastiness. Use your common sense. This will get you through 80% of all boss fights. For those 20% that have special mechanics, such as those requiring you to stand in a specific spot to avoid death, yes, you just have to learn it. If you asked but didn't get a reply, you can watch the fight as a corpse. You'll know what to do next time.
6. Say something. The new Dungeon Finder is perpetuating an aura of silence in the groups. Time to breathe some life into it again. Personally, I like to use my death emotes, including the ever-popular "Mortigan casts a final Incinerate and screams, "This one's for all the pretty Unicorns!" just before I am pounded into goo during a wipe. Be yourself, have fun, but stop the silence!
7. Never give up, never surrender. NEVER quit after 1 wipe, even if you're obviously in the WORST GROUP EVER. Grow a spine, suck it up, stick it out. At least for a little longer. You'll be surprised how much you can learn by not being a quitter at the first sign of trouble.
8. Stop arguing. Berating someone for not playing well doesn't make you a hero, it makes you a shmuck. After 10 or so wipes in Zul'Aman the other night, the healer (and party leader) refused to requeue us unless we forced the tank (who admittedly wasn't very good) to quit the group. Booting said healer for refusing to let us requeue was the highlight of the evening - a real feel-good moment for us and a guaranteed surprise to that healer's over-inflated ego. I'd MUCH rather group with a poor player than a poor sport. So if you feel like you need to tell someone how much they suck, find your spine and chew on it. Or start a blog.
Mortigan the Puglicious