The superiority of pugs

Lately I've found myself wondering why I pug so much when I'm in such a nice guild. People sometimes say that if your guild can't provide you with groups for the content you want to do, then you're in the wrong guild. I very much feel that I'm in the right guild, but I still often find myself going straight for the LookingForGroup channel without even asking people in my guild first whether they'd be interested in coming to the heroic I want to go to.

Yesterday Oculus was a double daily and I decided to do it on my druid since she had never done Oculus at all. When I logged on about half a dozen people showed up on my guild tab, most of them already in a group and on their way to Coldarra. "Oh well, I'll pug it then," I figured and hopped on LFG. It took me about ten minutes to assemble a group and off we went. A very smooth run followed in which we didn't suffer a single death, and I even learned a new strategy for killing Mage-Lord Urom.

Afterwards I hearthed back to Dalaran, handed in the daily quests and idled for a bit. A bit later I saw an achievement pop up in guild chat, indicating that someone else had completed the Oculus for the first time. Then it hit me: The guild group that was just about to enter the instance when I came online finished after my pug - which was formed quite a bit later. I don't know if they wiped or what, but the comments reiterating their hatred of the Oculus certainly hinted at it. In other words: my pug had been more efficient than the guild group.

Which then in turn made me realise that the reason I pug so much, and happily, is that it's simply the superior method of going about things for me most of the time. I mean, I run a lot of instances. Not every day, sometimes real life pwns me as well, but when I do have the time, running the daily heroic on as many of my level eighty characters as possible is definitely a priority for me as soon as I log on. My guildies are not at all averse to grouping and many of them have alts to gear up as well, but still... when I log in at any given time, the chances of finding a group of people in my guild who are all willing to do the daily heroic and aren't already busy with something else, saved, about to log off etc. are pretty slim. The LFG channel on the other hand is always full of people wanting to do the daily heroic (and others). Sure, a lot of them are dps death knights, but sometimes there are tanks and healers as well, and either way you at least have a baseline to work with. Once you're just missing someone to fill that last slot, people can start to pull strings outside the channel, but LFG gives you a solid headstart.

Not to mention, three out of my four eighties can heal, two can tank - chances are, if I join LFG someone will ask me to join their group in less than a minute and I don't even have to do anything. Good times.

Now, pugs have the reputation of being notoriously incompetent, and everyone has got their own horror pug stories to prove it. However, people rarely talk about the good pugs they have, and I know that those exist as well because I've had quite a lot of them too. There are more people with multiple level eighty characters out there than you think, they all want to go to heroics to gear up (especially after the 3.2 emblem changes), and they all have the same problem as me, that finding four guild groups for the daily heroic a day is simply not feasible. So they pug it, over and over, and because they pug so often they know all the instances really well. In that Oculus pug yesterday nobody required an explanation of what to do with the drakes, we even ended up with a very good setup pretty much automatically. On the last boss one guy asked for a refresher of which abilites he should use when, but that was just another sign of someone knowing his stuff and simply wanting to communicate with the group.

My guildies are mostly very good players as well, but since we are a raiding guild, many of them are focused on raiding quite heavily and don't care much for five-man instances. And then you end up with things like raid tanks running in circles in a nearly-cleared Nexus because they don't remember the way, or people standing in Anub'arak's pound because they haven't been to Azjol-Nerub since last December and couldn't remember any of the boss's abilities (and were too sure of their leet raiding skills to bother asking for a reminder). Does that make them bad players? No! But it makes them a lot more pleasant to raid with than to have them in random instance runs.

Guild groups still have their perks and are great from a social point of view: I'm sure I wouldn't have had half as much fun wiping on the Black Knight because our healer accidentally switched to the wrong action bar if it had happened in a pug as opposed to a guild group with friends. But really, if you just want to get stuff done in heroics, pugs are the way to go.


  1. I see your point - and I'm starting to see the advantage of PUGS now M'Pocket Tank and I are a solidly geared unit. We can usually grab 3 DPS just for the asking and then we can afford to pick and choose a bit - kicking out complete idiots, and thinking a little bit about composition (hey, let's have a shaman, a warlock and a warrior instead of 3 dks!) and the like. Ultimately our guild tends to be less geared than randoms we pick up but, as you say, we do see running the daily as a semi-social event. We tend to chat and giggle and take the piss a little bit, and so on. I guess becuase I'm currently prioritsing "pleasant atmosphere" over "efficiency" I prefer guild runs. Also, it makes wipes and acts of ineptitude much more entertaining, instead of just plaining annoying. PUGS can be incredibly unforgiving sometimes.

    Mind you, if it ever got to the stage I was chaining heroics or trying to do them in about 20 minutes then I guess I'd hand-pick my PUGS for preference.

  2. I think it is a matter of how confident you are in your role - I pug a lot on my two healery chars, a priest and a shaman and these runs have been fast and efficent, but I would never ever pug anything on my bear tank simply because I am not that used to tanking and I wouldn't expect people to be understanding of this.

    My guildies don't have a choice - they will have to suffer my tanking and be happy about it :P

  3. I always PuG the daily heroic.

    Sure, if I go with my guild it's usually very fun and very fast, but I really like playing with new people - which you can only do by PuGging really.

    I grouped up with some very geared and experienced players by chance to do Halls of Lightning only a few hours ago and this tank pushed me to my healing limit just to see what we could do - sure we wiped once or twice, but it was challenging and fun.

    I think he pulled Loken with the previous 2 trash mobs at 5% each and me on only about 40% mana. I was sure we were going to die!