Four tips for getting into heroic pugs quickly

One thing I've noticed with my frequent heroic pugging is that I've become a bit spoiled in regards to the speed of group assembly. I used to just hang out in the LFG channel while questing or doing something else and wait for an opportunity to come my way, but these days I often find myself logging on just to quickly do the daily heroic for example, and if I can't get a group for it within ten to fifteen minutes I'll lose interest. Fortunately I've noticed some rules of thumb that seem to help with faster group assembly:

1. Consider the time of day.

It's probably kind of obvious that you'll find more people to group with during the day than in the middle of the night for example, but there are other, more subtle shifts in activity. For example the pool of available people on LFG always seems to dry out around mealtimes (lunch, dinner) as people log off to eat and those that come on later haven't logged on yet. At least on my server, evenings during the weekend also aren't the best time to pug. Friday night is presumably a popular time to go out, and on Saturday and Sunday nights for example pretty much everyone who can is raiding, not leaving many people available to run five-mans. So try to assemble your group during a time when most people won't predictably be occupied with something else.

2. Consider the instance.

Anything that isn't the daily heroic will be considerably harder to get a group for, but even the daily heroic itself isn't always a guarantee for an easy group. The shorter ones like Azjol-Nerub are much more popular than the longer ones like Old Kingdom. Easy ones like Utgarde Keep are more popular than harder ones like Halls of Stone (though the massive gear inflation is making everything kind of easy by now). The number of emblems that drop is relevant as well, Gundrak for example is hugely popular from what I've found, because it's short and wields five badges. (My record for that one sits at completing a pug run in fifteen minutes.) Oh, and everybody hates the Oculus of course.

Keep this in mind before wasting too much time trying to assemble a group for a heroic that is known to be unpopular, though it can sometimes also work out to your advantage. For example it's always harder to get into a group as dps than as tank or healer, so listing yourself as available to dps an unpopular heroic increases your chances of getting snatched up by that lone group that does want to do the instance instead of drowning among all the other little sword icons.

3. Do it yourself.

This is actually an important rule for any kind of group activity in WoW, not just heroic pugging. If you want to make sure something happens, take the initiative yourself. I'm always baffled when I check the "looking for more" section of the LFG panel and there are ten people there, at least one tank and healer, but nobody has bothered to actually assemble them into a group. Lazy!

This is particularly important when you play a dps role. Tanks and healers can afford to let others court them a little because they are so sought after, but dps is a dime a dozen, so your best bet to get into a group quickly and be chosen over all the other death knights/hunters/mages in LFG is to start the group yourself.

4. Don't start with nothing but dps.

I always /facepalm when I see someone advertise that they are looking for two more people for their party, they only need a tank and healer! I once read a nice guide on grouping on another blog (unfortunately I can't find the link anymore), and one of the most remarkable things it said was that if you have three dps, you don't really have a group yet. The key to an instance party is to fill the three roles of tank, damage dealer and healer, not to have five people. So whether you're a lone hunter or are grouped with two other dps, your group still only has one role covered. The only difference is that you're making it harder for yourself to join another group, because if they are looking for just one more dps, well... you're kind of already attached, aren't you? (Not that this has ever prevented people from forming a "three dps" party and then bailing instantly as soon as a dps spot opens up somewhere else.)

Similarly, if you find a tank who wants to bring his dps friend - again, you can't take them. In short, inviting the dps first massively limits your options and slows you down, so try to avoid it if at all possible. Always make sure that the first person you invite will cover the second role in your group, then finding someone for the third slot will be comparatively easy.

Happy pugging!

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