You might have noticed that there has been a bit of a drought of failpug stories on this blog as of late. This is because the friend who originally introduced me to WoW has recently returned to the game after a break, and we've been spending a lot of time running heroics together instead of queuing alone. I know many people have said this before and it should hardly be surprising anyway, but signing up for the dungeon finder with at least one friend (even better if one of you is a tank) is an excellent way of avoiding complete fail. Obviously it can't protect you from ninjas and annoying "gogogo"ers completely, but just knowing that at least one person in the run is going to back you up if conflict arises is already very reassuring, and it makes it much easier to enforce at least a minimum amount of respect and consideration for each other in the group. As such most of our runs have been, if not great, then at least okay.
Today however we got into a group for the Oculus which I found noteworthy for just how nice it was. My friend and I immediately started joking in party chat about how it was the Oculus again - it's one of the dungeons that we've been getting a lot lately. I was tanking on my paladin and he was healing on his druid. While I started rounding up the first group of whelps, he greeted everyone in the party and asked if anyone had a "drake preference".
I have to say that this is a great way to break the ice in an Oculus pug, as it gives everyone an opportunity to politely speak up if they are going for some kind of drake-related achievement (like Experienced Drake Rider), without sounding pushy or demanding (unlike say "dibs on the red drake" or whatever). Alternatively, you could get another kind of interesting response, like we did (slightly paraphrased):
Elemental shaman: "Umm..."
My friend: "Well? Don't be shy!"
Shammy: "This is actually my first time in the Oculus, so I have no idea what you're talking about. :("
Friend: "Oh, then it's a bronze drake for you! ^^"
Shammy: "That's the most difficult one, right? :o"
Friend: "Nah, it's the easiest one!"
Me: "It's also the one that only does dps and if you mess it up we won't wipe. ;)"
Shammy: "Great, I'll have two of those then! :D"
We continued at a solid pace but also made sure to give the shammy short explanations of everything that was going on: how to get a drake, what they were there for, what we had to do on the next level of the instance, what special abilities the bosses had and so on. While flying around I also made sure that our new shammy friend didn't fall behind or got lost, but fortunately he didn't seem to have any difficulties navigating in three dimensions. The other two dps stayed relatively quiet, but they didn't try to hurry us up either, apologised if they messed up in some way, and added an extra piece of information here and there if my friend and I forgot something.
I couldn't help but smile when the shammy gasped at the way Mage-Lord Urom kept eluding us, or how he cheered when a trinket dropped that was a nice upgrade for him. There is something very refreshing and delightful about seeing someone else being awed by something that you've already seen dozens of times yourself, and it gives you a whole new appreciation for the thing. Makes you wish more newbies were willing to admit that they don't know something yet and allow themselves to be guided - and that more experienced players were willing to pause and teach.
For the last fight we made sure to explain all the bronze drake abilities and what to use when. Things didn't go perfectly as I let martyr drop off for a few seconds once, and one of the enrages didn't get time-stopped, but thanks to the numerous nerfs to the encounter we still made it through with little difficulty. Again, our shammy gasped with excitement when we told him to collect some extra badges from Eregos' treasure chest, and everyone agreed that it had been a really nice run.
I hope more Oculus newbies get to have positive experiences like that! Don't be shy to ask for assistance, you have little to lose - even the nicest players can't help you if they don't know that you need it, and if people aren't willing to help, they'll likely turn nasty later on anyway, so you're not saving yourself from anything by being quiet.
D&D is only as good as the DM
2 hours ago