Pugging for science!

The other night I decided to finally pug my first heroic on my own, because after all, what would this blog be without bad pug stories? And how can I talk about enjoying pugging if I'm too afraid to go out there and do it myself these days?

I decided to do the illogical thing and not conduct this experiment with my priest, even though the fact that she's my main and almost fully geared from heroics by now probably would have increased my chances of success. Instead I decided to queue up with my druid, thinking to myself that if I failed too badly I could at least blame it on the character not being my main and not being very well geared. I guess there is a warped kind of logic there.

After about five minutes of waiting in the healer queue I was pulled into a heroic Deadmines in progress, just after the Foe Reaper 5000. The tank was in the process of explaining to some damage dealer that he was supposed to avoid something or other, to which the dpser replied with "it's just a game gtfo" and left the group. The tank thought that this was hilarious, and I have to admit that I was vaguely amused as well. An interesting moment to join in, but the fact that the person that didn't care about tactics was the one who was leaving gave me hope.

We made our way to the boat in a very messy manner, with several deaths on the way. Either a lot of those trash mobs have random aggro mechanics or our tank just wasn't very good. Or maybe he was just lacking focus... he randomly went AFK more than once, supposedly because his girlfriend was distracting him.

Ripsnarl gave us problems, and after a couple of wipes I made sure to double-check all the fight mechanics online to make sure that I wasn't doing anything wrong, since we had had one or two wipes due to me running out of mana after the boss had been beating on the tank for ages with full stacks of Thirst for Blood. More often than not we got blown up by adds though. The tank also yelled at the shadow priest for supposedly not dispelling some disease and ignored my comments about there not being a disease mechanic on this fight. I decided that it wasn't my fault and that all three damage dealers barely doing 5k dps was probably just a little too low. Just as I was pondering how to best bring this up, two of them decided to leave without a word and we got a death knight and a hunter as replacements.

The hunter alone did 10k dps, which immediately improved things significantly and we only ended up wiping at 1% after I had been buried under a pile of untanked adds and died. The hunter left again. Why? We were so close! Fortunately the next hunter we got as replacement did just as much damage and we eventually got the Admiral down.

Cookie was not a problem fortunately, but Vanessa ended up being somewhat tricky again. We actually wiped on Glubtok's nightmare because people randomly died in fires before we even had a chance to do anything to him. On the mechanical nightmare there were a couple of expected deaths to the lightning rods. I waited in a safe spot for everyone else to catch up and when I healed the last arrival, the death knight, to full, I suddenly had aggro from the boss - I guess he had pulled unintentionally? I died and so did almost everyone else but they managed to burn the boss down at the same time.

On Vanessa we stalled again, much to my surprise because I remembered that part as a fairly easy tank and spank from my last visit. For some reason the tank ran straight into the part of the ship that was a fiery inferno and died. I asked him why he did that and he said: "Stupidity. Sorry." What are you supposed to say to that? On the next attempt he fell off the boat and the boss reset. Hunter #2 left as well. Once again I could only wonder, why? We had beaten Ripsnarl and Cookie and were this close to completing the instance, why drop now of all times?

His replacement was a warlock and the tank asked to be summoned back because he thought that there was no way to get back onto the boat from the water. Rrright. Once he had found his way after all and we were trying to buff up and get ready to kill her for real this time, the death knight's ghoul decided to pull the boss for us while everyone was on half health and mana and we eventually wiped again. It's a good thing that I have a much higher tolerance for incompetence than for malice.

Being a very bad pug scientist, I forgot to actually count the number of times that I died, but considering that my gear had gone from fully repaired to yellow by the time we killed Vanessa and that my guild has the Reinforce (rank two) guild perk, I must have racked up eleven or twelve deaths. I was rewarded for this with 210 justice points, my druid's first 70 valor points, no useful loot and a Chaos Orb that I can't use yet but which defaulted to me anyway since nobody else in the group had any of the right crafting professions. I'm not sure it was worth it.

Still, I think the experience showed that it's quite possible to pug Cataclysm heroics if you're sufficiently patient and persistent. I mean, I wonder how many of the dpsers that left the group after a wipe then went on to complain to someone about how much we all sucked and how pugging heroics is clearly impossible.


  1. Sounds like a regular day at the office in Deadmines, heroic or not. (If there's a toon that will fall off the boat, it'd be me.) On the whole, your experience gives me hope that I can get into pugging the new stuff once it opens up. (Okay, BRC just opened up for Neve, but I need to get my behind over and find the place first.)

  2. Glad to hear your PUGging went well! Although the one aspect you didn't mention was time. PUGging is for sure possible with patience and persistence, but it also requires quite a time commitment (which is not quite the same thing as patience). I'm wary of joining a PUG unless I know I have an hour (or better two) to spare. At a guess, including the bosses you weren't present for, I'd say your DM run took two hours? Maybe that's why the last DPSers left before the last boss.... perhaps they had run out of time.

    At least in that regard, Cata heroics remind me of doing Vanilla dungeons (in right-level gear). Doing Scholo or Strat in blues definitely needed a couple of hours time commitment, and I used to plan to do it if I had a free evening, or a weekend afternoon. I find myself thinking about Cata heroics in the same way, I have to be sure I can spare quite some time, especially as there is always a chance I get DM or Batol.

  3. I think the problem is that you only get VP for completing the daily random. The boss kills only reward JP which is worthless for most people because there aren't that many good things you can buy.

    The whole system is completely crap, especially for a DD:
    - You have a 45 min queue.
    - You have to do it every day or you'll fall behind.
    - You can't do it twice on the days you have more time or a guild tank is available.

    If your play time is limited it's better to drop early and try again. If you waste 1 hour with a group that can't kill the endboss and queue again after that we're looking at the following time investment:

    45 min queue + 1 hour wiping + 15 min debuff + 45 min queue + 1 hour clear


    If you drop as soon as you get Stonecore we're looking at the following time investment:

    45 min queue + 15 min debuff + 45 min queue + 1 hour clear


    If you only have 3h till bed time, dropping early is your only chance. (Of course, if you're assertion is wrong and the old group was able to kill the boss it's your loss. But as soon as you sign up to the LFD it's a gamble.)

    Possible solutions to fix this:
    - The random daily does no longer reward VP but only JP.
    - Or every boss rewards (some) VP instead of JP up to the weekly cap.

  4. Finishing a heroic DM with a pug, quite impressive! =D
    I guess the longer we're into the expansion, the better pugging these places will get anyway; people have the experience and the gear to make runs altogether easier for the healer.

  5. @Boxer: I didn't time it exactly, but I think just the bit I was in for took about one and a half hours. I never run instances unless I have plenty of time myself. I did it once or twice in Wrath but hated the feeling of being in a hurry as it sucked out a lot of the fun. I can understand that not everyone feels that way, but I'm pretty sure that neither of the two hunters that dropped had been in there with us for more than twenty minutes. So you have time to queue for 45 minutes but less than that for the actual dungeon? That just makes no sense.

    @Kring: I understand the logic but none of it applied to the people who dropped from that pug, as we were already at the very end of the instance and making progress despite the wipes. Leaving, requeuing and doing another run was always going to take longer than sticking it out for another twenty minutes to get that final kill.

  6. I will never get someone dropping from a Heroic, even in Wrath, when the group is on the final boss (except because they absolutely have no time left, of course). I mean - all the hard work is done! The finish line is RIGHT THERE! It baffles the mind!