I still haven't dared to brave the dungeon finder for a random heroic on my own, but I'm slowly trying to wean myself from only running with guild groups. To be honest I kind of have to - unsurprisingly, the tanks have finished their heroic gearing before anyone else, and I'm pretty sure that even some of the tanking alts have overtaken me on gear progression by now... either way the number of guildies that are interested in joining a heroic group is going down each day, and being able to get a full guild run together is rapidly becoming a luxury. I don't see that as an entirely bad thing though, as I've said in the past that - unlike many other players - I do like pugs. I think at the moment the main thing that still scares me a little is that I haven't done all the heroic dungeons yet, and I'm terrified of having my "first time" with a bad group. Once I know what to expect I'm usually a lot more confident.
Nonetheless, I'm working on it. Initially I only ran with full guild groups; then we had some runs where we pugged one person. The players we got were all very good and we didn't have any problems with them. From there I dared to take it to runs where it was three guildies vs. two puggers. We only got one completely hopeless dps at one point, but after we kicked him it was smooth sailing again. And last night I finally braved the dungeon finder with only a single guildie of mine by my side, an elemental shaman.
We got Vortex Pinnacle, which I hadn't done on heroic before, so I was slightly nervous even though I had heard that it was definitely one of the easier heroics. Fortunately my shaman friend was an absolute star, assigning crowd control on trash and patiently explaining fight mechanics to me and the tank, who hadn't done the instance before either. The dps did their job admirably, using crowd control, interrupts and doing good damage.
The tank was kind of an interesting case. As I mentioned, he admitted that it was his first time in there, but he didn't say so up front. In fact, he charged into the first pull with no crowd control and I immediately broke into a cold sweat at the thought of what that kind of tanking was going to mean for the rest of the run. However, my shammy friend nagged him about marks, so he set some... and then didn't really follow them himself. Again he was asked about this, at which point he finally admitted that he didn't really know what he was doing, and could someone else please mark for him? No problem! I'm just glad that he fessed up.
On those pulls with the tol'vir in the anti-magic field he was advised to make a line-of-sight pull... and had apparently no idea what that meant, as he charged right in anyway. We lived through it, but I couldn't help but wonder whether the tank hadn't just outed himself as a Wrath baby, as anyone that learned the ropes before WOTLK would have known what doing a LOS pull meant. Still, aside from that our tank did very well, used his tools appropriately and generally came across as a genuinely nice fellow. We had a pretty smooth run in the end, with only two wipes on the second boss as some of us had to get used to dodging the tornadoes first. It makes me hopeful for my future pugs; I'll just have to remember to also keep an open mind and to encourage communication like my shaman friend did.
Now, normal pugs are something that I've been doing aplenty, mostly on my druid. Unfortunately they've largely been less fun than my heroics. There is less wiping, mind you, though people have become a bit more tolerant of it even in normals, but the attitudes are rarely pleasant.
Especially in the low-level instances, that is Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides, you'll often run into people that behave as if they've freshly stepped out of a WOTLK heroic and haven't got a clue about what's changed this expansion. "Gogogo"-ing, pulling for the tank, you name it. This isn't helped by the fact that BRC in particular seems somewhat undertuned on normal mode so that you can completely ignore many boss mechanics, such as Corla's zealots and the crepuscular veil of Obsidius's adds.
As you go up in levels this gets a bit better and people will at least wait for the tank to pull, but crowd control is still something that nobody really bothers with. On some pulls it really doesn't matter; on others it means that the healer has to do overtime and then hope that the tank is willing to wait for mana before charging into the next group.
Boss mechanics, interestingly enough, are something I've had few problems with on normal. Occasionally someone will mess up because they didn't know what to do and didn't ask for an explanation either, but even if that leads to a wipe it's usually not a problem to do it right next time. Sometimes the one who messed up will rage-quit because clearly the rest of the group sucks and wiped him, but then you'll only have an even easier time with his replacment, so you still win. Today in Grim Batol I had a warrior who seemed to consider it hilarious to intentionally do the wrong thing on bosses (such as charging Drahga's elemental add to make it explode or running all over the place during Erudax' shadow gale) and we still made it through.
The thing that has really been bugging me in my normal runs however is the incredible loot greed. For example I was healing a normal Stonecore run where the party repeatedly commented favourably on how I had managed to heal through some very sticky situations when we got multiple trash groups at once - and then when Azil dropped her healing trinket, the mage took it and left. /sigh. Why are classes with no healing spells even allowed to roll on trinkets with a healing proc?
Today in Grim Batol, a similar scene. Drahga drops his spirit cloak and the warlock wins the roll over me. I call him out on it and he says that it was better than "the crap cloak" he had - he was wearing the same cloak as me actually, another drop with spirit on it. Maybe he should try rolling on dps gear for a change? In a funny twist of fate, I then won the caster trinket off the last boss which works for both damage dealers and healers, and suddenly the lock offered to trade me the cloak for the trinket. So let me get this straight, you roll on a healer cloak - which you shouldn't have done in the first place - and then graciously offer to trade it to me in exchange for an item that you want as well? How about NO? Is this some sick new kind of loot whoring strategy, needing on everything you can in hopes of being able to use it as a bargaining chip against your competition later on? "Oh hey, I'll trade you that item I ninjaed from you earlier if you give me this drop now..." What will they come up with next?
Likewise I was tanking a normal BRC run today, when I saw a mage roll against the healer on a spirit ring, the healer won, and then the mage got all pouty because the healer had already won some other healing loot earlier as well. Yes, because if someone gets lucky with drops for their class/role, you obviously should try to take some of their loot away just to spite them. What.
I miss the times when people were able to be genuinely happy for someone else getting a great item for their class and spec instead of greedily trying to grab everything that the system will let them roll on just because it has a single useful stat for them on it.
What have other people's pugging experiences been like?