Four reasons why I like pugs

It seems to be a common "WoW-ism" that Pugs Are Bad. People with a solid and reliable pool of friends to draw from will likely avoid them altogether. Others may treat them as a means to an end and accept that grouping with strangers is necessary sometimes because there is no other way of achieving what they want - but they will always assure you that pugging is only a last resort and that they really don't like it.

Well, let me tell you something: I like pugs.

That's not to say that I feel like pugging 24/7, or that I've never had bad experiences that made me shy away from it for a while, but on the whole I rather enjoy running the occasional pug. Here's why:

1. The unknown keeps you on your toes.

While it's fun to run instances with your friends, it can also become repetitive. After so-and-so many runs with the same people you'll know exactly how all of them will react in any given situation. Eventually it will feel as if you could run the dungeon in your sleep.

Now, in a group of strangers, you never know! They might be very good players, but you don't really know their play style and have to pay close attention to what they are doing to keep up. Maybe the tank pulls faster than you're used to. Maybe that moonkin likes to pull extras with stray moonfires. It keeps you on your toes. If some people's play is below the standards you're accustomed to, that can even add an extra challenge for you to ramp up your own performance to make up for it (as long as they're not too bad, then it just becomes annoying).

The point is: running instances with different people, different group setups and in different roles is a major part of what keeps them interesting, as no two dungeon runs will be exactly the same this way.

2. Meeting new people is always good.

While you won't necessarily find a new star healer for your raid force in a heroic Halls of Lightning pug (though I'm sure it could happen, theoretically), it's always useful to learn more about the people on your server. If you notice someone playing particularly well, you can add them to your friends list and call on them again for later dungeon runs. Though even minor observations like "she does decent dps" or "people from this guild always seem to do quite poorly" can be useful in the long run. If you like engaging in activities that require multiple people, it's good to know many people. Pretty simple really.

3. You can treat your alts as mains.

My main is a holy priest and while I enjoy healing, I also have some alts that perform other roles. Ideally, I'd like to get into groups with them as well, but with my guild that can sometimes be hard. Yeah, they might have invited my hunter to their Naxx alt run, but now they are missing healers and it looks like the run won't get off the ground at all... even if nobody says it, there's this unspoken pressure for someone with a healer main to help out - and there goes another opportunity to gear up my alt.

When I join Looking For Group for a pug on the other hand, I am a hunter. Nothing else. None of the other people in the channel know that I have a holy priest in Ulduar gear or a paladin with a prot/holy dual spec. I can do dps, they can take it or leave it, and I don't feel like I owe them anything else. Sometimes that can be quite a relief.

4. Worst case, it usually makes for a good story.

Ever noticed how there are very few stories about great pugs? I'm pretty sure it's not because good pugs don't exist, but they simply aren't very exciting to talk about. "Yeah, I was in this pug, and we one-shot everything!" Good for you, but who cares? Bad pug stories on the other hand are often interesting and funny, so even if things do go bad, at least it will give you something to talk about in guild chat.

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