PUGnacious Perseverance

After a two week drought, Burhhelm has finally begun to get a trickle of Superior Fourth marks by attending PUG skirmish raids.  For those not familar with the term with regards to MMOs, a PUG is not a breed of dog.  A shame, really, because hanging out with a dog is generally preferable to PUG-ing in a MMO.  In MMO-speak, a PUG is a group of players with nothing in common except for a desire to complete a particular raid, instance, or encounter.  In most cases, they haven’t grouped with each other before and they are probably not familiar with each other’s styles of play. In other words, it is likely to be a disorganized mess.

Likely, but not necessarily.  Out of the three skirmish raids in which I participated, only one was a failure. The other two went very well, and there are specific reasons why they succeeded.  It is worth posting, because these reasons are good guidelines for anyone who wants to run – or participate in – a PUG.

1. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to deal with mob X, special attack Y, or programmed event Z.  A brief comment can keep the entire raid on an even keel and acting together.

2. Don’t use the in-game voice chat exclusively.  It’s fine for “Look out!” type announcements, but it is generally like trying to listen to someone speaking to you via a fast-food drive-in intercom. If it’s important information that people must have, then type it out.

3. If you’re going to avoid triggering the special encounters for a skirmish, then steer well clear of them and communicate this to everyone in the raid. Pulling a nasty elite mob into the ranged and healing players while the melee players are in a pitched battle is likely to cause problems.

4. When running a raid, keep things simple.  Nominate one main tank who will try to hold agro for incoming mobs.  Nominate an off-tank to peel mobs off of the healers and ranged classes.  Finally, name a DPS assist – all non-tanks should target through the DPS assist.  It is simplistic, and thus it works well with a group of random people.

5. Similarly, select a simple Fellowship Maneuver for your group to follow.  Everyone should try to participate in the maneuver when it triggers. Fellowship maneuvers should not make-or-break a raid, but they do make things run more smoothly.

Those 5 little steps may seem like common sense, but treat them like a checklist anyway. If you find yourself in a skirmish raid where these points are all being addressed, then you will succeed. Simple as that.

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