Hug a Pug

by Andy/Betancore

You can haz DPS if I can haz aggro first.

Imagine for a moment that you’re a fresh 85 who only started playing during the last part of Wrath.  You don’t know what “CC” stands for, and the only time you think an interrupt is necessary is in PvP.  You know that you could do better, but you just don’t know how.  Worse, the other members of your group lambaste you whenever you make a mistake, or do something even slightly “wrong.”  What would you do?

If you’re like 90% of all the “bad” players I’ve met in PUGs, you strike first, lashing out at anyone who does anything remotely wrong, just so you won’t be labeled as “fail” yourself.  You dare not ask questions, for you know you’ll be laughed at, and possibly kicked from the group.  You want to learn, but don’t know how to ask without being ridiculed.

Now, I know I’m not talking to the assholes right now, so I’ll skip over that part.  But the rest of you could be a little more understanding, and not just sit there silently while someone is getting chewed out for just being new.  If a pugger is doing something wrong, let them know in an even, helpful tone.  Explain encounters quickly as you get to them, unless you’re greeted with choruses of “We know, we know” on the first boss.  And if other folks are making fun of a newbie, speak up and stop it.  There’s also a few role-specific things you can do to ease a new player’s transition into endgame content:

DPS:

If you’re playing with a new DPSer, you have the best view of what they’re doing.  Give them suggestions as needed, as long as you can be polite and non-intrusive.  If your tank is new, offer to mark for him so that he knows what the kill order should be.  Use aggro dumps/reducers early and often, and use Tricks of the Trade or Misdierect at the start of a pull when you can.  While playing with a new healer, be extra careful about not taking avoidable damage, and go out of your way interrupt damaging spells whenever you can (though you should be doing this anyway.)  Use defensive cooldowns whenever appropriate, even if it lowers your DPS.

Healers:

If a new DPSer is taking damage they could avoid, make sure you tell them that the damage can be avoided before yelling at them.  They may honestly not know.  At the same time, don’t try so hard to save a DPSer who swims in fire that you let the tank or other DPS die.  Nothing teaches a cold, hard lesson like a repair bill.  Be sure to explain what the bad looks like as you rez him up.  When dealing with a new tank, choose the most important issue to address.  If he’s squishy, offer to mark for him, and be sure to make use of CC.  Also, ask him to use cooldowns more often, as he may think that cooldowns are only for bosses.  If he has trouble keeping threat, make sure that the DPS know they need slow down a bit, and make sure he has his threat generating ability (Blood Presence, Defensive Stance, Righteous Fury) up.

Tanks:

If one of your DPSers is new, make sure you explain the kill order, and mark every pull.  A newbie may not know that skull means “this needs to die yesterday.”  Also clearly explain which CC mark is for who, and whether or not the newbie should pull with CC.  If your healer is new, CC is even more important.  Be sure to use every CC available, even snares like Entangling Roots, to ensure that you take as little damage as possible.  Use short cooldowns on, well, cooldown.  As DK’s we have a metric asston of 1 minute cooldowns (have I mentioned how much I love DK tanks lately?), so you should use them all as early and often as possible, just to give the healer that much more of a buffer between a successful heal and a wipe.  I consider anything 2 minutes or under a “short cooldown.”  Be sure to have longer cooldowns at the ready as well, even on trash, in case things get hairy.

One of Us is All of Us

When you take the time to help out a struggling pugger, you improve not only his enjoyment of the game, but everyone that will group with him in the future.  Not only that, but by keeping a civil tone and showing your fellow group members that it’s worthwhile to cooperate and communicate, you improve the community as a whole.  Help one of us, and you help all of us.

Remember, only you can stop the cycle of PUG abuse.  And who wouldn’t want to do that? Juslookitthatface!  So hug a PUG today! -Andy/Betancore

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~ by Andy/Betancore on March 23, 2011.

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