Even’s Guide to PUGging, Part I

Reading a post about PUGs by Samiusbot made me think that it’s high time I got this PUG post idea out of my head and into my blog. Most of the time I love PUGs. I got to know many of the people on my friends list, including a few of my best DDO friends, through PUGs. Even joined Monty’s after running pickups with various guild members. PUGs can be awesome.

But they can also ruin a great evening, and all it takes is one person. Most of us really don’t want to be that person. So, in no particular order, here are a few of the things I think can make or break a PUG.

  • DO read – and heed – the LFM description.

If you like to zerg through and the LFM says, “Team players only, all optionals,” then DON’T hit that “Join” button unless you’re willing to put aside your urge to zerg WITHOUT complaining about it. The same’s true in reverse – if your style is a leisurely pace, stopping to break all the breakables, collect all the collectibles, etc., and the LFM says, “Fast run,” you’re probably not going to have much fun and might even be mistaken for a piker (more on those later).

If you’re the one posting the LFM, try to make it as descriptive as possible. It’s not always easy given the limited space, but you can always put something like, “Selective, PST” so that you get a chance to tell prospective members exactly what you’re looking for. You may get bombarded with tells for a few minutes, but keep in mind that if your LFM includes “PST,” anyone who tries to join without sending you a tell probably won’t pay attention to you once you’re inside the dungeon either.

  • DO communicate.

It’s your first time running the quest? You know a secret trick to help you beat the boss? Speak up! There’s no such thing as TMI when it comes to quest-relevant stuff. Sharing what you know, and just as importantly what you DON’T know, will help your group have a smooth run. Most people I’ve run PUGs with have been great at helping me when I tell them I don’t know the quest well. If I DO know a quest well, party members usually appreciate any tips I or anyone else might have. “Watch this corner, there’s a nasty sonic trap” is not something you want to keep to yourself.

Remember that communication works BOTH ways. If another party member says he or she has never run the quest before, be ready to help them through it. If the person next to you says, “Watch this corner, there’s a nasty sonic trap,” then for crying out loud don’t go charging into the corner. Make sure you’re LISTENING as well as talking.

  • DON’T be a moron with your mic.

Sooner or later, I think everyone ends up in a group with the guy who has no idea of the damage he’s doing to his party’s eardrums. Voice chat is a great way to keep party communication flowing… until you get the guy who doesn’t use a headset, has his mic right next to his speakers and keeps voice on full-time instead of using push-to-talk. Personally I wish everyone who used a mic would also use a headset because it’s incredibly frustrating to be talking and suddenly find yourself cut off by YOURSELF because someone pressed F while you were still going. That’s a personal preference thing, though. If you DON’T use a headset, try to keep your mic and your speakers as far apart as possible to cut down on feedback, and allow a second or two after someone finishes a sentence before you press F to chime in – remember that there’s almost always going to be SOME feedback without a headset.

And for the love of all that’s holy, if you’re not going to use a headset, never, never, NEVER have full-time voice going on. Aside from the fact that no one really wants to hear your TV in the background or every rumble your stomach makes, the feedback is quite literally PAINFUL.

  • DON’T brag, show off, or berate your partymates.

If you want to be the star of your own show, then go solo something. When you join a party, you become a team member, like it or not. I remember running Gwylan’s on Vic with a PUG that was 5/6 awesome and 1/6 ass. The LFM clearly asked for team players, but one guy took off running right from the start and ignored repeated requests from the leader to stick with the rest of us. Every time he was asked to slow down, he responded, “I can solo this in my sleep.” Good for you – so then GO SOLO IT! What do you need a party for? I guess he thought he was impressing us… well, he was, but not favorably.

Likewise, unless you’re in a party that’s actually interested in stuff like this, don’t brag about your standings in the kill count or how much damage you did to that Orthon. There’s a lot more to successfully completing a quest than just killing – healing, crowd control, disabling traps, grabbing aggro, buffs, etc. I’ve been on both the giving and receiving ends of a high kill count because one person got the mobs beat down before another came in and finished them off.

And unless someone in your group specifically asks for advice, DON’T give them a hard time over their build, their gear, or anything else, even if they inadvertently cause a party wipe. We all make mistakes. As long as someone is genuinely trying to do well, don’t unload on them or blame them. I’ve accidentally done things that have killed off parties before. It’s NEVER been intentional, and I have ALWAYS been upset about it. If someone screws up, don’t make them feel even worse.

Don’t be like the guy Acanthia recently ran Chains of Flame with. No one in our group knew the quest well, so I said I was going to pull up the Wiki page…

Moron: wiki is so gay

Me: I love Wiki, and none of us knows the way through the quest.

Party member: If you have a better idea, we’d love to hear it.

Moron: lol u bunch of [censored] froobs

Party: … froobs?

Moron: ya u losers haha [censored] [censored] [censored] froobs

Moron: have fun dieing u [censored] idiots im out

Moron: *recalls and drops party*

Party: YAY! … froobs?

Someone Googled “froobs;” apparently it means “free-to-play noob.” I wonder if that makes the moron an “elob” – elitist snob? Interestingly, one of our party members was a DDO Wiki SysOp.  😀

Anyway, I need to go kill stuff and this has gotten pretty long already, so I’ll save the rest for later.

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Rumors of my demise – yadda, yadda, yadda

It’s amazing how even when you think you have no life, that non-life can totally eat up your time for the REALLY DAMN IMPORTANT stuff, like running Shrouds or… posting on your MyDDO blog.

So while my computer is busy updating video drivers (why do downloads take so long with Chrome? Should’ve used IE or FF), I got to thinking about how much I liked reading Mizzaroo‘s post titled “A Proper Introduction,” which led me to think that I’d kind of like to make a post like that myself.

Well, KIND OF like that; since Mizzaroo already introduced herself, I’m not going to introduce her again. No, this time you’re stuck meeting – me.

Part of this is kind of laziness because I have SO many blog ideas rolling around in my head and I can’t decide which to tackle first, and none of them are likely to be any time soon because NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins one week from today and dammitall, THIS year I’m really going to do it! Writing 50,000 or more words in one month is probably going to seriously cut into my blogging time and *sniffle* possibly cut down on my playing time as well.

But anyway, that doesn’t tell you much about me. Not that there’s much to tell. I’m really female, I have brown (not green  :P) hair, and I’m probably older than you (just turned 29 for the *mumble*th time). I am currently single and most days quite happy to stay that way.

I have two cats, both rescues. Victoria was a “needs extra TLC” hardcase who discovered people food and became an outgoing social butterfly. Wave a packet of tuna at her and she’ll follow you anywhere. She is INCREDIBLY smart. I’ve had cats all my life – always had at least one, usually more, since I was about four – and she’s got more brains than any of them.

Then there’s Callie, who is a former feral considered unadoptable because she was so wild; in fact, when I tried to adopt her, the shelter wouldn’t let me. They made me sign a foster contract in which I had to agree to keep her in a cage – she was really THAT wild. They just wanted me to keep her for a few months until the weather warmed up so she could go to a feral colony. Well, contract or no, I don’t keep cats in cages. It took three months before I could even touch her at all, but now the scared, scrawny six-pound puff of fur I brought home is an 18-pound lump of cat who thinks my lap is her personal domain.

It’s not just cats, it’s pretty much all animals. I was the kid who was always showing up at the back door with some critter and whatever version of, “He followed me home, can I keep him?” I could think of. This did not always thrill my reptile-phobic parents, as I LOVED snakes. It especially didn’t thrill them the time I realized my three-foot garter snake had escaped from its tank and told them it died and I buried it in the back yard (I actually went out there and dug a hole and buried an empty shoebox in it to make it look good)… only to have said snake slither out of the laundry pile one day as my mother was about to put a load of clothes in the washer. I think I still have the marks…

Besides cats – and snakes – I’ve owned/been owned by dogs, a purebred Arabian gelding, various birds, iguanas, guinea pigs, gerbils, fish, scorpions, chickens, rabbits, mice, assorted large and small lizards, frogs, and probably a few others I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Let’s see, when I’m not playing DDO or working (I’m a contract copy editor for a company that handles content for a number of websites, which means I correct a lot of spelling/grammar/punctuation mistakes, work at home – in my jammies if I want, have no benefits and make crappy money). I’m a total Harry Potter nerd. I like reading just about anything , listening to music and occasionally writing/playing some, drawing, photography and… COOKIES.

Sports are a hobby of mine as well, as I spent about 10 years as a newspaper sports writer/editor. I’m definitely MUCH more of an observer than a participant. I love high school sports of all kinds; that’s the bulk of what I covered during my newspaper days, with occasional forays into Penn State football, Philadelphia Flyers hockey, college and minor league sports, stuff like that. I’m originally from the Philadelphia area and hockey was the first sport I got hooked on, so I LOVE my Flyers. And Phillies, and… well, I’m OK with the Sixers but not overly happy with the Eagles after their shoddy treatment of Donovan McNabb, who’s one of my favorite athletes (both for his character and his playing ability).

I also have a weird habit of collecting nail polish, from “normal” colors to really weird ones. Give me glitter! Give me chrome finish! Give me fluorescence! I’ve been known to wear 20 different colors at once (one for each fingernail and toenail).

Reading over that, yeah, real-life me is as boring as I thought I was. So some quick DDO updates:

  • Even has been greater reincarnated (THAT will be material for a whole ‘nuther post someday). Still pure pally but took Defender of Siberys, which I LOVE. Still has the acid green pigtails but now has a much better complexion and no longer looks like an undead with a tan.
  • Jall has Tier II finished on her GS ConOp goggles but needs at least two of EVERY large ingredient for Tier III. I need to start getting her into some epics. She ran her first Hound of Xoriat recently and was the only healer in the group, which was a bit stressful but totally worth it when she opened the end chest and found Lorrik’s Necklace in there with her name on it.
  • Acanthia is moving up fast – she’s up to lvl 15 and flagged for Shroud (still hasn’t run it yet though). She also has GS goggles, although I don’t have enough ings to put anything on them yet so they’re kind of sitting in her inventory doing nothing. She’s been soloing the Vale wilderness since lvl 12 and recently started on Reaver’s.
  • Victaurya – poor Vic. She’s really not very solo-able and so while I LOVE to play her, she usually gets bypassed for Acanthia. Now that Acanthia’s moved by her by three levels and counting, I don’t have anyone else close to Vic’s level range, so maybe she’ll finally get some playing time. I need to get her to lvl 13 because she’s not half bad with her repeater, and the Wind Howler bracers sitting in her bank will make her even better.
  • Dissy gets sporadic playtime but just levelled up to 9, and also got her second bank slot from House K, which she desperately needed (all my toons are cyber pack rats). Like Vic, she’s not very solo-able, but LRing her to Spellsinger instead of Warchanter was definitely the right move. She’s much more fun to play now.
  • Merenwynne is lvl 5. She doesn’t get to play much but has some cool gear because she gets Acanthia’s hand-me-downs.
  • Azida is almost to level 6, so she’ll be able to use her Muck’s Doom soon! She has a new Cannith buddy around her level to run with, and her other two buddies have new toons, so she should start getting some XP during Cannith Night every Friday now.
  • I have two new toons, both monks – Tirae on Cannith and Caehlie on Argonessen. Now I need time to play them.  LOL

All of my other toons are pretty much for favor farming and get playing time at random. I did take some time the past few days to log everybody on, get a couple snapshots of them (because one of these days I might make intro posts about each of THEM, just ’cause I might not have bored you enough with this one), and occasionally run a quest or two depending on my mood and what they needed. Er – I logged in ALMOST everybody, saving the Cannith toons for when I have some extra time because there are four of them and even though Azida is clearly my main there, they all have the potential to be more than favor farmers.

So that’s me in a nutshell – HEY! Who put me in this nutshell? Let me out!