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.
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.