Kara PUGs – The bad attitude may be your own

Cassie and I have been in quite a few PUGs lately, doing Karazhan on the Kael’thas server.

And I have a few thoughts on running them I’d like to share.


Aside from our one, notably late night session, Kara PUGs usually get broken up into two parts.

These are PUGs, in that there are members in one instance from multiple guilds. It’s a pick up group. Someone says, “Hey, I’d like to run Karazhan”, and they check with their guild to see how many are up for it. Then they check with their friends in other guilds to see if any of them are up for it. And then they check to see if anyone in their friends GUILDS are up for it.

And then, if they find themselves short by one or two classes, and shuffling around each others’ mains and asts doesn’t yield up the right balance of classes… the call goes out in a major city Trade channel, “LF 2 more, DPS and Heals for Kara”.

It’s a PUG. It’s not exactly sitting in LFG for a Heroic set to auto-join and finding out what you’re gonna get, though. But yeah, it’s still a PUG.

What I’m finding funny is the elitist attitude I keep seeing about us being in a Kara PUG. “Oh, I’d never dream of doing that, PUGs are terrible. I would never waste my time in one of those.”

It amuses me a great deal. If I’m having a good time, and Cassie is having a good time… why are other people so scandalized? Even if we’re not getting loot.

I saw someone ask what loot dropped for us in one, and when I replied “Oh, none.”, they seemed to think that was a sign it was a bad run. The question itself is funny, though, because there simply ARE NO drops for Windburn in Kara. Tons of stuff I can buy with the badges, though. But yeah, invite Windburn along, that’s one less competitor for your loot, lol. 

After that amazing run several weeks ago, Cassie doesn’t need anything from Kara anymore, either. She’d like to see the shoulders drop in Chess sometime, but we’d rather run Heroic Magisters for the shoulders off Kael’thas if we’re talking a loot run.

So why are we still going back in if a PUG is available on the weekends?

We run Kara because we don’t run things all week, even though we want to. We are getting badges, which is always darn nice and will inevitably result in upgrades sooner or later. We are having lots of fun playing together, we both really enjoy the fights in there.

And we are meeting cool people on our server.

It really does blow my mind a bit about the prejudice against PUGs. I’ve talked about bad 5 mans before, sure they can be frustrating, especially when the random people you meet are immature or outright offensive.

But a run with friends of friends… that doesn’t really qualify, does it? And if you play with 8 other people, and three of them are complete asshats, heck let’s say that somehow almost none of the others are fun to play with… are you seriously telling me you are burdened with so many friends that finding just one cool person that is fun to run with, making just one more new friend is such a chore? It’s just not worth your time?

A lot of folks want to do Karazhan these days, because there are so many outstanding rewards that require lots of badges. So there are, at least on the weekends, many server PUGs recruiting in Trade channel. I’ve seen plenty of PvP geared folks, some brand new 70s in greens and blues, and I’ve seen folks come in wearing all Tier 5 and some Tier 6.

You get all sorts. And most of them are aware that they will be playing with a bunch of different people, and they are willing to be more patient to help make the run a success.

These runs take time. They often take a very long time from the start of forming until actually having ten and good to go. And sometimes you get a bunch of folks that come in for a while and then real life comes up and they have to leave and the run stops while you try to find someone new to fill their spot.

Hey, real life happens. If you are so short on time that this kind of starting and stopping is too frustrating for you… the fault is your own for having unreal expectations while trying to herd a bunch of cats. Organize an all-guildie run that you can control better, if you want a shorter, tightly controlled run. If you can’t… then you should be grateful for the opportunity to be on the raid in the first place.

It’s one reason I like to play Windburn in the PUGs, because there is almost always a new tank or off-tank gearing up, Windshadow sure as heck doesn’t need the drops or badges, and I can apply damage, group heals and mana regen to the raid… and if something really difficult is stopping the group I can offer up a geared tank to switch in and help out.

You get out of a run what you bring to it. If you walk in with a chip on your shoulder, expecting to be surrounded by asshats, noobs and other people you consider your inferiors, with an attitude of elitism and arrogance, just there because you are lowering yourself to mingle with the scum to get your badges… yeah, I imagine the run is going to be pretty miserable. And you’re probably going on my ignore list. And I guarantee I’ll be laughing my butt off at you later.

We have gone in lately with our eyes open, looking to interact more with the guilds and people of Kael’thas. We want to run more Sidhe Devils guild runs in Karazhan, and I have an eye towards meeting more folks and making more friends that might like to fill in the two or three slots in a guild run we may have open on a weekend until more folks can get leveled or geared up. We have the interest in the guild to do a regular run… we just don’t have the people.

So, while we’re not recruiting, Cassie and I are seeking out other small guilds of cool casual people to form alliances with.

And whether you are a player wanting to find a nice guild to call your home, a guild master seeking out new potential recruits, or a group of guild officers looking for other guilds to form an alliance with so there are more folks that share your attitude to have fun with without losing your own guilds’ identity, actually running with people in high stress situations is a PERFECT way of finding out if this is someone you enjoy playing with.

Especially when they don’t know that you’re watching them on a ‘tryout’ run.

Sure, lots of progression guilds have ‘tryout’ runs that prospective recruits have to go on. And do you think they are being themselves, or are they maybe on their best behavior?

I know that, on one run, we found out for ourselves that one player would never be invited to play with us in the future. We saw how he acted, and we were genuinely disgusted. He was the exception, the lone asshat we have so far encountered. Wow, was he bad.

But we also met and added to our friends lists many players that were not just skilled in their class, but genuinely fun to play with, with good attitudes.

Funny thing is, where they were on a Damage Meter, or what their gear or spec were, didn’t come into it.

Did they have a good, fun, positive attitude? Were they fun to play with? Were they serious when it came to being prepared themselves, and being ready for the other players, and did they show respect for the other players on the run? Were they arrogant about being in a PUG and give commands on what to do, or were they helpful with suggestions on what they had done on prior runs, and looked to help folks make up their own plans on the current run, so it was done together as a team?

We have talked about forming an alliance with one small guild, a group of folks we haven’t really run with at all. And it’s been that ‘not having really hung out with them’ thing that has been in the way. The one person we talk with from their guild is very cool, but we never talk to anyone else in the guild. We don’t know anyone else over there at all.

But we are also now talking to another guild that we have run with in Kara PUGs a few times, because we like them and have fun running with them. They’re on our friends list. And we are exploring actual means, such as the Addon “Guild Alliance”, to streamline the way we can integrate people from another guild into our lives without losing our own sense of identity.

You get out of the game what you are willing to put in. And if you are willing to open your mind to accepting that you will be meeting a lot of different people that have their own ways of doing things, and that things will take a lot longer than you might like, and that some folks will inevitably be immature, you might just find that there are gems of great beauty hidden in the muck.

And you might also find that there is, in the end, very little muck after all.

But unless you wade on in, there is NO WAY you’re ever going to find out.


18 thoughts on “Kara PUGs – The bad attitude may be your own

  1. I do PUGs all the time and a great deal of the time I enjoy myself. I’ve been doing Kara almost since BC release and besides several months when Kara was actually very difficult and nobody PUGged it, I’ve been running it in PUGs. And it’s fun! Sure there’s generally one “That Guy” but you also meet some nice people and great players.


  2. It’s funny that you write this. I wrote about somewhat of the same thing today, but instead they were pugging me … as an advisor and a friend of a friend. It was 5 smaller guilds looking to take down Mag for the first time.

    I then turned around yesterday and had to pug 2 extra people for our Kara run because we were short a tank and a mage. We ended up with a really good mage, and an unguilded tank which worried me. Until I be.imba’d him and realized his gear … and then his skill.

    After about an hour of running, the guildies that were in the run were messaging our GM having him check this guy out. As it turns out he was a refugee from one of the top raiding guilds that disbanded over the weekend. Nice guy and great player.

    I was against pugs of any kind for a long time … if they weren’t guildies, they weren’t coming with me. I have discovered that it’s not so bad after all … everyone should try it … just don’t use the “auto-add” function and you will be fine.


  3. Well, as one of those anti-Puggers, I’ll say the following:

    I like for things to be planned, and I like to know those who I’m working with. The reason I don’t PuG Kara is because I know it would be a high-stress, no-fun situation for me. So I simply steer clear. For those that do it all the time and have fun, that’s awesome. In my old guild, we had a guy who would constantly be Pugging Heroics since our guild never ran them. He got badges and upgrades a lot faster than I did, and I certainly hope he had fun doing it. But it’s just not for me.

    If I ever decide that I actually need the gear or badges that Kara, Heroics, or Magisters’ still have for me, I might try Pugging more often. Until then, I’ll run stuff for fun with guildies, ’cause that’s the game I enjoy.


  4. The biggest reason I don’t do PUGs is that they rarely fit into my goals. Usually when I log on, I have something specific that I want to do (run Kara, farm for mats, do dailies, and so on). My toons are saved to our guild alliance’s Kara runs, so I can’t PUG that. It’s rare that I can’t find a guild group for running an instance and I prefer to play with people I know. I hate getting 3/4 of the way through an instance then having people leave because they have to shave their cat.

    That being said, I’ve had a lot of fun in PUGs. The unpredictability can add an extra element of excitement as you discover that “man, this guy can tank! or heal! or DPS without pulling aggro!”. You meet some great people in PUGs.

    I’d need about 3 more hours of WoW time per day to make PUGing a habit – as it stands I don’t have time to PUG and do the other stuff I want to get done.


  5. Thoughts:

    1) PUGs are people too — you’re point is dead on. There are a lot of cool people out there that you’ll never meet if you only turn your nose up to the idea of doing anything with non-guildies. Sure, there will be a few bad apples, ignore them and enjoy the rest. Hint: lots of interesting people have crazy schedules which can interfere with the consistent demands of a raiding guild.

    2) Accept the world isn’t perfect — some people seem to relish PUGs as an opportunity to reinforce their own sense of uberness, criticizing and kicking others at every excuse. Well, chill out already, Captain Fantastic! Yes, some players won’t be specced ideally, won’t be geared up to your standards and may not know the content cold. But if they’re paying attention and trying their best, cut them some slack already. A little advice can go a long way if it’s given constructively, and you can probably use some good karma yourself.

    (I guess it’s fair here to say that sometimes you’ll find that the PUG just can’t beat the content — maybe they just lack the gear to do adequate burst dps or to heal through some event — you get bonus points if you can handle that would good grace too, acknowledging the group has hit a wall and will either have to quit or sub some new players in).

    3) Set expectations up front — this is *old* advice from 5 mans, but nowadays players can easily do 1-70 without ever grouping and learning it (that’s the biggest downside of Blizz “abandoning” old world content — a lot of people lost their “training grounds” for grouping ettiquete). Set loot rules, find out of there are “cut-off/cut-out” times for anyone, etc. You want to know beforehand if someone needs an optional boss or if three players are after the same drop. Do it all before you zone in and then remind people what you agreed on. You save so much aggravation in the long run. I think failure to do this leads to a lot of the drama that give PUGs a bad name.

    4) Expect the Spanish Inquisition — stuff happens and sometimes you just have to roll with it. Yesterday, my son and I put together a Lord Ahzune run. It was his first real 5-man instance encounter and he had spent a lot of time preparing and was really excited. Great tank, healer and dps joined. We’re rocking. Summon Azhune. And a freak thunderstorm-cum-tornado sweeps through our area, knocking out all power for 3 hours. Crestfallen kid. Frustrated dad. When we finally got power and could log back in, we sent tells and mail to the other three players apologizing and offering to cover their repair costs. Everyone was cool and ready to give it another go. It was the classic failed PUG, but considerate, flexible players turned it around.


  6. Nicely said BBB. The other day I got to be on the other side of the coin to some extent – while I knew most of the people in the run, there were only a couple of guildies, and the main purpose was to let me get a feel for tanking the place. I tell you what, there were some interesting moments as well, with only one CC! But everyone was nice and understanding, and didn’t care that it was my first ever run through the place.


  7. To be honest, I used to abhorred pugging and that was primarily from the endless corpse run when we all first lvled to 70s. It’s one of the primary reason I dropped herbalism and took up tailoring on my warlock. I think one of my fear, early on, was being the bad dps/cc class that cause wipes but over the years I’ve gotten over my fear and you know, pugging is really fun. Also, now that most of the player base are solidly geared, one or two people can carry the group through, except for some of the really intense 5-mans. I would still not freely PUG a H. Durn unless the group is geared enough.


  8. I guess I have been really lucky with pugs. Including the 25 kills of Murmur (dang the loot Gods… no sonic spear). The vast majority of them have been good experiences. I usually learn something and tend to have a pretty good attitude about mistakes (I guess because I still make them far too often). Even the worst night of wipes is only 3 dailies on my hunter (about 20 min). I guess the most important thing is to have a good attitude. The other night when you invited Karedas to fill in a dps role was my very first time in Kara so it was all NEW to me. I have never seen any of those places/fights before. It is really nice to group with people who are patient and have a tolerant attitude to those of us who are new to the game. Not everyone has cleared the 25mans and is speed running for badges.


  9. Well, B3, I’m levelling my little bear butt as fast as I can on Kael’thas (with RL and Horde raiding taken into consideration). It will be my first level-capped Alliance (be that 70 or 80, as I race the expansion), and perhaps one day I’ll pug with you and, maybe, not get on your asshat list.


  10. I agree with everything you’ve written, just thank your lucky stars you don’t have my luck. PUGing has been so painful for me recently I’ve started a swear jar, and its already got a bit of cash in it.

    Within the past week:

    a) A 70 Hunter who only liked to shoot stationary targets, and whinged that I was moving too much as a tank, in the 2nd Boss Mech fight with the knock-back and Fire Elementals.
    b) Same Hunter broke his own traps several times.
    b) A 70 Druid healer who had no healing trinkets, so didn’t wear any trinkets at all. No enchants, no patches, no threat meter, in a Heroic.
    c) A 47-ish Mage who didn’t like to use Sheep, but at least she came around in the end after I showed how good it could be.
    d) A 70 Paladin healer who refused to buff as he was to busy, and then only used 10 minute versions.
    e) A 70 Warlock who lost track of a banish, and forgot he was meant to be seducing a mob. Repeatedly. I mean c’mon – I play a Warlock, its not hard to click on the Diamond and hit the right button.

    Most days I’d rather be doing dailies for gold, and then buy and make my own gear. Pity you only have a small chance to get a Badge of Justice from the dailies, as otherwise its all I’d do.


  11. Well Wind, I pugged Kara on Friday as Shade and it was fun got a new healing cloak out of it (refused the voids) I don’t think I knew anyone in the group. Was just watching trade/lfg channels and it popped up asked if they needed a healer asked what kind of gear told em and they said sure i’d be more than welcome to join them. learned new ways of fighting some of the bosses in there too. 🙂
    But yea if you ever need me for anything just send ingame mail i try to check once a day, and always up for anything 🙂


  12. Pugging is like playing on a lotery and sometimes you win.

    I recently did something I’d never imagined I would do: I pugged ZA. And it was just great and gave me not only a lovely raiding night, but also a couple of new names on my friends list.


    But it does take a litte more of patience, I think you’re right about that. You have to enter the pug in a slightly different state of mind than you would enter a guild run.


  13. i’ve never been to Kara – ad not sure i ever will due to a lack of time and RL committments.

    so my wow gaming is in my own old guild from day 1 of wow which has gone through various amounts of people. after taking a break i came back at the end of 2007 and was the only person in it !

    soon got to know a few people including 1 guy who got kicked from a big guild due to not having the time to commit to their 4 raids a week.

    so for a few months all he and i did were pugs – the 2 of us, a healer and a tank using friends we got to know or /LFG for 3 dps to run normals to gear up and get rep and then finally moving onto heroics.

    along the way we’ve met some great people – people in big raid guilds who still come along with us when they can to do heroics. and also people who often ask me to come along and tank a heroic for them or help out a guild run in Kara.

    tbh we’ve not had many bad experiences and i think only 2/3 people have ended up on my ignore list with a few others that we just decided not to grp with again.

    i know they can take us longer to run than friends in t5 guilds who go to heroics and clear them in an hour when we are there for 90 mins or even longer ! :p

    but we enjoy it and tbh given RL its the only way i can get to play wow and get some upgrades for my druid.

    w’ve even picked up a few new players recently whove joined the guild, a couple especially who are wonderful to play with and have fun times with. not all may stay but even if they move on i trust they’ll remain on a friends list for the future.


  14. I might be one of those ones with a bad attitude. I have a lot of trouble handling a pug. I think it’s because so much of my play time is often devoted to working with guildmates, farming for raids, leading raids and taking care of our guild’s resources. The last thing I want to do in my “spare” time is end up in a mismanaged or frustrating run. I realize that they aren’t all that way, but the risk isn’t one I’m generally willing to take.

    I should pug more to meet new people and potential new recruits, but I certainly have to be in the right mindset for it.


  15. My first instance ever, a pug Wailing caverns, was by far the worst I have ever been on and it soured me on pugs for a long time.

    Now I have moved with a group of friends to a guild that doesn’t really match my time availible for raiding. I want to stay guilded with the friends I have run with for years so I pug.

    I have pugged Kara now 4 out of the last 5 weeks on a friday night and have had a great time doing it. Makes me wonder what I missed out on for the last 2 years after getting the bad taste in my mouth from that first WC run.


  16. I’ve never had a problem running pugs on any of my characters. My druid has pugged plenty of kara’s but my pally now is at the point where I can’t get upgrades except in kara or heroics… but I can’t get groups for either because my hps and avoidance is to low that groups won’t take a chance with you. Its sad that you have to allready be geared in order to run kara and heroics which is sad since I’m in all 70 dungeon blues. This is easy for dps and healers to get geared through pvp but for tanks… especially pally tanks… I’m stuck waiting on a guild run where I can count on focused healers and dps. Soon as I get geared though I’ll be pugging them left and right again.


  17. Great post!

    I tend to pug content up to level 70, but then once I hit 70, I’m usually running with my guild. This is mainly because the opportunity to run level 70 content often presents itself before I think to myself “maybe I’ll pop into the LFG.” I really don’t mind pugging though. The repair bill can be a bit higher, and you can run into some real doofuses, but I don’t think it’s as bad as folks make it out to be sometimes.

    I just go into pugs with a sense of humor (and lots of extra potions). That will take you pretty far. I go out of my way to be helpful and encouraging, and I try to be the first to chuckle and say “that was fun!” if there’s a wipe, because very often it is still fun (if not funny). With even the worst pug, at least you’ll get a good blog post out of it. 🙂

    I’ll admit I’m not totally unflappable though. Sometimes pugs are so bad, or people are so rude, that I actually stop looking for them for a while. I like running instances enough that I’ll usually end up in one again before too long though…

    Glad to see pugging has been treating you so well lately!


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