Bouncy, happy people and pugged raids?

Let’s start this off with a song that Kyre sent in this morning. Thanks Kyre!

As soon as she saw the Night Elf Kitties, it brought her back to a song and she just had to share it with us. I think it captures the feel perfectly!

I hereby present to you “I want a purple kitty for my birthday, mom” by Charlotte Diamond, frmo the album “Diamonds and Dragons.”
Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

Thank you again, Kyre, I have to say that certainly put a smile on my face this morning!

Last night, a group of Sidhe Devils went into Naxx, and they had a wonderful time. Some of them got Achievements for The Plague Quarter and the Spider Quarter, showing they triumphed in those areas for the very first time. They went in on time (or thereabouts), and despite a couple teammates needing to leave suddenly in mid-run, including the guy leading the run, they still managed to finish in a respectable 2 hours.

This is not their story.

I was not part of that group. I had intended to sign up, along with Cassie, but Cassie’s niece had a graduation ceremony from High School set for 7 PM.

We thought about educators and their need to thank each other and make sure everyone knows how wonderful they are so nobody cuts their funding, and figured… we wouldn’t be home before 8 :30. There were 9 people in the graduating class.

So we went to the graduation, and didn’t sign up for the raid.

This isn’t the graduation story, either.

This is the story of a Bear in Hunter’s clothing that logged in at about 8:45 server, saw that the Naxxramas crew were going strong, and looked around for something to do.

I’d mined the night before. I’d mined for hours while talking in vent, and had bags full of ore and Eternals that I didn’t need in the first place. Blech.

We had so many people in Naxx, that there weren’t enough folks on to go mess around in a regular or heroic instance. Maybe run a very old instance that someone leveling could use?

And then I saw it. Someone in Dalaran General Chat looking for.. and get this, as I’m on my Hunter… looking for 1 more DPS, preferrably ranged, for heroic Naxx.

When the hell does that ever happen?

I whisper and get an invite.

What the hey, it will be fun just to be seeing the inside of Naxx where I don’t have any other worries on my mind than aim and shoot.

They have already taken down Spider Wing, Patchwerk and stupid injector heroin addict guy. They’re on Gluth, and a good time shall be had by all. They’ve even got vent.

Most of the folks were from a guild on our server called Inquisition, one I really haven’t had much to do with before, but there was a good scattering of other people from guilds I do know about, like Heroes Ledger and Legion of the Valkyrie, good guilds with a reputation for being nice people.

Hmmm. Vent seems pretty reasonable, too. Strange. This couldn’t possibly be a pug with nice people, could it? In heroic Naxx mid-week? That would be too weird.

The raid leader was very good. He was calm, seemed reasonable, had a noted lack of sarcasm in his voice, and never once that I know of ever got pissy with anyone in the run.

That was remarkable.

He knew the fights pretty well, and while he did assume everyone present knew all the basic fundamentals, he made some specific tips during discussions that were pretty smart, tips that, while I have noted the problems in the past, I have never as a raid leader made a point of mentioning to the group as a wanring.

Just as an example that leaps out at me, since I was on my Hunter, when we were standing getting ready to enter the green slime tube to go see the doggie, the raid leader mentioned that all Hunters should dismiss their pets prior to entering the tube, and we should call them once we are actually on the ground.

Well, shoot, I’ve been in here in 10 man mode on my Hunter, and I’d found out the hard way the first time that if my pet was with me in the pipe, when I jumped he’d stay up there on the pipe, unable to be called, and unable to jump down to me, and out of range of Dismiss Pet. I had to wait for the pet to die from the poison dot of the pipe before I could rez him.


I’d noted it… but it never occured to me in later runs to mention that to the group. I tend to not give specific advise to players on what to do with their characters, because I don’t want to have people thinking I want to tell them how to play their class. I’ll talk about “DPS should do this” or “The tank should do that”, but generally not class specific stuff. But hey, here were three Hunters in a raid, and he threw out this pointer, and lo and behold, the other two Hunter’s hadn’t known.

Smart. Casually smart. I liked that.

So anyway, we got ready and went in and jumped Gluth.

And we wiped a few times.

We ended up needing to adjust the way kiters handled the zombie chow, take some of the excess uber heal off the tanks and put them on kiters, and also get practised on the kiters keeping the chow as far back as possible, and bunched up, so we could blow them up during Decimate a lot easier.

Learning curves in a pug, but no worries.

I was having a good time with the group. The people leading the run, while not enjoying the best success in the world, really seemed nice. At the very least, they didn’t explode into name calling and blaming and outrage, they didn’t descend into pessimism or a black depression… they just kept an upbeat perspective and kept right on trying.

After a few wipes, we lost a healer. So I asked Lixie, the only healer at 80 not in the guild Naxx run that seemed open to maybe doing something, if she’d like to come in.

She was willing, and away we went.

I believe immediately after she joined us, boom, down goes the doggie.

Loot was handed out, and by an interesting system.

The way it was described, everyone had the opportunity to roll and win one epic or Tier piece for a main spec, and one epic or Tier piece for an off spec for the night. If you win one for both your main spec and your off spec, your other rolls wouldn’t be considered unless everyone else passed on it.

Nobody seemed angsty about this, and the Tier chest piece that Hunters can use dropped. I rolled, and my mighty *4* did not garner me any loot. Lol.

Still, I certainly did not go on the run for loot. I went ’cause I wanted to shoot stuffs, and so far I’d had a lot of fun shooting stuffs.

Next up, Thaddius.

We destroyed the trash quite readily, and lined up for the first go.

We had problems on our first attempt, with one tank not taunting on his target after a tank throw, and Fuegan NO KIDDING took off, ran all the way down his ramp, across and ran up the OTHER ramp to start going to town on the other tank.

Of course, while that was going on the Tesla Coil link was broken, and the lightning was chaining all up one side of the raid and down the other. Ouchies!

So, a wipe.

After that, despite Inquisition being really great… the raid just fell apart.

First off, my computer chose this particular moment to crash. And I’m not talking about the computer itself… just WoW. Spectacularly.

It crashed logging back into Naxx. It crashed when reloading the game and trying to get on my Hunter. It crashed again after rebooting my entire computer and trying to log back into my Hunter. It crashed, and crashed, and crashed.

All the while, as minutes fly by, I’ve got 24 people waiting on me. And waiting. And waiting.

Amazingly, and this astounded me, the raid leader finally uttered a patient sigh, and said in vent “We’ll leave Windstar in group, but we need to get moving. Let’s go ahead and do it with 24.”

Someone commented, quite helpfully, that maybe if I tried to log onto another character it would break my Hunter free of whatever the &^)&^ was going on.

No, let me rephrase that the way my guildies saw it in Guild Chat last night.

Maybe if I tried logging into another character, it would break my fucking Hunter free of whatever the fuck was going on while an entire fucking raid was waiting on my ass, and I would calm down and no longer want to put my fist through my screen.

Not that I have anger issues, or anything.

My most massive hot button is letting other people down after I make a commitment. I was freaking torqued WAY over max stress ratings by my computer crashing WoW continuously.

Anyway, the advice worked. I logged into my Druid, and it chugged for a long time before doing so. Then I tried logging into my Hunter again, and for the rest of the night it was fine.

I got back into my Hunter only to spend the next five minutes rooting for them, as they tried to down Thaddius, but eventually they went down to a few bad Polarity shifts.

Now, understandably I think, there were some comments made about how, if you’re going to volunteer for a raid, you really need to be running Deadly Boss Mods or similar. They didn’t hammer on the point, but they did say that there is no excuse for someone that volunteers for a raid to not be running Deadly Boss Mods, and I for one agree. You get 25 people dancing, and each person HAS to be able to see what they’re own polarity is after a shift, nobody can be watching all those players and telling them.

Anyway, so they wiped and went back in.

Here is where I started feeling pretty bad for these guys.

They were, in my opinion, doing everything right. They were being nice, were patient, explained the fights and their expectations of people very well, and had good strategy for each attempt. When something would happen, they’d look at what happened and come up with a solid plan for how to prevent it happening again, such as shifting focus to chow control on Gluth.

But someone didn’t release after the Thaddius wipe, the raid all got put into ‘+combat’ mode, and nobody could get out of combat mode either. We couldn’t leave the place after jumping off the pipe. We had no Warlocks to do summons to speed things up. We had two people leave the raid.

We ended up having to either portal or hearth out of there to clear the chamber to get out of combat, and then come all the way back in. We had to find replacements for the people that left.

I asked, and Melpo and Shadewynn agreed to come on in… and then we all had to run without healing support through Frogger since everyone was already at Thaddius… and Melpo died on Frogger and we had to wait some more while he came back and tried again.

Oh, and Frogger seemed to be out of sync, where the people that died didn’t line up with where the graphics showed the little slimes to be. Helpful, that.

Everything being said, we finally got in our next attempt on Thaddius at about 11:15… and wiped once again to Polarity shifts.

At this point, and without pissiness, some folks said that it was just too late for them to go on and they left, and Inquisition had to call the raid.

We had been in there for about 2 and a half hours, and had downed Gluth.

The raid leader actually had the class to thank everyone for coming and for being patient, and apologized for the troubles in taking down Thaddius.

All in all, it was a pretty interesting night.

We didn’t accomplish much, but I had fun, because I enjoyed shooting stuff… and I enjoyed seeing that there are folks that are out there running pugs, and being responsible and considerate of others. They just want to get their raid on, clearly don’t have a big enough guild to do it entirely from within, try and pug it, and see no reason why they shouldn’t.

Would I have liked the chance at more loot?

Sure, who wouldn’t?

But what I liked more was the attitude of the entire pugged raid, that the problems were just that… problems to be overcome, no more, no less, and no reason to freak out on people.

Hopefully, the next time Inquisition wants to do a pug, they’re able to get 100% Deadly Boss Mods equipped folks.

And I can certainly say that, even if I knew I were going to spend another 2 and a half hours of wiping just to down one boss, if they were to invite me, I’d go again.

Fun times, fun times.

My only true regret, was that I invited Shadewynn, Melpo, and Lixie into the raid, and now all three of them are locked into a heroic Naxx instance that has bosses dead, even though two of them never even got to see one single boss die.

But next week will be a new week, with new opportunities. Right?

Thanks again for coming in with me, my friends. Despite the lateness of the night… it was fun. 🙂


26 thoughts on “Bouncy, happy people and pugged raids?

  1. Bear,

    You don’t actually need to dismiss your pet for large elevation changes anymore. If your pet is on follow and you drop down in Gluth’s room for example, just keep moving forward and spamming the pet passive button or macro. Your pet will warp to you, I think there may be a minimum distance from the pet required, but I’ve been doing this for a long time now, so the details are foggy but I know it works. I did this all through Naxx and Ulduar, Gluth, Thaddius, and Thorim come to mind as the most useful situations. Also, if you put your pet on stay, if you go past a certain distance your pet will despawn, so it saves you the time of casting dismiss for situations where you REALLY don’t want to make a mistake but don’t have time to dismiss your pet. Say if your bouncing bear tank runs off into the next area…like the old Blackrock Spire arena!


  2. The key to Frogger, for any of those who still get clipped by it, is to aim just inside the tail of the slime that has just passed by. Once you get used to the “sweet spot” you should aim for and the timing, you can literally run circles around the slimes and never die.


  3. ::sighing and wishing we weren’t all separated by servers so I could share this experience every week:: We run semi-pugs every Saturday, we fill up on Guildies first, then pug in the holes… and yeah, we get a few people here and there who try and spoil it for the rest, but they get put on a ‘do not return’ list, and they go very smoothly. Our RL, although he can get stressed here and there, handles things well for the most part, and a side benefit we never anticipated is that it has turned into a wonderful recruiting tool for us.

    But I wish we could share that with more people if its such a novelty for you, BBB.


  4. Another trick for frogger is to have a shammy drop totems in the path of the slimes. They are immune to the damage the slimes to and pop them. Tanks can SOMETIMES pop a slime and live, but I find it’s about 50/50. Pally bubbles work well too. I time my runs to run right BEHIND the slime I’m passing, seems to account for any lag issues. I have also laid down smoke flares for Heigen’s dance, but they usually don’t last the whole fight. Everyone dies to begin with on the safety dance, soon after a few runs, you can tell where to go. (there are 2 “U” shaped craks that are safe (position 2 and 4) and position 1 and 3 are 1 crack to the left of the safe “U” cracks – that’s how I can tell).


  5. On Nagrand, my guild is in the middle of Ulduar content at the moment (Mimiron), but some newer guildees who are working on their gear to get up to speed for Uld or those gearing up alts are raiding on Wednesdays with a guild who call themselves “Lemmings.” I have heard they are much like the guild you are speaking about and have only heard good things. It’s good to hear there are good guilds pugging raiding content!


  6. I am soooooo glad for puggable raid content. My guild usually only raids every other weekend. Sometimes in the middle of the week but mostly on alternate weekends. This is fine with me but sometimes it leaves me with nothing to do on a night where I’m pretty bored and that’s where pug raids come in handy. Yesterday I did OS-25 and it was actually one of the smoothest runs there I’ve ever done. Almost wish we’d tried with a drake up. 🙂

    I try to avoid full-on Naxx-25 pugs and prefer to do half pugs with some of the established raiding guilds. Two of the top raiding guilds on my server put together Naxx groups for their alts and such and I try really hard to tag along on those when I can because they’re smooooooth.

    As much as my guildies seem to not like Naxx-10 these days, I really really like doing Naxx-10 runs and this is why I look forward to mondays. One of my guildies that doesn’t get to play all that often puts together a naxx-10 on monday mornings/afternoons. Good times.

    Glad you had fun, BBB! 🙂 I’ve had that whole disconnect disconnect disconnect thing happen to me as well. So bloody annoying!


  7. To clarify Twice’s advice, make sure you’re not too close behind the slime poppers. The splash damage can kill you as far back as the middle of the rows of slimes. Bears are good for popping slimes, too. With Survival Instincts and Barkskin on, I can take 2 of them.


  8. On the whole DBM thing… you really don’t need it for any fights in WotLK. I mean really don’t. The default UI tells you everything you need to know about Thaddius. The default UI shows the debuff in the upper right hand corner (bottom left of the map). It is also simple enough to tell when is is switching because he does a big wavey things with his hands when he is casting it that you can’t miss…

    The only fight that I really found it usefull on was emalon because it would mark the add with a skull when it enraged…. but they changed that now to where the add gets freaking gigantic and you would have to be a blind leaper gnome not to see which one it is.

    In ulduar I’ve seen it actually cause problems because DBM will display a warning if you get hit with the eyebeams telling you that it is focusing on you… but it could be really focusing on someone else you just happened to get hit by it. This can cause several people to run for their lives instead of the one person that needs too.

    I’m not saying it isn’t helpfull and don’t use it but it really shouldn’t be required. Every major boss ability or trick is clearly displayed through an emote or visual effect. Gone are the days where you had to turn up the sound to hear the thunderstorm coming in on the eagle boss in ZA.

    I’ve cleared 25 man Naxx and the first 5 bosses in 25 ulduar w/o using any mods what so ever. Being an attentive raider is really all that is required. If someone misses the boss cues built in more then likely he is going to miss the giant warning flashing on his screen from DBM.


  9. @Stupid Mage
    I apologize for the uncompletness of my answer.

    First, ask an engineer friend to manufacture smoke flares (skill level 335). I recommend using two colors (one color for moving from zone 1 to zone 4, and the other for the reverse direction). Although you will need only 3 flares of each color if everything goes well, it is better to stack up on them as they are cheap and only last 5 minutes.

    Before the encounter, give the smoke flares to your off tank or any melee charcater who is confident about not dying to the dance in the first phase. Have him keybind the flares or place them on his action bars.

    When the encounter starts, the individual carrying the flares does not DPS the boss for the duration of first phase (slow dance). His sole responsibility is to place the flares in safe spots for the fast dance. Smoke flares can be used like any other object (right-click it or bind its use to a key) and then target a safe spot (usually beneath you if you are doing the slow dance).

    The smoke flares will need to be refreshed every second first phase.

    Smoke flare carrier

    First round:
    1st phase: place smoke flares
    2nd phase: dance!

    Second Round
    1st phase: DPS
    2nd phase: dance!

    Third Round
    1st phase: place smoke flares
    2nd phase: dance!


    Good luck!


  10. I definitely had fun, and was worried that my noobishness in Naxx was gonna tick people off (first time there and all). Thankfully, everything BBB says is correct. They were very polite and I wish I had been able to help them more than I did.


  11. Flares are items created by engineers (or you can buy them from some vendors) that anyone can place. I’ve seen shamans place totems as markers as well for the Heigan dance. It’s also possible to place the flares before the fight even starts, assuming the person placing them knows the safe spots well enough.

    For frogger I’ve found it’s much safer to try and be right behind a slime, rather than directly between two slimes, I had someone suggest this to me once and haven’t died to frogger since.


  12. Thanks for the tips. I’ve always used DBM because it’s probably the only add-on I can’t really do without. Fortunately, the dancing encounter doesn’t have a enrage timer so it’s not a DPS race. We killed him at the end with one DPS and two trees still standing to keep the MT up.

    It’s embarrassing to die because you can’t run faster than TREES. 😦


  13. Our weekday raid leader believes that the best way to deal with frogger is to bring a bunch of Paladins (we’re fortunate that way most of the time) and have them bubble pop the slimes while everyone follows a bit behind…

    And hooray for good PuGs, making a note of the names.


  14. Whoops, that should have been…
    My first raid ever was a 25 man Naxx PUG. We had a great raid leader, excellent group. The loot distribution was similar to what you described.


  15. My first raid ever was a 25 man Naxx. I was on my Holy Priest. Since that time I’ve been on other PUG raids, and for the most part the experience has been the same. Although I would like to run raids within the guilds where I am a member I’m usually unable to do so and that is mainly because of the start time. My daughter is usually awake at 8:00 and I won’t raid if she’s awake.

    My experience with PUGs is pretty much what you described. Yes, I’ve had fail PUGs (haven’t we all.) I’ve run numerous PUGs, I usually ran at least one daily when I had a lot of time to ply and the bad PUGs were definitely in the minority.

    Yep definitely familiar with the guilds you’ve mentioned have ran with a few from the guilds as I’ve leveled on Kael’thas. I have nothing but positive things to say about those I ran with.


  16. We’ve been having the same problem with Frogger on the nights we do Naxx. I play my druid on those nights, shift into cat at Frogger so I can see around my feathery butt and BAM. Dead, even though it looked like I was right in the middle of the slimes. At first I thought it was just latency, though others in my guild have complained about it as well.

    I wish Naxx 25 PuGs on Argent Dawn were as understanding as your run seemed to be. I can’t count how many times I’ve been booted from PuGs for DWing on Sharvhan, despite the fact that I MT Ulduar with no issues. Congrats on finding what seems like a great group of folks to run with, and hope you have better luck with the bosses next time!


  17. @ blacknimbus. following other people doesn’t work because of a slight delay between what you see on your screen and what other people actually doing. you should start running on your own and orient yourself to other people if you don’t know the quadrants yourself, but you cannot wait to follow.

    I’m a deadly boss mods convert, but for the longest time – I was afraid to install them for the fear of lagging out my already slowish computer down to barely crawl. I’ve done Naxx, EoE and OS with drake up without it. This is how.

    1. I’m not sure if it has changed, but it used to be that you could put dbm on announce so even if you didn’t have it installed- you would still get raidwide announcements. you wouldn’t have personal notices (run away little girl! “cackle”), but you will see everything else.

    2. you have to be more aware of your surroundings. if it means, you have to stop dps/heals for a second – so be it – dead people do zero heals/dps On Thaddus in particular, other then switching sides – its a pretty stationary fight with no bad stuff randomly falling on a ground, so there’s plenty of time to keep an eye on his cast bar while you go through your dps rotation / throw an occasional heal (other then a chainlightning that he randomly throws, there isn’t much damage happening to the raid) when you see him casting polarity switch (and i believe that even if you don’t run a single addon and dbm is not set to raid announce – there’s a built into a game announcement to that extent), shift your eyes to your own debuffs. with standard UI – they are at a bottom left of your minimap. you see them switch? run. they stay the same – you stay in place. its a bit more challenging to do fights without dbm, but its not impossible, especially for non-raid leader 🙂


  18. Pugs are not the instant screaming death that most people seem to think they are… and everybody pugs at the beginning, because how else do you make friends?

    Some of the best experiences I’ve had in the game have been pugs…and some annoying ones in guilds. It’s the people that make it good, not that you all have the same name over your head.


  19. @Blacknimbus
    Yes, it is a question of timing. You cannot rely on following other people because their position on your screen may be slightly different than their actual position due to latency.

    A trick I use when there are a number of players who have trouble dancing is to use flares. The OT put flares on the floor to mark the safe spots (a different color each way). It works well for most but not all. The loss of the OT’s DPS for the first phase is more than made up by the extra DPS or two who survived because of this strategy.

    Another trick is to run fairly close to the plateform (say 5 yards away) to reduce movement. Position your camera angle slightly downard to ensure you see the cracks in the floor. You will eventually use these cracks to determine where is the next safe spot.

    Good luck!


  20. This is about the standard experience I’ve had on my server. The downside to PUGs is (in my experience) not the players, it’s the excessive waiting time. Like you saw last night – people leave and it takes forever to get going again. People dieing to frogger (more than once). That’s one reason why I stand on the good side of frogger and rez the people who didn’t make it.

    Of course, even with THAT habit, it isn’t uncommon for me to wait, make sure they all make it, only for ONE person have to go repair and die to frogger after I’ve rejoined the raid.

    If I’m lucky, I’ll be taking my druid into a Naxx PUG tomorrow night for the first time. 🙂


  21. Quick question on the Naxx fight with the ‘dancing’. I did this for the first time last night and am still a bit baffled by what the strat is to avoid getting insta-gibbed by the green flamelavawhatever.

    Is it just timing? Following other people does not work, I found that out the hard way.


  22. And that is why I like PuGs (in general). I don’t have the time to raid properly, been in two quarters of NAXX on the good graces of a PUG like the one you describe, and enjoyed the heck out of it! I’ve also run 10-man VOA (yes, I know, it’s jsut VoA me=noob) and took down Emalon after about 5 wipes. It was epic, it was good-natured, and the raid leader offered to give everyone 5g towards their repairs jsut for sticking it out. That is one achievement that I’ll never ever forget getting. 🙂


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