A PUG Raiding Retrospective

Last night I decided to give PUG raids a chance once again, and on a whim volunteered for a VoA 25 run.

Let’s just say that, while I have seen the 2nd and 3rd bosses before, I haven’t done VoA since they added the Ice boss, and I’d only done the Fire and Lightning a few times. Possibly not even on my main, either.

In fact, thinking back on it, I think I’ve only done the Fire boss twice before; once on my Paladin on Horde side with the Zug Initiative, and once on my Hunter on Alliance in a PUG, winning some nice PvP boots that I’m still wearing.

I had studied before, and knew the tactics for all the bosses except Ice. I’d never intended to do VoA again, so I hadn’t bothered studying that one. Oh why look, an unprepared Bear. /win

I went as a Tree, and not only did I get to heal, I even bullied poor Dechion to come with me to heal as well. Misery loves company, and if I’m going to screw up, best to have witnesses, right?

It’s more fun that way.

Since I hadn’t studied in advance, a hurried query in guild chat followed as we ran in. “Hey, Occulus… wtf do we do on the Ice boss, dude?”

We were then given the following advice;

“Stay away from the Orbs.”
“Heal the tanks.”

Ooookay. We can do that. I think. Thanks for the tip.

It was a lot of fun. It did take a while to get the group together, people kept dropping in and out, and as far as I can see it was because people felt that the group was not forming fast enough to suit them. Which, let me tell you, when you drop group because you’re missing two people out of 25 after 3 minutes, it sure does speed up getting the group formed. Idiots.

We got the group full up, summoned or teleported in, marked the two main tanks (I love that, I really do), buffed up and ran to do the new boss first.

All things considered, it went very well, although I quickly saw what Occulus meant about watching the Orbs. The damn things spawn and swirl all over the place, and if they touch you it hurts. I have no idea if they had to be DPSed down or if they despawn on their own after a set time, because nobody… NOBODY mentioned doing any particular strategy at any time, for any boss. If you didn’t know how to do things going in, there was zero guidance along the way.

So, all I really know is, Orbs spawned and did lots of group damage that we healed through, and then vanished after a while. It’s kinda hectic in a 25, and I just don’t know without researching if they despawned on their own or not. 

After that boss fell, one person instantly left group. Guess he only wanted a piece of loot from the Ice boss, and had no interest in sticking around to like, I dunno, finish the run. That’s one to feed to the ignore list, and thank you very much.

We then continued on to Archavon, short 1, cleared that and went back and did Lightning. Lost another player after Lightning, a healer, and did the Fire boss with 23.

It amazes me how many people dinged boss kill Achievements all the way, even on Archavon, and yet there were no wipes, and no discussion about tactics at all.

I’ll admit, I was healing with all the skill I was capable of, and a lot of people getting stuck in Lightning Ring and in Fire and stuff got very low in health before we brought them back up, but we never wiped, and had very few actual deaths. I think we had four healers, and Dechion and I were two of them, so that always feels good.

Cassie walked in towards the end of the run, and of course almost everything that dropped was Paladin plate, so she was crying a little inside for her Pally.

That led us to talk a little bit about this whole raiding thing, and PUGging versus guild runs, and how things are now compared to how they used to be.

I think I’ve been pretty clear in the past year or so that I ain’t a regular PUG kinda person. Unlike most people I know, I haven’t done PUG raids as a regular thing in a long, long time. Not real raids. I have tried to do the weekly Raid boss on my Druid, when I think of it though.

When Cassie and I talk about raiding, and doing them as PUGs, the conversation usually turns to the last time we actually enjoyed PUGging a raid.


That’s right. Karazhan.

There was this beautiful window of time where a lot of people had leveled and geared from Heroics, gotten some decent Badge gear, but the last load of uber-leet Badge gear costing beeellions and beeellions of Badges had NOT been released yet on the Isle of Pretentious Blood Elves.

It felt like a magical time.

We’d left our big guild that wanted to do serious raids, and there was just the two of us on our own, with our alt guild nametag over our heads. Karazhan was the only 10 person Raid in the game, and it was very, very long with tons of bosses. There was lots in there to do.

Karazhan was the stopping place for many casual guilds that wanted to raid, but didn’t want to merge into large guilds and deal with potential drama just to hit 25s. If you wanted to raid and didn’t have 25 people to field, Karazhan was the place.

For Cassie and I, it really was a magical time to PUG. We both loved the length of Kara, we loved the way the fights required people at our gear level to use all our abilities and to CC and move and play well and use tactics in order to succeed. It was lots of fun to be with a group of other people all at our same level, because raiders never went back to Kara.

We were also very fortunate that, most of the time, when someone was advertising that they needed a few more for Kara, they were really great people that just happened to be short one or two guildies at that moment, like Essence of Grandeur.

We got to join PUG raids as a couple, and do really interesting and challenging content at the time, with what were in effect entire guilds of skilled people. Not really a true PUG at all, when you think of it.

Looking back, it’s really a shame how things turned out.

When the uber-leet Badge loot was released, suddenly all the raiders wanted fast Badges again, and lots of them. So Karazhan got swamped by people that had insane levels of 25 man raider gear, raiders that wanted to run Karazhan, and who were in guilds that weren’t going to organize Kara in the middle of their progressive raiding schedule.

These people were in a rush to get done because they weren’t there for fun or to see the place or enjoy being with friends. They didn’t want loot from there. They just wanted Badges, and they didn’t respect the level of content OR the other people who were in there at the appropriate level.

These people also wanted to gear their alts up to join their raiding guilds, their raiding guilds weren’t organizing lower-level raids, and so they raided on their mains, and pugged Kara to gear up from the uber-leet Badge gear. And they broght with them their high end raider attitude.

Welcome to brute forcing content, speed pulls or nothing, trash talking, and e-peen waving. And of trying to brute force content on undergeared alts.

It really did ruin that as a raid for both of us, at least for the brief period before Wrath was released. And with Wrath, the whole game changed.

I personally thought that adding both 10 and 25 person versions of all raids would make everything all better. The raiders could move on, and never want to go flood the lower level raids again. The days of e-peen waving leet raiders PUGging with strangers and being asshats were over. Why PUG when you can run with your guild in all these actual raids?

What I didn’t anticipate was the Badge/Emblem system going live with such highly desired rewards, and there being small raids like Sarth and VoA that would be so conducive to PUG farming for quick Emblems.

The model we have is still what we had at the end of Burning Crusade. High end content for raiders to focus on in their official guild scheduling, and lower end content that provides Emblems for gear that high-end raiders will still want, and that will drive them to try and PUG the “lower” difficulty content to farm Emblems fast with their OP uber-leet gear.

Raiders are not encouraged to move on to one level of content, one level of challenge, push forward together with their guild, and stay there.

With Frost Emblems from both daily Heroics and from the Weekly raid boss from lower level raids, and with Triumph Emblem gear being so good to fill in spots like Trinkets and Rings, raiders in their uber-leet gear are encouraged to go, and I hate to phrase it this way but that’s how a lot of these people act, “slumming” in the lower level content. To run content they vastly overpower, content they don’t want any gear from, and content their guild has no interest in running together as a group.

So the raiders are still encouraged by the system to PUG with strangers.

And the raiders, ever and again, seem to act like they feel that they’re running content that is beneath them, with strangers that are beneath them, and they want to get done and get out as fast as they can with their Emblems.

I will say that the only thing about the entire situation I mind, what really bothers me, is simply how it brings up-and-coming players trying to do content at the appropriate level, trying to learn how to play and learn how to deal with different mechanics, face to face with people that are vastly overgeared, have no respect for them, and teach them nothing but bad habits and how to brute force content, and who actively discourage any other way of doing things because it would take too much of the raider’s precious time to even discuss.

I am thinking about it a lot, but aside from bitching, pissing and moaning about it, I really don’t see a viable solution. Cataclysm is coming, and Blizzard really wants more players to have the opportunity to see Icecrown Citadel before it turns into what vanilla Naxx 25 did; a place that only a handful of folks got to see before an expansion made it obsolete.

Without a method that is easily understood for gathering gear upgrades that leap you past older, time consuming content, or increase how many upgrades you can get over a limited span of time, players starting now would never have a chance.

I’ve got that Marine Corps mentality that says, before you bitch about the way things are, you better have taken the time to come up with your own idea on how things could be better. If you can’t, then shut the hell up.

I have some ideas, but frankly, I don’t know if they’d fix anything without making the overall fun of the game suffer.

Where I’d lean most, is to cut off the power of Emblem gear and drops a few ranks below the top progression content. Spread out the difficulty of the progression content (and the rewards provided) so you really do have to master the one below before moving onwards and upwards.

Instead of leaving people to have to bring alts up through older content that your current progression guild doesn’t run, one solution to that would be to have drops at your current content level be Bind on Account, so that if you as a player are already playing at one level of content, you could gear up your other toons as well from that level without going backward. That way, no matter what the drop, somebody is going to want it.

And finally, when there is Emblem gear to bring players ahead past old content, release one entire range of items, one for every slot, so that people are able to get geared and not feel they have to pug in lower levels raids to fill the same three slots every other player wants as well, and fight over those handful of drops while all the armor gets sharded.  

The problem is, even with doing something like that, trying to make levels of progression feel more significant on their own and remove the urge of high end progression raiders from running with people in places they don’t want to be, it still doesn’t take into account the desire on the part of players in 10 person guilds from wanting to PUG to get their hands on 25 person content gear to make their 10 man runs easier. 

See, that’s the hard thing about trying to second guess where things are now. Where we’re at now works. There may be issues with it, but it works. Would a change cause more problems than they’d fix?

Blizzard is very smart. Cataclysm is coming, and they watch all this stuff just like we do. They play as well, and I have to imagine they’re not all high end progression raiders in tight guilds, oblivious to the feel of the game and the effects of all these Emblems and PUGs on players. 

Who knows what kind of flowcharts and graphs they have of player expectations and feedback, what Six Sigma analysis they may have made on the situation and it’s core variables, and what decisions they may have planned for addressing things without breaking them?

What I do know is that I was able to raid last night in a PUG and succeed, and there was loot handed out, and Emblems that were won, and there were many other raids going on as PUGs at the same time. There are PUGs at all levels, from ICC to Ulduar to Naxx and even to Sunwell and the Black Temple. If you want to run something, at any content level, there is an opportunity available. You may need to run a ton of Heroics to prepare, but the opportunity to see content at all levels is there just the same. And that’s the single biggest complaint people had coming out of Burning Crusade.

For me, though, it also doesn’t change the fact that even though those PUGs are there, and available, and can be fun to run, the attitude among a lot of players is still there as well. That they want something from lower level content to gear at the highest levels, and they act as though they are somehow lowering themselves, slumming, in order to get it.

Hmm. I feel like I should be standing on my lawn, waving a fist and screaming at some kids.

23 thoughts on “A PUG Raiding Retrospective

  1. Hi i come from the oceanic server thaurissan. This server is largely almost 100% horde with a few alliance stranglers here and there. In this server, there are hundreds of people who rely on pugs and gearscore to complete raids for their weekly and even higher raids such as icc. Lately my friends and i discuss and we know that wow wasn’t what it was 2-3 years ago when most things were done for fun and slowly. Has anyone considered that wow has turned from a game of skill. good judgement and fun to that of “who has the higher gearscore”?

    What is most dominant in our servers are gdkp runs, runs that people buy their gear with gold and the pot gets split to the 25 who does the raid. Since when did the game turn to simulate the real world where money is everything. The thing we feel about wow is similar to that of BBB. Burning Crusade was the prime time of raiding. People couldnt’ buy gear, people compared stats of items properly and not by gs, people used tactics and not outgear everything, people actually used things called cc in instances. People used trade chat for trading and people could improvise.

    Lately our server has been filled with those who spam trade just for attention of their reserved item’d pug raids. Its really really frustrating to see trade constantly flowing, not moving, FLOWING. NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING can be read. Another thing that is screwed up about WOTLK is the 10/25 of every raid. Content is just not meant to be repeated twice a week. Whatever happened to a storyline? What ever happened to logic. Imagine Saurffang going “10 people can kill me easily, but i just love wiping those 25’s” Make any sense?

    Badge gear. Gear from heroics emblems outranks naxxramas. I clap for blizzard. Icc5 gear that outgears naxx25-eoe25 gear or even ulduar 10 gear. Really blizz, good job. You’ve just created more asshats in the world of warcraft so you could make more money. I think its time people who care about skill revert back to playing something more sensible. Sorry about my rambling, but blizz really doesnt make sense anymore. This isnt even considering dungeon tp or boa’s.

    Yes, BoA’s. Ever wondered why people cant play their classes anymore? Ever wonder how people dont even know how to use their skills? Remember the time of NO BoA’s? Remember the time people had to strain their asses to level? Well blizz had a purpose for this, TO SLOWLY LEARN HOW TO PLAY OUR CLASS.

    I say revert to the time of Burning Crusade, revert to the time of cc, revert to the time we were playing wow, not working it.


  2. @Erthshade “drastically cutting down on the pool available for random heroics” – First, I don’t think a raider’s one heroic of the day being removed from the pool cuts down “drastically” on the number of people reliably found IN the pool.

    Second, the delay is in finding tanks. I have yet to find a higher proportion of raiding tanks in heroic pugs than the DPS and healers. In fact, the opposite is true. I rarely if ever see a raid geared tank in a pug, but I always have at least one, most often two, raiding geared DPS. What I do see are tanks that are undergeared and are pushed by DPS to “gogogogo”, or who blow through faster than they are capable and get carried by healers, and learn nothing about how to do their heroic with skill to get past a difficult spot.

    You can disagree with me, certainly. But your point, which seems to be that we can’t run heroics without bribing raiders to come carry us, or to increase the pool of players available so there are enough people to run with, doesn’t seem valid to me. Ask any tank in a heroic, the queue time is directly related to tank shortages, not to a lack of DPS or healers. IN fact, I’d be inclined to suspect that if you remove the raiders, the queue times would decrease as leveling DPS go tank to get faster queue times, while the DPS raiders that won’t lower themselves to tank JUST for their one run of two Frost vanish from the queue.

    Spin. It’s a wonderful thing.


  3. The problem with Karazhan was, it was a very good raid, but some classes did much, much better in their assigned role there than others. Both Feral Druids and Protection Paladins, for instance, rocked tanking it while prot warriors struggled. So I have only fond memories of getting the hell out of there and into the raids where I could actually contribute.


  4. I agree with Erthshade. The badge system has made content more accessible. Yes – heriocs are a zerg now, not a crawl. However, gearing an alt is no longer an exercise in futility. I just geared a mage to full (almost) 232-264 gear in a matter of 2 days at 80 /played without raiding, except a voa or weekly. That is simply amazing. I can now raid with him – either pug or guild. How would I have done that without the badge system? Run through all the earlier raid content in pugs? Would guilds be forced to have earlier content raid just to get a new *alt* geared, wasting everyone’s time for 1 or 2 new characters – like BC did. You remember the “let’s get you keyed for Kara” run’s. And then, let’s get you geared for raids runs. Those were not fun for the rest of the raids, and sucked up raiders time. Now, the raiders have a straight 2 or 3 nights a week of raiding – period. If someone wants to gear an alt, they can do it without everyone else. And – PUG raids are that much easier for everyone. I’m seeing ICC pugs all the time – that is a good thing! It lets people who don’t have the scheduled time or inclination for normal guild raids to pop on and experience the content. It’s hit or miss on success. It just might also encourage some who are scared of raiding, taste just a little and get them more involved. Yes, you do have to deal with the GS elitests out there, but I try to insult them in trade whenever I can, just to give them a little something to think about.

    The badge system may not be perfect, but it is a better system than Vanilla and BC to encourage more gameplay and see more content. I look forward to see what tweaks Blizzard has in Cata.

    Semper Fi, BBB.

    Hoorah, Devil Dog.


  5. @Tex – I’ve been reading and nodding away with what everyone else has been saying in this thread feeling that I didn’t need to really contribute because my point of view has already been covered eloqently by Malicifent.
    Simply put. Don’t give up.

    Caring enough to do that much legwork is admirable and its not like that forever. A thick skin is definitely needed to begin with but after a while those people who whisper you will increase in volume till all you have to do is work out what remaining spots you have to plug and set the time. Then its just keeping it running on an even keel and enforcing the rules. I’ve found that Pugs where there’s someone dedicated enough to make it run smoothly and fairly are a limited resource and that the ideal players you want will be more willing to agree to attend a regular one that risk it in a random pug. I’m pretty lucky in that I can generally call on 10-12 spots direct from the alts/friends in my guild and have enough regular attenders who know the time and pop along every week.

    Keep it up and you’ll really enjoy it. Its one of the things that kept the game interesting for me.

    PS. (I don’t use GS either – /w will get you a better player 9/10 times)
    .-= Echo´s last blog ..Passing Loot =-.


  6. I have to disagree here with several points you and various commenters have made about the emblem system and accessibility of content, BBB. While it’s not perfect, how it is now is one of the best things I’ve seen happen in the game and has kept my interest, long past the point in previous expansions when I would have taken a sabbatical, wondering why I was bothering when there was no chance for advancement.

    Y’see, they already tried the whole ‘must master previous content to see current content’ thing. It was called VANILLA and BC. I don’t know about anyone else, but I never got a chance to step beyond a few feet from the entrance portal to MC, let alone see anything else before the dark portal opened to Outland. Back when they did the original Naxx event, I even found myself thinking sarcastically, “Oh good, more previews of places I will never see… why am I bothering again?” Many alts were rolled as I tried to find something to do. Outland was a little better with the introductory raid being a 10-man, but once the group I was with wanted to run bigger things I was shut out. Pugging Kara was doable, but TK and Coilfang? Didn’t happen. By the end of BC I was rerolling more alts and eventually taking a 2-month break from the game for lack of interest in even logging on.

    Enter WotLK. I level up some more characters, not really planning on doing anything, just seeing the story unfold this time. Last summer I’m just poking around on my moonkin (who just hit 80 a couple weeks prior) when the guild wants me to come along to fill in for Ulduar and eventually ToC. Honestly, Asegi was the last character I expected to raid with. And seriously, after a few times downing bosses the thrill disappears, the rotation is ingrained, the fire is predictable, and I’m looking for new challenges. But this time I start to have options. With the emblem system itself levelling up to match, if not current content than just prior, my alts can catch up, even start pugging the current content if I need a change of pace. DPS isn’t my preference, tanking is.

    Quite simply, what the current systems give me is that greatest treasure of all, which is HOPE (apologies to Terry Pratchett). Hope that I’m not stuck looking at the same tired places with the same characters, banging my head against a wall to get ‘that one drop’ that will let them into higher tiers of content. Hope that if someone I know and like in-game needs something, I can provide help and not have to say ‘sorry, my tank/healer is only at heroic level and always will be’. Hope that what I’m doing now isn’t what I must be doing for the rest of eternity, in order to see everything, or do everything I want.

    And to echo Vulpina… without the frost emblems as a bonus, there’s no incentive for raiders to run heroic content, drastically cutting down on the pool available for random heroics. My warrior has no need for triumphs anymore, even without being a raider… why would he put himself into the filthy pug pool at all at this point? One less tank, and your dps (and healer) queues just got longer.


  7. The problem with VoA is the same problem that Battlegrounds have… there is no barrier to entry. There is gear off Archavon designed for people who just hit level 80… and there is gear that would require raiding icc 25 and a 1400+ arena rating. My warrior has relentless/wrathful pvp gear with a ICC 25 mace… I shouldn’t be facing people who just hit lvl 80 in their BoA gear and questing greens/blues. It just shouldn’t happen. Like wise my warrior has 47k health and 33k armor… I shouldn’t be in the same instance as a tank who is just starting heroics at 25k health. Unfortunately both these situations exist in battlegrounds and VoA.

    I’m not going to include heroics… because none of the bosses are tuned for 232+ gear as the ice boss is. It is hard for me to even consider VoA as having any more then one boss these days because there is only one boss that is designed for my warrior’s quality of gear.

    What they should have done is literally separated the bosses in VoA into their own instance. That way people can go for the bosses they want. I have no interest or desire to ever fight archavon just like I don’t have any desire to run heroics on my warrior anymore. Weekly raids need to go away too because that is just a bad idea. It won’t get people raiding older instances past the first boss. Progression should be progression and mixing that with old content is a bad idea. I’m all for heroics dropping triumph… that helps alts and new people gear up… but dropping frost means that is one more thing for the frustrated raiders to do. Not letting raiders graduate from old content breeds frustration.
    .-= Whats my main again?´s last blog ..Its been quite the journey =-.


  8. I hate to be the naysayer, but if they didn’t put Frost Emblems into heroics… I wouldn’t have been in a heroic in months. Can you imagine what the wait time would be if people weren’t “forced” to do them daily? It would be impossible to PUG a run anywhere. And forget the old content. Malygos? No one would run that guy ever again, forever. I know I’ve killed him twice in the past month for Frost badges in PUGs. At least newer players are getting to see the content now if they weren’t able to when it was the highest content available. I think what Blizz has done is fantastic. I think the increase in opportunity for everyone is pure win. Even if it the Emblems/gear were more restricted that doesn’t prevent asshats from joining raids! Not all jerkanapes have high gear scores!


  9. ToC and now ICC have been for me and my wife what Kara was for you and Cassie. Now, we run 10 man as a mostly guild thing, but until the last couple of weeks we ran with a semi-regular group of friends or just pugged it together.

    To prove that a 25 man raid could be pugged in a positive manner to some guildies, I actually lead a PuG 25 ICC a couple of weeks ago. It was a mixed success. I spent over an hour and a half getting the group together. I advertised in trade (feeling pieces of my soul decaying with every /2) that it was just the first wing and that gearscore and achievement were nice and all, but not necessary. I was literally interviewing each person through whispers before inviting them or declining them. Not about gearscore, but I did make sure they were appropriately geared. I didn’t require achievements, but made sure they understood the fights and their roles on each fight. I let them know that it would be an “appropriately geared” group and that it would take a long time to put it together and a long time to complete and that we would probably wipe several times. I covered asshattery, loot rules, afk rules, dps and healing meter rules, vent rules and a ton more stuff before invites. I bet I talked to 50 people or more. It was a HUGE pain in the ass. We failed on Saurfang twice and tension got the better of a few people. I muted their ass in vent and just watched their little green megaphone keep lighting up. But the instant that it got tense, I was basically done. The fun was gone. Of course, it was only 2 people trying to help, but they got angry and it was contagious. A couple more tries and I called it. The worst part is that every time I log in now, I get a whisper or two from some really nice people asking me to do it again because they can’t get into a pug, even though they are competent and capable. Yeah, I got to feel good about myself and my little samaritan attempt to get people into ICC, but it really wasn’t worth it overall, not for me and probably not for a most of the people that were in the raid. I may do it again, but only when I have a lot of time to play, and I plan it ahead with the guild first. It’s less stress and hassle to just deal with the inevitable idiots and asshats by just pugging it with my wife.

    “That they want something from lower level content to gear at the highest levels, and they act as though they are somehow lowering themselves, slumming, in order to get it.”

    This is the problem, definitely. I don’t know how to fix it, but encouraging people running top-end content to run the lowest level content is just bad.


  10. Just sharing an experience I had the other day. I have a level 79 DK I’m leveling up, and I run the daily with her sometimes on normal difficulty (obviously). I ended up in HoS the other day with 2 toons who had never run it before, plus the tank was a FIRST TIME player. He was a bit tentative, but on average, he kept good aggro, even though I think it was hard for him to see adds that were casters since they stood back. (a bit of tunnel vision) It was kinda fun to figure out the instance together instead of steamrolling it with players who knew the place inside and out. I certainly didn’t know all the boss abilities but filled in the group as much as I could from what I remember. (I don’t run instances much in general.) The run took probably twice as long as it normally would, but everyone was nice, and the tank asked for feedback a lot. Good run over all, like the kind of run you’d enjoy, BBB.


  11. Malificient, I really like your ideas. Very much, in fact. Sometimes, when you read something, afterwards you think, “Why, how obvious” when it wasn’t obvious at all.

    Smart thinking, sir. Far better than my half formed thoughts.

    I knew I didn’t have any good ideas about an actual solution, because I’m not in a raiding perspective. One thing I DON’T want is any solution that would actually hurt raiders. I just see as the core problem raiders having to run old stuff outside of their guild in order to gear up for what they’re actively doing, and want to see that fixed for all concerned.

    If people gear up really high and take breaks doing lower level content for fun, like the Black Temple and Sunwell and Mount Hyjal pugs I see form, I think that’s awesome. I’m fairly certain the people that do that aren’t among the people whose poor behavior I’ve described.

    And it shouldn’t need to be said, but maybe I should; obviously, all raiders don’t act like that. In fact, most probably don’t. But it is pervasive enough that it poisons the atmosphere for many others.


  12. I think the proliferation of BoE gear in raid boss loot tables was intended to achieve some of what you suggest with BoA gear. Similarly with crafting patterns dropped in raids creating BoE instead of BoP items. Combining that with emblem gear that’s a tier behind, you can get an alt up to snuff for at least starting the newest raid with only moderate amounts of heroic grinding, gold spending, and raid pugging.


  13. VOA? there are more than that one boss?? When did this happen? guess it would help if i didn’t ignore the trade chat/lfg spam when in dalaran..
    then again, our battlegroup is heavily horde weighted, so i don’t think that Kul Tiras Alliance side has wintergasp all that frequently.

    BBB was nice to play around on your server last night. Little Katt is enjoying the sights and smells of duskwood… yippee…

    The problem with BOA stuff is the effective ilvl and enchantability. especially as you get into content that takes ilvl into account (vehicle mechanics).
    but, I would agree it’s gotten to be too quick.


  14. “Where I’d lean most, is to cut off the power of Emblem gear and drops a few ranks below the top progression content”.
    Or for dropped emblems to be of a level similar to the ilevel of the boss. Maybe include an option to trade up, say 5 for 1, for the nextt half-tier emblem; this would make difficult to outgear content you have yet to see by more than one half-tier.

    The super-duper-easy-to-get emblem gear time in both BC and WotLK is my warning sign it is time to start playing my alts and to do other interesting stuff (Loremaster this time, soloing heroic bosses on my hunter back in BC).


  15. Greetings sir – I’ve long been a reader, but this is the first time I’ve posted. This particular topic hits close to home.

    I am a raider with a progression guild. We’re far from super-hardcore, but good enough – currently working on the normal mode of Lich King in 25s. Loads of fun.

    Where my problem comes in is that I personally am the working father of a small child. Between office and family, my play time is necessarily limited. Presently I primarily log in for raids, and a little on the weekends or late evenings (after the baby is in bed) if we don’t have other plans.

    The current raid structure creates exactly the problem you’ve identified – for me to perform at peak, I am expected to log in daily to run at least one heroic (despite being in gear with an average item level of 255). I strive to always be pleasant and courteous, particularly to new players, but let’s be honest – those speed run heroics make my life easier and free up time for activities I’d rather be doing.

    Additionally, the next level of that problem is the pressure to run both 10s and 25s every week. The majority of our raiders are also in a 10 man group on their mains. The additional influx of badges (double!), rep (double!), and items (even at a tier lower, several of the ICC10 pieces are well itemized and highly useful). Again, to perform at peak capacity, I should really be running the raids on both difficulties every week – something that is completely impossible given my responsibilities and desires outside the game.

    To follow your Marine Corps mentality, I have a suggestion: put the 10 and 25 versions of a given raid on the same raid lockout. 10s raiders are no longer inclined (or allowed) to PUG 25s for extra gear. 25s raiders are no longer running the same raid twice a week to stay caught up with gear/rep/badges. To be even more drastic, it would be feasible then to tune 10s and 25s to the same (theoretical) difficulty and give them the same loot tables, only drop more in 25s (a 10 man boss drops 2 pieces, a 25s boss drops 4, for example). If Blizzard really wants 25s to have an extra lure, keep the upgrade tokens (a la Conqueror’s Mark of Sanctification) as a 25s drop only.

    To extend the solution to help the Heroics level: remove the highest emblems from the daily as incentive. To start the top level raid, you need gear from the tier below it (ICC raiders start with TOC gear, TOC raiders start with Ulduar gear, etc.). Filling in slots at the highest tier level for raiders with bad luck on drops is a great idea – but you only need it for raiders. The accessibility concerns are met by providing, as you suggested, a full set of gear one (or one half) tier below the current highest level gear, available from the emblems just below the raiding level.

    This grew a little more than I originally planned, but this is an idea I’ve been mulling over for some time, and I’m pleased to see a discussion start in an arena with intelligent, reasoned individuals.

    Thanks for the writing, and for your patience and attention to the game. It is highly inspirational.


  16. VoA seems to bring out the worst PuG behavior. Lately, I consider myself very lucky if enough of the group stays to clean up the other bosses after Toravon. Even if you’re not carrying anyone who could use the loot, it’s 6 Triumphs in 10 minutes and 3 chances at a passenger mammoth. Why not?

    And even if you manage to avoid the chain reaction of people leaving because the group is taking too long to build, it seems like any time I do VoA later than Tuesday we have to replace 20% of the group after zoning in and they remember they’re locked.

    For any longer raid, I learned back in the golden age of Kara pugging to avoid groups that were 100% pugged from Trade chat. I think having a nucleus of people from one guild, even if they’re outnumbered by pugs, exerts enough social pressure to keep the asshattery to a tolerable level. Also to be avoided: groups advertising “LFM 2 tanks 3 heals” for anything. It just shows a lack of planning that doesn’t bode well for when they actually get into the raid.


  17. The only hard part of a PUG VOA is the players not sticking around. If you get a group that can stick together you can get the place done in ~30 minutes as you have witnessed.


  18. Making a lot of things Bind on Account would be interesting. It would certainly change looting dynamics. Since anyone could theoretically use anything (we don’t know what their alts are), it would also probably reduce the amount of time people raid, since nearly anything is useful. That would have cascading effects on altitis (maybe more players grinding up alts?) and the economy, as fewer things get broken down into crafting materials.

    …I like the idea, but I can’t help but think that it wouldn’t really solve the issue of stupid people being jerks, and only open up new jerkiness avenues.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Chekhov’s Curtains =-.


  19. Actually its really rare to find a pug that will do more than Koralon these days. In one group I was in, both tanks dropped immediately after Toravon.


  20. With VoA, it’s been out long enough that it’s pretty much assumed that everyone knows the tactics – a likely reason for lack of guidance. That, or poor leadership. 🙂

    I’ve been in a mix of PuGs. The most successful ones I’ve been on are guild runs that need extra folk. My latest endeavor was ToC-25 with about 17 guildies and 8 puggers. Went great! Anyway, those are usually reasonably organized, discuss strats, use vent, and (usually) distribute loot fairly. So, I really would encourage you to hop in on those, given the opportunity.

    [then again, those might be considered a “guild run + outsourcing”]
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Tanks just want to be the centre of attention =-.


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