I haven’t updated the blog much of late. Or even remotely recently, if I’m honest. But for once, I find a subject that motivates me to flex my ranting muscles just a little.
Let’s talk about PUGs, you and I. I’m not referring to those stupid dogs, no no. I’m talking about random groups formed in MMOs to run through dungeons and/or raids. Pick Up Groups.
It is no secret that I’m a bit of an online gamer. I cut my teeth on World of Warcraft, upped sticks and moved into Star Wars: The Old Republic, dabbled a little in Guild Wars 2 and Rift and most recently have plundered, looted and grinned my way around the early levels of Wildstar. All of these games have things that I’ve liked and haven’t liked. Some have fallen by the wayside, one eats up most of my spare time and there’s one thing that can be said for them all.
PUGs are the stuff of nightmares.
I was first introduced to the concept of group finder whilst playing WoW. I see a sweet, green-behind the ears new MMO player when I queued to join a group to go through my first ever dungeon. Rather innocently I presumed that all the faceless people I met there would be like me – people who enjoyed the fun of the game and wanted to experience content.
Boy. Was I wrong.
And then some.
With a few notable exceptions, every time I found myself in a PUG on WoW, they completed the dungeon at lightning speed, never allowing me to read the quest stuff. (That happens in SW:TOR sometimes – whenever I see someone say ‘skip’, I don’t. Out of spite.)
Usually, the PUG would remain silent. Not even a cheery ‘hello’. It was eerie. I was booted several times in the early days for – and this is a direct quote – being a noob.
Well, yes. It’s the first dungeon of the game. I haven’t been playing the game since I was in utero like some of you, and I know this is a tough one, if you cut me, I don’t bleed MMO.
I have seen the same in SW:TOR and Wildstar (although SW:TOR does seem less inclined to attract that kind of PUG aggression). I’ve used PUGs in Wildstar to complete Adventures and they’ve been mostly fine (but again… Silence! Silence is WEIRD! Say hello to your fellow adventurers for goodness sake!) I’m only level 25 now but could have gone to the first dungeon at level 20. I haven’t dared.
I have joined a guild, but despite being an incredibly lovely bunch, they are also veterans and super hardcore PVP players – all knowledgeable and great gamers – and I’m a bit anxious about asking for a hand-hold through a dungeon.
Which leaves the PUG option.
And I can’t. I just can’t. The thought of Nexians booting me for being a noob is too horrible to contemplate.
I even read the strategy guide for that dungeon and I know that if I can just get in a couple of learning runs all will be well. I learn quickly.
Maybe a Wildstar personal add?
WANTED: PUG for casual gamer who really, really doesn’t mind learning-by-wiping. Ability to not take things insanely seriously preferred. Also, capacity to at least say hello would be welcomed. Patience of saint would be added bonus.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an additional button you could tick when queuing for a PUG that indicated this was your first time through content? Or that you were experienced and happy to help new players learn? Hell, I would go for both those things. I’ve often found myself the one explaining tactics in SW:TOR flashpoints and ops. I’ve led ops runs and they were great fun.
FUN! That’s the thing that PUGs seem to suck out of these games. If you don’t do seventeen gajillion DPS in one hit, out you go. If your gear is the wrong shade of blue, out you go. You are a novice and not welcome here. Get thee hence to Kiddy Corner and play with the water.
I may be feeling a little strongly about the matter.
On the flip side – Wildstar is so much fun just on a levelling and questing front that it’s entirely possible I will level cap without ever seeing the dungeon content. By then, I’ll join the ranks of old timers leaning against their virtual fences, nodding sagely and saying ‘I remember when this was all just fields…’
OK. Maybe not.