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are not many phrases in the gaming vernacular that
strike as much fear and sense of impending doom into the heart of
one small three letter acronym – PUG. style="">  A
pug can mean different things to different people. To the non-gamer a
Pug is merely
an amazingly ugly dog. To the seasoned MMO player however a P.U.G. is a
up group”. Similar to those early playground days where
captains picked the
roster of their respective teams from the assembled mass of hooligans
lined up
in a row, it’s the act of assembling a group from essentially
the unknown.
While most WoW players will cringe, curse or log off at the mere
mention of
“running with a PUG” I am here to tell you that
they aren’t all bad. In fact a
PUG can be one of the most beneficial scenarios a WoW player can enter
into, if
you have the right tools and the right mind set. I know by now you may
dismissing me as an outright fool, but stick around, I ‘m
here to provide you
with some tips and tricks for PUG survival.


First off I don’t want to misrepresent myself and have you
thinking that I believe all PUGs to be good things, far from it. While
personally relish in jumping into a PUG and find it highly entertaining
I do
understand your trepidations. I have had some amazingly awful PUGs that
left me
with nothing to show for them but an awful headache and a bankrupting

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I do
have the advantage of coming from another MMO where it
was impossible to really do anything in the game without a group and
everything was a PUG. Those days a bag group could cost you far more
than a few
gold friends, they could cost you levels.

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WoW we can go about our whole gaming career completely
solo if we chose to but that doesn’t make much sense to me as
this is a social
game. If you want to play solo games then save the 15 bones a month and
pick up
a nice RPG at the local game store.

of us came to WoW with a few friends of either the real
life variety or from a prior game. Our initial groupings were probably
these folks but at some point we all ventured out and were essentially
to PUG.

MMO’s seemed to cull the weak by their very nature
so typically once you reached max level your fellow players were for
the most
part competent. Unfortunately the new breed allows all play styles to
and many folks now at max level in WoW are ill prepared to handle a

stated all of this, it would infer that I am against
PUGs in general. Nothing could be further from the truth. I find a
random group
an amazing opportunity for honing your skills and meeting some great
Let’s look at the tools we will need to make PUGing go as
smoothly as possible.

with any venture it is best to plan your work and work
your plan. Set a clear goal for your PUG, pick an instance or raid zone
(if you’re
that brave) and stick to it. Allow a longer time frame for filling the
group in
relation to the zones difficulty. It’s much easier to fill a
heroic w:st="on">UK
run than it
is filling an Uld 10 or Malygos 25 pug. Irregardless of what zone you
are going
to do the first two spots you need to fill are the tank and healer
slot. If you
happen to be one of these archetypes then your life will be much
Finding capable DPS is generally much easier than finding a good
healbot and
meat shield. I hope that at this point in the game you have forged a
friendships or are in a guild. If you have not or those folks simply
aren’t on
at 4 in the morning when insomnia compels you to do a heroic oculus.

the right folks for the job is the #1 key to your
success. There are many ways these days to help you figure out who will
make a
good invite. One of the easiest ways is simply to look at the
player’s guild
tag. If they are in a high end raiding guild with a good reputation style=""> then
the odds of them being a complete idiot
are reduced (sadly this isn’t always law, sometimes even high
end guilds keep a
village idiot). If the player is in close proximity you can inspect
them and
see their gear level. Gear and skill have no direct correlation many
times but
in general it’s a good litmus test. Further expanding on this
theme is the href="">WoW Armory
where you can “inspect”
the player from any distance. While the armory is a great tool for
seeing gear
level, it’s most valuable info can take a while to
extrapolate. I prefer to use
as my gear check.
It shows the same information but gives each a player a total gear
score based
not only on item levels but also on their enchants and socketed gem
Often times you can easily tell the more serious player by these last
items. A player with properly gemmed and enchanted gear is typically
more on
the ball than a mage with a strength gem and an armor kit. The most
way to form a good PUG is with one or two friends and some word of
references, however if that isn’t an option use the above
tools to minimize
your chance of train wreck like failure. style=""> 
One last word of advice when
forming a PUG – be as cordial as possible
when “interrogating” prospective members as you are
to them what they are to
you, a complete unknown who might be wasting time by wasting all their
time. If
you take a condescending tone or come across as a complete jerk you may
end up losing a good player.

that we have assembled our motley band of complete
strangers its time to move into the instance and let the poo hit the
fan. This
is my favorite part of the PUG; the first few pulls will really tell
you all
you need to know about your group. Sometimes the synergy is evident
right from
the initial pull and the group is EZ-mode cruise control (add these
folks to
friends list NOW!) Other times it’s a barely controllable
Hyundai hurtling down
a steep hill with no brakes, 4 blown struts and all the lug nuts loose
on the
left front wheel. The latter is where you can really prove your worth
and hone
your skills. No matter what archetype you play there is a chance to
shine and
have that hero factor come to the forefront in a group like this.
Tanking more
adds than should be humanly possible while maximizing your cool downs
as the
inept healer fumbles through targets trying to get a heal off. Healing
insane amounts of damage as your under defense cap tank overpulls and
hunter becomes an unwitting off tank. Crowd controlling not one, but
two mobs
while you simultaneously pummel a third mob to a quick death. All of
scenarios are played out daily in PUGs. If you have exceptional skills
this is
a prime area to highlight them and conversely if you have mediocre
skills you
may never be pushed to improve when carried along by a strong guild
group, PUGs
can often force you into becoming a better player.

and thriving in a PUG can earn you some great
friends and get you a great reputation on your server. Don’t
be afraid to jump
into a PUG now and then to expand your circle of friends and hone your
Remember to always set your goal, recruit a tank and healer first and
use your
available tools to maximize your chances for success.

next week, stay safe and happy hunting!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016