Whether you spend most of your time soloing or are a member of an active guild, most gamers will eventually find themselves facing the PUG (pick-up group) problem. Maybe you logged in to find everyone on your friends list already grouped up. Or perhaps you prefer the single life but find that you need of a group to complete an epic quest or to help you acquire some legendary loot. No matter what the reason, you find yourself sporting a looking-for-group tag and hoping to find a few other competent players to quest with. Unfortunately, what you are most likely to find is a group of players with dissimilar play styles, skill levels, and personalities. As a result, joining a PUG can be frustrating to say the least. However, remembering a few simple tips can help the experience be a pleasant, and even rewarding one instead.
Communication is Key
Whether your group decides to use voice chat or to communicate via the chat box, it is critical for a PUG’s success that the players communicate with each other. A PUG is not a well oiled group of friends who can anticipate each others moves and understand each others play style, so you will have to talk to one another. If voice chat is not an option, create macros ahead of time (if your game allows) for frequently used phrases, or to let others know when you are performing a useful spell or action. And if you suddenly realize that your couch is on fire and have to go put it out, be sure to tell rest of the group you’re gone. Stealth AFK’s are not cool, no matter how short. Letting the rest of the group know you need a quick break will be much better received then the group wiping because they pulled a horde of undead orcs without you.
Describe Your Objective
If you are entering an instance with a purpose, whether it is killing a particular boss, completing a certain task, or you are simply looking for a specific loot drop, don’t hesitate to be upfront about it. Other players may not have the same objective as you, so letting them know why you are there is critical in being sure you get what you need out of the experience.
Know Your Role
In low level or casual PUG’s, being familiar with how to play your role isn’t as critical. In fact, they’re usually a pretty good place to start honing your skills and polishing your play style. But if you plan on entering “The Uber Epic Dragon Chamber” with a PUG, then it’s best to know your role… and to hope the rest of the group knows their role too. Does the tank know how to hold aggro? Can the healer stop DPS-ing long enough to keep the group alive? Is you’re scout running knife first into groups of hostiles? You can usually tell how competent players are in their roles while clearing the early trash mobs, but sometimes it will take facing that first boss to know for sure.
What about Loot?
Loot can be one of the most frustrating aspect of PUG’s, especially if you end up grouped with someone who rolls need on everything. When in a PUG, it is considered good form to only roll “need” if an item is an direct upgrade that you can use. As for everything else, plan to either roll “greed” or “pass”. Some players may have different ideas about how loot should be divvied up though, so it’s always a good idea to clarify what the loot rules are early on. If you are looking for a particular loot drop, mention that you plan to roll on it up front. If it drops however, depending on how desired the loot is, be prepared to roll against other group-mates who might be looking for it as well.
So when you find yourself in need of a group of convenience cobbled together for the express purpose of completing a quest or instance, putting together a PUG using the above tips might be the perfect solution to an all too frequent gaming problem.