The Decline of Random Group Quality

I’m getting increasingly worried by what I perceive to be a trend. That trend is the lack of quality in random groups.

I pug a lot. I have the pet pug on all four of my 80s. When the new 5-mans came out, I pugged them constantly. I’m now down to pugging four times a day on my 80s (plus the weekly raid, but that’s a whole other story), once on each of the four for two Emblems of Frost each.

Increasingly, people suck.

In the last 24 hours, I have four stories of failure. Not necessarily to mean that the group didn’t finish the instance, but failure nonetheless.

1) Heroic Pit of Saron while healing on my shaman. We get to Garfrost. I, being smart, put down Frost Resistance totem when I realize that the paladin is not putting up Frost aura. Fine. Three of the four others in the group decide to not hide behind the Saronite Boulders. At all. I stopped watching in awe at the debuff stacks on the tank when they hit 23 and just focused on healing the morons. Lost the two DPS who wouldn’t hide to drop stacks of the debuff. Seriously, if you don’t know the fight, ASK SOMEONE.

2) Heroic Pit of Saron again, still healing on my shaman. We get to Ick. ALL FOUR PEOPLE screw up in some manner.

a) Not running out for poison (tank and ret pally)

b) Not moving from explosions (mage)

c) Letting Ick catch up to them when pursued (moonkin)

d) All stood in poison at least once

So after the fight, I was like “GUYS. Do it on normal first, before you tackle heroic. It’s clear that none of you understand the fight mechanics.”

“lol ive done it before” says the moonkin.

“Then why did you let Ick catch up to you? Why did you stand in poison?”

Then the tank was all “w/e keep going”

And I decided to put my foot down. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I am not suffering through the next few pulls and the tunnel with you people. Learn the fight mechanics before you come back here.”

Someone shouted “BYE!!!!!!” in party chat, but I left group before I could give them the opportunity to kick me.

Lesson to be Learned: Whether you’re the tank, DPS or the healer, familiarize yourself with the fight encounters in each instance. Never done it before? Ask someone in your group. Alt-tab real quick and read up on it at WoWWiki or WoWHead. Do NOT inflict your ignorant self on your group members.

3) Heroic Ahn’Kahet on my mage. I desperately wish that I were kidding about this one, but I’m not. There was a level 80 warrior in my (ultimately successful) group. I do NOT put a lot of faith or stock into gear score, but I have the addon because if you don’t whisper people your gear score while pugging, you basically don’t get an invite on my server. But this level 80 warrior, well, he had a gear score of 2800-some. My mage, who has been 80 for 16 days, is at 4600-some. Even at 80 and one day, I was over 3900. How on earth could this guy be so low?

He’s wearing 10, that’s TEN, pieces of level 70 gear. Including 2 pieces of PVP gear, a battlemaster’s trinket and other crap that wasn’t even good at 70, much less at 80. According to the armory, our Old Kingdom run was his first heroic at 80.

NEWS FLASH, people. Do not immediately queue up for heroics the instant you hit 80. Run level 80 regulars for a bit, first, before you inflict yourself (I’m fond of that saying) on the world at large. And when you do, make sure you’re wearing stuff that’s at least ilvl 175 or higher. 175 is level 78 or so blues, many of which are BOE and on the AH. Craft them, buy them, get a quest reward that’s blue, I don’t care. Do not show up to my groups in level 70 gear unless it’s out of Sunwell. And even then, it better be awesome. :P

Lesson to be Learned: Even though a group can, and probably even will, carry you, there’s no guarantee. Had we had any issues with DPS in Old Kingdom, I would have voted the warrior off the island. As it stood, the rogue and I were putting out excellent DPS, so we COULD carry him, but we did miss one volunteer on Jedoga.

4) Heroic Pit of Saron on my hunter. This is the one that prompted me to write this. First of all, the tank is a DK who, with kings AND the random group buff, has 30k health. I do not immediately get concerned with a low-health tank. A lot of good tanks are out there and are levelling and just have focused on getting crit-immune. So I’m not terribly concerned. And our shammy healer seems well-geared. But as the tank goes releasing slaves, I start to realize that the tank has likely never been here before on this character. Again, not always a horrible sign of failure. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

But it was at Garfrost when I realized we were in trouble. For those of you who are unaware, all the mobs at Garfrost’s area are linked to each other and to the boss. The tank may have actually never been there on any toon at all, because, wouldn’t you know it, he death grips a mob to him and starts the boss fight. I waited for them all to get there, popped misdirect, dropped an explosive trap, then volleyed.

So he had aggro on the boss, the adds died, all was well!

Except not. I used Deterrence to prevent my having to hide behind boulders once and basically never let the stacks go higher than six. I’m considerate of my healer like that.

The tank? Last I saw, he was at 15. As were two other DPS. It was basically me and the resto shammy who didn’t have more than 12 stacks.

So it’s a wipe.

Resto shammy goes off about how it’s not healable and I chime in, saying that 15+ stacks on the tank won’t do, that everyone needs to hide behind boulders on that fight.

The mage (who was fairly decently geared) left the group. Then the resto shammy left. Then the tank left. That left me and the ret pally. So I left. I then waited 3 minutes for my random group debuff to wear off and then wrote the vast majority of this blog post while waiting for another group. Thankfully, I got a pretty good group in Gundrak, with a bear druid who knew what the hell they were doing.

Lesson to be Learned: Again, know the mechanics of the fights, people. If you’re not sure, ASK. People, in general, do not mind being ASKED. Don’t make me start saying, at the beginning of each random run, if anyone has any questions about the fights or if someone hasn’t been here before. That would be annoying. :P

Basically, I understand that people are levelling toons quickly now. I do. My mage got to 80 from 74 faster than I could have believed it. But levelling quickly is no excuse for failing to understand how various fights work or failing to gear yourself up from the AH, if not quest items or drops from regular dungeons.

The lack of quality in pugs that my hunter and mage wait 15+ minutes to get into, is not only a total waste of everyone’s time if the group disbands due to epic failure, but it’s disheartening. I don’t even want to run 5-mans anymore. I recognize I have to, for the Emblems of Frost that basically aren’t really available to me in other ways, but seriously, I don’t want to wait 15 minutes to show up to a pug where the tank has no idea what he’s doing or the healer doesn’t dispell or the DPS doesn’t run out of LOS of the frost waves or whatever. It’s depressing.

Granted, it’s great fodder for this blog… but how many times can I really say to people to be prepared for various encounters? And how many people for whom I am filled with loathing are actually going to read this and learn something? :P

Definitely not enough.

2 Replies to “The Decline of Random Group Quality”

  1. Late on posting this but here it is:
    Unfortunately, people DO care if you ask about the fight. I make a point of asking at any point where something unusual is expected if people know it (be it a boss fight with an unusual or possibly unexpected mechanic, or a section of a dungeon such as above). I almost never get responses.

    I have been leveling a few characters (resto shaman, prot paly, prot warrior) with a large helping of DF. If I get into a dungeon I don’t know I ask what I should pay attention to, and almost never get a response (fortunately I generally already have wow wiki up). If we get to a section that requires some degree of not sucking I try to make sure people know what to do, I almost never get a response. To be fair, things are usually fine. However every so often you get a fight like the end of SFK where all the MDPs drop like flies after I (tanking) get turned to a worgen. Obviously, people didn’t know the fight.

    The problem, I suspect, is that people expect to be mocked/kicked if they say they don’t know the fight. A large number of people will do just that, if not simply ignore the person. IT is all kinds of depressing.

  2. Amazing, isn’t it? People, with the shroud of anonymity protecting them, can be the biggest jackasses ever, but with that same shroud of anonymity, people still don’t ask for help.

    I do think it’s situational and environmental, though. I’ve been to SFK like, twice. Both times, I ran someone through who was appropriate level. I was 50+. If, God forbid, I ever level another toon from the start, with the dungeon finder, you bet your bippy I’m going to ask about it.

    Similarly, I was on an Oculus run the other day and the tank blew through the opening trash and boss and then said “kk i dont know what to do now”. Perhaps it’s just that it’s Oculus, but I find a lot of people are eager to help others in that instance and don’t mind if people don’t know the fight or the drake abilities, as long as they ask.

    Could be battlegroup specific. Bloodlust (my BG) seems to be efficient in pugs (mostly) but will take a minute in something like Old Kingdom to explain the last fight. And I will ALWAYS explain to stop freaking DPSing when mirror is cast on the last dude in Forge of Souls, having been the targetted person who has then DIED more often than not. :)

    For someone like you, who’s levelling, maybe you’d want to skim the wowwiki pages of the instances you’re eligible for, just to get an idea so you can hit the ground running. On a flight point, alt-tab and read up on, say, how to do the stupid temple event in Zul’Farrak or something, or how to navigate the labrynthine tunnels of Sunken Temple. >< :)

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