Last night I was invited to join an SL normal PuG. The group consisted of a warrior tank, shadow-priest healer, and as dps a rogue, a feral druid (Solidd) and a fury warrior. So basically, apart from the rogue's sap, we didn't have any CC. Plus our healer was not healing-specced. Nontheless, we managed to finish all of SL (caviat Murmur - more on that below).
Luckily, like most normal instances, your exact group composition doesn't matter, as long as you can keep the mobs away from the squishies. In our case, the tank simply let me OT 1 or 2 mobs while herself and the 2 other DPS took down the adds. It worked in most cases, although we did have a few wipes due to poor pulls and/or outright mistakes. Bosses were fairly easy, all going down in 1-shot except for Murmur. After the 2nd wipe on him the tank and healer elected to bring their mains just to finish the run - turns out the healer's main was a tank and the tank's main was a resto-druid :) With 2 much-better equipped chars we managed to take down Murmur.
On the face of it, a successful run. Certainly I've had much worse. The tank mostly knew what she was doing, the dps mostly did what we were supposed to do and the healer kept us mostly alive :)
However, I think the run could have gone much better. Here are my thoughts. Not to say I am/was perfect, but these are points I am pretty sure would have improved the run:
- Let's face it, if you're taking 2-2.5 hours to finish SL you've failed. Sure that includes the time till everyone accepted the summon, buffed up and was ready to go. Still that was maybe 10 minutes. The rest of the time? Just slow going, wipes, waiting for AFK people. Some of factors couldn't be controlled beforehand, some could...
- Slow going - the tank took a long while to mark mobs and pull, something which really slowed us down. Keybind those lucky charms! The tank also wiped us once due to a bad pull (she didn't run behind a corner like she was supposed to and the caster+imps who stood in place pulled more mobs from behind) and had to be shown how to correctly pull one of the patrols in the room before the 2nd boss. If you don't know the pulls, don't be afraid to ask. Wipes = lost time. If you're not sure how to mark the mobs (which to cc etc.) don't be afraid to give the job to someone else in the party.
- Low DPS - with myself as a bear we were already taking a DPS hit on the big trash pulles. Add to that the fact that the fury warrior had very bad gear and our progress in killing the trash was abysmal.
- Bad players - this is what really kills most PuGs for me. By bad players I mean players who are one or more of: clueless, inconsiderate, under-geared, don't know how to play their class, don't know how to (or don't care to) follow instructions, frequently AFK, don't know how to play as part of a group. Thankfully this PuG included only one such player, the fury warrior. Unfortunately even one such player can significantly slow down the group and this guy fitted several of the above categories. He was horribly under-geared (his DPS was barely above the tank's and way below what the rogue and I were dishing out), was clueless about the instance and about how to play as part of a group, consistently failed to follow instructions, went AFK several times. He had no idea on how to run an instance, once pulling a trash pack who wiped us and several times getting in front of the tank and nearly pulling mobs. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are players new to WoW and to 5-man groups and I have no problem with them learning the game. But most of the "noob" players I have met (this warrior included) never once tried to learn or ask questions - the simply do their mistakes and let the rest of the group suffer with them... and they rarely listen even when told what to do... My point in all this rant - for the sake of the rest of the group, don't be shy about telling a player to shape-up or even removing him from the group. If a player needs to do some learning/gearing in order to learn how to play, let him do it in easier instances and with his friends who are willing to devote the time for it. It's not required of you to teach every new eBayer how to play his new level 70 char...
The 3 other people in the party (apart from the fury warrior) were nice people, all in the same guild. After a while they told me we had a friend in common - don't know how they found out but once they did it became almost like running with my own guildmates. Their final gesture of bringing mains to finish off the last boss was very nice of them and allowed me to finish a couple of quests that I still had for SL. I look forward to joining them for more instances in the future :)
Oh and I'm maybe one normal SL run away from honored with Lower City, after which I can finally do heroic Seth Halls and get my swift flight form, woot! :)