There seems to be more than the usual amount of negative posts on various blogs lately about pugging since patch 3.3 was released.
The latest I read was this rant by BBB, who is usually much more calm in his posts. But I've read other negative posts from other bloggers about the quality of PuGs since 3.3.
This has me a bit puzzled since I must admit I haven't run into nearly as many bad PuGs as BBB or other bloggers I've read and I PuG a lot on Solidd. Granted, I'm usually the tank and being the tank means I can still save the PuG even when things go bad, but still, I would have expected more bad PuGs based on the amount of negative blog posts and I just haven't.
I hardly ever run into people who are outright rude or refuse to listen when told they are doing something wrong. One memorable time was on an Old Kingdom heroic, we had downed all the bosses except the big mushroom dude at the end, so we were running around mob packs we left behind, going up the stairs and jumping down behind a mob pack around a fire so as not to pull them or the patrol of a humanoid+2 elementals. However a warlock in the party didn't dismiss his pet and of course his pet pathed down the stairs and pulled agro from both the static mobs and the patrol which was just passing. To add to this the patrolling mob from below (the mushroom area) was also pulled by range agro as we were too close to the end of its route and so we had a seriously merry fight on our hands. I popped CDs, mass-taunt and started swiping like crazy to get agro. Luckily our DPS were good and we survived. After the fight was over, I wrote in party something like "hey mate, that's why you always dismiss your pet before jumping! hope you learned your lesson :)", all friendly like. The warlock replies "it doesn't matter". Doesn't matter? The idiot nearly wiped us on trash! Out of the blue comes a group kick vote, I hit "hell, yeah" and the warlock missed out on an easy last emblem. Maybe a Triumph Emblem didn't matter to him but it felt good that the entire group knew he was being a jerk.
What else? Well obviously I also run into many DPS who on the one end of the spectrum are very low and on the other end are very high and pull agro. To tell you the truth? Doesn't really bother me. Heroics are so easy these days, I don't mind if people are doing low DPS as long as the run goes smoothly and is wipe free. They almost always are. If someone is obviously AFK or leeching, I will vote to kick them. But I haven't met many of such people and never more than one in a group.
On the other end are people with very high DPS who in spite of my fairly good (for heroics) threat manage to pull agro. These are usually Warlocks and Fury Warriors, but not always. For me TBH this usually adds a little extra interest in an otherwise too-smooth run, as I play ping-pong-taunt with the mob being pulled. Or sometimes I'll let it go, knowing the DPS is high enough to take it down before being killed themselves. An extreme case of this was one run where I was grouped with two people with over 4.5k DPS. I usually lost agro on all but the mob I was directly on. It never mattered, as mobs died so quickly the healer had little damage to heal. But "worst case" and the DPS died? That's fine with me too, their repair bill and so forth. Again as long as it didn't cause a wipe, why get excited about it? The only thing I don't like is DPS pulling mobs instead of me as tank, since that can easily cause a wipe. Usually a quick "next time you pull you tank it" warning will do, if not a kick vote usually does the job.
I've run into very few people with "attitude" problems. One time in Old Kingdom I started out as tank and right away I saw I had a DK with the "thorns in ass" problem, he was nuking sometimes before I got a single hit in after a pull and since he had high DPS many times he pulled agro. Still because his DPS was high and the mobs were going down, I held my peace. However the healer we had was not too good (not well geared and played badly too) and I kept having to hold back to give her time to drink up. One trash about mid-run the DK got impatient and I saw him pull a big patrolling mob. I held back thinking he would die quickly but then I noticed he had 47k health. Obviously he decided I was too slow and that as tank he could speed things up. Well I had no problem with that, I switched to healing spec once the fight was over and we creamed the next boss, although of course now DPS was lower since the priest stayed as healer - maybe no shadow spec, I never asked and she never spoke up. However we had the same problem as I described before, in trying to save time the DK tried to bypass some mobs by going around them and jumping down from the top of the stairs, however a warlock or hunter (I forget which) forgot the dismiss his pet and pulled the nearby static group. And a patrol. While the DK was running out front and without looking back to make sure all passed safely was already pulling the second patrol... needless to say, we wiped - the sheer damage output of those mobs coupled with interrupts (I was hit with Curse of Tongues 3 times) was too much. So much for being in a hurry and trying to save time... but what annoyed me really was the DK blaming the healers for the wipe! He was like "2 healer and you couldn't keep me up that's pathetic". Yeah, big surprise, either he was new to the instance or had never healed and had no idea what kind of burst those mobs were capable of. Basically, he was an idiot with an attitude and caused one of the least pleasant PuGs I have been in.
I've PuGed with many people who didn't know basic tactics for various trash or boss fights. Sometimes they said in advance and I explained the fight, sometimes they didn't and therefore died or caused a wipe. You might not be surprised to hear that on the first boss of the Old Kingdom group from the above story, we wiped because the priest healer (who as I said didn't heal well in any case) didn't know to stand on top of me (so I could swipe as soon as the adds were not immune) and the DPS didn't kill the big add quickly enough. so the healer quickly died and we wiped. After the wipe I explained to the priest the tactic, I wasn't mad at her for causing the wipe or voted to kick her, sometimes people will get kicked for admitting not knowing tactics so I would not kick someone even for causing a wipe unless it was done on purpose or with disregard to the group.
I think the one thing that bothered me about BBB's rant was his insistence on teaching others how to play correctly. Yes, I understand DPS doing badly is annoying, but no one likes to be told how to play their class and telling them "stand behind the boss" probably did more harm then good. Maybe not. I've been in PuGs with 2 bad DPS (below my damage), never 3. If I had I might have left, it seems BBB and other bloggers ran into such groups more often.
Maybe it is that U.S. players are less mature than European players? Or maybe I've been partly more lucky and partly more picky, as many times my PuGs tend to be me and a friend or two, lowering the number of totally random (and failing people).
I'll finish with a story about Halls of Reflection. This is my least favorite heroic to PuG since it is so easy to wipe there. Well I don't chose to go there on purpose but sometimes it will come up randomly. One time, I had a group made up of a druid healer, and 3 DPS including a warlock. My preferred tactic for HoR is to have the 3 DPS focus kill ranged adds, if they have CC use it otherwise just focus kill as quickly as possible, while I keep melee busy. Since the ranged don't hit hard the healer should be okay in keeping the DPS up. In this particular group I was counting on a DK to pull ranged mobs to him and "tank" them while the other 2 helped him. First pull went fairly okay although already I saw the DPS going after separate mobs. However next pulls became harder as the DPS were spreading their efforts, causing the healer to have to heal the entire group like crazy not to mention spike damage on me due to stuns which make my 40% dodge chance useless (one of the nastier aspects of tanking HoR). On the wave where we wiped I actually saw the DK DPS-ing the melee adds for some reason... anyway after the wipe I'm flying back, thinking how I can explain to the DPS that they must follow my tactic and what I can do to improve our chances, when the warlock pipes up and asks how to enter the instance he can't find the entrance.
Note, this was not a day or two after 3.3 release. It was more like 2 weeks and this guy still didn't know where the entrance was?
Well, it took me, literally, 3 minutes of patient typing to explain to this guy how to find the entrance. While I was doing this the DK decided to leave, maybe he thought we didn't stand a chance with the group as it was. Maybe he got bored. A few seconds later, the druid healer left.
After all my hard work, the warlock left the group without even a "ty" as soon as a entered the instance. Wish I could remember his name so I could put him on ignore list, the ungrateful twat... At this point the one remaining DPS was wondering in party chat if we would manage to find replacements. I didn't want to get the deserted buff so I stayed and lo and behold a few seconds later we did manage to get a healer (priest in this case) and 2 DPS to finish the run. It wasn't easy, the priest actually helped with CC apart from healing but we got it done without wiping. I was as proud of that PuG as I was disgusted with the previous one.
All in all, I am still very approving of the new LFD system and the PuGs I have found through it. I still prefer as many guild/friends in it (who wouldn't) but even most complete PuGs have been fine. Solidd basically doesn't have any more Triumph gear to buy for his tanking gear and is close to finishing buying Triumph Resto-gear, so PuGs have certainly been good for me gear-wise. If your experience has been otherwise, I hope you have a happy new-year and a better 2010 :)
P.S.- the one kind of PuG I do completely detest and avoid is a raid PuG. Almost without fail at least for me these have been complete fail-fests full of idiots and jerks of the worst kind. Maybe when x-realm raid PuGs are possible I will try them out.