Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A new level of pugging

If someone would have told me a couple of months ago that I'd be pugging Zul'Aman in June I would have just laughed. Even to run a heroic in a pug is a bit of a gambling, which very well may make you come out angry, frustrated, without any badges, having to pay a huge bill for repairs and pots... The easier one like Slave Pens, Botanica and Mechanar may work, but I'd think twice about pugging some of the others. And the idea of pugging a raid instance... Without having access to ventrilo, without having the common agreement we have in our guild on what tactics we use... It would be a challenge, to put it mildly.

But last weekend I actually ended up in a pug for ZA and I found that it wasn't too bad - I even liked it!

Summertime means that we won't be able to run ZA quite as often as a guild as we'd like. And late last Friday night there definitely weren't enough players online to fill a raid. Still I was in the mood for raiding, and it had been a while since I'd last been in ZA. I clearly felt I had got a bit of a raiding fever, you know that itching feeling. So when I found out that some guy on the server actually was trying to assemble a pug for ZA I thought: well, why not give it a try?

A good sign was that the guy arranging it actually had some requirements from players who wanted to join. You should have experience from clearing the instance and you should be well geared. So I linked him my gear and was accepted into the raid.

Then a guildie of mine helped me to do some research about him and the other guys, looking them up at be.imba. It turned out they all had the same level of gear as I - one even had some T6 pieces and was from one of the top guilds of the server. At that point I started to relax. I also recognized a couple of names - people I remembered from a pug I'd made the week before (heroic MgT actually), and I knew they were decent guys.

The most frustrating thing about pugging often is to actually assemble the party and this time was no exception. It took us one and a half hour from the first whispers until we made our first pull... It took quite a lot of patience and for a while I doubted we'd take off at all, cursing myself to be so stupid even trying such a thing. The hope I'd felt looking at their gear started to fade away.

But suddenly we were full party and everybody online and once we started... it was awesome! We did the first two bosses on timer, and would probably have been able to make a third one if we had just taken a few shortcuts and planned a bit more ahead. Actually we cleared the whole instance without any major problems. (Well except for on the last boss. By then it was three o clock in the morning and I was getting tired so I managed to get locked out of the boss fight, staying on the wrong side of the line. I really felt stupid and apologized a lot, feeling that I was that terrible pug-noob you want to avoid. But then I shaped up and on the next one we downed him without a single dead player).

All in all I was surprised how smoothly the run went. For example I had imagined I'd miss ventrilo communication more than I actually did. Since everybody knew the fights pretty well we managed anyway, people knew to move out of bombs, to place themselves correctly in the electrical storm, not to cast spells in the wrong phase and so on. Nobody had to shout to us, we did what we were supposed to anyway.

What was my reward? Well, thinking about it lootwise: just another bunch of badges. The lovely trinket Hex Shrunken Head didn't drop this time either. And I had consumed huge amounts of Mad alchemist pots, since my spec makes me chain eating mana pots, especially when doing a quick run without any long mana breaks.

On the other hand I got other payoffs:

  • the nice feeling you get from clearing a raid instance in one single run
  • a bit of self confidence - the knowledge that pugging ZA actually is doable and that I can handle the situation without having to get instructions by vent
  • a few new names to add to my friends list, people I'd love to party with again whenever I get an opportunity (if they'll forgive me for getting locked out that will say...)

I really couldn't have wished for much more. Was I just extremely lucky? Maybe I wasn't. Could it be so that only experienced and well geared players would even consider doing such a thing as to pug ZA? It remains to see. I'll definitely give it another try if I'll find myself in that situation again, with the urge to raid and too few guildies online.

Pugging ZA isn't such a bad idea after all.

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