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Standing Up to the PuG

December 25, 2009

Whether you are grinding Heroics at level 80 or trudging through lower level dungeons on alts, playing with pugs can be messy business. You will inevitably be grouped with players who are undergeared, inexperienced, careless, reckless, or just plain rude. Most of us just grimace and bear through it, repeating to ourselves that the sooner we get through the dungeon, the sooner we’ll be done.

This persevering without interfering attitude is probably why pugs are so unbearable. Players who face no resistance to their bad manners and counterproductive behavior never see a reason to change.  Whether you are a healer, tank, or DPS, you have rights as a player and a group mate.

Among other things, you have the right to:

  • Speak respectfully to others
  • Be spoken to respectfully
  • Move at a steady, brisk pace
  • Fight a reasonable number of mobs at one time
  • Drink when necessary to perform your best
  • Roll on appropriate gear
  • Collect your portion of herbs, skins, etc.
  • Learn the fights and experience new content
  • Leave if you’re unhappy
  • Take brief breaks for life’s needs: water, doorbell, bio, crying child. (Just make it quick and announce your absence and return. Don’t do it often.)

It’s okay to stand up to your pug when he or she is causing a genuine problem. If a gentle nudge won’t correct the behavior, then Blizzard gave us the Vote to Kick option for a reason. Get comfortable using it – but make sure that you are using it for the right reasons.


There are a number of good reasons to vote-to-kick a pug if they refuse to correct their destructive behavior:

  • Rudeness/Verbal Abuse
  • Pulling mobs persistently
  • Repeated long AFKs
  • Stealing loot
  • Not fulfilling their assigned role

Petty and insufficient reasons might include:

  • Accidentally pulling a mob
  • Unfamiliarity with game mechanics
  • Taking a short BRB break
  • Low DPS
  • Struggling with heals

These are things that are to be expected from dungeons and pugs in general. It’s okay to be forgiving of players who are making an effort. We were all there once.

I met quite a few pugs today while playing my low-level druid. Lower-level dungeons are a different experience than Heroics. There’s more to the game than just emblems and gear, as you are replacing items constantly. You are likely leveling professions and completing quests as you make your way through the dungeon. Players at this level are often inexperienced, unfamiliar with their class or the content, and lack knowledge of how to play well with others. Many of them don’t know standard practices for the game or have picked up bad habits along their way. The rest are alts and bring with them either experience and patience, or a bad attitude and a loud mouth.


During a run of Scarlet Monastery: Graveyard, I had the pleasure of meeting Gurthorn of Maelstrom. He is from the guild Vengeance of Lordaeron and plays a druid tank main. Right now he’s leveling a warrior tank and he’s doing an excellent job. He brought a sense of normalcy to the group by tanking mobs properly, turning them so that my clumsy druid could attack them without pulling others, and keeping stray enemies in line. He took turns with other herbalists and offered to roll for the last herb. I haven’t seen this kind of responsible and organized behavior in a dungeon in a while.

Most remarkable about Gurthorn is that he stood up for himself as a tank and a group member. He spoke for all of us when he turned on the holy priest who wasn’t doing much healing while she was running around the graveyard gathering up all the mobs. It was refreshing to have someone speak up for their role in a group instead of just working harder to make up for other people’s bad behavior. Tanks of all levels are dealing with the issue of healers and dps who think that the tanks are going too slow and are all too willing to pull a few extra mobs for them.

I stuck with Gurthorn for most of the afternoon, re-queuing for dungeons through the next two levels. As we met new groups, we ran into hitches along the way, but we did fairly well and met some nice people. Our chain of instances came to a halt when we ran into Immi from Staghelm. A young rogue who was a bit unhappy, he persistently ran ahead of the tank and pulled mobs at will. Once more, Gurthorn stopped and stood up for his role as tank, offering to DPS if the rogue felt that he could do it better. A slew of personal insults followed and, unfortunately, we hadn’t been in the instance long enough for the Vote to Kick option to work.

In this case, Gurthorn and I sat down in the doorway in a visible display of dissent and watched the rogue take on mobs as best he could on his own. The next few moments resulted in a stalemate. No one went ahead, but we didn’t let him die. Other party members were offended by his rude comments, but said that the sooner we got through it, the sooner we’d be done. The gentle nudge didn’t make the rogue stop pulling mobs or be polite. The firm suggestion didn’t work either. We could have tried an assertive command, but Immi seemed like a lost cause.

Gurthorn decided it was time to take a break. This brings up the other option that Blizzard gives us for dealing with pugs. If all else fails, feel free to leave the group. For the time that you will waste being miserable with an unpleasant groupmate, you could get into another run and enjoy playing the game that you’re paying for with real money. It’s a passive way of standing up to the pug, but it sends a strong message after multiple people leave.


Rotten-tempered players tend to be very vocal when they are asked to straighten up. Call us noobs. Laugh at us. Bitch all you want. It’ll be a quiet room after we hit the Vote to Kick button. No matter what your role is, you hurt your group if you push ahead of everyone else because you are impatient or if you are verbally abusing other players. You aren’t doing your job, and you aren’t letting the tank, healer, or the DPS do theirs. At lower levels, you are also teaching other players bad behaviors which will plague generations of pugs to come.

There are issues for tanks too. Even if you can pull groups faster, remember that you can’t do the entire instance alone. Allow your dps to set up their rotations. Let your healer get mana, even if you think you don’t need heals. They are giving their time to run the instance and to level a healer class. Support them and appreciate them now by giving them 30 seconds to drink.

The new LFG system is incredibly useful, but it gives players an anonymity that is dangerous for our sanity. We have only ourselves to blame for being selfish, lazy, and impatient – and allowing others to behave badly as well. The only way to change it is to be responsible players. If you find a good player from another server, stick with them for a few runs. Jot down their name in case you ever see them again. Break the anonymity and realize that reputations can cross servers, either for the player, a guild, or the server itself. And if you find a bad player…tell them that the behavior isn’t acceptable. Do it politely and concisely. If they can’t play nice, vote to kick them. Don’t play with them, and don’t put up with their abuse. This doesn’t mean to make a fuss out of every incident. But do respond to the big ones.

One of the most important things to remember is that WoW is a multiplayer game. It requires a degree of social aptitude. Remember to reward the good players. Tell them, or show them – by being a good player yourself and giving them the chance to do their best. If you’re miserable to play with, no one will want to play with you, and the game will get very boring. Now the rest of us just have to own up to that and stop being run over by bad players. Stand up to your pug, people! You can do it!


From → Heroics, Pugging It

  1. Gurthorn permalink

    Yeah, dps is terrible at lower level pugging.

    =) nice site btw

  2. Gurthorn permalink

    p.s. i’ll be checking for updates freq. Happy Holidays

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