Guide: PuG Herding Part 1

I don’t really know why, but I have been in the mood to PuG raid lately. Could it be the realization that PuGs aren’t all that bad? Antsyness in lieu of much anticipated Fall game releases just around the corner? Elevated boredom? Who knows. It’s hard to find a group unless you are a healer. Sometimes the best way to find a PuG is to just start one.

If you are going to lead a PuG raid, know the encounters. Know what each of the boss abilities does in practical terms, know where everyone needs to stand, know what the tanks healers and DPS need to do, if there are any special roles and when key events occur. If you’re forming a raid for new content, just wing it and let people know that. Who knows, someone in the raid might have PTR experience. You should also be familiar with the other classes and specs and what sort of utility they bring to the raid.  

Anyway, it’s probably more constructive for me to offer friendly advice to new PuG leaders than to be an ass and talk about them in the pseudo-privacy of guild chat. Leading a raid seems like a daunting task, but it’s pretty routine once you get the hang of it. If you are generally unfamiliar with how a raid operates, join a few more PuGs and observe. I’ll break this article up into two parts, it got kind of long.

LFM: Finding People

There are two general options for finding PuGs: The LFG tool and the Trade/LookingForGroup channels. The LFG tool isn’t too hard to figure out if you have never used it before. Before you start the raid, you might want to check to see if there are any other raids for your instance before forming a new one. If you aren’t familiar with recruiting via the global channels, hang out in them to get a feel for how raid advertising is done. It’s not really that hard…

If you are going for a speed run or hard mode, ask for stats and achievement links. Know what is considered minimally acceptable for each role, but be reasonable about expectations. The pickier you are about people, the smaller your invite pool is going to be. If you take too long to recruit, people will start to leave.

Oh also, people do lie about their character, so check them out online if you are unfamiliar with them or their guild. Armory sniffers will let you know how geared or experienced a player is, but it says little about actual skill. Don’t automatically discount people just because they are a little under-geared. Here are a few tools that I use: The WoW Armory, Be Imba!, WoW Heroes and PuG Checker.

    It helps immensely to track who the healers and tanks are upon raid invite by either moving all people of a certain role to a specific group or jotting their names down somewhere. It’s hard to recruit for a balanced raid when you yourself don’t know how many healers and tanks you currently have. The whole, “press 1 if ur healz” bit is kind of dumb anyways (pet peeve).

    Oh also: Everyone if course knows that people of your same class and spec instantly go to the bottom of the invite list, unless the raid really does need them. After all, one of the most important benefits to being raid leader is making sure that there aren’t 5 other ret paladins drooling over your tier drops 😛  

    Loot: Fighting the Purple Haze!

    USE MASTERLOOT! If you have a buddy in the raid whom you can trust with ML duty, that’s great. It takes a fair bit of pressure off of your shoulders. If not, raid leading and masterlooting is totally doable. Most people set loot to ML Rare so that green drops don’t incur a pop-up window. Make sure that everyone in the raid knows the loot rules before the run begins. Raid leaders who reserve drops for themselves in a full on PuG can go burn in hell. But, if for whatever reason you do reserve an item, make especially sure that everyone is aware of it before the run begins.

    Be somewhat knowledgeable about general stat distribution and what is good for who. For example: A cloth piece with spell power and spell hit has DPS caster priority over any healers because of the hit (healers don’t really miss). It’s mostly common sense, but people will role on just about anything that they can use. These are the PuG looting rules that folks generally expect:

    • Need /roll 100. 1 item per person until everyone in that loot pool has received an item.
    • Anyone in raid who can benefit from the drop has the right to roll for it.
    • Priority goes to primary specs over off-specs, the exception being people who were forced to off-spec for raid viability. Whatever role you were invited into the raid as is generally considered to be your main spec for all intents and purposes.
    • BoP patterns are rolled off to people who are able to craft and benefit from the item. Ask them for a profession link before distributing the loot.
    • Shards, BoE patterns and stuff like that get rolled out at the end of the raid to people who have not received any loot for the run.

    Last but not least: STICK TO YOUR LOOT RULES. Be consistent! If there is one thing that will cause drama and resentment, it’s loot. Continued in Part 2….

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