It Came from the P.U.G.: The Teacher

We’ve all been in this situation at least once. You get the queue for the LFD to pop, hit the button and are invited to a group that is already in progress. You see them corpse running back to the instance without even the first boss down. What do you do? Do you bail, leaving them at the mercy of the LFD tool to find another healer while you just eat the 15 minute timer on the queue? Do you ask what happened and then if you don’t like the answer bounce? Maybe you roll your sleeves up and try to get them through the dungeon?

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for ever.” or a similar saying. I find the statement to be true in just about anything, granted that the “man” actually wants to learn to “fish”. For our purposes “man” is players and “fish” are instances. For me, I’m a teacher by nature. Honestly I am. I like giving knowledge and helping people out. That’s one of the main reasons I got into blogging in the first place 4 years ago, every person I help I count as a victory.

Almost a week  ago I was running a random heroic with my friend Hod (fun fact: In norse mythology, Hod is the son of Odin. A blind god who accidentally killed his brother Balder after being tricked by Loki), and we zoned into Throne of Tides already in progress. three out of the four bosses had been defeated with only the last event left to handle. The group we joined had a mage, a hunter and a boomkin all from the same guild. Now, on vent me and Hod both say at the about the same time “this is either going to be bad, or good”. We buck up, and the mage asks if we know the fight. I tell him yes, and that I’ve done it many times. The mage says something along the lines of “thank god, because we don’t” and then asks if I can explain the fight to him and the others. They listen and we attempted the encounter.

First try went well, but we did wipe when DPS got split. We made it back in and I asked if it would help if I marked the adds to kill for them. They said yes, so I broke out the old marking addon and went to town. The event went without a hitch and all three of our puggers got their heroic Throne of Tides achievement. We cheered for them and congratulated them and they thanks us in return. We parted ways, and off I went to do dailies until the reset. It was a good example of a group of players actually wanting to learn the encounter and be better. A few nights later roughly around the same time I do my random LFD queue and I wind up grouped with the mage from that Throne of Tides random. He’s happy to see me and thanks me again for taking the time to explain the fight. He tells me his group never wiped on it again, and since then he’s helped a few people understand how to do the encounter. I’m really quite happy about this and I hope that we start to see more and more of this happen. People asking questions, learning and then passing that knowledge on.

Now this doesn’t always work, the person after all has to be open to the idea of help or suggestion. That same night I re-queued at the daily switch over with two guildies. We get the Lost city of Tol’vir. In the group is a shadow priest and a ret paladin who have never been to the instance before. Before the tank can even set marks and hand out cc assignments, they dive headfirst into the first pack of mobs they see and die. We zone out, wait for the reset and zone back in. I ask them if they’ve been here before and both admit that it is their first heroic. I explain the importance of CC in a heroic now, and that they can’t just pull like it’s Wrath anymore.

I’m honestly quite nice about it. Their response is to ignore that and dive right back in. This time the tank joins us zoning out, we wait for the reset and I try to explain again.This time they flat out say that they aren’t going to listen to me and “only bads need CC, a real pro healer and tank can handle this.” At that point I feel I have no other option but to kick them, because otherwise they’re just going to waste everyone’s time with their refusal to listen, and learn.

It never hurts to take a few seconds and talk to your group. In Wrath, Matt and I both had experiences where a “good group” went in, did their jobs, and left after saying something like “good run” but pretty much nothing else. There was little to no communication during those runs, and I think that is something that still carried over now in Cataclysm with the LFD tool. I think players like to come across as confident and knowing what they are doing, for fear of being removed from the group if they don’t.  So the morale of the story is, be the one that breaks the ice, you may be able to help a new player out and make your runs a lot smoother, and you may just help improve the overall quality of the LFD groups you get as more players are educated quicker on what is going on.

So what do you think? Have you had any experiences similar to this?

11 thoughts on “It Came from the P.U.G.: The Teacher”

  1. I have had a couple of teaching experiences in Cataclysm so far. We usually run with a guild 4-man group, so we end up with one random person. The most memorable of these occasions was a DPS warrior from somewhere who’d picked up the game in Wrath, never run a dungeon outside the Wrath environment, and had no idea what the pretty pictures I kept putting on mobs were.

    That heroic Vortex pinnacle took us 2 hours to finish. We kept having to explain why we were pulling like we do, what I meant when I said “kill order”, why we’d fight a mob one at a time when we had “2 perfectly good AoEs”. But we pulled through it and by the end of it the guy understood CC pulls, positioning, what a kill order was, how not to break a sheep, and why it was so important for him to interrupt healer mobs.

    Whatever server he came from can thank me later. We kinda felt good afterward too.

  2. Since I am actually a teacher out in the real world, I usually don’t mind explaining a few boss strategies to pug players. However, just as you said, you can’t really help someone who isn’t going to listen, or is going to be rude and blame things on others, and that is why you have the kick tool. Either way, perhaps they will learn something. Eventually.

    I think it is important to do what you can for new or struggling players, because those players just might be tomorrow’s epic raiders, and if they quit now there won’t be much of a WOW community left anymore. You just have to be careful about how you go about making suggestions because it is easy for people to become defensive.

  3. But… but Lodur, only bads DO need marks and CC :O.

    Though in all seriousness, whenever I did encounter players who didn’t listen, I’d just lifegrip them into a fire and not heal them while we 4 manned the place.

    My raaaageee.

  4. Yesterday I had a similar experience on the negative side. I was the one that needed a little coaching, but the tank asked me to “please leave because my heals sucked. ” he was complaining because his health was never over 50 percent and he actually had to use his cooldowns. I explained to him that it was all a little new to me and that as long as we didn’t wipe the problem was minute. =\ of course I know I still needed a little work but all he said was “throw better heals or get out.” I left and then ran multiple heroics with guilds where absolutely no one died. Pugs are rude sometimes.

  5. I’ve had similar experiences of both good and bad. When they listen and learn its really enjoyable, when they refuse and fail I always get reminded of a different version of the saying you brought up:

    “Light a man a fire, keep him warm for a day. Light a man on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life.”

  6. I try, I really do – but then we get an isntance like we had last night. Four guildys, PUG tank. Zone in, tank marks mobs, but doesn’t explain what he wants CCd. So we ask, get nothing – and then wing it. Then he dies to the burrow on the worm boss (Stonecore), doesn’t jump for quakes, and doesn’t LoS the drake AoE – though he swears he’s been there before. We tried to teach him the shatter encounter, but after 5 more wipes of him not moving out of the ground slam – we kicked him and requeued with a guild tank.

    And got Stonecore…

  7. Anymore, I make it a point to carry a bunch of mudfish to cook up to either +parry or +dodge food for bribing any guild tank that logs on while I’m in a PUG in case I need a rescue. Uncontested fishing pools and have to catch from pools to unlock the fish feast… and I have lots of food that I can eat… something that works as a bribe… I’m okay with that.

  8. I usually never leave if I walk into a disaster. Some times it scares the crap out of me but it would take a lot for me to leave.

    If people just own up to not knowing what to do and are willing to listen, then I have never had a problem. I was in a guild run, me as the random 5th, where they never did the instance. I said I had, explained every fight, we only wiped once. Because they listened and they were willing to learn.

    One reason not to always worry about the dead bodies all over when you enter an in progress dungeon is as follows.

    One Stonecore we wiped on trash up to the boss twice, on the boss 5 times and then the tank left saying “you all suck”. We queue up for a tank, land a new one in less than a minute and then run through the instance without another wipe.

    I’ve noticed, from my experience not leaving and waiting it out, is if someone leaves on their own saying everyone else sucks, it is usually them that is the bad player.

    So being the bad player left, if you are a good player, there won’t be any more bodies on the floor. You joining just fixed the group problem.

  9. Honestly, I hate pugging. I won’t do it, unless it’s someone from my own server. As the guild leader, group leader, and main tank, people generally look to me for things like tips, explanations, etc.. And while it’s nice that they want to learn, they want to improve, they want to find ways to clear content more efficiently, it can be a royal pain sometimes when I don’t know what to tell them.

    For example, if someone asks me how his particular class should handle a mechanic and I’m lacking on knowledge of that class and spec, I can’t always give them as solid an answer as I’d like. That isn’t to say that I can’t generally come up with something for them to try and, most often, we get through it. But it probably isn’t the most optimal way.

    Being able to give people knowledge is great, provided you have it to give. But having a reputation for doing it sometimes comes back to bite you a little. 😉

    And don’t even get me started on the folks who want to learn, but they want you to do the research, figure it all out, then explain it to them until they finally get it. That gives me an eye twitch.

  10. When we have a random pug in our guild 5 mans, we are more than happy to explain a fight. I remember being in that category when I learned a dungeon. Tips and tricks also helped a lot. Paying it forward is always a good thing.


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