Its easy to forget about the adventure that is pugging.  You get some gear, you join a guild and you start living in the guild’s little world.  You chat to the same people, you raid with the same people, and you become a bit isolated from the pugging wilderness.

Then one day, for whatever reason you decide to pick up a pug group.  Perhaps your guild doesn’t do Vault anymore and you think it might be a bit of fun.  Anyway, if you’re a lazy healer like me, you wait until you see someone advertising, “LF heal VoA then GTG” or similar.  After all healers are like rock stars and always in demand 😉

So I join a VoA 10 pug for something to do while waiting for the guild raid to start.  I’m in Dalaran and the “please some healer grace us with your awesome presence so we can start VoA 10” comment comes up (probably in Trade chat) and I take the plunge an express interest.

I used to pug VoA all the time but then when Emalon turned up in 3.1 and every single pug seemed to assume that Emalon would be the same as the existing boss in there.  Major fail!  And of course being a pug they couldn’t just agree to bypass Emalon and kill the other guy.  I mean who’d want to get saved to a raid which failed to kill Emalon, even if there was no chance of that kill happening?!?  Crazy talk.  Anyway I learned to stay well clear of VoA pugs.

Fast forward to July 2009 and I crazily assumed that maybe the pugs had figured Emalon out by now.  I mean its not that complicated.  DPS boss, then DPS huge overcharged add until it dies then DPS boss.  Make sure you run out of Lightning nova.  There is a chain lightning effect, but that never seems to be anything especially important.  Its just something to keep healers occupied when not healing the tanks.  I laugh (and die a little inside) when I see PUG members asking the RL to mark up the overcharged add.  I’m all for marking targets but I mean really, see that huge oversized add?  That’s the overcharged one, ok?  Hit him.

So my Voa 10 pug.  I zone in and the trash is cleared…  They run towards Emalon.  A little warning starts to beep somewhere in the recesses of my brain.  I’m one of three healers, one of which is a Disc priest so I swap to Holy.  That’s probably one too many healers but its not fatal.  Just as we’re about to start the raid leader says something like, “right lets give this one more try”.  Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

Pull.  Boss/add position is decent.  First lightning nova, two of the melee DPS die.  First overcharge wipe.  /sigh  The Disc priest cast about three shields in the entire sixty second or so attempt… /sigh

So I move on. No big deal.  Lesson learnt, PUGS still have trouble with Emalon.  Ten minutes later a guildie asks if people want to do VoA 10, sure I say why not.

Raid fills in about 3 minutes, we’re assembled soon after.  About half alts and half well geared (T8+) mains.  One of the DPS is told to change to his tank spec for a change and to give one of the tanks a chance to DPS for a change.  The ‘new tank’ is well enough geared but not very experienced tanking.

There is a bit of discussion about positioning for the new tank and a warning to the DPS to watch Omen. Pull. New tank has a bit of trouble establishing clear agro (think he may have mis-targeted and taunted one of the adds).  A DPS and a healer die.  Lucky we had three healers.  Now have just have a holy pally and me as a Disc priest healing.  Hmm, healing might be a bit more frantic, but this is a DPS limited fight so one down from the start is bad.

Agro established, position established.  Overcharge.  I’m thinking, “well this is the wipe I guess”.  Overcharged add dies.  Wow!  Maybe not.  Frantic healing, I think we took more chain lightning damage then we should have.  Second overcharge. Overcharged add dies.  By the third overcharge i’m no longer expecting a wipe 🙂  It gets close a few times healing and I almost dropped the add tank once, but Emalon goes down with only 8.  Yay!

T8 pants drop and i’m the only one wanting them.  Strangely its my first T8 piece.  I seem to get plenty of upgrades, just nothing with the word ‘tier’ in it. 😉

So yeah, I can confirm that PUGs are still random in their competence with a slight bias towards incompetence. 🙂  Part of me wonders what the thought process is like for some of the puggers.  Surely after you have been killed a few items by lightning nova, or been in a few pugs which haven’t managed to kill the overcharged adds, because of low DPS, you’d maybe assess your performance?  Maybe you’d figure out how to avoid lightning nova and check to make sure you weren’t the source of the low DPS on the overcharge adds…

I guess i’m probably more self critical than a lot of players.


Gobble gobble.


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