Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Like a pack of hounds...

Needless to say, I love instances. Who doesn't? Especially when they are ran with a group of people knowing what they are doing –or at least willing to learn how to contribute better to the whole. When the communication works. And when the greed is governed by reason.

An excellent instance group works like a pack of wolves or sighthounds: each knows the common aim, everyone commits to the greater good of the group and all are driven by their own special talents and abilities. In a pack of dogs the roles are cast in silence: as the alpha female gets the impulse, the whole pack moves. They spread into a fan formation, with the leader in the center, and they start chasing the prey. No sound, only efficiency. The chasers and the flankers take care that the prey doesn't flee, and the alpha does the killing. Clean and effective. No fuss.

I have been in a couple of groups which have had this ability to read each others’ intentions. Without /p walls of text, without vent or voice chat. Just by knowing what the group is trying to achieve. They are few and separate during my two years MMO experience, but they exist: the excellent gamers who delight the whole genre. They are the groups from which you try to add people to your friends list only to forget them later on as they level up so much faster than you do.

Majority of the PUG’s, however, come from the other end of the scale. Unorganised, uncivilised and destructive on their own merit. It is impossible to play the game so that everyone in the group enjoys it with these types. And sadly, these come thirteen in a dozen.

And they are not usually the newbies like me, but the ones who have been around from day one and still haven’t learned to play their class nor in the groups. The N00bs.

After the first five such blunder-PUG’s I gave up on understanding the why’s and how’s of these guys. There didn’t seem to be any connecting factors between them. Maybe age or mental age, but that’s all. Maturity isn't dependant on age, it's more a state of mind. That's somewhat so hard to accept, but it's true. And games seem to bring out the best in jerks, too.

Now I’m in a nice situation. I have two brothers whom with we have decided to play a sort of hobby-game of WoW. We have it all at the moment: priest, rogue and warrior. Granted, we could have more dps on the side, but hey, if we go into an instance, we get to take the lucky one with us. I want to show people how things could be run, and with the training we provide to each other I think it’s soon possible. We may not be the most experienced, but guess what: we enjoy the learning process! For us the levelling is the game, end game is just some sort of a pipe dream in the future.

We are the pack of hounds, though without the alpha female.

She’s in the kitchen, generating huge amounts of wife aggro while we enjoy.


Jason said...

I find that the main reason PUGs are so awful in WoW compared to earlier games is that in WoW those random players don't need you. In EverQuest, for most classes grouping was the fastest and best way to level (without being power leveled that is). But in WoW, that just isn't true, they can always ditch the group and go off and level by themselves if they want.

Unknown said...

I agree with you completely. Grouping isn't rewarded, it's penalized in WoW, and that is something that has really killed the social aspect of the game. Soloign up to the cap and expecting to be able to tackle the raid content is the illusion we're lead to believe, and if I have understood correctly, the next nerf will even hit the raid content, switching the emphasis to the arena sports.

That will kill the game in WoW.