By sylvie | December 13, 2009
With the latest patch (3.3) to World of Warcraft, Blizzard has introduced another attempt at making playing WoW easier for the casual player: a new cross-server system that lets you join a random dungeon. The cross-server aspect means that you may be playing with people who are not on the same server as you, and increases your probability of finding a group quickly. To encourage people to use this new system, Blizzard is dangling not only a new type of emblem and more older emblems to participants (emblems, in case you don’t play WoW, let you buy fancy new gear) but also, for the pet-obsessed, a cute little pug for people who have been randomly placed with 100 people.
Now, usually, I don’t pug (PuG = pick-up group), but these rewards make it very difficult for me to refuse to try it out.
There’s a reason I don’t pug. When I was a young human warlock (yes, I started off on the Alliance side; what can I say? I was young and I needed the XP), I would pug on a regular basis. One day, I happily joined a PuG that was heading to Zul’Farak. Since warlocks can summon and since those were the days before summoning stones, I set about summoning the other members to the dungeon. And then, before we could start the dungeon, I was unceremoniously dumped out of the group. No explanation. No “sorry, our guildie can join us”. Nothing. I asked in whisper, but nobody wanted to talk to me. Since then, I have felt extremely leery about joining pugs.
The promise of a cute little dog and the easy emblems proved irresistible, however, and I have been grinding dungeons with random groups for the past few days. Well, grinding is a bit of an exageration. I do about one, two, or three dungeons per day before going on to something else. In spite of my casual approach, I have managed to accumulate enough emblems to buy two new pieces of spiffy shaman armor.
So how have these pugs been? Pretty quiet, actually. I always try to say “hi” at the start and usually there’s one or two people who answer. Then the tank runs off and starts killing things and we all follow. Not a word is said, unless someone asks for a quick stop. Sometimes, but not always, the tank will ask people if they know the battle for a boss. And sometimes, someone will ask to roll need on an item. That’s about it until the end of the run, when a few of us thank everyone and say goodbye.
I was trying to think of a parallel collaborative activity but couldn’t. We’re all in our own little bubble as we rush through the dungeon, doing our job in silence. It’s more as though we had all boarded a bus: we’re all going in the same direction but our socializing is at a minimum. It’s not much fun, which is why I can’t do this more than two or three times per day. After that, I long to join a dungeon with my guildmates. I miss the give and take, the good-natured ribbing, the sharing of personal triumphs, the commiserating over problems.I miss the social, in other words.
I am going to continue using the raiding system for now, at least until I get my main the pet pug. After that, I don’t know.