The Captain’s Mess: Episode 1
I was hesitant to write another post dealing with PUGs in WoW so soon after my “Why joining a PUG raid is like going to the ghetto“, until a small chain of events made it an inevitability. The first thing that happened to me was that I remembered my idea to write a column about getting guild leadership advice from the various captains of the Star Trek universe. In researching a suitable episode to pull wisdom from, I realized that “The Trouble with Tribbles” was pretty much one of the only episdoes I was familiar with from the original series. So much of what occurs in the episode reminded me of PUG groups that I could not help myself. Alas, here I embark on yet another journey into the realm of the PUG LYF.
Admittedly, I was never a big fan of the original Star Trek series (ToS).
I know, right?
“You’re not a real Trekkie!”
“You’re not a real Trekker!”
Really? Thank jeebus.
What I am is a fan of extremely popular non-obscure and non-Stargate science fiction. The original series was always a bit outdated to me growing up, with far too much dialogue to hold my interest (I’m not alone, even in the 60’s the show was canceled due to lack of interest). As an adult however, I am able appreciate what ToS did for the franchise/video media as a whole. Paving the way not only for future Star Treks, but for many shows that really pushed the envelop so-to-speak with regard to openly criticizing society and reflecting on the human condition.
Now back to the lecture at hand…
In the ToS episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” Captain Kirk is almost immediately stuck in a situation that many guild leaders find themselves tossed into: dealing with false pretenses. Kirk is called from a station that claims it is under attack. Sure enough, when he arrives he finds that there is in fact no attack and the station commander gives the excuse that he wanted the Enterprise nearby in the event that protection is needed. This happens to a guild leader that is forced to PUG to complete a raid line-up. The leader might advertise things like “/2. LFM healer and 1 ranged dps for ToC 10.” Responses include things like “me” “can i go?” or “invite”. These, hopefully, are outright ignored. Then comes the false pretenses pst “I can heal that, I’m ICC 25 geared” or “[Trial of the Crusader 10 Man]” achievement link (which can be faked!). These people receive an invite and when the arrive they may not have the gear. If they do, maybe they haven’t actually run the instance. Either way you have two choices: Kick them or treat them like Kirk would have.
If you choose the latter, you’ll stick it out, despite the false pretenses. Kirk figures basically that he’s already there, his crew can get some shore leave, and the station actually did need their help. You have remember that you’re breaking my Rule #1: DON’T PUG, STUPID. As someone that organizes raids for a small guild, I realize PUGging is inevitable. I will also say, that I have met some of the best players I know on false pretenses. That doesn’t make it ok, but my experience has led me to be open (sometimes) to these kinds of players.
It turns out that the station is worried that the Klingons will do something to sabotage the Federation’s bid on a disputed planet. The planet will support the regime that can best help them develop their world. On the station, the Federation is storing a tremendous amount of grain, which apparently they believe will seal the deal. The station has a legitimate claim to protection by the Enterprise, even if they did get it by lying. It’s definitely possible that the player you invited has a low geared character but they personally have a great deal of experience. They may be better than you. Yes, it does happen. On the flipside of the coin, maybe they haven’t run the dungeon before, but they’re as ready for it as you were when you got your first crack at it. A simple explanation and 5 minutes later they’ve contributed to your inital boss kill for the run.
There is, of course, a completely negative scenario that might play out as well in your raid. Good ol’ Kirk has the strategy for dealing with that too. On the station an infestation of a small furry breads-faster-than-rabbits animal has developed. These creatures, called “Tribbles”, have made working on the station somewhat uncomfortable. Even worse than that they have apparently gotten into the stored grain and eaten a large amount of it! The parallel being that these pretentious PUGs might mess up your raid entirely. I was recently in a ToC 10 raid with a tank that claimed to have run the dungeon before, but then did many things that made me seriously doubt the veracity of his claim. All night this tank proceeded to infest our dungeon with bad tactics, and tried to eat up all the grain… or wait.. I mean loot, take all the loot.
Try and guess how many times we wiped.
If you guessed ZERO then you were totally right. Just like Kirk, we managed to steer a negative situation into a very good one. Turns out that the 7 guildies that did the run with us, including 2 friends of the guild (whom we met by PUGging), knew their stuff so well, that we were able to work around not only a lousy tank, but also a healer death every fight, tank d/c’s, and general lag issues. (Apologies if that last sentence was a run-on or just bad comma usage) Captain Kirk has his medical officer (Dr. McCoy) examine the Tribbles, now dead, that ate the grain. It is discovered that the grain has been poisoned! At nearly the same time, a still living Tribble reacts negatively to a nearby human, and upon scanning the man McCoy discovers that he is in fact a Klingon! Turns out those Klingons were dangerous, and those false pretenses that led to the Enterprise visiting the station saved the day.
So what is Kirk’s advice really for guild leaders out there? If you find yourself in a situation that you weren’t planning on, making the best of it can lead to even better results than you expected.