The Story of a Pug and a Friend

This is both a pug and a friend.

I believe in pugging.

Sure, there are tons of mediocre pugs. And there are definitely a ton of pug horror stories I have had.

But for every 9 hilarious nightmare pugs, there’s a 10th great pug with the raid-geared DPS pumping out the big numbers. The super pro guild group that pugged you as their 5th for a 10 minute run. The hilariously funny group that keeps you smiling the whole time. The rare player who CC’s mobs for me in HoR. Or, my personal favorite, the new players really playing like pros or asking for help and learning quickly.

Or: the pug where you find a friend.

There have been a lot of complaints lately about pugs. With all this negativity floating around, I’d like to tell a story about when I was a noob tank (oh, the horror!!) and a friend I made through pugs who greatly influenced my wow-playing career.

My Nooby Days

About six months ago, I was both a noob tank and a noob 80 – a recipe for disaster.

Halleigh, my paladin, was my first 80. I leveled as prot past 60 with a frost mage buddy, and decided I liked the prot tree and wanted to stay prot. Little did I know this meant I was destined for tanking in the endgame. Oh god. And I quickly realized how hard this was.

Of course, being me, I refused to give up and did shittons of research. I taught myself this “96969” rotation I read about. I did hours of studying on how to gear correctly and where to find the gear I needed. I bookmarked guides for every heroic – sometimes two or three – and memorized how to tank every boss. I also refused to pug without someone on vent or skype with me who could help me out.

Yes, I was crazy! I might have been a noob, but I was painfully aware of my inexperience and I wanted to make things as soon as possible for the DPS who got stuck with me.

My pocket healer

Through pugs, I met a shammy healer named Zalakor.

It happened without warning. We pugged a few heroics together, added each other to our friends list. He looked me up. I looked him up. Before we knew it, we were pugging together every day.

Zal was gearing an alt, and liked healing me. I was gearing a main, and desperately needed his experience. He was a very confident and solid guy who always encouraged me and taught me quite a bit. I was a very, very underconfident and terrified new tank who needed (I’ll be honest) a lot of help, love, and care.

Having him along as my pocket healer was a wonderful confidence booster. I am very hard on myself, and being a new tank is a rough job when you are new to the endgame in general and constantly faced with the prospect of being a leader in a place you don’t know.

Knowing a solid healer is behind you, supporting you ever step of the way; that’s an irreplacable feeling.

I highly recommend every new tank unsure of what they are doing obtain a pocket healer for themselves. I promise. It’s huge.

I have a feeling the situation is the same for healers – find yourself a tank you get along with, and farm farm farm with that person! It makes a huge difference to have a team in place.

My First Raid Experience

Anyways, back to my story of my healer friend Zal. Little did I know his main was a druid tank.

After we had known each other for some time, he made me a really fabulous offer – he was in the market for an off tank for his small guilds’ weekly Ulduar 10 runs, and he wanted me to do it!

Wow! I was honored and impressed. He wasn’t just being nice to me so he’d have a tank to farm with – he really thought I was good! I was quite pleased I had impressed someone much more experienced in the game than me. He always said he’d rather heal me than most of the other tanks he encountered, and that’s how I knew I was doing something right – approaching tanking with the right attitude – even when I was still desperately lacking in experience.

I was also in my raiding guild Brand New Day at this time, and although I wasn’t raiding with them yet, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to find myself in the OT slot soon. I was worried. I was scared. I had no raiding experience – absolutely zip – and I hate letting people down.

I wanted to learn raiding, and here was the perfect opportunity – outside of my guild – so that when I did start raiding, I’d still be a noob, but at least I would have a bit of experience!

It was perfect. I joined Zal’s 10 man Ulduar runs. And Zal and his buddies – wonderful mature adults all; two couples and several friends – taught me Ulduar.

We never got all too far in, but those runs were quite enjoyable. I paid very close attention and learned whatever I could. I also … loved it. This was the first time I really started to fall in love with raiding.

When I eventually did start raiding with my guild’s 25 mans, I was incredibly, incredibly thankful for the raid experience Zal had given me. I had a long way to go, but I had gotten my feet wet in Ulduar and at least I was familiar with the first few bosses. I went into it very green, but not quite as green as I might have been thanks to Zal and friends.

And Then, When I Was Not So Noob Anymore

I tried to keep up my U10 run with Zal as best I could, but being the OT / second tank for a 25 man guild required most of my time. Eventually I had to leave his U10 run for good. I have always had a very keen sense of responsibility and loyalty, and I was very sad to leave, but my desire to see hard modes with my guild won out. I promised all my friends I would eventually see them again on an alt, and took my pally off to bigger and better things.

Months later, here I am with a raid-capable alt. My DK is 80, geared, and pulling quite respectable DPS. The first thing I did was tell Zal I could raid with him again… and I’m looking forward to seeing my old, out-of-guild friends once more. :)

Pugging and the New LFG

I never would have met Zalakor without pugging. Making this friend had a huge impact on my wow experience and definitely colored the early days of my wow tanking experience. I specifically would probably not have met him with the new LFG system.

Don’t get me wrong, the new LFG is fantastic. I think it’s one of the greatest improvements to the game I have seen in my time playing wow, and while I am fairly new to raiding, I have a great deal of wow experience.

I love it. It makes life so – so – so much easier, and it is an incredibly powerful tool that vastly speeds up and simplifies the process of getting into a dungeon.

I am simply lamenting the passing of a system that allowed new players to get to know the people on their server, in favor of random players from their battlegroup. Gone (mostly) are the days that one recruits to one’s guild from a particularly impressive pug. Gone are the days when one felt accountable for one’s actions, fearful of pissing off people who might retaliate in trade chat or on realm forums. Gone are the days when I would recognize the names of half the guilded people I ran with.

These days have been replaced by something better. They absolutely have.

But they are gone, and sometimes I look back and wonder if I would have had the same nooby experience with the LFG system in place.

I wonder.


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About The Author

Tankadin Errant is a blog written by Anafielle, a paladin tank on Drenden - US Alliance side. (Armory)

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February 2010
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