Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Lowbie PUGs - fun and profit (sometimes)

Frequenty PUGing of level 80 heroics has made me a bit weary of the responsility of tanking or healing, so I've been dabbling with my lowbie dps-with-utility alts, namely Crennick (level 34 mage) and Adanadel (level 66) hunter.

The first thing you notice about lower level groups is that they're more friendly and helpful than the end game groups. Perhaps they're playing for fun (after all, if they were power levelling they'd probably not be there) rather than running the instance mainly for badges.

The other thing you notice is how different instances are at different levels. In Scarlet Monastry you only see two or three mobs per pull, so as long as you pull and don't charge in, and watch for patrols, you can't really go wrong. This is probably a good thing - the tank we had there was clearly DPSing with a two-hander and not really tanking at all. Since he'd handle perhaps two mobs at a time this let me play utility - sheeping the extra mob, nuking them off the healer or counterspelling a caster - so was more fun than pure dps, although you've got to feel sorry in general for groups that "tanks" like him end up in. Perhaps just he's queuing as a tank for a shorter queue, perhaps still learning - the only drawback to the latter is that nobody seemed to be pointing out his mistakes, so how's he going to learn? Perhaps the Dungeon Finder has taught us to be too deferential to tanks?

After Lich King and classic instances, Burning Crusade instances come as a bit of a shock. You forget how big some of the pulls are in those places, and how groups used to expect at least one - preferably two - of the DPS to have crowd control. The problem is these days everyone forgets in instances that they have CC abilities, so the tank gathers all the mobs up, DPS AoE them down - and quite often the tank dies.

As a result Adanadel's Mana-Tombs group got through three tanks (a druid, a DK and a warrior) and three healers (a druid, a shaman, then another druid) before eventually clearing the place. In a group with a mage and a hunter this really should never have been a problem, but it's rarely any good using crowd control once the tank is already dead! Lesson learned (or more correctly re-learned) but it just shows how lazy we've all become compared to the "bad old days" of BC's sometimes brutal instances.

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