How to Ask for Help in a PUG
A bit ago, I noticed a thread on Blog Azeroth about dealing with problems in PuGs, and found myself quick to respond. Here’s a quote from the thread if you don’t want to read the whole thing: “If you say “sry I’m new at this might be bad lol” you set people up to expect, even WANT you to fail. They’ll definitely watch you more closely and feel free to be more critical, or do something that is supposed to “help” you but actually hurts.”
Let’s start by looking at two different statements said at the beginning of an encounter or after a wipe:
“sry I’m new at this and might be bad lol”
“Hi, this is my first try at healing this instance/I’m still getting used to this spec. Please let me apologize in advance if I make a mistake. :)”
Who do you want healing you? I think the answer is obvious.
The first one gives me the impression of a 16 year old girl who is going to be too busy checking her texts, or alt tabing to facebook to pay attention enough to heal and simply doesn’t care if everyone dies.
The second is someone who sounds like they have experience on different toons but may be undergeared and/or still working out the mechanics of their class, but is trying hard. They are ready to take responsibility for their faults, and want to improve. They will thank you for whispered advice and implement it. They might even ask you questions if they are unsure of something.
Sure, this is about confidence. But it’s also about respect for other players. I want people to tell me they are new. I might throw them some extra shields, or simply be a little more patient. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that there’s probably at least one experienced person in a random five man who knows the game well enough to keep an eye on such a person and offer good advice to keep things moving forward. I often find myself giving a new healer pointers or a new dps some hints on a boss in an heroic. In fact, I generally ask when we start if anyone is unfamiliar with the instance and offer to answer questions or help out. I don’t think I’m such a minority in this regard. I like to think most good players are willing to do this.
I think this is particularly true of tanking. I couldn’t tell you how many new tanks didn’t bother to respond to my offer of advice and then wiped us on something simple because they had no idea of the mechanics. In between the ghost march and rezing they say something like “sry, haven’t done this place yet” and I want to kill them. I’m happy to spend 10-30 seconds per boss fight saying “hey, here’s how this goes….” But I dislike wiping because someone was in over their head and couldn’t even bother to accept some friendly help. I’ve even spent an entire instance, slowly and painfully walking through “how to tank as a dk” with a guy in Gun’drak. (I swear though if I know more about your spec than you do from my experience watching your class in a raid and asking a question or two of a guildmate in vent, it’s a bit sad. Turn on Frost Presence. Try using Death Grip. When there’s a couple mobs you want to put the red goop down…errrr…Death and Decay. Keep your runes on cooldown. etc. How can you get to 80 without knowing this stuff?) Did my random seem to take forever? Yup. Was it worth it? Sure. He was open to advice and was trying to be a good tank; he just didn’t know where to start. I like to think that future groups he was in benefited from the four of us taking a little time out of our day to be generous and patient.
Speaking of patience… The GOGOGOGO atmosphere of running PUGs now seems to overwhelm the content. Asking for GearScore when looking for a Heroic five man or the weekly, or expecting that it’s your God given right to complete an Heroic in twelve minutes flat just makes you look like a jerk. Sure, this content is laughably easy for those of us who are geared in 277s. But that doesn’t mean that someone starting out at 80 doesn’t have a right to queue for it. Expecting everyone to try is one thing; expecting everyone to be as Uber as you might be is something else. Anyone who sits in the queue for an Heroic has the responsibility to try hard and be appropriately speced and geared for the intended level of the encounter. Those guys with characters that have newly dinged need that instance more than you. They might need drops or emblems from the optional bosses. It’s worth just a few minutes of your time to not be That Guy.
I’ve had great experiences on my baby prot Paladin saying “Hey, I always seem to get lost here, shout out if I’m going the wrong way” and such. In fact, when I say this at the beginning of a run, what always seems to happen is that whenever we get to a path that divides, a dps or healer who knows the layout better than I do steps forward a bit – not pulling mobs – but making it clear that “this way is it” before I can even ask “errrr….which way?”. I feel like less of an idiot, the instance goes more smoothly and quickly, and they did what? They took a few seconds to be considerate and share their expertise. Lots of people are willing to step up if you’re respectful and ask in the right way.