Three shoulders, three days

I hadn't pugged an instance in more than four years. I stopped pugging when I finally fell in with a bunch of folks in WoW, and I still play with those people, plus I've got a raid now, and I often group with them. There's been no need to pug, plus I just generally had a fear of terrible pug members.

But the LFG tool actually got me pretty excited about this whole pugging idea. It's not just the title (although I think "Ovistine the Patient" and "Teuthida the Patient" will eventually be pretty rad), and it's certainly not the pet (I'm not overly fond of pugs), but the ability to get a group pretty much any time I want, for any character I want, run a quick heroic, and get scads of rewards? It's shiny.

So I have made great use of the LFG tool on Ovistine, and in three days I've upgraded her from the godawful Spaulders of the Runeseeker she started with (I took away her heirloom shoulders; other alts needed them more, and I'm too lazy to swap them to her every single time I wanted to play her) to a quest reward from the Nexus (Ovi hadn't stepped foot in the Nexus, ever, so she had four quests to do there) to, finally, her first piece of Lich King tier gear. My only regret is buying her the Sons of Hodir shoulder enchant for every one of those. But hey — I didn't know she was going to get her upgrade so fast!

My evaluation of the LFG tool: It's actually pretty decent. I have been extremely lucky so far; of the 30+ random people I've grouped with, 99% of them have been perfectly reasonable folks to group with. No better than a battleground, perhaps, but certainly no worse. There's been no blaming the healer or tank, and most of the groups substantially outgear the instances and are basically just there for badges — almost all loot gets disenchanted. (Although I am still cranky about the fact that there seems to be a bug at present that prevents hybrid casters from rolling need on caster trinkets. Maybe it's just priests. I dunno. I submitted a ticket, but you can bet they'll just tell me to disable all my addons.)

It is substantially faster to get a group if you're willing to heal. When Val and I queued up with Val willing to tank or DPS and Teu willing to heal or DPS, we got a group literally as soon as he clicked the "Join as Group" button — with him tanking and me healing, of course.

I'm always willing to heal with Teu, and probably will always end up doing so; I'd rather not heal with Ovi, since it's OOC and I'd like more practice at shadow, but in less-than-ideal situations, it's nice to have the other spec. (I did successfully heal a Heroic Halls of Stone run today. I thought I was crazy for trying it, since I haven't healed an instance with Ovi since, uh, Burning Crusade, but it turned out to be relatively easy on me. That said, it's a good thing there's a lot of overlap on shadow and healing gear, because oof. I may have a healing spec, but I don't have separate healing gear. Also, per my raid, Disc is bullshit — in the best possible way.)

I am really grateful, though, that I haven't had to stop instancing with my friends altogether! Yesterday we took a whirlwind trip through the new Icecrown instances, and it was an absolute blast. Heroic Halls of Reflection was a challenge, but a really fun one. And lo, there is a five-man that has a caster shield! Pit of Saron, normal. I have better — but Val's paladin sure doesn't.

Yesterday I was afraid that if I let myself, I'd just go to random heroics with Ovi nonstop until I forgot things like eating and sleeping. Today I've done only two on Ovi and one on Teu, so I think the shiny might give way to other stuff soon. Still, I like that the option's there. It'll be interesting to see how it works out in the long run. And… really, only five or so random heroics for another piece of non-crappy gear? I might be back online sooner than I think.

Dec 10th, 2009
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