PUGs or Pick up groups originated from MMO’s. It’s a group of people who have been put together by the server or by a lonely person looking to progress in the game but having no friend to help them. Normally used in a negative way; PUGs have become a staple of not only MMO’s but also FPS.

Although people have been throwing themselves into Team Death matches, etc with unknowns for a while its only recently been used to describe computer generated groups in FPS’s. And I think thats the point, the server puts people together; you don’t pick a server or a team. It’s completely random. Exactly like a group finder in WoW.

So what can we do to curve the stigma around this often negative term. Well for a start stop blaming everyone on your team for being “NOOBs”. At the end of the day its a team thing. You will find players that look at a teams loosing as the fault of everyone else other than them, and when that happens your chats going to fill up with abuse.

Most people are just hear to kill something. They might only play 5-10 hours a week (if not less), they probably have a family and this is just something to kill time. Then you have people who are here because no one else will play with them and thats the person shouting abuse at you in the chat window.

Apart from when I was at university most of my group experiences in games have fallen down to playing with PUGs and you get to learn a little bit about the types of groups that will win and the types of groups which will loose. Or the types of groups who will kill the raid boss; and the types of groups who get crushed in to elf paste.

Despite what 80% of PUG players think, people are not psychic talking about what your going to do, or what your team needs; is essential. Start the dialogue early. Outline what your group is missing, highlight what you group doesn’t need. Talk about tactics and ask if everyone is okay with the up and coming boss fight. If you get the chat flowing early people will be clear on what they need to do.

In order to keep it positive shut down negativity. It’s okay to get annoyed 10 mins into a game because everyones face planting a heavy-medic combo in TF2. Or your team has 3 Blackwidows in Overwatch. Provide constructive criticism, help people see the issue.

The types of people you want to shutdown are the ones who 2 mins into the game are shouting in caps and calling everyone a “noob” because they went off on their own and died.

So block, mute, kick, stab these people. They do nothing but shit on the game.

It’s okay to loose. Yep its fine. Someone has to loose its just ensuring everyone had fun getting their.

If you do loose a game drop in a “GG”, fuck the haters it was still a good game. I watched my team get shot in the head continuously by a sniper. Despite this we gave it a good go but in the end we couldn’t break through the last checkpoint. So at the end of the game I told the sniper he did a good job and he thanked me. The next game I didn’t get shot in the head once.

Its okay to disagree with someone on your team. Sometimes you might learn something. I had an issue with someone telling me what class to play. So I questioned why it was an issue. They then highlighted that Zenyatta was actually quite a weak hero and would require a decent buff before he could be usable as a support class. This was not that new to me but we did a a little test and Mercy performed much better.

WoW introduced PUG Raids about a year ago. The the role of a PUG Raid was to get people who only play part times through the end game content. After all they still pay the same as a hardcore gamer but they normally miss out on half the content. Normally a Raid is led by a tank, so if you have no interest in speaking to anyone I suggest you avoid this role.

Its rare but sometimes you will drop into a game, say nothing and steam role the opposition/Raid. It can happen. Sometimes you loose 20 games in a row. When this happens go watch a film your in no fit mental state to handle another lose.

Finally – you will never beat a pre-made group with a PUG.

Keep it positive.

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Playing support

The Medic is the most important class in Team fortress 2 (Let the rage begin), if you have one on your team and the other team doesn’t it can significantly increase your chances of winning the game. A half decent medic can drag a pretty useless team to a win, it might take a little longer, but he will get you there.

This post isn’t all about the Medic from TF2, instead its about the mindset of the guy choosing to play the medic and how this type of player can significantly increase your teams chance of winning by never really showing up on the score board.

He/she is not likely to be going for the flag or capturing points: this player is support, this player chooses to defend, this player chooses to fix and maintain. This player does all the jobs that your average FPS/MMO player wont play. So what am i talking about, am i just acting old, do i not understand the young folk – well yes and no.

The following roles are important and should be considered by any player when they see 4 snipers, 6 light weight players or 0 engineers.

Medic, game TF2 – The medic will increase the score everyone on the team and help to push past a sentry nest, or simply clear the field with an uber. If you walk into a game and see a chat log full of “Your mother..” pick up the medic and turn it around.

Heavy, engineer, game Tribes – The class in this instance isn’t overly important. A heavy can be used to grief an enemies reactor and an medium class can be used for pretty much anything. But you need someone to maintain your defences and to protect the reactor. Its not likely to stop every attempt at your flag but it will make it more difficult.

Defending points, most games but specifically WOW PVP – Back in vanilla WOW where only the most dedicated (well geared) players really had a chance of being successful in PVP no one defended points or the flag. You received no bonus  for sitting on a point or scouting out. They have since introduced a buff for holding a point which is nice.

Playing support, game DOTA – Support is a critical part of helping your team make it to the end, of course some support is better than others.

Playing the Healer, most MMO’s – Lets be honest with out a healer in your Raid your fucked, but when was the last time anyone said – “Good job Healers”.

So why play this type of roles? Simply put I want to win the game and I know that plying one of these roles (when no one else has) will server to increase the chance of winning the game. I also like playing support.

I have played support for so long it’s easier for me to play than the attacking roles, but its important to remember that these roles have their own skill sets. It is possible to be bad at support, not healing people when they need it, not prioritising your tank over your DPS, not setting up your sentry in the correct place.

So next time your king of the kills take a look at the top healers or most flags defended and throw a – “Good Game Support” in to the chat window.

“We do it because we care” – Support

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Word Of Warcraft, for Casuals

At its most potent I played WoW for 5 years straight, from launch (2004) to about the start of the Lich King (2009), then I managed to kick the habit. I’m not sure why but I believe it had something to do with the grind and a realisation that I no longer had 20 hours a day to collect fish eyes, or something.


My routine now with WoW is to join about 3 months before the release of an expansion pack. I role a new character, my latest was a Death knight so this gave me the boost of being level 55, but thats not much of an achievement these days. You can basically smash your head on the keyboard and your level 80.

(I also took the instant boost to 90, a clever strategy by Blizzard to get people back into the game.)

Before my DK I rolled a Dwarf warrior and played the game from start all the way up to level 90 just before the latest expansion – Warlords of Draenor, and before that it was a Priest which i had from my previous 5 year stint.

Why jump into a game 3 months before all your new gear becomes obsolete and you have to start all over again?

Near the end of an expansion all the hardcore veteran players have figured out everything about the game, all the grinding is pretty much none existent, all the dungeons and the Raids are open and epic gear falls from the sky like candy and the game has no challenging aspects.

The no challenge aspect must seem strange to some people. I am happy with this way of playing when it comes to MMO’s, I see them as a way to switch off and relax. So for me, i’m just happy to take in the story and the scenery.

Unless you role a tank it’s fairly easy to show up for things knowing just the basics. Playing a DPS role would be the perfect option for this type of gameplay. Generally speaking its very easy to play a DPS character, all you have to do is listen to the tank and hit what your told to hit.

Don’t be that guy everyone needs who fucks off every 5mins or has no idea a healer is being face fucked by an ogre hammer.

Random Raid groups are designed for this type of gameplay, and for someone like me its perfect because I have no time to worry about showing up at 8 every night and being silently judged if i don’t choose to piss in a cup next to my computer, rather than declaring ‘bio break’. I show up and if i need to do something I drop out, which brings me back to one of my other points. Don’t play a Tank. Don’t be that guy everyone needs who fucks off every 5 mins or has no idea a healer is being face-fucked by an ogre hammer, just no – Get in the sea.

Can I play a healer?

I would also say no to this idea, again for the same reasons as a tank. However you can get away with it more. Most healers at this level will show up draped in the most glorious of armours and fine jewels. They can handle all the heavy shit and probably wont notice the absence of one of the 6 healers in the group, and they are also easier to replace than tanks.

(My favourite class is priest and I never got on with shadow so I do the odd raid as a healer but only when i’m sure i wont get disturbed.)

Having an off-spec which allows for healing is also a good way to get into raids and dungeons with out hours of waiting, and thanks to ‘dynamic’ gear you no longer need a wardrobe of crap to change spec.

Its not like it use to be…

No its not, and for me this is a good thing. If your still a hardcore player you have all the higher level Raids where you cant have ‘Mr or Mrs Shit Casual’ show up and ask you what the red stuff he/shes’s standing in means. You can have your fellow bros and you can piss in a cup next to your computer, and when you finally kill [insert-demon-name] you can have slightly different coloured armour to everyone else and be like… fuck yeah.

I miss vanilla sometimes :'( .

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