To put it simply, “PUG” stands for “Pick up group” in the online gaming world. Its use and definition can transcend grammatical boundaries.

“He was a dumb pug!”

“We’re going to have to pug the healer”

“I’m so sick of pugging!”

“Putting together a pug run.”

I am a pug, she pugs, together we are pugging. But noun, adverb or verb, “Pug” typically has a negative connotation.

I will focus on the PvE aspect of pugging. To me, griping about bad attitudes in a PvP setting seems unfair, in a way. It’s a competitive aspect of gameplay that focuses on being better than other players. So, I think most of the time those comments tend to be warranted if not needed. Up to a point, anyway.

With Star Wars: The Old Republic’s release of Game Update 1.3: “Allies” on 26 June 2012, the pug has become a way of life for players. Long gone are the days of spamming general chat to an empty fleet; in its place was the instant gratification (if you’re a tank) of the group finder queue popping. With so many different people congregating in concentrated areas of gameplay, there are bound to be a few bumps. Obviously the Group Finder does not limit your choices only to instanced Flashpoints; it also allows players to queue for story mode operations. For most of us, a story mode operation can be run nearly instinctively and flawlessly. Karagga’s Palace in story mode is akin to the function of an involuntary system within the body. However, to a newcomer, it can be vastly overwhelming, intimidating, fast paced and unforgiving. This clash of experience and inexperience has caused for some great disturbances in the Force. Some I have witnessed, and though it pains me to say, some I have been a part of.

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I am lucky enough to be part of a guild that can usually fill the role quota for a random operation or Flashpoint. However, sometimes you need that last spot. So you throw your names into the magical Group Finder hat, and voila, your needed role is filled. You have 7 people in our preferred voice chat application, and each of the 7 have great experience with the content.

So enters the marauder with 15,000 hp in Recruit gear.

The trash is pulled instantly before an introduction is given. CCs go unmarked. The Gammoreans stand no chance at the hands of over-geared Assassins and Dread Guard-ed Snipers. Enthralled by excitement and overwhelmed by the need to smash, the Marauder jumps into the battle! He Force Leaps straight to the CC-ed target.

Naturally, since the group is so overpowered for the content, it is of no real consequence. However, it begins to irk the perfectionist(s) and the groaning begins. Of course, rather than marking the targets that will be CC’d in the future, we’ll just talk about how much of an idiot this Marauder is in guild chat. Why would we want to try and help a new player? That doesn’t make sense. He should just KNOW how to do these things, because we know how to do them!

Let us fast forward to Karagga’s Palace’s very own Foreman Crusher.

3 wipes later.

6 broken CCs later.

12 passive aggressive elitist comments later.

1 purple smoke death later.

Most of us enter. All of us hugging the wall to the right side, and grouping in a far corner until the tank leads us into the familiar battle.

The Marauder has other ideas.

Before the rest of the operations group can enter, the Marauder puts himself within close proximity to Foreman Crusher, thus beginning the fight. Meanwhile, 3 members of the group are locked out of the arena, stuck on the other side of the force field.

The nerd rage becomes overwhelming, boiling itself to the point where it finally becomes aggressive. Finally, what everyone has wanted since the first broken CC comes to fruition.

“Kick this noob.”

After some more discussion, it’s agreed that this has happened to most of us before and that the Marauder will receive one more chance to redeem him or herself. He or she is told not to do anything until WE say so. No explanation of the fight is given, however.

The phase shifts, the Marauder stands directly in front of Foreman Crusher when he does his frenzy—he dies. Healers refuse to use their battle rez on him. The fight is won with the Marauder’s corpse observing from the floor for 75% of the battle. The player is kicked from the group without an explanation or any advice. The operation is finished as a 7-man team.

Marauder—if you’re out there somewhere, I am truly sorry. This whole experience has bothered me for a long time. Though I wasn’t the driving force behind the negativity, I sat idly by when I could’ve stopped it and helped you become familiar with the procedure. I was tired, cranky, and in a frenzied state to collect as many black hole commendations as quickly as possible.

I consider myself to be a very patient person. I do not groan when I encounter new players, or players that don’t seem to have their chops down yet. Instead, I try to take the time to teach these players. It’s hard to remember that we were all new to SW:TOR at one point. To YOU, the tank that quits the group that keeps wiping at the end of Hammer Station, I say to you: Who do you think you’re fooling? At level 17, that instance can be as unforgiving as Kephess in Hard Mode Explosive Conflict. To you the DPS that quits after 2 wipes of The Foundry during the HK fight I say: What are you trying to prove?

I don’t know why these attitudes get formed, or why they must be steeped in negativity. I can’t imagine it making someone feel better to pick on a player because he or she is F2P, or doesn’t know the mechanics of a boss fight. For those of us that subscribe, we can all agree that we enjoy this game. There is such an influx of new players with the launch of F2P, shouldn’t it be our responsibility to encourage these new comers to continue playing the game? One of the main reasons I have stuck it out with SW:TOR is the community. It’s generally friendlier than other gaming communities I have encountered in the past.

Pugs can be like children. They aren’t unintelligent; they just have no prior experience to base their forthcoming actions on. Do you call a child a noob for putting his finger in an electrical socket? You say “NO” “Don’t do that!” and explain why it must never be done.



PUG — 14 Comments

  1. Pingback: OotiniCast Episode 66 | OotiniCast | A Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) podcast

  2. Since I am in a mentoring guild that has been very patient with my low gear and my short comings in battle I have grown to respect PUGS that put it on the line everyday. I will never vote to kick a player that tries, only a player that is rude and disrespectful.

  3. Pingback: OotiniCast Episode 67 | OotiniCast | A Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) podcast

  4. This has always been my main problem with MMOs. These games require a vast amount of time to master yet they are enjoyed by a wealth of casual gamers who simply don’t have the time to experience the end game content over and over. I myself have never done a single operation in this game. I would love to try one, but between work, a wife, a senior in high school and a 10 month old, I don’t usually have time to dedicate 1-4 uninterrupted hours to this game. And I know that since I’m unfamiliar with the mechanics of EC, KP, TFB and whatever the other ops are in this game, any group I join is (probably) going to take longer than normal to clear the instance. And I know there are going to be people out there frothing at the mouth to kick me when I “mess up” their op run. So instead I pvp and do HM flashpoints when I can. And even a HM flashpoint nets me the ire of the experienced guy who can solo this thing by himself in 15 minutes but he’s gotta spend 30 minutes in here with me, the noob who doesn’t know the secret path to skip the whatever boss up ahead.

    • You assume that the players who then know the dungeons and operations are ones without lives then? That’s entirely not true. In fact, my guild (which does both 16 and 8-man operations three nights a week) is mostly composed of those who have spouses, kids, pets, house payments, and a mountain of other of bills to pay. The dislike of PUGs isn’t simply the dislike of players who are new, it is the dislike of players who don’t want to learn. They are the players who don’t listen to directions or forget game mechanics that are in just about any game out there for the entire run making it not only inconvenient but also irritating.

      • I don’t see where he assumed that at all. If anything he seems respectful of those who DO have the time to master the skill and familiarity needed to prosper in an MMO. By his other remarks he also seems to be someone who’s trying, as his RL allows, to learn what he needs to become a better player.

      • You seem like a huge stroppy bitch, if I’m honest. Trying to pick fights and shit. Go menstruate somewhere else.

  5. The issue is never that they don’t know the fights, mechanics, etc. at least not with me. It is the fact that he didin’t have the common sense to say “I have not done this before so I’ll need to know the fights.” Say this and I will be with you 100%, explain every detail and trick I know, and be pretty forgiving of mistakes. Don’t say this and get kicked when you screw up once. It is not only idiotic but down right rude to everyone in the group to think you can just wing it.

    • THIS! Or when you try to tell them what to do and they ignore you, do not do it, or exclaim “I think I know my class by now!”, as if playing your storyline is equivalent.

      Or the ones incapable of learning. “Gee, several times now you launched in, broke cc’s with your aoe, and keep dying. At what point will those two brain cells in your head rub together and, besides breathing, realize that I SHOULD NOT DO THAT ANYMORE. Hopefully the two brain cells are not too exhausted from performing basic body functions to also read us screaming at you in the group chat to STOP DOING THAT!

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