The Daily Grind: When’s the last time you had a good PUG?

    
77
GTA Online

I’ve had some godawful pickup groups in GTA Online this week. There was the one guy who insisted on typing in Russian. Then there was the duo who quit a mission because — I kid you not — I was stealing all of their headshots. Number one, I’m not that good, and number two, isn’t the objective to finish the heist as quickly as possible and get payout bonuses?

Anyway.

Let’s focus on the positive. I’ve had some good pickup groups in my time, just not in GTAO (yet). What about you, MOP readers? Have you ever run with a really good pickup group? What was the game and what was the mission?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Quinnocent
Guest
Quinnocent

I feel the line of thinking that PUG’s are inherently or almost always bad is questionable.  Most of the PUG’s I’ve run with have been pretty good, and I’ve run with a decently large number of them.  And even in the games I’ve played with the most questionable PUG’s, most groups were still good-enough for the content at hand.  They’re not always pretty, though I’ve found them enjoyable enough, but they usually work.  In this age of metric-driven tuning of online experiences, if PUGs really can’t handle content that is supposed to be PUGable, the developers generally tune down the content.  But it sounds like the complaints of the article and many comments here are more about attitude than ability to accomplish game objectives.

To that end, I think you have to pick an online game partially for its playerbase.  To some degree, the player matches the game.  GTA V is aimed squarely at 18-35 males.  It’s a game of casual misogyny and glorified criminal ultraviolence.  That’s fine, I guess; I don’t think it’s some moral disaster for society.  I just think you might be misplacing your expectations if you expect people to be logging into that game with feelings of warm of friendly cooperation in their hearts.  By comparison, a lot of more niche online games have politeness as the norm.  These games often have smaller communities, less face-in-the-crowd anonymity, and players with more of a vested interest in seeing a small playerbase maintain its health.
All of that is probably a gross oversimplification, though, and what I’ve said doesn’t completely ring true, even for me.  Personally, the most welcoming, funloving, and friendly communities I’ve seen in online gaming have been in niche shooters with brutal skill curves (friendliness interspersed with often hilarious ironic hypermasucline posturing, that is), hardly a haven for social gamers.  And some of the worst have been in MMO’s and especially MOBA’s, genres largely constructed around teamplay.  Ultimately, given the consistency of many players’ experiences, either for good and ill, there’s probably some formula which pushes players into a cycle of either negative or positive play with random players, something which is influenced by personal traits, community qualities, and game design choices.  That pattern probably defies generalizations of both “PUG’s suck” and “PUG’s are fine, you’re the problem.”  Getting every player to a somewhat positive, or at least non-toxic, experience seems to be one of those social design questions that developers are still grappling with.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

I have great PUGs all the time, actually.

Tridus
Guest
Tridus

CrowingOne Does that happen at higher level? The ones I’ve done didn’t have a lot of that. The most I saw was someone telling a newbie tank that they had to move the turtle onto the herb gas in order to put it to sleep when the tank didn’t do it.

Turned out the tank didn’t know. So they did, and everyone was happy again.

Tridus
Guest
Tridus

bakkahentai2600 xania I think it’s the game pacing. With the longer GCD and generally slower pace of everything in the game compared to a lot of other ones, it is going to repel the type of player who always wants to gogogogo and can’t stand any kind of delay. Those are among the most toxic people in a PUG where someone has to learn, and the game mechanics themselves repel a lot of those people.

Everybody I met when I had the newbie flag was patient and willing to take the time to explain things. It was pretty great.

SecretLee
Guest
SecretLee

Pretty much any time I’ve done group content in FF14. Maybe it’s the slightly slower pace of the game (compared with WoW for e.g.) and the necessity of using at least a bit of tactics that makes people actually talk to each other and work together rather than just speed run everything to grab ‘their’ loot at the end.

Blackomen
Guest
Blackomen

I’ve had few good PUGs in various games over the years. But I can honestly say that your average person in a PUG is… well… an idiot. Even when you do find an intelligent person in a PUG, he’s usually just one person in a group of 5 or more, where the other 3+ people’s lack of intellect can’t be compensated for.

Finding an intelligent person in a PUG is not “that” rare, but to find a PUG made up of “all” intelligent people is one of the rarest phenomenons in the known universe.

Specus
Guest
Specus

Yet another vote for FFXIV:ARR. I’ve found the PUGs in that game to be almost universally good (I’ve had only one person rage-quit a PUG that I was in).

YMMV.

Narayan
Guest
Narayan

Rozyn I play on and off a couple of multiplayer games and test many others in the meantime. Last two years I’ve been playing The Secret World <3, FFXIV, Marvel Heroes, Smite, Elder Scrolls Online, WoW, HotS, DC Universe Online, Guild Wars 2, ArcheAge, Neverwinter, SWTOR (of the most prominent ones, in no particular order). I did PUG in every one of them.
The silent run I consider to be passable. If all goes smoothly without talking it’s just fine/ok, not good or great. I prefer lively & friendly groups, but I don’t impose it on other people and I’m ok with silence. Live & let live. ;) 
Of course it depends on a game as well. In Marvel Heroes I don’t expect anyone to talk to me or even say hi/thanks/bye – instances are too short and the game is structured that you run through them one after another en masse. In The Secret World I did search for people to do 24/24 nightmare runs, lairs or raids of the social variety (writing something like LF3M for a relaxed run of xxx). And usually those runs went much much better than so called fast runs with best geared people, because a/ people weren’t stressing out not to fail or lag behind and therefore they were actually playing better, b/ when something went wrong I could actually talk to them and we could all come up with different strategy – the relaxed runs attracted many communicative people, c/ the atmosphere was friendly, negativity mostly nonexistent – when someone is allowed to fail, usually he or she doesn’t bad mouth the failings of others.
I get that someone can be tired of many things including people, I’ve been playing online for many years now and I also have less patience than before (mostly it’s due to game mechanics and publisher practices though). But I also don’t punish myself, I don’t go banging my head against the wall. What I mean by that, is when I had a rough day or I’m under the weather or feeling already bad, I’m sure as hell not gonna play Smite, because I know that even the tiniest of things would set me off then. I’ll choose something I know that mellows me out like exploration in ESO, crafting in FFXIV, farmville in AA (back when I still played it) or anything in MH. If I’m gonna do group content I’ll choose games with nicer communities as well (TSW, ESO, FFXIV, ect).
On the other hand I really dislike when people treat other players like bots (I don’t know how else to call it), when they expect others to make their runs/ game pleasant, when they expect others to do what THEY want, when they expect others to be there ONLY to facilitate THEIR playtime, when they disregard that others have feelings too or a bad day, when they forget that on the other side of the screen are the EXACT same people as them. Many misunderstandings and so called bad PUGs stem from treating other people like NPCs/ content. If someone says that he or she has NOTORIOUSLY bad PUGs, then maybe juuust maybe – it’s not those “other people” at fault here. :P

mbbrazen
Guest
mbbrazen

I’ve had some great PUGs in TSW, but mostly when I  did not use the LFG chat. Quite a few of the ones coming out of LFG were just horrible, but noobmares almost always has a good variety of folks who enjoy playing and helping when they can.

Narayan
Guest
Narayan

SallyBowls1 Sigh… because “risks” while playing in virtual world are totally comparable with the real one T_T Because in the worst case scenario having a foul mood caused by internet strangers and half hour of time “wasted” is totally comparable with assault or STD or killing someone while drunk driving … Overexaggerating much? 
And usually the worst case scenario foul mood thing is only partially caused by strangers and partially by taking a game WAY TOO SERIOUSLY (as one might infer from your post) or just plain inability to be flexible and compromise with others.