You may not remember, you may not have been around here then, but assembling a PUG used to be an active and extremely painful process. Three DPS trying to assemble a group to tackle Shadow Labyrinth or Slave Pens would find it a long, difficult and often frustrating process. Old low level dungeons? Well, you might as well forget it. It was difficult enough to find two DPS if you had a tank and healer.

All of this changed with the introduction of the Looking For Group Dungeon Finder tool. This is one best features that Blizzard introduced in the whole of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. We now have a situation where you can actually level an alt by doing almost nothing but PUG dungeons. If you are solo, assembling a group for an instance in the current new content it takes between ten and thirty minutes, depending on the time of day, if you are DPS . If you want to narrow your choice to a specific sub set of the current content it may take a little longer, up to the full thirty minutes, a random dungeon at peak times (5 PM to 8 PM ST) will hook you up with four team mates in, usually, no more that ten minutes.

Personally, remembering how things were, I don’t think thirty minutes is all that bad. It’s not Blizzard‘s fault that the demand for PUG instance dungeons is not great. Introducing a cross realm, automatic, group building tool has done everything Blizzard can to bring together five players who want to tackle a normal or heroic five man in the post-Wrath expansion game. Still there is enormous QQ from some players that they have wait for an instance. Often this QQ is met a little wearily with the admonition that if you want to get into instances quicker roll a tank.

When you’re waiting for a group for thirty minutes checking the dungeon finder tool will probably tell you that your party has four members and you are just waiting for a tank. On the very rare occasions that you aren’t waiting on a tank you will be waiting for a healer…and probably for a much shorter time that you can wait for tanks.

Blizzard have sadly responded to all this QQ about waiting (“as much as half an hour!! /wail”) for a PuG to form with a singularly short-sighted and counter productive solution. They have offered a reward to people who complete random five mans as a tank. On top of the ilvl requirements imposed by the Dungeon Finder (and the highlighting of problems this can cause) rewards tanks for actually entering PUG randoms has caused another problem that simply exacerbates the ‘long’ wait. When you get into an instance you frequently have a ‘green shield tank’ leading the line.

The main problem with these chancers’ is they degrade the fun and the quality of PUGs dramatically. The otherwise reasonable waiting time is being stretched and made to feel longer and more frustrating. When we finally get into groups and start instances the tanks are frequently so appalling that first pull results in a wipe and probably with half the people leaving. This often includes the tank, almost as if they are blaming the group, probably the healer for not being any good or being unable to keep them alive.

This is sometimes the case since being a ‘green shield tank‘ he probably has two or three pieces of dodge/parry gear and the rest hit/crit or even resilience. Or as I prefer to call them: DPS with a shield. Often they’re doing the highest DPS, not because there is anything wrong with the DPS in the party, but because they have the best DPS gear. As they have a couple of tanking pieces and mostly DPS gear the focus of the gear set is damage output rather than health and mitigation. I’m sick of hearing “It’s fine, it’s a normal!” Tell that to the healer as we wipe our way around and pay my repair bills if you think it’s OK. If things get bad the first person to call it a day and quit the group is ironically the cause of the problem: the DPS with the shield. If you decide the frustration and irritation of this group outweighs the rewards and quit yourself here is the punchline: a thirty minute dungeon deserters cooldown and then another thirty minute wait for another ‘green shield tank’ who won’t mark, use CC, or wait for the healer to mana up and /ragequits after the first wipe, just after the first pull.

After a couple of hours you’ll be smashing your head into the keyboard having completed no runs but having started three or four and grouped with more than twenty people. You will be /ragequitting from the group after the tank asks meekly what the tactics are here. Thanks Blizzard you have succeeded in making a minor problem, a thirty minutes delay in forming PUGs, into a staggeringly big problem of people who are not geared and cannot tank queuing as tanks for a thirty second dungeon queue and your stinking reward bag! Good idea!

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