21 Apr 2010

The Final Night Raiders Club

I’ve been neglecting my guild over the last month, only managing to sign up for a couple of raids. I don’t know what my schedule’s going to be like from one day to the next, which makes it planning pretty impossible. It means that I end up scratching around for raids whenever I’m online instead of planning my week in advance. It also means that I’m spending a lot of time in pugs.

Don’t get me wrong, pugs can be fine. For a lot of content like your standard 5-mans and VoA, a pug is pretty much all you need. Even completing things like the weekly raid quest are easily handled in a pug. I’s only when you start getting into places like Icecrown where things start to fall down.

The spooky thing is, I think I’m starting to see a trend. There’s a pattern or cycle that seems to be going on every single week, starting once the servers are up from maintenance. I don’t think that I’m the only person – the messages I see on Twitter usually say the same thing. Let me describe it to you and see if you recognise any of this.

  • The evening after server maintenance (Tuesday in US, Wednesday in EU), you usually see a flood of pugs forming. They’re crying out to form ICC raids, with the full gearscore and achievement checks involved. They’ll usually get going, wipe a lot and maybe take down Lord Marrowgar. As soon as the first boss is down, the group dissolves. You’ve just wasted your lockout getting two frost badges. Yay.
  • Once the raidgroups and raidguilds know that the servers are stable, they start their runs. Most of the raiding population is either with their group or on standby. The few pugs that start to form are usually looking for people for three or four hours. If you manage to fill your group and get to the instance, you’re doing well. That said, you’ll probably wipe a few times then fall apart. But hey, at least you’re not saved!
  • Later on in the week the guilds are on progression runs. Now’s the time when players start hiding from their guilds on alts. The idea of an evening of repair bills fills them with dread, so they go looking for fun elsewhere. Pugs start to fill up better, and at least these guys know the fights, but the lack of gear is a handicap. You might get the chance to say Hi to Saurfang, but that’ll be where your evening ends.
  • On the last night before reset the raiders emerge. Those who focus on 25-man content but want to pick up some frost badges from 10-man. Those who’ve been benched all week and are desperate to use their lockout. Those who’ve suddenly realised the server resets tomorrow. Find one of these groups and you’ll be getting between 4 and 8 bosses down, a couple of hardmodes and a sackful of loot.

Despite this being what I see, I can’t be sure that my ideas for what causes it are the right ones. I mean, it might be that there’s something else that makes mid-week pug raids an absolute abomination. All I do know is that at the end of the week, if I can find a group to Icecrown it’ll usually be a great raid.

This is where you come in. Does my pug experience match yours, or have you seen something else entirely? Do you have your own theories about why this phenomenon? Have you ever been part of the Final Night Raiders Club, playing alongside people who don’t know eachother but who can just click and pull it through?

As always, feel free to share in the comments.

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