A friend and I were discussing the other night how one of the most interesting sociological experiments of playing mmos is dealing with playing with complete strangers, and how sets of PUGs can differ depending on what game you play, or what group you join. For weeks I tried to put together a “static group” in DDO, meaning a group that would adventure together at set times of the week. This exercise proved futile, the one time I did manage to get a few people to commit to a set time to play, i.e. a few times during the week, our schedules inevitably made it hard for one or all of us to maintain the commitment to play. More often than not, I used the “social” function of the game to LFG which were doing similar level quests. I am sure this is how most people approach playing DDO.
So I recently reverted to running with PUGs in both DDO and Wow. PUGs tend to be impatient, especially with newb players, but as anyone who has played wow can attest, inexperience, nOObishness, insufficient gear, or even virtual incompatibility will get you kicked from most groups, especially in raids, whereas PUGs can behave differently in other games. Point in case, I was running the massive Ragefire Chasm in wow, admittedly a low level dungeon to be sure, but since I had not done so for quite some time, I was not really familiar with the map. Anyway, while I was running, I came to a fork or a split where you are supposed to jump and forgot to do so and fell. This delayed my rendezvous with the group. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get with your PUG group and getting lost, or getting separated from the party for whatever reason.
The DDO PUGs tend to be more forgiving. I had a similar experience running a dungeon in DDO, I got killed by deadly elite traps (instances can be played in various degrees of difficulty in DDO and I find that most people will try to do “elites” in a group, they tend to be more challenging and fun) and one of my party members had to retrieve my soulstone to try and revive me. I also fell off a cliff or some precipice, (I seem to fall a lot in maps I am not familiar with the terrain) and one of my party members was kind enough to come back for me and show me the way back to the treasure chest, long after the encounter had ended and everyone in the party had teleported out. I don’t really see that happening a lot with wow PUGs, which is one of the reasons I like playing DDO. It is highly unlikely that I will stop playing wow altogether solely based on my experiences with the wow PUGs, just recently my friend said he’d roll a toon and help me run dungeons, so I am waiting a few days for him to catch up to me.
I will be sure to report back on our progress and on my experiences in both games.