View Full Version : Looking for advice on running partial PUG raids

03-03-2009, 10:39 AM
I'm an officer in a small guild. Most nights we have 12-15 raiders on. We've cleared all of the current 10-man bosses and started some hard-mode achievements, but now we're trying to expand into 25-man raids.

We did plenty of raiding in vanilla and TBC, but it was all internal to our previous guild. So what I'm looking for are any suggestions people may have on ways to smooth a "guild + PUG" raid.

How do you handle invites?
Are there any special addons you use that you don't normally need for a guild-only run?
What's the best way to handle all the whispers you get from interested people at other times?
What am I forgetting to ask?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

03-03-2009, 09:16 PM
I've run quite a few PuG's to Magtheridon and Gruul at the end of TBC. They always incorporated a decent number of guildies, just because I knew they'd be the backbone of the raid. I knew they were decent people who would perform well, help me organize the raid and wouldn't whine.

Of course you first invite every guild member that wants to go to your raid (unless you end up with 6 tanks or something impossible that way) and get them on Ventrilo. You then indentify what's missing, and start advertising in chat channels. "Guildname's Naxx run LF 3 healers, 5 DPS, 1 tank" or something like that will probably get you drowned in whispers pretty soon. Ask for stats, or even better, check armory. The best is probably to have one of your trusted guildies do that for you. Take only what you need, but don't be too picky. PuG's will naturally decompose if you're not getting started soon.

Announce basic rules in raiding chat. These include your looting rules, marks you're using etc. If you're planning on making a habit out of this, make a macro. Set up a healing channel and ask one of your guild's healers to do healing appointments. Ask if there's any more questions. I personally did all of this in raid chat because I would have a color tag that made my text stand out, and because my guild was reluctant about allowing strangers in our Ventrilo server.

I think it's important to have some basic addons to measure performance. Get Recount, something to watch buffs (I know our raid leader always spammed some addon that would point out missing Fortitude, AI, MotW etc.). Nothing you shouldn't have for normal raids.

After a few raids, I actually started making a list on our guild forum about PuG performance and posted names of people that were good or were to be avoided. Make sure you become friends with the good ones, maybe they even want to join your guild after a while.

That's all I can remember right now, from the good old Gruul and Magtheridon times. I've had some wonderful experiences there, and some terribles, but somehow I always remember the precious moments (like oneshotting Magtheridon with the PuG I built, tanking him for the first time and getting my Champion of the Naaru title). Good luck.

03-04-2009, 09:48 AM
Some random pieces of advice (I do a lot of this):

1) You should not prioritize your guildmembers for loots, in any way. The best players won't stand for it, and so you're left with the bad ones who will tolerate it just to go. It's also unfair, since everybody is there giving up their raid ID and time to kill the bosses.

2) Schedule the raids on a calendar event a week out. After a successful semi-pug run, re-invite everybody to next week's, cutting out the players who failed terribly. After a few weeks, you might be surprised how many repeat raiders you have. You can also use the calendar feature to invite everybody to the raid at a set time. If they miss the invites, you can replace them out of trade chat with no hard feelings. The calendar event also lets you send invites days ahead of time to random whispers or friends of pugs who would like to go. Players can also update their status during the week if something comes up and they can't make it, so you know if e.g. you need to find more healers.

3) When spamming trade, I find it very helpful to use a DND message like, "/dnd I get too many whispers to reply to them all. No reply = no thanks." Otherwise, you will literally spend the entire time whispering "no thanks" or "sorry you arent geared enough" and dealing with the resulting nerdrage and it's no fun at all for you. Also, if somebody is too dumb to read it and whispers you repeatedly, you know you didn't want them in the raid anyways, and can feel free to just put them on /ignore. This does not make you a jerk; they are jerks for not respecting your DND message.

4) Don't be afraid to do this. I do it not really with my guild, but with a group of friends from TBC that are in various guilds. It's very possible with current content. I do a Naxx 25 every Sunday night, and the past 3 weeks we've cleared it in 3 hours. I did my first successful Malygos 25 this week as well. There are a lot of good players right now in 10-man guilds that are forced to pug if they want 25-man gear.

Best of luck.

03-06-2009, 07:17 AM
Thanks for the advice folks! Definitely some good points in there.

What kind of loot system have you used? Trying to find something simple, fair (we know with PUGs it has to be /roll based), and quick. Do you prioritize anything based on the person's spec? (Do you let dps warriors roll on tank gear, for example?)

We've definitely not given any priority to guild members, with one exception. We have yet to down Sapphiron in PUGs (we're still just taking way too long on the wings first), but we've made it clear the time we were going to get to him that the Malygos key / quest item would only be available to guildies. We then explain that the reason for this is that we haven't killed him yet and nobody in the guild has the key. Once we get a couple of these in guild, we'll open rolls to others on future runs. This also means that we'll start running Malygos raids once we can. So far (well, both times), people agreed this was fair and nobody complained.

03-06-2009, 09:20 AM
I always used the simple rule: "Main spec first, off spec later". Main spec was the spec you were doing the raid with. I can remember one exception I made, this was a Prot Paladin we asked to go Retribution, and we stated in raid chat that his "main spec" would be Protection considering drops. So when something dropped, everyone with the corresponding main spec /rolled and the higher one got it. Only whining I've ever got was an Arms warrior complaining he rolled higher on a shield than the Prot warrior, but didn't get it. There was clearly something in the main spec concept he didn't get either.

On Magtheridon there were some additional things we had to figure out (I apologise, I can't really relate to WotLK, but I guess it's similar to Sapphiron's key). There was a bag of epic gems that we just transferred to our guild bank. The epic 20-slot bag was given to one of the raiders, using a raidroll system. This is a /roll 25, where every possible outcome of the roll represents one character.

03-06-2009, 09:52 AM
My loot system for semi-PUGs is simple: you can win one T7, and one other piece. We do a main spec roll, then an off spec roll if no one wanted it for main spec. If an item is uncontested, you can win even if you've won other items before. If you win an off spec item, it doesn't count toward your quota. And if everyone who would use your item for main spec gets an item, the count resets (this generally only happens with tank gear, since there are the fewest tanks).

Never had any issues, aside from a warrior one time who bitched that he rolled higher and lost, even though he'd already won two items. Apparently he didn't get the whole "People who haven't won get priority" system.

03-20-2009, 12:44 PM
If we have to have PUGs to get the raid started, our loot rules are very similar to the above post.
You are allowed to WIN one Need and one Greed per night; Tier drops are NOT a separate roll. If nobody Needs or Greeds, then the roll is Open - and winning an Open roll does not count against your totals for the night. Need rolls are main spec, both Need and Greed are restricted to a class's highest armor proficiency (Warriors/Pallys/DK's cannot roll on mail items, etc).

We reset the rolls each night on multi-night raids because the nature of PUG groups is that some people will simply not be coming back and rotating new people in each night puts the people who stick with the group the entire run at a disadvantage. Resetting the rolls each night provides both incentive to return and a fair shot at loot as people leave and new players come in.
Tier gear is placed in the same system to encourage people to roll on gear they need instead of just holding all rolls until the end for the sake of tier gear. If all you need is that tier drop off of 4H then it makes sense to pass up three non-upgrades along the way. However, if you pass up three significant upgrades just so you can roll Need on a piece of Tier gear, then all you're doing is skipping stat boosts for a reduced chance of winning that ONE important roll. It seems to work fairly well and I haven't received any negative feedback from either guildies or PUGs.

03-20-2009, 01:02 PM
One thing I've snickered about as I pug around Naxx with my mage is leaders who specify loot rules where people can win one piece of loot, then are surprised when people leave afer the wing they won loot in is done. One piece per wing is a pretty good carrot.

03-20-2009, 02:25 PM
We started with winning (1) main roll, (1) offspec roll, and (1) tier roll, and you can only win 1 piece of loot per boss.

We found people, working within the rules, getting 3 pieces with well timed choices and rolls, while others in the same role left the raid night empty handed.

We initially set it up this way to avoid the situation that Satrina points out. But after seeing lucky loot whores get a lot of items and then 'DC' anyway, we adjusted it to;

(1) Tier/main item roll and (1) offspec roll (winning roll), only 1 item per boss.

We only do 2 wings the first night (Tuesday), regardless of time (usually about 2 hours though), then set up the second night on Friday. The loot resets on second night. Basically if you DC or can't raid for 2 hours the first night then you are not invited back for the second night; so if they win 2 pieces and leave we can complete the night down 1 and that's the last time we will see them.

The other thing about only doing 2 wings, Spider and construct usually, is your less likely to have your raid hi-jacked by a pug then if you stop at Sapp or KT.

Yes, if that pug is an alt from a big guild, they could get 24 other alts/mains not already saved to come in and just do Sapp and KT for the 'good' loot and you log in on Friday to an empty instance. 2 wings, there are still a lot of 'nusicence' bosses, especially if you have killed Gluth and Thadd.

The last run, we killed five bosses (ran out of time at thadd) 16 players got at least 1 piece of loot with the new system. Granted RNG drops of useable pieces played a role in that, but the loot system also stopped minimal upgrades for main spec to go to people that really needed it while the better geared players saved thier rolls for later (these players ended up with nothing that night as the tier piece they were waiting for didn't drop). Only 2 pieces went out of the guild with 5 pugs, there were no special restrictions on the pugs, they just chose to hold thier rolls for items that didn't drop.

03-23-2009, 06:30 PM
My guild is in the same boat, we have about 15 dedicated raiders, and we have to fill the rest with PuGs if we want to do 25man content. I've been pushed into the leader of these runs, and they seem to go quite smoothly. From 3 hour naxx clears, one shot Malys, and even a one shot Sarth+2 kill.

My advice is to armory people, checking not just their gear, but achievments as well. I'll take someone who is gemming and enchanting their gear over someone who is better geared but doesn't have a clue about their class. You will be flooded with whispers, and I usually just don't respond to people I'm not taking, but I think I'll steal that little /dnd trick.

Loot I just open free roll Main spec first, with no item limit, for two reasons. One is to avoid the issue Satrina brought up, but more importantly I don't want to force my guild especially to be pigeon holed into one item for the whole night. To me it encourages not rolling on an upgrade because there is a better item that has a chance to drop further into the run you'd rather have. That just seems bad form to me.

03-25-2009, 04:49 PM
Armorying toons before they come is a must. I use armorylite and just look at their rating, although I'll need to be a little more detailed about how their gear is enchanted and gemmed when the content gets harder.

Require vent or don't and stick with your decision. The most frustrating moments I've had in WoW were all a result of having some raiders not in vent. IMO you're better off with 24 raiders all in vent than 25 raiders, 24 in vent and 1 that isn't.

If you're really super hardcore about it I'd go so far to suggest not having the guildies in vent if the whole raid isn't in it. It's extremely common to forget that when you're talking some people can't hear you.

Finally, make them log into ventrilo before allowing them to get locked to your instance.

03-25-2009, 05:26 PM
My guild was in a similar situation, we have a tight 10man raiding team, and we held 25man semi-pugs every other week just for kicks. Here's how we did it:

1. No special addons, same old stuff.

2. Obviously, we hand out invites to guildies first.

3. Before advertising in general channels, we went to our "friend guilds" that we know to be decent raiders. These are guilds that are also focused on 10 man raiding, or are guilds that are focused on 25 man raiding but are willing to bring their alts to your run. It helps a lot if you can find guilds like this.

4. To handle invites we just give RA to 3 or 4 guildies, and we reserve a few spots for tanks/healers if needed.

5. Post in general chats as a last resource.

6. We use master loot, but we don't force people to pass after they've won a specific number of items. We roll for main spec first and off spec second, but we don't distinguish between mains and alts.

7. We ask that everyone has vent and comes semi-properly gemmed/enchanted, we don't really enforce flasks/elixirs.

8. PuGers have to put up with our bad jokes.

Hope it helps.

03-25-2009, 06:01 PM
Disdaine - last week we had that exact problem, where raiders were not using thier one main roll on a minor upgrade because they were afraid the piece they really wanted would drop. What ended up happening was lots of good pieces went to offspec rolls, and when that BiS piece dropped only 1 person won, and the other 2 that waited got nothing for the night.

This week, I was very impressed by our guild. From the first boss, if it was a main spec upgrade, even minor, they rolled for it. We adjusted our rolls slightly -

Main spec rolls, people who have not won anything yet.
Then if no rolls, Main spec, people who have won something.
Then to offspec no wins if not main, then offspec previous wins.

This helped greatly, because main spec items were not going to off spec because of 'saved' rolls. Raiders rolled on minor upgrades, and loot distributed out very evenly (20 players got at least one piece, 12 main spec out of 28 drops).

Our Shammy got 3 main spec items, while a pug hunter got 2. So this rule system does not limit the number of main spec items you can win, it just ensures that people that have not won an item get priority.

Your milage may very...

03-30-2009, 10:04 AM
Disdaine - last week we had that exact problem, where raiders were not using thier one main roll on a minor upgrade because they were afraid the piece they really wanted would drop. What ended up happening was lots of good pieces went to offspec rolls, and when that BiS piece dropped only 1 person won, and the other 2 that waited got nothing for the night.
We have made it clear ad nauseum to our raiders that passing up an obvious upgrade so that you can possibly roll against that one big item later is ridiculous. It's not my job to make sure everyone in the raid gets gear, it's my job to make sure that everyone in the raid has a fair shot and the opportunity to get gear. If they choose not to take advantage of that opportunity and end up walking out of the raid with nothing, they have no one to blame but themselves. How one chooses to gear up their toon is really none of my concern, but if their decisions begin to negatively affect the raid or if they can't pull their own weight because of their decisions, then they eat the consequences just like anyone else. Do not show up to my raid with 1500 dps with the excuse "I've been waiting for that tier gear to drop".

Bottom line?
If you (in general, not specifically "you") actually need the gear, then saving rolls is stupid. If you save rolls and end up winning nothing, that's on you. Naxxramas will be there next week, and we'll be back in there. It will drop again, I promise.

04-02-2009, 01:43 PM
We've been running weekly 'alt' raids, so people can both gear up their alts, as well as giving mains who dont get a spot in the main raid can go in the alt raid - and we can trial new members without them messing up immortal.

Main things
- Bring every guildy first, of course
- Ask friends of friends/people you know from PUGs. Especially if they came the week before and didn't suck.
- Bring applications on-realm (untagged), even if you're full on their class. At worst, they're bad. At best, you have a new member, and you didn't have to suffer through three weeks of them being bad on trial. It gives the exceptional players you might be full on a chance to prove themself too. We can usually fill 2 - 5 spots this way.
- Looking in trade/LFG is a last resort, but make sure you armory them. Check if they're hitcapped (ask a knowledgeable guildy for melee). Check their spec is pve. A known guild tag probably means they're an alt, but should know the instance. Try wherever possible to only take people who have cleared naxxramas before (10man is fine).

- mainspec > offspec is fairly standard
- if it has defence, parry, dodge, its tank gear
- if it has mp5, its healer gear
- Mainspec = the spec you are in the raid
- we say people who haven't won a mainspec roll have preference on mainspec drops, but dont count tier tokens. This is up to your preference
- Figure out what you're doing with BOEs and Abyss crystals before the run starts and state it. In our case, they all go to our guild bank (upgrade or not), but your milaege may vary.
- We also specify Dying curse/Sapphiron/KT/some malygos/all Sarth trinkets and extra-drake loot/mounts are guild priority. Over the 2 months the PUG has been running we've had three people leave raid once this policy was announced - however, we're the top guild on server, and our alt raid has been taking the PUGs who dont suck after naxx and killing 3D sarth for the last few weeks (Replace the PUGs that suck with any guildies who logged on late). Spots go very very easily.
- Whatever you do, specify it in raid chat before anyone is saved to the ID, and ask them to leave raid if they are unhappy. Before the first trash pull is even better.

- everyone needs to be on vent. If a PUG doesn't have vent, find a different PUG.
- hopefully you wont take PUGs who haven't cleared naxx before and need explanations of bossfights. If your strategy is different at all, make sure to specify it before a bossfight (FYI: wierd thaddius strategies aren't fun)
- make a healer channel, get someone to give healing assignments, although they're only needed for some bosses
- a one night clear is best if you can, our runs tend to take ~3 hours. Two nights and you risk PUGs being unlikely to want to join since you have the 'easy' bosses down, and they dont want to be saved to an ID with the hard bosses left in case they're not downed. Otherwise, leave spider wing till last. And never stop with only sapp/kt left. A tagged alt from a guild only needing sapp/KT loot would love to ninja it.

Other stuff
- we ask they come flasked and someone usually drops a fish feast. no distinction between alts, mains, and PUGs here - its not very enforcable, but haven't had a problem this far
- DCs - usually we can either replace them with a guildy who logs on late, or a friend of a friend. generally not worth the time to PUG another from trade chat. Rarely a problem.
- Sapphiron/frost resist. Do not expect PUGs to have it. We dont use it anyway, and never have, but if you do, then expect the PUGs not to. If you want the 100-club achievement, make sure none of the PUGs put on frost resist or drop totems to spoil it.
- Always make sure you have two priests for Razuvious
- Try and get most major buffs (Fort, AI, MOTW, Kings/wis/might, etc)
- Be aware if the run goes well, you'll receive a lot of applications. In general, we get about 50 - 75% of the PUGs applying to us.

04-02-2009, 03:04 PM
We're a pretty close-knit, casual guild that didn't have any real trouble with 10 man content in TBC and found 10 man naxx to be pretty easy. We've always been just a few people short of the numbers for 25 man raids or had enough people without having everyone available on the same nights. We do this just about every week since we stopped really needing any loot from 10 man.

As far as addons, DoIKnowYou is pretty good; it's kind of a karma thing that allows everyone in your guild to enter and access information about someone.

Most important advice; don't be impatient. Set things up right, and allow for time do so; set your "guild" start time at least 30-45 minutes before you plan on making the first pull. Don't be afraid to give people a chance if they say they know the fights but their gear isn't great; if it's gemmed and enchanted properly, and they're specced properly, they probably know what they're doing. After you've done a couple of these runs it'll get really easy to find people to fill your run out.

We require vent for everyone. Make it clear to the pugs that vent isn't there just for fun. While combat's going on, only the raid leader(s) should be talking for the majority of the fight. Odds are your guildies will know the mechanics, but some things really help out with pugs; clicking on the minimap when you're webbed on Maexxna and calling out the web sprays, calling out the names of people who are injected on Grobb, meticulously planning out your kiters and heals for them on Gluth, calling out decurses on Noth and Saph, and calling out the polarity shifts a few seconds before they start on Thaddius all spring to mind. For some reason a lot of people either don't have DBM/BigWigs or just tune them out, and the little nudges help keep things tight. It helps to not have to pug the priests for Raz.

We run a very simple, hopefully fair set of loot rules with rolls; main spec > offspec, after 2 items your rolls count as offspec rolls until everyone you'd be rolling against has won 2 pieces. We have a macro that spams our loot rules, and drop it a couple times in the buffing period before the first trash pull.

I agree completely with the people telling you to not hand out loot preferentially or reserve loot. Even though they're a pug, treat them just as fairly and evenhandedly as you'd treat one of your guild members. Believe me, servers are relatively small communities and word gets around about how you treat people, good or bad.

We haven't seen pugs leave at all after getting two pieces of gear, and we haven't heard many complaints about our system. We sometimes check armorylite before inviting people, but we're lucky enough to have relatively strong tanks and healers within the guild now, so a lot of times we don't bother. We were only short, I think, maybe two healers when we started running these; we pug primarily 5-6 dps, although it was more like 8 and one or two healers when we started.

Since we started doing these runs, we've had great luck running with not just trade recruited pugs, but also other, smaller guilds. One thing to be sure you make clear; it's not a formal arrangement.

Running these partial pugs has proven to be great for us as a guild. We don't boot people unless their behavior is particularly egregious, but we don't invite people who don't seem like a good fit with our environment back the next week and add them to a do not invite list. After only maybe 6 weeks of doing these runs we've had some great results.

We're getting a lot more applications than we were before, and can pick and choose to get people who seem like a good fit with our guild atmosphere. Keep it relaxed. Most of the people who you want to recruit won't even mention joining until they've run with you a couple times; they want to get a feel for your guild environment just as much as you want to get a feel for them.

We've recruited some great people, awakened interest in raiding in some of our members who tended to be less than enthusiastic about the 10 man content (which may have been due to our having something of a "core group" from when we were even smaller), and now usually all but 1 or 2 of the 5 to 8 the people we pug each week are returning pugs. Quite a few of them seem to be alts of people in raiding guilds who can't bring the alts to their guild runs:) Having connections with these people around also makes it easy to fill slots when people have real life conflicts.

So I encourage you to just get your guildies together, and spam lfg/trade with what you're looking for. Be prepared to spend around an hour putting it together the first couple of times. If you guys have all done 10-man, the mechanics differences aren't huge, the gear you have will smooth it out a lot, and you should be able to find enough warm bodies to get you going in 25s. Pretty soon word will get out on your server, and you'll have people coming back, bringing their friends, and asking you if they can join up:)