Raid leaders make plans, and the gaming gods laugh.
Life has a way riding up in a black van and taking your raid mates hostage. When that happens it’s up the the raid leader to find geared and competent replacements. It’s time to PuG. Urban dictionary defines a PuG as: Pickup Group; used commonly in WoW and other MMORPGs. Basically means a group that isn’t formed by people you know; instead, it’s formed up of random, possible noobs that will completely wreck whatever experience you are getting the group for. While some players can be helpful, honest players just looking to clear content. Others are destructive, lie spewing, ninja looters. Choose poorly and it means huge repair costs and quality time with the spirit healer. How do you protect the raiders who showed up from unnecessary punishment?
You know the drill, raid group has been working for weeks. Clearing schedules so they can destroy content. What started as rag-tag group of players has evolved into a lean mean raiding machine. Gear has been valiantly won on the battlefield. Techniques and tactics are so fine tuned the raid thinks and moves as one. Just as you start tossing out raid invites you notice names missing from the roster. Life is a battlefield and it has claimed members of your raid. A bad PuG is like having a enemy behind your lines. They appear to be on your side but if lack of gear or inability to perform fight mechanics results in multiple wipes, they might as well be on the enemy’s side because they have the raid at a disadvantage.
What’s a leader to do?
Raid leaders need to identify and dismantle deceptive behaviors effectively. A desire to complete content before being properly prepared is understandable. Most people would jump on the opportunity to be carried. A deceptive player actively hunts down this opportunity, and a raid in need is fertile ground. Inexperience has a way of wearing bells, when it enters a raid it normally doesn’t get past the trash pulls. Deception is more stealthy. It can appear competent and helpful right up until it ninja loots some desperately needed piece of gear. Regardless where the offending party lands on the jerk sliding scale, odds are they lied to score their invite. Lies tend to fall into categories, making them easier to recognize. Let’s look at some common lies and how they appear in the gaming world.
Lies of Commission.
The bald-faced lies. Difficult to detect unless so outlandish, validity is instantly questioned. These players have no interest preserving an honest reputation. They feel the odds of interacting with you again are so low consequences are unlikely. Besides, what can you really do to them that a name change can’t fix? The calling card of ninja looters, fight instigators, and nerd ragers. Known for accidental need rolls and intentional raid wipes. These table flippers are prone to mysterious disconnects and sudden onset mutism. They will tell you anything you want to hear to score an invite. Bags bulging with the swap out gear needed to raise their item level. Nothing like inspecting a PuG to notice they have the equivalent of poo on a stick equipped, when their gear level was on point before you invited them.
Lies of Influence.
These lies are designed to place a player above suspicion. Look for players avoiding questions that could put them in a negative light. Instead recalling past accomplishments, often leading to a non answer. Questioning a player about gear and experience could trigger this behavior. They might mention crafting gear for your guild members at a discount. Choosing to completely ignore the progression question. While both questions have technically gone unanswered, they are relying on reputation for an invite. Adorned in gold painted cardboard. Boasting about bags full of potions, elixirs, and repair bots. After each wipe they are eager to put down a feast. Bringing everything to the table, except for the DPS, healing, or tanking abilities the raid needed.
Lies of Omission.
Lies of omission are not technically lies. They occur when there is a failure to correct an assumed misconception or disclose pertinent information. Harmless omissions might not affect the raid. Say a player with two equally geared ranged DPS declares they know the raid content. They omit having not cleared the content on their current character, but they have completed the fights on their main character. Knowing the fight mechanics makes them an asset, but technically they were deceptive. Harmful omissions can be malicious. Producing a misleading but technically true answer. While raiding you notice a confused player needs constant direction. Before raid you had asked them “have you been here?”, and they assured you they had. When questioned again they admit they have been here before, but never progressed past the first trash mob. Technically the player did not lie, just omitted unfavorable information.
- When inviting an PuG into raid make sure loot setting are set up to protect everyone. Don’t be a jerk, if they win the gear fairly make sure they get it. You don’t want your group to get a reputation of withholding items because that would make you a terrible person.
- Ignore flattery and details not relevant to the question asked. While not automatically a deception indicator, you do not want to let these things effect your judgment. Even if you are the gaming gods gift to content.
- Pay close attention to wording. Always ask for clarity when given a vague or deflective response. If you ask a player “How many times have you tanked this?” and they respond “I know all the fights.” Their statement might be valid, but it doesn’t answer the question. Try acknowledging their answer and then re asking your question.
- Ask direct and pointed questions. Avoid asking ” Have you been here before?” Instead ask ” Have you successfully completed this raid with the character you intend to bring?”
- If you suspect information is being withheld, try asking a bait question. Something like, Is there any reason someone in the raid would be telling me not to invite you? This creates an opportunity for them to divulge more info.