WoW Wednesday: LFG

LFG stands for Looking for Group and eventually, you’re going to need a group. It might be for a group quest or, more likely, to run a dungeon. There are a couple of ways to find a group and some things to know before you head out on your group adventure. There’s a built in LFG feature within WoW pictured to the left. This puts you in a list that people can see and then they might invite you to join a group.

While this is sometimes effective and I like to use it if I’d like to join a group, but not immediately, if you really want to do something with a group, it’s often better to just ask in Trade or General chat. In a major city, trade chat is usually more active, but if you’re out in the world, general chat is going to be your best bet. To find a group this way, simply type /trade (to get you into trade chat; use general if you want to chat there) and then type something like “LFG ToC.” Now, you have no idea what that means. Most people use acronyms for all the dungeons and you’ll look less like a noob if you do too. The acronyms can be found at sites like WoWwiki and WoWHead. It’s sometimes also helpful to let people know what role you can play. So, you can say “DPS LFG ToC” which tells people that you’re a damage person looking for a group for the Trial of Champions dungeon.

Another way to find a group is simply to monitor chat and when someone else announces that they’re looking for a group or looking for a particular role for a dungeon or quest you’re interested in, you can ask to join. Of course, if you’re in a guild, you can ask your guildies to join you for an adventure.

Lingo alert! A group formed spontaneously is called a PUG or pickup group. Think of it like pickup basketball.

Once you’re in a group, it helps to figure out what the expectations are. Group chat is /party and that’s where you can start these conversations. You might want to clarify roles–who’s tanking, who’s healing, etc. Most importantly, you’ll want to clarify loot rules, especially as you get into higher level dungeons where the loot is awesome. Any time something drops from a kill that is green, blue or purple while in a group, you get a dialog box (right). You roll on these items by clicking the dice or the money icon. You can pass by clicking the x to close the window. The dice is a need roll. Need rolls trump greed rolls (money icon), and are usually only used if you really want something. Most of the time, people roll greed on an item or pass on items that they really don’t need. You might ask at the beginning of a dungeon run whether most stuff is need or greed. If something drops that you really want, don’t be afraid to ask if you can need roll. I always ask before I need and so do most people I’ve been in groups with since need rolls trump greed and some items become non-tradeable once you pick them up. This has changed a little bit and even bind on pick up items are often tradeable to other players in the group for a certain period of time. Still, it’s always good to ask. There’s nothing more annoying than someone needing something that you really wanted. More than one person can need roll on an item and if two or more people really want something, that’s generally the way it’s handled.

If you’ve never been to a dungeon before, don’t hesitate to ask for advice about what to do. Most parties end up with one or more people who’ve run a dungeon several times and they’re more than willing to tell you what to expect during a boss fight or more generally. They’d much rather explain it to you than have your lack of knowledge cause everyone to die. Often, the tank will mark mobs in the dungeon, having everyone focus on one mob at a time. It’s a good idea to follow the order, again, so that everyone won’t die.

Group dynamics can get especially weird if things don’t go well. Personally, I’ve never had the experience of being the new person causing everything to go bad. Generally what I see happen is that someone in the group isn’t geared enough or is being haphazard about their play style (like not waiting until the healer has enough mana to heal or jumping into a fight when not everyone is ready) and causing everyone to die. If you’re lucky, the person will realize that and will quit voluntarily. Sadly, more often, I’ve seen people blame everyone but themselves and then quit in disgust. Good times. And sometimes, you just have a bad combination of people. You might really need a ranged dps to win a fight and all you have are melee. It’s okay to say, hey, this is working, I think we should call it. Because when you die a lot, you’re going to have to repair, and repairing costs money.

Group experiences are really fun, though, and it’s a great feeling to work together to beat a really complicated boss or make it through a long dungeon. Now that I’m at max level, I find group experiences, whether with my guildies or with a PUG, to be my favorite part of the game.

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Random Weekend Thoughts: Soccer, Gardening, and WoW

It was a pretty lazy weekend at the Geeky household, but we did manage a few activities.

First, soccer season started on Saturday. Because we signed up late, we had no idea who the coach was or what he looked like. When we arrived at the designated field (and there are 3 at this location), there was a lot of hubbub because there were ambulance and police. We quickly realized a kid on the adjacent field had been hurt. It was a bit disconcerting because she was lying face down on the ground. Turns out, she’d dislocated her shoulder, not terribly serious, but painful I’m sure. We finally found the team and the coach and then realized that Geeky Girl had forgotten her shin guards. Mr. Geeky zoomed back home to find them. Meanwhile, she had to sit out. Once she got to play, though, she was her usual speedy and well-rounded team player. She made a few excellent passes. The coach and the team were immediately impressed. Although she’s probably the smallest on the team, she’s also the oldest and has the longest amount of time playing.

After soccer, we made a trip to Home Depot for light bulbs and for plants to replace ones I’d allowed to die over the last cold snap. I replanted them and planted a couple of other plants, but held off on major gardening until Sunday morning. I weeded and generally cleaned things out, which took quite a while. Then I planted a rose bush. I have no idea how this will do, but it’s something I’ve wanted to try. I also got some summer bulbs, but was too exhausted to plant them after all the weeding. I’m going slowly on the garden.

And then there was the WoW playing. I was in a groove this weekend, so I spent a fair amount of time playing. An incident yesterday, however, is still sticking with me. If you’re not a gamer, you can skip this, but this is kind of about human behavior. So, over the weekend, I managed to run a couple of dungeons by grouping up with complete strangers. The first run, done fairly early in the morning, went really well, largely, I think because I’m pretty sure the whole group was made up of grown-ups. The second one went well until the end. The hard-to-kill dungeon bosses, of which there are 3-5 usually per dungeon, drop really good loot (weapons, armor, etc.) and the group generally rolls for them (this happens automatically). This loot is usually bound to you when you pick it up, so that you can’t give it away or sell it for a price at the auction house. There are two types of rolls, greed and need. Need trumps greed rolls and generally people ask before rolling need. So, for example, if 4 people roll greed, and 1 rolls need, even if the need roll is a 1, that person will win the item. People tend to pass on items they don’t need. I can’t use wands, for example, so I usually don’t roll on those. In this particular run, I’d passed on a few things and I’d rolled and won one thing. On on boss, a guy (who I decided was younger than 18 based on this and the incident I’m about to describe) asked if he could need roll on something, and we all hesitatingly said yes. On the final boss, a good piece of armor that I could use dropped and the same guy asked to need roll again, and I said no, you’ve already need rolled once and besides, there are two other people who could use that. I felt kind of bad about being jerky about the whole thing, but I still maintain a sense of fairness even in the game, and I felt the guy wasn’t being fair. He ended up calling me a loser and complaining that he really needed that item. I didn’t win it, and in fact, couldn’t have won it even before he’d asked for it because my roll was lower than the other guy’s. In retrospect, I wish I’d checked on that and just let him need roll for it. After all, it’s just a game. And part of my anger after he called me a loser was toward a guy I saw as taking the game too seriously. After all, when you’re not at the highest level, you tend to out level your items pretty quickly. And does anyone really *need* virtual items at all? But here I was, taking the game pretty seriously, at least the part about a game needing to be fair. So, I was kind of a hyppocrite and that didn’t make me feel too good.

What I also thought about this incident was the way the guy called me loser–in public for all to “hear”, and I wondered if he knew how old I was and that I’m a mom if he would have done that. I suspect he would have chalked it up to my being an old fogey and a girl to boot who didn’t know what she was doing and might have just shrugged and moved on. On the other hand, he might still have called me a loser to his friends privately. On still another hand, I must have been a good enough player for him to think that calling me a loser was okay. On the Internet, no one has to know you’re a mom.