As my friends and I were doing some table top gaming on Friday night, our newest WoW playing member mentioned that he was nervous about using the LFG tool, particularly once he hit level 80, because he has a great fear of walking into a group, and having the not a-typical "omg... WHAT are you WEARING?" response. I hated to say it... but his concern is valid - and I find it very frustrating.
A Year Ago...
Remember when Heroics were hard? I'm not even talking about TBC-Heroic hardness... I'm talking about when you leveled your first toon to 80, and you were gearing up to raid not long after Wrath was released. Back when Naxx, VoA, and OS were our only raiding options. Did you jump straight into Naxx in your quest blues and greens, with one or two crafted epics?
For most of us, in order to gear ourselves up for raiding, we ran heroics. We ground our way through an entire dungeon, picking up one or two blue upgrades along the way, mostly in the hopes of getting a nice shiny epic to drop at the end that might be what we want. Heroics didn't always give badges, if you recall.
Remember when Heroics were genuinely a challenge for you? In our guild, we fought amongst ourselves, arguing with each other over the specs we were using, or the spells, or who ought to be healing or tanking or whatever. It was draining, we got frustrated, and often felt like we couldn't do it. Utgarde Pinnacle and Culling of Stratholme brought us into several raging arguments, and for some time, we just stopped running Heroics altogether.
It is a lot easier to gear yourself up now, and I think we can all agree on that - even before the new LFG tool, people could chain heroics in a pug, and pick up enough emblem gear to be ready for the latest tier of raiding content. This is intentional, and exactly what Blizzard wanted to happen. The entire point was so that people wouldn't have to spend weeks grinding through old raiding material that raiding guilds didn't want to touch in order to be ready for the current content. Love it or hate it, it is working as intended.
However, in order to get to that end game raiding content gear level, you still have to somehow bridge the divide between Fresh 80 In Quest Greens And Blues and End Game Gear Level. And the best way to do that has always been, and still is, running Heroics.
So why do end game raiders seem so shocked and appalled by the mere presence of people using Heroics to do exactly that... gear up?
In an LFG PuG earlier this weekend, I landed myself in a HCoS run. Everyone except for the elemental shammy was very well geared. In fact, the tank was in a recognizable raiding guild on my server... a guild that includes a few realm first type things, if I recall properly.
The tank whispered me and said "looks like were going 2b carrying this dam shammy lol". He then made a point to tell all the dps to pump out the damage in order to make up for the shammy who was in unenchanted and ungemmed blues and purples. Since healers and tanks usually have some sort of strange bond, and since I was fairly well geared, I guess he thought I would sympathize with his devastating woe.
The shammy stayed out of fires. She even did a healthy 2k dps in her gear. We finished the run with 10 minutes left to the timer, and she even passed on the drake to someone else who wanted it.
Despite the fact that the tank continued to send me tells bitching to me about the crap dps, we had absolutely no problems. Maybe the tank and I carried the others through. So what? No one died, they all did enough damage that we were successful, and I got the badges I wanted.
I can imagine it would be more frustrating if you are a very strong DPS with a weak tank and healer combo, but luckily, in all but the newest heroics, my heals are strong enough to where I can make up for a lot of errors others make, and get what I want from the heroic. As long as everyone is courteous and friendly, or at least honors the "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" rule, I'm perfectly content - you can even stand in the fire on occasion, and I don't really care.
Before you jump into a pug, consider this: There are generally two types of people using the LFG pugging tool to gear up. Those who are gearing up solely via grinding heroics for the badges, and those who are gearing up via the items that actually drop from these heroics. Even for a lot of the raiders there are some good drops in the new IC 5 mans, but I'm not even talking about those. You may just end up with someone who still considers the epic that drops from the final boss in Heroic Utgarde Keep an upgrade.
(I'm not sure yet if the tool matches people of similar gear quality, as this has been up for some debate and anyone who can provide a source confirming the subject gets personal Power Infused thanks!)
If you want to chain grind heroics on high speed, that's fine. Blizz thinks that's okay, and so do I. But you should also respect the fact that for people who have just hit 80, they have a right to use the LFG tool in an effort to gear up as well. Don't be a jerk.
You could even follow the Tamarind Method of Wanker Prevention if you're feeling especially generous. For the record, I read his post several times before I understood it properly. If you play alliance, don't forget that everytime Tam refers to the DPS with whom he partnered a "cow", I'm almost positive he's pointing out that she was a Tauren, and not some other less courteous descriptor. Unless my context reading udderly failed. (CWUTIDIDTHAR)