As a smallish 10 man casual raiding guild, my guild tends to find itself having to pug a person or two for our raids when we don't have enough people sign up/show up for our raids. Now this doesn't mean that we are a horribad guild that couldn't down hogger or anything. It just means that recruitment has not brought in enough people who can show up to a raid. A normal raid night this expansion will often see us with eight or nine guildees online and ready to raid.
This situation leads us to pug a spot or two so that we can raid on raid nights. Sometimes I have a friend on my friends list that I can ask to come to the raid and when this happens, it's not really pugging as you are pulling in someone you know and not a complete stranger. But sadly there are times when our friends list fails us and we are stuck having to resort to asking for people in trade chat. This is not something that we enjoy doing but sometimes it's either pug or not raid.
This can go in one of three ways: we can get an awesome pug, we can get a horrible pug, or we can get no response at all. Obviously the last option is the worst option, the first option is the best one, and the middle one can go either way. The horrible pug can be horrible due to gear, experience, personality, latency, or even age. Now personality, latency, or age can't be fixed during the time frame of a raid but gear/experience are something that can definitely be worked on in a short amount of time.
Gear is the easiest to solve as it only requires running instances, buying BoE gear from the ah, or crafting gear. Get the gear up to par and you are ready to rock and or roll! We had a guildee who hit 85 and within one week was ready to raid with us. It doesn't take that long that long to get geared and if you are a lucky person with drops/rolls you can get geared even faster.
So you've run a ton of the twilight heroics and are now sporting a nice amount of gear, now what? Time to hit up raids for even better gears! But what if you are afraid of stepping into a real raid? Well I've got a nice list of things to do or not do so that you can be the best pug ever!
1. Don't come in bragging
This is a sure fire way for a pug to piss me off and want to boot them from my raid. A little pride is one thing but full on telling me that your main is clearing this fight or that fight in heroic mode and that this is just an alt which is why they aren't that well geared will earn you a place on my ignore list. The more you keep repeating how awesome your main, the more I will think you're lying and trying to compensate for not being well geared on that character.
2. Ask how fights are done
This doesn't mean that you should NEVER ask a question about a fight. This means that you should do a little research about the raid instance and its fights before trying to get into a real raid. If you have only ever done the fights in LFR, ask what's different between reg and LFR. I have no problem explaining what you should watch out for in reg mode that doesn't happen in LFR. What I have a problem with is someone asking how each and every single boss fight goes. To me this means that the pugged person is more interested in loot then in doing a good job. This is not always the case but more often than not, it is.
3. Don't be a dick
You'd think that this one would be a common sense thing but sadly common sense is rarely common. You are being pugged into a raid of real live human beings who may or may not share similar interests with you. Pissing people off by being a complete d-bag is a sure fire way to find yourself booted from the raid and blacklisted from a lot of raid groups. If you say something offensive that angers people in the raid, you better be prepared to apologize for it. If you're a rather outspoken person who has a tendency to say stupid things, you may need to watch yourself for the run.
4. Do what's asked of you
If you are a dps and you have been assigned to interrupt a boss casted spell, you make sure you interrupt it. If you're a healer and you've been assigned to cleanse a specific debuff off the raid, do so. More often than not, the raid leader knows what is going on and what needs to be done by the raid better than you do. We had a pug healer who was assigned to cleansing a debuff off people and we kept wiping. I took a look at the dispel/cleanse counter and he had a grand total of 0 dispels. His excuse: "I was busy healing and couldn't dispel." We told him to focus on dispelling and to let the other healers heal the raid. We wiped again and I checked the counter again and surprise surprise he had 0 dispels again. Raiding is a team effort and if you can't do your assigned job, you're hurting the team.
5. Remember Silence is Golden
Sometimes we'll pug a person and from the minute they get an invite to the minute we're done with the raid, they will not stop talking. I know some people get nervous when they raid for the first time with a group and when they get nervous they talk a lot but please try and keep it off vent, especially when boss fight strats are being discussed or when loot is being rolled on. I'm not saying that you should never talk in raid chat or over vent, I am just saying that sometimes not talking is nice.
6. Be ready for the invite
If you whisper me for an invite when I'm pugging and after I look at your gear/spec and decide you are just what I'm looking for and send you an invite to the raid please take it. It takes me less than a minute to look someone up and decide if they are getting an invite in. I get that things happen and sometimes people have to afk but if that's the case say something. If you want to come to the raid, making 9 people sit around and wait for you to accept an invite is not a smart idea. If I have several whispers from qualified people and the first person doesn't take their invite and hasn't said anything, the next person will get the invite. I usually give someone 2 invites and if they don't take either of them, I move on.
7. Be geared for content
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to pugging someone for a raid is when they are obviously not geared enough for whatever raid I'm looking to run. More specifically when they are wearing a full PvP gear set and have no PvE gear. My eye starts twitching and my head begins to hurt whenever I run across these people and sadly it happens often. I will get a whisper from someone who claims that they can do 30k dps and have an ilvl of 390. I look them up and see that they are wearing full PvP gear including weapons, rings, and trinkets and have a total hit percent of 2%. There is no way on Azeroth that this person can do 30k dps on a raid boss (unless they are a druid and even then it's iffy. (Damn druids and their lack of needing hit!)) PvP gear =/= ready to raid PvE. Similarly if you are wearing greens, quest blues, or worse and you whisper me to get an invite to the raid, prepare to be told no.
Yes we can carry a dps or two but will we? No, unless it's a guildee and even then probably not.
8. Don't be a dick
I know I already mentioned this one before but I really want to make sure people understand how important this one is.
9. Try to learn something
Sometimes you end up in a great pug and learn all sorts of cool strategies on how to do certain bosses and sometimes you end up in a horrible pug that can't get past the first boss. When you get the second group, you will learn many things too, like how NOT to pull a boss or where NOT to stand during the fight. Sometimes you learn that a group of people are completely incompatible with you when it comes to raiding and that is very important because you know for next time to not join the same group when they are pugging a run. If you're on an alt, you can learn how different classes see the fight. I know that when I'm tanking the fight I'm only paying attention to my health, my cds, and whether there is fire under my feet but as a healer I'm watching where people are standing, where I'm standing, how much mana I have, and what boss abilities are about to come off cooldown so that I can toss the appropriate heals out.
10. Be willing to have a good time
Our raids are run the way the guild is run: with the intent to have fun and to enjoy ourselves. We laugh and make jokes most of the time and more importantly we down bosses while doing so. If you are a super serious raider type person, you need to loosen up and remember that it is just a game after all. Some people tend to forget this and they cause themselves unnecessary stress because of it.
So if you follow these few tips, you will totes be the next pug superstar. Or you'll fail miserably because I'm a baddy and I give bad advice. Probably the latter but it's up to you to decide!