One of the things I have been trying to do more and more often is to enter the PUG scene. I’m trying to be more active in this arena in an effort to continue to recruit players into the Crypt Crawlers and in an effort to help out other players in anyway I can, at least with getting quests done. The main mechanism I have been using to do this is by putting up a LFM in the group panel. I generally have a calendar already laid out for what quests and explorer zones I’m looking to do for the week and the vast majority of the time the quests I want to try to run are typically not put up in the LFM panel. So I typically through a post up there and start my questing.
When I first started playing DDO, it wasn’t very often when a party would venture into a quest (especially on elite) without at least 3 or 4 other players. I remember putting up a post in the LFM panel and waiting for about 10 minutes or so and then scanning the Who panel for players who were logged in and sending polite tells asking if they would like to join my group. This used to work quite well. However, we always got aggravated in having to wait to 20 minutes or so to gather a group together and then hope it stays for more than one quest.
Nowadays, I just take care of my character maintenance needs (selling, expired auctions, etc.) and then head into a quest that I want to take on. Just before I enter the quest I go ahead and scan the LFM panel to see if anybody is actually running what I want to tackle and 99% of the time their isn’t a group up for that quest. So I go ahead and put one up and indicate that the quest is “In Progress” and whether or not an elite streak/bravery bonus will be applied (currently I have a lot of players running quests a level or two higher than the quest is on elite which prevents obtaining the elite bravery bonus but doesn’t break any streaks). Unlike the past, I don’t try to hunt down players mainly because my time is more limited, in that I need to try to get a quest run completed relatively quickly during my log ins (not a zerg fest mind you but I can’t wait a long amount of time for a party to fill). So instead I put up a post and wait to see if others join.
Over the last week or so, I have run quite a wide array of quests. One quest I ran was the Haunted Library in House Jorasco with Hamllin (Level 11 Fighter). I ran this after work at around 6:20 pm EST or so. I put up the LFM and entered the quest on elite which made the quest level 10. This quest is a challenging and fun quest, with falling floors, dangerous arcane skeletons, and aggravating zombies. However, I didn’t get a single request from a player to join. I assumed because I was running one level higher than the quest level was the reason, meaning that anybody who would have joined me wouldn’t have received the bravery bonus. Using Hamllin as an example again, I logged in after work and put up a LFM for the Tomb of the Shadow Lord. This quest is also a level 10 quest on elite but requires the party to split up. Because of this, I just brought in some hirelings and proceeded on my way. I had put up the LFM just prior to entering the quest, noting that I was using hires and no bravery bonus streak. To my surprise, I actually had one player request to join. I went ahead and accepted his request and he entered the quest and then promptly told me that he was going AFK and that his girlfriend had just come home. I completed the quest about 40 minutes later on my own with my hirelings, he never moved from the doorway, piking the entire time. This gave me the sense that this guy was just asking to join to get the favor most likely.
However, on Friday night I had some better experiences with Erdrique (Level 18 Druid). I was already joined up with a few guildies, but I still put up a LFM for Acid Wit on elite (Level 17 quest on elite) and mentioned that there would be no bravery bonus. I was surprised to see two more requests to enter the group. We had a fun time in Acid Wit and then continued out into the Vale of Twilight and ran Rainbow in the Dark and Running with Devils, both on elite, which did give us bravery bonus . The group was fun and very enjoyable, not nearly as disappointing as the piker that I experienced with Hamllin.
And just this morning, I put up a LFM with Containment (Level 5 Cleric) for the Waterworks Slayer area. I didn’t think I would any get responses but sure enough I had a level 6 ranger join up with me for about ten minutes, which was nice to see.
I guess my main point is, trying to determine trends in the PUG scene is just difficult to do overall. I tend to put up a lot of groups that don’t get any requests/hits while other times I get pikers. I’m finding that I’m enjoying the more active pugs then I thought but also being disappointed in those that just sit there and do nothing. The time of day, the level range, the ability to gain bravery bonus or not, and recognition are all factors that affect the PUG scene. It appears that many quests just aren’t getting run because they aren’t in the high experience per minute set of quests which is shame because there are so many other quests out there to experience.
Not sure how the scene will progress in the future. I’ll still put up LFMs and see where it goes but it definitely isn’t the same as it used to be (both for the good and for the worse). Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!