Ok Ok, this isn't just directed to Death Knights and it can be applied to anyone.
I pug a lot. Outside of raid nights I generally am not able to play the same time my guild does. Therefore, if I want to run a 5 man I have to pug it. In the last year or so I have really only had one bad pug and after a couple wipes on the way to the first boss I realized it wasn't worth it and moved on.
So how do I survive all the pugs with my sanity in tact?
Simple, I do some due diligence up front and set some parameters on the run.
Before I even hit the lfg channel and trade I determine what run I want to go on and whether I feel capable of tanking it or providing DPS. If I don't think I'm qualified, its not reasonable to go. The last thing I want to be is the weak link that causes wipes and gets me a bad reputation.
Next I check my friends list, and /who former guilds. I can check old guilds I've been in since I have always left on good terms. Generally between those two options I can find at least one person I know and trust to do their job. Once they are in, I hit them up for referrals to try to fill out the group.
So you've done that and you still need spots, well trade and lfg are your source for players. But don't just take anyone who says they'd like to come. This afternoon, I needed HoL regular to complete a couple Sons of Hodir quests that you can't do in heroic mode. So I start checking for players and had two 75's ask to come for an 80 dungeon. Even though they begged I passed and took more time to find players.
There are a couple easy checks to ascertain the quality of the player that wants to run with you. First shift click their name to get class and level. Second, I alt-tab over to beimba.hu and check them out. Not only does it show their gear, gems, and enchants, it also gives and idea of what spec they are and about what level of dungeon/raid they should be capable of assuming they are played decently. Patch 3.02 brought another great resource. You can look at their achievements. If someone is signing up for a heroic, I like to see some heroic achievements. Granted they may have just dinged 80 and then I look for regular dungeons.
Obviously, I would be very suspect of someone who has no heroic or dungeon achievements, little to no enchants or gems, as well as poor gear. If they seem genuine ask if they are on an alt and who their main is and do the same checks. If someone isn't willing to do that, chances are they either aren't capable or an asshat.
Speaking of asshats, well there is nothing you can do upfront other than learn who they are by experience. This is why I have a wipe rule. Generally, its 3 wipes on trash or 5 wipes total. I'm willing to ignore this rule if there is ample reason to believe that the group is capable but just had a run of bad luck.
I'm not saying my play is perfect, in fact I got two dps killed this afternoon with the spinning dwarves. But I didn't make that mistake twice and it was no worse than the rogue who pulled the first boss while he was charged before anyone was ready. Turns out with a good healer I can solo that guy in regular. Took awhile and I had to cycle my cooldowns but it can be done.
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