Having been ditched by my friends, I decided to teach them a lesson by pugging KSM. I did it as a paladin playing all three specs. This is by no means a monumental achievement, but I know there are a lot of people out there that are working towards that goal, and I thought I'd share some experiences.
None of this is revolutionary, but hopefully it'll help someone.
People need to be saved from themselves and you're the only one that can do it
Playing with randoms, I pretty much expect them to fuck up. I except a lack of kicks, a poor understanding of mechanics, standing in fires, not using dispels etc. We've all seen it, and it sucks. But it just means you'll have to pull the extra load. As a Prot Pally, I'll hold on to my Avenger's Shield procs for interrupts, because I know I'll have greater impact kicking spells than I will optimizing my DPS.
As Ret, I'll stop what I'm doing and cast a dispel or help heal the group with Word of Glory if I see the healer is struggling. It's counterintuitive to see your name fall off from the top of the DPS meter (just kidding, I'm still top of the meter, no one unseats me). , but you will do way more good saving a teammate than you will pumping out that extra damage.
Some classes have more tools to cover others' mistakes, some classes have less, but everyone can and should do something.
You probably won't get into the "Big Dick Blaster" groups, and that's okay
Being someone that used to raid at the highest level way back when, and someone who got keystone master last season, I'll admit I was a bit indignant at not getting into groups, even when queueing as tank or healer.
What you need to understand is that everyone out there is just trying to get to whatever their goal is and they want to limit the chances that they'll be dragging incompetents and idiots along. So they look to the only metrics they have; RIO and ilvl. You will have to join some groups you feel are "beneath" you, but the truth is, that's where you belong in the pug-world. The only way up is to grind through it.
Manage your cooldowns
Knowing exactly when to use your cooldowns can be key to your success. Holding on to your cooldowns just in case or for that perfect pull will waste overall DPS or risk a wipe, whereas burning it whenever you get the chance might mean you won't have it when you need it.
Gaining experience in the dungeons and routes will help you learn when you can pop your cooldowns while having them up for important pulls.
Playing a tank or healer, I'll be more frivolous with certain cooldowns if I know I've got more in the bank. Using my Wings to do damage is fine as a healer if I know I've got Aura Mastery or Divine Toll coming up in case shit hits the fan.
Practice is not a waste of time
Playing a key at a lower level than you might need for RIO is a great way of practicing the route and optimizing your cooldown management. If you are a tank this is especially helpful. You might feel you only have time to push, but trust me, you'll be saving time overall if you feel comfortable running the dungeon.
You probably don't know half the stuff going on in the dungeon, and you can easily look it up
If you're like me, you watched some rudimentary run-downs of all the dungeons when the expansion launched, and you've just been winging it from there. Well, people have figured out a lot about the dungeons in the months since launch. There are tons of little details that can help make a run smoother and it's well worth taking 5 minutes to watch a video on what the trash in a particular dungeon does.
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