One of the issues I have encountered over and over in this game is the issue of how to get groups. I have sat around watching players get frustrated when groups do not just magically happen around them. Honestly, I used to be one of these players. Just like so many players I would pose the question, “Anyone want to do something?” or the dreaded “Anything going on?”. Each time expecting someone to magically form a group for my own benefit around me, when in truth the only refrain would be that of dead silence.
At the release of Burning Crusade I came to a revelation. It was not my guild, or my friends, or anything else that was the problem at hand. It was the way in which I approached the problem of getting groups going. I was in fact doing everything wrong. I set myself to the task of learning how to assemble group, and after a few weeks of trial and error I was building them every single night and burning through dungeons with ease.
I’ve shared my knowledge with guild mates and friends in less complete versions, but here I am trying to distill all the basic theory I have collected into one easy to follow guide.
Preamble: You Need People – General Networking
If you are going to group up, you in the most basic sense need more people than just yourself. Yes I am stating this to be overly obvious, but it leads it’s way to a key fundamental of group building. You need a ready supply of players at your disposal, or you need a network. Networking is a concept used often in business circles but in its most fundamental form you need a list of “known good” players if you ever hope to start assembly groups with a regular frequency.
Looking For Group – Pugging
Networking in WoW is a process occurs gradually, but is so fundamental to being able to succeed in this game that I feel it is best to cover the topic as a sort of, preamble. The only real way to network is to get out and expose yourself to new group of players. The most basic way to get access to groups of new players is through the use of the looking for group tool inside World of Warcraft itself.
If you are in the process of building your network, I would highly suggest staying in the looking for group channel your entire time playing. Often times there are random grouping opportunities there, but more importantly an astute reader of the channel can pick up patterns. There might be a healer, tank and a couple of dps looking for heroics, and all that it really takes is someone paying enough attention to make the connective tissue and organize the ready to form group.
Friends List – Known Good Players
While you are spending time in pick up groups, take note of the good players you encounter. I suggest you utilize your friends list as a way to track all of the players you encounter that seem to know their classes and can execute assignments well. Before long in your friends list you will have a directory of potential grouping options, allow you to quickly assemble groups with a core of players you already have experience grouping with.
You will quickly start to notice patterns while grouping. Certain guilds just seem to have higher quality players than others. When you find one of these guilds that seems to be both active, and populated with really good players I have found it useful to create a macro that does a simple “/who guildname”. This allows you to easily check and see which players from that guild are online, and zones they are sitting in. If a player is standing in one of the hub cities, it is generally a good sign that they are not otherwise busy, and are potentially an option for grouping. I have had good luck in the past at “cold” messaging players that are from guilds that I know to be solid.
Social Channels – Haven for Good Grouping
Most Servers have many active social channels. Get to know these well, and join them. An addon like Cirk’s Chatmanager makes sifting through channels for potential grouping prospects considerably easier but the default UI is more than adequate. Social Channels are by default, populated by Social Players… which in turn makes them much more open to the concept of grouping as a whole.
Once you “hang out” in the channel for awhile, you will learn the various players personalities and who will be more or less likely to accept your group invites. These channels open up a door to a whole body of players and make it easier to assemble a group rapidly. Various raids and guilds have specific channels open to members and their friends, and these channels often lend themselves to potential raid invites later down the line.