good post Nick. I do something similar... but have 2 piking toons. Have 2 friends running and don't bother with lfms. One of them sometimes 2-boxes, and we 3man (5 or 6 toons) everything.OP having the same problem on Argo, in fact enjoyed reading the thread as alot of the thoughts echoed my own.
The thing is yes everything is easily soloable most of the way up...but it takes longer and when you are doing multiple trs back to back you just dont want that 10% pen. 3 Live players I find is about perfect. This is my normal party set up when im playing off hours or there are no channel/guild peeps on.
1. (Me) - Main Box caster
2. (Me piking) - Second box Main toon - Groan
3. (Optional Guy)Strong Self suff Player playing melee/caster
4. (Box breaker/trap guy)
5. Attrition Spots for # 3/4, Piker
6. Attrition Spots for # 3/4, piker
#1.(Me) I always put the onus on myself to do the heavy lifting in a quest. I will generally clear the quest as fast as possible.
#2.(Me piking) My main stands and leeches xp.
#3.(Optional Guy) This is ur go to guy. The guy that knows the optionals is self suf and can get them in a timely manner while Im clearing the quest.
#4 (Box breaker/trap guy) Rog/boxbreaker is a vital addition - up to 30% extra xp from this guy alone. Takes a special kind of player that doesnt mind disabling and breaking stuff. Another xp TR junkie is you're best bet.
#5 and #6 tend to be cycled through often. Those two spots are generally there too find suitable candidates for optional guy or box breaker/trap guy. Second stringers.
Note: Im not a w@nker about it but this is what goes through my mind from an efficiency standpoint. I generally tell them why exactly we skip or do certain things so they can zerg better themselves the next time. Also those are the main roles -anything else they bring to the table is a bonus.
*Ways to maintain efficiency, group cohesion and lack of deaths. (Making them do what they are supposed to do)
1. Very aggressive lfms. Typical Layout is this. "'XXXX' xp sack. BYOH. MUST KNW WAY! No sharing. Not noob friendly." This typically discourages the players that are realistic about their suckiness(Which is a shame as I actually like this variety of pugger...just not when im zerging). Which pretty much leaves peeps whom think they are good and are (which is great), or peeps who think they are good and arnt (which is a problem). Getting rid of the latter might take a quest.
2. Be firm with the boot button Initially. They type 'share' they are gone. If they run a quest with you and arnt obnoxious but are dying and generally messing things up I will send them a tell asking them to leave and wishing them good luck. I dont cuss at them in Voice chat nor do I boot at this stage. They are people after all - we just have different playing needs is all.
3. Let them know their role upfront. I will advertise for a boxbreaker/trap monkey and have no compunctions about letting them know they arent performing what they need to do.
4. Get in front of them(Fewer deaths) Im really always main boxing a caster and have got a couple of tricks to to help cement agro on me. Initial sight agro is great followed up by death aura(if on wiz life) or intimidate (if on sorc) as I run past to coral them up to be nuked. Anybody that can get in front of me in zerg mode can definately handle themselves.
I guess leading a pug is alot like casual sex. Be clear what you're after, let them do their thing, but be firm about it, and let the good times roll. And if they misbehave tell them to GTFO, but nicely, as you never know when you're gonna need them again.