Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blog activity level

I get a disappointed when I click on a blog only to find out it hasn't been active in a year.

It is bound to happen, especially with niche gaming blogs because it's common for people to quit playing the game and moving on to a new one.

I'm going to try to add the last time a blog was updated on my blogroll or maybe a type of activity level (defunct, low, moderate, high).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kil'jaeden kil'led.

The last boss in Sunwell Plateau instance was defeated over the Memorial Day weekend.

So what's that? 2 months from the first boss to the last including the gate pacing stopgaps.

Illidan was first downed on June of 2007. 8 months or so of no content for players at this level and now they've finished the new stuff.

The good news is, if you believe the rumors of the November release date for Wrath of the Lich King, there will only be 5 or 6 months of farming this time around.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Is it Time to Quit Raiding?

I finally quit raiding by choice and by force although I don't have an exact date when it officially happened. It was a tough decision because I like raiding. Matticus came across a questionnaire that could have been helpful to me a while ago.

Here are the questions and my answers (mixed with how I would have answered them in the past and how I'd answer them now):

1. What are the goals I have for this game? Have I achieved what I set out to do? See content the majority of players don't get to see. When I first heard about raids it seemed like this elite thing to do. Once I got involved I realized that was true and even more so.

2. Am I even interested in raiding anymore? Yes, when I was trying to quit I was still interested I just couldn't put up with the schedule anymore. I eventually grew to be less interested, but I wasn't like that at first.

3. Am I getting personal satisfaction from raiding? Yes, I enjoyed learning fights and finally beating bosses.

4. How many raids have I attended in the last 60 days? How many mandatory raids have I missed? I can't think of a time I ever missed a raid that I said I would attend. I had over 90% attendance and even raided when I was asked to on the nights I had scheduled off (which led to one of the nails in my raiding coffin).

5. Do I have the time to dedicate myself to raiding so that I don’t hinder the progress that is being made by them? Like #4 when I raided I dedicated myself to it. I didn't even like the idea of cutting back my days of raiding just to continue raiding because that's not really dedication in my book.

6. Am I satisfied with how raiding is being handled? Meh, what's not to like.

7. Are my contributions being noted or appreciated? As a healer it's hard to say, you're always wanted. I guess being chosen over other healers is being noted and appreciated so I'd say yes.

8. Did I give this guild’s raid groups enough time to stabilize and progress?

9. Where does this Guild expect to be in raiding a month from now? 6 months from now? A year from now? Yes they are still raiding, even more hardcore than in the beginning.

10. Do I have conflicts with the leadership that cannot be resolved in a way I’m satisfied with? No conflicts related with raiding.

11. Will I still be raiding in 6 months or will real life activities take over? (School, work, etc.) I couldn't see myself still raiding and I didn't.

12. Is this guild dying? No, on the contrary this guild has become more of a raid guild with each passing boss kill.

13. Am I getting tired from raiding? Is it sapping my energy and cutting into my life responsibilities? YES. YES and Yes. This one question was really the only question that needed to be asked in my case.

14. Am I an asset to this Guild’s raid? You're kidding right? I'm a healer.

15. Could I be doing anything else other than raiding right now?Yes. This was one of my main problems with raiding. If you have any other responsibilities in life and you decide to raid, you pretty much can only raid. Because it requires time outside raiding to support it.

16. How will my departure affect the guild? Will they survive without my presence? As many long-time raiders quickly and sadly realize after quitting, raids survive without you. There may be a rough week or so as they try to replace you. But as soon as they do, you are less remembered than Garr's loot table.

I'm purple! Shouldn't I be happy?

I can still remember where I got my first epic. A world drop. I remember a guild mate told me to sell it because he could craft me better. But it was epic....EPIC!

So I equipped it and happily used it. I remember other players actually asking me about it. I still have it although I've long since quit playing that character. Epics were really rare back then.

Fast forward to this year, where I finally decide to level an alt I'd had for almost 2 years to max. Within 2 months of hitting 70 I find myself wearing mostly all epics and as a druid this is in cat and bear form. And this is from me playing the least amount I've ever played since starting back in 2004. Yet this is by no means a record of some sort nor an exceptional feat.

You are able to craft your own epics with relative ease now and you can get "welfare epics" from badges and pvp. Not to mention epics from faction grinding. You can get a full set of epics without ever setting foot in an instance.

Epics are common now and less meaningful. Heck even legendaries almost seem common now - our guild recently asked some of the raid members to list items they wanted and the rogues wrote down Warglaives like they drop every day.

So it's no surprise that I log on to my character dripped in the color of royalty and feel like I haven't really accomplished much. My character is much beefier and deadlier than any character I've ever had probably. But I have no stories to tell about how I ran Stratholme 100 times for Beaststalker pants, because there were no alternatives better. No tales about how I pvped my way to a rank 10 Lieutenant Commander's Leather Helm, because that separated the men from the boys.

I don't miss those days, but I kinda wish there was a happy medium. Where things take some effort to get, but don't sap your life energy out of you. This is as hard to do as balancing classes for pvp. Everyone's level of effort is different. What seems like easy grinding to me may make someone else say I don't have a life. What seems like a monumental effort to me, may make the next person think I'm casual.

Either way, what I've done felt really easy and leaves me a little unfulfilled. I try to think what my first character with her epic sword she was so proud of would think about my spoiled alt brat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Making up things to do

The other day I found myself making a list of "new" things to do that would give me a reason to log on more. Along the lines of "grind for an azure whelping". Making the list turned out to be more fun than actually attempting to do any of it.

I'm doing some 10-man raiding here and there. Lucky for me there is a wait list, so I don't always get in. Lucky I say because I don't want to find myself raiding 3 or 4 times a week again.

So I look at having to find things to do as a good thing. I'm more inclined to not log on at all. WoW is weaning me off WoW.

I know without checking that I don't have the machine needed to run Age of Conan. So I'm not going to bother with it. Once again fortunate for me.

I am curious how I got to this point. I've done several hundred things ad naseum in WoW, why is it now that I'm bored with it when I wasn't before?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Games n' Blogs

I started my WoW blog after I had leveled my second character to 60 (then the max). Never had a game been so much a part of my life, so it obviously never occurred to me to blog about it but it fit. I had actually started the blog as I was weaning myself off of raiding.

Many of the WoW blogs I read have players taking breaks, saying goodbye to WoW, but more often coming back. Many blogs are about their adventures in the game, links to loot, disgruntlement, fun and boredom.

It made me wonder why other people start blogs about their gaming experiences. And also how innocent blogs must start out when games are still fresh and new.

So that sent me searching for blogs about Age of Conan, the closest new MMORPG on the horizon. The first blog seems like a company sponsored advertisement fansite. I finally found a few that seems to be a legitimate fan fansites.

Of course it is too soon for these bloggers to have that much to say. But I wish them well as they begin their love affair with a new game. I miss that feeling.

Gimme Gimme more

A link I used to visit so much I put it on my side bar but hadn't visited much recently. So I was surprised to see a goodbye to WoW, for now from Relmstein.

Well not too surprised. While it appears that his reasons for taking a break are because he primarily pvps and without Season 4 (which I imagine is more of the same of Season 3 which was more of the same of Season 2 which is...yeah you get the picture) to look forward to.

Playing different players is more dynamic and new "content" in its own right. And talk about return on investment! Create an empty room, put a pillar or bridge or moat in it has got to be the lowest development cost ever! That players enjoy it so much has got to be a happy surprise for Blizzard.

But exactly how many seasons of the same will pvpers put up with? Pillars aside, there really isn't anything new introduced to arena play.

And as someone mentioned (can't remember where I read this) arena really takes the massively multiplayer out of WoW.

I remember someone saying they didn't need an epic mount because all they did was log on, get summoned into a 25-man instance, raid, and log off. I imagine the same can be said for a lot of people who hang out in Shattrath or Nagrand or Stormwind or wherever a battlemaster is and log on with their 4 other friends, arena, and log off.

And with the tournament server you don't even have to spend time leveling!

Even if they release the date of Season 4 I expect more WoW players to start asking for more. Blizzard needs to start delivering more content faster. It is it's own worst enemy. Being a fun game you play a lot thus you run out of things to do faster.

I hit exalted with Shattered Sun Offensive, ran Magister's Terrace several times and now all that is left is to do the same on alts??? Bleh.

I personally haven't left it for another game, but I am playing LotrO alongside it just because WoW isn't giving me anything new to do. I feel like I need to take breaks from it so that when I come back to doing the same ol' thing it's not so stale.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

LotRO re-visited.

I subbed to Lord of the Rings Online again.

Unlike suspected, my characters were still there.

And unlike I promised myself, I picked another healer character - a minstrel.

After reading all classes solo fair in LotRO so this time around I figured what they hey. I hadn't leveled any of the characters very far at all the first time around. Yet I still wanted to try something different and a minstrel was left.

I quickly reached level 10 due to being familiar with all the quests in the hobbit starter area and noticed I unlocked Monster Play. Monster Play is where Free People "Freeps" (any hobbits and elves, etc level 40-50) fight "Creeps" (automatically max level orc kind, wargs, etc.)

I admit my blog is on the pessimistic side due to MMORPG grind burnout, and I really wanted to enjoy it (who doesn't pick a game to have fun in it!) but I have to remain honest and say Monster Play got old quickly. Actually working together with a group to take back keeps was great fun, but when I realized I needed to do 250 quests to get maps (think portals to all the bunkers in Alterac Valley) to really enjoy PvMP (Player vs. Monster Player) my enthusiasm sank like a stone. And a lot of this activity is PvE. On top of that repetitive PvE. As a creep, imagine logging on inside AV and never being able to leave. You are always in AV and the only way you improve your character is to do AV quests and kill horde who may not always join your battleground.

I liked finding out what it was about. But it's like doing a series of quests, having fun figuring them all out then someone saying - okay do that same thing 100 more times.

As I said the saving grace is how LotRO players, at least the world I play on, actually work together to defend or take back keeps. But this organization is due to a small, small player base. Once again, to put it in perspective, remember how Alterac Valley used to be before cross-realm battlegrounds. You see the same names on each evening, but in the vent I've joined for example, you already hear rumblings of jumping ship for Age of Conan.

I'll continue to play it simply because I need something besides WoW to play in order to keep it fresh. When I get tired of LotrO after a week, I can go back to WoW and so on. Not an optimal solution, but I really don't see any alternatives.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sometimes you get lucky

I try to get a group going for a heroic in my guild first before pugging it. I've only been successful getting a few to join me once. Most of the people in my guild don't need to do heroics. They can get badges from 10-man speed runs and 25-mans drop badges now.

So I'm not one of these players who refuses to pug, because if I were I have a feeling I'd never get to do any heroics.

So this weekend, I spammed for the daily heroic got some surprisingly well-geared people to join (they must have been really bored). I went from worrying if we'd have enough dps to worrying if I'd be able to maintain aggro.

The heroic went very well, with just one wipe due to us trying to rush it.

Sometimes you get lucky with pugs.

Monday, May 5, 2008


My pug experiences leveling up in normal instances were, let's say, 90% positive. That's a pretty good percentage to entice me to look forward to doing heroics.

I've managed to clear every heroic I've done, but my experience has dropped to 75%. Not so low to make me stop doing them, but not so high for me to look forward to doing them.

I want to take steps to improve my made up percentage.

Now, I spent time getting gearing up to make sure I didn't gimp the group. i.e. I followed the suggestion for gearing up for Karazhan. I actually tanked several bosses in Kara, so I feel my gear is good enough.

Unfortunately, in the few heroics I've done so far I'm noticing there will always be at least one who doesn't do the same. And sometimes two or three. I'm not saying someone should outgear the place, but I swear I think people join LFG heroics 15 minutes after dinging 70.

So against my nature, I'm starting to become more choosy when looking for people to join my groups. And it is no surprise people in LFG are starting to advertise themselves. "Full epics"...."800 shadow damage"...

I've begun whispering people about their gear and armorying them. I hate hate hate that, because I don't like feeling like I'm elitist. Also it isn't like there are a slew of people wanting to do heroics anyway.

But after spending hours in instances that people say should take an hour and wiping on pulls that we should have no business wiping on, I feel it is worth to myself and the group.

I'll admit a lot of this has to do with me being a new tank. I'm sure there are things I make mistakes in doing. But if I get stunned and you get 1-shot, better gear helps with that. If the healer runs out of mana because it takes us too long to kill something, gear helps with that. I'm not sure exactly how awesome tank druids dps is, but you should be doing more dps than me, gear helps with that.

I don't expect zero wipes. I don't expect people not to make mistakes. But just imagine the cushion you have by gearing up in all the methods available. People notice, I know I do.

In the meantime, to help ease my pain, I try to only do the heroics that match whatever the daily is. That way at least I get 2 extra badges for the trouble.

I'm halfway to one of those 2.4 badge rewards. I continue to find it insane that anyone thinks badges are easy to come by. But I digress.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Because sometimes we need reminding

Matthew over at WoW Insider made a good point, that many times it isn't the game that needs adjusting its our attitude.

I have a bad habit of logging on the game for no other reason than habit. Awesome news for Blizzard's profit margin. Horrible news for just about everything else.

By making a concerted effort not to try to do it all in the game, I feel like I'm playing a little less. But that is still most likely tons more than the average player. Average including players who probably wouldn't blog about WoW!

Looking back on my list of ways to avoid time sinks, let's see how I've done:

1) Play a needed class. As mentioned earlier I'm reaching a level where my tank isn't that desirable...for the instances I want to do..with the people I want to do it with. Perhaps I need to set my sights lower. The result is that I play less, but not in the way I wanted.

2) Focus on one role. To my chagrin, I've found druids need to obtain decent cat gear, even if they want to be tanks. While it would benefit me to do so, I don't plan on playing more than I have to in order to get dps gear. If it falls in the instances I'm tanking I'll just consider myself lucky.

3) Do not raid. I went back on this one. I am raiding Karazhan, but it is with a group of people who don't seem to care if you don't show up from one week to the next. This means you risk not getting to raid sometimes, but it also means if I don't feel up to raiding, I'm not going to get that subliminal pressure.

4) Do not pick up a crafting profession. I've stuck to this one. But I've really struggled with it. Some of the nicer items can be crafted. Then I think there are many items just as nice that don't require me to have a profession and since I'm not a hardcore raider do I really need 2 more points of this stat or that one????

5) Get loot through crafting, reputation and pvp. This has worked out very well for me. I've heard druid tanks have it easier than other tanks. So I'm marking this one in the fortunate column.

6) PvP marginally. I've found it easy to stick to this one. It doesn't help alliance's tendency toward losing streaks helps.

7) Grind reputations that only give rewards I can't easily get anywhere else. I did end up grinding for a mount (see #8), but the grind was very easy compared to Pre-BC grinds. I still have a few reps that I want to hit exalted with, but I'm in no hurry. SSO turned out to be extremely easy. So I'm free to do some older ones.

8) Give up on fun frivolities I'm not sure why I listed this one in the beginning, what is this game but a fun frivolity? I ended up getting a Talbuk and it was pretty painless. I did it with a friend so actually it was fun.

That's what it is all about.

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"I don't *need* to play. I can quit anytime I want!"

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